Monday, August 13, 2012

Blog Tour (Excerpt # 2): The Weight of Night by C L Stegall

When her mother is taken from her in a terrible accident, Alexis finds herself facing some previously unknown truths. Her best friend, Keats, is her only confidante when she is faced with an apparent stalker who claims that Alexis’ entire life is built around a lie. Alexis is suddenly thrown into a whirlwind world of danger and secret agendas, of demigods and deities.

When a brutal, self-righteous god decides that Alexis is his best hope for retrieving an ancient artifact, she finds herself on the self-discovery journey of a lifetime - tracking a killer and a kidnapper - and facing conniving and dangerous foes along the way.

She will have to come to grips with who she truly is and just what she might be capable of if she is to survive long enough to save the one person in the world for whom she cares most.

Ancient Greek mythology comes to life in this unique coming-of-age tale that spans the globe and the heart of a girl who only wants to be normal. But, just what is normal in a world like this?

The Weight Of Night – Excerpt 2

Even in the heat of early summer, the classroom held a slight chill due to the overexertion of the school's massive air conditioning units. Alexis sat staring off into space rather than focused on Mr. Holcomb's late semester discourse on physics and its use in everyday life.
Alexis' mind drifted into blackness. As she stood before the humongous doors of deepest pitch, she realized she was daydreaming. It was the same dream she always had. It haunted her sleep, rare though such time may be these days. There was a whoosh of air as the giant doors cracked open and her sense of anticipation overwhelmed her. In reaction, she walked toward the doors.
"Miss Rain, since I have caught you in an ambitious mood, would you mind answering the question I've posed to the class?" He stared at her, chalk in one hand and a physics textbook in the other. All eyes were upon her. Without realizing what she was doing, Alexis had stood from her desk and walked toward the window a few feet away. The dream had vanished, leaving her staring at the teacher.
"Three hundred thousand kilometers per second," she responded, returning to her seat. "Or, one hundred and eighty-six thousand miles per second. Depending upon your unit of measurement."
"Or," a confident male voice piped up from across the room, "to put it in simpler terms, sir: that's almost as fast as Al drives." All of the students had turned to Keats as he spoke. Alexis saw that Keats had drawn attention to himself and away from her strange behavior. It was not as if she needed any more excuses for the other students to gawk at her. Mr. Holcomb took a deep breath just as Alexis responded.
"Hey. That's not true."
"Sure it is. I even heard that the local Bunny Coalition has officially deemed the road to school a 'no hop' zone," he countered, using his fingers to make air quotes. The classroom erupted into giggles and Alexis took a breath to issue a new retort as Mr. Holcomb ran out of patience.
"Enough!" he stated. His gaze ricocheted between his two brightest students, whom he had had to separate at the beginning of the year to no apparent avail. "Why is it that you two seem to revel in making poor choices?"
"Is this a rhetorical question, sir?" the boy asked.
"Mr. Keats, there is quite a bit less rhetoric in life than you so innocently imagine."
"I don't doubt that, sir."
"You choose to disrupt this classroom, which is a learning environment. In so doing, you choose to ignore the effect your actions have upon the remainder of the students in this room," he noted, turning his attention from Alexis then back to Keats. The class sat motionless in anticipation of the teacher's latest lecture to his two most challenging students.
"Both of you are entirely too intelligent for your age; such a situation can only breed poor decision-making. Still, you should both know better the effects of such choices." At this, Keats raised his hand and waited for Mr. Holcomb to succumb to the inevitable. Finally he pointed at Keats.
"Sir," Keats asked with apparent confusion, "what on earth are you talking about?" The whole of the class held their breath in fear of Mr. Holcomb's next tirade. Holcomb pinched his nose in quiet exasperation.
"I'm talking about consequences, Mr. Keats," the teacher stated. "How long have you been a student of mine?"
"Several years now, sir. In various classes."
"And do you never tire of testing my patience?"
"Not really, sir, no." His expression was open and honest, but no smile crossed his face.
"I thought not." He turned to Alexis. "I've always expected more from you, Miss Rain. Of course, you know that already don't you?"
"Yep," she replied, now more interested in the content of his discourse.
"Please know that I can only teach you so much. You must take that information and use it to the best of your ability. I just want you to understand that for every decision you make — whether it is to disrupt the class or to not take out the trash when asked —"
"Has he been talking to my mother again?" Keats muttered, causing a few snickers in his vicinity. Mr. Holcomb continued.
"Those decisions, those choices, affect not only you but those around you. More than you realize."
"Uh, we're not slipping into a discussion on chaos theory are we, sir? I don't think the rest of the class will be able to keep up." Mr. Holcomb glared at Keats for a few long seconds, causing Keats to lean back in his chair and refrain from further comment.
"'In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.' Eleanor Roosevelt said that." He paused, looking around at the silence of the students. "Can anyone elaborate on what she meant?" He waited patiently for someone to raise their hand. After a few long moments, there was one brave soul.
"Yes, Miss Hartford?" he said, pointing at a waif-like brown-haired girl.
"She meant that every decision we make helps to define who we are and who we become. Those decisions we make, and their consequences, are only our responsibility alone. No one else's." She paused, a slight note of confusion clouding her freckled complexion. "But, how do we know what the right decision is?"
"That, Miss Hartford," he stated, glaring at Alexis and then Keats, "is the million dollar question."
"So," Alexis spoke, "you're saying that every little decision we make concerning our own life affects other lives as well. I don't see how that can be true in all cases."
"Chaos theory," Keats offered again.
"No," Mr. Holcomb replied. "Life. Doesn't it make sense that we're all connected in some way? Whether we're in the same classroom together, or in the same office building, or in the same country; we affect so many others every single day, whether we realize it or not. That is simply life. We can look back on history and see how one person's decision affected an entire nation and understand that we have to take care to examine our choices before making the leap to decision." He paused as if noting something in his own words. "But then destiny will decide if we do not."
"What does that mean?" Alexis asked.
"Thomas S. Monson once remarked, 'It has been said that the gate of history turns on small hinges, and so do people's lives. The choices we make determine our destiny.'" He looked at Alexis. "We each have a destiny, something we're here to do, don't you think?"
"I wish I knew," she commented, beginning to get into the philosophical nature of the conversation. Philosophy had always interested her far more than math, for various reasons. Alexis was about to pursue this line of discussion when the room's intercom buzzed. Mr. Holcomb stepped over and hit the button.
"Mr. Holcomb," sounded Principal Hubert's voice, "would you be so kind as to send Miss Rain and Mr. Keats to my office, please?"
"Telepathy!" Keats remarked, wide-eyed. Several students laughed out loud while Mr. Holcomb rolled his eyes.
"I would, indeed," he replied to the intercom. He then nodded to the two of them, as they began gathering their things.
"Miss Rain," he cautioned as she walked by his desk toward the door. Keats paused, waiting for her. She turned to the teacher. "With your talents, I would think you'd understand that your choices will have even farther-reaching consequences than most. Choose well." She stared back at him for a long moment.
"Yes, sir," she replied, causing Mr. Holcomb to lift one eyebrow in askance. It was the first time he could remember that she had ever called him 'sir'.

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1 comment:

  1. An awesome read that I encourage everyone to check out. :-)


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