Just for the fun of it, I thought I’d post a scene from my novel Combustion that was inevitably cut from the final draft. If you haven’t read the book and intend to, this is absolutely a huge spoiler. It is right after Zimmerman, the forensics expert, has had a visit from leading man Deck Waxer, the two of them trying to figure out together what could possibly be causing the cases of spontaneous combustion in Kremfort Cove. This is the scene in which Zimmerman, left alone in the morgue, finds out…
Zimmerman’s adrenaline was flowing while he worked his way through his sophisticated chemistry computer programs. As confident as he had been about discovering an epidemic of the controversial subject of spontaneous combustion in Kremfort Cove (he saw a book deal, television appearances, and lecture tour in his future), the possibility of the whole situation being the result of a drug epidemic instead was equally enthralling, especially if it meant stopping the plague that was attacking so many beautiful men in the city he called home.
There was no denying that a big shot of his happy juice was due to having been in the same room as Deck Waxer, not to mention that they’d flirted and that he might have a chance with Deck in The Caves. He just hoped he didn’t get overlooked once Deck saw everything else there was to go for down there. He planned to get Deck onto the boy’s bedroom stage in The Caves and be the naughty little son while dozens of men watched Daddy Deck give him a good hard barehanded spanking.
“Whoosh!” Zimmerman waved away the heat that had raced to his face (and down below) as a result of his racing mind. He sucked on the straw in his Dr. Pepper. He really needed to refocus on his work.
That became harder to do when he distinctly heard some sort of movement. Slight as it was, it sounded like a swishing of fabric. His eyes glanced over the still forms of several corpses underneath sheets. One thing he didn’t usually suffer from was paranoia about dead people. But all that talk with Deck about body snatchers and aliens had his skin crawling.
Everything was still.
Zimmerman looked back to his computer, but unconsciously spun his stool at an angle so he could have a better perspective on the entire room.
Now the sound of moving fabric was much louder. Zimmerman jumped up from the stool, nearly knocking over the bottle of Dr. Pepper.
“Hello?” he called toward the open door, thinking perhaps someone was out in the hall. “Deck?”
The sheet slipped off Quest’s body. Despite almost peeing in his pants, Zimmerman remained absolutely still…until the corpse’s head turned in his direction.
“What the—?” he began, when it suddenly hit him. The man was somehow still alive.
Zimmerman’s mind kicked into gear. Quest, staring blankly, must be in shock, unsure of where he was. How was Zimmerman going to ease his mind in this situation? For starters, he yanked the sheet over the remains of Quest’s partner Ezra as he ran past the examination table. Then he moved to Quest’s side.
“It’s all right,” Zimmerman said calmly. “You’re in the medical center. Don’t move. I’ll have the paramedics come get you immediately.”
Seeming to come back to life swiftly, Quest whipped his head in Zimmerman’s direction. “That won’t be necessary.”
As Quest smiled brightly, Zimmerman took in way too many disturbing visions that all made so much sense together. Quest’s incisors had doubled in length, now forming spear-like fangs. The harsh bruises around his neck were completely gone, leaving the skin white and pasty and revealing two holes in the jugular that had been camouflaged.
“It can’t be,” Zimmerman stammered.
Quest sat up, still smiling, his naked body looking taut and healthy. “My psychic impressions were close, but not accurate. Wasn’t aliens.”
Zimmerman’s mind whirled, locking onto the famous mythos of this assumedly fictional creature of the night. Just as quickly, he recalled the crucifix around the neck of a corpse on a table right behind him. He yanked the sheet off the corpse. Clawed at the necklace. Pulled the corpse with him slightly before the chain broke and the corpse clunked back on the metal table.
Zimmerman held the crucifix out in front of him. “Get the fuck away!”
Quest glided across the floor in his direction, grin broadening, the incisors gleaming in the gloomy florescent light. He easily pushed Zimmerman’s arm aside and grabbed him by the shoulders. “Now we both know you’d have more faith in a dreidel.”
Zimmerman screamed and dropped the powerless crucifix as the fangs sunk into his neck, bringing him to the crossroads of pleasure and pain within an instant.