Some of you may recall that Angelguard went through many iterations having started out as a 707 page first draft. Today, I thought I’d share one of many scenes that were deleted.
For those of you who’ve read the novel you may remember the car chase scene in Chapter 23 when Zhou Chau, en route to meet Jack Haines in Fontainebleau, avoided the roadblock where the enemy waited for him. In the original version, Zhou didn’t avoid the roadblock and was taken captive.
Here it is.
Somewhere north of Paris, same day
Zhou knew he wouldn’t get another chance. He hoped they would continue to underestimate him. Sure, he was only five six with a body that was unlikely to get him a spot on WWE wrestling, but he had done enough jujitsu as a teenager to look after himself.
He sat tense holding his two feet sole-to-sole in front of him praying silently to the God of the Bible.
“He’s on his way,” Jolane announced as she came alongside Andola in the rafters. “Only the one, but he’s carrying a gun on his right hip.”
“Good, well done Jolane,” Andola replied. “Now Zhou be bold, be courageous, and have faith!”
“Yeah, a mustard seed size at least,” Jolane added.
Zhou heard the footsteps approach as they descended the stairs towards his prison cell. He got to his feet, looking calm but feeling like he was shaking uncontrollably. He looked at his right hand that held the china plate noticing it was as still as a board. Must be only shaking inside.
“Help me please God, please, oh mighty God,”
He took up a position directly in front of the door, twelve feet back, feet apart, his hands behind his back.
The door opened slowly and the henchman who delivered the sandwich and water walked in carefully.
He looked straight at Zhou, oblivious to what was about to happen.
“Enjoy that?” he said mockingly.
“Yes, it was just what I needed,” Zhou responded, the double meaning falling on deaf ears.
Without another word, Zhou’s left arm swung out ferociously from behind his back hurling the plate at his captor’s throat just like he was throwing a Frisbee to an invisible opponent fifty feet away.
The flying missile cannoned into the unsuspecting henchman’s protruding Adam’s apple pushing it violently back into his throat. His hands immediately clasped for the wound as he fell backwards, his head banging on the hard concrete floor.
Zhou, a little in shock, hung back momentarily, to see if the prison guard had been knocked out by the impact. He soon got the answer when he heard the man gasping for breath, his throat blocked by the sudden impact.
Zhou seized his chance and sprung alongside the spread-eagled man reaching for the gun holster on his right hip. Struggling for breath, the henchman offered no resistance as his hands automatically maintained their grasp on trying to free his airwaves. The dark brown eyes of the helpless thug bulged out of his head, filled paradoxically, with rage and fear, pleading for Zhou to help him.
Zhou had the holster with the gun in his hands. He knew he couldn’t just leave the man here like this if he wanted to get a decent head start, so he yanked the gun out of its holder, gripped the silver shaft and smashed the hilt down on his forehead knocking him senseless. He knew he had succeeded when the man’s big hairy arms became motionless no longer fighting to free the intrusion in his throat.
The building that had been his home for the past twenty-four hours was long and thin. The temptation to go for one of the police cars was strong but he quickly reasoned he would be in all sorts of bother if he got caught running to them or, on successfully reaching one, not being able to start it.
So he figured going behind this building was his best course of action. What lay behind it he had no idea.
Whilst still on his haunches he quickly crept along the concrete wall of the building, reaching the end of it after about thirty feet. He stood upright and snuck round to the side, six steps later he was at the back corner. He edged his body firm up against it, and peered around the corner.
To his disappointment all he saw was a lush green valley running down for what looked like about two miles to a stream. Beyond the stream was another two or three mile hill, but this time it went straight up. On the top of the ridge he could faintly see what looked like another old house.
He knew he had little coverage until he reached that other house on top of the hill but he didn’t have an option. If he could get up there before the alarm got out he might just make it. He hoped they would first think he would head in a straight line away from the house, closer to the road, rather than the apparently longer and, potentially more open, escape across the valley.
He set off at a good pace, barefoot, having left his loafers back in his prison cell, the slope getting ever steeper the further he went, making his journey easier. Halfway down, the steepness of the descent, sent him toppling over into an unstoppable roll which moved him even faster. Zhou managed to tuck his arms under his body fighting the urge to resist. Fortunately, the grass was thick and soft and was devoid of any rocks. The thought of smashing his head against a bolder did cross his mind momentarily but he managed to shake it off.
Before he knew it, Zhou’s kamikaze roll stopped a foot short of the running stream. He got to his feet feeling a little worse for wear for the bumpy ride and looked up to the prison that he left minutes earlier. He didn’t see anything, the glare of the descending sun blinding his view. He hoped anyone looking down from the house would be similarly blinded giving him some extra protection.
He put it to the back of his mind as he stooped down to the stream scooping some of the cool water into his hands, splashing it over his face and behind his neck. It felt good. He didn’t want to drink it though, not knowing what it might contain.
All the time Andola and Jolane stood behind Zhou, arm in arm, forming an invisible barrier between him and anyone up the side of the hill from where he just came.
The stream was only five feet wide at one point so he jumped it and started making his way up the other hill. It was a lot tougher, being just as steep. He was on all fours scampering as fast as he could, his chest burning from insufficient air, his lungs appearing too small to clutch the air he needed, all the muscles in his legs, arms and stomach grinding with pain. He gritted his teeth, sweat soon filling his eyes.
For some reason he couldn’t explain, the climb started to get easier and before long he had reached the top of the ridge. He flopped to the ground with exhaustion, his body feeling like lead.
After trying to get as much oxygen into his burning lungs as possible he turned around to look from where he’d just come. All appeared exactly as he left it a few minutes ago.
“Thank you, thank you,” he spurted out between breaths.
Maybe he was going to make it, just maybe.
Please let me know if you have any questions about how particular scenes evolved.