WINDOW BEYOND THE WORLD, CHAPTER 9, KILIMANJARO

Enjoy “Window Beyond the World,” a supernatural thriller set in the Southern California mountains. The novel is being serialized here in weekly installments. The co-authors are Sun columnist John Weeks, writing under his full name John Howard Weeks, and William S. Thomas, former Sunday Editor of The Sun.

A new chapter will be posted each Friday. There are 37 chapters in all. This free online edition is somewhat abridged for language and adult situations. For those who wish to read ahead, and enjoy the entire unabridged novel, it is available now in book form.

“Window Beyond the World” (iUniverse, $14.95), by John Howard Weeks and William S. Thomas, can be ordered from local bookstores or from online booksellers including Amazon.com.

WINDOW BEYOND THE WORLD, CHAPTER 9, KILIMANJARO

Lance took a deep breath, strode forward quickly on the narrow ledge and then
leaped far out into space legs churning and arms flailing to keep his body
upright in the air.

At first he kept his eyes open, but all he could see was a blur
of green on every side and below. So he shut his eyes tightly just before he
slammed into the emerald water and disappeared.

Lance hit the muck at the bottom of the pool, then pushed off hard with his
legs and surged back up past the surface. He turned and waved triumphantly
to his brother on the rock high above.

Come on, you old woman! Suck it up and jump!

The roar of the nearby waterfall drowned out his words, but the brothers
didnt need to hear each other to communicate. Lance had always been the
leader. He had always been first to try something new, something exciting.
Something dangerous.

And Art had always met his brothers challenges in spite of any risks. Once,
when Art was 8 years old and Lance was 10, Lance had jumped off the roof of
their grandfathers barn in Iowa. Not realizing that his brother had landed
softly in a haystack, Art jumped, too, and bounced off the frozen ground in a
pig sty. He broke his leg in two places.

A few years later, Art was lost overnight in the mountains when he tried to keep up with his brother on a cross-country ski trip. He still had a frostbitten toe from that miscalculation.

Now Art clung precariously to the sheer face of a boulder next to a thundering
cataract in the middle of the equatorial forest that skirts the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Far below him, Lance waved and shouted and motioned for him to jump.

This moment had been building.

Giant Camphors and African Rosewoods draped with moss and vines form
a dense canopy here as the trail climbs gradually toward the alpine zone at
about 9,500 feet. Colobus monkeys, with their distinctive black-and-white
faces, scolded the intruders from above, and noisy Hartlaubs Turaco birds provided
the chorus.

Then, quite unexpectedly, the forest had opened to reveal a small clearing,
with a perfect waterfall cascading down into a deep pool. The porters dropped
their heavy packs and began preparing lunch while Lance and Art scaled the
precipice by the waterfall to get a view of the surrounding area. Once at the
top, Lance couldnt resist the adrenaline rush of leaping into the pool below.

And Art, as had happened so often in the past, could not resist his brothers
taunts and challenges.

With teeth clenched and heart pounding, Art stepped away from the rock
wall and fell as if in slow motion toward the water.

NEXT: CHAPTER 10, THE HOUSE OF GOD.

“Window Beyond the World” (iUniverse, $14.95), by John Howard Weeks and William S. Thomas, can be ordered from local bookstores or from online booksellers including Amazon.com.