Gumbee Fantasy Authors ‘do’ Pursuit: Number 6 Sandra Giles

When this topic was first discussed a while back, I joked that I could use a scene where Jared is chasing himself round a garden. It’s a genuine scene, and not quite as strange as it sounds. Because I’m a woman of my word, I’m going to include said scene in this. It technically does demonstrate pursuit, just not in the normal way of someone chasing someone else on foot or in a vehicle. This is more of a hunt, as are most of my scenes of this nature. This particular example comes from Proving Negatives and shows Jared following a scent that he is sure will lead him to a killer, and he is equally certain that he is actually the killer. So he is effectively chasing himself around a garden. By this point I’m sure none of you expect something normal from me. Here we go.

The stench was unbearable as I neared it, and it seemed to be coming from the surrounding carpet rather than the body. It moved away from the body and out through the back door, like a trail inviting me on. It felt extremely foolish to follow it, as though I were the naïve woman in a typical scary film, calling out into the darkness and chasing after chaos. But I’m a vampire, and this was a trail of decay. I had an image of a zombie in my mind, one rotting all over the place and leading similar dead creatures onto the next life. And then I remembered what a true raised corpse was like, and that I am friends with one, and the image faded. I was back in the doorway of my cousin’s house, following a trail into the night.

I needn’t have worried, because the trail led to the back of the garden and then grew weak as it met weeds and the hideout of a hedgehog. As I tried to get a closer look at this, I disrupted the wildlife and a series of animals took off into the night. I hesitated as I realised that the scent led over the fence. Well, it would have been too easy to find the cause lying in a clump of weeds. I knew, deep down, that this wasn’t going to happen. Not because it was easy, but because the attacker was stumbling around in the dark looking for himself. This trail was obviously being used in the same way as the flowery fog back at our house. My true fear was that the trail would grow so weak that what it was here to cover would become uncovered, and that it would be me – my scent – And would loop around and lead back to the road where I had woken. I thought this, but couldn’t quite bring myself to truly believe it. I was desperate for any other answer. Because I didn’t do this. I couldn’t have, it was absurd. And yet I couldn’t prove I hadn’t done it. How can you prove a negative? The most I could do was prove that someone else did do it.

Perhaps now I should try a more typical scene to demonstrate my…uh…talents. The whole of my first novel, Plead Insanity, features this particular topic. The novel is basically about Jared being chased by the police or by his fellow vampires. He also involves himself in a form of chase, though again it’s more like a hunt, as he tries to locate various hostages whilst he himself is still being chased. So without further ado, here is my full novel! Okay, I’m joking. I’ve taken three sections that show Jared’s escape from prison and the police pursuing him. The first portion is his initial escape, shown below.

The fall was over a lot quicker than expected. One minute there was air rushing past me, the next I had landed crouched on the ground and was just feet from the nearest officers. If they hadn’t been so stunned by my sudden appearance then they would’ve had me, but luckily I recovered first and ran from the prison. I ran until my surroundings were blurred and the only sound I could hear was the wind in my ears. I made the mistake of looking back and ended up stumbling. In that moment I was able to register that I was indeed being chased and that they had also closed the gap between us when I tripped. I regained momentum and ran flat out until I reached a large wall that presumably surrounded the entire prison. I fought my body not to slow and ended up running headlong through the wall. My vision burst into stars from the impact so I closed my eyes and used my other senses to keep running. I had managed to run onto another grassy area. I could feel it underfoot, but unlike the grass in the prison grounds this was long and overgrown and harder to run flat out on.

I slowed accordingly but didn’t stop running. There were distant shouts and orders back at the prison. They seemed to have stopped some feet back, probably near the Jared-shaped hole in the wall.

A while later and the only sounds were birds and other wildlife. I opened my eyes a fraction to see if my vision was back and found that I was seconds from crashing headfirst into a tree. I veered off course and slowed down some more. Only then did I look back for my pursuers. They were nowhere in sight. I looked towards a vast gathering of trees and changed direction towards them. Once far enough among them that the field was no longer visible, I grabbed the branch of a nearby tree and pulled myself up.

So far, so good, as Jared is able to remain away from the police and seems to have the advantage of speed on his side. He is soon joined by his father, which can only be a good thing, right? They not-so-wisely seek refuge in a small place not far from the prison, where the police soon come calling. The following shows Jared and Ezra’s escape from their place of apparent safety.

Ezra mumbled a quick “follow me” and jumped onto a small desk and leapt through the ceiling. The noise from downstairs was so loud that I didn’t bother thinking about it and just followed his lead. Once on the roof I had a moment to register that this was the one place that the cops couldn’t see from the ground, then Ezra pulled me into a crouching position. I really don’t have the hang of the whole master-criminal thing yet.

I took Ezra’s lead without being asked this time and started searching for the best escape route. This meant relying on sense of smell and hearing to pinpoint each policeman, as there was no way to look for them without them spotting us.

The men were widely spread around the bungalow but there was a weak link near the sound of flowing water.

“We’ll need to jump into the river,” I hissed at Ezra. “If we swim away then we’re more likely to lose them then on foot. Chances are they have enough squad cars to run us down otherwise.”

He looked at me for a brief moment with a smile playing his lips before answering. “I agree. The conditions of the water will drain what little life we both have. Whilst it’s happening we will be slowed down, but once dead we’ll be able to swim underwater until we lose them.”

I wasn’t very comfortable with the fact that we would be ‘dying’ once more, but ignored that small factor and nodded. He took it as the approval it was and then motioned for me to follow once more before plummeting over the edge of the roof. I followed in a heartbeat and was soon submerged in icy water for the second time.

Ezra was right; the water started draining me immediately. It hardly had time to slow me down before I was back to being the walking dead. Or should I say swimming dead? Okay, no time for attempted humour, the police had somehow noticed two men jumping off the roof and were shooting into the water as we swam. I was really getting sick of being fired at.

I spent the next half hour watching Ezra swimming in front of me. He swam so gracefully, it didn’t really match his personality. He managed to move along effortlessly with just his feet lightly propelling him forwards, almost like a mermaid. As effortless as it looked, he must’ve been putting a lot of power into it as I could barely keep up. I tried to master the same technique as it caused minimal ripples in the water, meaning that it was harder for the police to spot, but all I managed to do was slow us down and miss getting shot by a fraction.

After a few more miles Ezra stopped swimming and turned to face me. He spoke with a stream of bubbles issuing from his mouth but I was still able to make the words out clearly; “Is it safe to resurface?” I found it strange that he was asking me, but searched for the answer nevertheless. I could hear that there was somebody walking along just feet from us, but other than that there was just the sound of leaves and grass being swayed by a light wind. I took a moment to be certain that the person was walking away and to ponder in amazement that I was able to hear everything so clearly even through the murky water.

Once the sounds of the walker had disappeared I swam cautiously to the water’s surface and peered out. We were surrounded by a gravelly path and grass but there were no people about. I swam to the edge of the river and climbed out onto the embankment. Seconds later Ezra was straightening up beside me.

So they’ve made it this far without any real mishap (unless you count being killed, shot at, and all the rest of it as a form of mishap, that is). Now all they have to do is keep moving and go into hiding. What am I saying? Vampires don’t hide from humans, or at least these vampires don’t. But short of fighting the entire human race, what can Jared to do? Ah yes, fake his own death. Is it the norm for scenes of this nature to end in such a way? Generally there might be a fight to the death, or even a touch of suicide to keep from the reach of those who have been so desperately avoided. I guess this is kind of a mixture of those. And whose idea was it? Ezra’s. I’m sure Jared would now disagree with my earlier claim of their reunion being a good thing. Below is the result of this particular perusal. You’ll have to read the novel if you want to know more. [Insert evil cackle here].

By the time we had located a working payphone the sun had risen and people were passing us on the streets to get to work and school. Ezra was the one to step inside and make the phone call as I refused to turn myself in to the police. I walked away so that I could no longer hear him talking low and urgently in the phone booth, which put me around the corner at the end of the street he was on. Even then, if I concentrated, I could still hear the conversation. I tried not to concentrate but it seemed I couldn’t help myself. Sighing, I continued walking away.

Moments later Ezra had caught up with me and seemed to be having some kind of internal struggle. In the end he gave up and turned to me.

“I’ll be staying in a B&B near the graveyard. I would stay with you to see if this works well but I have every faith that you’ll pull it off, and it wouldn’t do us any good at all if I jumped in to try and spare you some of the agony.” He patted me gruffly on the shoulder. Manly. “Whatever you may think, I would jump in to stop it if I could. I really don’t enjoy seeing you in pain. Humiliating yourself, sure, but no parent wants to see their children suffer.”

Strangely, I believed him, and I swear that I saw the glistening of unshed tears in his eyes before he turned away to walk back along the path we had just come down.

I continued walking along the street until I found the bench that Ezra had told the police I was sitting on. I sat down and contemplated whether buying a newspaper to read would be too cliché. In the end I decided not to bother and just made it look as though I was enjoying the wintry sun. People shivered as they passed. How did that man and his daughter manage to sleep undressed at this time of year? Most humans would freeze.

Buttoning up the jacket I had thankfully not ruined too much when escaping prison I sat back and tried to act more human in such temperatures.

I knew when the police were coming because the sirens split through the quiet street. I never really understand why the police will always insist on putting sirens on to warn criminals away. If it’s to get through traffic then why don’t they just turn the lights on?

I opened my eyes a fraction to see that people on the streets were looking around for the source of the noise, but none of them were staring at me. I’m obviously less famous than I thought. Can’t say I’m disappointed really.

The police arrived with many squealing brakes and shouts not to move. I warily put my hands up, palms out, so that they could see I wasn’t carrying any offensive weapon. Then I remembered that I was supposed to provoke them into shooting me. Looking around, I couldn’t see anywhere to make a clean break for it without them hesitating due to civilians.

In the end I just decided to try and cause them as much pain as they were about to cause me. I grabbed hold of the nearest officer and hit him with enough strength to make him pass out. When I felt an arm reach out to cuff me I lashed out and winded him. It only took a couple more blows before the first shot rang out. It grazed my arm but somehow didn’t seem like a killing blow. If I played dead right then I think they would consider doing a post-mortem just because it would be such a pathetic wound to die from.

I managed to hurt a few more of the officers before somebody tried to shoot again. This time I looked around in time to see the barrel of the gun directed towards my head just moments before the trigger was pulled. There was no way I was letting that bullet hit its target. A chest wound would be bad enough. I really didn’t fancy having to heal my brain and skull. It’d probably turn me as crazy as the punishment that Ezra mentioned would.

I thought about just grabbing hold of one of the guns and “accidentally” shooting it point blank into my own chest but decided against it. As tiresome as it was to keep fighting, it was nice to be doing something to delay the excruciating pain of having my life drained.

It didn’t take long before somebody tried for the killing blow once more. Unfortunately it was a seemingly inexperienced officer who tried it this time, and his aim was way off, spiralling towards the chest of another policeman. Not thinking, I dove in front of the man it was heading for and felt it make contact with my heart.

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6 Comments

Filed under Gumbee Fantasy Writers' Guild

6 responses to “Gumbee Fantasy Authors ‘do’ Pursuit: Number 6 Sandra Giles

  1. marcuspailing

    At last! 🙂

    It was worth waiting for, though …

  2. Nah, that would be cruel and unnecessary torture.

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