Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sample from The Rider of Nealra

When a tragic accident forces musician Ellie Johnson to operate her family’s 7,000 acre farm and ranch in Eastern Montana, she soon finds the place plagued with unseen predators that can crush cow bones to dust and drain all fluids from chickens without any punctures.  Hopelessly accident prone, Ellie’s innate ability to be a smartass does nothing to find impossibly strong hooligan with very sharp, pointy ends.  With Stinky the mustang and the mouth-breather Sven as her only allies, she sets out to the Badlands to find the source of eerie blue lights that appear to the west, but instead tumbles into another world riddled with famine, disease, and the Necragii, the Death Priests of the Urtun.  


In the segment below, we find our heroine exhausted by weeks of calving and predation on her animals.  She finally decides to ask for help.  

After getting back to the house, I collapsed into the chair by the phone as dawn broke over the sky.  With a groan, I decided to call another neighbor with a couple of sons, knowing he’d be up milking cows by then.  I think the youngest might be a little sweet on me, and I was going to need to press any advantage I could whilst talking about dragon things with glowing blue eyes.
“Hello?”  Ole’s thick Polish accent was always apparent the moment you heard his voice.
“Ole?  This is Ellie, and...”
“Ellie!” he interrupted.  “Howzit going up der on da hill, der?”  Seems like the Polish folks around here end every sentence with, “der,” with was supposed to sound somewhat like the English word, “there.”
“Oh, better’n I deserve, Ole.  Say, you...”
“You remember watcha did last da last time you wuz here, der?” he said with a snicker.
“Yup.  Ran through the barn naked.” I sighed with a mental head slap.  I had stripped naked and run through his barn while Dad was buying mineral from him.  Whenever Ole tells that story, he always neglects to mention that I was five years old at the time, which could explain why his son is sweet on me.
“Oh,” he said, abashed.  “Well, den.  Wat can I do for ya?” 
Ooh, a sentence that didn’t end in, “der.”  “Ole, I’ve been having problems with some predators around the place...”
“Oh!  I know exactly watcha mean, der!  Der’s been some a-creepin’ around here, too!  Don’t know what it is, dough.  It’s always gone by da time I look out da window.  Whatever it is, it be out der spookin’ da cows at tree-tirty in da mornin’.  Da cows haven’t been milkin’ dat well lately, der.”
“Herman’s been seeing some things, too.  I was just wondering if you could call up here from time to time and make sure I’m still around.  I’m afraid I’ll get jumped by something while I’m out checking cows.”
“Oh, I can do better dan dat!”  He partially covered the receiver, but I could still hear him holler, “Hey, der, Lena!  Go get Sven!”  He removed his hand and said, “I’ll send Sven up now if you want, der, Ellie.”
“Oh, no, no, no!”  I said with a distinct note of panic.  “Not necessary, Ole.  Just send him up if you suspect a problem.  I’m just a little nervous being out there alone.”  Sven’s simple face hovered in my brain, saying, So, wat do ya say aboot comin’ over ta my place, der.
I had single-handedly delayed Ole’s dream of grandchildren. Considering Sven’s bad case of radio face (think about that one for a while), Ole’s dream was going to be delayed quite some time.  “Oh, ok den.  Just give us a call if ya need anytin’.”
“Thanks a bunch, Ole.”
“No problem.  Bye, der.”
I called Herman next.  “Hey, Herman.  You know anything new?”
“I, uh, no.”  He sounded nervous.  
“Did any of the neighbors see anything else?”
“Nope.  Not a thing.”  He swallowed.
“That’s weird.  I just talked with Ole, and he said he’s been hearing things in his dairy yard.”
“What kind of things?”
“He’s not sure.  He can’t get a good look.”
“Oh.”
Pregnant pause.
“I got a look at one.”

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