As promised, here is the beginning of the story inspired by an essay that my son, Christian, wrote.
Aided by Christian’s essay and the rough outline we designed together, I am working to fulfill a promise I made to my son, to complete this work and publish it. In following the 90 Day Challenge, my goal is to publish the book by mid-September.
I am currently working on chapter 6, staying on target for the completion of the rough draft. The following excerpt is the beginning of chapter 1, and unedited. Please feel free to comment with any feedback.
A work of Christian fantasy fiction, this is the story of a fight to save a small Alaskan town from utter destruction when it is caught in the middle of a supernatural battle between good and evil.
The blood curdling screams pierced the night, waking Ellie from a deep sleep. As she was stumbling through the dark toward her grandson’s room she wondered, “Will the nightmares never end”? She turned on the light as she entered Jason’s room and once again, found him thrashing around wildly in his bed and screaming in terror.
Ellie reached out and gently touched Jason’s arm, speaking softly in her thick Irish accent saying, “Jason, wake up! It’s only a dream dear boy, it’s only a dream”. Ellie knew not to get too close, as Jason had swung at her before in waking, bruising her jaw in the process. She knew her grandson would never hurt her intentionally, but the look of terror in his eyes at that moment told her of a desperate scene being played out in the young teen’s mind, one where he was literally fighting for his life.
As Jason sat up, shaking with fear and gasping for air, Ellie tried to reassure him. “There, there, now laddie. It’s alright, I’m right here with you”. She gently patted his hand for a moment, while his mind began to clear. After a few seconds, Ellie wrapped her arms around the boy’s shoulders and held him as he began to sob deeply. “I tried, Grammie! I tried to save them!” Jason’s voice was so full of pain and desperation, it was almost unbearable for Ellie to hear. “I tried to pull ‘em out, but…those things wouldn’t let me, they wouldn’t let go!” As Ellie sat holding her grandson, gently rocking back and forth and trying to comfort him, her mind wandered back to that night four years ago.
Jason’s parents, Jack and Marie, had both been tragically killed when the family’s house burned down. For some strange reason, none of the neighbors heard or saw anything of the fire until the next morning. Jason was found unconscious in the yard, still in his pajamas, with burns on his hands and arms, and claw marks on his face and chest. He was in shock, and he repeated over and over, “I tried to pull mum and dad out, but they wouldn’t let me”. The doctor that treated Jason for his burns suggested that Ellie take him for counseling. Having lost Marie, her only daughter, she thought perhaps counseling could help them both. So, she made an appointment with a priest from the local church.
Father Elliot had seemed rather unsettled as Jason tried to describe for him what had happened the night of the fire. Jason said, “When I woke up there was fire everywhere, and I could hear Mum screaming for me”. He said, “I tried to get to the door, but it felt like someone was holding onto me and I couldn’t move”. He continued, “All of a sudden, the door burst open and Dad rushed in and grabbed me up. He ran out into the hallway and shoved me down the stairs, yelling for me to get out of the house”.
Ellie sat quietly, wrenching her fingers as she listened to Jason. She was fighting the urge to cry, wanting to be supportive of her grandson, but still feeling the pain of her own loss. Jason continued.
“I looked back and saw Dad grab Mum, trying to pull her down the stairs, but she wouldn’t move. Then the stairs began to collapse, and they both fell down onto the landing. I was reaching out for them, but Dad suddenly lunged forward and knocked me out the doorway onto the front porch”. The tears were flowing down Jason’s cheeks and he began to shake as he said, “When I turned back toward the door, I could see Mum. She was reaching out for Dad and screaming, ‘let go of me’. Then I saw something that looked like a man, but with a face like an animal. It was holding onto Mum, trying to pull her back into the fire. There was another one trying to grab onto Dad. I ran back into the doorway and tried to reach out to them, and Dad grabbed my hand. I could see his eyes…he was afraid”. Jason paused for a moment, then said, “I tried to pull as hard as I could, but something jumped out at me and knocked me out into the yard”. He continued, “The last thing I remember is hearing Mum and Dad screaming, and another voice that sounded like it was hissing and laughing. Then everything went dark”.
Ellie had hoped that by leaving Ireland and moving to America to start a new life, that it would end the suffering of Jason’s constant nightmares. Almost every night for the past four years, Jason had awakened, screaming the same thing over and over. Though Father Elliot had been sympathetic to their loss, he didn’t believe Jason’s story. He said that it was probably just Jason’s mind trying to deal with an unfortunate accident by trying to find someone or something to blame for it. The cause of the fire was never discovered. But there was some speculation that it was intentional, that it had been started by Janet, Jason’s older sister…
Ellie was snapped back to the present when Jason’s alarm clock went off. They were both startled by the ring, then smiled at each other, trying to bring back some normalcy to their morning. Jason said, “Well at least this time, it was almost time to get up anyway”. Ellie smiled and said, “I’d better be getting onto making the biscuits. Young Blake will be here soon, and I’m sure he’ll be hungry as always. He’s such a skinny lad, I don’t know where he puts it all”.
Well, that’s it for now. Stay tuned for more exciting excerpts in the coming weeks. If you are interested in becoming a beta reader, or want to receive updates for the book’s launch party, be sure to subscribe to my email list here.
Thanks for joining me in this adventure, and as always, I welcome your friendship!
Blessings. – Amber
“Live a life worth living, a life of integrity. Be real, kind, helpful and wise, always with an attitude of gratitude. And whatever it is you do, give 110% effort to it, even in the little things”. – Amber
Copyright © 2019 Amber Leggette-Aldrich.