Authors: Jessica Sorensen
Table of Contents
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2011 by Jessica Sorensen.
First Paperback Edition: March 2011
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
No part of this book can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without the permission in writing from author. The only exception is by a reviewer who may quote short excerpts in a review.
Cover Photograph by Shutterstock
The Fallen Star—Book 1
In the midst of a dark forest, haunted by the winters chill, I ran for my life. My feet thudded heavily against the snow as the thunderous roar of the glowing-eyed, black-cloaked monsters chased after me.
I shoved helplessly through the brittle pine trees, leafless branches clawing at my flesh. Snow flooded my sneakers, soaking higher and higher on my jeans with every step I took. My heart pounded furiously. My lungs grew tight, about to collapse from exhaustion. The air dipped colder. Fog swirled everywhere. They were close. Way too close. That’s what these things did—they dropped the temperature so drastically the air instantly bruised over with ice. And if they caught me, I was a goner. Their chill would strangle me to a hypothermic death in a heartbeat.
I threw a frantic glance over my shoulder, struggling to keep my numb legs moving. Flickers of yellow flooded through trees. A sheet of ice crackled over the ground, nipping at my heels. I tore my gaze away, forcing myself to run faster.
“Gemma, there’s no use running.” The man’s voice rumbled through the night. It was the same voice that always showed up right before the monsters captured me. “No matter what you do, you’ll never escape.”
The sound of snapping twigs and crunching footsteps echoed nearer. My muscles seized up, leaving me no choice but to slow to a lethargic jog. A cool breeze swept my skin as ice-cold fingers wrapped around the back of my neck and yanked me backward, my bones popping in protest.
I let out an uncontrollable whimper and opened my mouth to scream, but only a whisper escaped. I flung my weight forward, squirming and kicking and fighting to break free with every ounce of strength I had in me. But it was useless. My arms and legs moved in slow motion. My blood rushed deathly cold, my veins darkening, mapping my skin with bluish-purple lines.
“I told you there was no point.” A tall, husky man appeared in front of me. The black-hooded monster’s bony fingers dug deeper into my skin. “Like I said, you wouldn’t escape.” He grinned the kind of grin that would’ve sent chills down my spine if I hadn’t already been freezing to death.
The golden moonlight spotlighted down from the night sky, highlighting a white scar scuffing his left cheek. His black hair matched his dark, hollow eyes. “Finish her off,” he commanded.
The black-cloaked monsters crept out from the trees, their yellow eyes gleaming hungrily. I tried to scream again as ice whipped through my body. I heard a deep laugh and felt myself falling. Then everything went black.
I woke up, gasping for air, my disoriented mind still thinking I was sprawled out on the forest ground, freezing to death from the monsters deathly touch. That the tan walls forming my room were just an illusion I’d conjured up to comfort me while I died.
I bolted upright in my bed, my pulse racing as I untangled myself from my sheets. Beads of sweat trickled down my skin, sticking my t-shirt to my back. I rubbed my eyes and blinked a few times, seeing if my room stayed in place. Nothing budged and I relaxed. It had been a dream, just like it had the night before and the night before that.
I inhaled slowly, letting my racing heart settle, and climbed out of bed, the carpet feeling cold against the soles of my bare feet. I wrapped myself with a blanket and treaded softly over to the window. The soft pink glow of the sunlight spilled over the snowy mountains, kissing at the tips of the pine trees. The pine trees that I’d just been running through, and where I’d keep running every night after I fell asleep because, no matter what I did, I could never break away from my nightmares.
Of course, my nightmares were just the tip of the iceberg in the madness that had overtaken my life. When I was awake, I had much bigger problems to deal with. Real problems. Ones I couldn’t just blink away.
It had all began right before I started having my way too realistic dreams. Back before I’d been able to dream at all. Yep, you heard me right. I used to not be able to dream.
Okay, so you’re probably thinking I’m a total nut job. But before you go jumping to any conclusions, let me explain. See, I wasn’t always the girl that I am now. Terrified—the word meant absolutely nothing to me. In fact, almost everything meant nothing to me. My mind used to be as blank as a sheet of paper—there was zero going on inside. Don’t get me wrong, I could still walk, talk, breathe, and function, I just couldn’t feel anything.
. Crazy, I know. But at the time, I could have cared less.
Then about a month ago, something inside me changed. The day had started out just like any other day. I’d been going through my morning routine of getting dressed for school when, out of nowhere, I felt this prickling sensation on the back of my neck. Confused, I ran over to the mirror to check for any bumps or marks on my pale skin. But there was zilch there except my normal specks of freckles.