novel-in-progress

Deception Island: a scene

Okay folks, the following is a scene from the novel I’m currently working on, a suspense thriller entitled Deception Island. (I’ve posted a few excerpts before, some may remember). In this particular scene though, I’m not entirely sure I like how I’ve portrayed what happens, so I thought I’d seek your opinions. So please let me know what you think, or if you have any suggestions or criticism. I thank you in advance.

Now a little background in order to set up the scene.

Jason, the lead character, and his friends, “Danny” (Danielle) and Lisa, are running from both a private army and the police. A source, named Rebecca, tells them she has some documents they need to fight their enemies. Jason and his friends very much suspect it’s a trap, but need the documents. They decide to set up a meeting at a Safeway store.

This is what happens next.

The plan was fairly simple, as the best plans usually were. Danny drove the Volkswagen into town and circled the Safeway parking lot until a spot opened up that gave them an unobstructed view of the north entrance, where the meeting was to take place. Danny had scanned the vehicles in the lot and did not see any that belonged to officers she knew.

Danny was to remain in the car and keep an eye on the vehicles and people in the parking lot.

Lisa adjusted her wig, got out, grabbed a shopping cart and leisurely shopped for the groceries they needed, all the while watching for shoppers who didn’t seem to be shopping, or store employees who were paying unusual attention to what was going on outside the store.

Jason climbed out of the car with Lisa, but instead of going into the store, pulled the hood of the raincoat over his head and went to slouch against the wall between two vending machines, about fifty feet from the entrance doors. He hoped everyone would see him as just another twenty-something slacker, waiting for a ride. He appeared to be fixated with working his cell, but that was just for show. He was actually watching everything and everyone around him.

The store was still pretty busy. It was the tail end of the dinner rush and now most of the customers were lone adults picking up last minute things. A few folks had kids in tow, but they were outnumbered by men leaving with a gallon of milk and loaf of bread, or tired-looking women in business clothes carrying a box of fried chicken from the deli.

Jason scanned each person as they came within view, but saw no ear buds. No one seemed unusually interested in the store’s entryway. No one said a word into their wrists.

It was all perfectly normal.

A text came in from Lisa. Nothing.

It was ten minutes to the meeting. If this was indeed a trap, if Rebecca were working for Lundgren or the cops, their people would have to be in place by now.

He sent a quick text to Danny. Anything?

All clear.

Another text from Lisa. Can’t stall much more.

Finish up and head to the car.

K.

Five minutes later, Lisa pushed her shopping cart out of the store and over to the car. Danny didn’t get out to help her load the groceries. She had more important things to do, like watch for Rebecca.

Lisa finished loading the groceries into the trunk of the Volkswagen and climbed into the passenger seat. The rain continued to fall in a steady, windless downpour. Jason was beginning to feel the chill in his hands and feet.

His Tracfone signaled an incoming text from Danny. She’s here. Your 12 o’clock.

He glanced up and spotted the secretary walking across the dark parking lot, an umbrella protecting her from the rain. She had changed into jeans and sneakers since he’d last seen her and wore a camel-colored cloth overcoat against the chill. She held a manila envelope in her right hand. The other clutched the umbrella handle.

Jason watched as she waited for a passing car, then crossed over to the shelter of the entrance portico, closed her umbrella and glanced around, looking for him. Apparently, his disguise was effective. Her eyes passed over him without recognition and she turned to face the parking lot, waiting.

The flow of customers into and out of the store had slowed by a few degrees. As far as Jason could tell, none of them took any notice of Rebecca.

He sent a text to Danny. Anything?

Nothing.

I’m going in.

Careful.

Jason took one more look around, saw nothing that aroused his survival instinct, then pushed himself away from the wall.

Rebecca had her back to him, but had shifted a little away from the store’s doorway to get out of the traffic.

He approached her from behind. “Rebecca?”

She started, turned, and broke into a smile when she recognized him under the hood. “Oh, hi.”

“Hi,” he replied and pointedly looked at the manila envelope in her hand. “Those the leases?”

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a car pull out of the parking area beyond Rebecca and move toward the exit. It seemed to be going a little fast.

Rebecca handed him the envelope. “Every one I could find.”

“No one knows you did this?”

She shook her head. “I was care–”

Someone set off a string of firecrackers. Rebecca grunted and her eyes went wide, then she fell against him. Jason tried to catch her, but lost his balance and went over backwards with Rebecca draped over him. Something smacked the back of his head. As if firecrackers weren’t enough, the delinquents now threw rocks at them. They smacked the concrete and against the side of the store. Someone yelled. Jason found himself staring up at the underside of the portico as stars whirled before his eyes, wondering why kids would do this? They think it was funny? Didn’t they have anything better to do?

Then it went silent.

Someone was sobbing.

Jason tried to push himself up, but his right arm refused to work. No pain. It just wouldn’t do what he wanted.

He managed to slide out from under Rebecca. She wasn’t moving. She would never move again. Part of her skull above her left ear was missing. Jason could clearly see the pinkish tissue of her brain.

He managed to get to his feet, stumbled a bit, then regained his balance. The front of his raincoat was covered with blood. More blood dripped from his right hand and something warm was trickling down his neck.

“Jason!”

He looked over just as Lisa leaped from the passenger seat of the Volkswagen, just feet away. “Oh my God! Are you hurt?”

He shook his head.

“Come on!” Danny yelled through the open car door.“We need to go!”

Lisa tried to help him, but he shook her off, picked up Rebecca’s manila envelope and half climbed, half fell into the back seat of the car.

Danny had it moving before the door even closed.

“What the hell happened?” Jason asked.

“Drive by shooting,” Danny said, glancing up at him in the rearview. “They came out of nowhere. There was nothing I could do.”

The initial shock was wearing off. His right arm began to throb and still hung useless. His hand felt like it was on fire and the back of his head ached something terrible.

He was still in better shape than Rebecca.

“Jason, your hand,” Lisa said. Her face was white, her eyes wide and glistening. “Look at your hand.”

He did. There was a neat little hole through the flesh between his thumb and index finger. It looked like someone had stabbed him with a pencil. A steady flow of blood ran across his hand and dripped on to the floor boards.

He’d been shot.

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