andrewgreybooks (andrewgreybooks) wrote,

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Uncorked came out yesterday and I'm thrilled, but I things need to keep moving and I just finished the edits for Child of Joy and returned them. I thought I'd go ahead and include an excerpt. Child of Joy comes out December 21, the winter solstice.

This excerpt is from the unedited version and contains the entire prologue.

He woke slowly, as though from a deep, happy dream. The sun shone brightly through his windows. He lifted his head and looked out, trying to decide what was different. The view outside hadn’t changed: the trees, the lake, the quiet. Everything appeared the same, and yet things were different. The air felt different, albeit slightly, but it was definitely different. Pushing back the covers, he got up and walked to the window, throwing it open to let in the air, and he inhaled deeply and smiled.

“Yes, I didn’t imagine it.” He inhaled again before closing the window and going outside. Walking around the house, he continued letting the air flow over his body, trying to determine where the scent was coming from. Then he realized it was on the wind, just barely discernable, but definitely there. “I haven’t sensed this in what must be decades.” He spoke the words out loud even though there was no one around to hear them, but that didn’t matter. The excitement inside him built nonetheless. Well, excitement tinged with fear. “I need this, need to be near them, but I can’t let them see me. Who knows what they’ll do if they find me.” Luckily, he was very good at hiding; he’d been doing it long enough. He was also very good at watching without being seen.

Going back inside, he packed his things into a small bag. There wasn’t much, but what he packed was important. It didn’t take long and his bag was ready. Then he went outside again, making sure the energy was still there. Unfurling his wings, he took to the air. With a wave of his hand, the house disappeared from view and he then headed west. He was going to miss his home; he’d been there for a very long time, but always alone. As he rode the air currents, he wondered what they’d be like. The last of their kind he’d met had been frightening, but maybe these would be different? He let himself hope. There was always hope, but he wasn’t very confident.

The scent was getting stronger and he could feel his body begin to react to the energy. Without it, this journey would be too exhausting. On he flew, over forests and cities, lakes, huge and small, and rivers. He followed the energy to its source: a patch of land in what looked like the middle of nowhere. But he could definitely feel it; the energy was very strong here. As he flew lower, he passed over a small lake, tall trees, fields dotted with sheep and goats, a house, barns, and then trees again, miles of undisturbed trees. “That looks like a nice spot.” He flew just above the treetops before seeing the shimmer of a small creek in the late evening sun. Swooping beneath the canopy, he landed near the base of a huge tree.

The air was so clean, the trees so tall, the forest floor so wild. “This is perfect.” He almost rubbed his hands together in delight as he again looked up at the tree. “You won’t mind if I make you my home, will you?” He smiled when he got his answer, and got to work.

* * *

Arthur woke suddenly, gasping in surprise. Raising his head, he looked around, but nothing was different.

“Arthur, are you all right?” The door to his room cracked open.

“Yes, mom. I must have dozed off.” He was sitting at his desk, the light on, books spread out.

Her head appeared in the doorway. “It’s nine o’clock. Why don’t you go to bed? You’re working too hard and could use some rest.” Maybe she was right; maybe he was just working too hard and needed a break. Getting up from the desk, he left his room and wandered down the hall to the family room. His dad was watching television, well … more like sleeping in front of the television. Not wanting to disturb him, he went into the kitchen where his mother was cleaning up. She stopped what she was doing. “Are you hungry?”

Arthur smiled. “No mom, I’m fine. Thanks.”

“You look like you have something on your mind.” She finished wiping the counter and then put the cloth in the laundry.

“I just had the weirdest dream, but I can’t describe it. Usually when I dream, they’re images, but this time I had this very intense feeling pulling me toward the farm.” She sat down across the table from him and listened. “I don’t quite know what to make of it. I know Uncle Travis says that satyr dreams are important, but this one was just weird.”

“Maybe you should give Travis a call in the morning and see what he thinks.” She got up and patted him on the back before joining his dad in the family room.

Arthur lifted himself out of the chair and wandered back to his room. Maybe he was just tired, but he didn’t think so. In the morning he would definitely call Uncle Travis to see what he thought.

Back in his room, he closed his books and got ready for bed, sliding beneath the crisp sheets. He fell asleep quickly and had the best dream. He was flying over the farm, the lake, the fields, the trees, all passed beneath him. He could see the sheep and goats in the fields. Instead of landing at the farm, he continued flying, landing near the base of a massive tree.

It was a nice dream, but one that was hardly memorable, and in the morning, a pleasant feeling remained, but the details of his dream vanished with night’s darkness.

Tags: child of joy

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