Hello, faithful readers!
I am on the verge of determining that my new book, unLEASHed, is ready for human consumption. To celebrate and thank you for your ongoing support, I’m posting a very special sneak peek for you… the first chapter!
Now, I do have to caution you that this is NOT a Persephone Smith book, and it is NOT intended for as young of an audience. It is intended to be a Young Adult book, for readers ages 14+. So, even in the first chapter, there’s language that wouldn’t fly in the early books of Persephone’s series. So, if language or mature, high school situations (including some not-so-good decisions) are scary or offensive to you, please reconsider if unLEASHed is something you should read.
unLEASHed is the first book in my new series… it’s Nan’s story. It takes place in the future and has elements of sci-fi and fantasy. So, if you’re curious what life in Vermont eh, about twenty-ish years from now may look like… well, I hope it’s just a story and that I’m not psychic. But I’m excited for the book, and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.
So, without further delay… chapter “un” of unLEASHed!
Watching the parade of ants carrying bits of my vomit away from the foul stench beside me sheds a whole new appreciation for the expression, “blowing chunks.” Light ekes from the horizon, but at this angle, whether it is nightfall or daybreak remains a mystery. Damn. Is it possible that a look-alike toadstool is the culprit that forces me to spend my sixteenth birthday passed out in the middle of the woods? Yeah, no, that doesn’t happen with me. I don’t confuse mushrooms. I know what’s good, what’s not, what’s better, and what’s best. It’s why everyone buys whatever they need from me. I’m the best, and I have the best stuff.
I sit up, but the spinning makes me seriously reconsider this action. I roll myself a stick of remedy and light it. A few deep inhales and I’ll be good to go. Mmm. Yeah. With my newfound clarity smoldering in my hand, I pop up to my feet and navigate homeward. The decreasing light orients me to the west, and knowing this forest as I do, I’ll be to its edge before dark.
“Nan!” Billy’s voice startles me as I hop the old-school, wooden fence into his pasture. “Nan! Where have you been? You weren’t at school! We’ve been looking everywhere for you! Come on!” He is in a rush. I, however, am not.
“Yeah, sorry, Billy. I wasn’t feelin’ so hot today.”
“Yeah, no time to talk. Come on!”
Whereas most kids would anticipate being whisked away for a surprise party, I know better. “What did Cuckoo do now?”
“Nan! Don’t joke at a time like this!”
“I wasn’t joking,” I clarify. Perhaps his nagging haste should compel me to emote a baseline level of worry, but as the drama that is my mother has been so embedded in my world since birth, and presumably equally present before I was born, I can’t muster an iota of concern about whatever her latest, perceived, urgent, matter of life or death is. Cuckoo’s bullshit is so part and parcel of my being that I wouldn’t even recognize life without it.
So, imagine my shock to arrive home to flashing lights and yellow tape and the discovery that Cuckoo is dead. My father is dead, too. It isn’t a murder-suicide. It’s a double homicide. The police inform me that they tracked Daddy to the house, following his jailbreak, but before they could intercede, Cuckoo and Daddy simultaneously pulled their triggers and blew each other away. Yeah, no, I’m for real. This would be how my family functions. Given the things I have seen and heard growing up, nothing really surprises me about anything they do any more. Although, their sudden, unexpected, untimely demise does present me with a short-lived but glorious birthday gift.
But, as always, when one good thing happens in my life, three negatives immediately follow. What on earth have I done to piss Karma off so much?
So, on the night of my sixteenth birthday, one, my belongings, other than the contents of the backpack I perpetually carry, are now part of a police scene and thus are barricaded away from me. Two, being a suddenly orphaned minor, I have to immediately vacate my home to go live with the legal guardian Cuckoo has named for me or else I’ll become property of the state of Massachusetts. Yeah, not much of a choice there. So, three, with barely sufficient time to say goodbye to Billy, I am shipped off to Vermont to live with some random, old guy who is purportedly my godfather. Hmph. I have always been under the impression that the hoopla about godparents taking guardianship of their godchildren is just another myth of urban legend proportion. Apparently not so much. Talk about a threefold, karmic bitchslap.
Happy sixteenth birthday, Cordeleya.