Firelight (working title) is a novel-length story set in a village-based society that has moved on from myths, creatures, and magic, but hasn’t quite become modern or industrialized, almost frozen in time. Even though most adults in this world consider them to be myths, there are stealthy, shape-shifting creatures that exist called “shifs,” who prey on children throughout their childhoods until they finally feast on them in adulthood. The story revolves around Blake, and you can find an earlier excerpt here. This excerpt is one of the first encounters between Blake and a shif.
When I saw it, I was rooted to the ground in fear. The beast had torn its skin-toned facade away and stood before me. Gray leathery skin wrapped its bulging muscles. Dark hair peppered its body, concentrating most on its arms, chest, and back. It stood on powerful legs, which bent the opposite way of my own. Its naked body bore no genitalia or break of any kind. Just a single unbroken layer of skin and hair until its face.
As the monster stood up, straightening the unnatural joints supporting it, I could more clearly see its head. In the moon-filled darkness, I couldn’t make out a face. There was no mouth or nose, only a high set of cheekbones and a pair of sunken valleys where its eyes had been just moments before. Instead of the calm blue eyes it wore previously, two small green dots glowed in their place like pupils surrounded by impregnable darkness.
The eyes, no bigger than the tip of a quill, burned unnaturally bright, washing the grove in its light. The eyes pointed to me as I stared at them in shock.
This was the creature of my life. The stalker watching me every day. The monster, come to destroy me. I had no defense or hope of aid.