In his shack, Ben woke to the sound of rain. He was pleased to discover that, though they may have
cared little about the wind, the owners of the plantation knew enough to keep the rain off of their tools. The roof was perhaps the only fully intact part of the entire structure. At least he would be dry. For the most part, anyway. Here and there a gust of wind forced itself through the drafty walls and brought a spritz of water with it. Rather than wake up with a damp blanket, and no doubt catch his death of cold, the old man reluctantly climbed from his cot to shuffle it a bit farther from the wall.
“First thing in the morning, I see where the wind is getting in, and see what I can do to fix it,” he muttered to himself.
Once he was satisfied that he was out of reach of even the most motivated leaks, he rolled himself onto the canvas of the cot and lay his head upon the bundle of cloth that served as a pillow. The instant sleep began to claim him though, a scratch at his door shook him from his doze. For a moment, he dismissed the noise, assuming it was a bit of bramble or an errant tree branch broken free by the wind. When it turned to an insistent hammering on the door, Ben groggily hoisted himself to his feet again.
“What is it? Whoever it is, haven’t you got the sense to stay out of the rain?” he grumbled, removing the brace from the door and easing it open a crack.
Even the whisper of an opening brought a veritable stream of water spattering to the ground by the door. It also brought a sudden pressure as something heaved itself desperately at the opening and scrabbled to get through.
“What in blazes?”
“In! In!” the malthrope squealed, trying his very best to wedge his head through the tiny opening.
“No, no, no! Out you go!” Ben growled, nudging the thing’s nose with his foot as he forced the door shut.
“In you go! In you go!” the creature whined from the other side of the door, ramming against the solid planks with all of the force his spindly frame could muster.
The creature may not have been very large, but he was determined. The rattling had dislodged the brace from where Ben had left it, and as the blind man leaned low to reach for it, one last clash shook the door just enough to rob him of his balance. The old man tumbled down, the door flew open, and the malthrope exploded into the shed. By the time Ben managed to get the door shut and braced again, he was soaked and muttering a fresh batch of profanities from his seemingly bottomless supply of them.
“Where are you, you little devil!?” he hissed.
A native of Bayonne, NJ - the fabled birthplace of George R. R. Martin - Joseph Lallo is an unlikely entry into the world of literature. After a childhood spent daydreaming and reading, he fully intended to pursue a career in the tech sector. He received a Master's Degree in Computer Engineering from NJIT, and subsequently got a job working IT for a large healthcare corporation. Things changed when, in January 2010, his friends finally convinced him to publish the story that had accumulated over the course of a decade of spare time. That story, now known as the Book of Deacon Trilogy, was a surprise hit, and once he got a taste of the world of indie writing, he was hooked. Now he splits his time between crunching numbers at his day job, writing novels at night, and writing articles and reviews for BrainLazy.com, a group blog he helps run. His latest novels are Bypass Gemini and Unstable Prototypes, the first two books of a science fiction series.