My publication journey began on Fictionpress over two years ago. Since then, a lot has happened and I’m really excited for what the future is going to hold. Immediately on the horizon is the cover reveal for Earth’s End (on Sunday, November 15), followed by the release of Fire Falling (on Thursday, November 19). I can’t wait for everyone to read Fire Falling, literally. So I’ve uploaded the first chapter on Fictionpress for you to read and enjoy!
The world was an inferno.
Thick smoke. Ash. Blistering heat.
Vhalla dashed between shadowed figures. Faster and faster, she ran through the night, from one horrific scene to the next, as though she was running toward the end of the world itself. The dark, faceless people began to close in around her, hindering her, smothering her.
Tears already stained her cheeks when she reached out a hand to push away the first. The apparition gave a blood-curdling scream before being ripped apart, dissolving into wind-like smoke. Her fingertips rested upon the next—another scream. She didn’t want to go farther, but her heart drummed out a single word—faster, faster, faster.
So Vhalla ran. She ran, and each shadowed apparition she came into contact with dissolved into the darkness that slowly encroached upon her. Nothing could hinder the dying cries of the shadow people, cries echoing to her very soul—not the palms pressed over her ears, not even her own screams.
And suddenly, silence.
Vhalla lowered her hands slowly, peeling one eye open, and then the next. There was nothing behind her, nothing beside her; the path before her was illuminated by one last glittering flame, consuming a building that had collapsed in on itself. Pulled by an invisible force, her feet dragged one inch, then the next, toward the rubble. She was already too late. She was too late every time, every night.
Vhalla began pulling the rubble aside, one large block at a time. The flames licked around her hands, but they didn’t burn her. They didn’t even feel hot. He was at the bottom, waiting for her, and Vhalla took the battered and bloody body of her dead friend into her arms, weeping until her throat was raw.
“Sareem,” she sobbed into his gory shoulder. “I promise, next time, I’ll be faster. Please, don’t wait for me.”
His hands sprung to life, gripping her arms. With sudden force the man reversed their positions, slamming her down against the ground, his carcass pressing her to the cobblestone street. Half of his face was nothing more than a gory pulp that dripped blood onto her shoulder.
“Vhalla,” he hissed. Part of his jaw was gone and the remaining bone moved at an awkward slant. “Why didn’t you come?”
“I tried!” she cried, begging. “I’m sorry, Sareem, I’m sorry!”
“You weren’t there.” The corpse of her friend leaned forward, nearly touching her face. “You weren’t there, and I died because of you.”
“I’m sorry!” Vhalla screamed.
“You were with him.” His grip cut off the blood to her arms, and Vhalla’s fingers went numb. “You were with him!” He shook her. “Where is he now? Where is he now?” her childhood friend demanded, shaking her body like a ragdoll, her head slamming on the ground.
Vhalla struggled against the arms holding her as they shook her again.
“No, no! I tried to save you!” she sobbed.
“Vhalla, wake up!” A different voice commanded, and Vhalla’s eyes shot open.