"When everything in life has been against you,
who can blame you for not trusting or playing nice with others?
After all, no matter how much someone cares about you...
They can only do so much... can only go so far...
...you are your only real shot at coming out on top.
Sometimes reclaiming your life requires a body count."
It's a funny road trip and a thrilling escape with guns,
but with an emotional center...
I've tried to explain Wednesday to people many times, but she's a genre defying creature who often stays just out of my reach to explain. The story is one of redemption, and one of overcoming adversity and trauma. However, it takes place against the backdrop of a road trip. On the road, running from a human trafficking crime boss. An unlikely pair massively clashing with, and eventually deeply caring for, each other.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I don't think I've ever written a piece this vulgar. That's in regards to a couple of the themes, but in a big part in regards to Wednesday's choice of language. It’s got pain, suffering, torture, growth, a road trip, cheap motels, tacos, lots of guns, nasty situations and language, action, and a lot of hair dye and attitude, with bullets, blades, and one liners, and a load of blood and tears...
Below I've listed links to find Wednesday, and I'll update that list as time goes by. I've also put the full wrap cover for the print version of Wednesday, something I've not revealed until now. I think it's safe to show it off as we've reached the release date (August 26, 2014). It was designed in by Kristy Charbonneau. I think she did a marvelous job! Below that gorgeous cover you'll find a sample I've included of Wednesday.
I really hope you enjoy taking the cross country ride with Wednesday and Alvin as much as I did. It was writing outside of my comfort zone, but then... Wednesday seems happiest when she has people outside of their comfort zones...
"Genuine and real, Wednesday is the ass kicking heroine missing from today's stories. Nothing says hump day like a new dye job and spent bullets."
Links to Wednesday:
Listing on goodreads.com
Listing on Indiepromo
Wednesday's Facebook Page
Wednesday's full paperback cover:
Or you can view it larger by clicking here.
The first chapter -
That’s the word Alvin used to describe this place.
The rusted out warehouse and its parking lot were overgrown with weeds, and there wasn’t a single pane of glass that wasn’t at least cracked if not completely shattered. It really seemed, to Wednesday, like it belonged in a post-apocalyptic nightmare under a moonless black sky. It was the kind of place that was the furthest thing from safe she could imagine. The worst part about it, in her opinion, was that she’d been to many far worse places than this in her brief nineteen years. Depressingly, she’d lived in more than a few of them.
Alvin hid his more salt than pepper hair under the hat that matched his stolen police uniform as they rolled up to the large metal doorway in the unmarked former police cruiser. His thumbs tapped nervously against the steering wheel as he waited for Josefina’s man, Sample, to open up and let them drive in. So far, Sample had been good to his word. The car had been waiting for them at the hotel where he said it would be, and the room he’d rented for Alvin to stay in until he drove down tomorrow was paid for and even in the right name. Now he was almost at the finish line. Wednesday was almost through having to run and hide just to stay alive.
Wednesday Valentine was nothing like anyone Alvin had ever associated with not even back before he’d enlisted. From her wildly rotating hair colors - none of which appeared in nature, to her bizarre taste in clothes, to her complete detachment from the human race. This girl was still a completely alien creature to him.
She had innocent bright green eyes and a tiny frame with a foul mouth and violent short temper. She was dangerous and fragile with no regard for the world around her. Over the last two weeks he had watched her grow, really grow, as a person, and he’d seen her regress, truly break down, and fall apart. He was worried about her, of course, but there was really nothing he could do that he hadn’t already done. He’d given up his life for her, given up everything just to try to keep her safe. This was the final step.
Inside the warehouse office, Boyle’s thin form was crouched low over Sample’s dead body, holding the large metal box with the door controls. At this point, he’d spent the last ten minutes in the still, dark silence of the control room looking down over the warehouse. From his position, peering out the office windows, he had a clear view of the entire warehouse floor.
The only sound in the empty ten by ten room had been the tiny liquid pops from the blood slowly dripping from the tip of Sample’s nose to the dusty, blue linoleum floor. The sound had gone from distracting to maddening. Boyle knew that it normally took about fifteen minutes for blood exposed to open air to coagulate. He couldn’t be more thankful his targets were there on time. Another five minutes of this tedium and his blood might well have been flowing out too. He had to steady his nerves before he let them inside. Everything was about to get fast and messy.
The door jerked, then creaked loudly, as it began rumbling slowly to the side. Alvin looked back at Wednesday in her black and white Webb County, Texas jumpsuit. She looked so tiny to him now – so young, so small. Her hair was such a bright shade of red it looked almost plastic in the dim light of the backseat, and it was almost as if she’d retreated into herself so far that she’d actually aged backward.
He stared long enough she assumed he was making sure she was ready. She raised her hands to show him that she’d locked herself into the matching bracelets and pulled hard against the links between them. She couldn’t stop repeating the word safe in her head to try to reassure herself.
As the car pulled slowly into the building, Wednesday’s eyes darted in every direction, taking in every detail around her. The stacks of crates and pallets of boxes wrapped in plastic towered over them like a bizarre cityscape in miniature. The would-be skyscrapers stretched up into the darkness above the bent and worn metal light fixtures that dangled down from the ceiling. Only a quarter of the lights were even on, making the cavernous room seem a bit more ominous than it should.
The car’s tires chirped slightly as Alvin stopped alongside the large Mexican Police transport vehicle Josefina told them she’d procured. He knew Sample was around here somewhere; he was supposed to drive Wednesday across the border and meet with a crew of corrupt Mexican cops on Josefina’s payroll. Alvin would drive down and meet up with her tomorrow.
Alvin got out and walked around the car to open the back door. He offered Wednesday his hand to help her out of the car. She looked at him incredulously, but for once, she didn’t fight him. She took his hand and stepped out fighting a little grin. He was winning. He was breaking down her walls, her defenses, and worst of all he knew it. He was reshaping her, and she was letting him.
They stood in the center of the warehouse looking around for the man they were supposed to meet. One had his hand on the pistol at his side and the other was in a pair of handcuffs. Boyle couldn’t hear what they were discussing as Alvin bent down to put the ankle cuffs on Wednesday, but he could tell she was protesting, even if he couldn’t quite make out their words. Now, he figured, was as good a time as any as he slid the bolt into place on his rifle and looked down the scope.
Safe repeated in Wednesday’s head as she looked around the open space again, feeling anything but. Alvin knew better than she did. He’d already proven it. He’d managed to keep her alive this long despite the sheer number of killers Klein had sent after her. He said it was safe, so it had to be safe, even if the hair on the back of her neck was standing on end. She looked into his eyes for reassurance and found that she felt better but still ill at ease.
Alvin saw the fear in her eyes and gave her a nod to try to reassure her. He knew she’d been through a lot, and he’d do anything to sooth her. This had to be done. He only wished it could be done faster or be over already.
“Now the chain of these leg cuffs,” Alvin said, holding them up in front of him. “It locks into the floor of the prisoner transport, so let’s go ahead and get them on you.”
He took his hand off of his gun for what felt like only an instant as he turned his back to the perch that Boyle had chosen. Boyle smiled broadly. This was like getting a present, and it wasn’t even his birthday.
Alvin had clapped the cuff around Wednesday’s right ankle when she stopped him again.
“If I’m going to wear them and if you want me to believe I’m actually safe, you’re going to give me a key,” Wednesday said eyebrow raised and hand extended toward his face.
He rolled his eyes as he looked up at her. He opened his mouth, but before he could protest, Alvin felt the burn of the bullet. The report followed a fraction of a second later. He slumped forward, falling at Wednesday’s feet.
“Fuck!” she yelled, shaking.
She immediately dropped to her knees at his side – eyes wide, face pale. Alvin leaned up to her and squeezed the key into her hand as a second round whizzed over their heads.
“Run!” Alvin yelled back at her as the second report echoed through the warehouse.
“I’m not leaving…” She was cut off as he smacked her.
“Run like hell, kid,” Alvin said, as his body shook from another round in his left side. He collapsed again to the floor while the room was booming.
Boyle had switched to automatic fire and stood up. The muzzle flashes above them looked almost like a flamethrower in the dark as his rifle threw round after round down at them.
Panic washed over her like a house fire hitting its flash point. It was as if her body exploded with the heat of the flames licking every inch of her. The palm print on her face stung, pins and needles assaulted her limbs, and she knew that the second shot that hit Alvin would have been in her belly if he hadn’t stopped it. This was all too much. His blood was splattered dark crimson all over the black and white stripes she wore. He was right. She had to run.
Wednesday bolted up fast, sprinting and uncuffing herself as she went. She tore off out of the large open room onto the loading dock. Chunks of the concrete floor popped up all around her feet as Boyle’s shots barely missed their mark.
Unless there were others around here somewhere, she had a hell of a head, and she knew it. Boyle did too. He started running down the flights of stairs separating him from the floor of the warehouse. She was gone.
She ran into the night, faster than she could ever remember running, screaming as she went. “Nothing’s ever fucking safe!”
“I’m not trying to make you feel sorry for me, or take my side,” Alvin said, and then reconsidered his words. “I’m not looking for any big show of compassion…”
A deep and ragged breath shook Alvin’s chest as he was wracked with a thick wet cough. The eighty-degree heat of the Laredo night was lost on him. The only thing he could feel was cold.
“Shut up and die, old man,” Boyle said sharply.
He was silhouetted from the overhead lights, making him look, to Alvin, even thinner than he was, but the darkness did little to diminish the glint off the polished pistol in his right hand. As he crouched down closer, Alvin could smell him – a unique blend of body odor, cigarette smoke, and cheap scented body spray. He was a poor excuse for a nightmare but an unarguably effective one.
Alvin was on his back on the hard, smooth concrete floor looking up at the hardwood platforms and walkways above him. His .45 was next to him on the floor, empty. At least, it had kept Boyle from getting out the door after her. Alvin had managed to pin him down until he’d emptied his weapon.
For a moment, Alvin’s thoughts were completely incoherent as he laid slowly and painfully bleeding out where he’d fallen. He was dying, and he knew it. He couldn’t let himself go out like that. He had to focus.
“Boyle? You’re Boyle, right? You’re Klein’s up-and-comer… the bright one. Right?” He tried to focus on the man’s pockmarked face now close enough to make out. The recognition he was looking for was there. He was right.
“I’m telling you this,” Alvin continued through ragged breaths, “so that someone will know... so I won’t be the only one… I won’t just take it to the grave, ya know?”
He had to take his time, as much as he could anyway. He knew he’d have to draw this out if it was going to be of any help making good her escape. What he didn’t know was how long he actually had left.
Boyle didn’t answer his question. He just stared at him through the silence that hung heavy between them.
When he did finally speak, he started with a contemptuous question. “Do you honestly think this is going to do you any good? The only reason I’m still here is to watch you die. I’m just gonna keep sitting here watching. That’s my job, old man, to make sure you die. That’s what he’s paying me for. You do understand that, right?” Boyle sneered at him with a mocking smile.
The oversaturation of the red fluid soaked out through the blue of the stolen police uniform shirt giving Alvin’s chest an odd purple tint. Having spent the time he had with Wednesday, Alvin was for a moment keenly aware that this was a color that she’d absolutely love. He wanted to laugh, but he knew that if he did the two holes in his left side would shoot enough pain through him that he might well black out again. He couldn’t afford that. He had to stay conscious.
“If you’re going to be here anyway, you might as well listen. Honestly, it’s a story I’d never have believed if I hadn’t lived it. You might get a kick out of it.” Alvin broke down and laughed and was wracked with searing pain that triggered another coughing spasm, coating more of the floor next to him with the blood he was spitting out. He had to keep control of himself.
“I was just told to sit here for as long as it takes. Make sure you died nice and slow. Make sure that you suffer as long as possible, but that you do actually die. He wants you in as much pain as you can be, for as long as you last,” Boyle said as he pulled a crate over next to Alvin’s head and sat down on it, never letting his gaze, or his pistol, leave their mark. “Suit yourself though, dead man. Talk away. Just know that only one of us is walking out of here, and I’m not the one lung shot laying here drowning in my own fluids. Waste the time you’ve got left how you see fit. Just don’t expect me to pay attention or give a shit.”
“Now… see… that’s the right kind… of attitude.” Alvin was pushing the words out with all his might while trying to smile. They were a focus for him, his words. He had to keep talking. Telling the story was the only thing standing between him and death. “I think… what you’re missing… for this to make sense… is a sense of scope. The big picture, I mean.”
“So I get to hear how you became a sell-out chump who turns on his own employer for a cheap piece of ass?” The man snickered at him as he leaned down and took the pack of smokes out of Alvin’s shirt pocket and lit one. “Maybe the boss’ll like to hear this one, too. I’ll record it for him. Send it along as proof and entertainment. He might give me a bonus for that, ya know?”
Boyle took out his smartphone and activated the Bluetooth. He pushed a few buttons as he took a big drag and smiled down at Alvin. He finally had the activate button up and showed it to Alvin as he clicked it on. The small red light on the little digital recorder Boyle left up in the office blinked to life, showing that the mic and camera had started recording,
“Smile for the camera,” he said as he sat down, looking at the display and focusing it in on them. “Tell your boss how sad you are that you’re dying.”
“I didn’t always work for him. You know that, right?” Alvin asked, reaching up to take back his pack and getting only one cigarette handed to him instead. He put it between his lips and looked back up expectantly for a light. Speaking through clenched teeth he continued, “I ran my own business once. Legit business, too. I was married, family in the ‘burbs, the whole nine. Can I get a light?”
The heavy shadows in the dimly lit room, full of crates and wrapped pallets, were utterly unfazed as Boyle struck his zippo and held it in front of Alvin. It flickered there long enough for him to force himself up onto his side and make use of the flame.
He realized, as he raised himself up, that he couldn’t feel anything south of his waist. He tried, as best he could without drawing undue attention, to move first his left foot, then his right. No joy. That second shot, the one that knocked him down, must have hit something important.
“Thanks,” Alvin said, giving away nothing, as he took a deep drag, then slid his elbow out and settled agonizingly back to the floor. “I…really should quit. These things’ll…kill ya.”
Boyle stared down at Alvin with a drawn face, the pistol still aimed at his head. Alvin was undeterred. He had to talk. He had to hold this man’s attention. No matter how cold he was, or how much he hurt, he owed her any time he could buy her.
“I was twenty-four when I got married. It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago, not most days. I took all the money that Sarah and I got for wedding presents and started my own business. I had a perfect, beautiful wife and the job of my dreams… was my own boss. It was a really great time, for a while.” Alvin’s eyes closed, and a slight smile drew back his lips as he remembered. “But time keeps going... and nothing stays the same.”
The man sitting over him sighed deeply as he considered just shooting him. If he didn’t think Klein would know, he would. For now he’d listen, miserably, but he wasn’t impressed.