Welcome to Part 2 of my leg of the Hands of Evil blog tour! If you haven’t already, you may want to check out Part 1 to learn more about Melissa and her new novel. In this post I’ll be sharing an excerpt from the book, then in Part 3 you’ll be able to read Interrupted Part 2, a short story written by Melissa. You can read part 1 of Interrupted here.
An Excerpt of Hands of Evil by Melissa Barker-Simpson
Rueben Sinclair blended into the shadows like a chameleon; so skilled at adapting to his environment he was constantly overlooked. It was a handy trick, one he’d acquired as a child.
His mother was a dispassionate woman prone to violent outbursts. Even at the age of five his instincts were developed and, like an internal alarm, they told him when to run and when to hide. Out of sight wasn’t exactly out of mind, but by the time he resurfaced the worst was usually over.
She was something of a master too, Bridget Sinclair; a multifaceted woman who saved her best side for strangers. At home she liked to use her fists, and like any prized fighter she protected her weapons of choice.
He could see her now, snapping her gloves into place with a rare smile. She’d enjoyed it. So much in fact, that their game of hide and seek became a battle of wills; the loser paid the price.
When his brother was old enough to play target to her rage, Rueben sacrificed his best hiding places to protect him. Those were the worst days, being punished enough for two.
But that didn’t matter. Not now she’d lost her power and could never hurt him again.
He looked down at his own hands and imagined them wrapped around her throat. It focused him, reminded him of why he was there and that his wait would soon be over.
He was going to kill again.
That had made him sick to his stomach, and he’d almost lost his nerve. But afterwards, much later when he’d replayed it in his head, he’d felt a surge of power so strong it both shocked and excited him.
He could feel that excitement now, and he knew he had to curb it. This wasn’t about pleasure, it was about revenge. Later he could remember. But not yet. Not when he had a job to do.
She was close, his next victim. So close he could practically reach out and touch her. It took discipline to mark his time, to wait for the exact moment.
Until then he was content to watch her, safe in the knowledge that, like his first, she wouldn’t see him coming until it was too late.
Sharon’s chill had nothing to do with the cold night air. It was a primal instinct that crept up her spine and urged her to keep moving.
Her steps were hurried now, and her breathing just a little laboured. The panic spread with every passing shadow, every unfamiliar sound, until she was half crazy with it.
The irony was she’d put herself in this position. It was almost 10pm, and she was walking the streets alone, on the wrong side of town.
Not that she had anything waiting for her at home, unless you counted a pile of dirty dishes and a half-finished bottle of wine.
It hadn’t always been that way. Once there’d been someone to ask about her day, someone who’d handed her a coffee as she’d shrugged out of her coat. Someone who’d cared.
The thought depressed her, and before that moment, she’d never felt so alone, and yet sure she wasn’t at the same time.
In the harsh light of reality, her eyes blurred with unexpected tears.
Ahead of her, the car she’d spent all her savings on was just another reminder of her fate. Sat alone on the deserted street, it was as out of place as she felt. A symbol of every bad choice she’d made.
Even the simple things, like accepting the assignment at the last minute, or failing to plan ahead. They all told the same tale.
She didn’t want to think about the half-hour she’d wasted at the college. If she’d been able to say no to a pretty face she wouldn’t be in this mess. She wouldn’t be flinching at the slightest sound, like the whine of an engine pulling onto the street.
She turned and was momentarily blinded by the glare of headlights. Her heart stuttered in her chest when the car pulled over to the curb. It took all of her strength not to run.
“Sharon, wait, it’s Martin Kennedy.”
Her relief came out on a rush of breath. It was only one of the lecturers. “Hi, Martin. Did you need something?”
“I had no idea you were parked all the way out here. I would have offered you a lift.”
Her smile widened at his concern. “It’s okay, thanks. That’s my car up there,” she indicated with her head. “I’ll be fine.”
She watched him hesitate, and thought for a moment he was going to insist on seeing her to her car.
“Good night, then,” he said at last, and she felt the disappointment like a slap.
The moment he pulled away from the curb, she wanted to call him back. It was like watching her last chance drive away. Her last chance at what she wasn’t certain, but it got her moving.
She was at her car by the time his lights had faded into the distance, and didn’t know whether to hug it or cower inside it.
Her fingers shook a little as she rooted inside her bag for the key. Yet another example of her foolishness; they should have been in her hand. If they had been, maybe she’d have stood a chance.
Rueben had a difficult time controlling his rage. He’d almost lost his prize to a Good Samaritan. He’d been too caught up in his fantasies; too busy watching her.
Still, all was not lost. When she’d stuck her head in the oversized handbag he made his move; closing in on her quickly and efficiently.
It would have been perfect, if he hadn’t allowed the excitement to win out over caution. He pulled the cord a little too tightly and she slammed into his chest, sagging against him like a rag doll.
Her cry of surprise echoed along the empty street and fed his thrill for the game. But he wasn’t stupid. She’d almost slipped through his fingers once.
He couldn’t afford a long, drawn out death dance. His luck had been used up. So he yanked the cord and took what he could.
Sharon tried to pry her fingers underneath the rope, but it was useless. It was too tight. She couldn’t breathe; she couldn’t even call for help.
Her killer loomed behind her, a shadow reflected through the car door. She couldn’t see his features. It was too dark. And when her vision began to waver, the silhouette became a monster. A monster with heavily muscled arms and hands the size of small shovels.
Then it all began to fade as the pain wiped every thought from her head. Every thought but one. She was going to die.
And don’t forget to check out Melissa’s other books as well!