As promised, here's an update on the on-going cover design for the Smitty series of short-stories I'm writing. If you compare Smitty from my earlier blog the boy is dressed significantly different. More like what a lot of people envision.
There is going to be just one more modification to the figure. Somehow we've got to incorporate the idea of physical motion. Yes, it seems as if he is walking away. But he's too tidy. And you haven't seen the complete imagery I have in mind. Somewhere in the composition is going to be smear of blood. VERY bright red blood actually smeared in a downward angle, suggesting someone just ate a bullet and slowly slid down the face of a wall, leaving a bloody trail behind him.
I have an idea on how to accomplish this. We'll see how it goes.
And now a treat (I hope!)
I mentioned I'm writing a full Smitty novel tentatively called 'The Ripper' (title subject to change). And if you'll recall, I shared the rough draft of chapter one in the book recently. I want to share another chapter with you. Share it with a specific idea in mind. I think it's a scary, balls-grabbing chapter! But . . . . is it? I need feedback. And you're just the huckleberries who'll give me some.
Read it. Critique it. Make suggestions (maybe I'll accept, maybe not). Put your two cents in and let me know what you think. (remember, it is just the first draft. Words, ideas, concepts may change)
Yeah; it is important to me to hear your ideas . . .
Here's the set-up; the cops and Smitty are looking for a serial-killer who reminds the public of the bloody antics of London's Jack the Ripper. On a rainy night a call comes in from a truck driver that he's heard a woman screaming down by the docks. So cops go investigate. And here's where it starts to get spooky . .
The black and white cruiser smashed through the lakes and small seas of rain water filled streets like some kind of prehistoric ocean predator, sending red and blue eerie, almost surreal, beams of light through the pounding rain. The beams of colored light reflected off the dark windows of warehouses as the cruiser turned down a narrow alley of street and slid to a halt. Officers Joe Gallagher and a rookie by the name of Jerald Arthur came out of the car with flashlights in one hand and pulling from their holsters their department issued Glock 9 millimeter weapons with the other.
A truck driver called in a report that he heard screaming . . . a woman screaming hysterically . . . somewhere close by. The warehouse/wharf district was the killing grounds for the madman who was terrorizing the city with his grisly murders of prostitutes. So when the call came in dispatch was routing marked and unmarked cruisers to rendezvous there as fast as possible. Just so happened he and his rookie partner were the first to arrive.
"Stay close and watch our back! Got that?" he barked, aiming the beam of his flashlight into the face of the big black kid with the big, frightened eyes staring back at him.
"Got it, sarge."
Joe didn't like it. Didn't like not having his regular partner with him tonight. Didn't like the idea of being saddled with a rookie's first night out on the beat. But Artie had called in sick with another one of his migraine headaches and the lieutenant told him to stay home and take a couple of days off. Ten minutes later the louey informed him he was stuck with the rookie for the night. Bad enough it was raining with an electrical light show lighting up the skyline--always a combination that made people edgy in this town--but now this! A call that maybe The Ripper was working his grisly trade again and they were the first ones on the scene!
He almost grinned when he saw how frightened the big kid was. The kid's hand were shaking violently; the kid's flashlight beam dancing all over the place as it cut through the heavy rain and black night. The gun hand shaking so violently the gun looked like it was ready to drop out of his hand. Reaching out he used the hand holding his flashlight and pushed hard on the kid's big shoulders.
"Jerald! Get a grip on yourself. You've got to focus. You can't let fear cloud your judgment! Otherwise it could kill both of us! Understand?"
"Yeah . . . yeah, sarge. I understand," the big guy nodded.
"Good. So let's go."
In the distance they heard approaching sirens of other cruisers hurrying to this location. Just a few more minutes and the place would be crawling with cops. Just a few more minutes.
But that's when the scream.
Not just a scream. Something horrible. Something almost primordial. A woman's scream filled with all the emotions of someone being both terrified and terrorized at the same time. The sound hung in the rain . . . seem to reverberate off the brick walls of the warehouses around them.
"This way!" Joe yelled, heaving the beam of his flashlight toward the open door of an abandoned warehouse.
The two of them ran through the rain and dived into the black abyss of the doorway, the beams of their heavy flashlights cutting the night open like a sharpened scalpel. Cautiously they began moving through the darkness while the rain, and the lightning and thunder, continued to rattle the night outside.
"I dunno," Gallagher answered, shaking his head. "I thought I saw a shadow move in the doorway. Maybe I was seeing things. But to be on the safe side let's check this place out from top to bottom."
They both involuntarily ducked with an ear-splitting boom of thunder cracked open the night and physically rattled the building they momentarily occupied. Regaining their composure they began to systematically search the ground floor. Slowly. Methodically. Flashlights arcing back and fourth probing every dark hole and hidden crevice they found. Minutes slipped by and then Jerald, looking over his shoulder, saw the stabbing beams of more flashlights moving outside.
"Sarge, helps arrived."
"Good," Gallagher said, nodding and turning to aim his flashlight at the first figure to enter through the open door of the warehouse.
Two patrol officers came through the door with flashlights glaring and guns drawn. Both beams of light fell on Gallagher and the rookie at the same time.
"Derek! Peterson! Stick with us! We're going upstairs to check this place out," Gallagher yelled. "Heard a woman screaming just before you got here, so watch out! I think she's in here."
The two officers nodded and hurried over the broken, littered floor of the warehouse to join them. Gallagher nodded and then turned his flashlight toward the rack of stairs which led up into the darkness to the second floor. Ascending the steps in a tight gaggle of light and high strung nerves the four officers stepped out onto the creaking boards of the second floor of the warehouse and aimed their flashlights to the middle of the room.
All four beams landed onto the bloody mass of steaming flesh lying in the middle of the floor at the same time. A kill so fresh, bathed in the powerful light of four beams, blood was still spilling out of the ghastly cavity that once was a woman's vagina.
"Oh my gaw . . . . !" one of the officers yelped, turning suddenly to one side and retching violently at the same time.
"Jesus, sweet Jesus," the rookie whispered softly as he stared at the mound of bleeding flesh.
"Jerald!" Gallagher barked, throwing his flashlight beam over to his right and at the base of stairs which led up to the warehouse's third floor. "You stay here with Peterson and make sure nothing disturbs the body. Derek and me will go up to the third floor and check it out! And for chrissake, call for forensics and a meat wagon to get over here!"
The big kid could only nod silently as he stepped back to the still heaving Peterson, gripping his gun firmly in the process. Gallagher, playing his flashlight first across the rookie's face, and then checking out Peterson to see how sick he was, nodded and told the officer behind him to follow him. Moving to the first step of the stairs they aimed their flashlights up into the darkness and began ascending slowly.
Jerald watched his sergeant and the other officers disappear upstairs before turning his light toward the now somewhat recovered Officer Peterson. The man was standing up and using a kerchief to wipe his mouth clean as he turned toward the big man standing beside him. As he did his flashlight swept across the body.
"What the hell . . . ? " he murmured as he squinted his eyes and leaned forward to see better.
Jerald heard the officer's odd tone in his voice and turned his flashlight toward the body as well. The moment he did he saw it as well. The Devil. The Devil rising out of the corpse of the dead woman! A black form . . . no face . . . no hands . . . just a black form with a large blood stained blade of a butcher's knife gripped in one black fist came rising out of dead woman's carcass in a blur of motion and hurled itself straight at them! It moved so fast neither had time to lift their weapons and fire at the mirage before it struck!
Jerald felt something heavy and hard smack into his chest. A blow so powerful it made him stagger two or three steps back and drop both his gun and his flashlight at the same time. As he staggered back he heard the officer behind grunt in a surprised fashion. And then silence. But not completely silent. Bending down the rookie felt the floor beside him for both his weapon and his flashlight. He felt more than saw in the darkness Peterson still standing beside him. He also felt something wet . . . something hot . . . splattering across his cheeks and the back of his neck.
Finding gun and flashlight the rookie stood up and whipped the light around in all directions searching for the thing which had rushed them. Finding nothing near him he turned his light toward Peterson.
Peterson stood facing the rookie. Stood with both hands clutching his throat. Stood with his mouth moving as if he was trying to speak. Stood with eyes wide with astonishment. And blood. Blood pouring out of his mouth in great spurts. The hot liquid which had splattered Jerald's cheek and neck as he hunted for his gun and flashlight.
Jerald could not help himself. He started screaming. Screaming hysterically. Screaming . . .