March 17, 2010

First Graphs: Excerpt from "A Night to Forget" in Timeshares Anthology

Today I'm sharing the beginning of my story, "A Night to Forget" from the recently released anthology, TIMESHARES from DAW Books, edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg.

About the Book:

Sixteen original stories about taking your dream vacation-in any era you desire.

Take a vacation through time with the help of a Time Travel Agency offering excursions into the past and future. Readers will find themselves in exotic, adventurous locales-and in all manner of trouble and mysteries. And figures from the past will be able to squeak by the other way.

Picture Cleopatra in modern-day New York City, or Hannibal searching for elephants at Wisconsin's Circus World. And that's just the beginning of the thrills and danger...

In my story, Jess Adams finds herself checking out a mysterious travel agency with misgivings. On a whim, she signs up for a dream trip to see an exhibit about the Titanic, an experience that becomes more real than she ever expected.

Excerpt, "A Night to Forget" - C.A. Verstraete

The building’s faded pink brick and dirty windows made Jessica Adams question whether she’d found the right place.

She eyed the ad once more before exiting the car. Matt should’ve come and checked the place like he promised. Would’ve saved her a trip, and a ton of aggravation, she muttered.

Her mood sour, Jess inched closer and tried to peer beyond the layer of dirt in the front window. The inside of the store was dim and dark, its secrets well hidden. She rubbed the dirt from the section of a pane of glass, her effort providing a slightly improved view of the items piled haphazardly on the window ledge. The collection included a faded cruise program, a black-and-white image of a woman in an elegant, ankle-length dress, and a pair of lady’s gloves, the tiny pearl buttons dull with age, the cloth’s once pristine white a memory.

The quaint scene seemed better suited to an antique shop than a place offering the kind of vacation she had in mind. She’d envisioned a private beach in the Caymans or a secluded cabin in the woods, just the two of them. Instead, Matt had begged off, telling her he was too busy for vacations. So, a little peeved, she went alone to investigate the new agency he’d seen advertised in the paper. She had half the mind to book a vacation for herself.

Her bravado faded now that she was here. She read the small, hand-lettered sign tucked into the bottom window pane and scoffed – Timeshares: Adventure for the Ages. The place was as likely to book her dream vacation as she was to win a million dollars. It sounded, well, kind of odd, and a bit too good to be true.

“Good old Matt,” she groused. “He did it again.”

Disappointed, Jess refolded the newspaper page and shoved it in her bag. She needed a good, strong cup of coffee. Maybe someone at the coffee shop could recommend another travel agency so the trip wasn’t a total waste.

She was about to leave when a flicker behind the glass caught her eye. Maybe the owner had arrived. Guess she could at least see what the place offered and hope that the pickings weren’t as slim as she expected.

Finding the door partly open, she stepped inside. “Hello? Anyone here?”

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