Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chapter 1 - Too Close To Home by Tressa Messenger

Hello all, below I have the 1st chapter of one of my favorite Indie authors book, Too Close to Home. It's a murder mystery and I love it! If you like the 1st chapter you will want to go and buy it! She will be writing the sequel soon so you will want to read this one first and FAST! 

Amazon Link to Too Close To Home
Click here to go to Tressa's facebook page be sure to like her page too!

 Too Close To Home: Chapter One
 “Alright, girls, good job today. We need to work on the timing a little more for the halftime cheer. We only have two days left to get it just right, but other than that, I think we are all set for the game on Friday night,” Missy says to the group of girls sitting on the hardwood floor staring up at her. “Awesome! We are so going to rock at the game,” Kristen says jumping up to her feet and shaking her pom-poms, making the shiny black and gold color glimmer in the bright gym light. Her long dark brown hair, pulled up in a tight pony tail, bounces with the movement. “I hope so. The first game of the season always makes me nervous,” Brittany says. “Me, too, no matter how many years I’ve cheered,” Missy says. “This is my year though, and I want it to be memorable.” “Who knows, Missy! We might even make it into the North Carolina cheerleading competition this year,” Kristen says excitedly. Missy’s sultry blue eyes light up at the thought. “That would be kick-ass for sure!” “I can’t wait for Frankie to see me in my cheerleading outfit. He is going to freak over my short skirt,” a freshman, whose name escapes Missy at the moment, says. Missy rolls her eyes at the girl. It seems so silly now, but she remembers feeling the same way when she got into high school and joined the squad for the first time as a freshman. For decades it has been a tradition for the cheerleaders at Pamlico County High School to mercilessly haze the freshmen cheerleaders as a way for them to prove not only their worth but also their loyalty to the squad. Missy was determined to make it no matter what, and even though every year some girls don’t last, she did. The prospect of being a part of the “in-crowd” and cheering on the most popular guys in school was like a fantasy to her. Three years later, as a senior, not only has she become the captain of their cheerleading squad, but she is also dating the hottest guy in the whole school and who just happens to be the quarterback of the football team. It has been hard work and a little heartbreaking along the way, but it has all been worth it to have her status escalate to the “it” girl. “Hey, Missy, we’re all meeting up at the Crooked Hook. You wanna come?” Kristen asks, her big brown eyes twinkling with excitement, breaking Missy’s daydream. “Tempting, but no. I think I’m going to work on the choreography for the new cheer for a few more minutes so we don’t look like a bunch of dumbasses out there on Friday night,” she says. “Then I’m gonna hit the shower, cause I’m supposed to meet up with Rob later.” “It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it,” Kristen says, smacking Missy on the butt so loud the sound ripples through the spacious old gym. “Yeah, it is,” she says laughing. “I guess it’s about time you spend more time with that hunky boyfriend of yours. He may start to wonder where you are all the time and I’m sure you wouldn’t want that.” Missy rolls her eyes at Kristen. “Maybe ya’ll can stop by later anyway,” Brittany says, hopeful that they will. “We’ll see,” Missy tells her, hoping that answer will appease her. “Okay, hooker, if we don’t see ya tonight, we’ll see you tomorrow,” Kristen says before giving Missy a hug before leaving. “Yep, tomorrow for sure. Ya’ll have fun though.” Missy waves good-bye to the group of chatty and smiling girls, slightly wishing she was going out with them. She and Kristen have been best friends their whole lives. It was a friendship that started before their first day of kindergarten at Arapahoe Charter School. Both Kristen and Missy’s parents lived next door to each other in Minnesott Beach and became fast friends after the girls were born, that is until Kristen’s parents decided to move into a bigger house in Dawson’s Creek when Missy and Kristen were in sixth grade, leaving Missy alone in Minnesott. They each went their own way after that, making friends with other people, although they managed to grow close again in high school during those torturous freshmen cheerleading hazing days. The other kids at school had nicknamed them the dynamic duo during their freshman year and they have lived up to their titles proudly ever since. Throughout the past three years of school others have joined their group of friends. The most loyal of those, in Missy’s opinion, were Kristen, Rob, Marshal, Brittany and Kate. In fact, Missy felt certain that if they hadn’t gone to different schools up until high school, they would have all been friends a lot longer. She had worried that things would become weird once she started dating Rob last year, since Kristen was hooking up with him at the time, but they managed. Once all is quiet in the gym, Missy bends down and picks up her pom-poms off the glossy wooden floor and turns on her iPod to the song that goes with the new cheer she wants to work on. Once the music begins, she holds her pom-poms on her waist and stands like a beautiful blond statue until the timing is right. She closes her eyes, feeling the music and waits for the note that is supposed to begin the cheer. As she begins, her face lights up and she starts to move. She shakes and gyrates everything the good Lord gave her in perfect rhythm. She turns and kicks and rattles her pom-poms to the beat of the music. Her heart leaps with the thrill. BANG! Missy jumps at the sound of a loud thunderous, bang that echoes through the gym and vibrates off the dark brick walls around her, breaking her spell. She hugs her pom-poms to her chest and looks around for the culprit. “Hello? Is someone there?” she asks, looking around, but finding no one. She presses her shiny pom-poms even harder against her chest, feeling exposed in her little bright yellow sports bra and tight black leggings in the open gym. She continues to look around as she quickly walks over to the bleachers to turn off the loud music. She stands still and listens for a sound, any sound, but there is none. Feeling creped out, she gathers up her things and heads to the girl’s locker room. She puts her gym bag on the bench in the middle of the row of lockers and digs around inside. She takes out her clean change of clothes so they don’t get tainted from her sweaty workout clothes and places them beside the bag along with a fluffy terry-cloth towel, her makeup bag and hair brush. She puts her pom-poms and iPod in the bag and then strips out of her sweaty leggings and sports bra down to her little black thong. She balls the clothes up and puts them in the bag before shoving the bag in the old beat up locker and places her clean clothes and makeup bag on top of it. Feeling uneasy in only her little thong, she grabs the neatly folded towel off the bench and looks around the row of lockers. She slams the metallic door closed and presses the towel closer to her chest and briskly walks to the open shower stalls in the back of the room. She hangs the towel on the nearest hook and turns on the hot water full blast. Once the steady stream of water is hot and steamy, she removes her panties and kicks them to the side. She stands under the hot water and closes her eyes, letting the scalding hot water run down her naked body to melt all of the tension away and calm her racing nerves. The water pressure isn’t hard enough to massage her muscles like she likes, but the steam still works its magic. BANG! Her eyes shoot open and she freezes in mid-movement. Her heart jumps in her chest when she hears the loud bang again. “I knew I wasn’t hearing things before,” she says to herself before calling out, “Hello?” BANG! “What the hell is that?” She whips her head around when she hears it again, causing steamy hot water to slap against the shower stall from her long wet hair. She turns off the water and wraps the fluffy towel around herself and storms out of the shower stall. “Is someone in here?” she asks, her annoyance growing higher. Instantly, a loud bang rings in her ears again. “Hey, asshole!” she yells. Silence. She hurries to her locker to get dressed, but finds it wide open and her bag containing all of her stuff, clothes, phone, and keys, all gone. She throws a couple of old rag magazines and her choreography notebook onto the floor, emptying out the locker. She continues to look even though she knows she won’t find anything to put on because her clothes are gone and she never keeps extra at school, but she completely empties her locker anyway. She slams the palm of her hand on the front of the locker next to her and curses to herself for not keeping extra clothes in it. “Okay, whores, nice joke! Now bring my stuff back so I can get dressed,” she yells. Silence. “Kristen, Ashley, Brittany, joke’s over!” she exclaims, while not even trying to hide her anger. “Payback is going to be hell tomorrow at practice!” Still no sound. She looks down at the wet towel wrapped around her naked body and slams the locker door closed with a loud metallic bang. “Great, just great! Very funny, assholes!” she yells, then mumbles to herself, “What douche bags.” She walks through all the rows of lockers opening them all as she passes by hoping to find a piece, any piece, of clothing to put on, but finds them all empty. Grasping the towel around her even tighter she walks to the end of the last row of lockers and looks around the open space of the locker room toward the gym door and mutters to herself, “I swear to God, those girls are going to be dead if anyone sees me like this.” She’s pretty sure her so-called friends are getting a kick out of her discomfort, knowing she will have to walk through the entire length of the school to the front office to use one of the phones in nothing but a wet towel. She even half expected pictures to be taken to capture the moment. Feeling uneasy, she takes another deep breath to steady herself and lets it out slowly before leaving the safety of the row and out into the open. She hurries to the door and puts a hand on the knob and quickly turns it. She peaks her head out into the dark gym and tries to look around as her eyes begin to adjust to the darkness. “Didn’t I leave the lights on? I can’t see shit in here now,” she says to herself. Standing with her back toward the gym, she slowly closes the locker room door, trying to keep as quiet as possible. Every hair on her body stands on end when the heavy old metal door squeaks with age. Too afraid to look around, she stands frozen, waiting for any kind of sound from anyone who may be in there. “Please God, don’t let anyone see me like this,” she silently prays. Once she is satisfied that there is no one else in the gym, she shuts the door the rest of the way and clings to the cool brick wall behind her. Step by step, she tiptoes as quietly as she can toward the exit that leads into the school. She would prefer to go through the exit leading outside, since it is a less creeper path to the front of the school where the office is located, but the exit door leading into the school building is her only option at this time of day since all the other exit doors leading to the outside of the building are supposed to be locked at four o’clock for the safety and security of the school. Unfortunately for Missy, her only option is located on the opposite side of the gym beside a row of wooden bleachers. Not only does it look extremely far away, but Missy is certain that the thirty seconds it is going to take to reach that door is going to feel like an eternity. She takes another deep breath and continues to cling to the brick wall as she makes her way along the gym. She breathes a little easier when she finally reaches the gym exit. As she extends her hand to push the bar on the old door to open it, she sees a form of what looks to be a man standing close to the locker rooms where she had just left. “Jesus Christ!” she yells in shock. “Who’s there?” The gym is too dark to make out his face. “Coach Grady, is that you?” The man doesn’t respond. “Seriously, Coach, don’t be a creepy perv!” she yells with a hint of disgust in her voice. Without a word the he man slowly begins to walk in her direction. Missy, now clutching her terrycloth towel tightly to her chest, can feel her heart pounding in her chest beneath her arms. She has become aware that the closer the man gets to her, the harder her heart beats. Missy feels it pounding so hard now that she is afraid that it will burst from her chest leaping right out onto the wooden basketball court. “Don’t come any closer. I’m going to call the police and your ass is going to get fired,” she threatens. The man doesn’t stop. “Shit!” she curses, then leaps at the door. She throws open the old heavy gym door and rushes out into the dark open hallway of the recreation wing of the school. Holding onto her towel, she runs down the wide hallway, which is somewhat difficult because she has no shoes on and her feet are still wet from her shower, which makes her slide all over the glossy tile floor. When she comes to a fork in the hall, she looks back and forth trying to decide which way would be the best, knowing all of the doors in the school are locked at this hour except for the exit in the gym leading out onto the football field back the way she came and the only phones are in the office, which is still too far away. She doesn’t have long to think before she hears the loud thud of the man’s heavy boots coming down the hall behind her. “Shit! Science!” she scolds herself and takes a right down the science hallway and straight into Mr. Peters’ chemistry classroom. She closes the door as softly as she can and turns around to face the classroom. She has Mr. Peters’ for fourth period class so she is well aware of all of the empty cabinets lining the walls. At the time they seemed like a good hiding place, but now she realizes they would be too much of an obvious hiding spot. Her heart leaps into her throat at the sound of a metallic like scratching, comparable to nails scratching on a chalkboard, if the chalkboard was a set of metal lockers and the nails were made out of another metal, coming from right outside in the hallway. She hurries to the first place she can think of, Mr. Peters’ desk. She crawls underneath and hugs her body tightly together in an upright fetal position hoping and praying that she won’t be found. She can hear doors opening down the hall, as he gets closer and closer. When her door swings open, she has to put her hand over her mouth to stifle a startled gasp and to quiet her rapid breathing. Thankfully the moon is not only full tonight, but it is also unusually bright and it’s allowing Missy to watch the man’s shadow along the chalkboard and on the tile floor. Within a few breathless minutes, his shadow disappears and she hears his footsteps leave the room. Removing her hand from her mouth, she pokes her head out from under the desk, but just as she does, a massive hand painfully grabs a handful of her long blond wet hair pulling her up onto the desk. She grabs for her hair, forgetting her towel, letting it fall to the floor. The man pins her down on the desk, maneuvering himself between her legs to keep them still, continuing to hold onto her hair with a tight fist managing to keep her in place in spite of her pleas and flailing body. “Oh, my God, please don’t,” she screams, fearing she is about to be raped by this stranger. Missy struggles to catch a good look at her assailant hoping it will help appeal to him, but through her tears and his well- suited ski mask, she is having difficulty discerning who it is behind the mask. She is, however, able to distinguish think pink lips which are formed into an angry scowl and cold, calculating dark eyes, which only works to add to her fear. “Please, don’t!” she begs again through her sobs. The man just stares down at her for a long breathless minute. She wonders for a second if he will let her go. Then, lifting his free hand, she now sees he is holding a long shiny blade. Missy opens her light blue eyes wide at the sight of the knife glistening in the moonlight and begins to scream and cry even more, knowing for certain that he has no intentions of letting her go. “What do you want from me?” she yells in his masked face, her fear now being replaced by defiance. He lowers the knife and runs the cool steel along her naked body, making circles around her hardening nipples down to her belly button. Although she is unable to see the knife when it goes in, she feels the sharp pain radiating through her body as the man repeatedly plunges the knife slowly into the soft flesh of her stomach. Her screams begin to quiet as stomach acid and blood start to pool in her throat, which in turn causes her breathing to become even shallower. With one last gurgled gasp, she quickly stills, leaving the ghost of her screams echoing through the hall. Untangling his fist from her now bloody and matted blond hair, he saunters out of the classroom leaving Melissa Cooley’s naked body lying in a pool of her own blood on top of Mr. Peters’ desk.


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