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Excerpt from Lake of Sins: Escape

A mournful howling broke the silence of the forest.  A shiver danced down Trinity’s spine, raising the hair on her back.  A cacophony of screeches and chirps echoed from the brush.  Then there was silence, not a chirp or rustle to be heard.  She swallowed around a lump in her throat.  Whatever made that sound was close.

There was no movement or eyes shining back at her from the brush.  She hurried along.  A sharp yell pierced the air.  She stumbled to a halt, tipping her head to better catch the sound.  There was another shout.  Guards on scent.  Had the Almightys discovered her escape?  No, that was impossible.  It was probably just some Guards out hunting, but that didn’t solve her problem.  If she were caught, she would be in deep trouble.

She had to get out of there, but which way?  To her left was the river.  She swallowed.  She hadn’t seen the fish-man for a while, but it didn’t mean he wasn’t lurking nearby.  To her right were the woods.  If something were following her, it was hiding in there.  She glanced back and forth, undecided.  The Guards might scare away the forest predator.  She bolted into the trees.  There was no way she was going to outrun them, so she had to hide.

She ran blindly away from the sound of the Guards, her backpack slamming against her spine with each stride.  If they catch my scent, they will find me.  She skidded to a stop.  The forest had ended.  A rock wall loomed in front of her, stretching to both sides as far as she could see.  Little crevices and divots peppered the wall, but it was too steep to climb.  She had to make a choice.  The wrong one would cost her freedom, maybe her life.

The trees rustled behind her.  Too late.  They found me.  This had all been for nothing.  Now, the best she could hope for was to be taken with the others.  Her chest tightened.  She had to make sure that her mom and Remy weren’t punished because she escaped.  She raised her hands to her shoulders and slowly turned.  Her breath caught in her throat.  A Tracker, the deadliest of predators, stood on its back two legs, towering above her, front legs hanging down like arms.  Brindle fur covered its body and its eyes glowed yellow in the shadowed forest.  Its tongue lolled out the side of its mouth, exposing a row of sharp teeth on the other side.  Someone should tell it that they no longer exist in the wild.

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