Rose Red Snow White Excerpt “Blood seems black in the moonlight” Part IV

Part IV

     Fumbling through the night, I notice something in the distance; flashing red and blue lights just beyond the tree line. As a black man in America, I’ve never been so happy to see those flashing lights as I was now. I ran as fast as I could, like a moth to a flame.

There was a sigh of relief, maybe Kassidy was able to call for help after all. Perhaps, just perhaps, Kassidy is with them, and that sicko was sitting in the backseat with his hands behind his back. Finally, this nightmare ends, and the only monsters I’ll have to contend with were the ones that involve Claire.

Reaching the lights, there was only silence and snow. I was completely over this damn snow. The lights came from the black Sheriff SUV that had visited Kassidy and I a few days before the storm. Sheriff Walton, Alice Walton. Had Kassidy ran and got help and Sheriff was here to rescue me?  “Hello? Hey, is there anyone here?” I called out, but there was only silence. “I need help! My wife may be in danger.”

Walking towards the beefy vehicle, I could see that someone was in the driver seat, their window was down. It had to be the Sheriff; I quickly ran over.

Alice Walton was sitting behind the wheel with her head thrown back, her neck sliced open. The Sheriff was made into a human Pez Dispenser. Dried crimson gore of flesh and viscera exposed. I was frozen in place at the sight of such violence, as the clouds gave way to the light of the moon the horror was even more gruesome. There was a gentle breeze that gave life to the dirty hands of the gnarled tree branches around me. A weird thought ran across my mind; Blood seems black in the moonlight.

Something rustled behind me, and before I could turn around something sharp and heavy came crashing at the back of my head. I buckled, bouncing off the Sheriff door, from the sheer force of the blow. There was a serrated, scorching pain emanating from the back of my skull. Before the shock could subside, there was a second hit just as strong as the initial whack. I collapsed further onto the car door with my forearm and hands absorbing most of the impact.

I shrunk to my knees into the cold, wet snow. Turning to see the cause of my pain; the moon, full and sleek, loomed high into the chilly night, a figure shrouded in a shadowy blur towered over me.

“Mister… Knox?” The final blow folded me into the black.

Rose Red Snow White Excerpt “Blood seems black in the moonlight” Part III

Part III

     Each step was felt mundane, the darkness was starting to become more disorienting. I no longer knew how far or how close I was to the road or even if I wanted to backtrack to the cabin, just how far had I marched? This was bad, really bad, shit! I’m in a fucking nightmare right now; a simple romantic trip has somehow turned into something out of a damn Stephen King novel.

There’s a reason why so many horror movies are set out in the woods after the protective warm rays of the light are gone. There’s a brooding dread of not knowing what can’t be seen in the cold dead of night and what you can’t see can see you. What the eyes can’t see can play terrible tricks with the imaginations of the mind pulling forth the darkest boogie men and things that goes bump in the night we’ve grown to rationalize from budding youth into adulthood. But my boogie man was real, Mr. Sullivan Gray; every twig snap, every slight breeze of the wind felt like it was being made by him somewhere out there; stalking me from the shadows eager to do to me what he had done to Roxane. Part IV

Rose Red Snow White Excerpt “Blood seems black in the moonlight” Part II

Part II

     When I heard the whicker of moving brush and the soft snap of a twig sound coming from the impenetrable unknown night of the woods, I panicked. A deranged killer was lurking in the shadows of the night, and with it being so dark in these woods, it felt like he was just a hand grab, no, more of breath away from me. My pulse was up, and every hair on my body was standing at attention, but it was just wind, and my imaginations piecing together what my eyes could not wholly see. The moon hid behind heavy clouds; a single beam of my flashlight served as my candle in the dark, but as thick as the night was that’s all it was, a flickering flame in the cavernous black. I tried to reason the noise as the nightly wildlife, but my mind could only think of the hideous snow thing that sat in the back of the cabin. I shone my light at where the sound seemed to have come from, my hand clenching the shield, index finger at the ready on the trigger. There was nothing but snow and woods,

“Get it together, Nero, don’t let your emotion obscure you.”

“Never discharge a weapon clouded with emotion.” I could hear Mr. William schooling me now; it was comforting in a way. Part III

Rose Red Snow White Excerpt “Blood seems black in the moonlight”

Part I

            Double-clicking the x2 icon on the key fob, I popped the truck to the Mustang. A sleek, edgeless tactical black box the size and thickness of a thesaurus was tucked in the right of the trunk. There was a dial pad like that of a telephone styled in the center of it, with two small oval-shaped glass on each side of the pad. There was a tiny red light just above the number two, indicating that it was locked. Less than a year old, at the time it was the latest in biometric security to deter unauthorized usage. I set both mines and Kassidy’s even though I knew she probably wouldn’t come near the weapon I still wanted her to be able to get to it if push comes to shove.

Kassidy felt it was unsafe to have it anywhere inside the car where the kids could become curious. Even with the black box being secure with our thumbprint, she didn’t want to have them asking questions or being curious as to why Daddy needed a gun. Of course, I could easily give the copy and paste kind of answer most parents would give their children. “To keep us safe.”  However, that answer isn’t as accurate as we want it to be. I knew that guns never really kelp anyone safe; they level the playing field. The very moment you draw a weapon, then you’ve accepted both the possibility and responsibility for someone dying. Though you don’t think about it, you ultimately have made the judgment that the person or persons at the end of your muzzle life are less important than that of your own and the person you are protecting.

Pulling the box from its corner, I rested my thumb onto the reader; within seconds, the light went from red to green. With the lock disengaged, the mini hydraulic arms pushed the cover open. The Smith & Wesson M&P shield 9-millimeter lay undisturbed between the thick gunmetal gray foam lining with three fully load clips nestled underneath it. Each clip held about seven to eight rounds giving me a total of twenty-four.

It was both light and heavy all at the same time as I lifted it from the foam bedding.

“Always remember to respect the weapon and in return, it will respect you.” Mr. Williams would always preach. The M&P fitted firmly into the creases of my hands, even while unloaded it still felt like pure power, I had my fingers wrapped around.

Taking one of the magazines from the safe, holding it with an index grip; I slid the magazine in a solitary smooth motion, then pulled the slide back racking the first round into the chamber. A small orangish like fin popped up signifying that weapon was armed with a bullet now resting at the ready in the barrel. Holding the now active weapon in my trembling hands, I was unsure if the shaking was from the cold getting to me or the fear, maybe it was a cocktail of both? A simple romantic trip has somehow turned into something out of a movie. Part II

Rose Red, Snow White “The Chess Match” Excerpt (Draft)

Those days felt so far away now as I studied the chess board keenly. Sullivan was a poised fellow with hard dark eyes that seemed to be disposed of any real emotion; they were like those of black carbonaceous rock. Eyes made of coal. Strong gusts of wind shook the house causing it to creak. Kassidy sat by the window lost in the deep worlds of whatever she was reading.
As we played for our second game, I took notice that Sullivan was patient, and methodical with each of his moves. He seemed to always open with the Grünfeld defense, nothing too adept but it was clear he knew what he was doing. I moved Pawn to D5, in which he countered by replacing my Pawn with one of his own. The gameplay was quick and precise with his Queen ultimately toppling my King followed up with that phrase of triumph,


“How?” I asked with a bit of frustration in my voice.
“If by “How” you mean, how did I come to beat you yet again then the answer is simple. You are the prey and I the predator.” Sullivan stated as he begun to reposition his pieces back into their rightful place on the board.
“I don’t follow,” I said placing my pieces into their squares.
“In the wild apex predators do not attack their victim, no that would leave too many mistakes, too many variables that could go wrong. The prey could outrun and elude the predator or can call for back up to assist. A seasoned predator knows better than to just chase after a kill. Instead, they stalk their prey, study their prey movement, lure them into a false sense of ease.” Once the game board was set Sullivan extended his in an inviting gesture. “Again?” I nodded a yes with Sullivan opening with Pawn to D4.

“I’m not sure I get how that collates to the game.” I was bewildered as I moved Knight to F6.
“The art of chess is no difference, there is a predator, and there is a victim.” Sullivan moved Pawn to C4 “The board is the wild in which the game of predator and prey is played.”
“And who gets to decide who gets to be what?” I asked moving Pawn to E6.
“We do of course.” Sullivan moved Knight to C3, and I in returned played Bishop to B4 knowing that he is going into his signature opening the Grünfeld Defense.
“Wouldn’t that mean we both become predators?” I smiled assured that this round would be mines. He had achieved two wins over me; I was determined to keep him from gaining a trifecta, Claire was the only one that would beat me thrice in one seating before calling it game. Sullivan moved his Bishop to G5, I moved my Bishop to take his knight from C3, but he swiftly thwarted with Pawn B2 to take my Bishop recapturing his area.

“Is that what you believe?” he asked. Damn, I wasn’t thinking, I was getting ahead of myself, but the game is still in its infancy. I’m still in control. Moving Pawn to H6, I baited him to either have his Bishop take the newly move Pawn or my knight knowing he would take the bigger fish if his was threaten to be taken. He, of course, took the knight, but I was able to capture his Bishop with my Pawn from G7 to reclaim my square. The game was now tied with both of us at a loss of a knight and a Bishop; again I was in control, I would be the predator this round. Sullivan placed Pawn from E2 to E4. The room got silent again as we stared into each other’s eyes, only the howl of the wind blowing about outside. I would think it was Alex with stuffy nose letting out those violent sneezes that ended two of the three little pigs, but he was here in my home playing a game of chess with not even a sniff.

“I’m not sure,” I answered as I moved my remaining knight from its original spot to A6.
Sullivan moved his last Bishop from F1 diagonally to where his knight once stood.

“By now I’m sure you are telling yourself that you are in control of this match.” My eyes widened at the accuracy of his assumption. Was he able to read minds? Had he been in my head this whole time knowing exactly the moves I would make. “From the slight gesture of your face I’m right in my statement,” Sullivan smirked. How did he know what I was thinking? Was he reading my mind, no, don’t be silly he’s just playing mind games, basic tactics, you are not a basic player. You are not the prey. I shift Pawn C7 to C6 to which he moved Pawn F2 to F4.

I change the position of my Rook vertically from H8 to G8 and Sullivan moved his Queen from next to her King out into the field of A4. Rook from G8 to G4 only to have his Pawn change from G2 to G3 blocking my Rooks advancement. If I take his blocking Pawn, then his corner Pawn in square H2 will take it, and if I moved either left or right, the blocking Pawn would take it either way. My Rook was trapped, with no visible way out but back or hold. He was in my head now, more then I thought he would be. I felt like I was back at that classroom during recess, Claire feeding me advice while kicking my ass all in one go.
With careful consideration I repositioned Pawn B7 to B6, Sullivan took his Knight from G1 to E2. This match had become a battle zone, each piece a soldier killed on the battlefield with their bodies hauled away. I had not felt the pressure like this since those chess competitions of my youth, back to when Claire was so full of life and vigor. Sullivan was better than good; he was a pro. Although it aggrieved me a tad to admit this, I knew it to be true. I placed my second Rook from A8 to B8, with Sullivan moving his from A1 to D1.
I gamble my next move knowing I could take advantage but had he already foreseen the move before I could make it? Was I playing prey to this apex predator? Don’t let him play head games with you, focus on the game. I settle down, looked into his eyes, those eyes made of coal, and played my move with certainty. This time I would trap him, make him move where I needed him to move. I took Pawn from B6 to B5 knowing he would capture it with his awaiting Pawn in C4. Once his Pawn from C4 caught my Pawn in B5 I then would have my Pawn in C6 ambush his in hopes that his Queen would take the bait to capture my Pawn so that my second Rook, who was patiently looming in its place, could strike killing his Queen and handing me the moral of the board.
“You understand why chess is so sophisticated Nero?” Sullivan placed his hand over his Queen. “Because it paints everyday life into sixty-four squares and sixteen individual pieces. With anyone with the right hand able to take the King.” His hand hovered over that Queen like a dark cloud; I could feel a minor quake of excitement in my hands as I held them together. “It is a war zone where anyone can be an enemy, even those of our own eyes.” I shifted my gaze from the board back into those cold unsettling eyes. He was staring at me, staring at me in the same manner you stare into a book that grabs hold of your attention.©Kwamè “Amir” H.

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