An Excerpt from Perceptions

One of my pieces that is ready for publishing is from a novel called Perceptions. Reality is not objective, and those who think they know what’s happening may be in for a surprise. Can one powerful magician and his cult will reality into whatever he desires, is he the one hallucinating, or are his victims the ones making all of this up?

Evan walked in silence, and I knew it had to be because he was tense, too. He was normally talkative, though, even when he was nervous. Sometimes, more so.

“You’re acting weird,” I finally said. “You’re not yourself.”

He looked over at me, as if he didn’t know who I was.

“This land is poisoned,” he said flatly.

“I felt that, too,” I answered, putting my hand on the butt of my gun. For some reason, that actually made me feel better. More in control. Safe.

“How do I know I’m still me?” He asked suddenly. “How do I know anything? How do I know terror?”

I wasn’t sure what to say, so I was silent for a moment. “We live in an infinite universe,” I finally replied, “and that is terror enough.”

Evan started to laugh. I swallowed down the bile that was catching itself in my throat, my heart beginning to really race this time. Evan broke into a run toward Dubbs House.

“Evan!” I shouted. “What the fuck are you doing?”

“The princess is in another castle!” He shouted back. I would have laughed had the situation been any different. But he wasn’t acting like himself, and was being even more strange than normal. Normal for Evan was always a bit off, but this was abnormal, even for him. I took my gun out of the holster, barely realizing what I was doing. It just seemed automatic, as if I were reaching for a security blanket.

We ran to the house, Evan much further ahead of me. Well, at least we were getting somewhere.

He disappeared into the house, first. Right through the front door, and that was it. He just disappeared.

I went in behind him, but more carefully this time. I was in through the door, but I didn’t say anything. I was being more cautious than Evan. I didn’t want to shout because I didn’t want to alert anyone that there was more than one person in the house, intruding. Evan pretty much blew our cover, but I tried to salvage it as best I could.

I didn’t see where Evan went. He just sort of disappeared, but I wouldn’t call out for him.

It was as if the house ate him, I thought randomly. I was starting to sweat, and a sickly feeling was washing over me.

The house was enormous, and had a front desk, like a bed and breakfast or something. Everything was clean, polished, and not what I expected. I guess I expected some run-down, tattered old house, but it wasn’t. Everything was well preserved, as if it had been restored to its former glory.

Though Perceptions is not yet set for publication, I wanted to share this with you as a gift. I enjoy playing with subjective realities, and hope that you enjoyed reading this glimpse into a world where nothing is as it seems, except where it’s exactly as it seems.

Happy reading.

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An Excerpt from Exit 1042

This is an excerpt from my upcoming short story, Exit 1042. This is just a little hint of what’s to come.

Highway image courtesy of Pixabay.

Highway image courtesy of Pixabay.

The long stretch of road had been too much for Derrick. He closed his eyes and leaned back into the passenger headrest.

The hum of the engine and rubber on the pavement were only broken by the sound of Sara’s fingers tapping lightly on the steering wheel.

Tap.

Tap tap.

Tap tap tap.

He knew the rhythm well. Once with the first finger. Twice with the second. Three times with the third and on through to the fourth.

Normally, her sonorous drumming annoyed him.

He smiled.

Today it was strangely comforting. He couldn’t think why.

Perhaps it was because it reminded him of his daughter Alice?

Derrick frowned, and closed his eyes.

For a moment his daughter was alive again in his mind. A mere glimmer. But inside that flash, folded tight as an origami puzzle, lay all the pain in the world.

Sweet Alice. Wise beyond her seven years. Velvet pantsuit with tiny blue flowers for buttons.

Blue flowers to match those in the favorite field she played in. Fat bumblebees buzzing from flower to flower.

How could he have been so naive? The highway had always been too close.

He grimaced and opened his eyes, hearing a loud semi’s horn fading.

“You okay?” Sarah asked, barely audible over the hum of the engine.

“Yeah, I’m good,” he nodded.

His voice croaked as he spoke. He coughed uncomfortably to clear his throat.

“Hungry,” he added. “That’s all.”

Her hand left the steering wheel and squeezed his. Sara pointed to the exit.

“1042,” she said. “Next exit is 62 miles and we’re running out of gas,” she told him. “There was a sign back there for a diner and fuel station. We could grab a bite before we get to the hotel.”

Derrick agreed, falling silent. Alice hadn’t died in a car accident. Alice had drowned in the lake, and he hadn’t been able to save her. His brain killed her thousands of times in different milieus. Torture by the sea, torture by abduction. Shots fired, flash floods, Hantavirus.

Years of therapy changed nothing. The coffin was sealed, and unless there was an afterlife, his daughter was lost.

Exit 1042 is now available for purchase on Kindle. Add it to your end-of-summer reading and win the satisfaction/feeling of accomplishment of having read something.