Ninie Hammon’s Blog for Readers

Sneak Preview #2 of THE KNOWING, Book One

Posted: September 30, 2015, 12:58PM

 You only need a little set-up so what you’re about to read will make sense.

       As the book progresses, some of the main characters discover that the demons terrorizing them have roots in their past. There’s a connection between what’s going on now and what happened during the summer when they were 12 years old. Michael Rutherford was a childhood friend of the main characters who is now in a hospital dying of cancer.

     

     For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the                                  authorities, against the powers of this dark world.

                                                The Bible, Ephesians 6:12

 

                                    

  There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

                                                    William Shakespeare 

                                       

                  The Devil went down to Georgia, lookin' for a soul to steal.

                                                         Charlie Daniels 

 

 

                         THE KNOWING
                            BOOK ONE

                                    By Ninie Hammon 
                       
                                          Chapter 21

 

     Michael coughed again, but weak this time, not in a chain of irresistible barking that made black spots appear on the edges of his vision and ground like broken glass in his chest. The agony of it brought tears to his eyes. Even with the huge doses of whatever painkiller they were giving him, it hurt so bad he wanted to sob. But you had to have breath to cry and he didn’t have any left. You had to have breath to laugh, too, and he couldn’t do that anymore, either.

     His thoughts went again to Jack, Daniel and Becca. Funny how the past seemed more real than the present sometimes. Maybe it was that way for everybody at the end. Is that what folks meant when they said they saw their lives pass before their eyes?

     But in the past week, it had been more than memories that had made Michael’s life pass before his eyes. He knew he ought to tell somebody about it, though he didn’t know who. Or what he should say.

     All that bad stuff that happened before—well, it’s happening again—that’s what he should say. But to whom? Who would understand? Who would care?

     He was surprised by how badly it still scared him to think about those days, that one summer, even today, more than a quarter of a century later. And he’d been on the sidelines, purposefully, intentionally on the sidelines, not right in the middle of it all like Becca, Jack and Daniel.

     For years, he’d told himself he’d imagined most of it, that it couldn’t have happened the way he recalled. But dying had a way of stripping away pretense. He knew now that it was real, it had all been real twenty-six years ago. And it was real today, too.

     He shivered, a stab of that old terror running down his spine like ice water dripping down his collar. Even now, he still felt that out-of-proportion fear he’d felt then, that terror that didn’t match the circumstances. What had happened was…impossible, the things he’d seen couldn’t have happened, only they did.

     But even the impossibility of what he saw couldn’t account for the level of horror and terror he felt watching it. There was something more, something worse than his eyes could see, something darker and uglier than his mind could even imagine, some evil intent that turned his thoughts to images of mouldering corpses and his senses to the reek of decay.

     He’d never been able to reconcile that fear, had merely run mindlessly away, blind flight that had left him panting and sweating, heedless of the spreading warm wetness that stained his pants.

     Then it was gone. Over. As quickly and strangely as it had begun, the cloud of terror that hung over him, over the whole community, or so he’d imagined, was gone.

     Now, it was back.

     He glanced out the window at what he could see of the sky through the trees and imagined he saw a dark pall blotting the light.

     Well, Michael McKinley Rutherford wasn’t going to have to live through those days again. He cocked his head and gave an imaginary salute to the Big C, the cancer that would spare him another summer like the one he’d lived through in 1985. Actually, it wouldn’t be the out-of control cells chewing up his lungs that would spare him, though. This time at least, he would be the master of his own fate.

     He fingered the big syringe with the needle that must have been three inches long—the one the cute little nurse with the turned-up nose had called a “garden hose needle.” Bless her heart, she’d looked high and low for that thing after he’d snatched it off the metal tray when she wasn’t looking. Now, he kept it hidden under his pillow, waiting. Screwing himself up to it, gathering his nerve.

     It wouldn’t be long now. The way his pain level was outrunning the meds they gave him to relieve it, before long it would take more courage to keep on breathing than to put the needle in the juncture of his IV and shove air into it. He’d read that it might take a lot of air—maybe the length of a whole IV line, to do any damage. Michael didn’t care. He’d just keep pumping in air like he was blowing up a bicycle tire. Something would pop eventually.

     But not yet. He had awhile yet. Another sunrise or two, maybe. He wanted to pet his dog again—they’d be bringing Charger day after tomorrow. He could hold out that long, wait long enough for the feel of the golden retriever’s soft fur. He wanted to listen to the sound of the “Rolling Stones Greatest Hits” on his iPod again, too. And stay on the earth long enough for one more peek down the front of the uniform of the nurse whose top button was always undone.

     He wrapped his fingers protectively around the syringe and slept.

     When he awoke, it was dark. And he wasn’t alone.

     The big streetlight at the corner of the building usually filled Michael Rutherford’s hospital room with so much light the nurses had to pull the shades so he could sleep. But tonight the light was inexplicably out. The room was dark except for light from the hallway that fell in a golden arrow through the slit of his partially open door, and the glow of monitors that painted the area around his bed a bilious green. He could hear sounds from out there in the hallway, the muffled whush, whush of nurses’ shoes on the tile floor, the clatter of metal water pitchers and bedpans, the murmur of voices.

     What he could hear in the room was breathing. Heavy breathing. Not labored breathing like his own, though—sick and clotted. Heavy like someone had been running. Or was excited.

     “Who is it?” Michael asked the darkness. “Who’s there?”

     “Hello, Mi-key.” The voice didn’t sound familiar. But the childhood name, pronounced in two syllables, and the tone of contempt that colored the words planted a niggling itch in his memory. Where had he heard—?

     “Got any jokes to tell, Fatty Cakes?”

     Michael couldn’t even gasp. Takes air to gasp. But he was afraid—oh, my, yes!—he was so stricken with mind-numbing terror his bladder let go and wet warmth flooded the bed.

     The only person in his life who’d ever called him Fatty Cakes was Ronnie Martin. And he hadn’t seen Ronald Martin since that long-ago summer when dark horror stalked every corner of his world.

     Denial tried to leap to his defense. They were grownups now, after all. He should laugh and tell Ronnie to turn on the light, let Michael get a look at him, see how the years had treated him, maybe joke about a growing paunch or receding hairline.

     He didn’t laugh or joke, though, because he didn’t have enough air, wouldn’t have had enough air even if cancer hadn’t chewed a hole through both his lungs. He wouldn’t have been able to say a thing if he’d had the lungs of a young a boy, a twelve-year-old boy, who couldn’t speak then either.

     “You were with them, Mikey,” the darkness said. “Too fat and stupid to be one of the group, just the tail they wagged behind them. But you helped the three and the light. Now you’re gonna help me.”

     The inky blackness formed words in a pitted throat full of rocks and pieces of broken glass. “Where’s Becca?”

     Becca Hawkins?

     Michael hadn’t seen Becca Hawkins since high school! She’d become invisible after that summer. Michael had tried to talk to her, engage her, make her laugh those little bells again. But it was almost like she didn’t know who he was. Becca had melted into the background of the school and life until after graduation and then she vanished for real and no one ever heard from her again.

     When Michael didn’t answer the question—because he didn’t know the answer and because he had no breath at all for speech—the thing that had spoken moved closer.

     What Michael Rutherford experienced then could have been a trick of his failing eyesight, or an illusion occasioned by the massive doses of narcotics in his bloodstream. It was neither. Michael had a foot in both worlds. Teetering on the brink of living and dying, dangling between ultimate light and absolute darkness, had granted Michael a gift. Or a curse. Michael Rutherford knew.

     A form appeared in the glow of light around his bed. It didn’t step from the darkness, it was made of darkness—not only in this room, but all darkness everywhere, all bottomless pits, all deep holes filled with black water where horrible things had drowned and left behind their formless, mouldering corpses. Its shape was of some great winged creature with the hideous face of a deformed ape. One eye was lower than the other, both were red and looked out from under a brow ridge with no forehead above it. The top of the creature’s head was lumpy, with horns protruding at odd angles, and incisors the size of daggers stuck up past pendulous black lips below a pig-snout nose—only half of it was missing.

     Cold flowed out from it in a wave. It frosted the tiny stream of Michael’s breath that leaked out his nose past the oxygen tube, then hung in a shiny white trail of lace in front of his upper lip.

     Though the form had wings like a bat, it had the hairy legs of a spider wrapped tight around Ronnie Martin. The left side of Ronnie’s face drooped, his left arm hung useless, but he held in his right hand a screwdriver that glowed in the green monitor light.

     “We used one of these on Jack,” Ronnie said and his breath glowed white in the frigid air. “Drilled it into his bones.”

     Michael knew what they’d done to Jack with the Phillips head. He’d watched them.

     “I’m going to use this on you like we did on Jack unless you tell me what I want to know.”

     Michael looked pleadingly into eyes the gray of frozen ashes. He was unable to beg for mercy because he had no air for speech.

     And for a moment, an instant, Michael saw a spark of humanity in Ronnie’s eyes, so sunken they looked like twin holes in his face. For a heartbeat, those eyes locked with Michael’s and he saw there a terror and desperation he had never seen in another human being.

     Then the look vanished and one of such feral savagery took its place that Michael would have gasped if he could have.

     Ronnie leaned over the bed, his face inches from Michael’s. The creature on his back spoke, its voice as empty and cold as an Arctic wind blowing across a thousand miles of barren ice. “I want Becca!”

     From Ronnie’s throat came a sound unlike any Michael had ever heard. It was a human growl, the snarl of a mad dog.

     Michael’s panic exploded. He shrieked soundlessly with his poisoned, rotted lungs and struck out in a reflex to push him, to push it away. Ronnie let out a high-pitched squeal and a drip of warm liquid splashed on Michael’s cheek. Then Ronnie grabbed Michael—or seemed to—but didn’t hold on. The weight on Michael’s chest slid instantly away and he felt a stinging pain as the IV needle in his arm yanked free. On the heels of the pain was a clattering sound and a thump. He sucked in air and began to cough and suddenly light flooded the room.

     Voices. A nurse—the cute little one?—screamed.

     The room was suddenly filled with people, stepping around something by his bed, but when Michael tried to see what it was, his view was blocked. He struggled to sit up, but nurses pushed him firmly back on the pillow. Then, for a moment, the crowd of people parted enough for Michael to catch a glimpse of what was on the floor. It was Ronnie Martin, lying face up. The three-inch, garden-hose needle that had been in Michael’s hand when he fell asleep was buried up to the syringe in Ronnie’s left temple.

     Then Michael Rutherford let go. With what little air he had, he wailed a wordless cry of horror and revulsion, and gave himself up to mindless hysteria.






Comments

Keith October 1, 2015, 7:08PM

Wow! Suspense!
The excerpt makes me want to read the whole thing. or at least start it and see where it is going. Appreciate the style!
   Reply

Replies (1)

Renee Hammond October 1, 2015, 7:25PM

Ninie - I'm gonna be having dreams about this book. I don't think they'll be good ones either - and you truly are going to make us wait to get through THREE of them until we get to the end???????????

I am hooked! Can't wait! Are you sure you don't want to just do one GIANT book????   Reply

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Virginia October 1, 2015, 7:47PM

OMG! I can't wait for this book to come out! I need to know what's happening to these people You sure can turn a phrase, Ninie!! Love it!    Reply

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Janis Dyke October 1, 2015, 7:48PM

Love it and can't wait until it is out! THIS is Fall! Hope it is soon. I love the way you write -- makes me feel like I am in the room. Thanks for this excerpt.   Reply

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Peggy Gray October 1, 2015, 7:51PM

Wow! Somehow missed the section of chapter one, I read them both today. I can hardly wait to read the book! "Watch out Frank Perreti, here comes Ninie!"   Reply

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Geraldine October 1, 2015, 8:05PM

Hi Ninnie,
This new book is great - so looking forward to purchasing it when completed. You bring so much joy to your readers. Take care.   Reply

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Sarah October 1, 2015, 8:46PM

Ninie continues to amaze me with her imaginative writing style. I am SO looking forward to the release of this book.
   Reply

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Maureen Metheny October 1, 2015, 9:49PM

this is great! so intrigued with this story -- can't wait to read all of it, thanks for giving us a peek, looking forward to the completed book........   Reply

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Margaret Harrington October 1, 2015, 10:13PM

So far this would be a book I would not be able to read because of the fright factor. The supernatural part would be fine, but I would be too scared to read it.   Reply

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Sharon Pohlman October 1, 2015, 12:25AM

The characters in your books are so real, so human, it makes my heart ache for what they are going through. I can't wait to read more!   Reply

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Paula Mainhart October 2, 2015, 9:46AM

Love, love, love it! I can't wait until it is published. Thanks for the opportunity to give us a little preview. Makes it all the more exciting!   Reply

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Kat October 2, 2015, 10:56AM

I was drawn in, but I'm pulling back. This is not my usual genre, but like in your other books I've read, I feel the pull, I feel the pull. Stop! And I'm pretty sure I want to read the rest of this book.   Reply

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Elsie Hall October 2, 2015, 11:11AM

Write quicker! I'm hooked. Can't wait to read complete book from start to finish. Good concept, looking forward to seeing you keep it twisting and turning into another excellent book. Love the detail and characters you create.   Reply

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Jane October 2, 2015, 9:44PM

Boy howdy, this is going to be a good read when you've finished!   Reply

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Anna Rasmussen October 2, 2015, 11:53PM

I am hooked! I love all the other books I have read and am really looking forward to being able to read this trilogy too! Wow, you do know how to keep my attention. Thanks for both previews.   Reply

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Tam October 3, 2015, 2:28AM

Riveting and close to home and that is what makes it real and terrifying. I look forward to reading the story behind this segment, but will be reading in small increments to keep discomfort to a tolerable level.    Reply

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Robinn October 5, 2015, 8:50AM

Wow!! This is really scary!! Can't wait to read it when it comes out!   Reply

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Judy October 5, 2015, 10:34AM

I want to read more on what happened that summer! This sure makes me want to read more of this book.   Reply

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Peggy Whitehead October 5, 2015, 7:28PM

Loved it!
Need more!
I have no issues to critique, how could I? I'm just a woman with an insatiable appetite for amazing books!
Like air to breathe, the written word fulfills a part of me that I'd die without!
Ninnie, you definitely ticked "all the boxes" for me! You whet my appetite, left me wanting more...
You've only given us 2 "teasers" but my mind is already trying to piece things together. When you finally release these books, it will be very interesting to me to see how far off I am!
Is there a tentative release date yet?
This may seem sad, but I saved this scene to read first thing this morning, a special little treat for my Birthday! Thanks for the unintentional timing!
Thank you for sharing your amazing "gift" with all of us!
As always, keep 'em coming!   Reply

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Orianna October 5, 2015, 11:47PM

I absolutely love love love your writing and am loving these sneak peaks! Thank you. I can't wait for the books in their entirety.    Reply

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Ferna Lary Mills October 6, 2015, 5:52PM

Love it! Write faster!!!   Reply

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Outdoorgal October 7, 2015, 6:06PM

Can't wait to read the entire book. Thanks for the teasers...   Reply

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Wes October 13, 2015, 4:32PM

Amazing!   Reply

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Bridget October 15, 2015, 3:41PM

I loved this chapter. I will look forward to seeing the rest.   Reply

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Debbie October 23, 2015, 10:21PM

My mind is reeling, wanting to know the whole backstory. Can't wait for the release. I used to read Stephen King many years ago then I lost interest, the stories didn't grab my attention anymore. You've hit my attention Ninie. Looking forward to the release.   Reply

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Jeanne Lawrence October 25, 2015, 7:43PM

Wow! Already love it and can't wait to read the whole book! I'm guessing it's another home run Ninie! Looking forward to it!

Thanks for keeping us posted and for allowing us to enjoy your literary genius!

Jeanne
   Reply

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Lisa October 25, 2015, 9:43PM

I am looking forward to reading this book. Both teasers have me chomping at the bit to read it. i can't wait until it's released so I can dive in!   Reply

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Robinn October 26, 2015, 6:45AM

Definitely waiting on pins & needles here!!    Reply

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Sharon Leidall November 7, 2015, 1:42AM

I am sooooo glad I only have to wait a few days to get started on this trilogy! This second excerpt does make me think of Steven King's writing style, which is intended to be a compliment as I have spent countless hours being enthralled and terrified by his stories. However, I've also spent hours enjoying your books, and I am counting the days until I can read "The Knowing."    Reply

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Patricia Dufour November 13, 2015, 1:47AM

I love what I've read! Another great book that grabs you right from the beginning. Can't wait to read more. I've just bought the book from Amazon although it wasn't listed for 99¢. Your books are worth any price to me.   Reply

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Rhonda Ritchie-Warren November 17, 2015, 7:10PM

Wow, this is definitely different from your other books. A trip through the paranormal world will be gripping. I somehow missed 1st chapter looking forward to this series!   Reply

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Roberta December 6, 2015, 5:20PM

I can feel Michael's terror is that hospital bed...waiting to die. If that isn't bad enough, here comes something far worse than makes dying seem trivial in comparison. I love your books, but this " Knowing" is something altogether different for me. Your writing is so excellent that I can't wait to read more.   Reply

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Judith Blevins March 9, 2016, 11:50PM

Hi Ninie,

This is a follow-up of my post on 9e's Kitchen Table on March 8,2016. I mentioned I had a question for you and something I wanted to share. The question is. Where did you get your information about how the demons controlling your antagonists in (The Knowing ) Appeared to those who saw and felt them? You are right on the mark.
I believe you must know someone with that ability or maybe you have experienced it yourself.
You will probably think I am bonkers, but I have always been aware of otherworldly things around certain people. The most sinister of all the things I see and hear are the people who have a black cloud over their heads. The cloud moves with them where ever they go...causing them do strange and scary things. All those with the black cloud have demonic expressions on their faces I get away from them as quickly as possible. The picture on the cover of ( The Knowing ) and your description of the demons is very eerie to me because I have seen them as well. Don't know why, just do.
Anyway, just wanted you to know you hit the mark and I am curious where you got your ideas for the images. I truly feel it had to be someone you know if not yourself.

Blessings,
Judy Blevins
haroblevi@aol.com    Reply

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Rhonda Ritchie-Warren June 8, 2016, 12:52AM

This series is a different twist for you. I just discovered you in the last year. I'm reading every book that you have written. You have the ability to draw the reader into your stories. Keep the books coming!   Reply

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Patty Murray June 10, 2016, 2:17PM

This excerpt is reminiscent of Frank Perretti's style. I hope that the side of goodness and light is given as much recognition as the dark side - no, more - so that this story has a redeeming value instead of just being a scary story to tickle the ears and excite the emotions of readers. God bless you as you write. You have been gifted to use it for His glory.    Reply

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Susan Deur October 12, 2016, 10:55PM

When will book three in The Knowing series be released?   Reply

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"Oh, and about the 9 and the e beside my name. Say it fast, emphasis on the 9. That’s how you pronounce my first name -9e. (Think “rhymes with tiny and shiny, NOT with skinny and penny.”)

Suspense Author
NINIE HAMMON

I have soooo many stories I want to tell you, so many worlds I want you to see, so many people I want you to meet. People in trouble, most of them. Big trouble they didn't ask for but there it is. Ordinary folks like you and me who are forced by circumstances to fight for their lives. And then, smack in the middle of their everyday worlds they encounter the unexplainable. It's always the game-changer.

Welcome to my world. If you'd like to know more about me, I'm easy. Click on Meet Ninie and you'll see. My life isn't really an open book; it's more of a pamphlet, and you are cordially invited to read it. I'd love to interact with you on Twitter, Facebook Fan page, and Goodreads. Or come visit with me at 9e's Kitchen Table, a Facebook group where readers and I hang out. I think you'd like it.