Below are the first 500 words to my novel “Angel on the Wall”. What do you think? Does it grab you, can you get a sense of the main character?
“Having a GPS system that actually gave the right directions would be helpful” Bill muttered as he slowly drove down a street filled with graffiti-covered warehouses. According to the GPS unit, the building where the supplies for Outreaching Hands, the charity he ran, was located was directly in front of him, at the end of this dead-end street. The same street he had driven up and down four times now. The only problem with that though was there was no building in front of him, just an empty lot.
What he wanted to do was pull over to the side of street and figure out the piece of garbage his sister had bought him for Christmas. At the time she had claimed that the GPS would be a lifesaver with all the trips he took to the city, he couldn’t wait to tell her just how wrong she was. Instead he pulled a u-turn and drove back out the way he came in. There was no way he would stop his car for a second longer than necessary in this neighborhood. Despite the deserted feel to the street, with all the cardboard homes that lined the buildings, Bill had no doubt that the moment he stopped he would find himself in a crowd of one too many.
The street Bill turned down appeared to be no worse than the other. It too was full of graffiti-covered warehouses. The only difference was the overflowing garbage bins that cluttered the sidewalks.
Double locking his doors, Bill drove carefully down the streets, hoping that against all odds, the warehouse he sought was on this street instead.
Bill heaved a huge sigh after he glanced at the clock on his dashboard. Even if he did find the warehouse, it would be closed. It was now five in the evening, and he had been driving mindlessly through these streets for over two hours. Any other person would have stopped, found a pay phone and called for directions. Not Bill. After having lunch with friends, Bill felt confident he’d have no problem finding the warehouse. While it might have been a new company he was dealing with, it wasn’t the first time he had arranged a pickup in this section of the city. Now he was ready to just hand over the useless expensive toy to the first homeless person to flag him down seeking a donation.
He was ready to give up and call it a day. With his blue-tooth hooked in his ear, Bill began to dial sister when he noticed a man lying on his side, covered in blood. He immediately dialed 911 instead. After giving his location and informing them that he was a certified in first aid, he ran to the man.
Careful to not place himself in contact with the blood on the ground, Bill gently eased the twisted body to lay flat onto the cold cement road, grabbed his fist and searched a pulse. The man’s hand uncurled and inside the tight fist was a torn piece of paper.
When the man uttered a sound from his cracked lips, Bill jerked his body backwards, startled.
“Paper.” The injured man barely managed to whisper.
“Pa…per.” The man whispered again as he tried to lift his upper body off the ground before he sagged back unconscious.
The paper, crudely folded, revealed a set of numbers and phrase that made little sense. 12 97 SP and the phrase ‘fear the forgotten’. The numbers looked vaguely familiar to Bill, but unable to pinpoint why, he placed the paper in his jeans pocket and looked down at the man on the ground.
Bill heard the 911 operator speak in his ear and inform him the ambulance was five minutes away. Bill looked at the area around him. He was standing in a narrow alley that ended at a brick wall. With the sun setting, shadows crept along the walls, which added to the unsettled feeling Bill felt. A gust of wind swept along the sidewalk, tossing shredded papers and old newspapers into the air. A foul smell permeated the air, which forced Bill to shudder from the rank odor as it enveloped him with its rancidness. Bill looked around him and assumed the stench came from the full green garbage bin that sat at the end of the alley.
Bill heard voices drift up the street, carried along from the wind that continued to dance around him and the unconscious man on the street. His first thought was he left his unlocked vehicle alone. His second thought was that they were nasty sounding paramedics.