I would dearly love some constructive criticism for the first book in my trilogy, Nine Lives.
So, if anyone has the time to read a chapter and let me know what you thought of it, I will be eternally grateful…
Hospitals are quite different places at night, Jack thought, as he searched through storerooms and cupboards for something to wear that would identify him as someone with a right to be there. Even though no one seemed to notice him, he didn’t want any awkward questions.
He found a crumpled white coat which almost fit him and started his systematic search for the woman that was brought here earlier. She was supposed to have died, and from the pace the ambulance staff displayed, it was obvious they were not going to let her go without a fight.
He knew all about fighting. He fought to keep her too, for all the good it did him. She was never happy with their relationship, always hoping it would turn out right, refusing to believe she had made yet another mistake.
Knowing she thought of him in that way made him more determined than ever to find better ways to hurt her.
He promised that life with him would be different, and never explained quite how different it would be. In the beginning, she hadn’t questioned the way he treated her, but she made tentative, careful remarks about him being a bully every time his rough games left bruises on her skin.
The child, David, was more of a problem. More of a problem than he realised at the time and he found himself trying hard not to hurt him too much as this tended to make Kate angry. Instead, he began to slip sedatives into the beaker of juice Kate insisted the child needed to have to hand at all times. Eventually, the child stopped whining; becoming quiet and withdrawn, even from his mother.
An orderly pushing a hospital trolley along the corridor in front of him interrupted his thoughts. Someone was lying on the trolley with a sheet draped over them, was this her? Had she died? Then he noticed the foot peeping out from under the sheet. It was old and gnarled, definitely not belonging to Kate.
Conveniently, it was the hospital’s policy to put patient’s names on the door of their respective rooms, so he managed to find Kate quite quickly. As he peered through the small window in the door, he was keenly aware of all the possibilities that presented themselves. It was the middle of the night in an almost deserted hospital and he couldn’t believe his luck.
The room was dark, barely illuminated by a small lamp shining dimly on the bed. His pulse increased and his breathing became rapid as his eyes became used to the gloom and he found what he was looking for.
There was no one else in the room, so he quietly opened the door and walked to the foot of the bed, his eyes devouring every detail. She was asleep and hopefully would not awake and see him there. The machine was bleeping gently, the display changing slightly as he watched.
He was mesmerised by the image in front of him. She looked the picture of health, and unexpectedly beautiful. Her wild, untameable hair framed her face with lazy curls; and of all the times he had looked at her, this image would stay with him forever. He expected to find her broken and beaten; looking every one of her forty-nine years and was gravely disappointed.
He couldn’t believe that just a few hours ago she was grey and deathly still, slowly dying, with people busily trying to save her life. Never the fittest person in the world, she smoked, was overweight and hardly ever exercised properly, how had she survived?
She was wearing a pastel coloured hospital gown, which seemed far too big. Thin plastic wires snaked from beneath the gown and made their way to the machine that was beside the bed, the display of shining numbers recording the state of her health.
He stared down at her face, peacefully unlined as sleep relaxed her muscles. The face he had once adored to the point of insanity and madness. They had been so good together, more than good, it had been amazing and he never understood how she came to walk away from him, leaving him inconsolable.
He could not stop staring at her face, the face he would once have willingly died for before his adoration turned him into a hateful monster that was capable of anything.
He wanted to touch her, needed to touch her and knew what would happen if she awoke and saw him.
The familiar heat started to rise in his chest, making its way slowly up his neck until his face glowed scarlet in the gloom. His fists clenched and he raised them, looking at his fingers turning white with the pressure.
‘Why did you have to leave me, Kate, hmm…?’ he said quietly, knowing as he said it that he had no idea what he wanted to do if he was honest. Most of the time he wanted her dead and constant scenarios played in his head of how and when it could happen. If the power of thought could do anything at all, she should be dead, not lying peacefully in a hospital bed looking more beautiful than he remembered.
His eyes were drawn to her arms lying on the sheet, tubes and wires attached at several points. A large clamp-like device on her right wrist appeared to be leaking, the red stain spreading out on the sheet, growing larger by the minute. That doesn’t look good, he thought. If it was trying to control an artery, it wasn’t working. He knew that a person could bleed to death in a matter of minutes from an arterial bleed and he studied the growth of the stain with interest. It was getting bigger, much bigger and he felt a weird kind of excitement beginning to build. He wanted to loosen it a bit more somehow and started to look for a way to make this happen. Just as he thought he discovered a way, he heard a noise in the corridor outside. Someone was coming.
Outside, in the cold air, he felt deflated. A few more minutes were all he needed. It was becoming more than annoying to be denied so many times. Was it time to stop playing around and do something about Kate once and for all?