Big Bad Karma

A Paranormal Romance Novel by Kimberly Tennyson
Fire at will :slight_smile: Constructive critisism is always welcome.
Please excuse my copy and pasting. The format looks a bit out of whack, but I’m too lazy to go put spaces between paragraphs right now.

Scene One

Kayla Morgan desperately needed to pee. That wouldn’t have been such a big issue if she’d been anywhere near civilization. Problem was, the only thing she’d seen in the past hour that remotely resembled civilization was a decrepit looking gas station with a hand written gone fishin’ sign hanging in the window.
Gone fishin’ my ass! I need to pee! Not to mention, her car was on the fritz. She scowled at the check engine light in irritation. The damn thing hadn’t stopped beeping at her since her last turn some thirty minutes ago, and it showed no signs of stopping any time soon. It was a constant reminder that all she needed to make her weekend from hell complete was to break down in the middle of nowhere. The fact that her ninety-day warranty ran out less than a week ago added insult to injury.
Pressing her thighs together – as if that would help the situation any – she glared at the directions she’d printed off of Google maps. She knew she’d followed every step to the letter, and yet, here she was, lost on some nameless rural road with nothing but barbed wire fences separating her from the forest beyond. Note to self: Invest in a GPS as soon as humanly possible. Annoyed, she crumpled up the useless scrap of paper and tossed it unceremoniously to the floorboard. It landed with a swish and rustle among three empty water bottles and a Starbuck’s venti mochachino cup that she was trying hard not to think about.
For what seemed like the hundredth time, she pulled out her cellphone and hit autodial only to get, “You are currently out of the service area. Please try your call again later.” Snapping it closed in frustration, she barely managed to refrain from banging her head on the steering wheel. Call anyone from anywhere, anytime? Yeah, right! Other note to self: Switch cellphone companies as soon as you have service.
Cursing, she flung the blasted thing to the passenger seat and tried to assess the situation from a logical perspective, which was becoming exceedingly more difficult considering that her bladder had somehow swapped places with her brain, and it was thinking rather loudly, “I need to pee!”
This was all Phillip’s stupid fault. She’d worked for the man going on three years now, and while he never acknowledged her in any way for the work she did, he somehow always managed to find more of it for her to do. This time, it was delivering paperwork out to one of their new clients who apparently couldn’t wait until Monday or be bothered to find a damn fax machine. Not that anyone could find a fax machine out here, she thought, gazing out at the dense wall of trees rising up on either side of the road. In fact, by the way things looked, the guy probably didn’t even know fax machines had been invented yet.
Ugh! Why in the hell had she agreed to do this on her day off? To think, she could have been home right now, the remote in her hand, a bowl of popcorn in her lap, and the fricking bathroom right down the hall. Instead, she was lost in the Gods-only-knew-where in a car she wasn’t entirely sure would make it another mile and had no way to call for help. And, her bladder/brain reminded her painfully, she really, really, really needed to pee. As far as she was concerned, it couldn’t get much worse than that.
She was just pulling off to the side of the road when her engine choked, then sputtered, and then finally gave out altogether. Her first response was to scream, “Damn it all to hell! What else can go wrong?!” Her second response was to bite her tongue and wish she hadn’t just said that. Crossing her fingers, she hoped beyond all hope that she hadn’t just invoked Murphy’s law. What can go wrong, will was a phrase she was quickly coming to despise, and one that was sadly becoming her personal motto. She planned to put it on her business card just as soon as she made it home.
Taking a deep, cleansing breath that did absolutely nothing to soothe her, she added her broke down Taurus to her ever-growing list of problems. Right now, though, she had a bigger problem to worry about, and if she didn’t do something about it soon, it would be all over her newly detailed interior.
At this point, she figured she had three options. Option One: She could wet herself, which might very well happen if she didn’t come up with another solution soon. Option Two: She could squat behind the car and pray there weren’t any other idiots lost on this road who might happen to drive by and see her. Or, Option Three: She could venture into the relative privacy of the woods.
On that last thought, she glanced towards the forest. Aside from the barbed wire fence with the giant black and neon orange ‘KEEP OUT’ sign affixed to it, it really didn’t look all that imposing.
Alrighty then. Option Three it was.
She paused just long enough to grab a flashlight from the glove compartment before hopping out of the car and closing the door. Switching it on, she headed towards the woods. She was pretty sure she’d seen this scene in a horror movie last week. Young, unsuspecting, beautiful – yes, beautiful, damn it! – woman breaks down in the middle of nowhere and goes into the forest only to get hacked to death by a psycho chainsaw serial murderer.
That wouldn’t happen to her though, or at least, that’s what she told herself to make herself feel better. First of all, she wasn’t a ditzy, blonde college coed on her way to Daytona Beach for spring break. Secondly, she wasn’t a screamer, and as anyone who had ever watched a horror movie knew, the bad guys always went for the screamers.
She shimmied through a narrow gap in the fence, her eyes still glued to the car. Even if she wasn’t a screaming, blonde college coed, it was better to be safe than sorry, right? As long as she kept the car in sight, then the worst thing that could happen to her was poison ivy on her posterior, and while that wouldn’t exactly be a day in the park, it was certainly better than getting hacked to death by a psycho chainsaw serial murderer.
Stop it, Kayla! You’re giving yourself the heebie jeebies! Try as she might, she just couldn’t shake the chilly feeling she got as she stepped through the first strand of trees. Seriously, what was she thinking going into the deep, dark woods all alone at night with nothing but a flashlight for protection?
Her bladder did a painful sort of flop in her abdomen. Oh yeah. That was why.
The terrain was rough – her stupid heels didn’t help matters much one bit, either – but she managed to quickly pick her way through it until she came across a suitable tree to pee on. Huh. A suitable tree to pee on… That was certainly the last thing she ever thought she’d have to think about. It gave her a whole new appreciation for the wonders of modern plumbing.
By the time she ducked behind it and yanked her slacks down, she was practically doing the potty dance. Thank Gods! She couldn’t help letting out a long sigh of relief. In fact, she was pretty sure her bladder was letting out a sigh of relief, too. Another few seconds and her pants would have been declared a national park. Old Faithful beware!
Stupid Phillip. She was never going to do something like this for him again. Never, never, never! Well, maybe not never, considering she wanted to keep her job and all, but this was ridiculous, and on her day off to boot! No one – and by no one, she meant especially not her – should have to pee in the woods on their day off. Ever.
Grumbling her annoyance, she jerked her pants back up and started towards the car. The creepy forest was really starting to get to her now that she didn’t have an urgent matter demanding her full attention. It was her own damn fault, though, thinking about scary movies at a time like this. It was beginning to make the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. No worries. In just a few minutes she’d be out of the forest and into the relative safety of her broke down car.
Crap… She’d nearly forgotten about that small detail in her haste to use the bathroom. There was no telling how long she’d be stranded out here in Nowheresville. It wasn’t like anyone was going to come looking for her. She didn’t have any family, and the closest thing she had to friends were people she played video games with on the Internet. Phillip might get worried when she didn’t show up to work on Monday, but that was only because she was his most competent worker. He’d probably just think she’d quit – which she was seriously considering doing after this fiasco – and call the temp agency for a replacement.
Her stomach suddenly growled, drawing her abruptly out of her train of thought. She was really wishing now that she hadn’t skipped dinner. Phillip had called right as she was pulling out last night’s leftovers, and she had shoved them back in the fridge like a good little peon, ready to do his stupid bidding. Now that she thought about it, she really hated being a peon.
She paused when she heard it again, and this time came to the conclusion that it wasn’t her stomach after all. A twig snapped from somewhere behind her, and she whirled around fast enough to make her head spin. A bush rustled ominously, just like in that stupid, freaky, scary movie. Thinking the worst, she prepared to run for her life.
Two seconds later, a rabbit burst through the underbrush, startling an ear-piercing shriek from her throat. Yeah, she’d definitely lied to herself about not being a screamer.
It took her a moment or two to process what had just happened, and when she finally did, a laugh burbled up from somewhere between her straining lungs and pounding heart. Dear Gods, she’d been scared of a fluffy, little bunny! Well, at least it wasn’t a Monty Python bunny of doom. Where was a holy hand grenade when she needed one?
Shaking her head at herself, she started back towards the car. The creepy woods didn’t seem quite so creepy anymore. It wasn’t like the bunny was going to come back and attack her. In fact, she was pretty sure it was more scared of her than she was of it. Besides, after the scare she just had, she seriously doubted anything else could go wrong.
Famous last words. She stopped dead in her tracks when she caught a movement out of the corner of her eye and swung around to shine her flashlight on it. A bush rustled ominously, again, which meant that it had to be another bunny, right?
Wrong. All she could make out through the dense brush was a pair of glowing amber eyes that rapidly materialized into the shadowy form of a wolf.
Being a nature channel junkie, Kayla knew she wasn’t supposed to run, but back slowly away, from wild animals. Unfortunately, her brain wasn’t functioning at the moment because her fight-or-flight response had kicked into overdrive, and she was definitely flying.
She’d taken track in school, but a fat lot of good it did her now. It wasn’t so much that she was out of shape, but that the terrain was so terribly rough and uneven, and that her flashlight did absolutely nothing to light her way when it was swinging back and forth with her flailing arms. Every step she took felt like a mile – Gods, why hadn’t she worn more sensible shoes?! – and the muscles in her legs were already cramping from exertion. Her heart pounded hard in her chest, her lungs burned for air, but the adrenaline in her blood and fear for her life made her run all that much faster.
Where the hell was her car? On that note, where the hell was the road?! Crap! In her terror, she’d run in the wrong direction, and now she was completely turned around. If she ever got out of this alive, she swore to all the Powers-That-Be that she’d never go into a dark forest alone at night again.
She leapt over a rock the size of a pumpkin that suddenly appeared in her path and was counting it as a small victory until her heel snapped a second later. She went hurtling to the ground, her flashlight went soaring through the air, and as if her day couldn’t possibly get any worse, she smacked her head on the trunk of a tree on her way down. Feels like oak, she mused dazedly as stars danced on the fringes of her vision, but she didn’t really have time to contemplate what type of tree she’d just bludgeoned herself on.
She scrambled to her feet only to stumble and fall when a wave of dizziness assailed her. Signs of a concussion 101, she vaguely remembered from her high school first aide training. She’d be damned if she’d be completely helpless, though, and quickly grabbed the biggest stick she could find. Sadly, it wasn’t that big, but maybe the big, bad wolf would want to play fetch?
Rolling over, she tried to sit up, but only made it to her elbows. It was time to face facts. She was going to be killed and eaten by a wolf in a creepy forest in the middle of bum-screwed nowhere. It wasn’t exactly how she’d pictured dying, but hey, at least it would make for an interesting obituary.
She heard something approaching. Something big and scary, with gigantic claws, fangs dripping with drool, and a taste for human flesh. It was at times like these that she really wished she didn’t have such an overactive imagination. Gulping, she braced herself for the worst.
The worst didn’t come. Instead, something akin to perfection stepped out of the woods and came towards her. Dear Gods, I’ve died and gone to the Summerlands. Either that, or she was hallucinating. At this point, she couldn’t be sure which. The God – because that was the only thing she could bring herself to describe him as – was Adonis personified. Rich chestnut-brown hair curled around an angular face and dusted broad shoulders. His tanned chest was chiseled like marble with all sorts of interesting dips and curves and a sprinkling of fine, dark hair that her fingers were just itching to touch. By the time her eyes landed on his eight-pack – an actual, honest to Gods eight-pack! – her mouth was watering, and it continued to water as she followed a curly treasure trail to…
Her eyes nearly popped out of her head. Dear Gods, he wasn’t wearing any pants! Yup, she had definitely died and gone to the Summerlands. Not that she had any personal experience with the male anatomy, but she’d seen pictures, and that wasn’t like anything she remembered from her textbooks. And he wasn’t even aroused!
That thought came to her a bit late, and not with a small amount of disappointment. If she were a guy, she probably wouldn’t be aroused by her either. Especially considering the state she was in. Sweaty, injured, and wearing half the forest floor on her hair and clothes to be precise. Yeah, real attractive, Kayla. Hopefully, you won’t have to look like this the whole time you’re in heaven.
Suddenly self–conscious, her face heated up, which only served to add to her dizziness and confusion. Was she spinning? Or was it the forest? Somehow, it didn’t seem to matter much right now. The earth beneath her felt like a magnet, dragging her down, and she was too damn tired to resist anymore. The man of her dreams was standing there butt naked, and she couldn’t even muster enough strength to jump his sexy bones. Wow. Heaven was really starting to disappoint her.
Oh well, she sighed inwardly, maybe tomorrow, and that was the last thought her muddled mind managed to process before unconsciousness towed her under.

Hi Kimberley - An enjoyable read. I particularly liked the easy casual voice which gave it the feel of a story being told to a close friend and brought empahy to the lead in really quickly.

One thing I’ll draw out, though, is the switching perspectives. The darting from third person to first person in the same paragraphs can be a bit jarring. This will be exagerated in the above example because of the lack of formatting, but certainly something to consider.

Thanks for the compliments :slight_smile:.

As for the first/third person thing, in Scrivener, all first person comments are italisized for emphasis. Hmm, maybe I should just post my scrivenings on writer’s cafe and then post the link here. It would probably be a little easier to read.

Kayla sounds like she’s in a lot pain and she’s complaining to herself a bit too much. So she’s in the middle of nowhere, no one is about. Is there a reason she just doesn’t stop the car and get out to do the deed quickly? Sorry, if I’m coming across impolite, but that’s what I would do. As I read this, I struggled with her peeing issues…

I like the style you have chosen to write this in, but I have to be honest. I read the first sentence. And then the second. And then I couldn’t stop wondering why she didn’t just pull over and pee. She’s in the middle of nowhere. There’s no logic to her going through that much effort to pee. When she’s all alone. There’s nobody around. No house. No nothing.

Maybe you could find another, more reasonable, reason for her to go into the forrest?

But as I said, I like the style.

I think everyone has a common theme here, why can’t she just pull over and pee.

Have you ever seen a “scowl” that didn’t come with irritation?

If ain’t nuthin’ 'round… who put up that barbed wire fence, and that KEEP OUT sign, and what is it protecting, and it is separating whose land from those rowdy young Duke boys…

I want to expand that comment about the fence: A barbed wire fence ain’t easy to put up. Someone took the time and effort. That is A LOT of posts to keep up the fence, and someone has to come around and check it regularly or else it starts to fall apart. It is separating SOMETHING from the road, it is to keep people away from SOMETHING.