Welcome to another stop for the second annual YASpooktacular, hosted by Frenzy of Noise and Wicked Awesome Books.This year, there are three stories written by some of your favorite authors that will be posted throughout the week. Each story is a choose your adventure, where you get to decide what path to send the character down. Sometimes you live, sometimes you die, and sometimes you fall into a pit of no return.
There are also some TRICKS or TREATS scattered throughout the story, where you can enter to win prizes and get bonus points toward the prize packs. The prize pack for story #1 will be up tomorrow! On Halloween day, the grand prize pack will be posted. You can go here to see a full list of the YASpooktacular prize packs!
Zoraida Córdova was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She made her way up north and now works in the glittering New York City nightlife. She likes shiny things like Christmas, merdudes, and the skyline at night. Her debut novel, The Vicious Deep, comes out in April 2012 from Sourcebooks. She's currently working on book #2. You can find Zoraida on Twitter, on her blog, on Goodreads and you can order her books here. Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/
zlikeinzorro Blog: http://www.dirtypages. blogspot.com/Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/ show/12246929-the-vicious-deep Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Vicious- Deep-Zoraida-Cordova/dp/ 1402265107/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8& qid=1317171541&sr=8-1
She shouldn’t have trusted Brian, Laura thought. Did she really think a boy like Brian would fall for a girl who looks like her? She knew better. Her mom had always warned her not to trust beautiful boys.
In the silence broken by the creature’s stealthy steps, she felt around for something. A stick. A sword. A shrinking potion. Those things could happen, right? But there was only torched wood that crumbled under her feet.
“You’re not a screamer,” the creature growled. He crouched down, enjoying the way he made her body tense. She didn’t notice anything about his face other than his eyes, like pools of swirling lava. She grabbed at the ground for support but came away with a handful of ash. Laura couldn’t breath. In a swift motion, Laura threw her fistfuls of ashes into his eyes. She saw the open door, light flooding in as if there were a sun waiting outside. Laura ran.
The forest was still. She didn’t know where she was running but something inside her just said RUN. What was this place? A familiar smell filled her lungs—dew and honey and cinnamon. A memory was blooming in her mind. She stopped to catch her breath. Her chest was burning. Did that thing touch her? She held onto a nearby tree to stop from shaking. That’s when she heard the snap of twigs behind her.
When she whipped around there he was—another beautiful boy. Everything about him was dark—his clothes and his hair spilling in damp waves over his shoulders. Even the black pools of his eyes. He panted like he’d been running after her.
“Get away from me,” Laura said, taking a step back. Stupid move. Stupid.
The man waved his hand at the tree and the root sprung up and tripped her. “Don’t be afraid.”
The slick ground was permeating through her pants. Laura said, “You just tripped me.”
“I’m sorry. But, I’ve been searching for your since you were stolen from our realm. The human boy brought you as an offering for killing our sister, not knowing what you are. Who you are.”
She took his hand. She couldn’t not. She was magnetized to him. The sensation in her chest grew where a golden light was pulsing.
“What’s happening? Who are you?”
He drew her close and she breathed him in—cinnamon, honey—
“I’m Raven, king of this realm. And you are my lost queen.”
Raven led Laura through a narrow path of trees. “Your true name is Sparrow and you were my queen.
We were betrothed since birth. But someone stole you away and took you to the human realm. I never realized you’d been so close all this time.”
Laura remembered walking through the woods when she was little. She’d see flashes of light but her mom always told her it was her eyes playing tricks on her. How could her eyes be playing tricks? Everything she sees is real. Brian pushing her in the pond was really real.
“What about that creature?” she asked.
“My brother, Feign. He wasn’t supposed to frighten you. But he can’t help it.”
She let her fingers slide in his. This is what she wanted. She wanted someone to fill her with this warmth, this light. She was a queen. She wasn’t going to be alone anymore.
“This is the court,” Raven said. He stood up on a dais. A massive golden tree slouched close to the ground to form a throne. Bright red fruit grew from its skinny branches. That’s when they started coming out—more creatures. They peeked from behind trees, rocks, and anywhere in-between. Laura noticed the blood on their hands. The dirt caked on their clothes. The hallow shadows under their eyes. The bruises on their flesh. Not all of them were as beautiful as Raven.
Before she could ask what had happened to them, somebody screamed. The scream shook the forest. Raven’s brother, Feign, marched in. He led Brian and Amanda in two bronze leashes. Burn marks spread up to their chins where the chain was tied around their necks. Amanda held her hand over the blood dripping down her eye.
“Laura?” Brian said. His voice was scratchy. His hair matted with dirt and blood. “Laura help. I’m so sorry. I never meant–”
“Her name is Sparrow,” Raven said.
No, Laura thought. It’s Laura. She remembered the times Amanda had picked on her. The times she ate alone in the bathroom to get away from them. Crying in her bedroom. Her mother telling her she was beautiful, that’s why the other girls were so jealous. It wasn’t that bad. It didn’t mean Amanda deserved this.
Raven’s grip tightened. She tried to pull away but he squeezed. The court laughed, clinking icicles carried by the wind.
“They are here to face their punishment for killing my sister,” Raven said.
“What will be their punishment?” Laura asked.
His smile was cruel. “To celebrate your return I’ve decided, what better way to inaugurate you as queen than to give you the honor of the trial?”
A tiny gray creature with thin gray wings walked up to him, presenting a long silver sword.
Laura shut her eyes, cursing herself. It wasn’t the beautiful boys. It was her.
“Here you are my love,” Raven said, placing her hands around the hilt. “Kill them.”
To continue the story, go to Young Readers. (http://youngreadersathome.