As the festive season approaches my home page snow scene feels more appropriate so I added the snow effect for good measure. It reminded me of the opening to my novel so I am posting the opening of the book for you to read. It is the story of Jack Clark who is a man in need of a break. A failed relationship, mounting pressure in his TV production job means he needs to get away. He escapes to a cabin in the woods near Manitoulin; a small Mountain town north of Montreal. Jack hopes to find peace and maybe a new start. What he finds is a small town gripped with rumour, murder, child abduction and the trade in animal parts to Asia. Unfortunately for him he is drawn to the centre of the case by Annie and the Loon Jack rescues from a cold northern lake. The Cry of the Loon is a tale of loss, loneliness and love set amongst the mountains, forests and lakes of central Quebec.
It is available on most online stores, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository etc. I will be buying a few books this year from people I’ve read on WordPress as presents this year. It’s a great way to introduce friends and family to new writing that’s not on the best seller lists. Enjoy….
Cry of the Loon
Copyright © 2011 Christopher Morris
All rights reserved.
ISBN-13: 978 – 1460913581
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the Devil or of God.”
Henry David Thoreau – Walden
The biting cold air tore at his lungs as he gasped for breath. He paused for a moment his energy sapped by the struggle to run through the deep snow that covered the forest floor. It had been snowing now for three days and had he been able to put on his snowshoes he may have been able to move a little quicker but there had been no time. Behind him he heard the sound of breaking branches and the barking of the dog still in pursuit. He had seen the dog many times but today the sound was different. Time seemed to stand imperceptibly still; he did not know where he was running to but only what he was running from. Instinct had taken over; he now knew real fear for the first time in his life. The hunter had become the hunted.
Ahead of him he saw a break in the trees. A green curtain had been opened ready and waiting for him to pass through its welcoming arms. He had no idea where he was, the disorientation of the chase confusing his oxygen starved brain, but he had to keep moving. Pushing himself from the tree that he had taken refuge against he forced his aching limbs to make a last gasp dash for the clearing that lay ahead. The man pushed his body through the undergrowth towards the moonlight. A loud crack behind him pierced the cold night air followed by a thud into his right shoulder, forcing him to stumble to the ground. Confused he pulled himself to his feet. As he did so he noticed the snow beneath him was stained with blood and his arm hung limply by his side, the scapula shattered by the bullet that had passed clean through his body. It was strange but he felt no pain, the cold and adrenalin numbing the wound instantly, but not the flow of blood that oozed through his jacket. He raised his eyes and stared into the distance. The gap seemed to be shrouded in mist and he was uncertain as to whether it was his breath or his sight weakening; as his life’s blood slipped away. Yet he still summoned up the strength to seize these last few moments and strive for his goal.
Another bullet cracked into a Balsam Fir as he broke through the tree line and into the moonlight to face the vast expanse of a snow-covered plain. Why he tried to cross remains a mystery but as he stepped from the trees and onto the snow he had not covered more than a few metres when another loud crack again cut through the night air. This time there was no thud against his body just a feeling as if his legs were slowly sinking into one of the spruce bogs that so often caught the unwary grouse hunter in the early Fall. The ice beneath him began to part and claw in his body enfolding him in its freezing grip as it did so. From his aching throat he tried to force a desperate cry but no sound emerged. Trying desperately to stem his slide into the icy blackness his fingers clawed at the snow but with only one functioning arm the futile effort only hastened his slip into the void. As the ice closed above him he tried to hold his breath for as long as possible before his bursting lungs gasped for that final breath which they took and filled with the icy water. As they did so his eyes looked into the darkness for the last time as his life ebbed away.
On the shoreline two figures stepped out of the forest and stared at the scene enfolding in front of them. The smaller of the two held back a large black dog that strained at its leash and barked madly at the night while the other casually opened a packet of Camel cigarettes. He removed one, tapped it on the packet, and then lit it. The light from his Zippo cast unnatural shadows across his face and he drew in the smoke, sucking out every last ounce of Nicotine into his already tarred lungs.
“Those things will kill you one day.” The smaller man remarked.
“I remember you telling him the same thing.” Replied the other. “Looks like you were wrong.”
- U.S. to Offer Reward in Wildlife Trafficking Fight (nytimes.com)
- Prince William and Prince Charles in fight to end wildlife poaching (express.co.uk)