Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Offspring Blog Tour - excerpt from The Forsaken

The Offspring Blog Tour is almost over! If you've been following me on Facebook, Twitter or my website you might have been following the blog tour as well. Today the tour stops by here on my own blog for an excerpt from book one The Forsaken. This is a tidbit for those who haven't read the first book in The Children of Cain series. Enjoy the read and go pick up the book at the links below.

Her eyes still sting from the tears she cried an hour ago, the remnants dry upon her rosy soot-covered cheeks. She cannot go back to where she came from, and there is no place for her to run, but still she has to flee. Everyone is gone now, everything in flames. There is nothing left but ash and tears. She has to keep walking for there is nothing left to do. She is utterly alone in the world. All she can feel is the bitter cold as she walks endlessly through the woods; the only living thing in an empty world of white. A mixture of glacial air and lingering smoke causes her lungs to ache, her rasping coughs blowing out in white clouds. Her whole body is frigid and stiff, as cold as the snow that is all around her. She notices that even the morning sky above her is white, vast, and empty. She continues on, her stockings soaked through, and her feet past feeling, numb.
She lost one of her shoes a while back, walking over a bunch of fallen branches. Her foot had slipped into a crevice, and when she tried to pull her foot back out, her shoe did not come with it. Her little arms were too short to reach the shoe, so she had simply left it there. However, walking with just one shoe proved uncomfortable, so she took it off her foot, holding the lonely shoe clasped in her hands and pressed against her chest.
The blackened soiled clothes on her back are her only possessions in the whole world. Her short dress, once sunny-yellow trimmed with frilly white lace, is now dirty with ash and dried blood; the lace is gray and singed. Her once-white stockings, now gray with holes burned away in places. Her green winter coat, musky with the smell of smoke, is still in pristine condition. Around her neck, she wears a gold chain necklace with an oval-shaped locket branded with the symbol of a burning rose and the name Gwenevere engraved upon it. The locket is the only tie to her past, the only remnant of her identity.
She hasn't seen a single soul, no towns, no houses, and no roads. She makes her trek toward an unknown future, leaving behind her painful past. An image of her mother’s beautiful face creeps into her dazed mind, making her want to start crying all over again, but she holds back the tears.
“Crying never got the world to stop spinning,” her father had once said. Or at least she thought the man was her father. She had only met him a handful of times; he always came to visit their little cottage late at night. She would see him only briefly before she was sent off to bed, and he was long gone before she awoke the next morning. Nonetheless, she learns quickly not to cry, pout, or go to him for comfort. He is always serious, worried, and cold.
If he is my father, then why didn't he live with us? Why did he feel like a stranger? Why wasn't he there when the fire came and ate up everything? A father is meant to protect his family.
Her eyes begin to water. She sniffles, forcing back the tears, pushing the memories away. It is better that she forgets them and leaves them behind her, and so she does. With every step she takes forward, she puts more distance between herself and the world with which she once belonged. Hour after hour goes by and fatigue makes it easier to shut out all thoughts and feelings. She thinks of nothing but walking in a straight line, as the wind blows through her long black hair.
Brushing the errant strands out of her eyes, she sees a man, a tall dark figure lurking amongst trees ahead of her. One moment she was alone in the forest and then suddenly the stranger is there, watching her. She blinks several times but the apparition remains. She hesitates only a moment then continues. Not wanting to show her fear, she avoids his eyes.
He looks warm in his long, black, trench coat, tall leather boots, and black suit. But something about him is wrong, frightening. With a dark unnerving determination, she senses his gaze follow her wherever she moves. A bone-deep chill comes from his direction. Quickly she deviates her course slightly off to the right, planning to simply pass him by.
As she comes closer to the dark stranger, he makes a quick move toward her. She bolts, breaking into a wild run. The forest becomes a blur around her as she speeds forward in a headlong dash.
Keep running. Don’t look back

That's all for now. If you want to read more you can get The Forsaken and The Offspring here:

Now go forth, read and have a great week!

R.J. Craddock

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