Since the manuscript is out there doing the rounds, I didn't think it'd hurt to include an excerpt from my 'horror noir/urban fantasy/supernatural thriller' [delete as applicable] cyclical novel, This Village Never Dreams.
Cyclical, in that the format involves 7 seperate stories that are all told from the same point of view, involve the same/recurring characters, but are spaced far enough apart that, were the novel to be wrote in a typical manner, it'd end up sprawling and full of 'x number of months later' chapter breaks.
Anyway, here you go. It's the first part to the second story, 'Kilgren', and I've picked this as an excerpt as something happens straight away, and it also acts as a good example of the book's tone:
“You have to help me,” he said. “I’m a dead man.”
I was about to make some crack about how he certainly didn’t look well, but something told me he probably wouldn’t appreciate it; his sunken eyes were wide and blood-tinged, his short dark hair slicked back by the sweat that covered his pale face. His lips were so dark they were practically black. Equally dark veins stretched up from underneath his open shirt collar and branched along his neck. He used the hand that wasn’t propping him against the doorframe to roll up a jacket sleeve, exposing a similarly-veined forearm. He then readjusted his already loose-fitting tie and walked unsteadily into the office. No, he did not look well at all.
He’d introduced himself, rather curtly, as Jonathan Myers, said he believed that I was the only person that could help him. I offered him the chair facing me across my desk, which he fell into, trembling, arms on thighs and head bowed. I began to ask him what he wanted help with, when he interrupted me with a throaty cough, swore under his breath, then fixed me with those sickly eyes.
“They’ve got to me. That’s the only explanation for what’s wrong with me.”
“Who are ‘they’ and what is wrong with you?”
“The company I work for and I don’t know, not exactly. Well, I do, but…” he groaned and shook his head, holding it briefly in a black-veined hand. “Mr. Green,” he began again.
“Jack.” I prompted. Nodding drunkenly, he continued:
“I work for Hadley Pharmaceuticals. Or more precisely, I work for a man called Macallister Jones, who runs a subsidiary of Hadley. I’m part of a team that’s been charged with developing drugs for a number of childhood ailments. At least, that’s what I thought.” He punctuated this sentence with another throaty cough, this time expelling a small trickle of blood the colour of his lips. He wiped it away, eyes staring at the stain on the back of his hand. “Oh God, it’s started…” he slowly returned his gaze to me. “It’s started.” He repeated, voice rising as he himself rose from his chair. “Mr. Myers?” I asked, starting to move around my chair to help him.
“Someone on the team had heard of you for whatever reason,” he explained shakily, taking deep breaths. “told us you would believe what was happening.”
“What is happening, Mr. Myers?” I asked, standing facing him. He answered me with another cough, accompanied by a larger dribble of blood from his mouth and visible shakes along his right arm. “Noooo…” he moaned, looking at his hands. I blinked rapidly – it almost seemed as if the dark veins were spreading. “Jack, Hadley are con-” he blurted out quickly, before bending over and garbling the rest of the sentence. I reached over for the phone on my desk, ready to call an ambulance. He staggered over and knocked it from my hand, spitting out: “they can’t do anything for me now”, the ‘now’ elongating into a strangled cry of pain. Blood vomited from his mouth onto his shirt and jacket, and I was somewhat disturbed to notice it had the consistency of runny tar. Myers steadily gained an upright position, using the chair to balance himself.
Breathing deeply, eyes once again fixed on mine, he repeated “Hadley are-“ before his jaw suddenly cracked open, leaving a jagged tear down and across his left cheek as it hung loose, still working to speak. More dark blood streamed from his mouth as he bubbled words at me, his eyes pleading. Without realising I had backed up behind my desk. The tear in his cheek made a wet ripping sound as it stretched to meet his shirt collar, dark veins now covering the entire left-hand side of Myers’ face. He stumbled forwards and somehow managed to shout what sounded like “Kilgren” at me before his chest split open and his head and shoulders peeled back like a grotesque fruit, revealing a nest of blackish tentacles where his ribcage and internal organs should have been. Below these writhing horrors, the legs began to convulse forwards, Myers’ arms twitching hideously behind them. My throat dried up and my eyes began to water, but I still managed to grab my handgun from the desk drawer and unload several bullets into the twitching bastard as it spasmed towards me.
With a disgustingly squelchy crunch, the thing that had been Jonathan Myers jumped at me. Having no desire to grapple the thing, I dived to the left, allowing it to smash through my large office window and plummet through the dense fog outside, hitting the ground several storeys below with a definite ‘crack’. Wiping sweat from my forehead and glass from my shoulders, I swallowed noisily and leant out the broken window. As expected, the fog hid the ground from my sight so, reloading my pistol, I quickly jogged down the stairs and rushed outside. Shards of window were strewn across the empty car park, along with a few small pieces of wood, but the thing had completely disappeared; there wasn’t even a trace of blood on the glass. Jonathan Myers had been right. I was the sort of person to come to for this sort of thing.