Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lady-lyc Chapter 1 Preview

Now, I'm not usually the kind to post up an entire chapter for the world to see, especially in its primal form, but I'm already in love with this story. This would be my first werewolf novel, and I'm about half way through, so I thought, eh why not? Anyway, hope you enjoy it.

Chapter 1

A black sedan drove along an upward sloping dirt path toward snow covered peaks of a mountain ahead. Towering white spruce trees, along with a few shorter aspens and poplars, created a tunnel over the old foresting route only allowing intermittent glimpses of the inky black sky above dotted by millions of brilliant pin-points of light. The vehicle moved slowly over the winding, bumpy road toward its destination—a clearing three miles in the direction it headed.

The man driving the car leaned over the steering wheel. Occasionally he ran a hand through his wild mane of grey hair combed back and covered with a snow cap. His eyes darted back and forth across the narrow passageway while the tip of his boot inched down on the pedal. To his right, sat a woman turned all the way around in her seat, smiling kindly at the two passengers in the back, both talking quietly on cell phones.

The woman sighed and ran her slight fingers along her thick, dark hair, catching a couple tangles before she opened her mouth. “Kids, could you please get off the phones now? I think you’re making your dad nervous.”

The driver instantly sat back and frowned at her. “They’re fine, Nancy. I’m watching for moose. We’re almost to the campsite.”

Nancy patted him on the shoulder and turned her attention to the young man behind her. “Garret, will you help your dad with the tent while Ely and I gather firewood?”

Even in the dark, his grey-blue eyes sparkled with excitement. “Sure, Mom,” he grinned at her before speaking back into the phone. “I’ll be back in town in three days, Sue. We’ll go to that movie then.”

A gruff sigh resonated in the driver’s chest. The stiff set of his shoulders relaxed and he smiled at his wife. “Here it is!”

She leaned forward and peered through the windshield. “Oh, John, we haven’t been here since before your last season. I’ve always loved the view of the mountains in the morning from here.”

He nodded and pulled the car to the side of the clearing. In one fluid movement, they all emerged from the car and went to the back, mist rising from their mouths and noses with each breath despite being July. One by one, they pulled bags and boxes from the trunk of the vehicle, setting them on the driver’s side of the car in turn.

Nancy squatted before a red case and pulled a box of matches from her jacket pocket. She unlatched the tall square container at the bottom and lifted the lid off, revealing a dusty lantern. Lifting the glass from the base, she screwed a small cylinder of gas to the bottom. She opened the valve and lit a match, holding it to an opening at the bottom of the glass and waiting for the mantles to catch fire.

Bright, white light filled the small clearing, allowing the four to see the space clearly. Their shadows danced across the limbs of the trees while they moved around and began setting up the site. While the two men went to work on putting together tent poles, Nancy and her daughter walked around the edges of the circle picking up branches that had fallen from the trees above.

Elyse stooped to grab a branch and turned at a rustle in the trees next to her. She searched the darkness for some sign of an animal, finding nothing. Standing with the tinder in her hand, she cradled it in her arm and straightened her cap. With a fleeting glance at the space where the noise came from she went back to the center of the clearing and dropped the load of branches. “Is this going to be enough?”

Her dad walked over and inspected the pile. “We’ll see what your mom got, but it should be enough for a couple hours. Good job, Ely.”

She smiled up at her dad. “Thanks. How’s the tent coming?”

He glanced over his shoulder. “Garret has it. Let’s go get the chairs, shall we?”

She nodded and leaned into him when he put his arm around her shoulders. At the car, he handed her two chairs and carried the other two back to where they planned to make the fire.

After setting them up in a half circle around the pile of twigs and branches, John kneeled on the ground and sorted through the wood. Leaving a couple of the larger pieces in a cross, he arranged the rest into a cone on top. He pulled a lighter and a wax covered cardboard tube from his pocket and lit the end of it on fire. Placing it carefully inside the twig teepee, he watched it to make sure it would continue before sitting back on his knees.

Nancy deposited her firewood next to the chair at the end of the semicircle and took a seat. “That’s going to be a great fire. How soon can we get the marshmallows out?”

John smiled at his wife. “I would give it a little longer. We should get our sleeping bags into the tent and lock the food in the car. It should be safe from bears there.”

Ely’s eyes widened. “There are bears out here? This time of year?”

John laughed. He rumpled her hair and sat down in the chair next to Nancy. “And wolves. We can’t forget about them.”

A whimper escaped Ely. “I think I’ll sleep in the car.”

“Relax, Ely. Dad’s just messing with you.” Garret rolled his eyes as he passed his little sister.

She looked at all of them, a pout forming on her lips. “Not funny, Dad. I’m going to go get my sleeping bag.”

She stomped away toward the car and sat in the driver’s seat searching for the latch for the trunk. When her fingers fumbled across it, she lifted the lever and there came a pop behind her. Pulling herself out, she smoothed her coat to cover the exposed skin on her back and shut the door. Somewhere beyond the light of the fire and lantern, a twig snapped in the forest. Her head jerked toward the sound and she paused. A small flash of light reflected back at her for a moment and her breath caught in her throat.

“Dad,” she called, not looking away from where she saw a bright green eye a moment ago. “You were joking about the wolves, right?”

“The wolves will be farther North this time of the year. Stop worrying, Ely.” John called back.

She released the air in her lungs and shook her head. “I must have imagined it,” she muttered.

Ducking her head into the trunk, she shoved aside the fishing poles and tackle box. Pushing up on her toes, she reached further back into the spacious trunk. Her fingers brushed the soft fabric of her sleeping bag and she stuck her tongue out as she swiped at it.

With a groan, she put her knee on the bumper and half climbed into the space. Her hand clamped down on the fabric and she tugged it toward her, letting her foot fall back to the earth.

Another crack close by made her head shoot up. She groaned and rubbed the back of her skull after it bounced off the trunk lid. “Ow!”

She stared into the forest again, the sleeping bag forgotten for the moment. Her eyes swept slowly from one side to the other.

Behind her, a blood curdling scream rose in the night, echoing off the trees. Ely turned slowly, her eyes wide. On the other side of the clearing stood five wolves, crouched with teeth bared and hackles standing. Her parents stood clutching each other, while Garret lay on the ground, his chair toppled over beside him.

In a blur of grey and white fur, two of the wolves shot forward. The muscles in their legs bunched and released with their lithe movements. In a matter of seconds, the first reached John and Nancy. It bounded from the ground, its claws coming up to its face as it hit John in the chest, and let out a vicious snarl. Another scream erupted from Nancy as he was ripped from her arms.

His legs flailed and he lifted his arms to block the beast from tearing into his throat and face. He screamed as it bit his arm, jerking its head back and forth. When it pulled away, it licked its blood-covered muzzle before scraping its claws along his chest. It ducked its head, ripping into his side. John’s hands swung toward it, beating at its head, moaning in agony. The grey wolf snarled at him and bit into his hand. John shrieked and grasped his hand and the wolf continued shredding his chest with its teeth. Soon, his groans quieted and he lay still.

The second wolf stayed low; its white fur shining bright in the fire light. It caught Nancy’s ankle between its jaws and blood spurted from the wound as she fell to her knees on the ground. Tears streamed down her face as it came in for the kill. Its jaws locked on her throat and her cry ended in a gurgle.

Garret pushed himself backward toward the tent, not looking away from the small tan beast that broke ranks from the last three and stalked slowly toward him. His forehead creased further with every step it took until his entire face crumpled. “Oh, God, please.”

Ely continued to stare, frozen in place while her family died before her. At the last second, the tan wolf paused while Garret came closer to the dark forest behind him. From the darkness, Ely glimpsed a flash of green reflected from the fire behind him. Her limbs unlocked and a scream tore up her throat. “No!”

She bolted toward him as the final two wolves in the clearing came at her. She leapt toward him as a black wolf came up behind him, and sunk its teeth into the side of his neck.

The other two collided with her midair, hitting her in the chest. Her breath rushed out of her and she fell to the ground with a thump. Sharp canines sunk into her flesh and sinew like butter and she cried out as she tried to shake them off her chest and legs. She twisted and the teeth dragged across her skin, piercing her anew when she stopped to roll the other way.

Off in the distance, a howl rent the night and all the wolves stopped their assault. Their noses lifted toward the sky. Ely gasped for air while the world shimmered before her eyes. She squeezed them shut and shook her head slowly.

Opening her eyes, she watched the six wolves race from the clearing. Warm, sticky liquid gushed from her thigh and side, and she grasped at her wounds in an attempt to hold herself together. She looked around for her family, her breath hissing through her teeth, seeing them all lying still on the ground.

Clenching her teeth, she pulled herself along the ground by her elbows toward her brother. Hot tears streamed down her cheeks as she closed the distance. Crimson pooled around his head and neck. She draped herself over his lifeless body and wept into his chest as she looked into his eyes, open wide, staring blankly at the night sky.

Her limbs were heavy and her head swam as she tried to lift herself from the ground and her brother to check on her dad. Her chest heaved, and the air scraping up and down her throat became wet and tinged with copper. She reached into her pocket and grasped her phone. She shook her head and pulled it out. Blinking several times to see the screen, she dialed 911 and hefted her arm to her face.

“Please help me,” she whispered into it when dispatch answered. “My family and I were attacked by wolves.”

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