Holy cow! We’re so excited to finally share this excerpt from “Catalyst”. Enjoy this little teaser from the debut novel of one of Emerald Inkwells founders Dustin Taylor! This is just a small taste of a Dustin’s passion project that has been years in the making, and after reading through the final draft, it was well worth the wait! Keep it up DT! More details coming soon!
As promised, here’s a short excerpt from my upcoming novel. I hope you enjoy it. And thank you so much for reading!
Jack Porter lay cold and lifeless in a rich, walnut casket lined with white satin. Candles flickered around him, but the warmth I had once known no longer filled his face. His soft features had tightened, and the rosy cheer had been replaced with sallow severity. He was nearly unrecognizable, and it left an uneasy feeling in my stomach. I reached into my inside pocket and pulled out a black-and-white photo of a younger Jack and his wife, sliding it gently beneath his clasped hands. “Say ‘hi’ to Marci for me.”
I took a step back and broadened my focus to take in the main altar of the church. The mass of black marble columns and white marble sculptures topped with a golden cross cast an eerie shadow over an already dark day. With one last look at Jack, I turned to leave. It was a small funeral, mostly made up of family sitting in the front row of pews. His two daughters wore black dresses with black veils over their faces, and their husbands wore black suits with white shirts and black neckties. I nodded solemnly at them to say Thank you for inviting me. They nodded back, trying to smile, appreciation peeking out of tear-soaked eyes.
Beyond Jack’s family sat a scattering of other guests. He lived a more isolated life in his later years and had few close friends then. Those he had early on were either dead or couldn’t make the trip.
My footfalls echoed in the high, vaulted ceiling as I made my way down the center aisle toward the entrance, but my feet didn’t seem to be making the sounds. I knew I was moving, but I felt no sensation when my feet touched the stone floor. Glancing from side to side, I observed those who had come to pay their respects. Some prayed, some cried, some comforted those who cried. The rest sat with a glazed-over expression that was either due to a slow realization or because they handled funerals that way. I saw a couple of familiar faces, but when our eyes connected and I opened my mouth to speak, no words would come out.
I reached the entrance to the church and looked back at Jack’s casket one last time. Silence had closed around me so that I heard nothing but my own heartbeat. Then, I took a deep breath, turned up the collar of my wool overcoat, and stepped out into the icy air. A few yards from the church, I sat on the cold steps next to a frozen fountain and pulled my flask from my inside pocket. Tipping it back, I let the whiskey warm my body all the way through. “It’s colder than a well-digger’s ass out here,” I muttered to myself as I pulled my coat tighter around me and began the frigid walk back to my hotel.