Yesterday I completed the first draft of my contemporary young adult novella, Run!  Below is a short sneak peek:

 

Pain.  Light.  Garbled noise.  Warm wetness seeping down my arm.  Gritty asphalt under my palms, my cheek.  Drifting between heady black and greyish white.

Footsteps.  Footsteps on my right.

“Brandon, get over here.”  The footsteps stop.  A presence crouches near me.  A whisper of breath on my hand, my face.  “Hey.”  The voice is soft.  “Hey, can you hear me?”  I force my eyes open, barely.  Crimson trails stain my limp fingers.  I bring the blurred face above into focus.  My mind, emotionless, collects details.  A boy.  Teenage.  Long, spiky blond hair.  Concerned brown eyes.  A hand, reaching…

Reaching?

My heartbeat flies.  My shallow breathing comes faster.  Memories flashing by.  Pain.  Screams.  Dark.  Hurt.  Trapped.  Pain.

His feather-light touch burns me, and I jerk back.  A growl builds in the back of my throat.  I strain to push myself up with energy I didn’t know I had, but fall back, having moved only a centimeter or two.

The boy has pulled back his hand.  “Hey, whoa there, sorry.  It’s okay, you’ll be fine.  I’m a friend, I’m not going to hurt you.”

Boots clomp to my left and stop near my shoulder.  My whole body tenses involuntarily.  My breath rasps, panicked, in my throat.

“My gosh.”  A deeper voice, distinctly male.  I feel a hand on my left wrist and jerk violently, crying out in fear and pain.  I can’t think, I can’t breathe…

The boy half rises.  “Back off, give her space.  She’s scared.”

Understatement.  Terrified, I’m terrified.

He bends close, purposefully making eye contact.  His eyes are gentle.  Pleading.  “Let me help.”

I don’t respond, I can barely comprehend his words… I’m kind of floating, floating, like I’m drifting off to sleep.  Help?  Why do I need help…  Sharp pain lances through my arm, and I cry out.  The sharpness brings focus.

“Please,” he’s saying.  “Let us help.”  He reaches out to me again, but pauses, his fingers hovering over mine.

I close the distance.  “Okay,” I say.