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.
Chapter 1 – Nightmares
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
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
“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