'The Happening Just Off of County Road Q' Sneak Peek 1

'The Happening Just Off of County Road Q' Sneak Peek 1

A Story by Sarah J Dhue

A sneak peek from my 2018 NaNoWriMo novel.


            “What do you say we blow this joint?” Reggie suggested, indicating the door with his thumb.  “We can grab a pack of Keystone Ice at the convenience store and take the party elsewhere.”

            “Let’s do it,” Jason patted Reggie on the back harder than necessary.

            The four friends staggered out of the bar, laughing and bleary eyed.  Once they made it to the car, Reggie took a moment to collect himself before putting the key in the ignition.  He drove to the convenience store and they all gave him a little bit of money to buy the beer.

            Once he came back to the car, he turned to them.  “Where do you all want to go?”

            “We could drive out to Aztalan, if you are up to it,” Jason suggested.

            “Oh yeah, I love Aztalan!  It’s a good spot,” Reggie replied enthusiastically.

            “Some folks say it’s haunted,” Pike said in a perkily spooky voice, raising his eyebrows and giving Nichole an evil look.

            “Stop it!  You know I hate Halloween pranks, Pike,” Nichole kicked the back of his seat.

            “Those are just stories,” Reggie waved them off, firing the car up again.

            Reggie started on the road out of town and pretty soon they were out of the city limits, the streetlights growing scarcer the farther away they got from town and the highway.  Reggie turned down County Road Q and watched carefully for the state park sign.  “Once we get there, we can really get the party started,” Reggie grinned, tapping the front dash.  “I have some weed and rolling papers in the glovebox.”

            “Come on man, I can’t smoke, I have a drug test tomorrow!” Jason protested.

            “Oh, come on,” Pike jabbed.  “We all know that you have never turned down a joint in your life.”

            Nichole started giggling uncontrollably and Jason shrugged; he could not really argue.

            Surprisingly enough, the inebriated Reggie spotted the sign for the turn off into Aztalan State Park.  The headlights illuminated a sign that read: ‘Welcome.  Explore.  Enjoy.  Wisconsin State Parks.’  It had a picture of a tent, some trees, and the sun next to a road.  Reggie snorted - Aztalan did not allow camping and in his drunken state, the sign struck him as funny.

            Everything was blanketed in darkness; the park shut off the lights after hours, since it was only open until 10 PM.  Not that partiers cared - Reggie and his friends were hardly the only kids that went out to Aztalan to drink, smoke, and f**k on the weekends.

            Reggie slowed the car to a crawl, keeping his eyes trained on the road in the headlights and willing his blurred vision to focus.  He navigated to the parking near the tallest mound, the centerpiece of Aztalan State Park.  Aztalan was home to one of Wisconsin’s most important archaeological sites, the site of an ancient Native American village that from about a thousand years ago built along the Crawfish River.  Parts of the stockade that had been built around the village had been reconstructed, as well as several of the flat-topped mounds.

            As Pike had mentioned, some claimed that the park was haunted by Native American spirits.  Kind of spooky since remains of a princess and others had been found at the site, and there were rumors that some of the remains found had been those of giants.  There were also rumors that the ancient peoples of this land had been cannibals.

            Reggie shifted into Park and cut the engine.  “Beers?” he asked, lifting up the cardboard brick.

            “Like you have to ask,” Jason remarked, tearing up the box and cracking open a can.

            Pike was already rummaging in the glovebox for the weed and papers.  Once he had his joint rolled, he cracked open a beer and then gave Reggie a quizzical look.  “Dude, where’s your lighter?”

            “In the glovebox somewhere,” Reggie took the baggie from Pike as he searched.

            “Under the f*****g manual,” Pike grumbled, lighting up and inhaling deeply.

            “Bro, that is the good s**t,” Jason smiled, nodding rhythmically as his inhaled Pike’s smoke and sipped his beer.

            “It better be with what I paid for it,” Reggie said, gripping his blunt in his teeth as he lit up and handed the bag into the back seat.

            “Nichole, are you all right?  You have been awful quiet?  You know we were just teasing earlier,” Pike said, looking at her in the rearview mirror.

            “Yeah, I’m fine; just thinking about some stuff,” Nichole stared out the window distantly and Jason passed her a freshly rolled joint.  “Thanks,” she smiled lopsidedly, taking the lighter.  “I’m, uh… thinking about switching to a Music major.  For real this time,” she exhaled smoke out her nostrils.  “F**k my parents.”

            “Hey girl, you do you,” Jason sniffed, rolling his own joint.

            “They just… are not supportive of that at all.”

            “Like you said, f**k ‘em,” Pike replied.

            The car was already filling with a skunky fog by the time Jason lit up and asked for a second beer.  “Bro, this is so bad, I am totally going to bomb that drug test.”  He sighed, taking a drag, “Oh well, there will be other jobs.”

            “Do you really think you are cut out for business, man?” Reggie asked.

            “I’m trying to be, bro.  I really want to make something of myself…  I just like kicking it too much, I guess,” he laughed hoarsely.

            “Dude, you got to kick it once in a while,” Pike tipped back his beer can to find it empty.

            “You would say that; you think everything’s a joke.”

            Pike shrugged, “Life’s too short… and nobody gets out alive.  Hand me another beer.”  Reggie obliged and Pike cracked it open, discarding his empty can on the floor.  “Speaking of funny business, you all coming to see me at my next show this Tuesday?”

            “Oh, what, another open mic night?” Nichole wheezed.

            “Hey, it’s still a gig.  Just not a paid one.  I will get there!  You know Tenacious D got their start at open mic nights.  All hail Jables!”  He pumped the ‘rock on’ fingers.

            Reggie shook his head and rolled his eyes, looking out the windshield at the mound looming over them in the darkness.

© 2018 Sarah J Dhue

Author's Note

Sarah J Dhue
A sneak peek from my 2018 NaNoWriMo novel.

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A taste of tension... fair characters and good interaction/dialogue.

Posted 2 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Added on November 8, 2018
Last Updated on November 8, 2018
Tags: Sarah J Dhue, SarahJDhue, Dhue, horror, thriller, suspense, novel, NaNoWriMo, 2018, November, sneak, peek, Aztalan, Wisconsin, alien, UFO, The Happening Just Off of County


Sarah J Dhue
Sarah J Dhue

In the author's lair, IL

I am Sarah J Dhue. I am an author, as well as a photographer & graphic designer, currently going to school for web design. I've been writing since I was in elementary school. I live in Illinois. My f.. more..