Posts Tagged ‘horror’

Shadowchild
by Matthew Williams
Genre: Horror
In 1629 something visited the parish of Feckenham. The events that
followed were so terrifying that they never gained their place in the
history books.

Now in 2008, something seems to be wrong with Marie Watson’s young
children.
Her father won’t believe her and her mother is nearing the end of her
tether.
Marie feels utterly alone.
But is she?
The Shady Corner
by Matthew Williams
Genre: Horror
A shady corner in life can be a dark and mysterious place, but in the
shady corners of the mind, the mystery and darkness know no
bounds!

In a struggle with his conscience and haunted by images of murder, David
is given a choice to right the wrongs of his past.
Can he cheat fate and avoid his future? Or is the evil that dwells within
him more than it seems?
Only one thing is certain . . .
Fate can be cruel, but true evil can be brutal!
Born in 1975, Matthew Williams has been a keen fan of the
horror/thriller/fantasy genres for as long as he can remember.
Whether it’s a film, a TV series, or a novel; he is drawn to all
the different aspects of these genres. Mainly it’s the complexities
and the mysteries that can be expressed with freedom and imagination
that he enjoys the most.

A fan of authors such as Stephen King, James Herbert, Dean Koontz,
Richard Layman – to name but a few!
A fan of TV shows such as Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Breaking
Bad, American Horror Story – to name but a few!
A fan of films such as Saw, Seven, Eden Lake, The Descent, Quarantine,
Skeleton Key, The Sixth Sense – to name but a few!
Matthew now has a small body of work of his own with ‘The Shady Corner’
and ‘Shadowchild’ only the beginning of what he is determined to
grow into an extensive collection of horror/thriller fiction novels.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
Guest Post from the Author

 

Where were you born/grew up at?

I was born in Evesham, Midlands, UK. And I was raised in the village of Feckenham, Worcestershire, UK. So far both of my novels have been set there.

If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

So long as I was able, I would spend it with my family in the theme parks in Orlando, I love it there!

What kind of world ruler would you be?

In my work as a manager I am extremely tolerant and like to offer people the opportunities and chances so that they can grow and develop as workers and people. Outside of work I tend to be far less tolerant and often joke that people who annoy me would suffer badly by my hands in the event of a zombie apocalypse, when rules and consequences no longer matter lol. I think the reality would be that I would be an awful world ruler, I would always put my loved ones before all others and would struggle to give the attention required to the rest of the world.

What makes a good story?

I think anything coherent and interesting can make a good story, it is really more about how the story is told and the characters inside the story that determine whether it ultimately turns out as good or not.  Personally I like mystery and suspense inside the story, that’s always something that I try hard to inject into my own.  Usually I drip feed details throughout the book so that I am always answering questions for the reader, while at the same time asking new ones. I think the other important thing is to make sure that all the loose ends are tied up. Nothing lets a good book down harder than unanswered questions that needed to be answered, so annoying!

What do you do to unwind and relax?

Writing is one of my favourite ways to unwind and relax, but cracking open a few beers and having a barbeque hits the spot pretty well too. Holidays! I love to travel and see new things, experience new places, and meet new people. Or it can be as simple as curling up on the sofa with my beautiful wife, a glass of wine and a good horror movie!

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?

I’m not sure if I actually ever decided to become an author, I don’t think I’ve ever consciously made that decision. I wrote a story and enjoyed writing it, I went on a journey through the publishing process and loved every minute of it, and then I found people who loved what I’d written. So long as people want to read what I write then I will keep writing. I would love for it to be my full time career because who wouldn’t want to do something they love for a living, but until that day comes I will just keep going. If it never happens for me, then I will always know that tried my best and that I loved every step of the journey.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in The Shady Corner?

David Wilcox is the lead character, we meet him at various stages throughout his life. The story never strays far away from him, even when he is not in focus, he is always there somewhere. David’s family and friends play their parts in the story along with a few unsavoury characters, but David is the heart, the soul, and without a doubt – the darkness!

David is probably the complex character I have created. He may be the most complex that I ever create? You see, David doesn’t just have layers to his character, he has dimensions that control and dominate his very existence. It is clear after just a few chapters of the story that David is troubled and unstable. A few more chapters and it becomes clear that he is a monster. Yet as his creator I actually pity him, whatever he does, however evil he seems, I always knew something that my readers don’t learn until very end. I knew the reasons why!

David’s journey through the novel sees his struggles, his madness, and his torment. It also hurls the reader deep into the evil deeds as if looking at them through David’s own eyes!

Every piece of feedback I’ve had agrees that David is a monster, but only a few feel pity for him the way I do.

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Extinct
AM13Outbreak Series Book 3
bySamie Sands
Genre:Horror
Writing books about the horrors of the zombie apocalypse is one thing—but Georgie Blake can’t believe it has become her reality…
She never expected her fictional stories of blood, death, and the consumption of human flesh to jump off the page into the real world.She certainly didn’t think she’d survive this long if they had.As a shy novelist, she was sure she’d be one of the first to die.
Safe in the Sanctuary, Georgie holds on to hope for a cure…
But that’s not all she holds on to. The government has promised the people of the Sanctuary that they can return home. The rumours are rife that there is an antidote on the horizon. But even if not, the infected are dying out, throwing the treacherous AM13 virus to thebrink of extinction. If the infection dies out, this horrible nightmare Georgie is living in will be a distant memory.
Until everything that’s right goes terribly wrong…
Soonafter meeting some new friends in the Sanctuary, Georgie learns she’s going to have to face the monsters outside the walls if she wants to return to her old life. But for a scared, introverted bookworm, it may be too much to consider…
WillGeorgina conquer her fears of the dead to return home, or will she beone of the countless others who have gone Extinct?
Forgotten
AM13 Outbreak SeriesBook 2
Every attempt to contain the deadly AM13 virus has failed, leaving humanity on the brink of extinction…
The plague is spreading out of control with no cure in sight. Then the government announces its new plan—a sanctuary in an area completely untouched by the infected—as long as you can get there alive andunscathed.
Ethan Watton has managed to survive this long, even with OCD making everyday more hellish than it already is…
Ethan’s obsessive-compulsive disorder dramatically affected his life before the infection began. Now he’s desperate to get as far away from the zombie virus as humanly possible. Isolated and afraid, Ethan thinks there is no way in hell he will survive the epidemic.
Alyssa Turner has spent her teenage years prepping for the undead to challenge her zombie killing skills…
Alyssa knows with absolute certainty that she will survive the AM13 virus.She’s read all the books, watched all the films, and done all the research. She’s strong, tough, and a self-proclaimed badass. Any group would be lucky to fight alongside her…until the unthinkable makes her doubt every skill she’s acquired.
Dr.Jones is a scientist who doesn’t understand why he was selected to produce a cure…
Surely there are survivors more experienced in virology than he is. And what will happen to him—and the rest of the species—if he fails? Is the fate of the human race really resting on his shoulders? Or are there others working toward the same goal?
With the zombies multiplying and survivors struggling to make it to the sanctuary, Ethan, Alyssa, and Dr. Jones fight to fulfill their destinies. If they fail, their fate is sealed, and they will join the millions of others who have been…
Forgotten.
Lockdown
AM13 Series Book 1
Leah Watton’s practical joke has spiralled way out of control—all to impress a crush…
With a prank online video, Leah hopes to catch the attention of Jake Colton, a cute, blond-haired, blue-eyed co-worker she’s had a crush on for months. But instead of sending it to Jake, she manages to forward the clip to her boss—who buys every gory second.
When mass panic ensues, Leah learns the video is more than a staged act…
The government is calling the virus AM13. As the outbreak spreads,citizens are forced to stay indoors while they assess the gravity of the illness. Most people are quarantined in their homes, but Leah,Jake, and Leah’s best friend Michelle are some of the unlucky few who are stuck at work when the Lockdown occurs.
That’s where she first encounters one of the infected…
Aside from a contaminated woman devouring one of her co-workers, Leah has another problem. Does she do as she’s ordered and stay at work? Or should she disobey government orders and break free to reunite with her family?
She can’t go it alone—after all, Leah has none of the skills needed to survive—but with Michelle and Jake by her side, not even a contagious virus and a sea of the dead can keep her from…
Breakingout of the Lockdown…
Samie Sands is a 28 year old freelance graphic designer who has recently decided to follow her lifelong dream and use her creativity in a new way by writing.
She has a degree in Media Studies and PR and has already had articles published in a number of e-zines, including one of the most popular pieces at Zombie Guide Magazine. She has also had short stories included in a number of successful projects.
She lives in a small seaside town in the UK, but loves to travel to gain inspiration from new places and different cultures.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

  1. What is something unique/quirky about you?

A lot of other authors listen to music as they write, but I find it much too distracting! I actually prefer to have the TV or movies playing in the background – as long as they’re completely unrelated to what I’m writing about.

  1. What are some of your pet peeves?

If I’m a massive fan of a book I find it really irritating if the author forgets to complete a story line that they’ve included in their plot, even if it’s a small one. That’s why with my books I’ve answered any questions that I haven’t in the series with short stories.

  1. What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

It’s a varied mix of genres:

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

The Ghost Files by Apryl Baker

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk

Dead End Road by Lori Whitwam

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

Outpost by Adam Baker

You’re the One that I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

Broken by Jodi Drake

Hopelessly Imperfect by Gabriella Cabezut

  1. What inspired you to write this book?

For the first book in the AM13 Outbreak series, I wrote the book I wanted to read. I’d read a lot of stories based in the zombie apocalypse and I found that the characters were always very capable. It made me wonder what would happen with an ordinary person trying to survive. Leah in Lockdown is normal, girl next door type without any skills to survive. Sometimes she’s flawed and she doesn’t always make the right choice, but that makes her more realistic.

The characters in the following books in the series came to me as I was writing Lockdown, which was how the series was born, and in the latest book, Not Dead Yet, some of the characters are based on real people who won a competition.

  1. What can we expect from you in the future?

Right now, I’ve just signed a contract for a completely different book. It’s called Lottie Loves and it’s very different from the zombie apocalypse in the AM13 Outbreak series. It’s a romance book that looks at first loves and the idea of ‘meant to be’. I’m not done with the zombie apocalypse though, I will be writing more!

  1. Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?

If you buy an ebook of any of the books in the series, you gain access to a bonus chapter which delves more into the lives of the smaller characters. I’ve also written some shorts for anthologies to continue on with the world. Unleash the Undead features Michelle, who is Leah’s best friend in Lockdown, 13 includes a story which reveals where the virus came from, 13: Déjà vu introduces a blind character trying to survive, and coming soon are shorts in Undead Worlds and 13: Night Terrors.

  1. If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

Tying up lose ends and hanging out with daughter. If I could magically be anywhere in the world for that last day, it’d be Japan because I just love it there!

  1. What book do you think everyone should read?

In the apocalypse genre, I would say Outpost by Adam Baker. It’s a zombie style book, but with a real difference. I love it, I could read it over and over again!

  1. What kind of world ruler would you be?

I would like to say fair and kind, but I’m sure everyone feels that way until the power grips them! I imagine the need to hold onto the power could be quite stressful too!

  1. Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

I would love to hang out with Georgie from Extinct because as an introvert zombie author I think we would have most in common!  

  1. Describe your writing style.

It’s very character driven, the plot all happens through the eyes of the character so every decision and mistake made are felt very acutely by the reader.

  1. What makes a good story?

I like a story with twists and tension. I enjoy it when I can’t guess what’s going to happen next, which I found with The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp. Another thing I liked about that book was the unlikable main character. Jack Sparks has his charm but he isn’t instantly lovable which I think makes him more realistic.

  1. What do you do to unwind and relax?

I love Pokemon Go! Team Instinct, of course 😊

  1. How to find time to write as a parent?

It’s not always easy to get some quality time with the laptop, but I do my best to fit some writing in every day.

  1. What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision? 

I didn’t start writing Lockdown with the idea of getting it published, at first I wrote it just for me, so I wrote the book that I wanted to read. I wanted to write something a little different, which I think I achieved. I didn’t even expect anything to happen when I sent the manuscript off to publishers, but I was so pleased when it did. Now, I absolutely love it.

  1. Advice they would give new authors?

That a terrible first draft is better than writing nothing. Sometimes it’s hard to just get started, but once you get past that hump and you get the general idea down, you can go back and make things right afterwards.

  1. What are they currently reading?

I am currently reading The Girl on the Train because I recently watched the film. So far I think the book is better…but I usually do!

  1. How long have you been writing?

I started writing five years ago when my daughter was born, at the time it was a way to pass all the sleepless nights! I was creating stories in my head for a long time before that, but that’s when I first started.

  1. What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?  

I outline, but it rarely works out the way I thought it would. Often the plot takes on a life of its own once I get started and unexpected events come to mind…those are the ideas that I usually like the best!

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Extinct?

The main character is Georgie Blake, a zombie author who certainly never expected to end up in what feels like the pages of her book. By the time we get to Extinct, the apocalypse has been going on for a while (although each book in the series can easily be read as standalone!), but she still isn’t used to it. Tom Cleary is another major character and he’s the one who causes Georgie the most concern. She just cannot work out where his motives and loyalties lie…

  1. Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?

I start out with an idea of the characters I want to include in the plot, but as I write new ones often make an appearance in my mind. Also the ones I’ve started out with don’t turn out as planned. I have one idea of them in my brain, but the plot often takes on a life of it’s own and it changes them with it. I prefer that though, I think it makes the end result of them more organic.

  1. What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

I did a lot more research for the second book in the series, Forgotten, because one of the characters is a scientist trying to solve the problem of the virus. I had to do a lot of in depth research into some very interesting biology then!

  1. Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

I didn’t know how to answer this one, so I asked my five year old daughter! This is what she said: sharing, cuddling, nice, helpful, and fun…not too bad!! 😊

  1. How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

I enjoyed writing Georgie in this book, since she’s an introverted zombie book writer. I could relate to her more than any of my other characters. I enjoyed creating a character that always wants to do the right thing, but in this situation since this is a new world, she doesn’t know what the right thing is!

  1. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved writing all the books in the AM13 Outbreak series because they can all be read as standalone which allows for the introduction of new characters and situations. Some readers love the slightly vapid Leah from Lockdown, others like the plucky teenager, Alyssa, from Forgotten, but the best feedback I’ve had is for Georgie in Extinct. She’s flawed and doesn’t always make the right choice, but I think that makes her more realistic.

  1. Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?

Georgie is introverted which makes it hard for her to push herself, but she can do it when she thinks she’s doing the right thing. The reader might not always agree with her, sometimes it might be like yelling ‘don’t go in there’ at a movie screen, but I’m sure everyone would make mistakes in panic during the apocalypse.

  1. Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?

Don’t give up! It isn’t always easy and you will face rejection and negativity, but as with anything creative not everyone will like your stuff. Just don’t give up and it’ll all be worth it in the end.

About the Book

Title: The Sanguinarian Id

Author: L.M. Labat

Artist: L.M. Labat

Genre: Horror, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Occult, Gothic Horror

Publisher: Night to Dawn Magazine & Books

 

She’s been beaten, stabbed, poisoned, and shot, but Hael refuses to die. In her pursuit for vengeance and her origin, the Dhampir Hael hunts down the madman responsible for her fateful transformation. As this half-vampire juggernauts her way through a world at war, Hael battles hordes of Nazi soldiers as she struggles to maintain her sanity. However, while Hael gathers knowledge on how to trap and kill her target, her adversary’s network is expanding at an exponential rate, as his sick obsession with Hael grows deeper. Will she have her revenge? Will she find her origin? Or, will she crumble beneath her own insidious bloodlust?

Author Bio

Born in 1993, L. M. Labat stems from New Orleans, Louisiana. From the struggles of a broken family and surviving life-threatening events, Labat found refuge within the arts while delving into the fields of medicine, psychology, and the occult. While combining illustration and literature, L. M. Labat was able to cope with endless nightmares as well as hone in on artistic techniques. From confronting the past to facing new shadows, this author gladly invites audiences into the horror of The Sanguinarian Id.

 


Links

The Sanguinarian Id Website

Website Creator: L. M. Labat

https://thesanguinarianid.com/

Night to Dawn Magazine & Books Website:

http://bloodredshadow.com/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/l-m-labat/

The Sanguinarian Id on Amazon.com:  

https://www.amazon.com/Sanguinarian-Id-L-M-Labat/dp/1937769445

The Sanguinarian Id on Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-sanguinarian-id-l-m-labat/1123257469


Artwork by the Author:


Book Excerpts

Book Excerpt 1:

Within Europe’s late nineteenth century, marvelous medical miracles came into existence that augmented the intellectual to new horizons. Doctors of all fields were admired for their dedication to health and humanity. However, as their accolades increased, these professionals grew fat with entitlement while their patients starved for love. With speedy developments, the human brain, in its entire splendor, spiraled dangerously into the new era of indulgences that forked the path between masterpiece and monstrosity. **** A group of young women sat on the cold floor. In dirty hospital gowns, they picked and ingested lead paint chips from the wall. Persistently, they crammed more debris into their hungry mouths. Drool covered their cracked fingernails. With muted expressions, the nurses smoked like locomotives at their corridor stations. They watched the self-poisoning, but did nothing to help. The nurses reacted solely when the clock struck seven. The chimes notified them to administer the medication. In the joining corridor, more patients wandered aimlessly. Whimpering like beaten dogs, most patients wore restraints over their mouths and arms. Others fiddled with their gowns as they stumbled from side to side. No matter what they were doing, the inhabitants complemented each other with the same dead-eyed stare against the barred windows. The doctors were devils. They prodded, scraped, and teased the flesh with their instruments. Like foxes, the doctors lured people into their examination rooms with wide-toothed grins and false promises. None of them were in harmony with their patients. These mechanized madmen were fluent with their hands and calculations. Their utensils were never bare. These men constantly wrapped their fingers around their equipment’s silvery curves. They comforted the metal exteriors like newborn children. The wives of these doctors had sullen lives, wishing their husbands would caress their thighs the way they did their clipboards. The patients knew no humanity. The kind gazes they saw reflected off foggy spectacles before the serum blacked out their minds. That was if they were lucky enough to have the straps off their foreheads. This was Halcyon Asylum.

 

Book Excerpt 2:

The leader of the group yelled and charged at Hael with a dagger. He stabbed her in the back. She fell to the ground. Over and over again, he stabbed his blade deep into her torso. Hael roared in fury. She grabbed the severed limb and brained the leader. When the severed arm gave way, Hael buried her claws into his skull, and gouged his head wide open. Brain matter and blood splattered across her face. Her entire body became a walking nightmare of black and red.  She heard the horses go wild in the distance. The coach-man desperately tried to mount one of the horses, but the beast was too frightened to stand still. Hael walked over to the coachman. The front horse saw Hael from the corner of its eye, and reared its back legs frantically. The horse’s hoof clocked the coachman in the chest and sent him plummeting to the ground. His flask flew out of his pocket. The coachman held his beaten torso and coughed violently. A twig snapped in front of him. He looked up. Hael looked down upon him. Her body was still, but the red of her iris swirled like hellfire. The coachman sobbed and pleaded for his life. Hael looked at the carriage. “Where were you going to bring me?” she asked him.  “Please, don’t kill me,” he cried.

Hael rammed her heel down onto his hand. His bones broke through his skin upon impact. She repeated herself. “Where were you going to bring me?” Her voice was calm and authoritative.  “To the docks,” he answered.  “Why the docks?” she asked. “We were supposed to bring you and some others to the docks, and place you all on a boat bound for France.”  “Why France?”  “I don’t know,” he answered. “That’s all Mendelson wrote to us. I swear it!”  “Do you have the instructions?” she asked. The coach-man nodded. He reached into his back pocket and handed her an envelope. She read postage marks. The letter came from Germany. “What others?” she asked. The coachman said that there were other women that they collected during the week to bring to the docks. Hael was a surprise adjustment to the original list. He stated that after the delivery was made, they were instructed to burn the letter. She gave the letter back to him. “Thank you.” She walked over to the flask and unscrewed the top.  The coachman shuddered. “What are you doing?” “Following instructions.” She poured the liquor over his body. “Stop! I told you what you wanted to know.”  “Yes, you did.” Hael picked up a stone from the grass. She held it firmly in her hand. “And, I said, ‘Thank you.’” She struck her nails against the stone. Sparks flew off her claws and ignited the liquor. The coachman screamed as his body writhed within the flames.

 

Book Excerpt 3:

The majority of the women held captive by Mendelson were between the ages of eighteen to thirty-nine years old, and labeled missing to the general public. The victims’ bodies were found during scattered times of the year. The bodies were either discreetly hidden, or placed directly in the center of the stadt from where they came. All of the women were reported to be sexually assaulted, battered, or starved. The numbers of men who were taken from their families by Mendelson were never seen or heard from again.  Hael turned the page. “Abducted children and infants were brought back at separate times, unharmed, to either their families or the nearest local officials. As a whole, the children neither recall where they were held captive, nor can they give details about Mendelson’s appearance. None of the children were sexually assaulted in any matter or form. However, all of the returned children experienced seizures and night terrors at random.” Mendelson’s family once held a highly decorated position in the German military during the early 1800s. After the fire of their family mansion in Frankfurt, the residence was converted to the orphanage Das Männlein Waisenhaus in 1823. Das Männlein Waisenhaus was currently shut down. No photographs or sketches of Mendelson were documented. A few traces of fingerprints, semen, saliva, and skin particles were found on the corpses of eighteen-year-old women and older. The total numbers of people kidnapped by Mendel-son over a seventeen year period were: one hundred and seven women between the ages of eighteen to thirty-nine years old, fifty-eight men above the age of eighteen, twenty-nine female children, and twelve male children.

Hael dropped her lighter. The flame extinguished on the rocky floor. The horrendous sights Hael witnessed were inexhaustible, but the photographs and descriptions of Mendelson’s victims made her vomit. Their bodies were bruised and broken. The women found in the woods had their pelvic bones crushed, and their legs permanently bent. Their necks and wrists were badly discolored from rope burn, and their breasts were purpled with bruises. Their backs were either concaved or arched with their stomachs split open.  Hael turned her face to the ground, and retched every-where. From the pictures, she heard the groaning victims. Their bloodshot eyes, broken bones, and gray skin were nothing com-pared to the way their bodies lay open like stockpots holding their mangled organs.

 

Book Excerpt 4:

The area was a deluge. Hael watched the pond swell as the water engulfed more and more of the bank. “If you keep stalling, you’re going to drown!” she shouted. “Let me pull you up!” Air bubbles popped alongside the boulder’s surface. The man shuddered at the sound. He looked behind him. “Did you hear that?” he asked. She shrugged her shoulders. “An air pocket must’ve ruptured below the mud.” She looked at the surface of the water. The mud continued to bubble. The water level rose rapidly. “Please, let me pull you up!” His eyes bulged like soup plates at the sight of the bub-bling mud. The mud stopped moving. He turned towards her. “Leave.” “What about your legs?” “Forget about my legs!” he shouted. “Just get the fuck out of here!” She ignored his statement and waded towards him. He unsheathed his Bowie knife and swung it wildly in the air. “Go away! Damn it. Go away!” he threatened.  “Are you crazy?” she shouted.  He began to cry. “Please! Just leave!” A gurgling sound erupted from beneath the water. It was deep and loud. The man gaped in fear. With his face paled to a paper white, his mouth opened and closed in horror like a dying guppy. The noise increased in volume, morphing into a horrid watery groan. He tossed his knife at her feet. She grabbed onto his arms to pull him out. The man made no effort to move. She sank her feet into the mud and pulled.  “Please! Help me help you!” He lifted his head up to her. His eyes were drenched in tears and wide with anguish. His mouth quivered sorely. “If you want to help me, heed the words of this old fool. Leave this place. Forget about me. Forget you ever came here. Forget your reason why, and get to the closest source of concrete.” He grabbed her hand. “Take the knife! Stay away from the water banks!” Those were his last words. His body was yanked underneath the boulder. The pull’s tension and the sharpness of her claws severed the man’s hand from his body. She flew backward. The severed hand fell into her lap. The air thickened with danger. She flung the hand back into the water. Something swallowed it from beneath the sur-face. Screaming, she grabbed the knife and ran from the boulders.  The hard rain loosened the soil around the trees. Roots were exposed over the ground. She bounded over them to avoid getting caught. A lightning bolt crashed in the distance. She tripped and plummeted to the banks. An exposed tree root slammed against her head when she

hit the ground. Half her face sank into mud. She nearly stumbled back into the water as she hoisted herself out of the sludge. She searched for the knife. It was lodged underneath a tree root. The mud bubbled around her feet. The ground swallowed the knife. She jumped back and ran.