April 2, 2013

FIREFLY by Belle Whittington Blog Tour {Excerpt}

Autumn brings a crisp morning chill to the piney woods of southern east Texas. I had no classes at school in the mornings, so I met Grandpa at the ranch to help him in his large animal veterinarian clinic. I’d been Grandpa’s apprentice since I was very young, and he planned on turning over the clinic to me one day. I also worked the lush green ranch with Grandpa. And the early autumn mornings were magical.

It was on such a chilly early morning that it began to happen. Firmly planted in Daisy’s saddle, I nudged my favorite horse forward to stop at the ridge of a gentle slope overlooking the cattle grazing at the edge of one of the small watering holes in the back forty.
The cool bite in the air that morning caused a thick mist of white fog to form just above the surface of the water and creep slowly along the edge of the nearby trees. All was quiet. There were no birds singing, no insects buzzing. 

Just the small sounds of Daisy gently padding the earth with her hooves and the munching of grass in the herd at the edge of the water.

Lifting my travel mug of coffee to my lips, I lapsed into a quiet reverie and allowed my mind to wander from thought to thought. Beginning with the relief of finally being a senior in high school and ending with my memories of the last graduation celebration barbeque we’d had at the ranch when Everett disabled one of the four wheelers with his purple graduation gown. I was gripped by the realization of just how much I longed for normal days.

I inhaled the fresh morning air and tried to quiet the swiftly growing sensation in my stomach. Tears rolled out of the corners of my eyes, and I took another sip of coffee. The sensation was still growing in the pit of my stomach. It was a sensation I’d never felt before. It was not the dread I had grown so accustomed to during our summer adventure. It was electric. It was new and nameless. It was dangerous.

Daisy began to shift nervously beneath me as if she also felt it. She whinnied and stamped her hooves, and the cattle raised their heads to look in my direction. My breath quickened and a sort of panic gripped me. What was happening? Was I having a heart attack? Was it an anxiety attack?
I began gasping for air, and I could hear the echoes of my own struggle for breath bounce against the tree trunks in the nearby forest. The travel mug of coffee tumbled to the ground as I gripped my chest with one hand and the reins with the other.

Stronger and stronger the electric sensation in my chest grew. It became hot, and it felt as though sparks were shooting up my throat and onto my tongue. Daisy twirled and whinnied again, turning her head to look at me. I bent over the saddle horn, unable to breathe, unable to speak, unable to urge Daisy to take me back to the clinic where Grandpa was.

It felt as if I was dying, as if death himself had come for me in the pasture that morning. I shook my head as if to say, “No,” and in a fraction of a second the horrible, monstrous sensation collapsed into a tiny electric ball. It didn’t disappear. The energy was no less than it had been before, only it was squeezed into a tiny portion of warm pulsing energy.

I could breathe. I coughed and inhaled again, and I prodded Daisy toward the clinic in no small hurry before the ball grew again into the storming hurricane it had been only a moment earlier. As if mirroring the storm that had grown inside of me, a mass of dark clouds formed overhead where there had been none. I dug my heels into Daisy’s ribs and she tore off across the pasture, carrying me to the safety of the clinic.

Gusts of wind began to whip across the pasture, diminishing the lazy fog and coaxing the autumn leaves from the branches of the oaks. I continued to goad Daisy onward, wincing as the leaves pelted against my face.

A flash of lightning flickered overhead, and the ball of energy in my stomach sparked and tingled. I bent lower over the saddle horn and held on as the horse rushed forward and jumped the creek where Everett had flipped over the handlebars of his four-wheeler during the summer.
“Faster, Daisy,” I whispered. “We’re almost home.”

There is a giveaway going on to with the tour. It will only be for a couple more days so hurry on over HERE to enter.
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Read my review of CICADA by clicking the book image above.

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