By Renee Scattergood
Auren braced herself as they started their descent. Everything was going smoothly until they reached the bottom and the canoe lurched, sending her flying forward. Somehow she twisted her body and in the same motion reached her paddle toward Kado, who instinctively grabbed it and anchored her to the canoe. Although landing in the water might have been more ideal than having her body slam into the unyielding wooden base of the canoe. Air was forced from her lungs as though she had been kicked in the gut.
“We’re in calmer waters,” Kado said.
“I hadn’t noticed.” Actually she had noticed the ride down the river had smoothed considerably, but the humor in his tone inveigled a sarcastic response.
Auren pushed herself up, but didn’t attempt to move from the center of the canoe. Moving hurt. Her foster father would just have to paddle on his own for a while. Now that they had reached calmer waters, they were moving a lot slower, and she knew they had little time. “Kado, you know how you moved us through the shadow world the other day when we were about to fall down the waterfall?”
“Why can’t we do that to get to the village faster?”
“We don’t know for sure it’s heading to the village. I want to watch the shoreline. If we spot it, maybe we can stop it before it gets close.”
Auren nodded. It made sense, she supposed. “What if it just turns back and doesn’t go to the village at all?”
“That would be ideal. If we get to the village and it’s not there, we will backtrack until we either run into it, or run into its tracks.”
The mountains had given away to foothills several kilometers back, and even those were becoming smaller and smaller. A herd of sheep grazed in the small grassy hills to their left. They shouldn’t be far from the village now. Kado was still scanning every inch of their surroundings as they paddled down the river.
As they rounded the bend, the village came into view. At first nothing seemed amiss, but then they heard the screams.
Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing high fantasy, and has recently began publishing her first series, Shadow Stalker. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.
Stalk Renne on twitter @ #SStalkerTour
Until January 31st, 2015!