Thursday, November 20, 2014

Inside Cover Excerpts (NaNoWriMo Bonus Post, November 20th)

Here is a sneak preview inside Indigo Redemption, three excerpts that describe the onset of the fateful weather and the arrival of the ancient hunter in Indigo:


Early evening: 

Away from the shelter of buildings and tree-lined streets outside Indigo, the wind had nothing to stay its force. What had begun as gusts developed into a linear stream, west to east, as the day wore on.
On the road south from town, the freezing rain fell nearly sideways, driven by the wind. Discrete pellets of ice in the liquid rain bounced and shattered on the road, then melted almost instantly. Each was a tiny tick in the temperature of the road, shifting it downward, until at last it had chilled enough for the ice to stay.
Without any change in appearance, the road surface began to take on a frigid glaze. Beneath the mask of innocent rain-slick, it was building a deadly layer of black ice.
North of town, the highway led between short banks built up over time as drifting sand and soil was caught at fence-lines and fixed in place by the roots of weedy plants. The slight channel this made of the road-bed was sufficient for a while to forestall black-ice conditions. The wind, tumbled through fence posts and dried dock and timothy grass stalks, sent the occasional ice pellets skittering back and forth across the center-line.
Preserved from melting to the pavement, these beads and shards of ice accumulated in tiny drifts on either side of the highway...


Around 9 PM:

On the road south from town, a light mist of rain still fell sideways, driven by the wind, but like its volume, the ice in it had decreased. The chilly rain began to make channels in the black ice, running underneath it and freeing its edges from the pavement.
The layer of black ice was no longer continuous, and it would crack and break away with any pressure from above, like that offered by the tires of the ambulance traveling south to the County Hospital.
North of town, the highway between its banks was still patterned by the drifting shards of ice. Not snow or sleet, the crystals were still too cold to melt into a black sheet. Rain here had almost stopped, but the lowering clouds promised more to come.
The drifts on either side of the highway, no longer tiny, began to lap against the weedy roots and fence-posts. Ominously, the wind shifted and began to blow steadily from the north.
The wind's heart was ice, and the temperature dropped further. Gradually, the roadway was swept clean, but along the edges of the highway, the drifted shards merely shifted and clung together. They were still discrete crystals; only their jagged nature preserved the drifts against the teeth of the wind...


And: 

Around midnight, the wind calmed, almost ceasing. In the chill air, lowering skies began to drop snow. At first, it fell gently, large clumps of flakes clinging together in the air. Silently, it fell, and where the snow met wet leaves, tree limbs, and twigs, it stuck. It accumulated, building as thin or wide a stack of white as the surface provided.
On the quiet streets, the snow laid a thick carpet that melted onto the wet surface before layering drier and ever-drier sheets of flakes above it. Sidewalks and driveways were similarly spread with a thickening quilt of the cold white snow.
For an hour, the snow fell without a sound. No cars stirred in the vacant streets of Indigo, so there were no tires to disturb the pristine surface. Dogs and cats slept in their warm beds; their owners likewise.
On the Beton ranch, finally asleep in the straw, the milk-cows grumbled and breathed out warmly in the chill air of their stalls, and dreamt of clover and calves. Under the woodshed, the barn cats wrapped their tails around their cold noses, and twitched feet in pursuit of dream mice, and the snow fell thickly around shed and barn alike.
At the Merrick's, the Danes whimpered where they lay, shifting in their slumber, and the snow blanketed the long drive, the front steps, and the roof of the walled-in breezeway that led from the old ranch-house to the utility shed. Bev Merrick pulled her quilts tighter without waking, and dropped further into dreamless sleep.
Max Stillman sat in his kitchen office, the glow from the computer screen reflecting off his closed eyelids. His breath came deep, and then deeper, and his head began to nod forward. In her recliner in the living room, his mother dreamed she was a young woman dancing, in a red dress and shiny red shoes. Outside, the snow quietly filled the walled space over the front steps, and coated the roof with steepening piles of white.
To and fro in the streets of Indigo, had anyone been awake to observe, a woman's figure walked. Caped and hooded, she was protected from the cold and snow, and she stalked down the middle of the street. There was no one to object, no traffic to obstruct. She traversed the town from block to block, going up and down the pristine streets.
Behind her, the long cloak brushed the snow and wiped away her footprints.



Total: 38,949 words.