In anticipation of the release of the second novel in the Highway to Hell series, I thought I would take the time and introduce you all to the characters in this great play. The following is an extract from my horror novel Highway to Hell and introduces you Marcus Fielding.
“Are you okay?” Marcus asked, reaching out to the young woman.
She trembled with a mixture of fear and withdrawal and had an odor about her that Marcus knew all too well; it was the stench of addiction. Her arms were filled with track marks and bruises from where she had taken several hits at the same time. Her nose, upon closer inspection, was red and sore, and her teeth were yellow and looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in a long time.
She looked up at him, her eyes bloodshot with tears. Her face was desperate, and it physically pained Marcus to look at her. She nodded at him, a small movement, but she averted her eyes; she couldn’t look at him, and he knew why. He looked over her outfit again and it all becomes clear to him. They weren’t a young dysfunctional couple in love. Far from it: she was a young girl trapped in a mistake she had made and was unable to find her way back home.
“Hey, pig, get the fuck away from my girl, alright?” a powerful voice boomed from behind him.
Marcus rose and turned, ready to face the man, but was more than a little surprised when he saw how close they were. Standing nose-to-nose, the hot, acrid breath filled Marcus’s face and made him want to gag. The man was high, Marcus could see that. His eyes were unfocused, moving from place to place as if only moments before each had been given a double espresso.
“Listen, I don’t want any trouble, so please, take a step back and tell me what the problem is.” Marcus remained calm and looked the man in the eyes.
He tried to talk through the drugs, through the rage that brought the red curtain down on the show, trying to reach the person who was buried deep down inside somewhere. No matter who it was, or what they had done, conversing with a clean mind was easier than trying to reason with the unpredictable nature of a drugged one. Behind him, Marcus could see the girl trying to stand, reaching desperately for her baby.
“Yeah, well stay outta my face, leave the woman alone and get out ‘fore you get into trouble, pig.” Anger flashed in the man’s eyes. He gnashed his teeth and began to sway from side to side, shifting his weight from one to the other. Marcus took a step back. It was apparent the man would not be doing so.
The man moved, tracing Marcus’s movements, and it was enough to put him on edge. He was nervous, but in too tight a spot to reach for his radio. He knew then that it would turn physical.
The man’s eyes and face changed; the shark-like features were gone, and in their place was a twisted featured ghoul, the skin a pale green-gray. It looked waxy. The eyes were large round discs of black, its nose squashed flat against its face like a Persian cat, and the mouth was cocked in a wry smile that revealed black teeth and a rotten tongue that darted out to taste the air like a snake.
Marcus closed his eyes and shook his head like fighter getting up from a sneaky knockdown and the image was gone. The man had advanced, his stance changed to a more bladed one, and his breathing had become much shallower. He found reassurance in all of the signs he was reading, because although the man was big, Marcus knew he could take him if it came to fisticuffs.
“Hey, bitch, I told you to stay on the fucking floor.” The man strode forward, no longer focused on Marcus, but rather, the girl. He struck fast, pushing the girl back to the floor and lashing out with a heavy work boot. Marcus jumped between them, manhandling the agressor, pulling him away from the injured girl. The kick had split her lips, opening up a deep slice that sent rich, dark blood pouring onto the tiled floor.
“Right, you’re under arrest,” Marcus began, pushing the man back with enough force to give himself time and space to reach for his cuffs and whatever else he may need.
A small crowd had gathered now, mostly elderly people, although a few of the employees of the open shops in the arcade had come out to see what caused such a commotion. They positioned themselves far enough back so that they would not be looked upon to help, but close enough to not miss a beat.
Marcus moved with a speed that defied his age, grabbing the man and twisting his arm behind his back. “You don’t have to say anything, but anything you do say…” Marcus had the cuff wrapped around the muscular wrist and reached for the second when the man threw his head back. It didn’t catch Marcus fully because he wasn’t standing square on, but it gave the man an angle and he wrenched his arm free, and with one quick movement spun around and punched Marcus in the stomach. Marcus caught the shot right in the small area between the bottom of the safety vest and his belt, an area that was exposed by design so that mobility wasn’t an issue while wearing the bulky uniform. Marcus stumbled backwards, doubled over the by the blow. It was the girl that screamed first, her voice becoming instantly hysterical, her cries nothing more than nonsensical babblings from a mind teetering on the edge of oblivion.
Marcus felt faint and nauseous, his stomach throbbed, and when he pulled his hands away to grab the man – who was also under arrest for assaulting a police officer – he saw why. Marcus wasn’t sure which he saw first: the red, dripping blade that the man held in a club-like grip, or the copious amounts of blood that covered his own hands and lower arms.