Welcome! Indie Author Excerpts is a feature allowing indie authors the chance to showcase one of their books and allows readers to find their next favorite story. Each week, an indie author gets to promote a 1-2 page excerpt of their book here at Nerdhuffing. This is a win-win for everyone! This feature was inspired in part by Indie Author Spotlight, a meme hosted by Beckie @ Bittersweet Enchantment and CYP @ A Bookalicious Story.
[indie-author-excerpt] Excerpt from chapter 4 – Lost Son
A warm, orange fire flickered in the pit. Pockets of sap snapped and hissed. Daniel propped a useless roasting spit against the oak. He hadn’t managed to catch any fish. Sitting on one of those huge roots, thinking about food and his family, hands hurting so badly he hated the rope, Daniel quit. He’d just go home, apologize and eat. By then he’d forgotten why he’d run away in the first place.
That was when he heard footfalls in the forest. He searched and called out, “Pa? Is that you?” There was no answer except for an added urgency in the approach. Horace was coming to the oak. Daniel recognized him through the lowering gloom by the size of his shadow. “Pa!” His father had never come to get him before. Horace always waited for Daniel to break. The boy smiled and thought, not anymore. Now you’re too old! You’re too old and need help with the chores. Ha ha, Pa! Daniel’s smug grin narrowed into suspicion as he studied his father’s stride, a staggering charge.
His eyes went wide. “Drunk on some!” He shimmied up the rope, regardless of his hands. “Oh no you don’t, Pa!”
Horace grabbed the rope below, but it was too late; Daniel had reached the tree house and pulled himself through the opening. The boy tried to bring the rope up too but it stuck in his father’s grip. Daniel scowled down at him. “Fwah! You can’t get up it anyway. Even if you did you couldn’t fit through the hole! You can go on home. I’m never coming back!”
Daniel plopped down, folded his arms and frowned at the rope. Horace’s drunken slant showed in its tension and waver. Over a few silent minutes, the boy started to imagine fishing from a raft, an oak tree for a pole and a sea monster on the line. He narrowed his eyes and decided to wait him out, refusing to speak.
After half an hour, he started to think his father had fallen asleep. Daniel tugged on the rope. Horace still held it tight. The boy went back to frowning.
That night the campfire’s glow came up from the hole and around the edges. The platform was like a lily pad on a pool of light, and Daniel was the toad. His wide, big-eyed frown watched the rope stay tight and wavering. He thought it was very strange. What’s he doing? Is he angry? Is he sorry? He tugged the line again. “Pa?” His father had come and was down there waiting for him. It had to mean something.
Despite the things said in anger, Daniel always planned on going home. Every time he’d run off before, he’d been welcomed back. So, he spent much of his time away thinking about how to word his grievances upon return. Though the circumstances were odd, with his father having come to him rather than Daniel crawling home in defeat, it seemed like the right time. He gave Horace the prepared speech.
“Pa, if you’ve got to give me a wallop, you shouldn’t call it a spanky. That’s disrespectful to me. I’m grown up, or near there, and you shouldn’t shame me like that in front of Becca. You always say to say sir and be respectful, but you should too. I don’t mean calling me sir, but being respectful.”
As Daniel waited for a response, guilt began to replace his draining frustration. He said things before he’d been knocked out of the kitchen that night. Part of him felt he deserved a wallop. “Pa, I’m sorry about what I said the other day, about Ma. I didn’t mean it.” He wanted to see his father’s face. He needed something other than silence. But, descending the rope still felt like a bad idea. He lay down and waited for Horace to speak.
Daniel woke up in the morning, in the forest’s dappled light. The rope was the same, tight and wavering. It wasn’t just strange anymore. It was frightening. “Pa?” He crawled over to the hole and looked down at his father’s blank, smoking stare. A cold weight settled in his stomach.
Each week, William Harlan is illustrating and reading a chapter from Antioch, which will be available as a free download, so go check it out!
About the Author
William Harlan lives in Houston Texas with his wife, Carrie, and son, Adrian. He is an “A” ranked Gouken on XBox live Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and is also an unaccomplished songwriter.
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