Sneak Peek: Passing the Guard

Another sneak peek is presented this week. From another title I’m working on, Passing the Guard. I admit that this one is far down the priority list of my projects, but this scene was blaring neon light show in my head while I was writing other work, and if I didn’t get it down, I have a feeling it would have burned my eyes and brains out.

This title is about two young teens, one boy and one girl, who’s relationship is formed over their desperate need to flee their respective homes in Copeland, Florida – a small backwoods community surrounded by everglade wetlands, with little opportunity. In this scene, you’re seeing Phillip, the male protagonist, face his dad, Terry, a sadistic alcoholic who’s past time is physically abusing Phillip.

Phillip just needs to survive one more day.

The image I used to backdrop this post is of an old locomotive that was abandoned in the area of Copeland, from the lumber company that once resided there. There will be scenes taking place there, rest assured. Also, another “spoiler” of sorts, Phillip and his love interest use Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to channel their emotions over their living conditions.

Let me know what you think. As always, enjoy.

Phillip was so high at that moment, as he walked toward the place he feared most, that he knew he was ready for this new chapter in life. No more fighting. No more name-calling. No more chores designed to ruin his plans. No more demands on him. He was finally going to own his life. His life, not someone else’s notion of his life.

He was coming closer in the sweltering humidity that surrounds every square inch of the air in Copeland. Approaching the front yard, Phillip’s eyes began to dilate and the lids grew wider as he thought of what awaited him. It was 9:35 p.m., and he had been due home at 6:00 p.m.

The kitchen light on was on. This meant only that Terry had been drinking and the beating would be that much more severe.

“God, if I can just make it through this one night, I promise I won’t ever ask for anything for myself again in my life.”

The screen door betrayed him by creaking as he entered the front door.

“Well, look who finally made it home!” Terry growled loudly.

Phillip flinched when his shrill voice broke the silence, even though he had expected the usual greeting. His eyes darted toward the kitchen, where Terry launched into a rant.

“Mr. Fucking Hollywood, who thinks he can just waltz in at whatever time he likes!” Terry’s thick southern drawl coupled with an overload of alcohol took over more syllables as he shouted.

“You know boy, don’t think I didn’t see you in that newspaper, Mr. Big Shot! You think cause you saved some kids you can just break all my rules? Are you out your damned mind! Get in here!” Terry shouted as he grabbed the back of Phillip’s neck and pushed him into the kitchen.

Terry lunged for the handle on the refrigerator door, swinging the door open he struck Phillip in the forehead, knocking him back. He grabbed Phillip by the shirt collar and pulled him back into the kitchen, and pushed him through the back-screen door, where Phillip fell down the wooden stairs, face planting on the ground.

“You think you’re going to disrespect me? Do you think you’re going to desecrate my house? My rules?” Terry said as he stood menacingly over Phillip.

Phillip looked back over his shoulder, grass, and dirt in his teeth, blood draining out of his nose, as Terry threatened him, and beads of sweat began to collect along a freshly forming furrow over the top of his right eye.

“Come on boy, get up! Stand up like a man, since you want to act like one!” Terry growled as he grabbed Phillip’s pants and hoisted him to his feet.

Phillip squared up to Terry, with the shed doors directly behind him.

“Enjoy this beating Terry, because it’s the last time you’re ever going to touch me,” Phillip said, blood streaming down his face.

Terry was bewildered. Not only did Phillip stand up to him, but he also didn’t call him Dad. Phillip was going to pay for that.

“You worthless son of a whore!” Terry shouted as he lunged to assault Phillip yet again.

Phillip blocked the punch, threw a hammer fist with his right, and struck Terry squarely in the left side of his neck.

Terry felt the surge of pain come on like a burning ember, as did vengeful anger. He stumbled, but stayed on his feet, turned and looked at Phillip as if seeing him for the very first time.

“Well, someone’s been teaching you how to throw down, eh, Mr. Big Shot?  Well good, ’cause you’re going to need to handle your own soon. Real soon, loser.” Terry said as he connected with a right cross to Phillip’s left eye.

Phillip felt consciousness fading, but just before he blacked out, he nailed Terry in the face with a left hook and got off a shin rake on Terry’s left leg, causing Terry to wobble like he had rubber legs.

Phillip crashed to the ground, unconscious and exposed.

Terry looked down at him and spit on Phillip’s face.

“Never mind, you miserable coward, you ain’t even worth another punch. Hope the gators don’t get you.” Terry wobbled back up the steps and into the kitchen. The crack of another beer opening could be heard as he made his way to the couch and turned the television up loud.

Out on the grass, Phillip began softly snoring.

He was going to make it through the night.


Published by Matthew Ballantyne

I'm Matthew, and I write. I've worked hard in my career, and it's granted me a lot of access to the true character in people, which I now use to create stories for you.

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