Check Out Chapter One of Death Becomes Me
We're one week in and I want to send a HUGE thank you to everyone who has backed the campaign so far. It's a lot to ask of a person to take it on faith they will like a book when they have no way of nosing through it. In a book shop we would flip through the pages. Online, we have previews and samples to look at. In the spirit of that - and to give you all a chance to read the beginning of the book - I'm releasing Chapter One today, to celebrate the first week of the campaign.
If you're still on the fence, hopefully this will convince you, and if you want to help out but are unable to pledge any money PLEASE DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT! You can still be a massive help by sharing the campaign and encouraging others to get involved. Those of you who have already pledged to the campaign THANK YOU! You can help out even more by telling all your friends, family, and followers about it!
Love Hazel x
Exclusive Excerpt* - Chapter One
I was never a child. Not that I recall. Life, to my recollection, found me without warning as a twelve year old girl, already a woman, abashed on a rain-streaked beach. I was an untameable ball of wildfire. Damaged, broken, angry in a way that’s unfathomable to anyone who hasn’t experience the utter annihilation of their world. The flame of my fury was inextinguishable. Petty, selfish, and oh, so futile.
But I was a child, even though I was not, and my wants were painfully simple: Make it stop.
I made it stop.
And I ran.
Manchester. Gunchester. The Rainy City. God’s City. I knew it well, or so I thought. I lost myself. So completely that for a while, that first night, I thought I was somewhere else. Somewhere…other.
Darkness hid me. I was a smudge of black against greater blackness, distinguishable only by a shock of pink hair and a pale, phantom face, scuttling through driving rain, hunched into my trench coat. It was a thing I would become inordinately grateful for as the weeks went on, a long leather coat, grabbed in haste. It was the only thing I took with me, aside from the boots on my feet and the contents of my pockets; cash enough for a train ticket, a half-smoked pack of Marlborough Lights, two lighters, and my rainbow-coloured folding Stiletto. That was a thing of beauty. I was never without it, even then, at the tender age of fifteen.
I ditched my mobile at the train station and vanished, evanescing into the ether without a backward glance. Nowhere to go and next to nothing to call my own. My only thought on leaving was protection from the rain.
It should have been washing off the warm slick of blood that was beginning to cool and crackle across my skin. It seeped into my jeans, my vest. Even my knickers were soaked in it. Never did get it to wash out. It was dry by the time Sookie found me, huddled in the dark, crying, cussing, and trying desperately to light what turned out to be my last smoke.
It was pouring rain.
They don’t call it The Rainy City for nothing.
I hate the feckin’ rain.
And it was dark. Astonishingly dark. I was skulking around the comforting, hulking form of Aflecks, when the dark suddenly grew darker. The buildings surrounding me grew taller and unfamiliar, as foreign to me as the cobbles that had sprung up beneath my feet.
I saw stars. Impossible stars. The city was too bright, they should have been out of sight. And they were wrong. The constellations twirled and twisted in strange shapes that danced and leapt out at me from the night sky. Here, a prowling, barrel-chested wolf; there, the regal form of a lion who appeared, to my tear-swollen eyes, to be staring right at me. The stars forming the graceful curve of his back, the daring flick of his tail, the full bush of his mane, somehow seemed brighter than the rest. Whiter. A pure white, blinding.
I turned away from him, and the wolf that ran at his heels, only to find myself staring into the horned face of a demon that made me shudder, far more than the freezing rain. Maybe I’d fallen in the street, cracked my head open.
Maybe I was dreaming. Maybe I’d left a spliff or two, forgotten in my pack of fags, and got myself stoned without realising. Or maybe the gods were finally taking pity on me, rewarding me for the good deed I’d done that day with a beautiful vision. There was no doubt these spectres were beautiful. Even the horned and fearsome demon had a seductive charm.
Yet if the deed I’d done was good, why was I crying?
Why had I run?
Screams filled the air, dragging me to my feet. I ran to the end of the strange, Victorianesque alley I’d been sheltering in, high-pitched shrieking echoing all around me. Swinging around I ran back the other way, the blade of my stiletto flicking out in my hand. Somewhere, someone screamed. Someone hurt. I wanted to make the culprit bleed.
I was still covered in blood.
So was my knife.
The thought brought me crashing to my knees and forced more tears from my eyes.
Weak, weak, so fucking weak.
It was no use. That night, unlike the myriad that came before, I cried. A floodgate opened and for one shining moment, as I sat beneath the watchful gaze of that shockingly white lion and his unfamiliar compadres, I let out everything that I’d known I should feel, and mourn, and cry for, but had been unable to unleash. The part of me that was capable of doing such things had died one evening when I was twelve years old and never came back.
Three years of numb detachment. Three years of feeling nothing but rage.
I had become rage.
It was a palpable thing. Elemental. Like rock and flame and wind. Like the damnable rain. Rage was the fifth element, and I was its avatar.
But that night, in that strange place, where impossible stars shone impossibly in the sky and my city had changed around me, the rage suddenly abandoned me and I had nothing but tears. The screams on the air were all in my mind, the blood on my skin was finally dry, I was lost and alone and so far from home. I sat in the gutter and tried to light a fag in the rain, tears streaming down my face, hands shaking from the cold, and I knew only one thing:
I could never go home.
Home was as dead as my childhood.
*Excerpt is a draft and subject to change.