[ An excerpt from my upcoming YA novel, Traveler ]
I realize that I must have dozed off, because I’m opening my eyes again. It must have only been for a few seconds. I also realize from the adrenaline pumping in my veins that something has startled me awake.
I lay very, very still, listening.
There it was again. The voices.
They’re getting louder, a lot louder. I can even make out the words.
See…? Footprints. We weren’t over here today, and there was that dust storm yesterday morning. These are fresh.
Keep it down. Let’s start checking the houses.
They’re small feet.
Or maybe a girl.
There was a wealth of inflection in that last word that makes my breath freeze in my chest. I have to get out of here. I can’t just hide – they’ll be expecting that. Plus, in the dark, I can’t find a place that I know they won’t discover in daylight. I have to get out of here, and I have to do it now.
It sounds like there’s only two, or possibly three of them, and they were right outside this house somewhere. I curse myself for not thinking about the footprints. In the fine layer of ash that’s settled over everything, the footprints would be clearly visible in the dim moonlight. I probably even tracked footprints onto the hardwood floors.
I get up and carefully pull back the drapes. I can see them clearly now. There are three of them, and they are moving toward the house directly across from this one.
They all have knives of some kind clutched in their hands. Probably to make it easier to skin you and eat you. The thought digs into my brain with icy fingers, freezing me into immobility.
[ Traveler will be available from Swoon Reads / MacMillan publishing, Feb of 2017 ]