Nostalgic Rain: Excerpt and Giveaway

Nostalgic Rain: Galaxies Away
by A.S. Altabtabai
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: July 1st 2017

Summary from Goodreads

What seventeen-year-old Leland finds in the abandoned basement of his house is something he will never forget.

Leland lost his father when he was seven. Since then, he has successfully adapted to the awful life of being a student, the man of the house, and a father figure to his two younger siblings. All of that changes when he and his best friends stumble upon a secret in his deserted basement, and fall into another dimension with three moons, foggy woods, and an ancient castle-Oremanta.

Learning who he really is, how he came to this remote planet, and the shocking, ugly mystery of Oremanta aren’t as bad as the quest he finds himself obligated to complete-killing someone he never thought he’d meet in Oremanta to save everyone.

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Excerpt:  

Chapter One

Voices

The ceiling, barely visible in the dark room, greeted Leland. He didnt know how long hed slept, but that didnt matter much. It was summer. A thump resounded in the atmosphere, and it mixed with the squawking of birds and the chirping of grasshoppers. Leland rose from the sweat-soaked sheets of his bed and went to the window overlooking their small house garden. The sky was a mixture of red, orange, and yellow on one side, where the egg-yolk sun rose, and black on the other. In between the two, various degrees of blue adorned the horizon. Its dawn.

Be it summer, spring, winter, or autumn, all dawns in Temblewood City were cold. Leland put on his red hoodie, the one he got last year on his sixteenth birthday from Jennifer, his best friend, and stomped down the wooden abodes creaky stairs. Lelands heavy-lidded brown eyes skimmed the familiar dilapidated furniture of the living room, but he didnt dare complain. It was his grandfathers house, and he had lived here with his mother and two little siblings for ten years now since his father had died.

Today, he didnt want to drink coffee. Drinking coffee meant staying awake and alert for a long period, and he didnt want any of that. He wished he could sleep for the rest of this summer. Instead of coffee, Leland headed to Jaimes Café, a place more popular than Starbucks in Temblewood City, and bought a cup of hot chocolate. The cup was so hot he had to wrap it with two layers of napkins.

This summer was different from the last. Last year, hed seen Jennifer and Dylan almost every day. Hed gone hiking and horse riding and fishing, and hed camped on Mount Lamen, which wasnt a good ideathey had ended up lost for two days with cops searching for them. But now he was running from everyone and everything. Jennifer and Dylan were calling every day, and hed been creating excuses to be alone. But he missed them. A lot. The most awful thing in life is changing into someone worse but not realizing it.

Leland sat on a wooden bench not so far from Jaimes Café and gazed at the road, which was gradually getting more crowded with cars and people. A young man wearing a black suit and a red tie sat beside him. The man, who genuinely smelled good, scrolled down his phones screen, checking his Twitter timeline. Yeah. Thats what normal people do. They work and they socialize and they live. Leland missed that. Fear can paralyze ones mind and create thousands of fake barriers.

A raindrop fell on Lelands cup. He stared at the gray clouds in the sky, and an army of a million other drops flooded the ground. Thats why he hated Temblewood. It would rain any time of year, and Leland despised rain. He knew it was going to be a bad day. All rainy days are bad. The day his father died had been a day of heavy rain and dark memories he wished he could forget. But that was impossible because it was impossible not to have rain throughout the year. And every time it rained, a powerful resurrection of that day occurred.

Leland realized the suited man beside him had left at some point during his deep and useless thinking session. It seemed Leland was the only one on the street now. He put the hoodie cap on and walked underneath shop awnings on his way back home. Now that he thought about it, Leland hadnt learned much from his absent father.

But there was one sentence that kept ringing in his head. Leland wasnt even sure how or when or why his father had told it to him: The more you feed your fear, the more you become imprisoned by it.

***

Karla and Fred giggled and ran in the corridor. Theyve grown up really fast. I cant believe theyre starting to write and read already. Karla opened the door wide and nestled between Lelands arms. She curled and made herself comfortable in his hands.

You cant touch me now! she told Fred, sticking her tongue out.

Youre cheating! Fred replied, his palm on his waist.

Hey, you two, Leland said. Youre supposed to be in your beds now, arent you?

Were waiting for Aunt Abbey! Karla said. Mom said we can stay up late tonight.

Leland had totally forgotten that. His aunt, Abbey, was coming back to Temblewood from Todland, a city five hours away by plane. She worked as a nurse there. The last time hed seen her was a year ago when she came for New Years Eve. Shed brought them two bags of Made-In-Todland-Only candies. Leland hoped shed bring them again this time.

Lelands room was the smallest in the house. In one corner was his bed and in the other was a desk and a bookshelf with many Xbox games and a few novels. The only good thing about the room was the window that overlooked the street.

Fred toured Lelands room. He flipped the pages of a book he could barely carry and then dropped it when the doorbell rang. It was more of a noisy croak rather than a musical sound.

Abbey had arrived.

***

Lelands grandma, glued to her usual spot on the worn rocking chair shed bought right after Lelands birth, glimpsed him for a moment and then rolled her eyes back to the TV.

Where have you been all day? she complained, switching channels. Your aunt is here, for Gods sake.

On the table in the living room sat a cake with Welcome Home written on it. The living room was lit by an old, handcrafted chandelier, but it did its job quite well. Leland hugged his aunt. She hadnt changed much.

Hows everything? Leland asked.

Perfect! She replied, taking a bite of her cake. Everything is too perfect!

Great. Im glad. He took a seat beside her. Fred and Karla were on the ground playing rock, paper, scissors. His grandfather, Richard, was listening to the news, his ears touching the radios speaker.

What about you? Abbey asked.

Im fine, Leland replied, faking a smile.

No, hes not, Lelands mother said, cutting cake for Fred and Karla, pretending not to care much about the issue. Somethings wrong with him. He hardly leaves hisvroom.

Lelands face flushed. He felt stupid for not realizing his mother must have felt something was wrong with him. This meant Dylan and Jennifer, his friends, likely also noticed.

No, its just—” Leland said, attempting to fake an excuse.

Is he always alone? Abbey asked.

Almost, Maria, Lelands mother, replied.

And hes not eating a lot?

Yes.

Lelands heart raced. Theres no way Abbey would know what hed been through lately. Shed been away, and he made sure no one knew.

And he doesnt talk much? Abbey asked.

Yeah. Only a little, Maria answered.

Abbey clapped her hands and cried, Hes in love!

All eyes turned toward Leland. But he was relieved. She knew nothing after all. Leland pretended her assumptions were correct. He gazed down and said nothing in reply.

Theres nothing to be ashamed of, Leland. Weve all been through this before, Aunt Abbey said, and then her voice dropped to a whisper. And dont chicken out. Women hate that.

Leland didnt know how to reply, so, rather awkwardly and loudly enough that everyone stared at him again, he said, I like her.

Okay. Thats enough for today. Leland had paid his social dues and now he had to leave. Embarrassed, Leland said, I gotta go.

And he went back to his room.

***

Leland collapsed into his bed with Les Miserables in his hand. Hed bought it a month ago from Harrys Bookstore, a local shop at the end of the street. Leland read a book or two per year, but he wished he could dedicate more time to reading. He read some pages then put the book on the bedside table. With the lights on and the window opened, Leland dozed off without realizing it. Deep in his sleep, Leland woke up, sweating and trembling in fear. His breath quickened and his heart hammered against his chest. It had happened for the fifth time this week.

Voiceshundreds of thousands of throatswhispered in Lelands ears and mumbled words he couldnt understand. And it seemed he was the only one hearing them.

For Gods sake, what the hell is going on?

About the Author

Medical student, writer & travel passionate.

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