WE JOURNEY NO MORE #99CENT SALE & #CHAPTEREXCERPT
This is my first promotion for WE JOURNEY NO MORE since it was published on 08-04-15 through Creativia Publishing. I want to say that joining Creativia Publishing was the best decision I made. If you’re struggling as an Indie Author, you might want to contact them and see what they have to offer.
Oh, did I mention its on sale?
Anyway, here’s a chapter excerpt for your enjoyment.
Don slammed on the brakes, sending the car into a hard, sliding turn, spraying cinnamon sand everywhere. They came to a shuddering stop. The force of the maneuver threw him on the passenger seat, while Janet ended up scrunched in a ball on the floor.
“Oh, God, Jan! Are you all right?” Don asked in panic.
The terrified boy reached down to help her back on the seat. She moved with stiff limbs and jerky motions, and once she was seated, she brought her knees up to her bare chest, wrapping her arms around her legs, resting her head on her knees. Her eyes were definitely lifeless, and to Don, her body felt limp, except her arms, which were tightly clenched around her legs.
He sat there, shaking, totally drained. He laid his sweaty forehead against his folded arms on the steering wheel, visions of them careening over the edge playing repeatedly in his mind’s eye. He sat there for several long minutes, not moving, trying to get himself under control. When he finally looked up, he saw the dust had settled. Numbly, he peered out, and down, at the end of the world.
They were perched on the edge of a high precipice, and far, far below he saw dark, foreboding clouds, with occasional flickers of lightning. Realizing he hadn’t heard any noises from Janet, he looked over to see if she was alright. She was staring down, seeming to be entranced by the dancing lightning.
Trying to kick start his befuddled mind, he knew he had to get them out of this god-awful predicament, but where to start? He didn’t even know if they were asleep, or awake. If they were awake, which he denied with his whole being, then where the hell WERE they? How would they get out of this nightmare?
There was a loud tapping on the trunk.
Janet screamed again, hiding her face on her arms, as Don jumped and swiveled around.
The strange knight sat atop his black, cat-headed lizard, tapping on the trunk with his lance tip. “What manner of beastie is this, young one? I had almost lost ye, it moves so swiftly. Aye, but I should have found ye no matter, fir it leaves a peculiar track as it goes.” To demonstrate, he pointed with his lance to the ground behind the car.
Rolling down the window, Don leaned out the driver’s window, following with his eyes the tracks that led off into the distance. He wondered, How did the stranger catch up with them, and why? The gas pedal had been pushed almost through the floor. He studied the lizard-beast; it didn’t even look winded. What kind of animal could run that fast?
The rider swung from the saddle, reins in hand, as Don climbed out of the car. When the warm air hit his sweaty skin, he suddenly remembered he wasn’t wearing any clothes. With a flush of pink on his cheeks, Don opened the back door, picked up his jeans and stepped into them.
With a slight brogue, the rider stated, “If I had known of this beastie, I should na have bothered to warn ye of the Skittou. ‘Tis sure they can be no harm to ye in this magnificent conveyance of yers. Aye, and ye did leave a fairly large amount of them a lying around, thrashing, for the others to finish off.” He chuckled, with a merry gleam in his eyes. “How is this done, young one?” He peered down at Don with a quizzical look, as he softly pet the trunk of the car.
Snapping his jeans, Don squinted up at the tall stranger. “Well, this is our car. It’s a Dodge,” he explained hesitantly. “Haven’t you ever seen a car before?” Looking back the way they fled from, he shuddered. “And what kind of bugs were those? I’ve never seen insects with teeth before.”
The tall lizard-rider cocked his head, running his hand reverently along the rusted, rear fender. “A Dodge? Aye, a fitting name for a beast that moves ye so far, and so fast, with so little effort.” Turning back to the shirtless Don, he asked, “Do ye not know of the Skittou where ye hail from?”
Shaking his head of short, curly, black hair, Don said, “They kinda of looked like a cross between a big tomcat and a giant iguana. In fact, everything around here looks like a cross between some type of cat and a lizard, even the creature you ride. Everything but you, that is.”
The rider’s bronzed face lit-up with a wide, white smile. “Well and politely said, young one. That bespeaks of the high breeding to me.” Pulling on the reins, he said, “This magnificent beastie of mine is Nema.” He patted the cat-head, and Nema lowered its head to get scratched behind the ears.
Taking a closer look at the lizard-beast, Don noticed that even though the body and legs were covered with thick, ebony scales, the head and tail had long, soft, black hair. He even saw long cat whiskers on each side of the mouth. Having a fondness for felines, he found himself reaching out to pet Nema. With a start, he jerked his hand back.
“I am told, young one, that the Skittou are her small cousins, albeit, I see no resemblance between them myself. Surely, such a fine beast as Nema cannot be related to things which are all tooth and appetite, I say. But fool thyself not, they would devour her, and myself, instantly, if they were able. Her scale and hide are too thick for them to penetrate, although mine is not.” He chuckled again. “She doth na care for so many around her all at one time, so she flames the rascals. Not many. Just enough to keep the rest of the creatures busy in the devouring of those flamed. Skittou eat anything. ‘Tis said they eat all but sand and rocks, and sometimes even sand.” Throwing his head back, he laughed heartily.
Don stared at him in bewilderment. What is he talking about? What was so funny? He felt so lost and out of his element. Nothing made any sense to him.
Wiping the laughter tears from his eyes, the strange knight asked, “But if ye know na of the Skittou, how far do ye hail from? It must be a far way indeed, for Nema and I have ranged here for wets in all directions, and always were there Skittou.”
As he pondered what ‘wets’ meant, Don was distracted by a noise coming from inside the car. Turning, he looked in the driver’s window. Janet was still sitting with her arms wrapped around her legs, staring off at the flashes of lightning far below. With each flicker of lightning, she let forth a soft “Oh”.
The rider leaned over, looking in the window, studying the catatonic Janet. He advised, “I say, she is out of herself right now, young one. Rest and good food is what she needs, for the moment. Then, in time, she will again be in herself. Do na fear for her,” he said reassuringly, “she will be fine. I have seen this many times before.”
Standing tall, turning to Don, he bowed. “I am Dal Bertain, of the Guard. One of our outer posts saw yer beast near to the Donhume last day, and I was sent to observe what it was. I shall be more than glad to escort ye to the camp. Yer beast will give the men much to speak of. We have legends of beasts much like this, called ‘Autos,’ but the tales are so ancient, we do na believe them anymore. Yer beast will open some eyes, I am saying.” Stroking his hairless chin with his fingers, he observed, “Aye, I see much ado about yer beast, young one. And it will be high time in camp tonight, aye, a high time indeed. Where is it ye hail from? And where is yer journey? To which camp?”
With the manners instilled by his mother when meeting a person older than himself, Donald bowed, saying formally, “I am Don Giroux, and this is Janet, uh, my wife.”
With a frown, Dal asked, “What is ‘wife’? This I have never heard before, Don Giroux.”
Don wrinkled his brows in thought. “Uh, well, it means we are married. You know?” He shrugged.
Dal stroked his chin with a blank look.
“Okay, uh, well, we are one,” Don stammered, not understanding how someone didn’t know what a ‘wife’ was. “A couple. Mated? Married? Do you know married, uh, Dal?”
A light flashed in Dal’s coco brown eyes. “Ah. Ye are one. Ye are halved. I, too, am halved, by my beautiful Cotil, back at camp. This ‘wife,’ it must be the same as my half, Cotil, my other half, forever.”
With a slow smile, Don nodded. “Yes, Janet is my other half. We are married, and she is my wife. We are ‘halved.’
Dal smiled back in understanding, then leaned over to take a closer look at the nude Janet. “You halve young where ye hail from, Don Giroux.” Standing tall, he explained, “I, myself, was thirty wets before I halved. My Cotil was, herself, twenty-eight wets when we halved, three wets ago. Where is it ye hail from, Don?” he asked a little more persistently.
Gazing around the unfamiliar terrain, he replied with a shrug, “Well, we seem to be lost, and I think our compass is broken, but we originally started from Kansas. Manhattan, Kansas. We left yesterday morning.”
Dal’s eyes snapped wide open in awe. Stepping back, he lowered himself to one knee, bowing his head and saying reverently, “Ye hail from The Kansas, Don Giroux? Truly?”
Don blinked several times in surprise, lost for words. The lizard-rider remained kneeling, head bowed. It didn’t appear as though he was moving any time soon. Why was this strange knight kneeling before him? What was so special about Kansas? Don shook his head; feeling like a rat in a maze searching for food, but only finding dead-ends. Dal did seem to know about Kansas. Maybe he knew where Albuquerque was. Maybe they found their way out of this nightmare.
With renewed hope, Don replied, “Yes, Dal, we’re from Kansas. Do you know where Albuquerque is? Are we still in New Mexico?”
Dal’s head jerked up, and his bronzed face turned pallid. “Ye know the sacred words,” he declared in a hushed tone. “Ye must be of the priesthood, as they are the only ones that know the sacred words. One so young as ye must have great power to be in the priesthood, Don Giroux. Forgive me, Master. I had no thought ye might be of the priesthood. I am sorry.” And he bowed his head again. After a few seconds he raised his head, tilting it to the side, stroking his chin. “But, how is it ye are halved? Our high priests are forbidden to halve” Then his face lit-up. “Ah. Of course, Janet must be a high priestess. Another of such great power, at such a young age.” Nodding, he continued, “Aye, I have heard of women in the high priestess hood before, but I have never seen one. She doth be a high priestess?” He looked at Don with child-like curiosity.
Slumping back against the car with arms crossed over his shirtless chest, Don let out a weary sign. He had hoped this strange man would be able to help him. But it seemed Dal knew less than he did. And what was this priesthood mumbo-jumbo? If knowing a few geographic names meant you were a priest, then Don figured Janet could be considered a high priestess, as she excelled in geography. Not knowing what to say, but not wanting to lie, Don merely nodded.
Dal, leaping to his feet, standing proud, asked, “What may Dal Bertain do to serve ye, Master?”
Perplexed at Dal’s subservient attitude, Don asked the only question relevant to him, though he didn’t expect an answer, “Dal, how far is it to Albuquerque, and how do I get there from here?”
The lizard-rider nervously backed up a few more steps, bowing his head again and pleaded, “Master Don, please do na use the sacred words in my presence. I am na worthy. I shall proudly escort ye to our camp, where ye can bespeak our high priest on these matters. But I, Dal Bertain, cannot aid ye in yer sacred queries. I am sorry, sir. Please, follow Nema and I.” Turning, Dal leapt onto his lizard-beast. Using the reins, he turned his steed toward the West, where a large, bright, yellowish-green sun had just cleared the horizon.
Don had the feeling Dal actually wanted to get away from him and his ‘sacred words.’ Worried about Janet, and realizing Dal was the only living person they’d seen so far in this nightmare world, he reluctantly climbed back into his car, ready to follow the knight to whatever lay ahead.
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