Excerpt and giveaway: ‘Restless in Peaceville’ by Pippa JayPosted: September 11, 2014
Welcome to Peaceville, population 2067 and rising…from the grave…
Luke Chester has had enough. He’s the school geek, the girls laugh at him, he’s lost his dead-end job at the pizza place, and in the midst of the world’s messiest divorce his parents don’t even know he exists. An overdose of his mom’s tranquilizers and a stomach full of whiskey should solve all his problems…
But they don’t. Instead, Luke finds himself booted out of the afterlife for not dying a natural death, with nowhere to go but back to his recently vacated corpse and reality. How the hell is he going to pass for one of the living without someone trying to blow his brains out for being one of the undead?
And it just gets worse. He’s got to fight his own desperate craving to consume the living, evade the weird supernatural hunter who’s having a field day with the new undeads rising, and there’s this creepy black shadow following him around. Add to that the distraction of female fellow undead Annabelle burning to avenge her own murder, and clearly there’s no rest for the wicked. Jeez, all he wanted to do was R.I.P.
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I suppose I should count myself lucky they hadn’t started carving me up, and that I’d gone for an overdose rather than throwing myself in front of a truck or out of a window. I’m in damn good condition…for a corpse. Still in one piece as far as I can ascertain, and that ain’t easy to determine, let me tell you. You know how an arm or a leg goes after you’ve sat on it for a while, cutting off the circulation? But before the blood flow starts again and you get pins and needles? That numb heaviness? My whole body is like that. Like every part of me is full of lead.
Also, the not breathing is weird. I take a couple of breaths out of habit, for the familiar feeling of air moving in and out of my chest. After that I don’t bother. It takes too much concentration and there are other things I need to focus on. Like, what do I do next, for instance?
So, what, I’m just gonna lie here?
It’s an option, but I’d probably give the next person who opens up my drawer a heart attack. I don’t want another death on my conscience. Not when I already have my own.
I put my hands up against the metal above me, and leave dents in it. Whoa. Gonna have to watch that. Clearly, I don’t need a lot of muscle or effort as a zombie, which is good because I never had the first and never gave the second. I try again, but more hesitantly, and push myself outward. The drawer slams open so fast, wheels screeching, that it reaches its full extent hard enough to slam my skull into the drawer front, and then rebounds until it’s almost closed again. That should’ve hurt, but it didn’t. I touch my skull, half expecting it to be cracked in two, but there’s nothing. Not even a dent…or a lump for that matter. But when I twist my head to look, the drawer front looks like it got beat by a baseball bat. That’s gonna be one hell of a giveaway.
I reach up and use just one finger to push the drawer wider. This time I roll out until my upper half is free of the drawer. That should do. Careful not to squeeze too tight, I grip the sides of the slab I’m lying on. I’m not sure about sitting up, because clearly I don’t know my own strength any more, and the weird all-over numbness means I can’t sense what I’m doing, or how much pressure I’m using. There’s no pain to tell me when I might be damaging myself, if that’s possible.
Okay, this is it. I push myself upright easily enough, but can’t stop myself slumping forward. Everything feels heavy. My head too heavy for my neck, my shoulders too heavy for my torso. Still holding the sides, I drag one leg up until my knee touches my chin, and then the other. I shuffle ’round until both feet drop to the floor, pulling my legs with them. I have plenty of strength but pretty damn poor coordination. It’s kind of hard to synchronize your moves when it’s like someone has attached weights to every bit of you. Won’t this be fun?
So I’ve got my feet on the ground. I stare at them and wiggle my toes. Back in the afterlife, they moved easily and in sequence. Now they just jerk. There are bruises and needle marks in both my arms, probably from them trying to pump a ton of drugs into me to bring me back. My skin is pale, only one shade away from stark white, with a bluish tint. Oxygen deprivation, I’d guess. I thought I’d be gray. Maybe that happens later. For now, I can probably pass for just being sick, if I can get my coordination together and get out of here.
With that objective in mind, I lurch to my feet and fall flat on my face, luckily with one arm preventing my nose from getting smashed. Not that it hurts, but I really don’t need to make myself look any worse. I push back onto my hands and knees, grab the edge of the table beside me, and then pull myself up slow and easy. At least I’m standing, even if I am swaying like I’m still getting hit by the alcohol. For the first time, I get a good look of where I’m at.
The morgue. I’ve seen enough cop shows to recognize it. Never expected to be in one, least not and be aware I was. The table I’m hanging onto is one of those where they lay a body, clean it, and slice it up to figure out who or what killed you. I guess I should be grateful they hadn’t got to that stage with me. Trying to stitch myself up with zombie fingers and with all my innards falling out would have been tricky.
After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.
Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), two self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply and The Bones of the Sea), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).
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