Book Blitz / Sliding Beneath the Surface by Doug Dillon

Title: Sliding Beneath the Surface
The St. Augustine Trilogy
Book 1
By Doug Dillon

Synopsis

In old St. Augustine, Florida, fifteen-year-old Jeff Golden’s recurring dream of being stabbed in the chest and bleeding all over his bed is driving him crazy. It’s causing him to lose sleep and giving him severe headaches. When his psychically gifted friend Carla and an ornery Native American shaman named Lobo try to help, Jeff is inundated with terrifying paranormal experiences.

Reaching out of Florida’s distant past, something increasingly entangles Jeff in tentacles of danger that threaten his sanity and eventually his life. But the harder he tries to understand, the deeper he gets. When comprehension finally dawns though, time has almost run out. Lobo does his best to prepare Jeff for what he must face in order to survive but it may be too little and too late.

It’s at this point that both Jeff and Carla find themselves swept headlong into an alternative reality from which they may never return. If they don’t quickly and fully adapt to this situation, all hope is lost. From Lobo they know how it might be possible to change what is happening but the question is, can they? Repeatedly, Lobo has told both teens, “You create your own reality whether in this world or in another.” If acted upon properly, that advice just might save their lives and end suffering on an even wider scale.

Blurb

A new resident of America's oldest and most haunted city, St. Augustine, Florida, fifteen-year-old Jeff Golden suddenly finds himself up to his eyeballs in frightening paranormal experiences. At the end of his rope in trying to figure out what is happening to him, Jeff decides to rely on his friend Carla Rodriguez, and Lobo, an old Native American shaman, for help.

Despite this guidance, things get even worse. Jeff's spine tingling encounters increase in number and intensity at an alarming rate, scaring him even more. Eventually, he makes the startling discovery that unresolved circumstances involving a bloody event directly out of Florida's distant past threatens his sanity and possibly his life.

Finally, overwhelmed by forces he cannot understand or control, Jeff's world shifts from frightening to downright terrifying. In desperation, and on Lobo's advice, he leaps headlong into the unknown in order to save himself. What Jeff discovers though is that he has entered a level of reality he is completely unprepared to handle while unwittingly dragging Carla with him.

Like all the books in THE ST. AUGUSTINE TRILOGY, the premise for Sliding Beneath the Surface is simply this: You create your own reality.


Excerpt 1

I shut Lobo’s door behind me without putting on my jacket and took a big breath of cold air. Standing there for a second, I felt like I had been running hard. God, my heart pounded so hard I thought it might split wide open, and that stupid headache throbbed even more. I hated leaving Carla like I did, but the time to get out of there had come.

Being away from Lobo was such a relief. With my eyes closed, I took another deep breath and let it out slowly. All that had gone on that afternoon rushed through my mind like a flooding river. Instantly, those panicky urges to turn around and run away while walking towards Lobo’s place with Carla popped up in my head. I opened my eyes again only to see that everything had gotten a lot darker than it was seconds before. A massive fog bank had somehow moved in over Matanzas Bay and already covered most of Lobo’s dock. As I watched, the rest of the dock disappeared into all that gray stuff as if it had never been there. Rapidly, a smaller wave of fog rolled over the tip of the peninsula and headed right for me at a speed fog should never move. It all happened so fast, I had no time to think or act. Long fingers of mist reached for the porch, and before I knew it, a cold wetness surrounded me.

“What the hell?” I whispered to myself. Talk about freaky. Yeah,  it scared me—so much that I even turned around to go back into the house. Believe it or not, right then, facing old Lobo seemed better than dealing with that awful, weird fog. When I turned around though, I couldn’t find the house. All I could see was fog in every direction. Even so, I knew the front door had to be there directly in front of me, right? I mean I hadn’t moved more than a couple of feet away from it, so I stretched my arms out and slowly stepped forward.

After walking maybe five or six steps, I still hadn’t found the door or any part of the house. I know what you’re thinking. You’re sure I must have been hallucinating all of that or something. I don’t blame you. To be perfectly honest, I thought the same thing at first, but that cold, wet fog was very, very real.

“Carla!” I shouted, but my voice sounded muffled. “Lobo?” I yelled. At any second, I expected one of them to open the door and answer me. No such luck. I kept shouting anyway.

When I finally gave up yelling my lungs out, the absolute silence startled me. Like a thick blanket of insulation, the fog no longer allowed any sound in from the outside world—no birds chirping, no noises from boats out on the bay or traffic in the neighborhood. Nothing but total silence. I swear, it was so quiet I actually heard my heart beating. As I listened though, I noticed a darkness creeping into the fog. I’m telling you, it just got darker and darker as I stood there frozen in fear, with my head still aching. In less than a minute, I was in total blackness with only the feel of cold, wet fog all over me. Strangely enough, I also smelled something like pine needles. Pine trees. Pine needles. Something like that.

I didn’t know what to do. Lobo’s words about spirits and danger still swirled through my weary brain, reviving the memory of that deep blackness I had seen at the bottom of his carved ivory ball. For a moment, I wondered if I was dreaming somehow, but the feel of that cold fog all over my body told a different story. I turned around several times, hoping to see or hear something, anything. When that got me nowhere, the panic really started to build. Even in the cold, I could feel sweat trickling down my back and under my arms. I had never felt so alone.




Excerpt 2

“Wait. Wait a minute,” I said out loud, closing my eyes even though there was nothing to see. “Take it easy and think.” After sucking in a couple of deep breaths of cold air, I put on my jacket. Funny how that helped. Doing that one little thing for myself also calmed me down a little. Even my headache eased up a bit.

No matter what, I said to myself, you still have to be on Lobo’s porch. All you have to do is get down on your hands and knees and feel your way across the wood floor until you find the door. Why didn’t you think of that before, idiot?

Listening to my own advice, I squatted on my heels and stretched out put my right hand. Instead of wood, I touched wet sand, dirt and what felt like a thick matting of pine needles. I pulled my hand back like it had been burned. As I thought about it, I didn’t remember seeing any pine trees on Lobo’s property.

“No way,” I said out loud in my muffled voice. “I’m on the porch. I have to be.” But the feeling of pine needles did match what I had been smelling and that gave me a tiny bit of hope, in a way. At least a couple of things connected in all that darkness.

An owl hooted loudly somewhere in the fog, making me jump. Strange as it may sound, when I thought about the owl and the things I had touched, they all helped me feel better. I don’t know why exactly, except they seemed to connect me to the real world beyond that total blackness. The owl hooted again, but this time I didn’t jump. Instead, I wondered if maybe I had stepped off the porch into the fog and just got lost somehow. If that’s so, I thought, keep feeling around until you find the porch. Once more following my own logic, I got on my hands and knees. Wetness soaked through my jeans and grit stuck to my hands. Again, all I could feel was dirt, sand and pine needles until something brushed my face, scaring the crap out of me at first.

When I felt around some more and found the thing, it was nothing more than a palmetto frond, dripping wet from the fog. Following the frond all the way down to a palmetto bush, I found a shoe. The thing is, I hadn’t seen any trash like that at all anywhere around Lobo’s house except inside his truck.

Continuing to crawl around and feeling with my fingers, I found even more pine needles, then some pine cones, and what felt like rough slivers of wood. To my sensitive nose, the scent of pine there
was really strong.

Seconds later, I found a tree about a foot and a half thick and grabbed it with both hands. Why? It almost felt like a friend there in the dark, at least something big I could hold onto, you know? It didn’t matter how rough the outside was. As my fingers explored the thing, I felt places that had no bark—spots of bare wood with splintery holes gouged out of it. Those holes oozed pine sap, and I wondered what had caused them. Yeah, my fingers got really sticky, but I could have cared less.

That’s when it happened. Slowly the fog all around me started to glow. At first there was enough brightness so I could at least see my hands, the tree, and a shadow of the tree in the fog in front of me.
The source of that illumination had to be coming from behind.

I whipped around and there it was, Lobo’s front door not ten feet away. Light, wonderful light from inside Lobo’s house pushing its way through those glass ovals and making the fog glow. “Yesssss!” I shouted long and hard, and started walking towards the door. All that brightness from inside really made the wolf on his cliff, the moon and Orion stand out brilliantly as fog swirled in front of them.

When I got there, I looked through the mist and the clear glass portion of the door. The hallway and room with the fireplace and weapons were on the left, right where they should be. I didn’t see Carla or Lobo yet, but all I needed to do was open the door to safety. When I reached for the doorknob though, I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t even find the door itself—the wooden part. Reaching out with a shaking hand, I grasped one of the clear glass sections in my fingers, which should have been impossible.
Author Bio

Doug Dillon has been writing for adults and young people since 1984, especially in the paranormal realm. An award winning educator, he spent many years as a classroom teacher, school administrator, and coordinator of programs for high-risk students.  Prentice Hall, Harcourt, Mitchell Lane Publishers, Boys' Life magazine, Learning Magazine and The Orlando Sentinel have all published his work. 
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