Book Review: Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
Game Review: Tom Clany's Ghost Recon Wildlands - Closed Beta
A Spoiler-esque review and Synopsis of "The Girl with All the Gifts" by M.R. Carey
When I come to I’m in a room that is dark and dank. The smell of mold fills the air and I have a hard time catching my breath. I sit up, which causes a spot on my head to pound.
‘What happened to me?’ I wonder. I look around. I feel a little dizzy, but I figure that’s the effects of my drinks. Other than that I seem to be pretty sober.
There is one window in the room, but it’s covered by a dirty, half ripped curtain. There’s an old bed frame with a mattress on it and a brown spot. I scoot closer to get a better look and feel my stomach heave. It’s dried blood. I look around some more to try and get my bearings back. The room is square, and the bed is up against the wall and in one corner. Across from it is a brown wood door with an old round door handle. The floor is wood flooring, however you almost can’t tell because the amount of dirt in here. Other than the bed the room is empty.
I try to think back to what happened. I was walking home from the bar… I’d been there with Elise. She left me alone and I didn’t want to drive, so I walked home. I figured it wouldn’t be too bad because I’d only had 4 drinks and home was only about a mile away. I was walking in front of the old distribution center, when a man stepped out of it… and then everything is black. I pull myself into a crouch, and trek over to the window. I pull the curtain open. It’s dark outside and there is what looks to be a forest. ‘Where the hell am I?’ I wonder. I realize that I’m in the back of the warehouse… but a couple of floors up.
Suddenly, I hear a door creak open in another room. I gasp and let go of the curtain, and crawl over to the bed. I get against the wall at the foot of the bed and try to make myself as small as possible. I look around – there is nothing to defend myself with. I strain to hear and hear a slight whisper. Heart pounding I tell myself it was my imagination. But it wasn’t, because I hear a bang a little ways away from the room I am in. Panicking I pull my jacket off and twist it as small as I can. I quietly crawl to the area behind the door, and stand with my feet apart and the jacket in my hands. Whoever is coming is going to get blinded. From there I have no plan but to kick and run.
The floor creaks outside of the door, and the handle starts to turn. My adrenaline is pumping, and I can hear my heart pounding in my ears. I know the blood has drained from my face. Suddenly, the door gets slammed open…
I’m standing at the bar when the blonde I chatted with stumbles out the door with her friend. I can hear her from in here saying she’ll walk home and be fine. I sigh and rub my temples. Why do people have to announce to the world that they are intoxicated and vulnerable?
I’ve seen her in here before, even talked to her a bit, and usually she calls a cab. Instead, she takes off across the street and starts down an alley. On a whim, I decide to follow her. I don’t want her to freak out and think I’m some type of murderer though. So I’ll just stay behind… make sure she gets home okay. I realize to myself that I sound a little like a creep, but I don’t care. I would like to see her here again, and making sure she gets home safe is the best way for me to take control of that situation.
I cross down the street and get to the start of the alley just as she’s rounding the corner. ‘You can do this’, I think to myself. I get down to the end of the alley and see that there are really no buildings here. There is one empty warehouse about 100 yards ahead of me that the blonde is now almost to. I duck behind a wood fence so she doesn’t see me, and wait a minute.
Suddenly, the front door of the warehouse slams open and a big man with a shotgun steps out. The blonde goes to scream and he hits her in the head with the butt end of the gun. I jump up and start to run towards the building. I’m almost there, and I can see him pull her into the front door. When I reach the door I stop… I have no plan in mind but to save the drunken girl… I’m just going into this with no other thought, and no way to defend myself. I don’t have time to run back to my car, so I just go in.
The warehouse is dark and silent. I stop for a minute and let my eyes adjust to the darkness. I can see small drops of blood leading to the back of the warehouse, so I follow them. Along the way I pick up a metal pole. When I reach the back there is a metal staircase leading to a second floor. I look around before I decide to follow it up.
When I get to the top I see that it’s just a hallway with two doors about 10 feet away from each other on the right hand side and then it turns left at the end. I walk to the first door, hesitate, and then open it. All I can see is a bed, and there is a figure on it. I whisper, “Hey”…. To which there is no reply. If she got knocked out, she should have woken up by now. I get my pole at the ready and walk up to the figure, only to realize that it’s the body of a dead girl, half decayed with the clothes ripped up and a knife in her throat. My stomach lurches and I step back. I turn on my heel and leap into the hallway, pulling the old door shut, which results in a loud bang. I crouch down and look around, making sure that no one heard me… after I think I’m safe I walk a little ways to the second door. As I’m getting ready to open it I hear trumping up the stairs behind me. I panic and push the door open…
As soon as I enter the room something flies into me and knocks me down.
“Hey what the hell?!”
The blonde girl is on top of me, wailing on me with her fists. Unable to grab her wrists I struggle under her and whisper, “Hey I’m not the dude! I’m not him! Come on! Get off… I’m here to help.”
She stops hitting me long enough to notice who I am.
“Wait… you brought me here?” She asks. Her blue eyes are looking at me quizzically and her dirty hair falls into my face.
I sigh.. How in the hell do I explain myself?
“I know this is probably pretty confusing…” I begin.
She scoffs. “Well, yeah. I saw you at the bar and you were so nice.. different from all the other guys there. I didn’t take you for the kidnapper type.”
“It wasn’t me who kidnapped you!” I exclaim. “I was.. well I was following you home from the bar…” Her eyes widen and she gets up off of me.
“No, it’s not like creepy or anything,” I say, “I just wanted to make sure you got home safe.”
She scoots a little bit away and goes to say something when we hear footsteps down the hall. She looks at me and I motion for her to get in the bed. When she does I crawl under it and push myself as far against the wall as I can. I’m just small enough that no one could find me underneath unless they bent down to look.
It’s then I realize that the bar I picked up is still in the middle of the floor. I suck my breath in as the door slowly opens.
The big man steps in, and I feel the blonde on the bed above me go completely still, most likely pretending to be asleep.
The man steps right over the bar and walks to the bed. He reaches his hand out and I can hear him mumbling under his breath.
He pushes his other hand in his pocket and pulls out a dirty, lethal looking knife. He raises his knife arm up and takes a step back, only to step on the pole. ‘shit‘ I think.
He stops for a minute before bending down to pick up the pole, and that’s when I act. I swing my leg out and connect with his face. He makes a growl noise, stumbles back and grabs his face. Quick as a whip the blond grabs the metal pole and swings it down on his head. He drops to his knees and she hits him again. I then shove him out of the way of the door and jump into the hallway.
“Let’s go!” I yell. She hits him one more time and follows me out the door. We don’t have much time though, because I can here him starting to get up behind me.
I let her go first and make the mistake of looking behind me.
He’s right there and grabs my hair and tugs me to the ground. Suddenly, everything goes black.
I’m running as fast as I can when I realize that there aren’t footsteps right behind me. I turn around and see Mr Creepy pulling the dude from the bar by the hair back into the room.
Do I run? Do I go get him? I wonder. Well.. he came and saved me I guess – even if he was following me.
Before I go I realize I need to have a weapon. There’s a door on next to me and I open it. On the bed is a girl who looks to have been dead. I repress a gag, but grab the knife that was lodged into her. Poor thing. I will have to come back and see if I can find any ID later. I sneak back out into the hall and hear scuffling in the room.
Quickly and quietly I make my way up. I peek around the doorway. Mr Creepy has bar dude on the bed and is holding a knife over him, but he is knocked out.
I take a breath and leap over to him, knife in hand. As quick as I can I plunge it into his back. He groans and turns around and back hands me.
Reeling, I take a step back.
I gather my balance and run at him again, this time fists out. I start punching him where-ever I can manage. He swings and misses continually, and I realize that he’s big and slow. Perfect.
I kick him hard in the back of the knee, and he drops. I take this moment to start punching his head. After a couple of blows he falls down.
‘Holy crap‘, I think. ‘I knocked him out.’ I take enough time to pull the knife out of his back, and then rush over to bar guy on the bed.
“Hey, wake up!” I say. No response.
So I slap him.
He jerks and then his eyes open.
“You didn’t have to hit me” he says.
“Yeah well while we’ve got a minute, lets get out of here!”
He gets up and looks at the creepy dude.
“Wow, good job. How’d you do that?” he wonders.
“Punched him a lot.”
We start to exit the room before he stops. He grabs the bar that is still on the floor and when we walk out of the room he bars the door.
He then manages to pull out a cellphone and dials 911.
As he is answering questions, I wander down the hall and open the door to the first room.
I know the girl is dead, but I whisper “Don’t worry. We will get you found.” I hear bar dude come up behind me and say, “We are supposed to wait here. They’ll be here in 5 minutes.”
The cops show up and arrest the asshole who kidnapped the blonde. After asking me what happened, they tell me that he is a wanted serial killer.
‘Great’. I think. ‘Just how I wanted my Friday night to go.’
Blonde girl is taking things extremely well as far as I can see. She is in the back of an ambulance answering questions and being examined.
They offered me a chance to get looked over, but I figured that aside from the headache I’d be fine.
They found the body of the girl, and it turns out she had been missing. It’s sad to see that she didn’t survive this, but at least she has some sort of justice.
It’s about 4 hours later when they tell blonde girl and I to go home. As we are walking back towards the bar, I look over at her.
“Do you need a ride home?” I ask
She looks over at me and nods.
“That would be nice. Thank you.”
We walk to my car, and she tells me where to go.
As we pull up in front of her house and she thanks me, I look over.
“Hey do you… do you wanna maybe get a drink sometime?”
She smiles at me and says,
“So long as it’s any other bar in town, I’m in.”
The Top 5 Video Games I played last year
This book does creepy, and it does it well. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it.
I’ve been having a bit of writer’s block lately… because there’s a story I want to write down and it’s all I can think about when I go to write something… however I know I’m not ready to write it yet.
So instead, I’m found a writing prompt and am going to use that to write. Without much ado, here are my 10 favorite books of all time – in no particular order.
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Marley and Me by John Grogan
Egghead by Bo Burnham
The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
The Divergent Series By Veronica Roth
Serena by Ron Rash
Bunnicula by James Howe (Listen, it was my first and favorite chapter book as a kid)
Firebringer by David Clement-Davies
I have a lot more books that I absolutely adore, but these are the ones I could think of off the top of my head. And of course if you would like a book recommendation let me know! I’m good at those!