T.D. Thompson, Author

 My next book is titled "Rooster".  Are you interested in getting a sneak peek? 

Read on!!

Chapter One

First there were only the clouds. Billowing and huge, they rolled skyward in enormous glowering swells that gleamed silver-white in their curling upper summits.  Churning constantly, the clouds’ tempestuous undersides swooped with a rowdy energy, silently whipping themselves up, and up, and up again, into swelling crests.  A distant blue sky peered out beyond, but my attention was focussed entirely on the roiling activity of the massive cloud formations. 

            I was alone in a vast landscape, high on a remote mountain peak.  Steam-colored cloud swirled in a twisting dance around and over my head and body.  Strands of it wound silkily across my arms and spun slowly to cling around my legs.  Warm, soothing, and vaporous, the haze at first felt like a comforting hug. 

            Distant indistinct voices murmured and sighed through the air behind and around where I stood.  Their muttered words trailed out in thin bits of laughter and whispered warnings, but I was unable to see who spoke. 

            My eyes strained in a futile effort to peer through the eerie white film that continued to revolve and shift in a snaky rhythm around me.  I was frustrated at my failure to make out anything through the enveloping cloud-form, where I could sense but not quite see, the other beings who surrounded me, crowding me, swarming around me. 

            Shadowy figures clung somewhere close in the haze, not actually visible, but not invisible either; portions of an arm, a hand, an ear, appeared and then disappeared back into the surrounding cloud.  The forms reached out to me and chilly fingertips trailed softly across my face and over my bare arms. 

            Someone’s cool breath blew over my cheek and lifted my hair.  Voices quietly whispered and hissed in my ears.  The voices moaned as they spoke to me about important things I couldn’t quite hear. There were people I knew I desperately wanted to see and talk to, but I was prevented from doing so by the thick slithering fierce and untameable clouds.

            The ground under my bare feet was flinty and hard.  Sharp spears of granite stabbed at my toes and rasped the tender skin of my soles, although looking down, I couldn’t see the rock where I stood.  Only my upper legs were faintly visible, disappearing into the mist. The cloudy haze had thickened, becoming heavy and sticky, almost like a dense spider web, beginning to stick to my jacket.  The fog was denser and no longer just filmy, but textured, like very pale, very thin cloth. It choked the air and began to block my breathing.  I could almost taste it.

            And then suddenly the sky cracked open.  A huge white bird loomed above.  The bird’s wings beat hard and fast and his breast strained with effort.  I couldn’t see a beak or eyes, but I could hear and see the wings as they flapped dully, plunging into the foggy air, straining and thudding, like a distant drum beating in a remote pulse. 

            Feathers drifted down around me. Only one or two at first, twisting lazily down, then more until, as they accumulated, they transformed into clouds themselves. The feathers were white, soft and fluffy, and they were warm.  They settled on my upturned face.  Their touch at first was soft, like a delicate breath of silky air, like a kiss, on my cheeks and forehead.  The downy feathers lay on me, trembling slightly in the breeze, while the enormous bird still hovered overhead, struggling mightily to push its heavy body forward. 

            Then the drifting feathers began losing their warmth and started to feel cold as they fell in larger wads.  They became icy.  They filled my nose and ears.  I dropped my head to avoid the freezing chill of the things, but they stuck to my eyes, clogging my nose and plugging my ears.  I threw my head back and opened my mouth to scream and jagged freezing feathers immediately filled it.  I was choking, unable to breathe or swallow. I tried to spit the things out, but they stuck inside my mouth, jamming up my throat, clumping in a solid mass at the back of my tongue, gagging me.

            My hands were clamped at my sides, my fingers stiff and frozen into claw-shapes, and although I strained with every muscle , it was impossible to raise my arms, impossible to use my hands to scoop at the feathers as they drowned me. The barbs now were steely hard, with snapping points that stung where they touched, and they dropped down hard in huge irregular clumps of what felt like chunks of ice. 

            Frantic now, I tried to run, but my legs were a solid mass of frozen flesh, hard and unforgiving.  My arms were trapped at my side, inflexible. I was lost somewhere alone and I couldn’t wake myself, or call for help, or make my body obey. My feet were like lead weights, somehow bonded to the rocky earth. 

            The world was devoid of color and the air was thicker, harsher, no longer cloudy or comforting.  Only frozen blank white.  Barren. Devoid of any emotion. Deadly silent except for the drumming of the massive bird’s wings.

            Inside my head I could hear myself shrieking, but even as I screamed for help, I knew nobody else could hear.  Nobody could see me.  I was invisible in all the white, covered like a feathered ghost, lost in the colorless terrain.  Gone. Gone forever.

            Jutting up in bed, I woke with the shock of a hammering heart. The blood pounding through my body echoed the drumming of the enormous bird’s wings.  My face and upper body were dripping wet with sweat, my breath coming in gasps as I gulped in the air I’d been denied before.  Alive! It was so good to be alive.  Every breath was sweeter than the one before.

            I lay there, gasping and cold, willing my heart to calm down, unsure of where I was until finally my eyes found focus in the dark and the everyday shapes of my bedroom and its furniture became clearer to me, calming me slowly with their familiarity.  My hands trembled still with the force of my previous panic.  Using the edge of my sheet I wiped at the cold sweat covering my forehead and cheeks.   

            Lying there, I was not only afraid to move but also too freaked out to close my eyes again, afraid the dream might come back again.  Confused by the panic I’d felt, I stared at the outlines of my mirror and dresser where they stood, gleaming silver in the dully reflected lamplight off the street, willing myself to overcome the heavy feeling of dread sitting like a weight on my chest.

            As the night slowly gave way to early morning light, and a couple of piles of dirty clothes loomed in lumpy reassuring hills on the floor, I could see the spines of books I’d left piled next to my computer on the desk, and with the sight of recognizable things the chill finally began to leave me.

            My room.  I’ve never been so glad to see anything before in my life.


Are you interested in finding out what happens next?  Rooster is available from Pemmican Publications.  Ask your local bookstore to order you a copy, or email http://www.pemmicanpublications.ca/


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