Traveling Without Warning

Waking Up Lost

David Fitz-Gerald

Traveling without warning. Nights lost to supernatural journeys. Is one young man fated to wander far from safety?

New York State, 1833. Noah Munch longs to fit in. Living with a mother who communes with ghosts and a brother with a knack for heroics, the seventeen-year-old wishes he were fearless enough to discover an extraordinary purpose of his own. But when he mysteriously awakens in the bedroom of the two beautiful daughters of the meanest man in town, he realizes his odd sleepwalking ability could potentially be deadly.

Convinced that leaving civilization is the only way to keep himself and others safe, Noah pursues his dream of becoming a mountain man and slips away into the primeval woods. But after a strong summer storm devastates his camp, the troubled lad finds his mystical wanderings have only just begun.

Can Noah find his place before he’s destroyed by a ruthless world?

Waking Up Lost is the immersive fourth book in the Adirondack Spirit Series of historical fiction. If you like coming-of-age adventures, magical realism, and stories of life on the American frontier, then you’ll love David Fitz-Gerald’s compelling chronicle.

Buy Waking Up Lost to map out destiny today!

Book Excerpt or Article

I awaken suddenly and… I don’t know where I am. I’m not in my cabin. I can hear the pounding of my heartbeat thundering in my ears. I dread opening my eyes, but I force myself to, nevertheless. I’m lying on my back on what feels like a hard, wooden surface. I feel the burn of bile in the back of my throat and I’m desperate to flee, but frozen like the ice in the river, not knowing what to do. Without moving my head, my eyes rotate within my eye sockets, searching for a clue. Where am I? And more importantly, how do I get out of here?

I hear the muted, distant sound of snoring. It’s a deep sound, like the sound Moses makes when he snores, so I assume it is a man. I feel blood coursing through my veins and a rush in my gut as I imagine the violent end that could come to me if a man finds me in his house in the middle of the night.

After a while, my open eyes adjust to the darkness. There is a small window in this room, and a navy sky is visible through the glass. A window would be a way to escape, but that window looks too small, even for me. There isn’t much furniture in this room, nor does it appear to be elaborately decorated. I can make out a bed on the opposite side of the room and another bed immediately to my right. I can see a small table and a pitcher in a washing bowl. I see another small table and two plain chairs. There is a dress draped over one of the chairs, and there is enough light to see the blue and white checked pattern. I gulp hard, and my mouth is dry as I realize that is Arminda’s dress. Then I surmise that this is Lovina and Arminda’s bedroom. Still, I hear the distant snoring sound that must belong to Philburt. Mr. Cray. How in the blazes am I going to get out of this mess?

Whichever girl is in the bed next to me changes position, rolling away from the door, but now she’s facing toward me. I hear her moistening her lips in her sleep, and then the faint sound of swallowing. Then I hear the gentle, steady rhythm of her breathing. The silence is so heavy, I feel as if I can even hear her heart, beating at a far slower pace than mine.

I try to focus on the other bed, but it is in a dark corner, and it is too far away to see or hear anything. I can see the top of the doorjamb on the other side of the bed next to me, but I can’t make out whether the door is open or closed. Dear God, I pray, please let that door be open.

I’ve never been inside Arminda’s home. I’m familiar with the exterior, and I have an idea that it isn’t a big house. I assume that I am on the second story of this structure. That means I’m going to have to make my way through that doorway, then down to the first floor, through some room there, and then, of course, quietly out the back door, or maybe the kitchen door. I wish I could bolt like a deer and exit this dangerous situation as quickly as possible, but I know my best chance of escape is slow, steady, and silent, like a bandit or a burglar. How can this be happening to me? I take a deep breath, as slowly as I can and make it to my feet as quietly as possible. Then I stand, stiff as a board, making sure the room remains at peace, and plan my next move.

I can now see that Lovina is sleeping in the bed across the room. She is lying on her side, facing me. I can’t see her eyes, but judging by her lack of movement, I assume they’re closed. If either girl wakes up, I’m certain that they’ll scream loudly, fearing the worst.

Finally, I’m ready to make my move. I pray the girls remain asleep, though my previous prayer for an open door was not answered. I’m glad that I’m not wearing shoes. Finally, I work up the courage to take a few steps. I feel like I can hear my sweaty feet sticking to the wooden planks beneath my feet as I pick them up, and hesitantly place one foot in front of the other. I take ten slow paces around Arminda’s bed, and then I stand, still as a statue, and I can’t help but look at her thick blonde hair fanned out across her pillow.

I take a couple of shallow breaths and begin to reach for the latch, ready to take my chances and open that door. Again, Arminda rolls over in her sleep, facing in my direction. I freeze, suspending the movement of my hand toward the door. Arminda’s breath remains as before. My arm feels like it weighs a hundred pounds. I know I’ll either need to pull my hand back to my side or give the latch a try. I take a tiny step closer and touch the latch with the tip of my finger. Then I close my thumb on the other side, pinching the lever. As slowly as possible, I lift the latch, and it releases the crosspiece. I freeze for another moment, listening, then I gently pull the door toward me. I’m grateful that it opens silently. There’s nothing but darkness on the other side. The door is open far enough for me to pass through. I know I shouldn’t make any movement that isn’t utterly essential, but I can’t help it. I turn back to look at Arminda once more before slipping silently through the doorway.

Then I freeze again and stand still for a long time, hoping my eyes can adjust to the darkness and make out my path toward an exterior door. The house is quiet, except for the erratic sound of Philburt’s snoring. The sound is not as distant as it was when the girls’ door was closed, and I was in their bedroom. I feel that grind in my gut again as my last thought repeats in my mind. I was in Arminda’s bedroom. I reach my hand back into the doorway and pull the door toward me. I close it most of the way. I don’t want to risk the sound that the latch might make in the quiet house.

Several minutes pass before I can make out my surroundings. The windows in this part of the house let in less light than the window in Arminda’s room. I’m on a loft overlooking a living area below. I can make out a modest kitchen, a sparsely furnished parlor, and a fireplace, and it won’t be long before the fire burns out. I wish there were a stairway I could tiptoe down to get to the front door, but I can see I will need to climb down a ladder to get to the ground floor. I’m aware of my loose and baggy nightshirt, and I know I must be cautious descending the ladder, so I don’t step on the edge of my nightshirt. I’m also aware of my nakedness beneath it... I feel vulnerable, and I feel dirty, as if I have committed an unspeakable crime. A wave of nausea overtakes me, and I want to curl up into a ball on the floor in the corner. Then I hear a voice in my head, my voice, telling my brother that one day, I will be fierce.

My resolve is gathered, and my mind has prepared my body for movement. I take a deep, quiet breath, then begin to tiptoe toward the top of the ladder. That’s when I hear a gruesome fit of coughing in the parlor. Then Philburt rises from a chair in the corner and puts two logs on the fire. I open my mouth to allow more air into my lungs and stand as still as a stone. I feel like my chest is going to cave in, and at the same time, I feel like my head is going to explode. Philburt yawns, belches loudly, turns away from the fire, and scratches his arse as he heads off to bed.

I pray that old man Cray falls back to sleep and resumes snoring. I count off, slowly, like when I attempt to count sheep when I want to fall asleep, only this time, I don’t lose my place. This seems to take half the night. Just as I cross one thousand, I hear the familiar sound of snoring beneath me. Without further contemplation, my body is in motion. I tiptoe to the ladder, turn my body to begin my descent, and deliberately reach my foot down, rung by rung until my foot finds the floor.

I begin to think that I might just make it but decide instead to focus on getting home before taking any comfort from my situation. That’s when I see a medium-sized mongrel dog on the floor between me and the door. I’m grateful the dog isn’t barking, but he has his eyes on me. Another prayer and I tiptoe toward the door. The dog must think I’m headed toward him. His tail begins to slap the floor. I resist the urge to run to the door, fling it open, and run from the building as fast as I possibly can. Instead, I tiptoe the rest of the way toward the door, take one deep breath, and reach for the latch.

My slow-moving strategy has brought me safely to this point, so I force myself to open this latch as slowly as I did the one in the girls’ room. This time, however, I must close the door all the way when I’m on the other side. Fifteen minutes later, I’m standing on Arminda’s porch, and breathing the cool mountain air.

I scamper toward home. Five steps later, I plant my face into a patch of gravel over the edge of the Cray’s porch. I jump back to my feet and run as fast as I can toward home, lifting the bottom of my nightshirt like a lady lifts the bottom of her skirts when the ground is wet. I need to get home, now. I want to crawl into bed and sleep for weeks.

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David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing.

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