Well, everybody, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is, you get to read an excerpt of my novel! The bad news is there was some unforseen problems with my manuscript on the publishing end that resulted in a huge amount of work for me. In short, I have about 7 hours of work to do before tomorrow morning and I can’t find a babysitter anywhere… Any one want to help me out? 🙂
Anyway, long story short, if I can’t manage to pull this off, my book won’t be published Friday. I had a good cry to get rid of my stress and frustration and now I’m off to work. Enjoy the excerpt and stay tuned. I’ll let you know if I pulled it off early tomorrow morning!
Excerpt from Drive Back the Darkness:
Two weeks ago
Something was wrong. The tingle at the base of Ellie’s spine told her so, long before she heard the sound of footsteps on the cement behind her. The bright fall sunshine crackled with danger. Something was very, very wrong.
Ellie’s hands began to shake. She wrapped them around the straps of her backpack and walked a little faster. Her home was only a few blocks away. She could make it a few blocks, couldn’t she?
There. Another footstep. Whoever was behind her had sped up too. Ellie took a deep breath and glanced over her shoulder. The woman behind Ellie smiled. Ellie’s arms went limp, and her backpack thudded to the sidewalk. For a brief second, her blood froze in her veins. Then, she ran.
The air around her seemed to thicken, holding her back. She pushed through it, desperate to get away from the monster behind her. She ran as fast as she could, blind to everything around her. If Ellie didn’t get away, she knew she was dead. She could hear the woman running behind her, the light footfalls on the cement, the rustle of her black leather coat. The woman was toying with her, like a cat with a mouse.
There. There was her house. Her heart thudded fast and thick, struggling against waves of hot, sticky panic. Ellie’s legs trembled underneath her, and her stomach pitched. She had to make it. She put on one last burst of speed, jumped the three porch steps, and hammered on the door.
Ellie’s mom pulled open the door. “Goodness, Ellie! Did you lose your key?”
Ellie pushed her inside, kicked the door shut, and turned the dead bolt. She stared at the woman on the other side of the glass. She was still smiling. And every one of her teeth was as sharp and pointed as a dagger.
Today was like every other day of Ellie’s life except for two things: one, it was her sixteenth birthday, and two, she was being stalked. Ellie gnawed on a thumbnail, the sharp, rusty flavor of blood filling her mouth. She had never been a nail biter, but she was now. It seemed to help the constant panic fluttering in her chest. She glanced at the window, a shiver snaking down her back. She knew the woman was out there, waiting.
“Eleanora Lyons.” Mr. Smith, Ellie’s history teacher, called her name. Ellie slid out of her desk, her too-pale legs flashing like sticks of chalk under her swirly skirt, a fact that would have bothered her two weeks ago. Now, it no longer seemed important. She took her test from him, not even bothering to cover the big red A+ with her fingers, like she would have before.
“Freak,” Chris, the quarterback of the football team, fake coughed the words.
Ellie sighed and then glanced at his paper, which had a D inked across the top.
She sat down in her seat, almost too tired to deal with him. Almost. “At least I’m a freak that can manage to remember basic facts.”
Chris frowned and flexed his big, beefy fingers. “Watch yourself, nerd-girl. You don’t want to tick me off.”
Ellie ignored him. She used to wonder why they picked on her, running all the possible reasons through her mind. Maybe it was because she ruined the grade curve, or maybe it was because her skin was so pale you could see her veins through it, when the other girls were all shades of gold. Maybe it was because she had a monster following her like a puppy dog. Somehow, Ellie couldn’t bring herself to care anymore.
The bell shrilled through the room. She shot to her feet and then crashed to the floor, courtesy of the backpack strap that had wound itself around her leg. Apparently, panic made her a bit of a klutz. Laughter echoed behind her as she stumbled to her locker, stuffed a bunch of books into her bag, and then sprinted down the hall. She had to make it outside while there was still a crowd of kids milling around.
The sunshine dazzled her eyes, and she blinked frantically, her heartbeat thudding in her ears. She didn’t see the woman, but that didn’t mean that she wasn’t there.
As she started the jog toward home, dead, dry leaves rustled under her feet sounding like creepy voices whispering at her.
“Come on, Ellie, get a grip,” she muttered. She took a deep breath, crouched down, and pretended to check the strap on her sandal. She glanced behind her. The woman let Ellie see her for just a second, before disappearing. A shiver prickled her skin, and she began to run.