30 Days of Books – Day 18 and 19

30 Days of Books

Day 18

Favorite beginning scene of a book.

 This book was really great and the beginning scene really sets a great pace and really hooks you in.  There is no way you can’t continue reading after the first chapter!  I am posting the 2nd half of the beginning scene 🙂

There’s also the thought that I’m doing this to this poor bastard all over again. But that thought is fleeting. He’s already dead.

I try to keep the speedometer over fifty—too fast for him to really consider jumping out, but with ghosts you can never be sure. I’ll have to work fast.

It’s when I reach down to take my blade out from under my leg that I see the silhouette of the bridge in the moonlight. Right on cue, the hitchhiker grabs the wheel and yanks it to the left. I try to jerk it back right and slam my foot on the brake. I hear the sound of angry rubber on asphalt and out of the corner of my eye I can see that the hitchhiker’s face is gone. No more easy Joe, no slicked hair and eager smile. He’s just a mask of rotten skin and bare, black holes, with teeth like dull stones. It looks like he’s grinning, but it might just be the effect of his lips peeling off.

Even as the car is fishtailing and trying to stop, I don’t have any flashes of my life before my eyes. What would that even be like? A highlight reel of murdered ghosts. Instead I see a series of quick, ordered images of my dead body: one with the steering wheel through my chest, another with my head gone as the rest of me hangs out the missing window.

A tree comes up out of nowhere, aimed right for my driver’s side door. I don’t have time to swear, just to jerk the wheel and hit the gas, and the tree is behind me. What I don’t want to do is make it to the bridge. The car is all over the shoulder and the bridge doesn’t have one. It’s narrow, and wooden, and outdated.

“It’s not so bad, being dead,” the hitchhiker says to me, clawing at my arm, trying to get me off the wheel.

“What about the smell?” I hiss. Through all of this I haven’t lost my grip on my knife handle. Don’t ask me how; my wrist feels like the bones are going to separate in about ten seconds, and I’ve been pulled off of my seat so that I’m hovering over the stick shift. I throw the car into neutral with my hip (should have done that earlier) and pull my blade out fast.

What happens next is kind of a surprise: the skin comes back onto the hitchhiker’s face, and the green comes back into his eyes. He’s just a kid, staring at my knife. I get the car back under control and hit the brakes.

The jolt from the stop makes him blink. He looks at me.

“I worked all summer for this money,” he says softly. “My girl will kill me if I lose it.”

My heart is pounding from the effort of controlling the lurching car. I don’t want to say anything. I just want to get it over with. But instead I hear my voice.

“Your girl will forgive you. I promise.” The knife, my father’s athame, is light in my hand.

“I don’t want to do this again,” the hitchhiker whispers.

“This is the last time,” I say, and then I strike, drawing the blade across his throat, opening a yawning black line. The hitchhiker’s fingers come up to his neck. They try to press the skin back together, but something as dark and thick as oil floods out of the wound and covers him, bleeding not only down over his vintage-era jacket but also up over his face and eyes, into his hair. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t seem to be touching the car’s upholstery. The hitchhiker doesn’t scream as he shrivels, but maybe he can’t: his throat was cut and the black fluid has worked its way into his mouth. In less than a minute he’s gone, leaving not a trace behind.

I pass my hand over the seat. It’s dry. Then I get out of the car and do a walk-around as best I can in the dark, looking for scratches. The tire tread is still smoking and melted. I can hear Mr. Dean’s teeth grinding. I’m leaving town in three days, and now I’ll be spending at least one of them putting on a new set of Goodyears. Come to think of it, maybe I shouldn’t take the car back until the new tires are on.

Day 19

Favorite book cover.

How could I not love this cover?  My favorite color is blue and my absolute favorite animal is the white tiger, so this one was very simple.  I love the swirls and the corner designs as well, and though you can’t tell from the image, the cover is also shiny.  Love!

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