As promised yesterday, here’s an excerpt of my upcoming release, The Dream Sifter, the first book in The Depths of Memory trilogy. This trilogy is a genre-mash of sci-fi/fantasy/mystery/thriller/horror. I haven’t yet set a release date, but am in final edit rounds. Enjoy!
* * * *
The far-off murmur of chanting voices and rhythmic drumming sounded from the mid-morning meditation. Still drowsy from the crèche medicinals and comfortable in the water, she closed her eyes and relaxed into the sound, intending to wait out Mala’s return with the food. The drumming and chanting grew in volume, Rai nodded off into a trance-like sleep.
And with sleep, came a dream.
Rai stood in a forest full of ancient trees, so tall the crowns were lost beyond her vision. The smallest shimmer of light shone through the dense canopy, not enough to burn away the thick morning fog lying in the valleys. A melodious trickle pointed the way to a nearby stream. Gliding deep into the large grove, she took in a landscape dotted with immense ferns growing out of rocky outcroppings and long-dead fallen trees. Some trees were split into great building block sections, as if they were massive tables and benches laid out for a feast. The moist humus squished between her toes. Rai felt like a mere trog bug dwarfed by her surroundings.
Blisters wore at the soles of her bare feet, and her clothes, a long brown cape over a simple dress, and areas around the knees and forearms of her clothing were caked with mud. Her waist-long red curls contained bits of fern and dirt within their tangled mess. She gasped at the cool, humid air, trying to slow her breathing, then stilled in fright when the rustling fronds of ferns moved in the distance.
The sound of muted voices grew, echoing off the ancient trees. The meaning of the words escaped her, but their tone was all too clear. They were coming to punish her, but where could she go? The voices became a thundering force pushing down upon her, relentlessly pressing her to either run or face their malicious fate.
Filled with terror, Rai ran away from the voices. The forest fought her, fern fronds whipped her in the face, branches ripped at her clothing, and gnarled roots caught at her toes and twisted her ankles as she fled. She caught glimpses of hooded figures in her peripheral vision and her fear drove even faster. Running through fog and fern the voices pursued, getting closer with every step. She stopped to gauge her path through the dense fog and the voices abruptly ceased. The entire forest stilled. Something brushed through her hair, took hold, and pulled. Rai let out a frantic scream, striking her fists against her unseen attacker as she fell backward . . .
Mala’s voice delivered Rai back to consciousness for the second time that day. Rai laid in the bath, Mala leaning over her, Mala wrenching Rai’s wrists in the air between them, her grip burning against Rai’s skin.
“Stop it!” Mala cried out. Her grip on Rai’s wrists tightened.
Shaking in residual fear, Rai relaxed her arms and tried to regain some composure. “Yes, Mala, I’m fine.” A red mark on Mala’s chin stood out against her tanned skin. “Oh, I’m sorry! Did I hurt you?”
“Be still, Rai. It was just a bad dream.” Mala released her grip and stepped back, and then straightened her skirts. “You must be more tired than usual from the crèche. It happens sometimes. Still, for your own safety, don’t nap in the tub.”
Rai sat up, bristling over her mistake. “It won’t happen again.”
* * * *
I hope you enjoyed this snippet. Let me know what you think!
If you’re a reviewer and would like to get on the list for an ARC, just let me know. 🙂