Welcome to the Thursday Teaser! The following is a snippet from my debut novel, Winter’s Curse, where Winter Rose-Thorne makes her great escape. Enjoy!
Winter’s Curse, by April L Wood
I stand for what I stand on. So what will I be without the glacial ice under my feet? How can I call myself an ice witch without it? Who really am I? What will I become?
“They’re coming, Winter! Hurry!”
Despite my mother’s urgency, I take one last look at my prized narwhal tusk, running my hand along its smooth natural ridges. I briefly consider impaling myself on its sharp point, but why let them win?
Sighing, I leave it behind – that and everything else I love about my homeland.
Under the cover of darkness, I exit our ice abode. The blustery wind blows my scarlet hair across my eyes. Tucking my unruly tendrils behind my ears, I drag my feet across the Arctic ice floor to the looming vessel that will take us away.
Nearing the vessel, my mother’s pale hand reaches out to me and I grab it, climbing aboard the ship with her help. I crash inside, landing on the wood planked floor. My shoulder takes the brunt of my fall, and an explosion of pain momentarily has me seeing stars.
After a moment, I roll over. My mother and I huddle together in the corner as the engine roars. A Rose-Thorne clan Elder at the wheel shouts gruffly over his shoulder, “Hang on, Lily and Winter!”
I rest my head on my mother’s chest, hearing her heartbeat quickening. I wrap my arms around her small waist and hold on tightly to her rigid body.
The diesel powered ice-breaker propels itself on top of the arctic sea ice, breaking it, and clearing the debris from its path. Chunks of pulverized ice fly into our ship like a hail storm. Showered in shards of ice, we navigate the polar waters out of our home, the Terrestrial North Pole. Our destiny: a small city in America, to live as refugees with the rest of our kind.
Over the roar of the boat and the crunching sounds of pulverized ice, my mother cries out, “Don’t look back!”
I close my eyes tightly, but curiosity wins. I whip my head around despite my mother’s warning. In the far distance, there’s a red ship nearing us.
“Their ice-breaker must be nuclear powered! Damnit! They’re gaining on us!” The Rose-Thorne Elder turns to us. He’s ghostly white – panic written all over his face. “Lily, hold on to your daughter!” He turns his head forward, accelerating the ship.
My heart beats rapidly as a sudden surge of anxiety builds in my chest. Will we hit a boulder of ice and be smashed to smithereens?
Or, will the people behind us catch us and burn us alive?
“Faster!” I yell, panicked.
The Rose-Thorne Elder laughs maniacally. “They got stuck! Yahoo!” My mother and I turn around. Our pursuers’ ship recedes in the distance as we speed away.
“What happened?” I ask, incredulous.
“They were nipped!” he yells over the roar of the engine.
I turn to my mother, quizzically. She grins before answering, “Ice pushed itself up against their ship, creating a vise-like grip. They’re stuck!” She throws her head back, laughing. Scarlet hair topped with ice fragments frames her face and hangs down in her eyes. “We’re going to be alright, Winter.” She pulls me into a tight embrace.
In the dark, I look over her shoulder at everything we’re leaving behind. As we speed away, a lone trickle of icy slush slides from my eye down my cheek.