Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Sliding Beneath the Surface

The St. Augustine Trilogy Book 1



Listening to my own advice, I squatted on my heels and stretched out put my right hand. Instead of wood, I touched wet sand, dirt and what felt like a thick matting of pine needles. I pulled my hand back like it had been burned. As I thought about it, I didn’t remember seeing any pine trees on Lobo’s property.


“No way,” I said out loud in my muffled voice. “I’m on the porch. I have to be.” But the feeling of pine needles did match what I had been smelling and that gave me a tiny bit of hope, in a way. At least a couple of things connected in all that darkness.


An owl hooted loudly somewhere in the fog, making me jump. Strange as it may sound, when I thought about the owl and the things I had touched, they all helped me feel better. I don’t know why exactly, except they seemed to connect me to the real world beyond that total blackness. The owl hooted again, but this time I didn’t jump. Instead, I wondered if maybe I had stepped off the porch into the fog and just got lost somehow. If that’s so, I thought, keep feeling around until you find the porch. Once more following my own logic, I got on my hands and knees. Wetness soaked through my jeans and grit stuck to my hands. Again, all I could feel was dirt, sand and pine needles until something brushed my face, scaring the crap out of me at first.


When I felt around some more and found the thing, it was nothing more than a palmetto frond, dripping wet from the fog. Following the frond all the way down to a palmetto bush, I found a shoe. The thing is, I hadn’t seen any trash like that at all anywhere around Lobo’s house except inside his truck.


Continuing to crawl around and feeling with my fingers, I found even more pine needles, then some pine cones, and what felt like rough slivers of wood. To my sensitive nose, the scent of pine there
was really strong.


Seconds later, I found a tree about a foot and a half thick and grabbed it with both hands. Why? It almost felt like a friend there in the dark, at least something big I could hold onto, you know? It didn’t matter how rough the outside was. As my fingers explored the thing, I felt places that had no bark—spots of bare wood with splintery holes gouged out of it. Those holes oozed pine sap, and I wondered what had caused them. Yeah, my fingers got really sticky, but I could have cared less.


That’s when it happened. Slowly the fog all around me started to glow. At first there was enough brightness so I could at least see my hands, the tree, and a shadow of the tree in the fog in front of me. The source of that illumination had to be coming from behind.


I whipped around and there it was, Lobo’s front door not ten feet away. Light, wonderful light from inside Lobo’s house pushing its way through those glass ovals and making the fog glow. “Yesssss!” I shouted long and hard, and started walking towards the door. All that brightness from inside really made the wolf on his cliff, the moon and Orion stand out brilliantly as fog swirled in front of them.


When I got there, I looked through the mist and the clear glass portion of the door. The hallway and room with the fireplace and weapons were on the left, right where they should be. I didn’t see Carla or Lobo yet, but all I needed to do was open the door to safety. When I reached for the doorknob though, I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t even find the door itself—the wooden part. Reaching out with a shaking hand, I grasped one of the clear glass sections in my fingers, which should have been impossible.



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