Aoife has kindly provided us with a sneaky look at chapter 7 of Eden Forest! Take a look!
Movement in the distance makes me stop. I squint, but my eyes can't focus properly. The dizziness settles as I stand still for a few moments. I refocus. Nothing, no movement. So I keep pushing farther with the feeling of dread. Catching movement again, I stop. It's closer now, but it doesn’t seem possible, unless whatever it is, is moving at an incredible speed. A horse? No, no dust or sound. Tristan? I freeze. No, he’d be coming from behind me. At this thought, I turn around and laugh at the emptiness I’m faced with.
God, I feel as if I might lose my mind out here. The cloak on my shoulders feels as if it weights a ton. I strip it off with no energy to carry it and dump it on the sand, hoping a wind will rise and cover it over, hiding the path I have taken. Maybe being in the tent with water and food wasn’t so bad. Then I scold myself for such weakness.
“No, he took you from your home.”
My newfound anger pushes me on. The movements are all around me now, but it must be my imagination, as they seem to move when I move. Noise comes from my left, no, my right.
I strain to listen. The noise comes again. It’s like the hiss of a snake, only louder. Then it’s all around me. I turn in a full circle but can’t see anything. My head spins, causing me to fall onto the sand again. Closing my eyes, I try to let the dizziness pass. I roll over on my back, keeping my eyes closed.
Keep it together, Sarajane, I tell myself, but the prospect of dying makes laughter bubble in my throat. I let it out. My laughter soon turns hysterical and I feel like crying. I open my eyes and every part of my emotions turns to fear.
A white grotesque face looks down at me. It shimmers as I try to focus. I question what I’m seeing, if it’s real or not.
The creature hisses at me, showing off a long black tongue that slides between black pointed teeth. Eyes that are hollow and empty stare at me. Fear runs through me as more faces appear around me. I shut my eyes and pray for this to stop and repeat to myself, This is not real, over and over again.
But when I look up, they’re still there, staring at me with hungry black eyes.
Digging my elbows into the sand, I push my body up. The creature closest to me rises off his haunches and places his foot on my chest, pushing me back down. His body is human-like, only hunched and twisted. The others start to look impatient.
Growls rise deep in their throats.
I hold my breath, afraid to breathe. What are they? Frozen with fear, I don’t move as much as a muscle. The creature’s inhuman growls start to rise.
One of the creatures moves closer to me very slowly. As he moves, he keeps glancing over at the one who pushed me down, so I assume he’s the leader. It licks its lips. A whimper of fear rises in my throat as it reaches me. My noise attracts the attention of the leader. He grabs the creature just before it touches me and throws him on the sand. The creature slams its fists into the sand while looking at his leader. It points at me.
My mind goes frantic. Eat, as in eat me? Get up!! Get up!!!
I scream in my head.
Rising on shaky limbs, I get to my knees. Sweat gathers on my forehead from exhaustion. When the creature sees me trying to get up, a high-pitch squeal leaves his throat and he charges.
The others are pounding the ground with their feet and fists while screeching. He is an inch from me, his eyes wild with hunger, but that’s as far as he gets. An arrow is embedded in his neck. Blood splatters across my face as he crumbles to the ground.
There’s an eerie silence amongst the creatures as they focus behind me. I look around just as Tristan and Legis move forward.
The leader of the creatures digs his feet into the sand like a bull, causing dust to rise, and throws his head back, letting out a deafening screech. They charge.