Jenn here wishing you all a very happy Monday! Here is this week’s excerpt from Darkness Raging, out February 2, 2016.
We were in a secluded and gated area, heavily wooded. The moon was up, still round enough to shed silver beams down through the foliage. I pulled away from him and a slow smile filtered across my face. Time to hunt, to play, to tear through the forest and give in to the bloodlust. I tagged him on the arm—“You’re it!” And then I was off.
I scaled the tall fir next to me, swinging from branch to branch with ease, paying no attention to the limbs and needles sweeping across my face. As I reached twenty feet up, I leaped for the next tree. Roman— true to our rules— gave me a sixty- second head start. But then he was on the move, heading up the other trunk. We had developed an odd set of rules for our game of chase, but they worked for us. No shortcuts allowed— at least not for the first few minutes. No turning into bats or anything else. Simply, we took parkour to a level no breather ever could.
I flipped through the air to land on a branch, steadying myself as the soles of my boots found purchase. I was sixty feet up now, still scaling toward the sky as I went. Douglas fir trees— which were actually false hemlocks and not true firs— were common through the Pacific Northwest and easily soared up to several hundred feet.
I scurried up, using the branches as a ladder, until I found one sturdy enough to tightrope out on. The next tree was about fifteen feet over, and I crouched, coiling my muscles to spring. As I went flying through the air, I missed the branch I was aiming for and went freefalling down, but only about ten feet before I caught hold of another. I swung my feet up to catch the limb and within seconds was crouching in the new tree. Roman let out a laugh from a few feet lower down on the tree from which I had just jumped.
“Catch me if you can!” I taunted him, tossing him a kiss.
“Oh, I will catch you, my darkling, and the things I will do to you . . .” His voice was growly and made me shiver from head to toe.
I turned back toward the tree trunk and began climbing again. Sixty feet. Seventy. Eighty . . . at ninety I managed another leap into the next fir over. Up at this height, the trees swayed heavily in the wind and even though I had long ago stopped breathing, the power of the gusts filled me with energy, recharging me with their sweeping force that went galloping past.
Sneaking around to the other side of the trunk, I began to look for a hiding place. There, another thirty feet up, a thick pair of branches offered a comfortable place to sit. I quietly skittered up to them and crouched in my hidey-hole, waiting.
A moment passed, and another. I felt the tree shudder and knew that Roman had landed in it. Now to see if he would go on to the next or figure out that I had stayed in this one. I kept perfectly silent, holding on to the trunk as I waited.