#ExcerptWeek – Harbinger by Marcia Meara

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Thought I’d squeeze in an excerpt of my own, if you guys will indulge me. This is a scene from Chapter 3 of  Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3. Hope it gives you a shiver or two, and you get a small hint as to the kind of man Cadey Hagen is, along the way. Enjoy!

~~~

3:00 A.M. Sunday, March 2, 2014
Morganton, North Carolina

EYELASHES FROZEN, EACH gasping breath a snowy plume in the frigid night air, the boy ran for his life. Heart pounding, he scrambled up the wooded slope, terror driving him faster and faster.

There! Just ahead, a warm light glowed in a small window. Home. Safety. Only a few yards more.

He lurched forward, sure he was going to make it, now. His heart sang with joy, even as his foot slid on an icy patch of old snow, and he went down hard, knocking the wind right out of himself. The metallic taste of blood from his bitten tongue flooded his mouth, and for a moment, he couldn’t move. He was simply too tired to keep going.

No, no, no…get up. You got to get up. You’re almost there.

Desperation gave him a last burst of energy, and panting, he struggled to his knees. The woods loomed dark and silent around him, and he dared to hope he had outrun his pursuer. Then he heard it. A soft rumble at first, the sound built into a full-throated growl, coming from the last stretch of trees between him and his daddy’s tiny cabin. Somehow, it had gotten in front of him. He was cut off!

As he stared in horror, two glowing pinpoints of red appeared not ten feet away, growing steadily larger, as the beast stepped out of the bushes and into the moonlight. The dog was huge, and black as coal. And those fiery eyes stared unblinking, directly into his.

Whimpering, he felt a rush of warmth as he wet himself. He’d seen the Black Dog, and that meant it had come for him. He was going to die.

Somewhere in the dim recesses of his mind, he heard his aunt calling his name, but it was already too late. When Ol’ Shuck shows up to get you, it’s always too late. Still, she called, her voice coming from far away.

“Cadey? Cadey . . . ?”

He tried to answer, but could make no sound, and stood helpless, watching. Just before it leapt, the Black Dog’s lips peeled back, revealing long, gleaming teeth. Hot, foul breath washed over his face, as Ol’ Shuck opened its mouth impossibly wide, and Cadey tumbled forward into its reeking maw.

At last, he screamed.

“Cadey? Cadey? Wake up. You’re tearin’ all the blankets off the bed with your thrashin’ around. Come on. Wake up, honey.”

With a cry, Cadey Hagen bolted upright, head swiveling this way and that, as he recognized the familiar shadows of his darkened bedroom.

His wife of ten years was sitting up, as well, her face lined with concern. “Are you okay now? You were havin’ a bad dream, hon. Haven’t had one like that in a while, have you? You want to talk? Bet you won’t be goin’ back to sleep any time soon. I can make coffee, if you like. It won’t be any trouble, Cadey. How about I make some coffee for us, and you tell me about your dream? Would you like that?”

What he would like would be for his wife to shut the hell up and let him catch his breath. But of course, that wasn’t going to happen. The woman didn’t know how to close that mouth of hers, even when he asked her to.

“No, Vonda. No need to get up. I’ll be fine in a minute. Just go back to sleep, okay?” He swung his legs over the side of the bed.

“Where are you goin’? I mean, I really can make some coffee, if you can’t go back to sleep. I’ll be happy to get up with you.”

“Vonda, for God’s sake. Can I just go pee by myself? I’ll be back as soon as I’m done in the bathroom. I don’t want to talk, and I don’t want to listen to you talk, either.”

He glanced at the clock. “It’s three in the morning. No one drinks coffee at three in the morning, even if they’ve had a bad dream. Now go to sleep, dammit!”

To give her credit, she did shut up then, lying back down, but her hurt silence made more noise than her rapid-fire chatter. He knew if he didn’t apologize, the rest of the night would be a lost cause.

He patted her arm. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you. It was just the dream still hanging on. Really, I’m fine now. Just go back to sleep, and I will, too, when I’m done. We can talk tomorrow, if you want.”

She gave him a tremulous smile, nodded, and turned over, always ready to do his bidding. It was one thing he really liked about her. Maybe the only thing.

In the privacy of the bathroom, he sat on the closed toilet seat, and buried his head in his hands. The dream had really shaken him up, even though he’d been having it every three or four months for twenty years. You’d think it would have disappeared by now, or at least changed in some way. Or maybe, he could just once be smart enough to realize it was the dream, as soon as it started.

But no. That never happened. And every single time, it all proceeded exactly the same way, except for one odd thing. It was always the same season in the dream world that it was in the real one.

Other than that, nothing ever changed. The dream would start with him running through the dark woods, heart pounding, and desperation building, as he tried to make it back to the safety of his home. Every painful gasp, every terrified cry, the same each time, until he pitched forward into the foul-smelling darkness of that hideous mouth.

When his shivers subsided, he washed the sweat from his face, got a drink of water, and headed back to bed, where Vonda already snored softly. Hoping he’d have no trouble falling to sleep, he crawled in beside her. Only a few hours until he had to be at church, to take care of several tasks before his Bible study class got underway. Plus, there were items to get ready before regular services started, too.

Being the deacon at the Light of Grace Baptist church carried important responsibilities, and he wanted to be sure people noticed how well he carried them out.

~~~

Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3 is available on Amazon here, in both print and Kindle format. (Do be aware that  while it can be read alone, there are some things that will make more sense if you’ve read the preceding two.)

31 thoughts on “#ExcerptWeek – Harbinger by Marcia Meara

    • Thanks, Judith! Yes, I saved every word of your lovely review of Harbinger! SO pleased at all the nice things you said, and I hope you are looking forward to reading the third Riverbend Book, too. I’ll be starting on it Wednesday, if all goes well. Can’t mess around. I’ve got STORIES to tell, you know. 😀 😀 😀

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  1. Yam, yam! Simply delightful! It grabs you from the very beginning and makes you want to know the rest. Waiting for the info for a spotlight now that it’s ready and you have the buy links.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, Carmen! I’ve been working on too many things at once, and several have slipped through the cracks. Will email you shortly to figure out just what you’d like. And thanks for the kind comments. I’m glad it grabbed you! 🙂

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    • Yay! I hope you enjoy them all. I’ve had so much fun exploring those mountains and the legends and ghosts that live there. My new tag line for WRR is “Welcome to Wake-Robin Ridge, where ghosts walk, ancient legends abound, and things still go bump In the night.” If I had one for Harbinger, it would probably be “You can run, but you can’t hide.”

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  2. Nothing like a good nightmare to scare the bejesus out of you! (Seemed appropriate, since he’s a deacon and all…) Pinned & shared, Marcia. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • My sincere hope is that certain parts of this book will really make folks shiver. And I see what you did there, with Cadey being a deacon and all. 😀 Of course, his idea of being a deacon probably has very little connection to the reason most men become one, but that’s another story. Oh, wait. That’s actually THIS story. Exactly. 😀 😀 😀

      Thanks for sharing, Linda! ❤

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    • Thanks, Kass. I hope you’ll enjoy it, if you find time to check it out. It was fun being back in my mountains again, and especially spending time watching Mac and Rabbit bond, as they were pulled into this mystery. And nothing like a big, black demon dog to keep you showing up for work on time every day. 😀 (I didn’t want to tick off Ol’ Shuck!) 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks! I’m glad it grabbed you. Do keep in mind that it is book 3 of an ongoing series, and while it will make sense on its own, you would miss out on the relationship development between the key players. But either way, I hope you’ll enjoy the book(s) when you get a chance to read it. Thanks for posting!

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  3. Hello, Marcia. I just discovered you and your series through Carmen Stefanescu’s blog. Loved the excerpt here and at Carmen’s blog. I just bought book one of the series from Amazon and look forward to reading all three. They sound like my kind of stories!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Mae Clair! Thanks so much for stopping by today. I’m so glad the books sound like something you’d enjoy, and I sincerely hope you do. Getting started as late in life as I did means I have to learn this craft IN A HURRY! 😀 I have lots of stories I want to tell, and I hope to get better with each book. I can’t wait to hear what you think of my first one. Thank you for giving it a try, and I hope you’ll love your visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains, my favorite place on earth. So far. 😀 Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I plopped my first series down right smack dab in the middle of my favorite place in the world, the Chimney Rock/Lake Lure/ Asheville area of the North Carolina Mountains. How can you go wrong with a setting like that? My second series, I sent out in a canoe on the black waters of the St. Johns River Basin creeks and streams of central Florida. Nothing like gliding along a tropical waterway, past beautiful birds and basking alligators, to get your imagination going. 😀 I’ll be very appreciative of any reviews, thank you!

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  4. Pingback: #ExcerptWeek – Harbinger by Marcia Meara | Sue Vincent – Daily Echo

  5. I loved that excerpt. In suspense and even after I knew it was a dream I wanted to know why and then the touch of humour; in some stories she would have just made him the coffee and he would have said ‘Thanks Honey’. I want to know more about the marriage and his life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The chances of Cadey Hagen ever saying “Thanks, Honey” are slim, I’m afraid. 🙂 I’m very glad the excerpt made you want to know more about him and his life. There are several hints to the state of his marriage in it, of course, but no details at this point, so I hope you’ll eventually read the book and find all your answers. Well, most of them, anyway. It’s a complicated situation, centered on a complicated man, and a 20-year old unsolved crime. Thanks so much for letting me know your thoughts on the excerpt. I’m about to post a link to one on another blog shortly, if you’re curious about another scene from the book. 😀 And welcome to The Write Stuff. Hope you’ll visit often.

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