Revamp by Beck Sherman
Revamp False Start 1
So, beginnings are hard. You only have one chance to make a first impression, and all that. Revamp had two different beginnings before I settled on the current one. This particular excerpt is the original beginning of Revamp, and it’s a dream sequence, happening in the tumultuous head of my heroine, Emma Spade. The decision to cut it was based on the fact that it had very little to do with the rest of the story. This deleted Revamp excerpt has never been published before. Enjoy!
I’M WEARING A NAVY BLUE DRESS with white ruffle trim. Through a large window quite a distance from me I see the back end of a hearse. A gold decal on the door reads:
LINCOLN HILL MORTUARY
Loving your corpse like no one else will.
I’m under a table and there are darkly decorated legs for miles. A murmur rises and falls in pitch. It reminds me of bees protecting their hive. Tommy says people whisper at funerals because they don’t want to wake the dead. I’m not sure I believe him. Tommy’s my second-cousin-twice-removed-in-law and he’s only recently learned of his adoption. Now he looks for any opportunity to make a fool out of someone else, I suppose so he can feel like less of one. It’s to the point of compulsion.
I listen to the hum and catch Mildred’s name. I met my great aunt three times before she succumbed to pneumonia at the ripe age of ninety-two. When alive, she walked with a constant tremor and enjoyed sticking dusty caramels down children’s throats with her long yellow fingers. I was not sad to see her go.
A pair of legs winds their way through the others and stops in front of my table. Gray trousers too short for the person wearing them and black men’s shoes with heavy creases in the leather. A drop of congealing liquid sticks to the right one. The trousers hike higher before a head drops into my view.
“What’cha doin’, Teddy Bear?”
It has my dad’s features, but it is not my dad. There’s the brown hair, the bushy eyebrows, the crooked smile, the Elvis sneer, but the eyes are black, and the voice…oh my God, the voice.
“Come here, Teddy Bear,” it says, with lips moving at normal speed but the words coming out too slow, like time is honey. Black teeth sprinkle from its mouth, becoming rotted imperfections on the pristine Persian rug below.
“Whoopsie daisy,” it says, looking down coyly at its fallen parts.
My heart leaps. I press my back against the wall until it hurts so bad. I scream, but no one is coming to rescue me. The humdrum murmur continues, and far away someone laughs with manners. It’s just air through the nose.
“No more games, Emma! Time to pay your respects.”
Its arms stretch for me. Bones are cracking and things are making mushy sounds. Soon the tips of its fingers will be around my neck. And then…
An odor invades my nostrils: flowers after the rain and the dead possum we found outside my window one hot day. I hold my breath to halt the stench. Beneath me, something moves. I sneeze and recognize the first smell almost immediately.
I always had been allergic to Mildred’s perfume, and I guess I still was.
“Do you want some caramels, dear? They’re the ones you like.”
I scream and push my arms forward. I kick my legs up, but they stop short at something solid, unmovable.
“Lay down, Emma! Don’t be a Screamin’ Meemie!”
Slimy bones wrap around my wrists and ankles and pin me to the lumpy, writhing remains of my Great Aunt Mildred. I can taste old caramel. The candy multiplies in my mouth. I try to swallow, but I can’t. My cheeks are puffing out. Elastic chew inches down my throat. I struggle for breath. Mildred reprimands me with a tapping on my head.
You whiny brat
You whiny brat
FOR THREE DAYS, IT WAS DARK.
News reporters scrambled. This was the biggest story to come along in weeks.
They called it a blackout.
The last one was in New York City in 2003, but this one was different, special, because the grids in six major cities across the country had been fried, kaput, see-you-next-Sunday. Everyone with some jurisdiction blamed each other, and when there was no one left to blame, terrorism rode in on its gallant steed.
It was the media’s fault. They were so busy stuffing fanatical Muslims with a penchant for Allah and decapitations down the American citizen’s throat, that they never saw it coming. I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on them.
They were partially right.
It was terror after all, but a whole new kind. And when the lights came back on, things had changed.
The dark had brought us visitors.
For a chance to win a $25 Krispy Kreme GC, 2 signed print books and 10 ebooks – enter the Revamp Book Tour Giveaway.