Excerpt from Palpitations: The Highway to Never After

The closed security door muffled most of the noise from within, but Charlotte could hear not one, but two screaming voices and she shook her head, astounded by the fact that her tiny little bridal party had managed to cause so much ruckus after the spa had been opened exclusively for them!
The hit of nicotine pleasantly asphyxiated her and Charlotte’s smile widened as she allowed her knees to give out a little, reaching for her phone while pressing her upper arms into her ribs in an attempt to ward off the chill as she checked her messages. There were two new ones from Ike asking if she was having a good time, and a third asking : ‘Are you OKAY?!’ which seemed a little overwrought, even for her over protective fiancé. Why wouldn’t she be okay? Her fiancé knew she was a lazy text-er at the best of times!
But before she could text back, the red ‘198’ on her Facebook application icon caught her eye. She tapped on it and raised an eyebrow when she saw that four of her ‘friends’ had shared the same press release.
‘Government confirms that the R-04 situation is not a hoax…’
Charlotte took another draw on her cigarette and rolled her thumb down the touch screen, shivering a bit, not only because of the implied seriousness of the threat, but because the gelatinous mask on her face was making the early-June chill even colder.
‘Radical group begins celebration…’
‘Medical community in uproar! Cautioning people to stay inside…’
‘Emergency centres are already being set up people urged to…’
Charlotte frowned at that, but before she could actually pull up the full article, she became aware of several things at once; the sound of at least twenty Harley Davidson’s growling metallically in the night, tearing a jagged gauge through the peaceful suburban air, the heavy thunk against the other side of the door she’d walked out through and then; the screaming.
Charlotte spun on the spot, feeling like she’d stuck her finger into an electric socket. The screaming was coming from the other side of the door, but not only from there, but the other end of the shopping complex and somewhere deeper into the shadowy neighbourhoods behind her.
What the fuck? What’s going on?
‘Hell! Is she dead?!’ that shrill cry was uttered in Sophia’s usually snotty tone.
‘She couldn’t be! She’s just fainted, right?!’
‘Well what’s that stuff around her mouth?!’
‘Abigail what are you- oh GROSS!’
And then there was more screaming. Charlotte’s eyebrows lifted, her panic making it too hard to cling to one particular element of the chaos she was both isolated from and in the thick of. She reached for the handle of the door, flinging her cigarette across the car park, but just as she managed to turn it, it slammed closed hard, almost catching the tip of her index finger. She reeled back in surprise.
‘NO! Stay out there!’ Cadence’s bellowed warning was devoid of his usual falsetto but pitching towards a baritone note of hysteria all the same. ‘Alexis back off- AHHH!’
‘What?!’ Charlotte yelped, banging on the door, almost choking on the lungful of smoke she’d swallowed instead of inhaled. If Abigail was sick or in trouble, she needed to help. ‘What’s going on?!’
‘RUN!’
The hollered command made Charlotte stagger back a few feet, faster and faster when she heard the scream of agony which followed it.

About S.K Munt

Samantha has been an avid reader since the age of six, and keeps herself busy with numerous activities that don’t always go hand in hand. You’re as likely to find her with a fishing rod as you will pom poms, out on the town dressed to the nines hosting karaoke, or building a fort under the dining table with her kids. She can’t stick to one genre within her life or reading selections and as a result she colours outside the lines in her writing as well. Expect books packed with action and drama, influenced as much as Buffy The Vampire Slayer as Gone With The Wind, and never think you know what’s coming next because if there’s anything she lives doing in life, it’s taking people by surprise.

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