|Publisher:||Wings ePress, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|
Read an Excerpt
A tall Indian, dressed in buckskin, slipped through the trees as silent as a breeze. He stopped where the arrow lay in the snow, the tip glistening in the sun. A shiver walked icy fingers up Josh's spine. He tried not to move or breathe. The tall, shadowy figure moved back in his direction looking for signs which way the deer had gone--or did he know Josh hid in the brush? Josh shivered at the thought. He closed his eyes and held his breath, peering out through a tiny slit. If the Indian came his way he was prepared to run for his life. Instead, the Indian slipped the arrow into his quiver. Then he sped off, barely making a sound in the packed leaves and snow covering the forest floor.
For a long time Josh lay in the brush hardly daring to breathe. He listened for any sound. Did the Indian leave or did he smell Josh? They had incredible powers Pa had told him. His friends at school talked about them finding game, where white men had already hunted, by the smell of fear. Josh sure felt fear; did he smell like it, too? That made him feel worse 'cause he was more afraid than he ever was. Did that Indian smell him? Was he lurking, waiting for Josh to run? He shivered; he was cold, hungry and scared out of his wits. There was no one to help him. Darkness fell like someone dropped a pail over the sun. It was a long moment before the moon washed the darkness with a milky glow. He uncurled from his tight huddle, stretching his stiff legs carefully so as not to disturb the brush too much. Then he flopped over on his belly and listened. Inch by inch he snaked out of his hiding place. Watching carefully with each forward motion, he scanned the deep brush for signs of the Indian. An owlhooted. It startled Josh so. He jumped without another thought about being seen; he shuddered and took off running. Night was no time to be alone in the deep woods. Wild ferocious animals are everywhere, he thought as he charged through the brush. He didn't want to think what might be lurking in the shadows, looking for an easy meal. Or where the Indian might be waiting to grab him.
Shielding his face from the brambles and oak brush with his arm, he ran. The brush now filled with shapes that looked like wild animals that clawed at his half-frozen face. He stumbled over rocks and fallen trees. He sped along, running, hoping by some chance he would run out of the woods and into the clearing by his home. He raced mindlessly until his chest hurt. There was a full moon up high now. It should have helped him find his way if he had been thinking proper; instead it cast an eerie glow. Nothing looked familiar. Josh didn't know which direction home was or how far away it was. He wondered if the Indian tales he had heard were true.
The guys at school had said the souls of the dead lived in the wind of the trees. Was that what he heard whispering and squeaking? Was it spirits of the dead? Were they coming to get him? He had no idea what ghosts did with people they caught, but it couldn't be good. Maybe it was a coyote or some other wild animal hot on his trail. Could be a coyote, or a mountain lion, a grizzly. He had seen animals skirting the clearing, just outside the woods at home. They were chasing rabbits or deer across the field. The woods must be full of them.
Josh didn't have time to think, all he knew was he needed to keep going. His lungs hurt. "Can't stop now. Got to get home," he said. "Yeow!" he squealed as his foot snagged on a tree root and he stumbled. The stumble cost him his balance and Josh lost his footing on some wet leaves and skated, trying to keep upright. He toppled over like a dead tree felled by the wind. Down, down, down the hill he tumbled. Branches grabbed at him, scratching and slapping his face and arms. He felt a sharp pain as his head skipped from a tree trunk to a boulder. Ghostly, gnarled trees reached out for him as he rolled by them. Finally, he stopped rolling. Big bear shapes stood silent, watching him.
"Where, ow, where am I?" he said, trying to straighten himself out. Are those wild animals? he thought. "Oh, no. Whew, Don't see any eyes, they must just be boulders and trees. Oh, my head hurts," he said. Everything sort of swirled around him. Little sparks danced like fireflies in front of his eyes. His stomach churned.
Something warm and sticky was trickling down his face. Red stained the ghostly whiteness of moonlit snow. His forehead stung with pain. He felt it; a gash was oozing blood in quick spurts like his heart was beating. He tried to think. He needed to do something to stop the blood before some wild animal smelled it and came to get him. He pulled his bandana out of his pocket and folded it into a long strip and wound it around his throbbing head. How could he have been so stupid? Now, he was angry with himself but he knew he needed to stop the bleeding. He leaned back and took a long breath. What had he done? His panic had cost him. He should have...