I have a project slated to go live in January, but the best I can figure out the audiobook creation process I have to have it live for presale at least for now so my awesome narrator Peter Kendall can work on it right away.

The publishing process is complicated, I tell ya.

Anyways, that means that it’s almost ready to go. And I want to share it with all of you guys here before I put it out there anywhere else.

That’s why I’m posting a little sneak peek here and including the entire first chapter for your reading pleasure. You’re welcome!

Chapter One: Visitors

Mrs. Marsh stumped around her house with the broom and swept it from side to side. The dust bunnies she was collecting puffed around to become dust motes clogging the air and spiraled around her before rolling into ever bigger piles of fluff on the floor. Her eyes weren’t what they once were and she couldn’t see them. Age had done its work to her and bent her spine, but she wasn’t the sort of person to let a few aches and pains get in the way of work.
A crack sounded outside and the house shuddered on its foundations. The curtains were spread wide open, as they were every day, but it didn’t serve to let in any light at all. The old lady had to squint to see her cleaning but still didn’t turn on her lights. Electricity had been expensive at some point in her life, and she’d never gotten over the habit of saving the expense by using the lighting as little as possible. Her bulbs sat in their sockets, still just like brand new after hardly being used for years.
Behind her eyes blinked in the darkness, the reflected light illuminating its owner’s frown. Then the thing rolled across the floor and stretched its body to hit the light switch. The room flooded with light, showing all the spots Mrs. Marsh had missed. She humphed at the sight and redid her dusting, oblivious to her helper still resting under the switch. It was itself a curious thing, two feet tall and shiny and wet like toy slime when stretched up but solid and foam like resting on the floor.
“Blast that cat, always annoying the motion sensors,” she grumbled. “I hope this time he didn’t decide to play with the switch itself.”
She flipped her broom and jabbed at the light switch on her side of the room with the blunt end of it. The goopy creature rolled its eyes and flicked the switch again. On. Off. On. Off.
“What in the blazes is going on here?” She frowned at it and looked out the windows, finally noticing the storm outside. “If the flickering is all because a line went down from the storm they should have fixed it by now after that mess has been going on for hours.” She took her broom out the front door and shook it off, grumbling at the storm. “And to think we sent them a petition last year demanding they move our neighborhood to ground lines. We wouldn’t have these problems if they’d just listened. When I call the power company they’ll be sorry,” she said. Mrs. Marsh picked up her cordless and tapped in numbers. A click was heard and then the light in the entire house slowly died down with whining power lines until with a final snap all the lights went fully dark. She moved to flick the switch on, just because she had wanted them off before but now that they went off on their own she was feeling contrary about it. However, the light refused to be turned on. She went around the room to her little table lamps and even tried the porch light and the hall light, but all of them refused to activate. “What’s that now,” she growled.
“I tried to tell you but you’ve been ignoring my attempts to get your attention,” the goop said.
Quick like a whip she swept her broom in a slice through the air and knocked the goop off its, well, base, for lack of feet to speak of. In the darkness of the house the inky goop was nothing more than a shadow in her eyes but she was sharp enough to realize that a voice in an empty house was something valid to slice at.
“What is a creature like you doing here in my house,” she hissed. “I do not appreciate home invaders of any species you know!”
The goop sprouted an arm and used it to take off the top portion of his head that quickly took on the shape of a top hat and bowed to her with a flourish. The image, sadly, was rather lost on her in the darkness. “I am here, madam, because I need your assistance.” He paused. “I think it will interest you that, even more importantly, you need my assistance. Which of course,” he added graciously, “I am more than willing to give.”
She scoffed. “That’s not very likely unless you’re offering to recaulk my bathroom. It’s a hassle to do myself and I think since you look like a talking blob of caulk you might be able to do a very good neat job of it. ”
“No madam I am not here to deal with you bathroom and decorating woes.”
She frowned. “I can’t imagine that you’d be a city electrician. They don’t usually come into people’s houses, and even if they did, I’d much rather you sorted out the electric lines outside as it will hardly do me good to have my wires fixed in here if they are still connecting to a power grid that’s gone dark. Honestly, you young people tend to do things out of order, and I know you dears can’t help it, but I’d expect a little more sense at least from whoever is in charge of coordinating you people to fix the lines to send you to actually do something useful instead of wasting our time in here.” He started to speak but she cut in over him. “Yes, yes, that’s all very well and good to protest your age’s ability, but that does not fix my power.” He tried to talk again, and was again ignored. “No, I am completely certain that my power was working beautifully yesterday and my kitchen mixer was fully powered and operational, so I must insist it is the city lines outside that are having problems and not my own house. Goodness gracious me alive, can you not see that there’s a storm going on outside?”
He finally broke in to her one sided conversation. “Ma’am, I am aware of the storm. I don’t care about the storm at all, though, because it doesn’t matter.” This time he cut over her next protest. “No, I do not care about the storm at all, because it doesn’t matter in the least. Frankly, nothing about your electric needs matter to anyone here right now, you certainly wouldn’t notice if it were off as you clearly don’t use it often, but even if you did your electricity is perfectly functional.” She squawked and protested that her house was dark and that was an obvious sign something wasn’t working. “It is working perfectly, my dear lady. The only problem you have with it, at the moment, is me. I was forced to turn off your electricity in order to get your attention, as you were rather wrapped up in your, well, whatever it is you’ve been doing all day. I am here on much more urgent business then you can even begin to imagine,” he added. He had no chest but the way the upper part of his form suggested a swelled chest, and his tone backed up the theory. “I am here today, madam,” he continued, “Because of the It that is currently residing in your neighborhood. If I remove the It for you, I think you will be willing to agree to help me with my little problem in return.”
She frowned at him and started to give him a piece of her mind when the kitchen exploded.
Flames licked at the tiles and the cheap cabinet fronts softened and drooped from their hinges as a ragged creature that slithered like a snake but looked like a rat ran out with the blast giggling. The bright light from the excess of embers lit the room well enough that it was now easy to see the appearance of both unexpected visitors but the lady seemed more annoyed by them than terrified at their monstrous forms. The goop shook his head and murmured, “I was afraid this sort of thing would happen. They always like to explode things at some point. They just can’t help it. No good trying to get one to be sneaky for you when things always end like this.”
She ignored his talking and scanned her eyes around the room instead. She lit upon a laundry basket and quickly dashed over to scoop it up and threw it to trap the still giggling creature without moving her weapon from the goop still impaled by her broom.
She frowned at both of her captives. “If this little creature is the problem you were going to fix for me I’d rather you just go now so I can remove both of you and have some peace again!” She slid the basket across the room with her foot firmly holding it down by the lip of the basket and flipped up the goop so it spun around on her makeshift weapon. With a yank the front door was opened to the rainy dusk outside so she slapped the goop out the door with her broom handle, and kicked the laundry basket and its prisoner after him. With a shove the door slammed in their faces before they could force their way back in.
Once they’d left she tested all the lights in the house, and the oven just to be sure, and was relieved to see everything seemed to be working perfectly well again. She left all of it on, and turned on the back door security light in an attempt to deter more unexpected visitors.
Once she’d come back in, she shut her curtains and went around the house to check each of the windows and doors as a precaution to make doubly sure there was little chance of any repeat intruders- or new ones for that matter- before she went back to work and finished sweeping the rest of the floor. As she worked the storm outside slowly grew quiet and dispersed, leaving behind the fresh scent of rain that beguiled her neighbors outside to meet with each other and enjoy star gazing in the first clear night of the month.

 

Mrs. Marsh stumped around her house with the broom and swept it from side to side. The dust bunnies she was collecting puffed around to become dust motes clogging the air and spiraled around her before rolling into ever bigger piles of fluff on the floor. Her eyes weren’t what they once were and she couldn’t see them. Age had done its work to her and bent her spine, but she wasn’t the sort of person to let a few aches and pains get in the way of work.
A crack sounded outside and the house shuddered on its foundations. The curtains were spread wide open, as they were every day, but it didn’t serve to let in any light at all. The old lady had to squint to see her cleaning but still didn’t turn on her lights. Electricity had been expensive at some point in her life, and she’d never gotten over the habit of saving the expense by using the lighting as little as possible. Her bulbs sat in their sockets, still just like brand new after hardly being used for years.
Behind her eyes blinked in the darkness, the reflected light illuminating its owner’s frown. Then the thing rolled across the floor and stretched its body to hit the light switch. The room flooded with light, showing all the spots Mrs. Marsh had missed. She humphed at the sight and redid her dusting, oblivious to her helper still resting under the switch. It was itself a curious thing, two feet tall and shiny and wet like toy slime when stretched up but solid and foam like resting on the floor.
“Blast that cat, always annoying the motion sensors,” she grumbled. “I hope this time he didn’t decide to play with the switch itself.”
She flipped her broom and jabbed at the light switch on her side of the room with the blunt end of it. The goopy creature rolled its eyes and flicked the switch again. On. Off. On. Off.
“What in the blazes is going on here?” She frowned at it and looked out the windows, finally noticing the storm outside. “If the flickering is all because a line went down from the storm they should have fixed it by now after that mess has been going on for hours.” She took her broom out the front door and shook it off, grumbling at the storm. “And to think we sent them a petition last year demanding they move our neighborhood to ground lines. We wouldn’t have these problems if they’d just listened. When I call the power company they’ll be sorry,” she said. Mrs. Marsh picked up her cordless and tapped in numbers. A click was heard and then the light in the entire house slowly died down with whining power lines until with a final snap all the lights went fully dark. She moved to flick the switch on, just because she had wanted them off before but now that they went off on their own she was feeling contrary about it. However, the light refused to be turned on. She went around the room to her little table lamps and even tried the porch light and the hall light, but all of them refused to activate. “What’s that now,” she growled.
“I tried to tell you but you’ve been ignoring my attempts to get your attention,” the goop said.
Quick like a whip she swept her broom in a slice through the air and knocked the goop off its, well, base, for lack of feet to speak of. In the darkness of the house the inky goop was nothing more than a shadow in her eyes but she was sharp enough to realize that a voice in an empty house was something valid to slice at.
“What is a creature like you doing here in my house,” she hissed. “I do not appreciate home invaders of any species you know!”
The goop sprouted an arm and used it to take off the top portion of his head that quickly took on the shape of a top hat and bowed to her with a flourish. The image, sadly, was rather lost on her in the darkness. “I am here, madam, because I need your assistance.” He paused. “I think it will interest you that, even more importantly, you need my assistance. Which of course,” he added graciously, “I am more than willing to give.”
She scoffed. “That’s not very likely unless you’re offering to recaulk my bathroom. It’s a hassle to do myself and I think since you look like a talking blob of caulk you might be able to do a very good neat job of it. ”
“No madam I am not here to deal with you bathroom and decorating woes.”
She frowned. “I can’t imagine that you’d be a city electrician. They don’t usually come into people’s houses, and even if they did, I’d much rather you sorted out the electric lines outside as it will hardly do me good to have my wires fixed in here if they are still connecting to a power grid that’s gone dark. Honestly, you young people tend to do things out of order, and I know you dears can’t help it, but I’d expect a little more sense at least from whoever is in charge of coordinating you people to fix the lines to send you to actually do something useful instead of wasting our time in here.” He started to speak but she cut in over him. “Yes, yes, that’s all very well and good to protest your age’s ability, but that does not fix my power.” He tried to talk again, and was again ignored. “No, I am completely certain that my power was working beautifully yesterday and my kitchen mixer was fully powered and operational, so I must insist it is the city lines outside that are having problems and not my own house. Goodness gracious me alive, can you not see that there’s a storm going on outside?”
He finally broke in to her one sided conversation. “Ma’am, I am aware of the storm. I don’t care about the storm at all, though, because it doesn’t matter.” This time he cut over her next protest. “No, I do not care about the storm at all, because it doesn’t matter in the least. Frankly, nothing about your electric needs matter to anyone here right now, you certainly wouldn’t notice if it were off as you clearly don’t use it often, but even if you did your electricity is perfectly functional.” She squawked and protested that her house was dark and that was an obvious sign something wasn’t working. “It is working perfectly, my dear lady. The only problem you have with it, at the moment, is me. I was forced to turn off your electricity in order to get your attention, as you were rather wrapped up in your, well, whatever it is you’ve been doing all day. I am here on much more urgent business then you can even begin to imagine,” he added. He had no chest but the way the upper part of his form suggested a swelled chest, and his tone backed up the theory. “I am here today, madam,” he continued, “Because of the It that is currently residing in your neighborhood. If I remove the It for you, I think you will be willing to agree to help me with my little problem in return.”
She frowned at him and started to give him a piece of her mind when the kitchen exploded.
Flames licked at the tiles and the cheap cabinet fronts softened and drooped from their hinges as a ragged creature that slithered like a snake but looked like a rat ran out with the blast giggling. The bright light from the excess of embers lit the room well enough that it was now easy to see the appearance of both unexpected visitors but the lady seemed more annoyed by them than terrified at their monstrous forms. The goop shook his head and murmured, “I was afraid this sort of thing would happen. They always like to explode things at some point. They just can’t help it. No good trying to get one to be sneaky for you when things always end like this.”
She ignored his talking and scanned her eyes around the room instead. She lit upon a laundry basket and quickly dashed over to scoop it up and threw it to trap the still giggling creature without moving her weapon from the goop still impaled by her broom.
She frowned at both of her captives. “If this little creature is the problem you were going to fix for me I’d rather you just go now so I can remove both of you and have some peace again!” She slid the basket across the room with her foot firmly holding it down by the lip of the basket and flipped up the goop so it spun around on her makeshift weapon. With a yank the front door was opened to the rainy dusk outside so she slapped the goop out the door with her broom handle, and kicked the laundry basket and its prisoner after him. With a shove the door slammed in their faces before they could force their way back in.
Once they’d left she tested all the lights in the house, and the oven just to be sure, and was relieved to see everything seemed to be working perfectly well again. She left all of it on, and turned on the back door security light in an attempt to deter more unexpected visitors.
Once she’d come back in, she shut her curtains and went around the house to check each of the windows and doors as a precaution to make doubly sure there was little chance of any repeat intruders- or new ones for that matter- before she went back to work and finished sweeping the rest of the floor. As she worked the storm outside slowly grew quiet and dispersed, leaving behind the fresh scent of rain that beguiled her neighbors outside to meet with each other and enjoy star gazing in the first clear night of the month.

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