Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing

Excerpt: Hunter

There are about five days left of Camp NaNoWriMo. I have hit 50k in my novel Hunter, but the story is far from being over.

I wanted to post an excerpt to you guys since you’re the one who voted for me to write Hunter for Camp in the first place.

I ended up deciding to post the whole Prologue. I think it’s a pretty decent teaser of how the story is going to unfold.

The prologue is when the protagonist, Cat, is just a baby so she’s not even in it. But you do get a good sense of her parents (and their relationship); especially her father, who is a huge character throughout the novel.

I haven’t worked out the timeline just yet. Cat is 16 in the first chapter, so you can imagine that the prologue is 16 years earlier… whatever year that may be.

Here is the summary of the novel in case of you don’t remember:

Cat Webber is the daughter of big-shot Cedric Webber, founder and owner of X-Terminate; a company that rids mutants off the streets to keep humans safe. Raised as a Hunter, Cat believes all mutants are bad simply because they’re different from humans. However, her morals are questioned when she gets to know some mutants; especially Brandon Hurst.

Brandon Hurst is a mutant who can teleport and bend time. He knows some secrets about X-Terminate and Cedric that Cat doesn’t know. Cat is curious to find out what Brandon may or may not know. It’s not until she discovers her father is killing off the mutants that Cat struggles with her choices: taking her father’s orders or standing up for what she believes is right.

Please keep in mind that the prologue was proof-read for typos and minor errors to be posted on here, but it isn’t edited. This is first draft material.

Enjoy.

            The house was quiet except for the rush of water pouring from the kitchen’s sink faucet. Steam rose from the bottom as the hot water slapped against the dirty dishes. The scent of dish soap wafted in the air as Christina Webber squirted a small dab of liquid soap onto a sponge. She wiped her forehead with her arm, careful not to let the rubber glove scrap against her face. The young woman scrubbed a dinner plate with all her might, sighing as she put it on the drying rack next to the sink. She looked to her left at the digital clock on the microwave.

9:10 PM. He was late again.

Christina grunted in frustration. She was getting tired of her husband always missing dinner. She picked up a baby bottle in the sink and scrubbed that clean. She stared at it before putting it on the drying rack. Her husband was not only missing dinner with his family, but he was missing out on being with their daughter.

It wasn’t until Christina finished washing the dishes that she heard the front door open in the other room. She took off her rubber gloves and placed them in the cabinet under the sink. Her husband would be getting no warm welcome from her.

A tall, stocky man entered the kitchen. He stood in the doorway watching his wife as she folded a dishtowel and placed it inside a drawer. She shifted her eyes trying to see her husband without actually looking at him, but she couldn’t see out of the back of her head. Christina finally gave in and turned around. She leaned against the counter staring at her husband leaning against the door frame.

“Cedric,” she said; it was the best greeting she could come up with.

“Good evening, Christina.” Her husband smiled. He walked towards her with his arms open wide readying for an embrace.

Christina turned her head and walked over to the stove. Cedric stood by the sink with his arms still stretched out for a moment. He frowned, slowly lowering his arms down by his sides.

“Okay… what did I do now?” he asked.

“How was work?” Christina replied wiping down the top of the stove.

“Busy,” Cedric teetered his head to the side as if he was trying to remember what happened that day. He walked across the tiled floor and sat down at the circular kitchen table. He folded his hands together resting them on the surface and watched Christina clean. “How was your day?”

“Fine,” Christina continued to give him the cold shoulder.

Cedric sighed. He scratched the top of his head wondering what to say.

“I know you’re annoyed with me, so just come out and say it.” He said through gritted teeth. He tried not to be angry with Christina, but he couldn’t stand it when she didn’t talk to him like that.

Christina paused in her cleaning and turned around. She leaned back against the stove glaring at her husband.

“What caused you to miss dinner again? I thought you were supposed to be home by six. I had a chicken cooked and ready to eat at six o’clock for you. I waited until 7:30 before I decided to eat without you.” Christina explained.

“I’m sorry. I should have called.” Cedric stood up from his chair and walked over to his wife, his arms stretched out again.

“Should have doesn’t cut it.” Christina glared at him. She walked away before Cedric could pull her into an apologetic hug.

Cedric took a deep, calming breath trying not to lose his temper. He knew Christina had a right to be angry with him; he just didn’t like it.

“I’ll call next time.” He stated.

Next time?” Christina turned around, her narrowed eyes burning into him. “There shouldn’t be a next time! Cedric, you leave for work at six in the morning. Why is it that you need to work over 12-hour shifts? You should be home by three in the afternoon when you leave so early.”

“Do you really think it’s that easy to run a company?” Cedric glared at her, his temper slowly getting the better of him.

“Just because you’re the owner doesn’t mean that you need to be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. What about James? He can handle the company while you’re not there.” Christina countered.

“James is busy with other things I give him to work on. I can’t ask him to do everything.” Cedric shrugged his shoulders. “I’m the one in the charge. I have to do the big-boy work. Sometimes it takes all day.”

“Just sometimes? You have a life outside of work, you know. Or did you forget that?” Christina snapped.

Cedric swallowed a lump in his throat. He rubbed the back of his neck, turning around to leave the room. Christina shook her head in disgust knowing that he was running away from their fight.

“How old is Catherine going to be tomorrow?” she called right as he made it to the doorway.

Cedric stopped and looked at her. “Six months. Do you honestly think I don’t know how old my own daughter is?”

“Seven.” Christina corrected, her voice getting caught in her throat. “You’re daughter will be seven months tomorrow.”

“Right,” Cedric cleared his throat, “Seven. That’s what I meant.”

“Where have you been?” Christina whispered through teary eyes. She wiped her face and sniffed before any tears could make it down her cheeks. “You’re missing everything.”

“You and Catherine both will be thanking me 20 years from now. She’ll be  able to go to a good college because we can afford it.” Cedric narrowed his eyes.

“She’s seven months. Do we really need to think about affording college at the moment?” Christina asked softly.

Cedric grunted. He turned away exiting the kitchen. Christina closed her eyes, squeezing a tear out. She took a deep breath trying to compose herself when Cedric walked back into the room with an envelope in his hand. Christina opened her eyes as Cedric waved the envelope in the air.

“I noticed this on the coffee table when I walked through the front door.” Cedric stated.

Christina glared at him. “And you read it?”

“It was opened.”

“I don’t care. It’s a letter addressed to me.”

“Then don’t leave it out in the open next time.” Cedric shrugged.

“Why not? Is this not my house? I can’t leave my things anywhere I want?” Christina glowered at her husband. She wanted to raised her voice, but knew that would only make things worse.

“Why is Robert Acton writing to you?” Cedric demanded.

Christina narrowed her eyes trying to figure out what Cedric was getting at. “I used to work with him before I had Catherine. He writes me every so often asking how we and the baby are doing.” She answered quietly, cautiously. She didn’t know how Cedric was going to react; not knowing what was going through his head.

“You shouldn’t be talking to him. In fact, he shouldn’t even have a job!” Cedric hissed slapping the envelope down on the kitchen table.

Christina raised an eyebrow.

“I don’t want you talking to him anymore.” Cedric placed his hands on hips looking all around to room, avoiding his wife’s gaze.

“I’ll talk to whoever I want.” Christina countered standing straighter.

“You shouldn’t be associated with him in any way, shape, or form.” Cedric glared at her. Christina took a step back knowing this look on his face all too well, but she managed to stand her ground.

“He’s an old co-worker. He’s a friend.” Christina stated as calmly as she could, but her voice shook in the slightest.

“He’s a mutant!” Cedric raised his voice.

“He’s a human being.” Christina retorted. “So he may be a bit different from us, but he’s a person nonetheless.”

“Damn it, Christina!” Cedric shouted slamming his fist on the kitchen table.

Christina watched unblinking as her husband threw a temper tantrum. She didn’t respond, not wanting to feed into her anger anymore than she already did.

A faint cry came through the baby monitor sitting on the counter. Christina closed her eyes, groaning. She glared at Cedric shaking her head.

“You woke the baby.”

“You can go soothe her.” Cedric grunted. He sat at the table with his head buried in his hands. “You’re her mother and I’m apparently not a good father for trying to make money to provide for my family!”

The baby cried louder as he shouted again. Christina rolled her eyes at his dramatic speech. She walked across the kitchen floor to leave the room.

“Then while I’m soothing our child, you can get some extra blankets and pillows out of the storage closet.” She ordered as she left the room. “You’re sleeping on the couch tonight.”

Cedric glared at his wife’s back, but didn’t respond knowing her comment meant the argument was over. He picked up the envelope and took the letter out. His eyes glazed over the words re-reading Robert’s friendly conversation with his wife. He growled through gritted teeth before making it to the end of the letter. He tore the paper in half a few times until it was shredded into small pieces.

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Author:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Poli is a writer and blogger. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She enjoys writing young adult novels, middle-grade, and children’s picture books. She is currently working on her first novel.

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