I just happen to be working on a novella set within The Chosen world titled The Last Trace. This story introduces readers to the half-Cree Taz, a key character from Runner: Book II of The Chosen.
In honor of Amy’s blogfest and the release of Koicto, here’s a short excerpt:
Trace Pierre Tasman stopped and knelt in the middle of the narrow trail. Even in the fading light of dusk, the deer’s track stood out in sharp contrast to the blurry, older prints scattered along the tree-lined path. He fingered the track’s sharp edges, noting the damp soil in the deepest part of the print.
He slowly stood, nocked an arrow, and drew back the bowstring. His moccasined feet stepped carefully, quietly.
A twig snapped up ahead and Trace stopped, becoming as still as the boulder next to the path. He took a deep breath and stretched the bowstring a little tighter and waited. A six-point buck walked out of the trees and stood at the edge of the trail not thirty feet ahead. Trace released the arrow along with his breath, and the feathered shaft hissed through the air to sink into the deer’s side just behind the shoulder.
The deer coughed and leapt forward, then bounded up the trail. Trace hung back, watching the white flag of the animal’s tail until it disappeared over a small rise. He broke into a quiet jog, slowing as he topped the hill. The buck was down, about sixty feet ahead. The arrow shuddered in rhythm with his shallow breaths.
Trace padded up to the deer. As the animal tried to lift his antlered head, Trace pulled his knife from its buckskin sheath, knelt, and slit the tawny throat.
He whispered a prayer of thanks in his mother’s Cree tongue, keeping his hand on the animal as it died.
With a glance at the darkening sky, Trace stood and tied back his long black hair. He shoved his buckskin shirtsleeves up along his forearms, bent to the fallen deer, and picked up his knife. Within minutes, he’d gutted and cleaned the carcass. He stood and wiped off his blade with a handful of dried grasses, then looked up.
A white woman stood a little ways from him up the trail. He noted her ragged skirts, threadbare overcoat, and matted ash-blond hair. But most of all he noted her blue eyes staring at him with the predatory focus of a mountain lion.
As red flashed within their depths, alarm rippled through his gut.
Machaya, he thought. Demon.
Trace fought the panic rising in his throat and tightened his grip on the knife.
The woman moved. Fast.
When she hit him, it was as though he’d been kicked by a mule. He flew backwards, then slammed into the ground beneath her weight, his breath exploding from his chest. His head slammed as well, and as he fought to keep from blacking out, he felt her grab his hair and yank his head to the side.
Her teeth tore into his throat and he screamed.
Trace could feel the life being drained from him, being sucked from him. His muscles no longer responding, he slowly succumbed to soul-stealing pain and a darkness blacker than the surrounding night.
~ ~ ~
Copyright © 2011 Roh Morgon