With internet and home phone on the fritz at the moment, I am reduced to posting from the public library. (there are SCARY people here! And I don't mean just me!) To tide you over until regular blog posting can resume, here's another Teaser from Peacemaker. It's a bit long, but I just kept wanting to include more!
He wasn’t even aware that he was dreaming until the Indian woman walked out of the doorway next to him, glancing about the town curiously. All sound faded away, leaving the two of them alone in the morning’s first light.
“You again?” She gave him a smile, pointing toward the mountains. “No, not this time. I don’t know how you’re doing this, but you either tell me what you want, or go away and leave me in peace.”
She pointed again, her smile fading into an insistent frown.
Caleb stood, and the chair beneath him vanished as if it had never been. “No. I’ve had enough of your folk for the time being. Lacking in hospitality, I must say.”
A look of frustration crossed her lovely face, and she seemed to be debating something. Finally, she held her hand out to him, asking him to take it with a pleading look.
“You’re not going to leave me alone, are you? Every time I close my eyes, you’re going to come walking into my dreams until I do what you want.”
She stepped closer, offering both hands now, silently begging him to take them.
With a resigned sigh, Caleb placed his hands in hers.
They were in the mountains, that much was clear. Walking hand in hand, she led him down a rocky path that meandered aimlessly through the tall trees. She had no regard for the darkness of the night, save to smile each time she heard a night bird call.
As the trail headed steadily upward, Caleb climbed beside her, realizing belatedly that all his aches and pains had faded. He felt like he could have climbed the entire mountain, and the one beyond that as well. She tugged at his hand as he lagged behind in his reverie, and he walked faster to catch up.
“Where are you taking me?” She didn’t answer, which was no more than he’d expected. “What is so important?”
She turned and pressed a finger to her lips, imploring him to silence, and walked on.
It felt like they walked for hours, wending their way up the mountain, climbing through rocky crags and twisted gnarled pines by the end. Caleb could tell they were nearing their destination, because she motioned for him to stay and crept ahead, disappearing from view for some time.
When she returned, she again motioned for him to be silent, her grim face telling him how serious this was. Then she led him forward.
They crouched at the top of a rocky outcropping, looking down in to a vast chasm in the mountainside. A few hardy bushes clung to the steep sides, but for the most part it was a graveyard of fallen, shattered boulders, a river of jagged stone flowing through a deep canyon.
Nothing stirred. No birds flew over head, no agile mountain goats braved the peaks. It was deathly still.
The woman reached a hand out, passing it lightly over Caleb’s scarred eye. The touch was gentle, almost a lover’s caress, and when she was done, she pointed again into the rocky abyss.
A giant slumbered there. He had not been there only moments before, but he was there, now. Made of the same rock as the chasm itself, the behemoth slumbered at the bottom of the canyon, cradled as tenderly as any child. His face was formed of chiseled boulders, hard planes of granite and shale. The full moon caught crystals of quartz on his surface, and he sparkled. His craggy hands could have crushed an entire house with little effort, and the entire mountain vibrated with the force of his breathing.
Sleepily, the massive creature shifted its shoulders, barely moving at all, and further down the mountain, a rocky avalanche crushed all that lay before it.
Oh how Caleb wanted to ask her what the giant was, but he suddenly understood the danger. God forbid that thing should wake and find them there.
The woman rested her hand on his arm, her eyes asking if he’d seen enough. He nodded, and they were suddenly gone from that place, returned to the thick of the forest.
“What the hell was that thing?”
Once again, she did not answer, and motioned him to follow. Their trek this time was faster, and she stopped them in a thicket of dense foliage. Pushing one branch aside, she pointed ahead.
This time, Caleb knew just where he was. They looked down on the nullstone mine, and he could even see the small rise where he’d watched them the night before. There was no one visible, but the sounds of picks on stone were loud in this strange dream stillness, sharp enough to hurt his ears and make his teeth ache in his head.
Tink-tink-TINK! On and on it went, even when he pressed his hands over his ears. Tink-tink-TINK! TINK-TINK-TINK!
He felt it before he heard it, rising up through the soles of his feet, shuddering through his hips into his chest, where his heart went cold with a deep primal fear. And when the roar reached them, the trees themselves bent nearly double in terror. The great rock giant was bellowing in pain.
High above them, near the cloud-covered peak, the mountain was moving. Great sheets of shale and granite were shifting, sliding, gathering momentum as they plunged down.
“We have to run! Go, go!” He tugged at his companion, urging her to run, but she only looked at him with sad eyes. And he knew there was no where they could hide. “What do we do? We have to do something!”