A short ways forward, trees parted to another path. I ran for it and squeezed through. The hem of my dress caught on something, and I started pulling.
My pursuer stood on the other side of the natural barrier, his eyes aglow and his gaze fixed on me. Over a foot taller than me and three times my size in muscle mass, there was no way for him to squeeze through.
He pulled on one of the trees, and it uprooted slightly. What the—who the hell was strong enough for that?
One look at his face gave me my answer.
I yanked my dress, but it was stuck. He reached through and grabbed at the black silk hem.
“There you are,” he said.
I shook my head, trying to pull my dress from his firm grasp as he pulled me closer. My feet shuffled in their effort not to get too close, but another hard yank from him made me tumble forward. My forearms shot out to protect me from being pulled back through the trees.
When he reached through the space between the trees with his other hand, I saw my chance to reach down and give my dress another hard yank. The fabric ripped, leaving behind the swatch he firmly clutched in his hand.
I backed away and turned to run. A protruding root tripped me. I crashed into another tree but remained upright. My feet throbbed with each step, stinging as more rocks and debris shredded my skin.
Cody stepped out from behind a tree in the path ahead. I screamed, stopping so fast that I nearly fell forward.
He took a few calculated steps, but I didn’t let his slow advance stop me from scanning for a way out. A guttural vibration rumbled in his chest as he stalked ever closer. I couldn’t make out his features beyond his shadowy eyes and twisted smile.
I stumbled back, and my arm scraped against a tree as I sunk to the ground. Blood trickled between my knuckles.
“What do you want?” I asked.
He flashed his teeth. His eyes were completely black, and two of his top teeth extended with a sharp snap. He ran his tongue across one of them, and I nearly choked as I gasped.
Frantic, I tried to see the ground through the fog, but it was useless. My hands fumbled until I grabbed a heavy branch. He lunged. I jumped to my feet and swung. He stopped the blow mid-swing and caught my wrist with his other hand. My wrist crushed in his grasp, and I cried out sharply as the bone cracked. Shattered. Shards stabbed like needles beneath my flesh, the pain darkening my vision.
My first novel-length work is The Forever Girl, was released through my small publishing house, Immortal Ink Publishing, LLC on January 26, 2012. It’s available for sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. The novel is also pending for print, iBookstore (if things continue to go well), and hopefully Kobo Books.