Into the Looking Glass
Kristopher had some tough times in his life and moved to the desert to get away. He’s been waiting for something, or someone, to reinvigorate him, and he thinks Burke might just be the one to do it.
Can Burke and Kristopher find the strength to believe in fate?
Get 35% off Into the Looking Glass at Amber Allure!
Yesterday was the smutty excerpt, today is the not smutty excerpt:
Burke was four days into a ritual cleansing when the buzzard flew overhead. Large and dark, full of portent, many would have taken it as a bad omen. But not Burke. Buzzards were carrion eaters—kept the desert clean, just like he was cleansing himself. No, Burke took the buzzard as a very, very good sign.
When he’d waited a couple of hours and it hadn’t returned, he figured it wasn’t going to, which he took to mean he was supposed to follow it. Or at least head off in the direction it had gone.
He put his bowl into his bag, shouldered the bag, and took off on only slightly unsteady feet. Heat and fasting would do that to a man.
The sand was hot, even through his sneakers, the crunch of it marking each step. He just kept moving, kept putting one foot in front of the other to keep the oddly syncopated rhythm going.
The desert wasn’t just sand. It was coarse grass and hardy cactus and bones and scrub and he just grooved on all of it. He didn’t know where he was headed, but that was kind of the point. He realized, after a while, that he was actually walking toward something. He wasn’t quite sure what that something was, but it was there, not just a mirage.
He was just betting himself that it was the remains of an accident between a fire engine and a car or two when he heard barking.
“Henry? Em? Dorothy? Y’all be good, now! I’m busy!” The voice was low and smooth, rich. Unreal. Sort of like the…house? Barn? Building? Burke was nearing.
Not a mirage, but maybe his very own desert guide. He’d read stories about men who went into the desert and had strange experiences in the spirit world.
Lights. Oh. Look. Lights everywhere.
The edges of the buildings were draped with metal and colored glass, and colors were swirling everywhere, making signs and patterns and… Oh.
He kept moving toward the buildings until a dip in the ground made him stumble and he let gravity pull him down.
Oh yeah, pretty. He could watch just this for days.
“What the…” The voice came about three seconds before the puppies and the skunky puppy breath and the puppy tongues and the puppy barking.
Then long, silvering hair appeared, followed by the oddest colored eyes. “You okay?”
He smiled and nodded. “Are you my guide?”
“I’m Kristopher. You’ve got sunstroke. Come on in. Have some tea.” One heavy, square hand was offered to him.
He pushed himself up and nearly tripped over the dogs, but managed to keep his feet this time. “What is this place?” he asked, looking around in amazement.
“My house. Where’d you come in from?” His shoulder was gently taken and he was led into a blessedly cool, dark home, the brightly colored bits of glass left behind in that amazing sun.
“Up on the mesa. I followed the buzzard.” He turned and smiled at Kristopher. “That wasn’t you, was it?”
“No. I’m afraid I’ve been mostly human all day.” The house was built of bits of this and pieces of that and looked like it went right down into the earth. A hobbit hole, maybe, except Kristopher would make a sort of gigantic hobbit.
“Mostly human?” He chuckled and grinned. “Oh, man, I want a tour of this place when the floor steadies out.”
He got a slow grin and a nod. “Okay, but I’ll warn you, the floor doesn’t steady out too terribly much. Let’s get you some tea and some… Will you eat pineapple? I have pineapple.”
“Fresh?” Not that it mattered. He hadn’t eaten in almost five days—pineapple sounded amazing.
“It was yesterday. Today it’s a day old.” The light poured in from the ceiling in spots, making the place almost kaleidoscopic, in other places, the rooms were almost black. Weird. “What’s your name?”
“Burke? I mean. Burke.” He shook his head, and the house spun viciously. “I think I need to sit.”
smut fixes everything