Saturday, February 11, 2012
Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal
LANI WOODLAND, MELANIE MARKS, WENDY SWORE, RITA J WEBB and several other YA writers have put together "Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal," a collection of 8 stories.
It's a short, fun read, full of interesting characters and adventures, lots of twists and turns and creepy crawlies, and a touch of romance.
50% of February's net sales forTranscendent will go to St Jude Children's Research Hospital to support the care and treatment of children with cancer.
Discover the secrets of a siren, fly with a hawk girl over the mountains of Montana, and flee supernatural party-crashers as the décor comes to life in this magical journey through paranormal stories. Along the way, watch for ghosts in a haunted house, or ride through the moonlight with a stranger. Save a comatose boy who has lost his soul, and don’t forget to bring your garlic and wolfsbane—you never know when the shadows will snag you. Transcendent includes eight stories of magic, love, death, and choice by some of the newest names in young adult fiction.
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Excerpt from “Feather”
By Rita J Webb
The morning air chills my bare arms and legs. Stars smile down on me, though I frown back at them. Who wakes before dawn to travel into the wilderness to find a crazy spirit guide? Idiots, that’s who.
Dressed in shorts, tank top, and hardy boots, I stand alone. Maybe I should have done this when I was thirteen like everyone else—maybe I would have enjoyed it—but Grandma had been sick that year. I refused to leave her.
With white braids and a crinkled face, Dirty Face steps out of his teepee. I roll my eyes. Yeah, a teepee. He keeps it around for tourists. Like the rest of us, he lives in manufactured housing with thin windows and doors and no insulation.
When I’m old enough, I’ll leave this hole. I refuse to live in poverty for the rest of my life.
He carries a bowl of white paint. Dipping his finger in the bowl, he chants a prayer then streaks my forehead and cheeks. A weight settles over my shoulders, and fear clenches my throat.
“Come.” Facing the forest, he trudges forward.
I follow, my skin prickling as if a pack of wolves lurk in the shadows, watching me. The deer path winds ahead of me, leading me away from civilization and up into the mountains. Whatever is expected of me on this journey is a hazy idea. Stories of native boys and girls finding their spirit guides race through my mind, but they’re only stories of people who have no bearing on who I am.
The sun tinges the sky a golden red, and as it climbs high above me, the heat beating down on me reminds me that this is July. Sweat burns my eyes, and my hair slips into my face every time I lean forward. This must be why my ancestors wore their hair in braids and wrapped headbands around their foreheads.
Dirty Face’s long strides carry him around the bend, leaving me alone on the path. Stopping to rest on a rock, I pull bands from my pack and braid my hair, laughing at myself. My grandmother would be so pleased to see this.
A rustle of wings and a hawk feather drifts down to me. Snatching it from the air, I look up into the trees, but nothing’s there. So I tuck the feather into my hair.
“What are you doing?”
My stomach leaps into my throat, and I jump up, stumbling backward, and fall on my butt in the middle of the path. In the tree above me, a teenage boy perches on a branch. He’s dressed in traditional deerskin breeches, a talon necklace around his neck, but rather than moccasins, his feet are bare. He is shirtless, and lean muscles cord his body.
His intense eyes capture my attention. They’re like golden fathomless pools. I could get lost in them.
“Don’t your feet get hurt, walking barefoot on the forest floor?” I ask.
“I rarely walk.” He drops down in front of me. His face is so close that I take a step back and thump into a tree. He leans toward me and sniffs. “You smell different. What are you?”
“I’m a girl.” I can’t take my gaze from his.
“No, humans stink. You smell…” He sniffs my hair and grins. “You smell good.”
“Is there a reason that you’re invading my space? I have somewhere to be.” My voice cracks.
He tugs one of my braids and winks at me. My pulse quickens, and my breath catches in my throat. His eyes study me with intensity, and he leans closer. Is he going to kiss me?
“I don’t know what’s up with you, but I don’t like it.”
“You have a feather in your hair. A hawk’s feather.”
My hand flies to the feather tucked into my hair. “So?”
“Nothing.” He shrugs, but a secretive smile spreads across his face.
I push past him and shoulder my pack. Without looking back, I tromp away. The skin on my back pricks as he laughs. I know he’s watching me, but I won’t give him the satisfaction of glancing behind me. I won’t.
“Be careful. There are hunters in the forest,” he calls after me.
I peek over my shoulder, but he’s not there.
Dirty Face waits around the bend, leaning on a walking stick. Silent and steady, he stares out at the trees, his breath deep. I inhale too, taking in the forest smells.
His gaze falls on me. “The road you will travel will take you many places far from here. The reservation cannot keep you safe forever. Pay attention; we must equip you for what comes next.”
A cold breath creeps up my spine, and I shrug it off. Not the usual speech of understanding our past and living in communion with the earth. Maybe he sampled too much booze, and it rotted his brain.
“We need to keep moving. I must take you up the mountain before night fall.” Dirty Face leads me up a steep path. My legs burn until I think I will melt into a puddle of goo, but still we climb, one painful step after another. My feet ache from hiking in worn-out tennis shoes, and my blisters have blisters.
Stepping out on the ridge, I gaze out on my home. Once upon a time, my people ran free through this countryside. Now we cringe from the world, hoping we can remain true to our heritage.
“Here you will meditate.” He sits a few paces away and closes his eyes. The mumble of prayers drifts on the air.
With a sigh, I drop my pack and sit by the cliff’s edge. My eyes closed, I pretend to meditate. What am I even supposed to do? Wait for a spirit guide to show up. If only I could at least do something…
I wonder what his name is—the boy on the trail. I bet his lips are soft.