My Short Stories Highlighted on Commas and Quotations

A few weeks ago, Commas and Quotations featured my novel Chasing Nightmares by posting links and the first chapter on their website.  This week, they’ve done the same with my book of short stories, Weathering the Storms.  Here’s the excerpt they posted which is from the story The Nest.

Weathering the StormsIt had been a long, dry summer. Rocks kicked up around my tires as I pulled up to the house—Jim’s house, now, not mine anymore.

David was sitting on the cement steps of the back porch, watching the toes of his sneakers kick patterns in the gravel.

I stepped out of the car and called, “Come on, let’s go. I’ve got supper started.”

He looked up but he didn’t smile. His father was nowhere to be seen, but I was sure he was close by, listening.

David kept his eyes down as he shuffled to the car. His grubby tennis shoes scuffed up small clouds of dust. The sunlight haloed his bent head. His sandy brown hair laid soft and thick around his face.

I glanced once toward the tightly draped windows of the house. Was it my imagination, or did that crack in the kitchen curtain twitch a little wider? I sat in the car to wait. The back of my neck tingled.

David opened the car door and pretended to examine the latch mechanism. Finally, with an elaborate shrug, he got in and slammed the door. Inwardly, I sighed. Every weekend this summer had gotten worse. One day, I was afraid, he would refuse to come at all.

“Put your seatbelt on,” I said.

He ignored me, leaning his elbow on the window as he gazed across the yard.

We’d been through this one last time.

“Look,” I said, “I’m tired of this. I shouldn’t have to explain to an eleven-year-old. You can put your seat belt on and be safe, or you can take a chance on getting killed in an accident. Your choice.”

I backed onto the county road. By the time I shifted into forward gear, David was reaching for the safety belt.

“The way you drive, I guess I better,” he muttered. He avoided my eyes.

We drove the seven country miles in silence. As we turned into my driveway, a swallow flew out from under the eaves of the front porch and dive-bombed the car. I laughed as I stopped in front of the garage.

“Remember that nest the swallows built?” I asked. “Wait till you see. The baby birds are hatched now. You should hear how noisy they are when the front door is open.”

“So?”

I sighed and watched as David walked to the house, head down, shoes scraping the sidewalk.

At supper, David picked at his green beans, just eating the seeds from the inside like he used to when he was little. He ignored the potatoes. The limp slices grew a thin coat of cold grease.

“What’s for dessert?” he asked, still not looking up.

“You know the rule.” I pointed to his plate. “No dessert unless you finish the meal.”

He pushed the plate abruptly across the table, knocking over a salt shaker and empty plastic glass.

“That’s stupid,” he said. “You have stupid rules in this house.”

“It’s the same rule we had when we lived at Dad’s. Now if you’re done eating, clear your place at the table.”

“Why do I always have to do what you tell me to?” His voice was high pitched and uneven. His face had grown flushed. Our eyes made contact for a split second but he broke away.

“Because I’m your mother.”

“No, you’re not. You divorced Dad.”

“I used to be your mother, until you started spending the summer at your Dad’s. What’s so different about now?”

“Now I know what you’re really like. I’m not brainwashed anymore.”

This book is only available as a Kindle download from amazon.com.

Commas and Quotations Shared Chasing Nightmares

Commas and Quotations is a great site to visit if you want to find books.  They post the first chapter, the cover image and the links if you want to buy or learn more.  Today they posted the first chapter of my novel Chasing Nightmares.  Check it out!

Chasing Nightmares CoverCHAPTER 1

Lee Taylor watched the second hand travel toward the twelve. Then, for the first time, he moved. With a stealth nearly equal to the movement of the clock, he lifted his arms up off his bed and held them in front of his eyes.

White swathes of gauze circled his wrists.

Memory returned in ebony waves. The ride in the night, the scream of tires, sparks from the scrape of steel across asphalt, the blade of the knife as he slit through white skin to dark blood. All the scenes played back in slow motion. He fought the memories. His tensed arms shook until he no longer had the strength to hold them up.

He became still again, wishing he could turn off all awareness. The door opened and footsteps entered the bedroom. Still turned away, he knew someone looked down on him.

A cold finger tilted his face toward his visitor.

“There seems to be a little improvement in your color this afternoon,” Charles commented. “How does it feel to be alive?”

For an instant, hate flared within Lee. Buried deep, the ember of emotion glowed red but he would not allow it to gather fuel. Deliberately, he willed his body to relax, inviting back the apathy of before.

READ THE REST AT Commas and Quotations: Chasing Nightmares by Deb Donahue.