The publicity team for Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares was kind enough to give me a sizable excerpt to feature, so you can get sucked in like I did. Read, enjoy, and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win your own copy of the book, plus some nice swag!
Excerpt from Chapter 10, Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares, by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young
Jarabec splashed some water on his face, clearing off the dust and grime. “I was like you, Poet,” he said, using the bottom of his shirt to wipe his eyes. “A Lucid Dreamer—a bit of a lost soul. The man who owned this garden taught me through my dreams. He too, was a Poet. I learned how to garden, at first. Dreams can be useful that way. An indestructible training ground. I could kill the plants and bring them back without ever damaging a single stem. Eventually, the man’s lessons extended into other skills: how to fight, how to be strong, how to survive. And long after he was gone and this place had been razed, I recreated it—every detail near perfection.” Jarabec glanced around, and for a split second, Poet saw a touch of melancholy cross his features.
“It’s beautiful,” Poet said. Jarabec smiled, and crossed the yard to his monocycle, squatting in front of it to adjust a piston near the tire. “So this means I can enter your memories?” Poet asked. He wasn’t sure he wanted that sort of invasive power.
“No,” Jarabec said. “You can’t enter a memory. What you’ve done is enter my dream.” Jarabec stood, wiping his palms along the thighs of his pants. “You see,” he continued, “most people start their dreams in the Waking World— at their jobs, their homes, their memories. Their personal dream world is only slightly different. A few, like you or me, can get deeper, find a place like Genesis.
“Occasionally, a lost soul will end up in the Dream World. That’s where you come in,” Jarabec said. “You can guide them out; bring them home. You return them to the safety of their dreams with your tunnels. Someone like you can gain access to anywhere, I suppose. We don’t know the limits yet.”
Poet walked over to sit on a bench, facing Jarabec. There was so much he wanted to know that he wasn’t sure where to start. He ran his palm roughly over his face and looked at the Dream Walker. “So you can enter my dreams, too?” Poet asked.
“No,” Jarabec replied. “That is a Poet’s talent. When I found you on the subway, you’d already left your dreams on your way to Genesis. And this time, you found me.”
Poet thought about that, nodding his head. “My brother and I would share dreams, though,” Poet said. “Does that mean Alan—?”
Jarabec shook his head. “No, your brother is not a Poet. All that time, you were in his dream. You tunneled in and lived it with him. Perhaps neither of you realized.”
“Okay,” Poet said. “Well, then what was up with that thing, the Night Terror—it almost killed me.” He could still picture the creature’s glowing red eyes, the way it was ready to devour him.
Jarabec nodded, and crossed to a vertical garden planter with shelves and picked up a pair of garden shears, examining the blade. “You’re right,” Jarabec said, running his thumb along the sharp edge. “But it didn’t. And it won’t. You’ll find a way to kill the Night Terror when you need to.” Jarabec walked over to a row of rose bushes, trimming off the buds that were wilted.
Old habit, Poet thought. Jarabec’s movements were deliberate and practiced, as if the dream was pulling him into his old role.
“Why didn’t you just kill the monster in the subway?” Poet asked him. Surely the Dream Walker was better equipped to handle murderous monsters than he was. Jarabec clipped a dead rose and let it fall to the ground.
“Because it’s not my Night Terror.”
“Fair enough,” Poet said, holding up his hands. “Explain things, then. Are there rules to this? Because, honestly, I have no fucking clue what’s happening.”
Jarabec turned to him and looked him over. “I can’t tell you how to beat your Night Terror. You have to find the answer in yourself. He’s the manifestation of your fear.”
Poet scoffed. “You can’t give me a hint?”
“No.” Jarabec touched his chest, and the armor opened, his Halo rising up above his shoulder.
Although Poet had seen it before, in this calm moment, he was struck by the beauty of the Halo. The sphere was gold and majestic. He narrowed his eyes as the Halo began to revolve around them, and noticed its scrapes and scars. Scorch marks.
“So that’s your soul?” Poet asked quietly. He’d seen Jarabec use it to protect them, but he hadn’t thought about how it would be affected. “It’s…damaged.”
“It is,” Jarabec said, watching the Halo circle. “And I feel every wound.” He touched his chest. “A constant ache in the Waking World. Some Dream Walkers have little left of their Halos—their souls harden like a weapon. Let’s just say their waking selves can become a bit unfeeling because of it.”
“So it changes who you are in the other reality,” Poet asked.
“Oh, yes. But it was a choice we made,” Jarabec said. “In the dreamscape, your soul is your life. And the souls of Dream Walkers are especially bright—so strong they can exist outside of our bodies. They protect us, but at great cost. It’s not a decision to be made lightly.”
“But…how?” Poet asked. “How did you release your soul?”
Jarabec stiffened and glanced at the bamboo fencing, as if waiting. Poet listened a moment, but heard nothing. Still, the Dream Walker’s change in demeanor piqued his concern. “That’s a story for another time,” Jarabec said. “Right now we need to figure out how we can develop your talents. Get you ready.”
“Talents?” Poet said. “Well, I can break into your dreams, apparently. Create giant holes that I can pull people through. I used to be able to make stuff, but not always. And not when I was in the city.”
“No, you won’t be able to,” Jarabec said. “In your dreams, you control your surroundings, so long as you can focus your mind. But in Genesis—the Dream World—you’re just a Poet: a guide for the lost souls.” The Dream Walker began to pace, his Halo widening its circle to follow as he walked the rows of flowers, rubbing his chin. “And it is exceedingly rare to meet a Poet. Most know better than to be found.”
Poet leaned forward, elbows on his knees. “And why’s that?”
“Your bright souls make you targets,” Jarabec said. “If REM were to get his hands on one of you, you can’t imagine the havoc he could inflict on the Waking World. The power of your soul would allow him passage to destroy and terrorize. To cause nightmares. And nightmares give him strength, power. He won’t be content until the entire world dreams of destruction and misery. And even then, that probably won’t be enough.”