As always, I'd love to hear your feedback (either here or over on my Facebook page). Keep in mind that this is an unedited teaser as the manuscript is still in Editing Mode - it may change yet.
Enjoy (if that's even the right word!).
BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER
DUE FOR RELEASE: 2014
TEASER (unedited version, subject to change)
Max sat on the edge of the small wooden dinghy that was dry-docked in the boat house and stared out across the water. The bay was still, the water not even lapping the shoreline anymore. It was crystal-clear, the mountains on the opposite shore reflected in it. In stark contrast to the peace and tranquillity around him, his mind whirled so much he could barely think straight. The air was thick with the sound of chirping cicadas and it felt like he was hanging onto the last threads of sanity with only one hand, fighting off the incessant cicadas with the other.
He could feel them watching him up at the house. He knew they meant well, but it was nobody’s business how many beers he had or how fast he drank them. A sense of entitlement bolstered him. He took a mouthful from the bottle of beer in his hand, as if proving a point. Shuddering in the afternoon heat, goose bumps rose on his skin. He was hoping the peace and tranquillity of the water’s edge would somehow make things better.
He tried to recall Danny’s face. He tried to remember the sound of his laughter. He fought to remember the simple things but it all seemed hazy and unclear now. The only thing he could recall in crystal clarity was the blood. So much blood. Not red and clear, like in the movies, but dark and sticky.
Breathing heavily, he hunched forward, resting his elbows on his knees. The edge of the wooden dinghy he was sitting on became hard and uncomfortable as he picked at the label on his beer bottle.
Max almost jumped. He rolled his eyes and shook his head as Gavin peered around the boat house doors that he had pegged open to catch the most of the view.
“Man – you nearly gave me a heart attack.”
“Sorry.” Gavin shrugged apologetically and walked into the darkened boat house, thick with the stench of damp, settling himself beside Max.
They sat in silence for several uncomfortable minutes.
“I keep forgetting how quiet it is out here.” Gavin mumbled after a while.
“Yeah, if you can get past those bloody cicadas.” Max mumbled, his eyes scanning the horizon as he took another long swallow from his bottle.
“Noisy little buggers.”
They sat awhile longer, the afternoon heat gathering around them, stifling them.
“You think we might take the boat out later? Think it’s still watertight?” Gavin asked suddenly, turning around to scan the boat suspiciously.
Max shrugged, glancing behind him.
“Yeah, maybe. Who knows.”
The silence settled over them once again.
“Here’s the thing - we’re worried about you, dude. Lacey sent me out here to check up on you – she told me to be discreet but I don’t really do discreet, shocker, I know.” Gavin said simply. “So how are you – really? Because you look like crap.”
Max gazed out over the water, sighing. He didn’t even bother to lie and tell him that he was fine. There didn’t seem to be much point.
“Did you ever, y’know, wonder what Danny was thinking about, the second before he pulled the trigger?”
The silence hung between them like a shroud and time stopped for a moment. Even the cicadas seemed to hush.
“Honestly? Yeah. I used to think about it a lot.” Gavin said finally, his voice barely audible.
Max nodded solemnly, glancing around at him. “And?” he prompted, when no further details were forthcoming.
Gavin shrugged. “And, I don’t know - I don’t have a clue.” He paused for a moment, breathing out heavily. “Honestly, I’m not sure I even want to know anymore.”
Max nodded. He understood the sentiment, but somewhere deep inside him, he had really wanted Gavin to say something else. Something reassuring. Something that he could live with.
“I just wish he’d told someone.” Gavin continued quietly. “That might’ve made a difference. Maybe we could’ve helped.”
They sat looking out over the bay as the late afternoon sunlight caught the water, making it sparkle like diamonds bobbing in the deep.
“He didn’t want help.” Max said quietly.
He could feel Gavin’s eyes on him, digging deep inside his brain, trying to dredge up the images from that day.
They’re right there, he said to himself. Right in front of you. Help yourself.
His hands trembling now, he took another long swallow of beer, trying not to choke on it as the memory of that day lodged in his throat.