A Spark of Heavenly Fire takes place during the month of December. To celebrate, I am posting outtakes from the book. Like movie outtakes, these are scenes that were deleted from the final version. Posting them is not as easy as it sounds. Since the original version is no longer in my computer, I have to retype the pages from my handwritten draft copy. Still, it’s fun being able to revisit some of my original scenes. Hope you enjoy this look at my characters. Oh, and if you’d like to see a photo of the handwritten book, you can find it here: A Spark of Heavenly Fire Pre-Anniversary.
Only a few hardy souls had braved the frigid early morning air: joggers in bright warm-up suits, an elderly couple swaddled in layers of heavy clothing, a scantily clad young man running as if he didn’t have a care in the world.
Kate frowned. Shorts and a tee shirt in this weather? Oh, well. He was young and obviously in good shape; probably no harm would come of it.
The runner neared, moving so swiftly and lightly his feet barely touched the ground. As he passed her, Kate caught a glimpse of a rapturous smile.
And bright red eyes.
She whirled just in time to see the runner spewing blood and swiftly, like a mannequin, toppling into his vomitus. Heart pounding, Kate ran to help. She knelt down beside him to take his pulse. Prickles of fear crept up her spine when she realized he was dead.
First Rachel Abrams, now this young man.
For just a moment Kate felt disoriented as if the earth had slipped on its axis.
Another jogger, a middle-aged man with well-groomed hair, joined the growing crowd of spectators. Kate caught a whiff of aftershave. What kind of man shaves before jogging? She eyed him curiously. The same kind of man who wears designer sweatpants with creases ironed in them, she noticed.
Kate thought it odd that such a fastidious person would stoop so low as to gawk at a corpse; then she saw the look on his face. Fear, maybe. And recognition.
“Dead?” the man asked quietly.
“Yes,” Kate answered. “Did you know him?”
“No.” He tugged at a nonexistent beard. “Yesterday, a colleague of mine died the same way. What the hell is going on?”
“I don’t know,” Kate said. “I’m not sure I want to know.”
The man nodded. “I know what you mean. It’s too bizarre, like something out of a horror movie. The colleague who died was a quiet, unassertive man, but yesterday he showed up for work dancing and jiggling as if he were hopped up on amphetamines. He charged around the office, ranting that the Broncos really stink again this year, and if they didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, he’d never buy another ticket. When I asked him if he felt all right, he beamed at me and said he felt great, had never felt better in his life. Then he vomited blood, and fell down. Dead.” He snapped his fingers. “Just like that.”
I thought this jogger was a well-drawn character, but since he added nothing to the book besides an iteration of how people were dying from the red death, he really served no purpose, so out he went. The dead runner made it into the final version, but instead of the second death, he turned out to be the first death Kate experienced — and experienced physically. He toppled into her arms. Rachel was moved from the first scene of the book to an unimportant second scene. Poor Rachel. Like the colleague in the above story, Rachel felt great for the first time in years, and then she died.