A Week of Things Happening

Due to being alone in the house for most of the day, I don’t really have a lot to talk about here.  I cooked, cleaned, mowed the lawn, and ran errands when my son wasn’t home.  I keep trying to think of anything else that might be interesting, but I’m coming up horribly blank.  I mean, there were a few minor things that happened that I’ll talk about, but it was fairly uneventful.  So, I guess I hit at the details.

First, this post is going live while I’m in the middle or near the end of taking a civil service test.  I’m still aiming for Teaching Assistant, but I signed up for this first and I figure it doesn’t hurt to take the test.  I mean, it’s been paid for.  My TA test has finally been posted too, so I’m one step closer to that certification.  I keep submitting my resume and I’m really hoping that I’ll have something by the end of November the latest.  As usual, fingers crossed.

There was one unfortunate mistake on my part though.  I forgot to check my spam folder last week and a response to one submission was sitting there.  Missed it by two days and now I’ve learned my lesson.  Don’t leave any stone or spam folder left unchecked.  It is funny how the rejections went to my inbox and the interview request went to spam.  As I said, it’s been a learning experience and I refuse to repeat it.  Seems this little story was shorter than expected.

Geez, this post is going to be boring.  I managed to get back into an editing groove with Derailing Bedlam, but I only did 3 chapters.  Normally, I could cover 15 in a week by doing 3 a day.  That’s no longer an option and I’m going to be grabbing my time when and where I can.  My breakneck production speed of 5 years is officially going down to a crawl.  With any luck, I’ll be able to do the edits throughout this week and then set up all of the posts that will go through December.  This story is going to be once a week, so it’s going to last a while.  Might take more than a year to get it out, which helps me keep the blog active.  It also means Ichabod Brooks has more time to avoid this fate and get published in the future.

Speaking of publishing on Amazon, sales have dropped so low that I checked to make sure my books are still available.  What the hell happened?  Twitter does nothing.  Blogging does nothing.  The only thing moving is Beginning of Hero, which is free.  I hope this means there will be an influx of readers who go through the series, but it’s really frustrating to see the whole basically come to a cold end.  I’ve heard other authors talk about how sales and even free page reads have dried up or been reduced to a trickle regardless of promotions.  Really wonder what’s going on here.  Anybody think they have an answer or theory?

This coming week is going to be busy, but a little bittersweet.  The fun part is that we’re doing another zoo trip tomorrow and it’s during their Halloween festivities.  I always enjoy those trips.  After that, it’s preparing for next weekend, which is going to be rather awkward for me.  Without going into details, I’m going to be rather lonely and possibly bored.  I can’t watch the new seasons of ‘Castlevania’ or ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ because I promised my wife we’d watch together.  She’ll be busy.  Editing all weekend might be what I do, which feels a little sad to me.  So, I might be quiet or starved for human contact next weekend.  Hard to tell where the wind is going to blow.

So, what are the goals?

  1. Finish editing Derailing Bedlam
  2. Post the sections through December.
  3. Continue submitting to openings.
  4. Laundry, cooking, and cleaning.
  5. Possibly start editing War of Nytefall: Rivalry
  6. Get back into biking.
  7. Try to do something that makes next weekend’s goal post more interesting.
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Raven’s Wrath Part 20 #horror #thriller #Halloween

(And move on they did.)

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The small store sits among the empty foundations of the buildings that once made up the quaint town. Exposed pipes hiss and fill the air with gas, which has made the area too dangerous for the animals. Charred ground shows that there have been explosions, but there is a circle of lush grass around the store. The hanging sign has faded letters and the patio has rotted until only three planks remain, but the rest of the structure has been untouched by time. An angel-shaped weathervane spins on the roof, the bells on its wings jingling a tune that is soothing to those who enter the protected space. Holy symbols have been drawn on the walls and runes are etched into the roof. A shed in the back has been attached to the main building by a pathway that is made from several canvas tunnels being sewn together. Religious charms dangle from the seams and send dots of light around the area whenever they are struck by the sun. A collection of dead animals are just outside the clean zone, the beasts having been mesmerized by the glinting baubles and drawn into the toxic gas.

Covering their mouths and noses with handkerchiefs, Dawn and Kara rush into the building and gasp for air. The sight of fully stocked shelves is a welcomed sight, but they are too weak from running and inhaling the gas to do more than slump against the front counter. Breathing in the fresh air, the travelers recover enough to stand and nearly scream when a marionette walks out of an aisle. Another puppet stirs behind the register, which causes them to back away and look for weapons. Clicking can be heard from all over the store as more of the life-like figures go about tending to the shelves. It takes Dawn a few minutes to notice that there are grooves in the ceiling, each one connected to an individual marionette. Patting Kara on the shoulder, she gets closer to the puppet manning the register and waves a hand in front of its smiling face. Its mouth opens with a click to reveal a fleshy tongue that is branded with a Star of David. Remaining cautious, she puts a candy bar on the counter and watches the cashier flail against the register, which eventually opens. As soon as the drawer opens, the marionette pushes it closed and turns away to straighten the cigarette boxes behind it.

“I think I know what’s going on here,” Dawn says as she grabs a basket. She jumps back when a puppet emerges from the floor to hand the two customers oxygen tanks. “Addison must have been amused by all of the holy symbols, so she played along. She made this a safe zone while the rest of the town was destroyed. Probably used these people as toys until she got bored and then left them to tend to the store for travelers. The Star of David on their tongue is what she thinks was used to make a golem. I remember her looking at mythology for ideas soon after her resurrection. Guess one of them stuck. Don’t eat or drink anything until we bring it to the counter. I wouldn’t be surprised if these things get violent against shoplifters.”

“Are we going to be allowed to stay here?” Kara asks after spending a few minutes on the breather. Feeling lightheaded, she sits on a stool and nearly topples over when a marionette hands her a sleeping bag. “So . . . What was it that you saw in the lake? You said we could talk once we found a place to rest. Don’t be a liar. It had to be something bad if it scared you so much. Was it another monster? Are there more of you sleeping under there? Was it something naughty?”

“I’m going to take care of this food first,” she replies while holding up the basket. She turns to find one of the puppets blocking her path, its head constantly nodding towards the girl. “These things sure are intrusive. Look, I didn’t want to upset you since we had to keep traveling. From what I could tell, the ice cream valley was where the Grand Caravan made camp. Only it was probably normal when they stopped. Either Ian or Addison wiped them out, which is why we saw tents and trucks under the ice cream piles. All of the people were frozen solid and placed in that popsicle lake. I know it was them because the rack fell on Melissa. Sorry to-”

“Good thing we didn’t stay with them,” the girl interrupts as she gets to her feet. Taking a package of tissues, she puts them in the basket and heads for the drink cooler. “Do you think they have any iced tea here? I haven’t had that since I was five. Hey, they have a sign here that says we’re okay to eat and drink as long as we pay before we leave. That means we don’t have to wait to eat.”

Glancing back at the cashier, Dawn watches it hit the register every time they pick something up. “I know it must be a shock, but you can cry. They must have been killed because the monsters thought we were there. Addison doesn’t always look before she attacks and Ian sometimes destroys things that he thinks are dangerous. You have to be upset since you wanted to travel with them so much. There’s no reason to act strong because keeping things inside will drive you mad.”

“I just had a thought.”

“What?”

“This means they won’t be hunting us, so we can move quicker.”

“Are you kidding?”

“They’re dead and we’re not, so there’s no reason to dwell.”

Feeling her legs go weak, Dawn falls to her knees and can only stare at Kara, who is searching the cooler. A wooden hand lands on her shoulder, but she does nothing to push the marionette away. It finally leaves when the woman shakes her head and slumps further towards the floor. The only noise she can make is a choked grunt, the words in her head never reaching her tongue. Her exhausted mind struggles to accept that her friend is taking the slaughter so casually, but she repeatedly wonders if she is missing something. Dawn has no idea how many minutes have passed when Kara returns to takes a seat in front of her. The girl opens a package of cookies and stacks them on the floor before taking a drink of chocolate milk. A blue baseball cap is on her bald head, the silver and orange team symbol one that neither traveler is familiar with. Sensing the tension, the marionettes abruptly freeze in place and let the drafts from the ceiling fans move them from side to side.

“Are you going to be okay?” Kara asks while wiping her mouth with her sleeve. She bends forward and puts her face under Dawn’s head in the hopes of getting a reaction. “There’s no reason to be sad for them. People die while others don’t. My parents are gone, but I’m still alive, so I shouldn’t be sad. Crying means I’m not surviving. You probably don’t realize this because you were alone for so long, but not many people mourn these days. It’s a waste of time since you could lose someone else the next day. We’re lucky if we can bury a body since there isn’t always one left.”

“You’re ten,” Dawn whispers in a low voice.

“So were a lot of the kids in the Grand Caravan, but they’re dead now,” the girl bluntly replies. She moves away when her friend stands up and turns away, the basket falling to the floor. “I thought you understood this. You didn’t get upset when those strangers were getting killed. Sure, people can be scared, but you can’t do anything once a person is gone. That’s just how it is. For all you know, I’ll be eaten by a monster tomorrow or you will disappear in your sleep. Whichever one of us survives, the other has to go on. That’s the only way to live in this world. Are you angry at me?”

The question causes all of the marionettes to look towards the woman, who gradually turns around. “I’m not angry. Just surprised by your reaction. I mean, you’re a child talking about death like it’s nothing. We’re tired, so maybe we shouldn’t have this conversation. Eat your fill and then we’ll turn in for the night.”

“I didn’t do anything wrong!”

“I never said you did.”

With an angry stamp, Kara grabs her sleeping bag and takes an empty basket from a nearby stack. She is followed by two of the marionettes while Dawn is left standing in the middle of the candy aisle. For a few seconds, she shifts in place and considers following to make sure nothing happens. The thought of continuing the fight gives her pause and she awkwardly bounces from one foot to another. Not wanting to upset the girl any more, the woman heads for the cashier and goes through the motions of purchasing her supplies. As soon as she is done, she leaves the food and toiletries on the counter and heads for the door to get some air.

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Guest Post by Morgan Hazelwood: 5 Reasons Why Fall Is the Best Time to Write

(A big welcome to Morgan Hazelwood.  Thanks for being a guest and hope everyone enjoys the fun post.)

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It’s officially, thoroughly Autumn here in the Western Hemisphere. Despite some people getting snow, while others are having random 80+ degrees (f) days, the nights are officially longer than the days. And outside, in nature, things are wrapping up. Trees are losing their leaves, plants are dying off, animals are hoarding in anticipation of their long winter naps. (I think I’m not the only one who’s jealous of them…)

But in schools? Most schools are just getting into full swing right now. Ramping up for classes and a new school year. Honestly? Growing up, most of us were taught to associate fall with learning, growing, and fresh beginnings.

For those of us who are out of school, we now exist in a weird sort of limbo. It’s rough when nature is telling us to get ready for a long rest, but education has us primed to start something new–to level up this time of year. Those with children might follow the old patterns, but it’s hard. Now is the time we want to curl up with soup and a book or a show and wait until spring brings us forth. Spring is when we feel we should start going out and begin our new projects.

Yet, now is a GREAT time to write. Here are my:

Top 5 Reasons Why Fall Is Perfect For Writing
  1. The Season is Right
    • Spring is for outings, for those stir-crazy after winter – (however, it can rain quite a bit, so those days aren’t bad for writing!)
    • Summer is for vacations and wacky schedules – (yet, it can be too hot to go outside, so some relaxing and writing in front of your computer isn’t bad!)
    • Winter is full of holidays and family obligations – (although, outside of December, it’s probably the 2nd best season for writing!)
    • Fall doesn’t have any of those til near the end!
  2. The End of the Year is just around the corner
    • Remember those New Years resolutions? Or at least vague plans you had earlier in the year? You’re running out of time!
  3. Avoiding that Netflix’s Binge
    • Long nights have always been a call for good stories — from the Greeks to the Vikings. When people are inside, staring at the same four walls, our minds can wander. Instead of watching someone else’s story, why not write your own?
  4. You’re Not Alone
    • In November, thousands of people try to write 50,000 words of a novel. There’s tons of support out there and write-ins and stuff. You don’t even have to be aiming for 50,000 words, they’ll let you hang out with them anyway. (Check out nanowrimo.org for more information on National Novel Writing Month.)
  5. You’ve got a story in you
    • Whether it’s a full blown story, some characters in your head you just wonder about, or a stranger-than-fiction personal background, most of us have a story in us. Are you up to putting in the time and effort to get it down on paper, for the world to see?

Best of luck in your writing endeavors. [One of us! One of us!]

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Morgan Hazelwood: Writer In Progress

Morgan Hazelwood is a fantasy novelist who blogs about writing tips and writerly musings. She likes taking pictures of the sky, reading a good book, and ambiverting from her living room. She’s also a voice for the fairy-tale audio drama: Anansi Storytime and its sister podcast: Legendsmith. She’s been known to procrati-clean her whole house and alphabetize other people’s bookshelves.

Blog |  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | GoodReads | Pinterest | YouTube | Reddit | SnapChat

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Raven’s Wrath Part 19 #horror #thriller #Halloween

(Know where you’ve been to understand where you are.)

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“Why does Addison do so much with food?” Kara asks as they sit on the crest of a flattop hill. Sitting in a patch of spring-like warmth, she stares at the snowy valley that is filled with piles of ice cream. “This means we don’t have to hunt, but it’s weird that she keeps making edible places. She reminds me of those witches with candy houses. Do you think it’s a clue that we can kill her with an oven?”

“I saw her get stuffed into one and she fell asleep,” Dawn replies with a sigh. The lack of movement below has her nerves on edge and she cannot shake the feeling that there is a pattern to the desserts. “From what I remember, Addison is driven by three things. The constant one is fun, which influences everything she does. The others stem from the few things that can make her feel pleasure. First is sex, but she only thinks of that vice once every six months. Wait, you’re ten and probably shouldn’t have been told that. Last thing I want is to be explaining the birds and the bees to you.”

“People don’t hide such things from kids these days,” the girl says before making a crude gesture with her hands. She stops when her friend blushes and rummages through their bags for a flask of alcohol. “So, the second thing she loves is food. That doesn’t sound very strange. Does that mean she’s human enough to beat?”

Stretching her arm into the cold region, Dawn tries to ignore the question about killing her insane side. “Our . . . Her mother wasn’t much of a cook. Breakfast was whatever cereal was on sale, lunches were jelly sandwiches, and dinner was something boiled. There were a few times Addison had friends and would visit their houses. She’d be introduced to candy, ice cream, pizza, and all the goodies that we . . . she never got at home. I know it was because her mom was scared of her power and thought doing anything complicated would risk a fatal failure. It still backfired because the food was terrible. So, Addison has this small obsession with treats that has grown out of control without me in there. Put on warmer clothes and we’ll get going. I think I took some snowshoes off a cart at the lake.”

Heading to the small car that was abandoned by one of the terrified families, Dawn stops again when she spots smoke in the valley. Waving for Kara to continue getting ready, she takes out a pair of binoculars and walks along the edge of the hill. She cannot see the source due to a pile of mint chocolate chip in her line of sight, but she can see that the ice cream has melted on the righthand side. The sun emerges from the clouds and a momentarily glint catches Dawn’s attention. A large shard of metal-edged glass can be seen sticking out of a long mound of cookie dough ice cream. Whistling for Kara to come take a look, she leaves the girl to check the area and gets herself dressed. Poking her head inside the vehicle, she taps at the fuel gauge that is on empty and sighs at the thought of leaving so many supplies behind. Dawn quickly removes a roof rack and creates a harness out of a coil of rope, which allows her to drag half of their gear through the ice cream-covered ground. She nods her head for Kara to a backpack along with her precious satchel, which is now covered in flower stickers.

“Don’t eat anything,” Dawn says as they step into the colder temperature. The shock causes them to gasp for air and groan at the pain rippling through their heads. “Give yourself a few minutes to adapt. I didn’t think it would be this bad, but it’ll pass. Did you happen to see anything out here?”

The girl shakes her head instead of talking, her eyes watering from the pain that is gradually subsiding. Not wanting to push her too hard, Dawn takes her time dragging the heavy load down the hill instead of letting gravity do the work. By the time they reach the bottom, they are no longer squinting in pain and on the verge of throwing up. Adjusting their fluffy hats, the pair march into the eerie valley that reeks of old ice cream. The combination of smells is more nauseating than enticing, which makes it easier to ignore the edible landscape. Spoons are scattered about the ground and stick out of the piles in the hopes of being claimed. The plastic ends a neon yellow that prevents them from being ignored and they occasionally release a low hum as they vibrate. There are no animal tracks, but they begin to find ruts that are similar to what would be left by several trucks moving along the same path. Faint footprints can be found in the areas that are thin enough to expose the mud below, but there are too few to figure out how many people have passed. Coming around the mint chocolate chip, Dawn is not surprised to find the smoldering remains of a bonfire. The final piece of evidence that they are not the first to cross the valley does little to calm her nervousness. Now that she is aware of the fact, she finds herself picking out various pieces of metal and glass that are barely hidden by the desserts. A wind blows away part of a slumping pile of strawberry ice cream to reveal the flap of a tent that is embedded in the food.

With a single step, Dawn’s feet go out from underneath her and she goes sliding across an icy surface. The roof rack skitters behind her until it builds up enough ice cream in front of it to stick into the gooey mess. A sharp, wordless yell causes Kara to stop at the edge of the slippery ground, so she crouches and digs through the cold food. Unable to get to her feet, Dawn pulls herself along the ropes to reach their supplies and find a pair of ice skates that she packed for an emergency. Strange protrusions poke at her body with some snapping off, but her thick clothes protect her from getting stabbed or cut. Crawling through the ice cream, she keeps her mouth shut and shivers at the numbness coursing through her face. She has to repeatedly stop to wipe the muck out of her eyes, which are stinging from some of the ingredients. Her vision is blurry and random flickers of rainbow light make her think that she is damaging her sense of sight. It is only when she clears a patch of the dessert and tries to catch her breath that she notices the frozen lake is a mix of colors. Shifting more of the ice cream, she exposes wooden popsicle sticks that are poking out of the surface.

Using the fragile protrusions to pull herself along, Dawn swiftly comes within reach of the rack. A small crinkling sound is the only warning she gets before the ground beneath their supplies gives way. Still harnessed to the heavy piece of metal, she is yanked forward and nearly falls into the hole. Leaping at the last moment, she manages to catch the far side of the opening with her hands and slams her feet into the opposite end. Spread eagled and unable to move, she is about to yell for help when she hears Kara’s footsteps on the frozen lake. Dawn can tell that the girl is taking her time to avoid falling, so she focuses on maintaining her grip. Even knowing that she should not look down, she gazes at what awaits her if she slips. Swirls of colorful mist are where she expected to see liquid and she can barely make out strange figures standing on the smooth bottom. A knot forms in her stomach, but she fights back the sensation to avoid curling up into a ball.

By the time Kara arrives, the girl is covered in sweat and dragging herself along by her elbows. Dawn holds her breath as her companion closes one eye and stretches over the hole with a pair of shears. Shifting enough to bring the rope in reach of the scissors, she bites her lower lip and tries to avoid imagining her feet giving way. The thought of her swinging into the sharp points and plummeting after their supplies almost makes the woman laugh. Her head twitches slightly, but the tic stops as soon as Kara frees her from the harness. Both of them watch as the roof rack bounces off the rainbow walls and crashes into one of the figures, which shatters like an ice statue. Pulling herself to solid ground, Dawn takes out her binoculars to get a closer look at the destruction and frowns at the sight of red liquid seeping out from under what she had hoped was a statue.

Without warning, the lenses give her a close up look at the remains and she sees the head of a woman. The figure’s color is a mix of a blue and red, which makes it difficult to see any details of the face. It is when she scans low enough to see a discoloration across the neck that the knot in her stomach leaps into her throat. Realizing that she is looking at Melissa Williams and the rest of the Grand Caravan, Dawn’s vision grows even more acute. She can see all of the icy corpses beneath the frozen lake and each one jogs a memory of how the people had been treating her during their short time together. A single wooden popsicle stick is embedded in every head, which has either an expression of terror or sadness. Many are on their knees as if they were begging for their lives before an instant death. Kara’s voice is a distant whisper as Dawn continues staring at the mass grave that she fears was done in her honor. She is on the verge of climbing down when all of the dead travelers move their heads in unison. Melting eyes stare in her direction and mouths open to reveal sharpened teeth. No noise comes from their throats, but she gets the sense that they are screaming and growling at her like a giant pack of enraged animals.

“Let’s keep moving,” Dawn says as she backs away from the hole.

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The Bow of Hart Saga, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Entertaining Stories

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you arrow slingers and adventurers, Withlings and casters of every stripe. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. With me in the studio today is Tordug, and he’s a dwarven adventurer. “Welcome to the show, Tordug.”

“Wonderful to be here, Lisa. May I call you Lisa? Yes? Good! It’s always a pleasure to get off the back-lot of the fiction set and make some visits. You have no idea how boring it is these days. Oh, by the way, thanks for that little gift of, what do you call it? Whiskey? That guy you work with was generous to offer a sample from his supply. Warmed my toes!”

“You’ve brought along a friend today. You know I’m a sucker for a fluffy dog. Who’s this?”

“This old whelp? That’s none other than Spark, himself. He’s around…

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Raven’s Wrath Part 18 #horror #thriller #Halloween

(Feels like this story is flying by.)

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The warm water feels like heaven on Dawn and Kara’s aching muscles after days of traveling. Using puffy flowers that grow on the shore, they scrub the dirt from their skin and wince as old scabs are torn off. A numbing nectar from the makeshift loofahs helps to ease their pain, which is a godsend when the pair begin searching each other for splinters. Sharing a set of rusty tweezers, they do their best to remove the tiny shards that are reminds of a tree-shattering storm from two days ago. Neither are clear on how they survived the maelstrom with no shelter, especially when they witnessed other travelers get shredded and thrown into the distance. The horrific sight has caused Kara to always stay within reach of Dawn, the girl’s steely nerves having gradually eroded. Even now, the sight of other people makes her anxious, so her eyes scan the large lake that is being used by a few caravans. A quick glance at her friend’s face shows that they share the same worrisome thoughts and a suspicion that trouble is following them closely. As if on cue, two men are yanked under the water and fired at a truck like living torpedoes. Only a few people scream in fright, but the rest simply look up and shrug at the unexpected deaths.

“I think the flowers are making everyone mellow,” Dawn whispers as she settles into a massaging current. Touching the bottom with her feet, she feels tiny worms wriggle around her toes. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say those things are eating the blisters and corns. This is a really strange place. Soothing and blissful, but kind of bizarre. Are you feeling any better? I know getting kicked out of the Grand Caravan was hard. There’s only so many times I can apologize before it rings hollow, but I’ll do it again if you want.”

“It isn’t your fault,” Kara replies before dunking her head underwater. She notices tiny fish with sucker-like mouths fringed with feathers and returns to the surface when one darts forward to touch her cheek. “These are healing my sunburns. I should keep going under because my scalp hurts. Where do you think we should go?”

“This haven sounds as good a destination as any,” the woman admits with a smirk. Sinking further, she leaves on her face exposed and runs her hands through her knotted hair. “If I’m right then the Grand Caravan is following a spiral that started at the south pole. I know the approximate route, so we can match it to reach the same destination. If there are rumors of this haven then there should be people there already. They won’t let anything happen to us if we arrive on their doorstep. At least, that’s what I’m hoping. This is the best idea I can come up with besides going back to my forest.”

The girl tries to mimic Dawn, but she ends up floating due to her height and the depth of the lake. “Maybe that’s a better plan. The monsters won’t bother us back there. Out here, they can keep coming after us. Nobody says there has to be one haven in the world. People can find smaller ones if they’re together, right? That’s what it used to be like. My parents told me there were houses that didn’t eat people who tried to go inside. I had a book that showed a picture of one and it looked pretty.”

Dawn is about to answer when she sees a mother and child get turned into statues of salt on the far shore. People run away from them as a herd of deer arrive to lick the frozen travelers until only the feet are left. An old man who tried to swim across the lake shouts an instance before a lily pad sprouts from his mouth. He continues floating with the plant growing to the size of a small car. Frogs hop out of the water and eat at the flies that are attracted to the steadily rotting corpse. The central flower blooms to release a poisonous cloud that is blown towards the other travelers, who run away or dive into the lake. The surface wriggles with movement as cloth eels emerge from the seabed and wrap around the people. Lacking teeth, the strange creatures drag their prey beneath the surface and plunge them into the sticky muck where they wait for the flesh to rot. Leaving gear and vehicles behind, the surviving travelers run into the wilderness, their screams echoing for several minutes.

“And yet we remain untouched,” Dawn says as she gets out of the lake. She hears a plop of water and fears that Kara has been attacked, but finds that the girl is only splashing herself in the face. “Their game has changed and I’m a part of it. Going back to the forest will only result in that place being destroyed. For all I know, my old home was wiped out the moment it fell below the horizon. That means we can only go forward. Maybe it will be this haven or another place where we can be safe. Then again, I have Ian and Addison actively hunting for me. Really wish you could have stayed with Melissa.”

“But then you would be alone,” Kara points out. She hurries to get her towel and is surprised by how warm it feels. “I spent a lot of time by myself just like you. Only I’m a kid, so I know I need adults for certain things. That makes it easy for me to work with people that I meet, but I never felt safe like I do now. Not since I was with my parents. You’re so strong and smart, which means you can survive. Yet, I’m sure even someone like you feels lonely. Nobody in this world should feel like that.”

“Very wise for a kid,” she replies, her eyebrow twitching. A snapped branch draws her attention to a bear that lumbers over the lake for a drink and pays no attention to the two naked humans. “I never thought about being alone before. Probably because I was created as you see me and ran away immediately. Being born an adult meant I never had to depend on anyone else, so I didn’t know what I was missing. Can’t say it hasn’t been nice traveling with you. Being able to converse with another person instead of animals or yourself helps remind me that I’m the sane one. Anyway, this is pointless talk. We need to get moving before one of these threats decides to attack us.”

“But all of the dangerous animals have avoided us for days.”

“That’s what has me so nervous.”

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I Was a Guest on ‘Tell Me a Story’! #podcast #fantasy

I’m the guest on ‘Tell Me a Story’!
A big thank you to Annette Rochelle Aben!
(It’s in alphabetical order, so scroll down to the Y section to find me.)

Check out Annette’s blog too!

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