Sneak Peek Sunday: Ski Lodge

It’s Sneak Peek Sunday! Follow the link back to see what other authors are working on this week (please note that participating authors write in all genres and at all heat levels).

Racheline and I have a rule that, if you have an idea, you write it, no matter what story it’s for or what we’re “supposed” to be working on. It’s a way to use energy to its maximum efficiency, and also makes sure we don’t lose our bursts of awesome ideas while we’re trying to be disciplined on something else.

So while we typically write chronologically within a story, and focus on a project until it’s complete, we have a few pages here and there of scenes that belong later in longer projects, or to things that are on the back burner for one reason or another.

The story we’ve working-titled “Ski Lodge” because it takes place, well, at a ski lodge in Vermont, is one of these. But it’s a winter-themed story (I mean, ski lodge) and not only was it starting to roll over into spring here on the East Coast, but we’d just finished two other winter stories: Snare begins with a blizzard, and many of the critical events in Starling happen between December and January. It was time to let the snow rest.

But we had the idea for the first couple of pages, so we wrote those before we tucked it in a drawer.

Once winter comes the lodge and the slopes this place will be packed with too-rich families and their boring, irritating progeny. But for now it’s the peak of autumn and the place is essentially abandoned. His mother worries that it’s too lonely for him or unsafe, but Nate revels in the emptiness and the solitude. And protecting the property is actually his job. Ski lodge caretaker may not have been what his dad had in mind for him when Nate started looking for a job halfway through last semester, but it’s pretty much the perfect gig for someone needing a year off from the pressures and uncertainty — financial and academic — of college.

The sun had been rising over the treetops when Nate set off on the walk, but the day’s gone cloudy and misty with the threat of rain as he and Skip make the rounds on one of their favorite trails. They’re maybe a mile from the lodge when there’s the sound of an engine drifting through the trees. Nate glances in the direction of the sound and then ducks off the trail and heads into the brush. Skip wags his tail at the change of course and keeps trotting along happily at his side.

The four-wheeler, with the shield of the local force emblazoned on the side of it, takes about five minutes to catch up to where they left the trail. When the cop on it starts shouting over the noise of the engine in their direction, Nate sighs and turns around. Dealing with the local cops, who never have enough to do especially in the off-season, is one of his least favorite things ever. “Not a trespasser!” he yells back.

“What?” The guy, who obviously drew the short straw for forest patrol today, shouts. “Come on, kid, get back on the trail and get out, this is private land.”

“Yeah, which is why I brought the giant loud dog. Not trespassing!” Skip barks, as if to prove his point, and then trots closer to the cop, tail swishing and already looking to make a friend.

“Who the hell are you?” The cop finally turns the bike off, and the woods go quiet again except for the rustle of wind in the leaves above. Nate starts trudging back to the trail, because if he’s not going to come any closer and is going to have to use more words to explain why he is right and the cop is wrong, Nate really doesn’t feel like shouting and scaring the wildlife any more.

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