As I find myself drawing near the end of the edits of the second book of my Finding Nate series, I figured I’d share one of my favorite scenes from the first book, Altered to Kill, that was cut and never made it into the final publication of the novel.
This scene takes place on Mira and Liam’s road trip to find Nate and includes the ghost of Bridgette, a character I had to cut for various reasons. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
UNEDITED DELETED SCENE FROM ALTERED TO KILL
I sit in bed, holding a pillow to my chest. My puffy, red eyes burn from crying, and when I think I’m all out of tears, more manage to spill out. The television hums at a low volume, but I’m not watching it while Liam’s in the shower. I know he decided to take one to give me alone time, but I could use a hug.
I wipe my face on the pillow and flip through the photo album I had shoved into the glove compartment of the SUV for safe keeping. Every picture feels so long ago, like something from a history book of my life, and it’s hard to remember what it used to feel like being so happy without clouds constantly hanging over my head.
I stare at the ticket stubs and the picture of Nate, Liam, and me at a rock show after what was supposed to be Nate’s death date. The time-stamped was the proof I was going to show Liam but didn’t need to because the doctors were enough proof.
I lean back and stare at the ceiling. I count each breath, finding the will to calm down. I’m so depressed. I want to give up, curl into a ball under the blankets, and stay here forever. I’m homesick more than ever, and my heart hurts every time I remember I can’t go back.
A cool breeze plays with my hair, and I jerk up, startled. None of the windows are open and the AC unit isn’t on. I shiver as cool air slides over me again. Fear swells in my chest, and my heart races. There’s nothing here, but I can’t shake the feeling of being watched. I pull the blanket higher around me and search the room for something not there. I half expect the Boogie Man to jump from the half opened closet, and I grab the remote and turn the television up louder than my thoughts.
It blinks off.
I stare at the remote and hit the power button and set it down next to me. It blinks off again. Panic hammers through my chest, and I slide off the bed. My hands shake as I tiptoe across the room to the bathroom. When my fingers touch the door handle, the remote flies at the wall next to me.
I scream and run into the bathroom. Liam jumps from the shower, and I grab onto him, holding him in front of me like a shield. My hands slip off his wet shoulders, and I pull back, covering my eyes.
“I should’ve knocked,” I say, feeling behind me for the towel hanging above the toilet. My fear morphs into embarrassment, and I feel like running back into the room. It’s less mortifying out there.
“I’m covered,” he says. I glance at him through my fingers as he peeks into the room. “What’s wrong?”
I release a breath and stare at the floor. “Something weird happened.”
“It scared me to death. First the TV kept going off and then a remote flew at the wall. I think this place is haunted.”
Liam searches my face, and I can’t help but look at his bare chest. It’s very distracting, but I feel a lot better now. My heart isn’t pounding from fright anymore. It’s pounding harder because, well, it can’t help it.
“Maybe it was something electrical,” Liam suggests.
I reluctantly bring my eyes to his. “You don’t believe me.”
He sighs, rubbing his wet hair with his fingers. “It’s not that. A little TV flickering has never harmed anyone.”
Every single horror movie I’ve ever watched plays in my mind. “Are you crazy? TV flickering means we are going to die in here. It’s the perfect place. No one knows we’re here. People think I’m already dead. The TV flickering is taking advantage of me, and whatever is causing it is out to get me.”
He has the nerve to laugh. “I think you’re over thinking this entire situ—” Liam’s eyes widen and he freezes. By the look on his face, I know something horrifying is behind me.
My heart is going to explode. It can’t take this anymore. “You’re really scaring me.”
He offers his hand out to me and I take it. He pulls me to him, and I turn to look behind me. Nothing’s there, and I let out a giant breath. “Don’t mess with me. That wasn’t cool.” I push him back a little.
He frowns and doesn’t meet my eyes. “Look at the mirror.”
I turn away from him and shift my eyes to the mirror. My heart falls into my stomach when I see it. I compose myself even though I want to knock Liam out of the way and run out of the room. I step closer to the mirror instead. Traced into the steam is a word no one wants to see.
I tap Liam’s shoulder and nudge him back so I can get out of here. He cups my chin instead of moving and turns me back to the mirror. A new line is forming and whatever is making it has more to say.
My eyes trace each letter as they form. H-I-D-E. “You want me to hide? Where? Who are you? Leo?”
N-O. The ghost is getting faster, but it’s not writing anything close to a novel and isn’t giving me the answers I want. B-R-I-D-G-E. What is that supposed to mean? The clues really suck. Am I going to die on a bridge? Or should I hide under one? “I need the map. I want to know what bridges are on the way to Virginia,” I say to Liam.
S-T-O-P. Each letter forms even faster. S-T-A-Y. A-W-A-Y.
Liam walks up to the mirror and inspects each word. “Stay away from Virginia,” he says. It’s weird hearing him talk to the mirror even though I was shooting out questions a second ago. It looks crazier than it feels.
Y-E-S. N-O-T. S-A-F-E.
“But Nate is our only chance. We need his help,” I argue.
“What is that supposed to mean?” I ask.
“Stop it!” I scream. I grab the hand towel and wipe the steam from the mirror. “Leave us alone.”
I fall into Liam and he holds me. He guides me away from the bathroom, and we sit together on the bed. He rests his hand on my knee and puts his arm around my shoulder. I sink into him and smell the fresh scent of his shower.
I twine my fingers through his hand holding my knee. “I’m at a loss.”
“It’ll all work out,” he says.
“How do you know?”
“I don’t. I’m trying to comfort you.”
I can’t help but smile. “Should we keep going?”
He shrugs. “I think so. Let’s try not to let a ghost influence our decision. We don’t even know who it is or if they’re messing with us.”
“You’re right,” I say.
Liam tucks my hair behind my ear. “We can leave now if you want.”
I press my head into his bare shoulder. “No, it’s fine, but you should really get dressed just in case.”
He smiles. “But I’m comfortable.”
I giggle and roll my eyes. Even after everything, Liam can still joke around and make me feel at ease. If only the ghost could’ve minded its own business and left us alone, I wouldn’t have to worry so much. The ghost has to be wrong. No one is going to die, not if I can help it.
Thanks for reading!