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Mark P. Cotter, author of From Brumal Sleep, and also SUTRO! The High Ground
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Excerpt From My Novel :
Chapter One: Snowy Owl’s Vision
Gokokhoko (Snowy Owl), the young boy, knelt by the banks of the stream from which he fished. He used a simple but ingenious device to catch his quarry: a sharpened splint of bone, notched into a crude hook at its terminus, and tied by a loop of twine through a hole worn into the upper end. As he searched the clear-running water for a fish’s movements, he shivered a bit. It was late in the Warm Season (what would be our month of August), and a brisk breeze passed over the boy’s naked back and shoulders. He wore only a type of breech-clout, made of skins his mother had fastened together with the sinew of a deer.
The wild, native brook trout (as it would be known in our time), now grasped in Gokokhoko’s excited hands, continued its thrashings and gasping for oxygen for several minutes. But Gokokhoko barely noticed. For as he stood on the bank, about to turn and bring the precious food back to the hearth, someone suddenly appeared on the opposite side of the stream, staring directly at him. One moment the far bank was empty and in less than a heartbeat a tall person was standing there. The boy’s legs, torso, arms and face became frozen in place. His breathing became shallow and rapid. Meanwhile the trout, continuing to flop around, freed itself from the barb and fell from Gokokhoko’s nerveless hands back into the stream. It floundered upon the rocks for a moment and then was gone in an instant at the flick of its tail, heading downstream, leaving the hungry boy behind.
At first, Gokokhoko thought the figure opposite him was Grandfather, as it appeared to be a very old person, its face seamed and cracked. But it was not. It was a stranger, with long, light-grey hair falling from scalp to shoulders and then down to its feet, covering most of its pale, naked body. It held its long arms down by its sides; and the eyes of the figure were so dark and deeply-sunken as almost to resemble the mouths of caves.
For an endless moment, it seemed, both boy and elder were locked staring into each other’s faces, while a line of dark clouds moved in from nowhere above their heads. There was a flash of light to the north, followed by a bark of thunder.
Then the pale figure, which looked like an old man but was not, suddenly raised its arms above its head, which it threw back with harsh laughter like the fall of scree down a mountainside. As the figure again stood upright, its features began to blur and melt. The hair screening its chest and lower body became a grey-white fur, like a carpet of dirty snow. Its fingers and toes lengthened and sharpened into wicked talons. And it grew tall and massive beside the stream, towering above the hemlocks.
But worst of all, as Gokokhoko’s gaze drew upward toward the colossus, he saw its face change into a hideous bestial mask. Its eyes glowed blue as river-ice from within their black caverns; while the feral mouth opened wide to reveal rows of sharp, almost colorless teeth like bitter icicles. A roaring, like a storm wind felling an entire forest of trees sounded from its mouth. But it also had a ring of mocking laughter contained within it. And as it looked and laughed, the air around the creature became thick with falling snow that blanketed the area in a shroud of unbroken white.
Gokokhoko was petrified by this apparition, and felt a darkness come over him in the middle of the day. His head was spinning and his vision narrowing. He felt utterly empty inside, like a dried gourd in winter; and a spasm of starvation twisted his insides. Now the beast crossed the frozen water and stood right before him. The boy sensed he was going to pitch forward at the creature’s feet, yet still felt paralyzed and without will; even when the white monstrosity bent down, grasped his right arm, and hauled him up to its voracious maw.
Gokokhoko closed his eyes and waited for the pain …
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By Mark P Cotter
Self Published Feb, 2013
If you live and/or work in Maine, you'll probably love this book. Based on the Amerian Indians that arrived from the North, the story takes you through many parts of Upper Maine and compares the historic locations to modern day places. The Geology, town data, and research are fun, if you are into Maine history .It is a wonderful story, Lovely details, wonderful outdoor scenes, historic places that you can picture because of Mr. Cotters writing.