Feedback on my first chapter.
Many years ago I started writing this novel. It has since sat on the shelf collecting dust. It still needs lots of work however, it has a special place in my heart. I have decided to share the first chapter with you for feedback. My question is would you be interested in reading on?
Black coffee and paracetamol were not going to be enough to cure the banging in my head today. Like an unrelenting hammer drill, the pounding continued. It seemed to touch the very essence of my soul.
The day had started normal enough, the same group of people sat in the same seats on the commuter train. As usual all commuters avoiding giving each other eye contact. I somehow muddled through work, shouting at people who had got in my way. I was rewarded with the home bell as I was about to solve a major problem. It was on the journey back that the unsettling feeling started.
It was a familiar feeling, I was 16 when I escaped the clutches of my mother. As I grew older and developed, more of her men thought that we were a mother and child package. All except Wyatt that was. At the time I don’t think I understood what a big affect Wyatt had on my life. My mother had a succession of men whilst I lived with her. On reflection, it was Wyatt who spent time with me and taught me how to survive. At the time he was a man who treated me well and didn’t expect anything in return. What I didn’t realise then was that Wyatt was going to teach me the skills that would keep me alive. When millions of others perished, he would be the difference between life and death.
The first I suspected that not all of us would survive was when I stepped off the train. For a start, it was dark, darker than it should be. I remember looking at my watch and checking that it was working. No, it was fine 4 pm, darkness was not due for another hour, which, was plenty of time to get home. That was when I first felt the fear coming from the other passengers getting off the train.
Several of them were stood like statues in a garden looking at their watches. I heard one couple mention that this must be something designed, to ensure constant night. The fear seemed to grip the commuters like a wave. As first one and then all of us were rushing at high speed towards the exit. As if a film had started playing in fast forward. It was time to get home and get home quick before total darkness descended. People rushed towards the exit steps trampling over each other.
The fear starting at the nape of my neck and travelling down my spine, like a snake waking from a warm sleep. That was the first moment when I wondered whether this was it and whether I was going to survive.
The panic in the station was bad but, this was nothing compared to what was happening outside the station. It was the smell that I noticed first a sticky, metallic smell. I walked out into the car park and there was blood and destruction everywhere. Manners had always been limited amongst commuters, social etiquette had completely disappeared now.
An elderly couple trying to get into a taxi had the door ripped open by a young man dressed in a smart suit. He pulled them both from the taxi, dumping them on the pavement and claiming it for himself. The elderly couple sat on the curb cuddling each other, a look of resignation in their eyes.
Knowing my strength was no match for the others. My best chance of survival would be to try to run home before complete darkness took over. I started moving. The last memory I have of the train station was walking over something sticky. As I looked down to see what I was walking in I realised that it was a mixture of blood and flesh from the weaker commuters. Like a scene from Saving Private Ryan, there was blood, people and limbs everywhere. This was when I started to run, run as fast as I could, leaving the cry of agony and anger behind me as I left the station.
As I ran I knew the quickest route to get home would be through the park. Down the long avenue lined with houses on either side with my house at the end of the road. However, I also realised that the park was dark on a good day. In these conditions, the park would be even darker than normal. I risk assessed both routes as I ran. In the end, instinct seemed to take over and I headed towards the park.
As I neared the entrance to the park I realised how dark it was, with its willow tree’s overhanging the paths. How many places could they hide? It was too late I had made my decision and for better or worse I had to go through with it. I pumped my arms and ran as fast as I could. Throwing my beloved briefcase to the grass I used both arms to keep my speed up.
Halfway through the park, my heart froze when I heard the noise behind me. The unmistakable sound of footsteps. Not normal human footsteps but, the slow deliberate footsteps of a hunter. Had I heard the footsteps or was I being fooled by my pounding heart? No, there they were again.
I knew I was being followed by a hunter and I was still 10 minutes from home. The utter hopelessness of my situation overcame me at this point. All those years of surviving my mother and her men. All those years of working to make a better life for me. This was how it would end attacked and killed in the park when my life was starting. The dread filled me like hearing the door shutting on my mum’s door and her latest man walking across the hall. For that second I was back there again hiding under the bed hoping he would fuck off and leave me alone.
That was when the survival instinct that I hadn’t used since I was small kicked in. I ran, ran faster than I had ever in my life, powered on by adrenaline and pure fear. Sprinting at full speed I burst from the park like a rocket on fireworks night. Straight into an elderly man who was rushing home. I stumbled as I hit him but managed to remain upright. The man tumbled to the ground with a cry of shock and pain clutching his ankle as he went down.
I’d like to say that I stopped to make sure he was OK but at that moment I didn’t care, all I cared about was surviving. I didn’t even turn round to see if he was all right. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dark man emerging from the shadows and helping the man to his feet.
I thought about knocking on one of the houses that lined the avenue but, what was the point. I wouldn’t have opened my door to anyone on this dark afternoon, why should they. The time of the good Samaritan was gone. Replaced with humans need for self-preservation.
At this point, my lungs and legs started to burn from the effort of constant running. I knew I had to keep going to survive and somehow my body obeyed and my legs kept pumping.
This was when I noticed the footsteps of my pursuer were back, still slow and deliberate. As I rounded the corner I spotted my house and found another gear in my running. I was not going to be killed yards from my house, I would not let it happen. For the first time in my life, I wish I had spent more time at the gym and less in the laboratory.
No one was on the streets anymore either they had made it home or they had died in their attempt. I felt into my coat pocket and was relieved to find my keys were still there. As I reached the doorstep I pressed the button to realise the door locks, feeling a warm breath on the back of my neck.
Hitting the door fast I shot into the house. I swung the door closed with a bang hitting the button again to engage the locks and window shutters.
As I heard my house turn into a fortress I heard a sound that turned my blood to ice. The unmistakable sound of a man laughing outside.
So would you be interested in reading on? All constructive criticism welcome. Thank you.