Friday, July 30, 2010

The Second Thirteen, 2010. An Excerpt

Where: High in the mountains near Zug, Switzerland.
When: Winter. The day before Christmas.
Background: When I was writing the climax to this story, I decided we needed to visit Zug and find out for ourselves what it was like. So I got on the internet and met the manager of a hotel in Zug, who generously offered to host our stay at the fabulous Parkhotel. Because this portion of the story took place on a farm, a limousine was arranged to take us high into the mountains, where we visited the actual farm you will read about in the book. It had a picturesque chalet, with white wooden shingles, scalloped trim, and a cute balcony. It also had a massive barn with broad eaves and enough perfectly-sawn firewood to last several winters.

Here is what happens in the book:

With fresh air filling his lungs, Johann inched forward.
He reached the path to the chalet just as the front half of the barn’s massive roof caved in. Sparks and debris billowed high into the air.
Falling onto his side, Johann turned to watch the other half of the roof collapse. A fire truck stopped nearby and several firemen raced toward the barn.
Two paramedics grabbed their gear and ran toward him.
Johann tried to sit up.
"Lie still," one of the paramedics said, kneeling beside him. She placed an oxygen mask over his mouth.
"Maria!" protested Johann hoarsely, pushing the mask away. The protest caused a spasm of deep coughing.
"You must lie still!" the paramedic repeated, replacing the mask. "Your lungs have been damaged by the smoke."
"Maria," Johann whispered through the mask, his dark eyes erratic and wild.
"His sister. Check the chalet," the first paramedic said.
Her colleague ran to the house and soon returned.
"It's empty," he said.
The first paramedic looked at Johann then at the raging barn.
She swallowed hard.
Where was Maria?