Earlier this summer we reported that Tom DeLonge was working on a sci-fi novel with co-author Suzanne Young titled Poet Anderson ...Of Nightmares. It's part of a multimedia franchise the former Blink-182 frontman has been working on for a while, this book serving as the first in a trilogy. The novel is now out...and we've got an exclusive excerpt from chapter one for ya!
Start reading below and make sure to peep our exclusive interview with Tom DeLonge!
Chapter One: Tragedy Strikes
Alan wiped his hand through the condensation gathered on the inside of the windshield, leaving a clear streak across the glass. The car’s tires hugged the tight turns of the road as they began their descent down the other side of the mountain. The lights of the city ahead were nearly impossible to see through the fog.
“You sure you don’t want me to drive?” Jonas asked, now that his brother was in a better mood.
“Shut up and go to sleep,” Alan responded without looking over, the smile still pulling at his lips. Jonas laughed and stretched out his long legs, kicking the black box again.
“I’m serious,” Alan said. “Don’t crush that box.”
Annoyed, Jonas picked it up and plucked off the lid. His heart sank as he recognized the black velvet bowler hat. He turned to Alan with a frozen smile on his face, and pulled the hat from the box. “What the fuck is this?” he asked.
“A hat,” Alan replied. He glanced at Jonas, as if waiting for his brother’s reaction.
Jonas swallowed hard, and ran his finger along the felt brim. “Dad used to wear one of these,” he said. A dull ache started in his chest, but he quickly recovered before Alan could notice.
“They’re standard uniform at the Eden,” Alan said. “The drivers and the doormen wear them.”
“Ah...” Jonas said like he understood. “So do you get paid extra to embarrass yourself?” He forced a grin.
Alan let out a laugh, and shook his head. “I thought you were going to sleep?”
Jonas put on the hat and picked up the umbrella from the floor. He tried to spin it by the handle, but hit the ceiling of the car, earning a warning look from Alan. In response, Jonas touched the tip of the umbrella to the hat in salute.
“I seriously hate you sometimes,” Alan said, although he still smiled.
There was a flash of lightning in the distance, and Alan leaned forward to peer at the sky. Jonas looked up, too, noticing the darkening storm clouds. They were about to get blasted by the storm.
Jonas caught his own reflection in the foggy passenger window, surprised by the sudden resemblance to his father—a trait Alan had inherited instead. It’s the hat, Jonas thought, smiling to himself.
“It won’t always be this hard for us,” Alan said quietly, adding to their earlier conversation. “It can’t be.”
Jonas glanced over at his brother, his chest swelling with respect. Alan was one of the good guys. He certainly deserved more than the shitty hand he’d been dealt. Without a word, Jonas slipped off the hat and brushed dust from the brim before gently placing it back inside the box.
There was a blinding flash of light as a zigzag of lightning cut through the black sky. Close enough to touch. Close enough that it didn’t seem possible. A boom sounded so loudly, Alan yelped and Jonas saw boulders shake on the side of the cliff as bits of gravel slid down the mountain and onto the road just ahead. Jonas’s heart was in his throat.
He’d never seen lightning that close before. They should be dead.
Jonas opened his mouth to ask Alan what he thought when sharp taps began to hit the roof. Jonas darted a look at the sky as small objects pelted the car; pebbles of ice smacked against the windshield, covering the glass faster than the wipers could swipe them away.
“It’s hailing,” Alan said.
Absently, Jonas tugged on his seatbelt and leaned forward, as if being two inches closer to the glass would help him see the road better. But the headlights of the Mustang were no match for the storm. The noise from the hail grew louder, setting both boys on edge.
“We’ve got to pull over,” Jonas yelled, trying to be heard over the constant pinging on the car’s metal frame. The Mustang would be dented for sure.
“Too dangerous,” Alan called back. “Another car could hit us. We’ve got to make it through.”
Jonas looked at his brother, his adrenaline kicking up when he saw the stricken expression on Alan’s face.
There was a brilliant flash of white light. Jonas saw it reflected in Alan’s eyes, the bolt tearing through his irises. As Jonas turned toward the windshield, there was another flash, but this time it came straight at him. He lifted his arm to protect his face and heard the deafening pop against the windshield. Jonas lowered his arm, stunned to see the Mustang’s windshield was fractured, with hairline spider cracks quickly spreading. Jonas and Alan looked at each other.
Get us out of this!” Jonas said. “I’m trying!”
Jonas turned to the road, but when the next bolt of lightning struck it wasn’t white—it was emerald green. Jonas had never seen anything like it. He trailed the reflection of the lightning against the sky, trying to find where it started. He leaned forward, but was caught by his seatbelt. Jonas put his hands on the dashboard and strained to look up.
“What the hell are you doing?” Alan yelled. But Jonas’s eyes had gone wide. Alan unclicked his seatbelt and leaned forward, following Jonas’s line of vision.
Both Anderson boys stared at the sky, where bright colors streaked across the clouds. And then another strike of lightning hit.
“Jonas!” Alan screamed, startling him. Alan slammed on the brakes, swinging out his arm to pin his brother against his seat. The tires of the Mustang skidded, finding no purchase on the icy road.
It all happened so fast. To process all of the pieces at once, Jonas’s mind slowed them down. He was thrown toward one side, his shoulder pressing against the door as the car slid toward the guardrail. He felt the strength of Alan’s arm against his chest, pressing him into the seat. The tires hit a bump, and then there was a deafening metal screech as the car hit the guardrail, sending sparks over the hood.
The world went silent. Jonas’s body rocked from side to side, his arms rising up on their own accord, his stomach upending. He was weightless. He was falling.
Jonas gripped his seatbelt to hold himself in place, but Alan’s body shot forward—his head hitting the windshield with a soundless smack. Jonas was silent with horror as the Mustang fell from the cliff, as the ocean rushed toward him, as Alan’s blood streamed through the cracks in the glass.
He knew it was over—the Anderson boys would die before they ever got their new life.
The items in the car lifted up, weightless, and Alan’s umbrella became airborne. Jonas reached for it, determined not to let his brother’s hopes be ruined. His fingers closed around the heavy wood handle just as the car suddenly sped up into real time and hit the ocean water, sending Jonas into darkness.