by Melissa Haag
Judgement of the Six #3
Expected Publication: November 27th, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
The dreams start, and Bethi’s very normal life goes down the toilet. She soon realizes the dreams are actually memories from past lives … and not just hers. She sees the lives of other women like her.
The recalled memories follow the same terrifying pattern: Dog-men chase her, and she sees her eventual tormented death. Learning from the past, Bethi sets out to find a way to live this time around. The dreams hint at an answer.
She needs to be strong enough to find it or die … again.
** The third installment of the Judgement of the Six answers questions, questions answers, and risks the fate of the world. **
I woke with a start, the terror of the dream still gripping me. Sweat coated my face and my soaked shirt clung to my skin as I looked around the room. My room. Safe. I let out a shaky breath trying to process that the dream had been a product of my imagination, nothing more.
The alarm clock next to my bed flashed just after five am, but it felt like I hadn’t slept at all.
Kicking off the covers, I stood and stepped over the clothes scattered on the floor, making my way to the bathroom. Scrubbing my hands over my face, I leaned against the sink and studied myself in the mirror.
Dark strands of hair stuck to my glistening pale face, an unnatural flush on my cheeks the only splash of color. Even my lips, usually a warm full pink, matched the surrounding skin, colorless. Glassy bloodshot eyes, too wide and filled with lingering panic, stared back at me.
I took a deep, unsteady breath. It wasn’t real. I’m still me. I let my breath out slowly with a self-depreciating laugh. I looked like crap. Great way to start my senior year. I needed a shower.
Feeling the cotton sweep against my skin as I stripped off my T-shirt, I recalled the very real brush of fur hides against my legs. The vivid details of the dream continued to swirl in my head as I stepped into the shower. The clarity, the complete depth of reality, scared me. It felt less like a dream and more like a memory … from an era long past, seen through the eyes of a woman who wasn’t me.
She wore animal skins and stood outside her mud and grass hut. Other huts surrounded hers. The heavily clouded sky cast a grey gloom on the primitive village. Fear swelled within her. Her fear filled me as if it were my own. I saw what she saw. I was her … yet not.
People ran past her, sprinting between huts, terror in their eyes. Her stomach turned sour with panic. Our vision suddenly changed. The world disappeared, replaced by nothing but tiny sparks floating in a vast darkness. The sparks moved, flying past us in time with the sound of running feet. After a moment, I understood what we saw.
We had an amazing ability that enabled us to see the location of people. The sparks shrank in size as the view expanded. Not just the location of those around us, but anywhere in the world. We focused on the immediate area worried about our family, using our gift to try to find them. We ran to check each spark. The tang of smoke drifted in the air. Our despair grew and we ran faster.
All of the tiny sparks looked the same, making it difficult to find the right ones. Too soon an orange glow illuminated the dark sky. Smoke burned our eyes and nose.
Close by, a different color appeared in our mind. Panic flared within us when we spotted the blue-grey sparks. We stopped running and stood still for a few seconds, terror squeezing the acrid air from our lungs. One heartbeat … two … we hesitated. Despairing over our family, we spun away from the unique sparks. Our heart clenched and tears clogged our throat. We left behind those we loved, hearing their dying screams as we ran.
The smoke masked our direction until the yawning abyss of open air loomed before us. Skidding to a halt at the edge of the cliff near our village, we watched dirt tumble over the ledge. We leaned forward, peering over at the broken rocks below. Hopelessness and despair filled us. There was no escape. Her thoughts filled me. Die as they had or die my own way? She continued to stare at the rocks below as she made up her mind.
I struggled to separate myself from her, to scream at her to stop, but inside her own mind she couldn’t hear me.
We glanced over our shoulder and saw a huge beast running at us. A strange calm filled us. I finally understood the fear.
It looked like a wolf on steroids and had blood covering its muzzle. As we watched, it changed midstride from beast to man, never pausing.
We turned and flung ourselves from the cliff. As we fell, we twisted midair to look back at the fate we’d escaped. The man stood naked at the cliff’s edge, blood smeared across his face. He yelled in a language I couldn’t understand, but she did. He cursed us, saying they would never give up. They would wait as many cycles as it took until we were all theirs.
I’d woken before she hit the ground, but the fear, the feeling of freefalling, the willingness to die rather than to fall into the hands of that thing… it all stayed with me.
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