Forging Truth by Raymond Masters: Read An Excerpt
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EXCERPT (from the first few pages):
By the time I returned to the kitchen, Caduceus had already gathered the bulk of ingredients needed to prepare the meal. I offered to help, but only received a slight grunt in response. “You can go get us some drinks from the icebox on the back porch, though.” I nod and head to the door. “Oh, and mind your step. We’re up a bit.”
We certainly were. It was amazing; the view was like something only found in Thomas Kinkade paintings. I went to the railing and looked out. We were on the side of a large hill – a baby mountain would probably be more accurate, but I’m sure geologists would only classify it as a hill. Then again, I’ll go to my grave calling Pluto a planet.
The log house itself sat squarely on the mountainside, but the back porch was a two-thirds wraparound deck, supported by huge wooden pillars, each as tall as a tree. Overlooking the treetops below, I felt like I could jump off and soar over them. Directly below was a wide stream that snaked off through the woods. Currently a couple of deer stood with their mouths lowered to the water. Filling their gullets, I could hear Caduceus say.
“Drinks!” I had gotten lost in watching the deer take theirs and forgot all about getting ours. I found the icebox – no refrigerator here, this was an actual icebox – right beside the door I had just come through. I must have walked right past it, sidetracked by the incredible view. The top shelf was full of beer from what looked like every country, and the bottom two shelves had just as wide a variety of generic colas. I grabbed a couple of cans of beer and a couple more of root beer and headed back for the house. Just as I reached the door, Caduceus poked his head out to check on my progress.
“‘Fraid you might’ve fallen overboard. What do you think, eh? Magnificent isn’t it?”
“Yeah, there were deer and everything. I felt like I was in a Disney movie or something.”
“Deer? You mean Gregor and Isis. They prefer to drink at this end of the stream, the water’s a little special here.”
“Right. Well, would it be okay if we ate supper outside?”
“That would be perfect. I really think you’ll love the sunset. It’s a little special in its own right.”
Caduceus was right: I did love the sunset. If possible, it made the view even more stunning. The reds and oranges lit up the sky and reflected back to us from the stream. The trees seemed to glow with the setting sun’s rich amber rays. Gregor came and went a couple of different times over the course of the meal, but Isis must have tired out early.
The meal itself was fully loaded. I have no idea how Caduceus managed to pull this banquet out of thin air while I had been outside getting the drinks. There were the freshest, sweetest fruits, and a very juicy salad with Caduceus’ homemade dressing, for starters. Then, he brought out a large bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy, a generous helping of fried okra, and finally a steaming tray of both round and strip steaks. The smell was enough to drive you mad if you let it.
“How did you pull this one off? I wasn’t gone that long.”
“Ah, I’m an old pro when it comes to cooking. ‘Tis my favorite pastime. Especially when I’m able to cook for others. Well, go on, let me know what you think.”
I took a bite and nearly burned my tongue and lips off. “Woo, better let it cool some, I guess. When my taste buds grow back, I’m sure it’ll taste great, though.
“Caduceus, sir,” I said turning serious, “I have so many questions. I was wondering if perhaps you might be able to fill in some of what happened to me. I mean, how did I end up here? Why did you take me in?”
He took a breath, before saying, “You died. In the attack.” He let it hang in the air.
I was speechless. What had he said? Died? What attack?
“Well, I thought you did anyway. It was a couple of weeks ago, after the attack … I was in the cleanup effort, and … I ran across you there, and I … brought you home. That’s it. That’s how you came to be here.”
“Wait a minute, now. That’s it? So, you start out, saying I died, and scaring the cat crap out of me, and that’s it?”
“Well. Well, there might have been a little more. I just don’t know if you are ready to hear everything just yet. And do try to watch your language. It’s way too pleasant out here for that kind of talk.”
“I’m sorry, sir. But, I’m ready to hear the details. I need to hear everything. I deserve to. I think it might help me get over my amnesia. So, can I trust you to give me a complete retelling of the events that led me here? I want the truth.”
“The truth,” he said simply and began.