Fiction Fest: ‘Return of the Mystic Gray’ returns to spotlight for final free preview

Return of the Mystic Gray 2x3Steve Westover’s “Return of the Mystic Gray” was the subject of a Fiction Fest article last week, but is back for more in today’s edition.

“Mystic Gray” is the sequel to 2012’s “Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island” and, like its predecessor, takes place around Oregon’s Crater Lake.

This is the final free peek at “Mystic Gray,” but don’t fret, both books are available on, and


Jordan screamed. “Ethan, you’re too low!”

“No. We’re fine.” Ethan checked his gauges and pulled back more on the throttle. He lifted the flaps, reengaging the airbrakes. “Eighty knots. We’re at landing speed. Three hundred feet.”

The plane passed over the other rim of the crater. Ethan’s eyes bugged out as it looked like the plane might clip the tall evergreen forest on the other side, but the plane cleared. Ethan checked the artificial horizon and looked at his intended landing spot in the snow. Two hundred feet. One hundred fifty feet. One hundred. Ethan reached to the control panel and flipped a switch, killing the second propeller.

Memories flashed through his mind at the speed of the flying snow outside. Mom. Dad. Jordan. School. Crater Lake. Allie. He wanted to say something sweet and comforting to Jordan in their final moments but he couldn’t think of anything profound, so he sat in silence. He held the wings level and pulled back gently on the stick, raising the nose of the plane as it continued to descend into the snowy pumice desert past Crater Lake.


“Yeah.” Maybe Jordan thought of something sweet herself. Ethan braced himself for words of kindness.

“Mom and Dad are going to be ticked if you kill us.”

The plane seemed to hover over the snowy field. Ethan grinned. She was right. They would definitely be ticked. Time was up. “HOLD ON!”

The rear of the plane settled softly into the powdery snow. Ethan waited for a jolt that would signify they had landed but he couldn’t tell. The rest of the plane lowered. The nose fell last, tearing through the snow and sending piles of white powder over the window and to the sides like a snowplow. When the windshield was covered, Ethan closed his eyes and waited for the plane to stop but it felt like it never would. The airplane plowed forward, occasionally scraping or grinding on something sending chills through his body. Then the plane jolted to an immediate stop as the nose lowered and struck something hard and immoveable. The rear of the plane lifted and so did Ethan’s eyelids. He looked in horror as the plane lifted up onto the nose. Ethan stared through the windshield at the ground below.

The Piper Chieftain balanced on the nose for what felt like minutes and then toppled over. Jordan screamed and Ethan cried in fear as the plane flipped over before coming to rest. Jordan and Ethan hung upside down in their seats, the shoulder harness ripping into Ethan’s skin.

He gasped and let out a whimper that didn’t sound very manly. He didn’t care. He wiped his eyes and turned to Jordan.

She had never smiled so big in her life. “You did it!”

Ethan exhaled unevenly. He smiled and laughed as he hung upside down. “We did it. We survived. I can’t believe it. We’re here.” He thought for a moment and then the excitement fled from his voice. “We’re here. Oh, crap. We’re back.”