The Island is a YA dystopian novel I’ve been working on. Here is a section of the first chapter:
Dread held Sira Priddis’ heart in a vise-like grip as she sprinted through the dense, hot jungle.
Clutching her twin sister’s hand as tightly as she could, Sira pulled Akamina back on track a fraction of a second after she tripped. Sweat dripped over her flesh in thick rivulets, soaking the fabric of her shirt. This harsh jungle heat couldn’t be more of a polar opposite to their usually frigid and icy home.
Both sisters had stripped off their heavy outerwear which hindered escape from the monster pursuing them. Once those thick jackets hit the ground, both sisters had released a substantial burden, yet there was much more to be removed. Unfortunately, time did not stand still for them to do so.
“Sira, we have to stop for a second!”
She shook her head, yanking her twin over the contorted and moss-cloaked root of a fallen tree. “Keep moving, Kammy. This beast, whatever it is, won’t allow us a second to rest.”
On the other side of the tree, Sira expected to find more of the moist jungle floor. Instead she lost her footing and began sliding down a steep hill, pulling bits of soggy leaves and dirt with her.
Kammy shrieked as they tumbled in a knot of limbs and tangled masses of onyx hair.
Before the sound reached anything else, Sira clapped her free hand over Kammy’s mouth, successfully ending the cry.
The urge to scream out filled her own lungs but she wouldn’t allow it to escape.
Three things their father instilled upon them before their very first hunt.
Number one: never allow your fear to escape, for if you do, it will grow wings and soar.
Number two: never lose sight of your objective, otherwise you will starve.
Number three: keep your head together, or you will end up as a meal yourself.
If that thing behind them was hungry, it wouldn’t be feasting on the Priddis twins.
They landed with a sharp slap and a splash in a fast moving river. Sira entwined her hands in her sister’s clothes to keep them from becoming separated.
“What the hell is going on?” Kammy spluttered, shoving her lengthy hair away from her face. “Where are we?”
After a cursory glance around, Sira shook her head. “I don’t know. But kick your boots off or we’ll sink.”
Both sisters did so, breathing a sigh of relief. Their heavy boots filled with water never did make for a good swimming accessory.
“This better not be another one of Father’s tests! I’m sick of returning with new marks on my skin. How does he expect us to one day find a good husband when we’re covered in scars from head to toe?”
Only half paying attention to her sister’s voice, Sira cocked her head to the side as a strange and yet vaguely familiar sound filled her ears.
They were in a river so that could be why.
Then again, the rushing sounded similar and different at the same time to the rushing of the river.
She opened her mouth to reply to Kammy but instead of words, a tortured shout escaped her lips. Pain tore through her left foot when it made fast contact with a jagged rock under the water.
Only after she had a moment to understand this did all the pieces of the puzzle come together. Rushing water, the river carrying them more swiftly, the sound, rocks …
“Sira, a waterfall!”
“I know!” Using her free hand, she attempted to a grab at something – anything.
“Hang on to me, Kammy.”
Now that she had both arms free, Sira calculated the distance in her head between their current position and the nearest thing she could reach. The river moved faster, dragging them towards the edge.
Just a little closer …
Her eyes zeroed in on the twisted mass of roots sticking out from the edge of the riverbank to her left. Sira used every reserved ounce of strength and hurtled herself and her twin as close as possible.
She let out a whoop of joy and continued hoisting herself – with Kammy clutched to her waist – to dry land.
“Thank the Gods!”
At her sister’s words, Sira offered as much of a response as she could. A simple nod, not even a full one. She lay there, spent and in agony, barely able to breathe.
But they were safe.