My Horror Novel Gave Me Chills

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Two Worlds Apart (working title)

This book has been a doozy to write. I finished up the second draft last week and this week I’ll begin my deep scene work. But I have never felt so good about a book before.

When I did my first read through, I got to the end and had goosebumps up my arms. I was like “wow, I wrote that.” And even though I knew it needed work, I was proud of it.

And after this second draft, I got to the end and it happened again. Chills. I literally cannot wait for you to read this book.

If I stay on track with it, it will be out in September. But because I’m so excited about it… I’m going to let you read the first chapter today.

Keep in mind, this is only the second draft, so I’m sure there are grammatical errors. But I’d like you to meet Vi and Sam, in Two Worlds Apart.

Dont Let me Forget about the End of the World

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Violet Hughes, Vi to anyone who mattered, ignored the steady drip of coffee into the pot and stared at her canvas. She wanted the coffee, needed it even. But if she walked across the open space of her studio apartment to the kitchen to pour the cup, she would lose her spark and the rest of the morning would be wasted. She brushed a few stray hairs from her face with her wrist, the only part of her hand not covered in paint, and sighed.

Without looking away, she adjusted her stool so she could sit at a different angle, and picked up the paint brush. But only a few minutes passed before she stopped again and glared at the painting.

Last night, she’d loved it. Last night, it had been exactly what she’d wanted and the colors had blended in the right ways. The image had come to life under her educated touch.

But now…

Now she felt the undeniable urge to bake some brownies and ignore the canvas for a few days. She spun away from the painting and walked across the room to pour herself a third cup of coffee. She leaned over the counter on her bony elbows and glared at the painting.

Maybe the purple wasn’t the right shade. Or the daylight coming in through her large windows cast a different shadow across the canvas. Whatever it was that had changed the vibe, she wanted to scrap the whole thing.

But she could almost hear her friend Elizabeth’s nagging voice telling her she could fix it if she just put in the work. Elizabeth had a point, because Vi hadn’t had to completely scrap a project since she’d left art school. There was always something she could do to make it work.

Vi took a sip of coffee and tapped her fingers on the counter, debating on canceling her showing at the gallery tonight. Not that this piece was part of the exhibit. This waste of paint and materials wouldn’t have any effect on the outcome tonight. But it as throwing off her vibe. And she didn’t want to go into a fresh exhibit feeling less than. Not with potential clients and buyers there.

But a moment later, a cloud shifted over the sun and the light in the room changed. A glow lit up the center of the painting and Vi raised an eyebrow at the change. With a jolt of inspiration, she abandoned her coffee cup and hurried back to the canvas to add a white highlight.

And just like, she liked her painting again.

Another hour passed by, her coffee cup long forgotten and grown cold on the counter, as she worked on the painting. It was until her phone rang, maybe the third time since she’d entered her fugue state, that Vi stopped what she was doing.

“Yeah?” She tucked the phone between her ear and shoulder, careful to keep the paint splotches on the screen to a minimum.

“Vi, what are you doing up there? It’s time for lunch.” Sam Philips, Violet’s best friend, half shouted into the phone. “I’ve been calling you forever. We’re going to miss our reservation, miss ma’am.”

Vi laughed and crossed to the sink to was the worst of the paint off her hands. “Oh, sure. They doin’ reservations at What-a-burger now?”

“Excu-use me! We would never, and I mean never, darken that establishment’s doorway. Hard pass. Get down here, stat, or I will leave without you. Hashtag starving.”

“Drama queen,” Vi muttered, drying her hands.

“I heard that.”

“Meant you to. I’ll be down in a sec.” Vi ended the call and tucked the phone into her back pocket before Sam could come up with another comeback.

She glanced over her outfit, the cargo pants and paint splattered t-shirt did little to emphasize* her slim figure. But she shrugged. “Good enough.” She grabbed her leather jacket off the hook near the door and hurried out to the stairwell before Sam thought about calling her again.

But at the door, she took one last glance at her painting, glad to see she was still pleased with the progress she’d made, and then locked the door.


The very hipster diner Sam picked for their lunch spot, where he did actually have a reservation, was packed with bodies when they walked through the door.

Vi felt incredibly underdressed and wondered why Sam hadn’t said something. But the posers at the door might think she’d splattered paint onto her clothes on purpose for the ‘vibe’ and pushed her uncomfortable feeling away. Sam wore his normal blazer and slacks since he’d come from work, but custom shoes and manicured nails made him stand out from a normal corporate washup.*

Sam gave his name at the counter and they were whisked out of the crowd at once. Vi resisted the urge to stick her tongue out at the waiting people in the lobby. They were seated at a high table and brought water in glass bottles.

“Where did you hear about this place?” Vi scanned the one-page menu and found the cheeseburger section. She ignored the vegetarian options and made her decision before Same had even gotten comfortable in his chair.

“Some guy I met last weekend. He said he works here and told me to stop by some time. But I don’t see him.” He scanned the room and tried to peak into the kitchen. “He said it was delicious and I wanted to try it.”

A tall thin man with a curly mustache approached their table, a notepad in hand.

“Hey, I’m Vinny and I’ll be your server today. Are you ready to order or do you need a minute?”

“I think I’m going to change my hair,” Sam said. He examined his face in the front-facing camera on his phone. First he brushed his hair to one side, then the next, then pulled it all forward to cover his forehead and the tops of his eyes. “Maybe I’ll go pink.” He pushed his lips into a kissy face and took a selfie.

Vi rolled her eyes and shoved a giant bite of her cheeseburger into her mouth. “Just don’t shave it all off like you did last summer. Makes you look like some boot camp dropout.”

“Puh-lease. I’d kick everyone’s butts at boot camp.”

“You’d do something to their butts.” She smirked.

Sam winked. “Any-whooo. What are you wearing tonight?” He picked up his fork and cut into his enchilada.

Vi shrugged. “Clothes.” She hadn’t even considered it.

If looks could kill, the one Sam gave Violet would have shriveled her into a 100-year-old corpse.

“I’m coming home with you to find something suitable in that closet of yours. You can’t wear your cargo pants to an art gallery.”

“Why not?” She grinned. “What about overalls? They’re covered in paint. But that’d fit the aesthetic, don’t you think?”

Sam’s face turned pink and Vi thought his head might explode.

“Kidding!” She laughed and had to cover her mouth so her half-chewed food wouldn’t fall out. “I really don’t know. It’s my first showing. I don’t know how to do any of this.”

“Girl, stop with the imposter syndrome. You’re fantastic. Your art is great. You’re gonna kill it. As long as you don’t show up looking like a damn hobo!”

Vi giggled. “Okay. I’ve got some business casual outfit thing. I wore it for an interview years ago. It probably still fits.”

Sam raised an eyebrow. “Girl, you haven’t gained a pound since high school. What you wore then will fit you now. But what color is it?”

Vi decided to ignore the jab at her body size since she was cursed with a high metabolism. “Blue… I think? I don’t remember. It’s at the back of my closet. The most dressed up I get is for the bar, and I would hardly call that professional.”

Sam shook his head, but at least he cracked a smile. “Yeah, a button-down without a bra and skin-tight pants would work if you’re trying to pick up the gallery owner and her very rich clients. But you want them to focus on the art, not your ass.”

Vi laughed again. “What about you? What are you going to wear? Because I imagine your goal is to pick up those very rich clients.”

“Oh, don’t worry about me, hunny. I’m going to look fabulous. I just needed to make sure you weren’t going to make me look bad.” He winked.


Vi, Sam, and their friend Elizabeth stood in the corner of the art gallery and watched the crowd mingle. Sam sipped at his champagne, Elizabeth scrolled on her phone, and Vi picked at a cuticle waiting for something, anything, to go wrong.

Because she knew it would. It had to. The evening had been going entirely too smooth. Something had to happen. And until it did, she was going to stand there and be a ball of nerves.

“Good turn out,” Elizabeth said, finally putting her phone away. “Think you’ll make any sales?” She pushed her short blonde curls behind her ear and straightened her glasses as she took in the room.

“Hope so.” Vi adjusted her collar and shrugged her shoulders to loosen the stiff fabric. She wasn’t used to being so dressed up. “I need the extra money this month.”

Elizabeth snatched a champagne flute off a tray of a passing server and took a swig, swirling the liquid around in her mouth before swallowing it. “If you need it, I can loan you some money.”

“Oh no way. A loan from you has stricter terms than a bank. I’ll pass.”

Elizabeth laughed and shrugged. “The offer is there, that’s all I’m sayin’.”

“Where’s Shyanne tonight?” Vi cast around for something to change the subject. She hadn’t meant to talk about needing money, but her anxiety had removed the filter from her brain to her mouth.

“She had to work. She wanted to take the weekend off for our anniversary so she had to finish up some reports.”

Vi jumped on the topic, anything to get her mind off what was going on around them. “Oh? Doing anything fun?”

“We’re going on a trip to Galveston. She just doesn’t know it yet.”

“Being spontaneous for a change?”

“Oh, hell no. I planned this months ago. But I’ve kept it a secret.”

Sam turned to them, completely unaware of their conversation. “Do you two see that man by the window? The one with the,” he made a gagging sound, “fedora?”

Vi giggled and looked around to see who he was talking about. “Yeah, what about him?”

“He effing ghosted me last month. And he has the nerve to show up and waltz around like it meant nothing.” Sam tsked his teeth and turned away, cheeks turning red.

“You slept with a man who wears a fedora?” Elizabeth snorted. “I thought you had standards.”

“I have never seen that fedora before tonight!” Sam stomped his shiny-shoed foot and waved a finger in their faces.

Vi laughed and had to cover her mouth before it drew anyone’s attention. “That hat is a very brave choice.”

“Oh, hush. You wanted to wear overalls to your art showing.”

Elizabeth snorted again and turned away. “Maybe he’s going through a mid-life crisis.”

“He had to be having some kind of crisis if he thought it was a good idea to stand me up for a date.” Sam downed the rest of his drink and set the glass down on the table behind them. “I’m going to talk to him.”

As he walked way, Elizabeth pretended to reach out and grab the back of his shirt. “But wait, Sam. Don’t do it. He’s wearing a fedora. What will people think?”

Vi and Elizabeth burst into a fit of giggles, but Sam kept walking, not hearing them.

After they recovered themselves, Vi tried to focus her attention on anyone mingling in front of her art for longer than a few seconds. She really hoped she’d get at least one sale. She set her expectations low, not wanting to be disappointed. But as the night wore on, she wondered if even one sale was too much to ask for.

Across the room, Sam lost his nerve. He sipped another flute of champagne and glared at the fedora wearing man from several feet away. He didn’t even know if he’d recognized him. They hadn’t gone out that many times, but still. He would have thought he’d left a lasting impression.

Then Ethan, because of course the fedora wearing man’s name would be something pretentious like Ethan, turned his direction and Sam spun away to face the wall in a panic. Luckily, there was a bulletin board right there and he didn’t look like someone who spent too much time sniffing the paint. He focused his attention on the flyer in front of him and tried not to think about if Ethan had recognized the side of his face or the back of his head.

One flyer in particular stood out to him and he leaned closer to read it. A few of the words had smeared on the printer, but he read;

“Testers needed. Virtual Reality Headset something something equipment run-through something something timelines. Possible something side effects something. Volunteers will be paid for their time. Something something risk. Call for more information or visit the website.”

Below the spiel were multiple tear strips with the number and website. A few were already missing and Sam grabbed for one. He could use some extra month. Maybe he’d show Vi. She’d mentioned needing some money this month too. It could be fun.

Vi saw Sam grab at the flyer and stepped forward to see what he was up to. So many weirdos stopped in here to put up posters and want ads and she’d never spared them a second glance. Hopefully Sam wasn’t about to adopt someone’s unwanted pet.

Before she could take more than a few steps, however, the gallery director moved into her path with a huge smile on her face.

“Oh, Vi, there you are. I have great news!”

Vi lost track of Sam and focused on Tori. “Hey, what’s that?”

“We just sold three of your pieces!”

Relief flooded through her. Three pieces was way better than only one. Better than she could have asked for. “Oh, that’s amazing. Which ones?”

Tori linked their arms together and dragged her away from the wall to show her. Vi looked over her shoulder and Elizabeth raised her glass in a toast, her mouth full of the mini sandwiches she’d hoarded from the caterers.

“He’s interested in commissioning a piece as well…”


Several hours later, Vi sat on the top stop of her fire escape and took a deep drag off her cigarette. After the sale ad negotiating of the commission, Vi was pleased enough to leave the gallery in Tori’s capable hands for the rest of the evening. She’d grabbed Elizabeth and Sam and they’d hurried to their favorite bar to celebrate.

Drinks and dancing and flirting with a pretty redhead had lead her here. Elizabeth called it quits after a few drinks when Shyanne sent her a few suggestive photos. Sam made his rounds of the bar, talking with everyone because he knew everyone. And when Vi could no longer keep her hands off the redhead, she knew it was time to go home.

The redhead in question lay asleep in her bed inside the apartment. She couldn’t for the life of her remember her name… but it wasn’t important. The girl would be gone by morning and she probably wouldn’t remember much about this encounter after a few days.

She’d been scratching an itch, but now she was ready to get back to focusing on her work.

Had her name been Stephanie? No, that wasn’t right. Ever since the motorcycle accident in college, she’d had the worst time remembering people’s names. It was like that part of her memory had been blanked out.

She blew another cloud of smoke over the railing and stared up at the sky, wishing it was easier to see the stars from here. She closed one eye and focused her gaze to find a star. Then she followed one to the next, trying to fill in a constellation, but she was pretty sure she had it wrong. One of those bright specs was probably an emergency light from the top of a building further downtown.

Vi had developed an interest in astronomy and planetary movements when she’d been in her first real relationship in art school. Her parents hadn’t agreed with her sexuality or her choice in career path so she’d wanted to rub it in their faces as much as possible. And the one and only time they’d come to visit her at school, she’d done her best to parade the girl around in front of them every chance she had.

The girl – Venessa – hadn’t lasted. But the passion for the stars had. Venessa had picked up on the fact that Vi wasn’t actually as interested in her as she was in pissing off mom and dad.

But once she was gone, there’d been Kelly and then Ruby. Might have overlapped a little, but it was college so whatever, right? They were fun, but Vi wasn’t interested in committing so soon. She wanted to enjoy art school and learning and discover who she really was after she got out from under her parents’ them.

Jennifer though.

Vi took another long drag on her cigarette, not sure why she was going down this train of thought. She didn’t like to think about Jennifer.

So, she wasn’t going to.

She smashed the tip of the cigarette into her ash tray and stepped back into the apartment. From her spot by the window, she watched the redhead sleep for a minute.

She searched her heart for any pang of guilt for not remembering her name. Or any interest now that she’d been satisfied.

There wasn’t any of either.

She also wasn’t tired and accepted sleep wasn’t going to happen. Instead, she angled her lamp away from the bed and onto her easel. She’d spend the night with her art, the way she liked it.


-Eleven Years Earlier-

“You sure this thing’s safe?” Ruby stood several feet away from the motorcycle, her hands tucked into her pockets.

Violet laughed and pushed her short blue hair away from her face. “Not at all. But here, you can wear my helmet.” She passed the scuffed and sticker-slapped helmet over to Ruby.

Ruby forced a laugh, but her face paled. With shaking hands, she pulled the helmet over her face.

“Oh man, this squeezes your head, doesn’t it?” She opened the visor and looked out at Violet.

Her cheeks were smooshed and her lips made a permanent kiss face.

“That’s how it’s supposed to be. Don’t want anything jiggling around in there.” Violet reached over to buckle it under Ruby’s chin.

“But what about you? Now you don’t have one.”

Violet tucked her hair into a baseball cap and grinned. “I’m good. We’ll just go for a quick spin around the block, yeah? Nothing crazy. If you like it, we can get you your own helmet.”

Ruby nodded, but by the look in her eyes, she still wasn’t quite convinced. She swung her leg over the back anyway and clung to Violet’s midsection.

Violet started it up and the bike roared to life beneath them. Ruby squealed and held on tighter. Violet laughed and patted her arm.

“It’s going to be fine. Just lean with me on the turns.” Violet’s bright smile shone straight ahead. She was going to rock this girl’s world.

A moment later, they were off.