Sunday, April 1, 2012

MISSING CLAYTON Coming in June, excerpt

MISSING CLAYTON is not coming out until June with Black Opal Books but here is a teaser.

I don’t like it here. It’s dark. It’s cold. Why doesn’t Mommy come and get me? She knows I don’t like the dark.
“Your mommy has to find you,” the man had said.
Where is she?
“It’s a game,” he said.
He grabbed my arm. It hurt. It’s not a good game. He’s not nice.
I called her, but he put his smelly hand over my mouth. I wanted to bite it. Mommy doesn’t like biting. But he’s mean.
I don’t like this place. Will she find me here? She will. She’s good at hide-and-seek. I hope she finds me soon.
The boy sat cross-legged in the cave-like space, a mat of blue tweed his only protection from the damp dirt floor. Putting his head in his hands and felt the mud coating his hair. He’d screamed when the man rubbed it on his head.
“My mommy doesn’t like my hair dirty. She’ll be mad at you.”
The man laughed. Not a nice laugh, either. He sounded like the Joker in Batman.  The laugh reminded him of his father when he got angry.
He had to be good. There was no closet to hide in here.
The thick mud covered his blonde hair. Clawing at his head, he broke off bits of clay. He remembered that morning and his mother brushing his hair. She said it shone like the sun.
They were going to his new school and she wanted him to look nice for his teacher. If Mommy didn’t find him in time, would he have to stay in grade one? He scrubbed at his head until his hands hurt, yet the dirt remained. He didn’t want to cry, but tears slid down his face and merged with the dirt. They ran into his mouth, the mixture stung his tongue, and he spat it out. More tears ran down his face. His mother didn’t like spitting.
He clenched his fists and pounded at the rug beneath him. It wasn’t long before his hands throbbed. He stopped pounding and began tearing at the ragged fringes along one end of the rug. When his fingers slipped beyond the rug, he touched earth—cold and hard and damp. He shivered.
After what seemed like forever, curiosity overcame his fear and he began to investigate. His eyes, adjusted to the dimness, saw a few feet beyond the rug. A dirt wall, like the one behind him, ended the open space in front. He stretched out his right arm and his fingers felt the dampness of another wall of dirt. To his left, the area stretched into a black space.
He peered into the darkness. Several wooden crates—each containing differently shaped objects too blurry to make out—filled the space. Above him, he saw the wooden door he’d been shoved through. He counted four wooden rungs leading up from the crawl space. The trap door allowed only a sliver of light to enter the space. 
I don’t like the dark.
Mingling scents of mold, dampness, dried animal droppings, closed in on him. It made his throat tight and he coughed. 
He stretched a hand above his head. Sticky strands closed around his fingers. He jerked his hand back, scrubbed the spider webs onto the rug, and retreated to the safety of the woven mat. Maybe it was better not to explore. Sitting Indian-style, he cradled his arms around his chest and rocked back and forth. Beyond where he sat, the cave was jet-black. He tried to hold back his tears. Soft scuffling sounds came from the corners of the dugout. He knew they weren’t human. The rhythm of his rocking increased.
When is Mommy coming? I’m going to curl up here and sleep until she finds me. There’s just enough room. If I close my eyes, I won’t see how dark it is. It will be as dark inside my head as it is on the outside.
He curled into a fetal position. Somewhere close he heard the scurrying of tiny feet. Stuffing his fingers in his ears, he made himself think about playing in the safety of his backyard. Anything to drown out the wild pictures crowding his head. 
He remembered building the castle in his sandbox. He was scooping out the moat when someone called his name. The man came into the backyard. 
“I have a surprise for you.”
The chocolate was soft and gooey. “More in the truck,” the man said. But he didn’t have any more. He lied.
 He remembered the smelly rag being pressed into his mouth, he remembered the bandana tied over his eyes, he remembered the man grabbing him, running with him, he remembered being shoved in the back of a truck. 
“We’re playing hide and seek,” the man said. “Your mommy has to find you.”
The smell of gas and oil stung his nostrils as a blue tarp landed on top of him. It shut out the sun. He heard a door slam, an engine start, wheels squealing, and the truck sped away. 
How is Mommy going to find me? Maybe he lied about that too.


Catherine Lee said...

What a scary excerpt. That poor little boy. Does his mom find him?

Shadow said...

Great excerpt. It has me intrigued! Cant wait to see what happens next. Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway!

Bev Irwin / Kendra James said...

Hi Catherine
You will have to read the book to find out, LOL.

Hi Shadow, thank you for your comments.