Rainshadow

In 1999, Jamie Coutts grapples with a Silicon Valley career that’s falling apart. When she receives a mysterious phone call from her sister Chloe — whose dreams are driving her to search for their reclusive grandmother — Jamie takes time off work and travels to meet her wanderlust sibling.

Available in Paperback and eBook formats.
Share

In 1999, Jamie Coutts grapples with a Silicon Valley career that’s falling apart. When she receives a mysterious phone call from her sister Chloe — whose dreams are driving her to search for their reclusive grandmother — Jamie takes time off work and travels to meet her wanderlust sibling. Though technocentric and fearful of nature, Jamie joins Chloe on her backpacking quest to find their grandmother, deep in a rainforest within the Olympic Mountains. But after a severe storm strikes, threatening their survival, the sisters find themselves facing an ancient supernatural presence.
 
 

Excerpt From Rainshadow, Chapter 15

Jamie lay awake. Her body was exhausted, but her thoughts would not settle. Chloe’s revelation worried her, and the awful camping didn’t help either. The cramped tent, stuffed with their gear, didn’t leave much room to move. Bumps in the ground poked through the thin foam pad every time she shifted positions in the sleeping bag.

Had it originated from the surround-sound system in her condo, the sound of the wind sighing in the trees would have been lovely white noise to drift off to. Here, it only served to remind her that that she was in the middle of dark forest surrounded by creatures.

A hoot sounded, and her eyes snapped open. The noise repeated; it seemed quite close.

She looked at the nylon fabric above her head and imagined a monstrous owl, perched on a limb, staring down at the tent.

Is it contemplating a dive-bomb attack, to rip through the nylon with its talons and peck my eyes out? Or is it calling out the location of the tent to other creatures, which are creeping like a silent army toward us? Mice perhaps, or a pack of wolves, or an enormous grizzly bear.

She thought about the bear canister. The plastic tub containing their food was located a hundred feet away, downwind of the tent, its lid screwed shut. Jamie had at first assumed it was simply a container to keep their food fresh and organized and the bugs out, until Chloe had carried it away from camp, set it on the ground, and returned to explain. “Bears have an amazing sense of smell,” she’d said, “so they can probably still identify the scent of food in the canister. They may knock it around a bit, but they can’t open it or carry it off. Usually, they give up when they don’t get a reward.”

Chloe had delivered the terrifying words nonchalantly, as if she’d been discussing the weather or antique furniture. Jamie shivered at the thought that a bear might be wrinkling its nose, having detected a molecule from a ham sandwich, and was shambling toward the canister at this very moment.

Oh my God, she thought. What if the wind shifts during the night and the bears come through our camp on their way to the food canister?

Had her crunchy-granola sister thought of that?

Jamie lay completely still, and listened for anything bear-like: growling, snuffling, snapping twigs, or the hollow thuds of the canister being punted and mauled. She strained her ears but heard nothing beyond the gentle sounds of the creek and the wind in the trees. Even the monster owl had quieted.

There were no cricket noises, she realized. She hadn’t heard a single chirp all evening. In the movies there were always crickets, and they usually quieted right before a monster attacked the unsuspecting campers.

Jamie closed her eyes and tried to sleep, but her mind returned to Chloe’s strange recounting of her dreams. Her hippy sister embraced karma and spoke about astrological signs, but she’d never claimed to possess any sort of special psychic gift.

I hope she isn’t going crazy, thought Jamie. If Chloe wanders off and leaves me…

Format

Paperback, eBook