The Real Hollywood’s Book Chat presents Chapter 1 of Kill 4 Me by horror author Joel M. Andre. Kill 4 Me, a technological thriller set in rural America. The story follows Casey Dwyer, a small town girl who becomes caught in a spirit’s unrelenting quest for vengeance after she receives a cryptic and seemingly harmless text message. Kill 4 Me is a supernatural thriller that explores how technology can be used to torture others through the lens of a horror novel.
When The Real Hollywood’s Book Chat caught up with Joel M. Andre on his virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion and asked Joel how he came up with the idea for his novel, he had this to say, “I was working the graveyard shift at a former company when I received a text message. At that time I began to think how interesting it might be to be haunted through a cell phone. Anyone can grab a phone and text at random. It was an interesting form to explore if someone could be driven mad through it.
Casey Dwyer wiped the steam away from the chilled windshield of her old beat up ‘85 car. White paint was starting to peel and the tires were worn dangerously thin. The cold autumn night was thick with fog, and with the moon hidden behind clouds allowed no light to beam down on the road before her. The only light to save her were two unreliable headlight beams, which flickered on occasion, and really needed to be changed. By the sound the brakes were making, they probably needed to be changed as well. Her pale blue eyes remained intent on the road before her; she had quickly thrown on a pair of dirty blue jeans, a white sweat top, and threw her shoulder length red hair under a tattered ball cap that had lost its logo over the years. Tonight’s trip was unplanned and more of an annoyance than anything else. Her sister Carol had been out with some guy that she had just met, and he took her for a ride into the woods for a little action. That however, was not on Carol’s mind. So she had called Casey and begged her sister to come get her after being left alone on a hilltop.
Of all the nights she had to be in the woods. Casey shook her head slightly. It was all a setting from some bad horror film, and she waited for some maniac to jump in front of her with a chainsaw, and her sisters severed head dripping blood dangling in his hand.
However, as she approached the end of the road and the trail, the moon snuck out from behind the clouds to give her a little break, and the vaporous fog appeared to be a little less thick. Slowly she heard twigs and leaves crunch beneath the tires of the car. She hopped that she didn’t end up stuck out here. While she loved camping, she also appreciated that warm down comforter on her bed.
Finally reaching the top of that trail, she turned slightly and saw her sister, standing there shivering in the cold autumn air. Her hair a mess from the moist air, her lace top appeared to be torn around the shoulder. The cream pants she wore having met their match with the dirt and brush of the area.
Casey could see the sense of relief in her sister’s face as she approached the car. It appeared her sister was limping slightly. She watched carefully as her sister entered her car, and sat down hard. Her sister turned to her, blew some hair from her own face, and whimpered a meek thank you of some sort.
“You can’t keep doing this,” Casey started. “A different man all the time is giving you a bad image. I knew something like this was going to happen. Thank God nothing more happened to you.”
“Thanks Mom,” her sister replied rolling her eyes. “It doesn’t matter what others think of me, it’s about what I think Casey.”
“Really?” Her sister snapped. “Is it okay that your escapades are driving mom through hell? I guess it doesn’t matter, as long as Carol is happy.”
A long silence built on tension lingered in the car. Finally, Casey spoke back up.
“Are you okay? I noticed you were limping.” “I’m fine.” “I don’t mean to be hard on you. You just worry me sometimes.” Casey offered,
“Wonderful.” her sister pulled down and started to fidget with her coal hair. “Is Mom awake?”
“She had already gone to bed when I left.” Casey looked at her sister again. This time she noticed a dark mark under her sister’s left green eye. “Carol-”
“Just stop it now. This doesn’t leave the car.” Her sister growled. “A little make up and its fine. We move on.”
“If this asshole does it to you one time, what happens next time? The next girl might not be as lucky as you.”
Her sister huddled close to herself in silence. Casey looked on with concern, half her attention on the deserted road. This was not something she was going to drop, she would let it lie for a moment, and give her sister a little space for the ride home. However, it certainly would not be a dirty little secret.
Before them, the endless road kept rolling on. Longer this way then it seemed to have taken getting to her sister. The clouds in the sky were slowly giving way to the stars beyond them. The heavens seemed to have burst opened and tiny fragments littered the sky. Each star looking back at her was crisp and bright. Much more brilliant out here, then when they lived in the city.
Pain sank into her heart, and she let out a deep sigh. The city where her father had been gruesomely ripped in half right in front of her. The image rampaged through her mind.
It was a dull and lazy Monday morning; her father was getting ready to leave for work. He had walked outside to grab the paper at the edge of the drive, and turned to watch a garbage truck barreling down the road.
Even as regular observer he could tell it was going way to fast for the neighborhood, and he stepped back. Casey had just walked out the door to head out to school. When she looked up, the truck hit the speed bump just slightly up the street from in front of their home. One of the rear wheels tire tread broke loose, and as it passed her father whipped out at him like an alligator, snapping through him and bursting his frame into a spray of blood.
It would turn out later the truck had been stolen by a joyriding set of teens. The rest of the day blurred together. Spent between paramedics, the coroner, her mother breaking down, the most painful sense of defeat she ever saw pasted on anyone’s face.
The smell was of fragrant orange blossoms bursting open in the air. That was one smell that could make her sick to her stomach. Their smell haunted her; it was the most vivid reminder of that day. The produce aisle was something she couldn’t bear any longer.
From there the memory flashes in and out between the chocolate box her father lay in, closed off to the world. The doubt in the back of her mind there was even anyone in the casket. The way her mother stood firm and braved the sympathy showered on her. A broken woman who had no real clear path for going on, heading off strong and making it in a new world.
The move took them from the West Coast to the heart of the United States. This move took them far away from orange tress, their old life and the memory of one lazy Monday morning. Wiping away that one part of their collective life, it was one that mostly needed to be a forgotten past. But the memory of her father remained with her.
She stumbled back to the present and looked at her sister. Who had asked her something, inaudible. Trying to make sense of it, she paused a second, then gave up on guessing. “I’m sorry I missed that.”
“I said, are we going to keep driving past our turn. Casey what is wrong with you?” Her sister snapped.
Oblivious to everything else around her, she apparently had gone on autopilot during the drive. Hopefully she wasn’t too far past the turn. Carefully, she turned the car around and began to back track down the old road.
A few minutes later, they were back to the turn and back on the main road. They were heading home, back to the safety and comfort that was provided by her down comforter. The night would pass, and she would be able to reason more with her sister in the morning.
The cold outside continued to fog up the front window, she tried to auto defrost setting to see if it would help out her situation, but as with most of the rest of the car it had finally given up working. Casey knew she needed a new car. She just needed to save up some money before she got one to avoid a large car payment.
Again, the light from the moon began to disappear behind a set of clouds, making the fragile headlights on her car work all that much harder. Casey rolled down her window to help assist with the fog, and to get fresh air flowing through the car.
“Don’t you think its kind of cold for that?” Carol snarled.
“Here’s an idea, I went out of my way to help you out,” Casey shot back. “Why don’t you give a try being thankful instead of a total bitch?”
Blankly Carol looked at her, and then went deep into her own thoughts.
What an ingrate. Casey thought. Not a thank you, or any sign of emotion, besides rage. Then again, I do have to understand what she must have gone through.
The two continued to drive along the winding road, coming close a few times to the guardrail as the twisted along old curves that passed the cliff side along the river below. The water itself was hidden among the darkness of the night.
A raccoon appeared before them in the road and Casey swerved slightly to avoid it. Life was precious and all creatures had the right to live. She was determined not to kill this one because it was simply in her way.
Back in her own line, she saw in the distance another set of headlights coming in her direction. She wondered to herself what brought them out this way during the night. Though, their business didn’t really mean anything to her.
The night curves and lack of lighting frightened her slightly knowing the other car was approaching her. She held her breath at the other vehicle; a large dark truck flew past her. She then let out her breath and smiled to herself. Simple fear, without merit. It was easy to write off.
“Are you planning on going to school tomorrow?” She inquired to her sister.
“I don’t see why not,” her sister replied.
“Well, you went through a tough experience; I can cover for you if you wanted to stay home.” “I don’t think I need to.” A cold icy response came.
Casey chose to drop the conversation; a glimmer on the waters of the river caught her eye. She focused on it, and returned her attention to the road. She knew she really needed to maintain her attention on it. The drive at night just bored her tremendously.
Quickly she flicked on the radio and watched as it began to glow. Some chick singer was trying to sound angry and scorned on the radio. There was too much bubble gum pop instrumental for it even to be taken seriously. But it filled the silence, which was starting to bother her.
She sighed deeply. Slowly she began strumming her fingers along the top of the steering wheel. Traffic was starting to pick up. She noticed a line of oncoming cars and she knew she was close to being back in her town. It was ten at night, and she tried to make it a point to be in bed around that time so she could catch the sunrise in the morning. This along with a large cup of warm sweet coffee held firm in her hands.
KILL 4 ME VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 will officially begin on October 1 and end on October 30. You can visit Joel’s blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in October to find out more about his book! As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner(s) will be announced on our main blog at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com on October 30! Thanks for reading!
Be sure to check back for more of Hollywood Screaming in the month of October.
Rebecca is a freelance writer and editor in Southern California with a background in Journalism and a degree in English Literature. She specializes in non-fiction articles for the wedding and pet industry. She blogs about animals, Hollywood and books.