You asked for more Accounting for It All after the release of the book’s first chapter, and now you’ve got it.
Below you’ll find an audio preview from chapter twelve, with the text of the same excerpt beneath the audio player. Enjoy!
Squareville, Kansas – August 2003
We’d cut through the cornfield that night—we had to be fourteen or so then—Sarah stepping ahead of me as she yanked me forward by the hand. “It’s through here.”
As she urged me onward, I held my hand in front of my face to ward off the sharpest husks. Nothing stings like a slash across the face from a stalk just trying to mind its own. “Knee high or the Fourth of July,” I called after her. “My mom says we can only run through the field until the Fourth of July or until the stalks are as tall as our—”
“Your mom also says you’re supposed to stay inside after dark.” She paused, panting, out of breath. “That didn’t stop you from sneaking out.”
The mischief bubbled inside me, escaping as a sharp giggle. “You came to my window and stole me away!” I said.
Sarah glanced back, the moonlight falling softly against the milky whiteness of her skin. Her freckles were as strong as they’d ever been that summer, which only got my heart to racing that much faster. “It’ll be worth it, I promise.”
We stumbled into a clearing at the end of the field. Sarah put her hands on her knees, right above the tears in her blue jeans. “See,” she said. “I told you.”
“What?” Then I saw it: a tire swing dangling gently in the breeze, strung up tight from a thick branch of the mighty oak in the clearing. “Did you put this up?”
“Someone did.” She grabbed me again, our fingers intertwined. “Come on.”
My fingers squeezed.
Hers did the same.
She led me to the tire swing, releasing my hand only when she had to.
“Up,” she said.
“Here.” She knelt and hugged me around the legs, just below the hips.
“What are you doing?” I laughed as she got me half over her shoulder, my fists batting playfully against her back. “Put me down. I—”
She plopped me right into the swing’s open mouth, releasing me as quick as she could.
My hands flailed at my sides. “I’ll fall. I’ll—”
But I didn’t fall, no. Her hands had found my shoulders, holding me up, her face mere inches from mine. I could feel my heart pulsing in my neck, could smell the ChapStick she always had on her but never let me borrow.
I wondered what it tasted like.
I leaned in.
She laughed and slipped behind me. “Hold on.”
Then she pushed. Once. Twice. A third time. Higher and higher with each pass I flew, the mischief inside me bubbling up with every touch of her hands on my back.
“What do you see?” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“There. In the sky.”
I rocketed forward, my neck craned toward the heavens. “Stars,” I said. “The moon.” And I did. Brilliant, they were, almost blue against the pitch of the canvas above.
I swung back. She caught me. “You ever think about how the light we see is from the past?” She pushed me forward, my stomach tingling again as I flew. I had no idea what she meant, so I kept quiet.
“All those stars,” she said. “It takes years for the light to reach us.” I didn’t know whether it was true, but Sarah’d always been the smart one, so I thought better than to question her. “And we give off light too. All of us. The Earth. Squareville. You and me, even.”
“We do?” I concentrated on the tiniest star I could, squinting at it as it twinkled.
“You ever wonder if someone somewhere will one day see our light?” Sarah said.
Of course I didn’t. Until a minute earlier, I hadn’t known that was a thing. “I hope they do.”
“Me too,” Sarah said.
I swung back toward her, but this time she caught me for real. She eased the swing to a stop and helped me down. Before I even had my footing, she’d slipped behind me and pulled me into an embrace, her arms around my chest.
“I think they’ll see our light.” I could feel her against my back, her heart pumping as hard as mine. “And even if they don’t,” she said, “at least we can see it now.” She spun me around, gripped both of my hands.
I wanted to lean in again, to surrender to the force drawing me to her, but all I could do was stare—stare and study the stars reflected in those shining blue-gray eyes of hers.
She bit her lip. Her eyes, her hands fell from mine a moment later. “Let’s get you home,” she said. “Wouldn’t want to upset your mom.”
That’s all for this snippet from Accounting for It All, but the book itself will be out in only 18 days!
If you can’t wait that long for more, you can preorder the eBook from NineStar Press and receive your digital copy of the book three days early on November 16th. The print copy will be available online from Amazon or other major retailers November 19th.
Thanks to Freesound.org uploaders Karlis-Stigis, duckduckpony, and overtone2 for the use of the swing, rustling, and cricket sound effects respectively. Each sample was modified in some way for the purposes of this production.