So I wanted to start out in 2020 doing something a little bit different. This is going to be a busy year, and it’s also going to be a year that focuses a lot more on my writing in several different aspects. There’s the publishing process going on at the moment, as well as writing and editing other novels on the side. That being said I really want to show case the things I’m working on, and more specifically the things that will be readily available to the public sooner rather than later. That means I’m going to attempt to post a weekly excerpt for you folks to read so that you can get a bit of a glimpse into what is coming up and what my writing style is like.
We’re going to kick things off with a little blurb from what was once Before That Winter, but what will soon be combined with A Crooked Mile to make the first book in the new Rust trilogy. This is a book that nobody but myself, my two previous editors, and my new publisher has seen before. So this little blurb is completely knew to everyone else, which I think is sort of exciting! Anyway, without further ado, the first weekly excerpt of 2020 (I will try to post one every single week, likely on Saturday evenings seeing as that is when this one is appearing)!
Alec’s first glimpses of Rust, Montana were in the dark. They had flown from Colorado to the airport in Billings, where they picked up the car in the short term parking lot. They stopped to have a meal at an Italian restaurant his father picked out, and after that they were on the road for several hours heading on toward home. Everything outside the windows of the car was snowy, a blanket of white seeming to cover the entire world. The landscapes were beautiful though, lots of mountains and rolling hills, though after a little while Alec fell asleep with his head resting against the cold glass of the window.
When he woke up again it was dusk and his mother was offering him a bottle of water and a snack, since it had been awhile since they had eaten. He wasn’t particularly hungry but he ate the gold fish crackers without complaint or argument, the station on the radio fading in and out like it couldn’t decide if it wanted to play them any music or not. Eventually his father turned it off and they were plunged into uncomfortable silence. Normally he would have put on his headphones but they were buried in the trunk with all this other stuff, and he knew better than to ask whether or not they’d be stopping any time soon.
They didn’t stop, they just rolled on through the darkness that never seemed to end. There were no stars to look at our constellations to count either, fresh clouds having rolled in to commander the night sky. His mother made a comment about another round of snow coming, and he visibly cringed a little. It had snowed in Colorado Springs, but it hadn’t been quite like this. The mountains around them had gotten the very worst of it, and what snow they did get was quickly cleared away by man and plow. Out here it was entirely different, and it made him feel a bit closed in even though he didn’t speak about it out loud.
Eventually they turned off the highway and onto a narrow and winding two lane road. He could see lights ahead of them, glittering all together like a beacon in the otherwise black abyss. When they passed the sign that said ‘Welcome To Rust’ it dawned on him that those lights were the town, and that the few blinking lights beyond must be houses. That meant that most people didn’t likely live in town but instead away from it, their homes dotting that snowy landscape that stretched out all the way to the mountains in the distance.
“Do we drive through town?” Alec, taking more of an interest now that they were in the place he was meant to call home. He had never been here before, he only knew what his brother had told him, but his father was already shaking his head.
“Not tonight, no. Most stuff is already closing up or is closed already. Tomorrow your mother can bring you for a look if you’re that interested,” his dad told him, making a left turn onto a road Alec hadn’t even noticed. There were no street signs here, not really, just a post that announced this to be route four. The pavement dipped and then disappeared, giving way to gravel and dirt mingled with filthy snow that crunched beneath the tires. Fields rolled away from them in both directions, right and left, mostly covered in a layer of now but with some bare patches here and there that showed frozen earth and sometimes nubs that had been left behind from the last wheat crop.
There were no houses on the right hand side of the road, the few that existed out here lined up on the left. They passed one modest one story ranch style place with four cars in the driveway, a road winding past it to another house that sat further out. All Alec could make out of that one were the lights on inside, the rest lost to the dark. They passed a dark barn and then two more houses close together, so close in fact that they appeared to share a wide driveway that was so deeply rutted he didn’t know how anyone actually parked in it. Next there was a ramshackle two story place, the kind that he would have imagined if someone had asked him to describe a true farm house. A barn sat behind it and to the right, a huge oak tree growing up beside it. There was only one car in the driveway but all the lights were on, lighting the place up like a Christmas tree. They whizzed on by though, passing a solitary dark trailer and then nothing.
They wound on for a mile past that big old farm house until they came to the place that was now the Davis family abode. It was a big house, a newer build with white siding and a wrap-around porch, a few downstairs lights on along with the porch light. His mother’s small SUV sat lonesome in the driveway, and it felt so bizarre to see it there at all. The concept of Rust had been real enough for him, he knew it did exist, but this was something else entirely. After months of nothing he was just suddenly here, unprepared and unsure. He had known he would be there over Christmas break of course, but that had always just felt so far away it wasn’t something he had spend much time dwelling on.
It was overwhelming as they stepped out of the car and were greeted by silence that was only broken every twenty seconds or so by a bark from inside the house. His father was already in the trunk pulling out bags, and Alec didn’t wait to be snapped at. He grabbed a suitcase and his duffel bag and headed for the porch, heart pounding in his chest. He was about to reach for the doorknob when the door suddenly flew open and then Bryson was there, clambering outside in his bare feet to hug him tight around the neck.
“You’re okay,” Bryson whimpered, and it took a second for Alec to register the fact that his brother was crying into his shoulder. “I was scared! Mom said you hurt yourself but they wouldn’t tell me anything else! I’m so glad you’re okay! Are you okay?”
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