I introduce you to a new WIP for the 3rd in my YA paranormal romance series the Critter Getters. This book is entitled Finding Love in a Black Lagoon. I hope you enjoy this snippet!
Breathing hard, she ran off the dirt path and down a squat hill into a swath of small trees. The pointy branches poked and scratched her smooth skin, drawing blood in squiggly shaped patterns. She stomped on rocks and stickers in her bare feet, further toughening their hide. The sun glared through holes in the dense foliage, stinging her sensitive eyes. She hurdled dead felled trees, landing as lightly as a deer without breaking stride.
The noise behind her quieted, confusing her senses, yet sharpened her awareness. She stopped momentarily to gauge her pursuers and try to formulate their location. A few bullfrogs croaked from muddy hideaways and crickets sang haphazardly. Pearl licked her dry lips and bit at the dead skin, making them bleed. She tasted the salty mix of sweat beading above her mouth and blood. Her stillness reminded her of the mosquitoes incessantly biting her, and she slapped one feasting on her forearm. The fat insect spurted all over her arm, spattering into bright red oblivion. Then, the chorus of catcalls and howls grew louder again and she started running once more.
She made it to the river’s edge, the murky water teeming with wildlife hidden among weeds, rocks, and stumps. Pearl smelled mating cottonmouth snakes and looked closely at her surroundings, trying to avoid a venomous bite. Satisfied with the safety of her hiding spot behind a tall stand of cattails, she closed her eyes and summoned help.
Pearl envisioned the group of bullies getting closer before she heard their hideous voices yelling threats of torment and maniacal laughter. The Lord of the Flies mentality permeated the group of reckless kids and today, their intensity scared her. She focused on the sticky mud at the bottom of the river and imagined her rescuer. Pearl deepened her breathing, almost to a yogic state and forced almost every ounce of breath from her lungs.
Pearl’s well timed autonomic nervous system calmed her conscious awareness. Her heart rate dropped to a steady rhythm, leveling out her mounting anxiety. She gripped the reed of one tall cattail stem and became one with the natural setting around her. Flies buzzed her head, yet she paid them no mind, her trance became deep and powerful. Pearl emitted a low hum from her gut, pushing the oxygen from her lungs. She smelled the pong of sour mud coming from the bubbles rising breaking the top of the water.
The wind picked up and whooshed her tangled hair across her face, it clung in places where the residue from a sticky caramel apple remained. Sweat ran down the back of her neck and armpits. Clouds covered the sun, stopping the sun from beating down on her small frame.
The shadowy water swirled into a high speed vortex, looking like a giant bathtub drain. Suddenly, the crickets and bullfrogs quieted, and an eerie silence fell around the swampy refuge. Pearl opened her eyes and focused on the rippling water. One boy peeked around the edge of the cattail stand, breaking her concentration. “Hey, the freak is over here!” He poked her in the abdomen with a long stick. “C’mon freak, get outta there or we will drag you out.”