Archive for October, 2010

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

photo credit: taylorschlades at morguefile.com


Bright orange pumpkins stared at me. Their jagged smiles wicked in the darkness. I shivered, pulling my jacket tight as the wind whipped through the trees sending leaves skittering past me on the sidewalk.

Where in the hell was the school bus? Across the street, I watched the lamplights flicker, making the entrance of the tunnel freakier than normal. Goosebumps broke out across my skin, and it had nothing to do with the chill in the air.

Today was Halloween, the holiday I hated and feared the most. And it was because of that damn tunnel. But I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to remember Kale’s screams, and the darkness. His disappearance.

Five years ago today, I thought. Had it really been that long ago? My best friend gone, me the only witness.

Crunch. The sound of footsteps echoed through the woods behind me, and I spun around, flashlight in hand.

“Shit! C’mon bus.”

At last the yellow banana boat rounded the corner, air-brakes hissing as it slowed to a stop in front of me.

“Morning, Zoey,” Mr. Mockler said, as I climbed the steps.

I hurried toward the back of the bus, but most of the seats were full. At last, I came to one with a kid in a hoodie hunched over.

“Hey, can I sit with you?”

He didn’t even glance at me, but he slid closer to the window, giving me room to squeeze in next to him. After I got situated, I turned toward him, but couldn’t get a good view of his face. I definitely didn’t recognize him. He must be new.

Someone kicked the back of our seat, and I spun around to see Jason Milleron smiling. His fat face was inches from mine, squinty eyes piercing.

“Tell that emo kid you’re sitting with, I want to talk to him,” he said, nudging his friend Randy next him. They laughed.

I stiffened. “Don’t start, Jason.” My voice cracked.

“Tell him to turn around,” Jason said.

My fingers tightened around my book bag. “No.”

The boy next to me shifted in the seat, to face him. “How about you tell me yourself asshole.” 

Jason reached for the kid, jerking him forward by the sweatshirt. “You don’t know who you’re fucking with.”

The boy laughed. A cold, chill swept over me, the scent of earth and woods clinging to the air. “And I don’t care.”

“So you think you’re tough, freak?” Jason’s face pressed closer. “Why don’t you meet us at the tunnel tonight, after dark? Then we’ll see how bad you really are.”

Oh God, I couldn’t let this happen. It was Jason’s fault Kale had went into the tunnel that night. We’d been trick-or-treating by ourselves for the first time, when Jason and his friends came out of nowhere. They’d stolen our candy and started beating the crap out of Kale. I remembered screaming for them to stop. And they did. They let Kale up long enough to chase him down the street, and into the tunnel.

“No,” I said. “Leave him alone, Jason…”

“What’s wrong Zoey? Scared?’

I clasped the boy’s arm. “Listen, just ignore him. You don’t want to go in there.”

The boy jerked free from Jason, and turned to me. His hood fell back, revealing shaggy dark hair, and eyes the shade of ivy. I swallowed hard. His eyes seemed so familiar. And the dimple in his left cheek.

“I’ll be fine, Zoey. I can take care of myself,” the boy said, then turned to Jason. “I’ll see you at ten, don’t chicken out.”

The bus pulled in front of the school, and Jason pushed down the aisle, knocking me back into the new boy. His hands steadied me.

“Thanks,” I said, noticing the small scar on this right thumb. It couldn’t be. I swallowed hard, spinning to face him. “Kale?”

But the boy had disappeared. I glanced out the window, only to see him walking toward the school. How in the hell had he gotten out? I noticed the dirty shoe-print on the seat in front of mine. He must’ve climbed over.

I was losing my fricken mind. Just because he had dark hair and green eyes, didn’t make him Kale. My friend was dead. No amount of wishing would bring him back.


School dragged. I spent most of the day, searching for the new guy. But I never saw him again. People whispered about him, but no one seemed to remember his name. I even tried cornering Jasmine, who was the queen of gossip, but she didn’t know either.

Something strange was going on, and I didn’t like it.

By the time I got home from school, Mom was already in her costume to hand out candy.

“Hi sweetie,” she said, when I came in. “You holding up okay?”

I nodded. “I’m fine. But listen, I think I’m going to go out tonight.”

Mom’s eyes widened. “Are you sure? You haven’t done anything since…”

She didn’t have to finish, because we both knew I hadn’t celebrated Halloween since Kale.

“I’m going to throw on the fairy costume you bought me,” I said. The reality was I needed to stop that boy from going in the tunnel. One way or another.


The crisp autumn air, made my teeth chatter as I left the safety of my porch. All around me goblins, and demons, and witches, and ghosts traipsed down the sidewalks carrying bags of candy. But I noticed they steered clear of the tunnel.

They were the smart ones.

I moved across the street, shadows clinging to every tree and vehicle. The darkness seemed to consume the whole neighborhood. Taking a staggered breath, I forced my feet forward, until I stood outside the tunnel.

Jason and Randy were already there, wearing grisly masks, and painted with fake blood.

“What are you doing here?” Jason narrowed his eyes.

“I’m not going to let you chase that boy into the tunnels.”

“Looks like he chickened out…”

Then I saw the silhouette at the end of the tunnel. The hooded figure, walking toward us.

“Kale!” I shouted.

Jason went still. “No, it can’t be him.”

But as the boy from earlier stepped from the gloom, I saw the recognition on Jason and Randy’s faces.

It was him.

“No—it can’t be you, we killed you. We watched you die,” Jason said.

Bile burned my throat.

“It was you?” I screamed at Jason. “You took him from me?”

Kale’s eyes glowed eerily. “What’s wrong Jason? You look like you’ve seen ghost.”

Jason moved, but Kale appeared behind him. The next thing I knew, Jason and Randy were running toward the tunnel trying to get away.

Kale glanced at me and smiled. “Will you wait for me?”

“Always,” I whispered.

Screams echoed off the stone walls, the streetlights flickered out. Clouds covered the moon dousing all light.

Then silence.

“It’s done,” Kale said from beside me.

I rushed into his arms, clinging to him. His lips brushed mine, sending my heart skittering.

“I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too.” He brushed tendrils of hair from my face. “I can stay with you forever now,” he said. “Now that the sacrifices have been made.”

I grinned, pulling his head toward mine. “No one will ever hurt you again, I promise.” 

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.


Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

Where am I? I groaned as the room came into focus. Black and white granite columns ran hundreds of feet up, disappearing into darkness. A large desk sat at the center of the octagonal shaped room, a lady with dark cat-like glasses answering phones.

Two elevators gleamed in front of me, a lone woman attendant guarding them, a clipboard in her hand. She raised her hooded green eyes as two small children approached. She smiled at them.

“Kelly and Kristian Dodson. Looks like you’re going up today! Enjoy the ride.” She led them to one of the elevators and pushed the up button.

Once the children were inside, the doors closed and the floor numbers displayed on the elevator sped upward faster than a missile.

The woman came back to her spot, her eyes fluttering to me several times as I stood stationary, trying to remember how I’d gotten there.

The last thing I remembered was being at Lucian’s party. The room had been hazy with smoke, and he’d tried offering me a beer. But I’d told him no. And he didn’t push it. Instead, he’d sat down on the couch, then took me in his arms, his lips crushing mine.

God, he was hot. And dangerous. Boys like him, didn’t date girls like me. I mean, I had goody-goody, written all over my virginal face. When Lucian broke our kiss, I recalled spotting Gabriel St. Angelico watching me. Then everything went fuzzy.

Maybe I’d dreamt it.

Chewing my bottom lip, I debated whether or not to ask the attendant where I was. But before I made up my mind, another boy approached the woman.

This one was a teenage boy. Dark hair, dark eyes, a crimson stain running along the cuff of his shirt sleeve. He turned to me and winked.

“Jordin Mickels, looks like you’re going to need the elevator going down. Step this way please.” She checked his name off the list then led him into the contraption nearest me. With a frown, she pushed the button. “Such a shame. He could’ve done anything.”

The boy zipped downward, and once again the attendant came back to her place.

“Um—excuse me, Miss, can you tell me where I am? I think I’m lost?” I said, finally making my way to her side.

Her golden hair tumbled from beneath her hat. “Selena Wicklow,” she said with a sad smile. “Indeed, you are lost. So much going for you. And one tiny decision changes everything.”

Spooked, I stepped away from her. How did she know my name? What in the hell was this place?

“I need to get out of here,” I said at last.

She stared at her clipboard, pen hovering. “Looks like you need the elevator to the lower level. Come along.” Her warm fingers brushed my arm, sending strange sensations through my blood, like golden light.

The door slid open, and I stared at the black and red interior. The scent of smoke was heavy in the air. It burned the back of my throat.

“Are you sure this is how I get out of here?” I asked. But it was too late, the doors had drifted shut. The floor seemed to fall out from under me as I dropped floors much too quick.

Music raged through the speakers, heavy metal voices and wailing guitars. What the hell kind of elevator was this? There was supposed to be classical piano tunes, not this earsplitting crap.

Sweat beaded on my brow, the heat suffocating. Damn, who’d turned off the air? At last, the elevator groaned to a stop and the doors hissed open.

A scream lodged itself in my throat as fire leapt all around me. The scent of sulfur and brimstone burned my nose, my eyes watered. Gurgling lava sprayed like hot waves against the stone and caves. Shrieks of agony echoed all around me as I watched creatures slither from shadowed recesses, their demonic faces turned toward me.

“Help!” I screamed. But the elevator had disappeared. Already, I felt the soles of my shoes melting in the heat. “Where am I?”

A horned monster stepped from the gloom, his piercing red skin as bright as the flames themselves. “Welcome to Hell, Selena. I’ve saved you a place, right next to me…”

He reached for me, and I screamed. I squeezed my eyes shut, praying this was a nightmare. That I hadn’t been forsaken.

Then I felt a hand stroking my face, and I opened my lids to find myself back at Lucian’s party. He had me pressed against the back of the couch, his free hand slipping under my sweater, fingers grazing my breast.

I couldn’t do this. No matter how hot Lucian was, I wasn’t that kind of girl.

“Stop.” I shoved him back. “I don’t want this.”

“Are you sure?” he asked, his dark eyes piercing. The scent of sulfur clung to his clothes, and I gasped.

“Yes, I’m sure.”

Gabriel appeared beside me, holding out his hand to me. “Looks like you lost again, Lucian.” He smiled. And for a moment, I thought I heard the heavenly angels singing.

I took his hand and let him help me from the couch.

Lucian chuckled, sending goosebumps over my flesh. “Well, you can’t win them all.”

Gabriel’s eyes hardened as he watched Lucian saunter across the room, and throw his arm around a dark-haired girl. After a moment, Gabriel turned back to me. “How about I walk you home?”

I grabbed my white down coat and smiled. “Yeah, I think I’ve had enough of this place.”

With my virginity still intact, I hurried from the house.

“You chose well this night,” Gabriel said his voice soft as feathers as we walked down the sidewalk. “For a moment, you had me worried that we might lose another soul to the darkness.”

“They don’t call me goody-goody for nothing,” I said with a smile.

Soon we reached my house, the lights still on, waiting for me. “Someday, you’ll find the right boy, someone who’ll make you feel special.” Gabriel touched my cheek.

The moon beams coalesced from above, and I laid my fingers over his. “I think I already have.”

I closed my eyes, inhaling the fresh air. The wind whipped around me and I felt Gabriel slip away. And when I opened my eyes, I was alone, and there at my feet lay a single, white feather.

Tilting my face toward the sky, I wondered if I’d see him again. Just then, a star winked back at me, and I knew that I would.


Traci Kenworth

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

click at MorgueFile.com

Night had fallen again, and I pulled myself upright, to peak out the crack in the boarded window. Already, I saw the shadowy figures loping through the dead grass. Their eyes glowing, teeth bared.

I glanced at the door, relieved to find the barricade of furniture still in place. Taking the small nub of a candle, I sat cross-legged on the floor, fingers quaking as I turned the pages of my journal.




Day 14


It has been fourteen days since I arrived at this cursed cabin, stranded in the middle of nowhere. Twelve days since the attack on the wagon train. I’m all that’s left. Thirteen families started out on this journey, heading west, to greater prospects, and the chance to own land.


It had been Father’s dream. Not mine. Not my brother, Will’s. I can still hear Father’s lectures on how life in the wilderness would be good for us.


Then I hear his screams, telling my brother to take me and run. And we did.  Fourteen days ago, we set out with the Martin boys on horses, riding away from the nightmarish scenes. Holy Lord, there was so much blood. I’m all that’s left.



Day 17


They’re getting braver. Tonight, one clawed at the windows, attempting to get in. Its glowing eye, stared through the crack, right at me. How much longer will this continue on? My supplies are dwindling. And I need water. But the pump is behind the cabin, in a small out building. I don’t dare leave the safety of this house.


I am weak. My courage left when Jeb and Lucas Martin went to get help and didn’t return. Then my brother.






Day 20


Will, why did you leave me? I can’t survive on my own. The dead tree out front mocks me, its skeletal branches point to me. Warning that I’ll be next. And today, I was forced to step outside of the house. My thirst was too great. It took me a long time to gain the courage, but I went to the pump. I have water now. It’s a small victory, but even as I rejoice in this, the food is almost gone.


I think that whatever is going on outside, has been going on for a long time. There is so much dried blood on the side of the cabin. It makes me wonder if I wasn’t rounded up here for a reason.



Day 24


They’ve surrounded the cabin. There are at least nine of them. My candle is almost gone. And I’m scared to be plunged into the darkness. Some nights, I think it is this tiny flame that keeps them at bay. A small light in the darkness.


I pray for you Will. That you’re far from here. That you made it back to civilization. Even if you don’t bring help, I only wish you well. The wind is howling, and the only thing that keeps me warm is the heavy coat, Lucas left for me.


I promised to keep fighting and I will…for as long as I’m able.



Day 25


Oh God, I’ve seen them up close. They’re getting more fierce. Last night, I watched the shadow of a man, fall on all fours and become a wolf. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe all this time locked away by myself causes me to see things.


And tonight, will be worse, Will. My candles are used up. And the wooden planks in the windows will not hold much longer. Perhaps, I should run while I can. It is daylight and I could make it far before dusk. But then, where would I go?


If you were here, you would know what to do.



Day 25


It’s only a matter of time. I can see their snouts poking through the cracks in the windows. Already the wood breaks free beneath their heavy paws. I fear this will be my last entry. I have the gun you gave me, a few bullets and Father’s good hunting knife.


Someone is calling my name. It sounds like Lucas. Who else would call me Cassie, like you? I think he’s in trouble…I have to open the door, I have to.


Oh Will, forgive me. I know it’s foolish, but if it’s him, I need to save him.



Day 25


Lord help me, Lucas is one of them. He tried to lure me out. But I didn’t go. Then I saw you.


You are one of them too. You tricked me. How long have you been planning this, Will? To kill me and Father? I only hope someone learns the truth before it’s too late.


It is dark. But I hear the wood giving way. You are so close, I can hear you.


You are here


“There she is,” Lucas said. “She’s on the other side of the table.”

“She’s going through the change,” Will said. “Will she remember what she did to those people in the wagon train?”

“No. Not unless we tell her,” Lucas said.

“It’s best we don’t,” Will whispered. “She’s your mate now, Lucas. You’ll have to teach her our ways.”

“And if she asks about your father?”

“Tell her he drowned,” Will said. He picked up the journal from the floor, staring at his sister’s familiar writing. “Take her home now, she’s made it through the worst.”

Lucas bowed. “Thank you pack-master. I will cherish her always.”



Jennifer Fischetto

Mindy Buchanan

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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Okay, so I’m totally thrilled to say that I finished my most recent WIP! I came in at around 72,000 words which is about where I figured I’d end.

The story has been a labor of love and has taken me a lot longer than any of my others to write (5 months). So, I’ll be diving into edits and apply crits from my crit group (who are all FABULOUS). Then I’ll do some more edits and send it off to my betas.

It’s so awesome to come to the end of a story. And I’ll admit that I teared up. I haven’t had one of my own stories do that to me before (LOL).

So YAY, I got to type THE END! I’m hoping to have this bad boy ready to start query by the end of October. Although, I’m still waiting to hear on fulls/partials sitting with agents for my last story (LOL). So today I’ll be doing some edits, posting more of the end chapters for critique, and maybe taking a look at my query blurb.

Then, I’ll take a 2 week break before diving into my next YA story (which is a supernatural thriller).

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