HE SEES THEM EVERYWHERE . . .
Eric Stark is not insane. Or at least he doesn’t think so. He wishes everyone in Dust, Texas, felt the same way. But that’s not going to happen since the whole town thinks he’s crazy. Why didn’t he keep his mouth shut?
No one understands. Eric is alone as he battles his sanity in a town of tormenters. Suddenly a new friendship emerges after the new kid, Kyle Barrett, moves to town.
Eric reluctantly reveals his secret. Is it a curse or a gift? He isn’t certain, but with Kyle by his side he finds the courage to seek the truth.
They soon realize that something sinister is descending on the residents of Dust.
Is it caused by Eric’s phantoms or is it something else? Is it connected to the mysterious death of hundreds of townspeople over sixty years ago? One thing is certain—only Eric and Kyle can save them.
They set out on a heart-pounding adventure and find themselves transported to a disturbed and deserted version of their small southern town. They quickly discover that this new world has mysteries of its own to uncover. What they find could prove more than they bargained for, and it only leads to more questions. Eric and Kyle must face a horrifying fact—they may never get out alive.
“We’re gonna die here,” Kyle muttered.
“I don’t believe that,” Eric said. “And neither do you.”
Will they survive their encounter with these dark and mysterious beings?
Will they find a way back home?
Or will they be lost forever?
The Vanished from Dust series is perfect for anyone who craves a hair-raising thriller packed with mystery and suspense. This paranormal story for young adults can be compared to Stand by Me, mixed with Odd Thomas, and a twist of The Dark Tower.
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And now here is the excerpt. Enjoy!
“I’m not crazy,” Eric Stark shouted at the crowd of seventh graders as they surrounded him. He looked up from the ground, which consisted of patches of grass and dirt, to see the sunlight glinting off of the metal braces of a girl with pigtails as she pointed and laughed with the rest of them. Another boy kicked him in the stomach, causing him to retreat into a fetal position to guard against another blow.
“Oh yeah?” Greg Coffey asked as he towered over Eric. His lip was curled, showing his crooked, heavily stained teeth. “What happened last week in class? You said, ‘They’re watching me.’ Remember that, loser?”
“I didn’t say that.” Eric tried to get up, but Greg pushed him back down and kicked dirt in his face. Eric rubbed his burning eyes with both hands. When he opened them he saw four more kids sneering over him, all laughing at his expense. Where was a teacher when you needed one? The hot Texas sun was high on the horizon, almost blinding him as he stared back at his tormentors. Sweat was pouring from his brow, mixing with the tears that streamed down his face.
“Yeah you did,” Adam Marshall said with a smirk. “You’re going off the rails,
“I like that—crazy train. Just like the song,” Greg said. He laughed and gave Adam
a high five. “That’s your new name. Like it?” Greg kicked another pile of dirt at Eric. Eric tried to spit it out, but his entire face was covered in a muddy film. He
wished that he’d just kept his mouth shut about it, but it was too late now. News traveled fast in a small town, and he was sure everyone thought he was insane by now.
He didn’t know what he was.
“Leave him alone,” a kid said. He leaned over to help Eric to his feet. “I don’t like
“Stay out of it, new kid.” Greg said and gave him a scowling stare.
“Or what?” The kid got closer.
“Let’s go,” Adam said. “There’s a teacher coming.” He slapped Greg on the
“This ain’t over,” Greg said as he walked away. “Thanks,” Eric said.
“I’m Kyle Barrett,” the kid said, extending his hand.
Eric shook it. “Did you just move here?”
“Yeah, this is my first day,” Kyle said. “It’s hard being the new kid. No one talks to
“No one talks to me either, except to make fun of me,” Eric said.
Six months after the dirt-‐kicking incident, Eric and Kyle had turned from strangers
into fast friends. But everyone else still thought Eric was crazy. Even now, he
couldn’t be sure if they were right or wrong.
He only knew one thing—he hadn’t actually seen them in several months. So was
it all in his head? His mom always told him time heals all wounds. But this wound
was more like a cut that never healed. It festered in the eyes of everyone in Dust, Texas. He was just a mentally defective kid who barely deserved their pity.
He was in the eighth grade now, and he tried to put those troubled years behind
him. It seemed that most of his classmates felt the same way, but a select few never grew tired of reminding him of his sanity (or lack thereof) and demeaning nickname from time to time.
Eric looked up at the clock. The second hand moved in a slow, agonizing speed
before the bell rang loudly, reverberating throughout the building.
“Finally,” he said quietly to himself. The sound of the bell signified the end of the school week, and he was happy to hear it. It was only the week after Thanksgiving and he was already looking forward to summer break. He scrambled down the stairs and out the heavy double doors. Kyle Barrett waited at the foot of the steps wearing a tucked-‐in red polo. They had been inseparable ever since Kyle had stood up for him that day.
He didn’t stop when he got outside, taunting Kyle to a footrace. Kyle ran hard to catch up after seeing Eric dart by. Kyle was five months older, but for the time being they were both still fourteen, and they were often thought of as brothers due to
their similar appearances. Both of the boys had dark-‐brown hair, chestnut-‐colored eyes, and olive skin. But Kyle was broader in the shoulders compared to Eric’s slender frame.
“Bet I can beat you to the car,” Eric yelled.
“No way,” Kyle said as he raced ahead of Eric.
Eric wasn’t going down without a fight, so he ran harder while dodging several students loitering outside the school. He was closing the distance when he tripped, scattering his books across the parking lot. A group of girls standing on the sidewalk giggled as he got to his feet and gathered his things and what little dignity he had left. Kyle made it to the car and pointed at Eric, laughing. “You busted big time,” Kyle said.
“You got lucky. If I hadn’t tripped I would’ve beat you,” Eric replied.
“Yeah right, you’ll never beat me.”
Jean, Kyle’s mother, rolled down the car window. She had a cigarette hanging from her lip. Eric watched as the smoke drifted out the window and disappeared into the wind.
“Can I spend the night at Eric’s house tonight?” Kyle blurted out, still breathing
Eric was standing anxiously next to the car, waiting for her reply. He bent over to rub his knee. He was pretty sure he’d scraped it hard enough to draw blood. He looked back to see if the girls were still watching him. They were on the sidewalk waiting for their rides but apparently had found a more interesting topic to discuss since they were no longer looking at him.
“Did Eric’s mom say it was all right?” Jean asked. She flicked her ash out of the window and took another drag. She had dry, ashy-‐brown hair, along with a pair of large-‐rimmed glasses that draped over her hazel eyes. She wore a simple mauve-‐ colored T-‐shirt and blue jeans.
Kyle’s little sister, Katie, and older brother, Ben, were sitting in the backseat. Katie Barrett, the youngest of the family, had wavy dirty-‐blonde hair that looked like a poodle’s fur. Ben was Kyle’s older brother.
“She is okay with it,” Kyle said.
“Yeah, we asked last period,” Eric added.
“Well if she doesn’t mind, then it’s fine with me,” Jean said. She took her huge glasses off, wiped the lenses with her shirt, and put them back on. “Kyle, do you still have your bike at Eric’s?”
“It should be there.” Kyle eyed Eric for confirmation, and he nodded.
Eric looked in the backseat and saw Ben picking his nose with no shame. He thought about pointing it out but quickly decided against it. It was only a couple of weeks ago that Eric had narrowly escaped getting his head dipped in the toilet by him at the high school football game, so it was best that he kept a little distance for now. If it hadn’t been for the school principal walking in during the act he would have had the unfortunate opportunity of seeing a close-‐up view of the inside of the toilet bowl.
“Dammit Ben. Don’t pick your nose and throw boogers in my car,” Jean
Ben looked up and replied, “I’m not picking my nose Mom.”
“Katie, did you see him picking?” Jean asked.
“No ma’am. I didn’t see anything,” Katie said. Eric was fairly certain that she had
in fact seen her older brother pick a fairly large booger, methodically roll it into a neat ball, and then flick it onto the floor of the car, but she probably knew that it was much wiser to keep her mouth shut.
Jean turned and gave Ben a stern look before turning back to look at Kyle. “Y’all
be good now.”
Kyle and Eric nodded in near unison as she rolled up the window and pulled out
of the school parking lot.
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Shea Norwood is an emerging author and native of West Texas that currently lives in the DFW area with his wife and son.He was drawn to writing at an early age and recently rekindled this passion after dusting off a decade-old manuscript, titled Vanished from Dust. The fictional town of Dust is loosely based on a small town south of Odessa, TX.
When he’s not writing, Shea loves to spend time with this family, read, and is a frequent globetrotter. His travels have taken him to France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, Germany, and Mexico.Shea writes Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal/Mystery
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