Alex McAulay Oblivion Road

ISBN 13: 9781416548065

Oblivion Road

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9781416548065: Oblivion Road
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Five stranded teenagers must battle for their lives against a group of escaped convicts, and each other, in this shocking survival thriller from the author of Bad Girls and Lost Summer.

Courtney Stanton thinks she's on just another ski trip with her friends -- until a horrific car accident strands them all on an isolated Colorado road during a blizzard. Frightened but alive, Courtney and her companions discover an abandoned vehicle nearby, and seek help. But the vehicle turns out to be a prison van, with the inmates missing, and the guard's dead body in the front seat.

Soon after, a stumbling figure emerges from the snow, a handcuffed refugee from the van. He says he's been in prison for selling meth, but that he once served in the army. Dare they trust him? He pleads innocence about the guard's murder, warns them about the other fugitives, and promises he will help guide them out of the wilderness. But as the group begins a nightmare trek across the frozen landscape, they start to get the feeling he hasn't told them the entire truth, and someone -- or something -- is secretly watching their every move.

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About the Author:

Alex McAulay, author of Bad Girls, Lost Summer, and Oblivion Road, is a graduate of Brown University, and holds a Ph.D. in literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also an indie-rock musician who has recorded several albums under the name Charles Douglas.  He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Lisa.  Visit him online at www.alexmcaulay.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

The dark-haired girl sprawled unconscious in the deep snow, the soft moonlight giving her pale features a fine glow, like an image from a fairy tale. Her hair fanned out around her head like folds of silk as the heavy snow continued to fall. Her clothes were already covered, as was one of her hands. The stark whiteness of the snow was marred only by drops of red that had come from her nose and ears.

Clutching his arm to his chest, as though it were broken, a teenage boy stumbled onto the two-lane road where the girl lay. He had struggled up from the ditch at the edge of the forest. Now he waded through the snow toward the girl, panting for air. Everything was white and silent, the road completely deserted. The boy knelt down by the girl's side and saw how still and quiet she was. Seemingly afraid to hurt her, he put a hand out and gently touched her snow-covered shoulder. Then he started saying her name.

When he first tried to wake her, the girl was still deep in a dream. She didn't want to wake up. Inside the dream she was safe, but she knew that if she woke up, she'd have to face the terrible thing that had just happened to her. She also knew somehow that outside the dream it was bitterly cold. The kind of cold that could suck the breath from your lungs and freeze the hairs in your nose. She would do anything to avoid feeling like that again.

But the boy's intrusive voice wouldn't stop calling for her. Over and over she heard her name, and she fought against it.

Suddenly, the hands touching her became rougher and she felt herself being pulled back into the harsh reality of her present surroundings. She curled up, keeping her eyes tightly shut.

"You're bleeding," she heard the voice say. "Your nose." Although she couldn't place the voice, it sounded familiar.

She supposed that now she was awake, she might as well give up and open her eyes. But when she tried, they wouldn't open all the way, like they were swollen or had sleep dirt in them. Eye boogers, she'd called the dirt when she was a little kid.

She finally got her eyes partway open and was somewhat surprised to see where she was. She was lying right in the middle of the desolate, snow-covered road. The snow was almost two feet deep.

"What happened?" she tried to ask as she sat up, but the words came out as a muffled burr. She reached a hand up and brushed snow and blood away from her nose and mouth. Her hand was shaking, and her left shoulder hurt like she'd been punched.

"Courtney, are you okay?" The voice was panicked, trembling with concern.

"Yeah," she mumbled. But she felt far from okay. Her head was aching like her brain wanted to burst out of the confines of her skull, and she felt dizzy, as though she'd drunk too much cough syrup. She brushed more snow off her face and out of her hair as she struggled to remember what had happened to her. When she looked down at her hand there was a lot of blood on it. "I feel sick."

Vague memories flitted at the edges of her mind. Some of them seemed silly, and some seemed important. She had been inside a car, an SUV. She remembered it had smelled like French fries because they'd stopped for fast food at a drive-thru a few hours earlier. She tried to focus her mind on more crucial issues: Where was the car now? Where had they been coming back from? Where had they been going? Most of all, she wondered what had happened to her, and if she'd be okay.

Courtney heard a noise as the boy sat down heavily in the snow next to her, looking dazed. In her confused state, she'd nearly forgotten about him. His tousled brown hair was matted with blood and dirt, and he had small cuts all over his face. They were tiny, like paper cuts. His eyes were very frightened, the pupils wide in the moonlight. For a second, she couldn't remember who he was, and it scared her. She knew she was supposed to know. Then his name came rushing back.

"Jeremy!" she said, relieved. He was her friend. From high school.

She moved sideways in the snow and hugged him, feeling his warmth. He put his arms around her, and she winced in pain.

"I thought you might be dead," he finally said. She could hear the emotion in his voice. "I couldn't get you to wake up."

"It's okay..." Her vision went all blurry for a second, but then it cleared again. "What happened to us?"

"You don't remember?"

She shook her head, but it hurt her neck, so she stopped. "No. I mean, sort of." Her memory of the event was slowly coming back. She remembered they'd been returning from a ski trip at Quail Ridge Run outside Pagosa Springs. They had spent a weekend there at a condo owned by Jeremy's father. It was now the tail end of Christmas break, and they were supposed to have left earlier in the day, but they'd stayed late. The boys had wanted one final run on a slope, a double diamond that had scared her.

"We had an accident," Jeremy said. "We crashed the SUV."

Courtney swallowed hard. "Oh my God." She turned to him slowly, trying not to make the pain worse. "Are we going to be okay?"

"I think so. You -- " Jeremy broke off. He looked away at the snow. "I think you got thrown out of the car. I just found you here on the road."

Courtney supposed she should be horrified, but she felt too numb to process his words. She looked down at her legs and made sure that she could move them. She could, although her body felt battered and bruised. She thought to herself: I could have died. She realized the snow had probably protected her and softened her landing. She felt glad to be alive, but oddly detached. She guessed the emotions would hit her later.

Courtney heard a strange choking sound and realized that Jeremy had started crying.

"Don't cry," she said. She had never seen him cry before, and they had been friends for well over two years, since the start of ninth grade.

"How are the others?" Courtney asked. She said it partly to distract him, because she didn't know what else to do. To be honest, she couldn't fully remember yet who had been on the trip.

"They're still in the SUV." Jeremy wiped his eyes. His hair was getting covered in snowflakes. "I climbed out my window to get help on the road. I found you first. We have to go back for them."

Courtney wiped some more blood from the corner of her nose as Jeremy got to his feet.

"Can you stand up?"

"I don't know." She gave Jeremy her arms, and he helped her up. The snow was so deep it came to her knees. Her ankles hurt, but the pain was bearable. She put an arm around Jeremy's shoulders for balance.

Courtney felt as though she'd taken a detour from real life and ended up someplace terrifying. She had no idea what stretch of road this was, only that it was cold and abandoned. Even though she was trying, she still couldn't remember anything about the accident. The last thing she remembered was laughing about some stupid pop song on the radio, turning around to look at Reyna --

Her thoughts veered off as she realized what that meant. It meant that Reyna Foster, her best friend since junior high, had been on the trip with them. And now there was no sign of her. Courtney gripped the sleeve of Jeremy's thin jacket.

"Reyna..." she said.

He nodded grimly. "Yeah."

There was nothing more for either of them to say. Courtney didn't want to give voice to thoughts that were too horrible to face. She told herself that if she was okay, and Jeremy was okay, then Reyna probably would be too.

Courtney and Jeremy began to hobble through the snow to the edge of the road, where the ditch waited. It was wide and deep, a massive crevice overhung by snow-weighted tree branches. Everything was white.

"How did we crash?" Courtney asked as they stumbled forward.

"We hit a deer. A big one." He paused. "We started rolling and I blacked out. When I woke up, the SUV was in the woods. My door wouldn't open and no one answered me. I didn't know what to do."

"So the others are still inside the car? You're sure about that?"

"I think so." It sounded like he was in shock.

Courtney wondered what the SUV looked like now. She knew it had to be bad if she'd been tossed from the wreckage. She was incredibly lucky to have survived.

Courtney and Jeremy paused at the shoulder of the road, where the earth dropped away. The ditch seemed impossibly deep, and there was no guardrail. The snow disoriented Courtney, and she couldn't tell exactly where the road ended and the edge of the steep slope began.

She was very conscious of the cold. Every part of her that was exposed felt the sting of the freezing night air. She didn't have a jacket on, only a wool sweater, jeans, and boots. She shivered, rubbing her aching, throbbing arms, trying to stay warm.

"We slid off the road," Jeremy said. He pointed back behind them. "Those are our tire tracks, but the snow's filling them fast. I don't even know how long it's been since we crashed." He stared into the ditch. "The SUV's down there somewhere."

Courtney and Jeremy began picking their way down the snow-covered slope. Courtney was afraid she might fall, but she knew she had to focus and stay calm. Everything still had the strange, dislocated feeling of a nightmare. She clutched Jeremy's arm.

As they got closer to the bottom, where the snow and foliage were deeper and thicker, she saw signs of the SUV. Ahead of them, a ragged gap had been plowed through the underbrush and trees, like a hole punched right through the pristine landscape. Courtney realized the SUV had slid down the embankment and kept going, into the forest beyond, and was now hidden.

What if the others are dead? She tried to push the thought out of her mind.

"We need to get to the SUV." Every word Courtney spoke sounded like it had a slight delay, like she was hearing someone else's words coming from her mouth. She wondered if she had a concussion. She brought a hand up to her head and found two separate lumps that were starting to swell. It hurt to even graze them with her numb fingertips. "I can't believe this happened to us," she murmured softly.

Jeremy nodded, but he looked distracted. Courtney noticed one of his hands was pressed up against his side.

"You okay?" she...

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Book Description MTV Books, United States, 2016. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Five stranded teenagers must battle for their lives against a group of escaped convicts, and each other, in this shocking survival thriller from the author of Bad Girls and Lost Summer. Courtney Stanton thinks she s on just another ski trip with her friends -- until a horrific car accident strands them all on an isolated Colorado road during a blizzard. Frightened but alive, Courtney and her companions discover an abandoned vehicle nearby, and seek help. But the vehicle turns out to be a prison van, with the inmates missing, and the guard s dead body in the front seat. Soon after, a stumbling figure emerges from the snow, a handcuffed refugee from the van. He says he s been in prison for selling meth, but that he once served in the army. Dare they trust him? He pleads innocence about the guard s murder, warns them about the other fugitives, and promises he will help guide them out of the wilderness. But as the group begins a nightmare trek across the frozen landscape, they start to get the feeling he hasn t told them the entire truth, and someone -- or something -- is secretly watching their every move. Seller Inventory # APC9781416548065

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Book Description MTV Books. Paperback. Condition: New. 304 pages. Dimensions: 6.7in. x 4.9in. x 0.6in.Five stranded teenagers must battle for their lives against a group of escaped convicts, and each other, in this shocking survival thriller from the author of Bad Girls and Lost Summer. Courtney Stanton thinks shes on just another ski trip with her friends -- until a horrific car accident strands them all on an isolated Colorado road during a blizzard. Frightened but alive, Courtney and her companions discover an abandoned vehicle nearby, and seek help. But the vehicle turns out to be a prison van, with the inmates missing, and the guards dead body in the front seat. Soon after, a stumbling figure emerges from the snow, a handcuffed refugee from the van. He says hes been in prison for selling meth, but that he once served in the army. Dare they trust him He pleads innocence about the guards murder, warns them about the other fugitives, and promises he will help guide them out of the wilderness. But as the group begins a nightmare trek across the frozen landscape, they start to get the feeling he hasnt told them the entire truth, and someone -- or something -- is secretly watching their every move. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9781416548065

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