Wednesday, 7 September 2016

When in doubt...werewolves

If there's one thing you probably already know about me, it's that I love writing about werewolves. In fact, I just love werewolves. So, having just finished a really tough-to-write book about werewolves, I decided to go for a palate cleanser and write a short story about werewolves.

To summarise: werewolves.

Well, actually, I did the edits for my next Amber Morgan release first, but then I moved onto this story, which will definitely stay as a short story and not turn into a novel at all. I'm aiming to have it all wrapped up within the next two weeks, and then it'll be on to Blood Canticles 3. Huzzahs! Just to prove this is definitely a werewolf story, here's a snippet.

Paige lurched to her feet, grateful she’d only hurt her wrist in the fall, not her ankles. She inhaled deeply, trying to calm herself and ease the burning in her chest. She thought of all the awful horror movies she’d watched with her brother when they were teenagers. They’d sneak downstairs after their parents had gone to bed and mock the heroines who got in the wrong car, kissed the wrong guy, and took the wrong path. She’d never be that stupid, she’d tell Ben. After all, she had the advantage of having watched all those movies. She’d know the signs and stay the hell out of trouble.

She laughed hysterically as she started walking. She wanted to run, desperately wanted to run, but she feared tripping again and hurting herself more seriously. The owl shrieked again and Paige sobbed, pressing her good hand to the bite at her throat. She wanted to feel brave and capable. She was pretty sure she was normally brave and capable. But the well of dread inside her had pushed out everything else, everything that she was. Out here, every sound was a threat and the owl sounded deadly, inhuman and cold. She couldn’t imagine a more terrifying sound to hear at midnight in a vast forest.
Until she heard the wolves.

Sonorous howls rose up in the night, cascading through the trees. It was haunting and beautiful and absolutely chilling. It was impossible to tell which way the howls were coming from. Icy fingers trailed down Paige’s spine and she froze, no longer sure if pressing on was safe. Maybe…maybe it would be better to hide, just hide until dawn. It couldn’t be far away now, could it? Monsters melted away in the sunlight, that was the Hollywood rule. She could climb a tree and tuck herself away among the heavy leaves.

If not for her wrist, she’d try it. But scaling one of these strange, twisted trees in the dark, one-handed, seemed as sure a death as waiting for the wolves. So was that it? Was her choice now simply how she died?

She bit her lip until she tasted blood, a salt-copper explosion on her tongue that made her want to puke. The next chorus of howls sounded much closer and she heard herself whimpering, licking blood from her lips. Would they smell it?

The woods are lovely, dark and deep…and full of wolves. She didn’t remember that being a problem for Robert Frost. A haze of defeat washed over Paige, and she found herself on her knees, blood iced, heart wild. She realised that in her whole entire life, she’d never known fear before now. Not true fear, the kind that folded you up and finished you off like this. The kind that destroyed hope. She was going to die. Her body would rot out here and her family would never bring her home.

The first wolf emerged gracefully from the shadows, the moonlight lost in its dark fur. Emerald eyes burned in the darkness, trapping Paige. She moaned and hugged her knees to her chest, no longer trying not to cry. The beast dwarfed her, its jaws parted to reveal massive fangs. Her heart seemed to leap into her throat, while her stomach dropped like she was on a rollercoaster. “Please…” she said helplessly. “Please…”

Two more wolves appeared to flank the first, smaller, but no less frightening. The lead wolf paced slowly towards her, huffing misty clouds of breath into the air, moving in until Paige could feel the heat of it against her cold skin. This was it then. This was it. Miles to go…Miles to go…miles from home, in the deep, dark woods, and this was it. This was how she died.

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