Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Merry Hell by Dennis Timothy Chapter 1 and Book Trailer

Merry Hell by Dennis Timothy
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It was Angie Timmons turn to host Christmas dinner for her adult family and friends. This wonderful assortment of characters brings their quirks to the holiday table. Each person determined to make the best of things; but, all bets are off when a freak blizzard holds them captive. A fast-paced read filled with humor, drama, and adult themes. A reminder of why we dread the holidays. A story that begs the question, could any average family survive this much togetherness?


Chapter 1

Angie sat in the darkness of her living room, on the floor, knees up, huddled under a fleece blanket.  Somewhere in the shadows, the anniversary clock which sat on a shelf next to her family pictures, ticked, marking the seconds of this never-ending night.  In her mind, she could see the hands of the clock move, see the brass governor whirl; but from her vantage, she could not glimpse the little time-teller.
The battery-powered camp lantern, on the shelf above, glowed valiantly against the gloom.  The four LEDs shedding enough light to just see the outlines of the other people in the room with her.
The others gathered here, snored, moaned, and occasionally farted.  They were laid out haphazardly, family and strangers alike.
They were curled in uncomfortable balls on the furniture, or strewn about the floor with their feet pointed toward the woodstove.
The room smelled of wood smoke, lavender potpourri, lemon wood polish, old perfume, mothballs, and flatulence.
The sound of the snow storm, and the vicious north wind it brought, shook the frame of the two-story house, rattled the doors, and pelted the windows with snow. The horrific gales of the blizzard were made more tolerable by the re-assuring pops and crackles, which came from the fire that burned in the stove.
Peculiarly comforting were the people noises, human sounds from the gloom declaring that she was not alone in this room.  She found this oddly soothing, although most of the people were outsiders, unknown quantities and qualities; and, of the others, her family, there were those who were certainly no pillars of strength.
This forced encampment with these people, combined with the bluster of the winter storm, would have been enough to keep sleep far at hand.  But this night, the day of Christmas, a mental demon jabbed at Angie’s heart with its every beat, shouting to her, “Mallory is missing.  Mallory is dead.”
Fatalism, mourning, and hope intertwined in a jumbled torrent of half-thoughts, as she obsessed over the disappearance of her oldest daughter.
Mallory, the problem-child, had this night elevated her status.  One thoughtless act moving her to the rank of queen of the crisis.  Her firstborn was missing, and the unfeeling storm raged indifferently to her loss.
Adrenalin charged plans of action, emotion-born strategies, blended and swirled in her mind; as well as the overriding truth. There was nothing to be done until daylight. 
Angie glanced at her watch, but could not see its hands in the faint light of the lantern.  She wondered when daylight would come, and what would it bring.
Suddenly, she remembered the bottles she had hidden in her chest of drawers upstairs, and toyed with the notion of trying to find them in the inky blackness.  Gray Goose vodka, eighty-proof, that would chase the demons.
She didn’t dare take the lantern.  The others might need it if they woke and required a trip to the bathroom.  She rejected the idea of fumbling for the flashlight on the coffee table.
She turned her head toward the double-doors of the kitchen.  On most nights she could see the lights of her rural neighbors, far in the distance.  Tonight, she saw only the cave-like blackness of the dining room.
She sighed to herself.  She‘d lived in this house for ten years; surely if she moved slowly, cautiously, she could find her way upstairs.  She pushed herself to her feet, wrapping the blanket around her shoulders.  She glanced at the people, shapeless bumps hidden under blankets, as they slept.
She shook her head, wondering how things could get so out of hand.  It had been so perfectly planned.  “This sucks," she whispered to herself, surprised that she had mouthed the words of her thought.  “I’m forty-five years old, a hard-worker, and a careful shopper.  This crap should be getting easier, not harder.”
A tear fell from the corner of her eye, its hot wetness surprising her.  She sucked in a breath, and wiped the tear from her cheek with the back of her fist; furious that she had lost control.
“What if one of these people saw this?" she thought to herself.  “Calm down, Angie, you’re just tired, and overwrought by Mallory‘s disappearance.  You’re tougher than this.”
She squared her shoulders, dropped the blanket to the floor, and in little careful steps, made her way to the kitchen.

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