Alone, at night, in the woods

Book Cover

Years after Symphony rescued Toby, they went walking in the woods where they both took what was to have been a short nap, but don’t awake until night has fallen. Here’s some of that scene:

Without warning Symphony jerks awake and sits up. Her eyes wide, she stares into the darkness. “Toby, it’s night! I didn’t mean to sleep this long.”
Toby stands up, stretches himself, and shakes.
Symphony feels around on the ground beside her until she finds her walking stick then stands up. She pats each of her empty pockets. “I didn’t bring a flashlight or matches or anything. I didn’t plan to be out here after dark. I didn’t even bring my phone.” She feels panic pushing its way into her throat. She looks up, trying to see through the canopy of trees. “I can’t see the moon or stars to try and get a sense of direction.”
The woodlands orchestra and chorus that fell silent when she shouted Toby’s name reconvenes and picks up their performance where they left off. Tree frogs begin their sing-song buzz, the high-pitch chirp of crickets rubbing their legs together, a chuck-will’s-widow and a whippoorwill start up their own variations of their similar frenetic song, the deep bass of a bull frog croaks in the distance. Though all these sounds are familiar to Symphony because she was in the woods many times with her grandfather at night, she’s never been in the inky black woods without any light. She tries to think about the path she took before she sat down and went to sleep to see if perhaps she can retrace her steps back to her car. She closes her eyes and sees all the different items that attracted her attention during the day. But when she opens her eyes she has no sense of what direction she should start in. A chill shakes her body, and she notices for the first time that she is cold, the damp, cool air having settled into her bones while she was sleeping.
Suddenly Toby detects something that doesn’t not fit in with all the naturally occurring elements of the woods. Unsure which of his senses picked up on it, he gives out a low growl of warning to whatever it is and sweeps his eyes all around them, then sniffs the air.
“What is it?” Symphony whispers, gripping her walking stick more tightly.
In the distance Toby believes he sees a tree fifty yards away move ever so slightly. His eyes are like lasers as he stares unblinking. Again he sniffs the air. This time his olfactory senses reward his effort with the smell of something that is human-like but unlike any human he’s been around. His hackles raise reflexively, and he growls a little bit louder. Every nerve in his body is alert. He sees movement again in the same place and explodes into rapid barking.
Symphony screams.

(If you want to know what happens, be sure and buy the book when it’s released July 26. Better yet, why not pre-order your copy today from Amazon?)

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