Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Winter of the Birds excerpt

For those of you who've read The Summer of the Frogs, this excerpt might be of particular interest.  For those of you who haven't... get thee a copy and read it.  ;-)

I wasn't expecting Stian to show up in my room. Andy. Tommy. Miss Kitty. A random traveler who took the wrong doorway, sure. But not Stian.

I looked up at him expectantly.

What are you up to?” he asked.

Writing in my journal.”

May I sit?”

I waved over to my bed. I was too comfortable in my chair to get up. He sat awkwardly on the edge and looked around my room. I went back to writing. He fidgeted for a moment before he stood up again and wandered over to my book shelf. He picked up a piece of foam and chuckled.

I looked over my shoulder at what had caught his attention.

You still have this?” he asked.

Sure, why not?”

I remember the set this came from.”

I don't.”

Well, that's hardly surprising, even if you didn't have amnesia.” He put the foam back in its place on my shelf.

I get the feeling you aren't here to look at my stuff,” I said.

He exhaled. “No. No, I came here to talk to you about something.” He walked back around my chair to return to his tense perch on my bed.

You probably don't remember, but I told you about when I was in my coma?”

Stian." I shut my journal.  "I found my stuff. Things are starting to come back to me.”

I see.”

What I can't remember for myself, I know from reading my past journals.” I put my chin on my hand and looked at him pointedly. “Are things beginning to come back for you also?”

The dreams. The dreams I told you about before are becoming more vivid, more real. Some times I'll catch things out of the corner of my eye. I just thought if I talked to you....” He trailed off.

You want to make sure the crazy isn't contagious or something?” I frowned at him.

No! Of course not! But you know things. You were the one who found me, right? I thought you could tell me what really happened.”

I lifted my eyebrows and considered him for long moments. He was so tightly wound, I thought he'd pop a vein before long.

What are you prepared to believe?” I asked him.

What do you mean?”

Maybe you should just read about it. I'm surprised you haven't already.”

He bristled. “Don't insult me. Whatever you write down is your business.”

I backed down. “I think if you read it all from the beginning, you would have a better grasp on things. But only if you're ready to open yourself to possibilities. Otherwise, don't bother and don't ask me questions.”

You're serious, aren't you?”

Why wouldn't I be?”

Are you back on your meds?”

Stian, get out,” I sighed. I flipped my notebook back open to the page I was working on and went back to documenting my hum-drum life.

I heard my bed springs squeak.  I could feel his gaze as he stood there. I ignored him for a moment to finish a sentence.

I looked up at him. “I want to help you, Stian, but you have to be open to what I'll say. You have no idea what's out there.”

Okay” was all he said before he walked out.

I shook my head. I felt for my brother. I knew what he was going through. The paranoia, the insomnia, the itch that couldn't be scratched, the idea there really was something out there just outside our senses, yet teasing the edges of them. He'd be back when the shadows became shapes and the shapes moved about on their own right in front of him.

I set my pen down and stared at nothing. Why had they even taken Stian in the first place. And where? Had he been poisoned too? Didn't they know our frail human bodies weren't able to absorb and pass it? I rubbed my forehead. They wanted to be rid of me so badly, but they, in their short-sightedness, had created two of us. If they did inject him, which seemed to be the case, I hoped it was in very small doses. Unlike me who had taken an entire venom sack in one shot.

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