(The following is an excerpt from a work in progress. -- ed.)
It was Sunday night, about ten p.m. At this time of year, full darkness came late. When Lindsey stepped out of the store, finally, after a very long day, her body vibrated in physical and emotional exhaustion.
She shivered in the sudden chill, but when she tipped her head back under the wan light of a half a dozen sodium bulbs on their tall standards, her jaw dropped.
The sky was ablaze with colour.
“Oh!” She looked around, but there was no one there.
That was always the way, wasn’t it?
It was just her and the crickets.
She stood hugging herself for warmth.
No one there.
Off to her right, voices and the snapping of the flames came from a dozen different campfires scattered up and down the hill. People partied, drank, talked or just stared mindlessly into the flames.
Their bonfires, rarely small, were a source of endless fascination to young and old alike. Blinded by their own interest, they couldn't look up. People dreamt by the fires, she being reminded of something Dale had once said. The old guy could be profound enough when he wanted to be. It just took a couple of stiff ones.
The trouble was, that this was the here and the now, this was not a story—and she had no one to share it with. This was an experience, perhaps even a potentially mystical one. If only the right person were there.
With her heart sinking a little, she lowered her eyes and turned her head. She could always go up and party. Sit by the fire and talk. She’d be welcome pretty much everywhere. With someone or other.
They were all pretty nice folks…guests, really.
Cabin Seven, the vagaries of fate and the course of development being what they were, wasn’t too far off. It was the second one in on the beach side of the road. The lights were still on inside, and just as the thought came, she saw his head and shoulders in the kitchen window. He was face-down slightly, probably washing up at the kitchen sink.
She bit her lip.
The aurora borealis didn’t often come in summer, and the display, stretching from horizon to horizon, was totally spectacular.
She had nothing to lose.
With the resolve to at least give it a try, she put her head down. Marching up the gravel road, around the corner and onto his front porch, she raised her hand. Looking right and left, her uncle Dale or Mark were nowhere in sight. This was a good thing, although one or two guests were visible strolling along on their little road, they didn’t matter nearly so much.
Taking a breath, Lindsey thought of her first line, and then gave a couple of gentle raps.
“Frank? Can I call you back later?” His words came, dimly caught through the thin walls of the cabin.
She could hear Liam moving around in there. He most likely took a quick look through the peephole.
The front light came on above her. The latch snapped and then her eyes were flooded with warm amber light and he was right there.
He wore the earpiece and the thin extension microphone of a hands-off telephone system. It occurred to her that he might have been working. She had no real idea of what he did for a living.
After all…they barely knew each other.
Like the proper fool she was, in spite of some initial planning, she blurted out the first thing that came into her head.
“What’s that wonderful smell?”
Liam Kimball grinned. Shirtless, his hair was slightly disheveled and he was barefoot. His hand came up and he pushed his hair down, somewhat at least. There were one or two tufts still running rampant.
He didn’t often have this kind of effect on women, but it was something she had been unable to hide.
Crikey, she couldn’t have been a day over eighteen or nineteen. It was making him feel distinctly old, possibly even grubby. Maybe even a little bit dirty.
All of this at the age of twenty-seven.
All of this before he’d even really had a drink.
With this one, you were sort of cautious about taking a real good look at her.
“Ah. What a wonderful question. I admire enthusiasm, incidentally.” Reaching out, he took her hand.
Liam Kimball pulled a slightly-bemused and unresisting Lindsey into his comfortable, albeit temporary new lair. He closed the door behind her, trying not to over-linger on her protuberant nipples or the pert belly-button revealed below her cut-off, hot pink tank top.
Lindsey had very nice shoulders, he observed.
“I’m glad you asked that. It’s my own concoction. Not three, not four, nor even five peppercorns. Mine is what I call six peppercorn gravy…”
He wasn’t kidding either.
“Man does not live by fish alone.” He’d done something with beef, judging by the lingering aroma.
She stood there with an odd look on her face as he beamed paternally, face a little flushed. She caught the smell of alcohol. It was discernable although he was far from out of control. A man like Liam would rarely be out of control, she thought, chin up and looking on that cautiously optimistic male face.
She couldn’t help but look around.
Her eyes widened slightly, then she did her best to ignore a small automatic pistol on the kitchen table, in the middle of being stripped down to its constituent parts for cleaning and re-oiling…she closed her mouth firmly. There was a computer, screen glowing blue, and various bits of electronic equipment, of a kind she wasn’t immediately familiar with but it might have been a fish-finder…???
There was something forbidding about the black glass eye on the front end of it. The side was open, and it was trailing coloured cables and wires all over the table top.
This was probably a good time to mention the northern lights.
Her mouth was opening to speak.
He turned around to head for the kitchen and that’s when she saw the scar.
(End of excerpt.)
Anyways, we hope to have our first novel done by the middle of March...knock on wood.