What you are about to read is my very first publication. I’m not overly proud of it but having found a few kind reviews online, it goes to show that even the work I’m not crazy about, is liked. If you don’t want to wait for me to continue to post chapter by chapter, the full work is available on Amazon, here.
Interested in reading a review? Here’s one I found from India!
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”- C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
I. The Ravine
“This isn’t right. We should’ve been there by now,” said Noelle. She kept her left hand on the steering wheel and her right between her thighs. She reached over and turned the heat dial up a notch.
“That nice old man said it would take a good hour and a half to get there,” Kim chimed from the backseat. Snuggled under a blanket, she flipped through the pages of a popular magazine and clicked her retainer on and off with her tongue. Ben turned around from the passenger seat and glared back at his friend. Kim smiled and stopped clicking.
“Thank you.” Ben returned to his previous occupation of staring out of the window.
“Can you check the radio again?” Kim looked up to see Noelle’s blue eyes in the rear view mirror.
“The signal isn’t strong enough.”
Ben reached over to switch on the radio but there was only static. The ghost of a voice passed but the signal struggled to reach through the mountains. “Are you sure you pulled the antennae out all the way?”
“Yes, for the last time. It’s a shitty car.”
“Just asking a question.”
“One that you’ve already asked twice.” Noelle switched the radio off and glanced towards Ben who was studying the darkness outside of the window. “What does the map say?”
He jerked his attention back to the map and fumbled with the flashlight. “The map says…we should have been there by now.”
“Maybe we should turn around.” Kim pulled a compact from her purse and reapplied her bright, Rockin’ Red lip gloss. “We could go back to Dunmore for the night.”
“No.” Noelle put more weight on the gas pedal. “We’re not turning back now. It can’t be much farther.” She looked at Kim through the rearview mirror. “I probably should have let you drive.”
Kim shrugged as she pulled her platinum hair up into a bun. “I wouldn’t be much good. Last time I saw my father was freshman year of college. That was six years ago. He wasn’t living out here at the time.”
“What’s this place called again?” Ben held the map closer to his face.
“How are you reading that map if you don’t even know where we’re going?” Noelle asked.
“I know the general area.”
“Christ. You really are a waste of space.”
“Sitting right here, thanks.”
“If I didn’t want you to hear that I wouldn’t have said it.”
“Can you guys not do this for ten minutes?” asked Kim.
Ben muttered an apology and went back to the map. “It’s not like it’s hard to find civilization on this thing. Whenever there’s a knot of roads, I know there is a city.”
“That’s fascinating but that doesn’t help us. We need to find civilization on this road.” Noelle saw Kim rummaging through the luggage in the mirror. “Snacks are in the cooler.”
“The player is in my bag. Front compartment.”
“We’ve been in the car for at least two hours without music and now you pull out the headphones?” asked Ben.
“It beats listening to my two best friends bicker.”
“We’re being good,” they argued simultaneously.
Kim smiled and shook her head. “Thank you guys for doing this.”
“You’re welcome,” said Noelle. Ben grunted in agreement.
Noelle waited and watched in the mirror while Kim inserted the headphones into her ears. The lights from the player’s LCD display coated her face in a soft blue hue. Her eyes, heavily lined with black makeup, were closed, and her lips moved to an unknown tune. There were numerous chains that hung around Kim’s neck baring different crosses and pendants. “She does have strong faith, I’ll give her that.”
Ben reached into the backpack at his feet and pulled out a thick woolen hat. “I’ll never understand it,” he said, stretching the cap over his bald, ebony scalp.
“Neither will I.”
He glanced back at Kim before addressing Noelle again. “Do you think she suspects anything?”
Noelle shook her head. “No but if we don’t get to her dad’s house within the next hour, there won’t be anything to suspect.”
“Why couldn’t we have had the party on campus? I mean we’re grad students. We rule that place. We could’ve gotten whatever we asked for, I bet.”
“Too obvious. Trust me. She thinks she’s spending her birthday with her two best friends and her beloved father. She wouldn’t expect everyone else to drive all the way out here for spring break.”
“So what happens if we don’t find Elkins?”
“They’ll probably send out a search party if her dad is anything like the stories she tells.” Noelle turned the heat dial up another notch. “If we keep at this road we’re bound to find something. If it’s not Elkins then we’ll get better directions.”
Defeated, Ben turned the flashlight off and folded the map. He pinched the bridge of his nose and squeezed his eyes shut. “I think that old man in Dunmore was full of shit.”
“In his defense, I’ve been driving below the posted speed limit. It’s unbelievable how dark it is out here. I expect a deer or something to dart across the road at any minute. And I can’t understand why we haven’t run into any village or passed another car. I know the Appalachians are more inhabited than this.”
“They probably don’t come out much once the sun goes down,” said Ben. “Nothing to do out here.”
“Yea, I’m not a huge fan of the cold either.”
“At least you don’t have to deal with shrinkage.”
Noelle laughed and looked back at Kim. The platinum bun on top of her head bobbed to the music. She was not paying any mind to their amiable behavior. Noelle turned her attention back to the road as the eyes of a large creature reflected the headlights. Noelle jammed her heel into the brake pedal and cut the wheel to the right. Ben dropped the flashlight and clutched onto anything he could find as the tires lost traction on the icy road, sending the car downhill.
Copyright © 2015 Regina Bethory. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in reading the whole thing? Laszlo (The Chronicles of Noelle, Book 1) is available here.
Regina Bethory is a fiction author. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor’s in Directing and Play Writing and from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School as a Test Electrician. She also has a degree in Funeral Services. As an avid minimalist and traveler, she enjoys spending her time learning new things, seeking new experiences and de-cluttering. When she is not writing, she can often be found in comic book stores and early morning matinees.