WIP – YA Suburban Fantasy

(Super-happy fun time 50th post!!)

Standard warnings: I am putting this here as an example of my writing, which I hope you enjoy. I don’t think you will, but don’t steal my words, okay? You are better than that!

If you have feedback, suggestions, or constrictive critiques: Please leave a comment. I appreciate unsolicited advice, but it makes it easier to consider new ideas if they are detailed! Try to use specific examples where possible. Thanks.

Synopsis:

    “As they combat an inner madness courtesy of the beasts beneath their skin, three girls hunt for a frenzied killer–who could be any one of them.”

YA Urban Fantasy tale of three young women, their dual natures, and the confusion, betrayal, and helplessness of growing up.

——-

“The Claws That Scratch: Prologue”
By Olivia Hennis

The sounds of snapping twigs filled the forest just before midnight. Frantic feet crushed and kicked last autumn’s leaves, still slick from the light afternoon rainstorm as the young woman tore blindly through the woods.

Her heartbeat pounded against her ears as her terrified screams wasted precious breath. If only she had turned back down the bike path, where nearby residents might have heard her, come to investigate, or at least called the cops.

Instead, once the creature’s glowing yellow eyes met her own pale brown ones and that gravely snarl had curled out of its maw, she backed up to the forest. Surely, she had thought, someone’s backyard was only a few hundred feet away?

It was when the creature had placed one massive paw onto the rocks in front of it, ready to pounce, that the flight response overcame her. She darted into the darkness like so many frightened prey before her.

What she did not know–could not have known as she never explored the area during the daytime–was how the forest stretched on for another three quarters of a mile in that direction. A paved back road waited past that, travelled infrequently after the local shops closed for the evening.

Twisting between the bike path and the road, there was the river.

She glanced back only a moment, long enough to hear the creature bounding through the underbrush on her trail, then bolted down the slope of the sandbank.

Hysterical, she laughed, wondering what other option she really thought she had?

With the chill that lingered in the air and the rains of the past week, her brain knew the river would be frigid as she splashed through. That subconscious knowledge didn’t stop the temperature shock as it forced the air from her lungs. The biting water rushed into her sneakers and soaked through her khakis.

It wasn’t impossible to wade through the river, but she was tinier than the boys who swam and fished there during warmer weather. The rushing waters came clear up to her chest, which made her gasp.

She could hear the creature as it leaped down the slope behind her. Her legs frenzied against the soft riverbed, sending her crashing through the middle of the river. She coughed against a spray of fine mist.

The beast entered the water.

Her mind went numb. She had to keep going forward. Forward. Forward!

She was crawling by the time she reached the other side. Tears mixed on her face with river droplets as she clawed at the muddy bank. The effort to pull herself up became unbearable with her soaked clothes weighing her down.

“Help me!” She cried in vain. “Someone please help!”

A mouth of fangs clamped onto her ankle.

Panic trilled through her body at the pain. A series of short, delirious screams burst from her core.

She didn’t want to die. She didn’t know why she had to. There had been countless other nights when she had collected her thoughts on that bike path, completely uninterrupted and unmolested.

The animal had to be rabid to attack a human.

She shrieked, kicked, and writhed against the hands that yanked her back towards the murky water but the fight was going out of her.

The strength in her arms gave out. She collapsed against the sandy ground.

It was only natural.

It was bad luck.

She could have been anyone.

Would scavengers eat even her bones? How long would it be before someone found her body, whatever remained of it? Would her roommate notice she was missing before then? Would he think to feed Mocha?

The thought of her rabbit slowly starving in his cage gave her one final burst. She lashed out with all that remaining might but it wasn’t enough. The creature overtook her.

This was the end.

As she gave in, a thought beat against her skull. Good try, old girl. Hit the showers. We’ll get them next time.

No! Not the delirium. Something else. A final thought trying to break free. It was the part that wasn’t right, that didn’t match, that scared her most.

Hands dragged her down into the river.

As her attacker flipped her over, clawing at the tender skin of her belly, she no longer saw a ragged, fur covered, yellow-eyed nightmare.

But it was a beast just the same.

——-

All text (c) Olivia Hennis 2012

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