In a city where you're hunted if you're off schedule by more than a second, John Spencer discovers a secret society that exists on the fringes, uncovering secrets of the corporation that founded the city.
Between the Shadows takes place in Convert35, a city so rigorously scheduled that if you're off for more than a second, you are hunted and killed. At least, that's what most of the inhabitants believe. While others have sacrificed their time for transitory comforts, John Spencer has made his schedule flawless. He has no time for distractions, for a better residence, anything. It all seems perfect, until he sees Sara, a woman from his past before he'd become so . . . rigid.
On the run for his life, John crossed paths with a society that uses the rooftops to skirt the watchful eye of the city. They spend their lives following people, taking notes, living in the slums of the original city that built Convert35, only to have it snatched from them at the penultimate moment.
Now John must make a decision: continue living on the run from a city that only wants to kill him, or go back for Sara, revealing the hidden organization and bringing the entire structure down in the process.
The First Draft of Between the Shadows was completed after three months of intensive work. After taking several weeks away from it, I came back and worked diligently to carve out several more drafts that just kept expanding the story, no matter how much I cut. It was sent out to several agents and rejected.
Between the Shadows is sitting in the proverbial "bottom of the sock drawer" on my hard drive. There are no plans to send out this version of the story again. After intensive edits from other members of my writers group, I realized that it would take a severe deconstruction of the story to make it sell-able and I didn't have the ability to do that.
Between the Shadows future lies in being rewritten with a new setting to help fix several of the problems with the original structure of the novel. As it stands, the general idea will be the basis for the rewrite, but the majority of the content will not be referred to when writing the actual story. You can see this in my Upcoming Projects section as Convert35.
Two trains and fifteen minutes ago, Daniel Evans’ life was perfect.
He slid open the door to the final compartment. Greeted with scattered faces – uncaring and bland, he sighed. Nothing new. A light at the back of the car flickered slightly. Shadows played on each person’s face, obscuring their features and transforming them into something else.
Something less than human.
He pushed past several men dressed in identical black suits – dirty carbon copies of himself. The suits were a staple of their position as Prefects. At least that’s what he used to be. The Wretched were after him now.
Seventeen minutes ago, Daniel had been a functioning member of society. This latest train – the third and last in his short train-jumping career – careened toward its next stop. He suspected he had passed the thin line of safety, impossible to detect but all too noticeable in hindsight.
There was little time to escape from their grasp. Running was the only option. Running, coupled with a blind hope of finding somewhere safe to hide, didn’t give him much to go on. Exaggerated stories and water cooler discussion guided him through the underworld of the city.
The intercom above crackled to life. “Next stop . . .” Silence.
On any other day, the slight pause would have gone unnoticed. However, to a man on the run, that pause spelled out his ultimate capture. Daniel scanned the train for any quick exits.
“Central Square,” the announcer stated, in a calm and soothing voice. A click signaled the end of the announcement. Daniel breathed a sigh of relief.
As the train ground to a halt and the doors started to open, his breath caught in his chest. Time came to a standstill. In those fleeting moments, the doors seemed unwilling to budge for any man. Finally, they broke free of what had held them.
Before they opened completely, Daniel squeezed through the narrow gap and fought against the river of pale businessmen. An area opened up in the middle of the station as the commuters flooded into the train.
Daniel wrestled himself free from the Prefects. The doors slid shut behind him. Something was wrong. The station was too clear. Daniel turned back to the train and watched as it disappeared into the darkness.
The lights above the platform shut off.
In an instant, the knot in his stomach tightened into an unbearable grip, making him want to throw up. His joints seized and a cry escaped his lips. The pain was gone as quickly as it had come, but a dull ache replaced it moments later.
Daniel sprinted toward a single open door.
The Wretched crept onto the platform. Their breaths heaved as they waited for the other lights to shut off. The clicking of their claws echoed off the stone walls, mixing with their wet breaths, twisting into an eerie harmony. They anticipated the brief chase . . . anticipated the takedown. The exhalations came out in gurgles, as if they were drowning in their own fluids. Yet they thrived.
Another light went off.
Darkness nipped at his heels, toying with him, as it brought the Wretched that much closer.
Thrown forward, Daniel slammed into the pavement as a thud filled the humid air. The claws of an overzealous Wretch tore into his skin. The breathing of the approaching Wretched had intensified to the point of near hyperventilation.
Pain shot through Daniel’s chest as the air ejected from his lungs. His face ached, blood flowed into his mouth. He spat without much force, the mixture of blood and saliva landing right in front of him. Then regretted it a moment later. Without hesitation, his face slammed into the ground once more.
“Oh god . . .” Daniel managed to moan as the Wretched swarmed around him. Looking toward the last source of light, Daniel saw the single beam falter as the door slid shut.
They’re always watching, Daniel thought as the hunters smothered him with their hot and sinewy bodies.
Screams filled the air in the next moment.
“Twenty-three minutes,” a man noted, his voice lost amongst the screams. A metallic snap followed right after. “Impressive run, Evans. Too bad it ended a bit quickly. I was starting to have fun.”