I was lucky enough to get an early read of this one (disclaimer: Jos gave it to me)… and it’s good… strange twist on an old legend. Loved it.
Beyond the Night|Jan 12, 2010
“That was a big-ass snake,” Jade said, trying to keep her own breathing under
control. Elliott was very close to her, and the torch made everything soft and
muted. Deep breath.
“A big-ass snake?” he said, his eyes crinkling at the corners. They were dark
and penetrating in the flickering light.
“Yeah. I don’t like snakes, so when I say thank you, I really mean it.”
Elliott gave a light laugh as their eyes caught. “You and Indiana Jones.” Then
he frowned, looking back at her. “Do you even know who that is?”
“Of course I know who Indiana Jones is. Who doesn’t?”
In the flickering torchlight, she could see Elliott raise his brows as if in
surprise, then lowered them. “I guess if people’re watching Jason Bourne,
they’re also watching Raiders of the Lost Ark. Glad to know that at least some
pop culture survived.”
Then he frowned, looking at the shirt wadded up in his hand. “This is the third
shirt I’ve ruined in the three days since I’ve met you. Considering the fact
that I’ve only got two more, I’m not sure that’s a very good track record.” He
cast a quick look at her, a flash of humor in his eyes. Then, holding the
ruined shirt, he started sloshing through the water.
Jade allowed him to lead–in case there were any more big-ass snakes–and lifted
the torch high as she watched for a sign of rippling water. “You need to take
better care of your shirts, then,” she said archly, giving him the same
sidelong look. “I don’t see how you can blame me for the zombies and a snake
attack. What happened to the third shirt?”
“I got some blood on it,” he said.
Just then they came to the elbow turn around which came a dim glow of light.
When they finally reached the entrance, Elliott took her arm and helped her
keep balanced as she climbed up and out the crude steps.
At the top, they found themselves in a wide cement culvert that opened from the
side of a small hill. Grass and trees covered the ground, with bits of concrete
showing in patches where nature hadn’t quite overtaken man’s footprint.
Buildings long abandoned and destroyed stood in uneven rows, with jagged brick
half-walls covered by vines and moss, windows broken and bushes sprouting.
Trees and bushes abounded. Birds sang, and the distant whinny of a horse
reached her ears. A common scene to someone like Jade, who often ventured out
from Envy’s protective walls.
They emerged into the sunshine, which was welcome and warm after the dank of the
tunnel. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust, and when they stopped watering,
she noticed that Elliott was staring about him as if he’d never seen such a
“It’s funny,” he murmured as if to himself, smoothing the toe of his boot over a
small cement area.
Jade moved closer. “What is?”
He shook his head, looking down at her with a sort of bleakness in his eyes.
That anguish again. “I always expected it’d be like the Thunderdome. Empty,
arid, cold…a wasteland. But it’s not. It’s…green and overgrown. Sort of
wild. Not what I would have expected.”
Before she could reply, his mood changed abruptly. “So now we have to find a
horse,” he said, looking around again, but with a sharper gaze trained toward
“That’ll be easy,” she told him. “The mustangs run wild all over the hills out
“And catch one.”
She shrugged. “I have a way with horses.”
Read another excerpt at her site