To start this very awesome tour, Estevan has been so kind as to write up a scene for me in which he meets the two main characters of his book, Arson and Emery. This is just a little bit of fun, maybe with some truth to parts but you won't know what they are until you read the book- so hurry up and get on that!
ARSON is slated to hit stores May 4, in exactly one month, but can be ordered through the publisher's website now. You can check out my 5 star review of this book here to help pique your interest.
This scene very exquisitely displays Estevan's fantastic writing style and checked out the bottom of this post for details on how you can win a copy of ARSON!
My eyes fall to the loose pages. The scars of my youth; the broken picture frames no amount of counseling could piece back together; the haunting lines of bitterness coursing through like a cancer to be read and consumed.
I wish I were a different man with a different story.
I wish I were you or anybody else.
The lives I make, the lies that trace their frail frames, how simple and yet completely complex. Beings and worlds and storms and emptiness at the root of everything. I’m missing from them and yet lost between the lines, between the written and the unwritten, the mysteries and the whispers.
My eyes feel like glass inside a thin skin. Rolling and slicing and making me fight to keep them open. The desk and these pages are a forum for my mistakes and a playground for bad dreams. I’m rigid in my stiff, wooden chair when the fingernail reaches out of the white. Startled, I take another look. I’m caught off guard by its sudden movement and how it lulls me in like a terrifying spell. Chipped and black, the fingernail reaches toward the ceiling, and slowly knuckles form and a wrist and an arm. The border of a dark t-shirt pierces through. The slow crawl of this girl out from the pages causes my heart to quicken; the lights around me flicker.
And then I see its white face. Those hollow eyes carved out of porcelain skin. The mask is filled with cracks and scars, dirtied and full of secrets. Her hair touches my lap. Within seconds of freaking out, I kick the chair back and I’m lying flat, my pulse a thick river in my veins.
“Oh God. Emery?” I ask, wondering if she knows who I am.
The figure slips out of the pages and slides off the desk. I can’t help but notice the Converse classics she’s got on. Those jeans are so tight on her small frame. I crawl backward on the floor, panicked, but more surprised. I shake my head, feeling my eyes blur a little. Then my jaw slings open. “Is this real?”
She doesn’t respond.
Moments later, the lights dance again, a sudden movement and then a breath of smoke invades the space. Upon my next blink, the manuscript pages the masked figure just crawled out of are burning. Literally on fire.
“No!” I yell. The girl is quietly contained to the darkness, and I think she’s taking my panic with a sense of calm I just can’t quite accept.
Sweat slides into my eyes, and my hair flops like mop threads. The beating in my chest is really going now, urging me to extinguish the flame before it engulfs my entire mahogany desk and my apartment along with it.
But I can’t stop the fire. It consumes everything it touches. I reach to grab my laptop, but it starts to melt in my grip. The heat cut through my fingertips.
“Dude, chill,” a voice says. “You’re okay. It’s just us.”
I’m a block of ice, sweating like a fever. I glance at the girl, and suddenly there’s this other figure stepping out of the invisible space between the manuscript pages and the floor. The desk is blackened and the area around it torched, but the manuscript remains unaffected by the arrival of these visitors.
“Okay,” I say, the freak-o-meter hitting an all-time high, “how did you get here?”
The mask turns to the boy. Moving the loose curls from his dark eyes, he responds with a shrug and glances at the loose pages of the manuscript. His mouth is locked like Fort Knox.
“Right. So you guys just…crawled outta my manuscript?” I ask, the reality of it all making my dizzy.
The boy turns to the mask with raised eyebrows.
“Sure, that makes perfect sense,” I barely utter.
“Look, we managed to get out, but we have to go back soon,” the boy says.
I squint and swallow hard. No way this is real. Can’t be. I need to get closer. I slowly drag my hands against his face, feeling the bumps of adolescent acne, the stubbles of facial hair struggling to be known. Then I gaze into his lost eyes, the ones I came to recognize as my own. “My God, you’re really real. Arson?”
“Yeah, it’s me.” He blinks and the smoke left the room, along with the lingering, snake-like flames.
“He doesn’t look like I thought he’d look,” the girl says.
“Emery, be nice,” Arson replies. “He’s just shocked, that’s all.”
“Right. Well, he needs to get over it. What do you want?” she snaps, glaring at me. That mask more haunting than a nightmare.
“What are you talking about?”
“Look, man, you asked us to come. It was a miracle I made it outta that place alive. God only knows where they’ve taken Arson.”
“Try to keep up, okay?” she says with a groan. “This is your story, right? They took us, all right. You made it happen, didn’t you? I mean, God, I don’t know where we are or why they took me. I’m just this normal girl. And I haven’t seen Arson in…”
“Awhile,” Arson says, eyes lost. “I don’t even know if she’s even alive.”
My head splits, or I think it does. The dim lights hang overhead, but my mind is a shadowed mess. “So it hasn’t happened yet?” I say, attempting to make sense of everything. Here my characters were, standing before me—living, breathing, starting fires and getting pissed over things I had done to them. I didn’t know what to think. Didn’t even know what to do other than to listen and wonder how to fix everything, before Arson decides to speak again.
“Some of it has already happened and some of it hasn’t,” he shoots back. “But we don’t know where each other is. We don’t know what’s happened or what’s real anymore. We’re lost, Estevan. I’m stuck. It’s dark. It’s cold. And the dreams, they’re…dark.”
“I’m lost, okay?” I scream. “You think this part is easy for me? I opened up a world and it got messy. Lives interlocking, twists and turns and all the writer’s block in between.”
“Yeah, well, just unblock it. I gotta get outta that place, wherever it is.”
“Yeah, me too,” Emery chimed. “There’s rats.”
“Yeah, sorry about that. I thought you were tougher.” I nod with a slight smirk. Part of me wonders how Emery’s gonna take it. But I think she’s smiling underneath her mask.
“How much longer is it gonna take?” she asks me.
“I don’t know. But seeing you guys, man…unreal.”
Arson’s hand lights like a torch. “No. It’s very real. And things are changing in there. It’s scary, bro. We came here so you’d believe again. We came because you asked us to.”
“No way. I didn’t ask for this.”
“Trust us, you needed it,” Emery quipped. “And we needed to see you. You gave us hope, Estevan. A reason to keep breathing. I don’t know where we are or how they found us, but we need you to get us out. I mean, are my parents okay?”
I can’t answer her.
“How’s Grandma?” Arson asks with hopeful eyes, his palm breathing with a quiet fire.
“I don’t know.”
They both sink back with a groan. “Find out,” Arson urges. “Oh, man. We gotta go. Look, believe, man. You gotta believe.”
“That sounds a little ironic coming from you,” comes my reply.
“Come on, Arson. We better get back before things start to really get messed up. It’s coming.”
He nods and putting his hand on the page, gets dragged back in.
“Wait, Emery,” I gasp.
She turns back.
“Can I see your face?”
Slowly, her head turns to the page and back to me. “Maybe next time, writerboy.”
Anyone else think that was pretty much brilliant... because I do! Thanks again for that, Estevan! Next up on this awesome tour is Tuesday, April 6 over at Reading Rocks. For full details, check out the blog tour page on the ARSON blog and make sure to check out the rest of the blog stops- each one is going to be different so make sure you catch them all! There will also be more chances to win a copy of ARSON throughout the tour.
To enter for your chance to win a copy of ARSON, fill out this form! One entry per person but please spread the word! Estevan will definitely appreciate it. Contest ends Tuesday, May 4- the book release date! And sorry, but unless you can pay shipping, it's going to have to be US only.