After Dark (Book One of the 19th Year)
By Emi Gayle
What eighteen year old Mac Thorne doesn’t know will probably kill her.
In exactly eight months, five days, three hours and thirteen minutes, Mac has to choose what she’ll be for the rest of her life.
She has no choice but to pick. As a Changeling, it’s her birthright. To Mac, it’s a birthchore. Like going to school with humans, interacting with humans, and pretending to be human during the pesky daylight hours.
Once darkness descends, Mac can change into any supernatural form that exists—which makes her as happy as she can be. That is, until Winn Thomas, the biggest geek in her senior class figures out there’s more to what hides in the dark than most are willing to acknowledge.
In this first of the 19th Year Trilogy, Winn might know more about Mac than even she does, and that knowledge could end their lives, unless Mac ensures the powers-that-be have no choice but to keep him around.
Endless screams. Maniacal laughter. The scent of prey.
Chills raced up my spine.
I wanted to run. To hide. To bury my head in the grave beneath me.
Instead, I balanced on top of Samuel L. Wilson, someone’s ‘beloved father and son resting in peace,’ craving solitude and stressing like a vampire on a blood fast.
Good ole ‘Sam’ decomposed underneath the largest oak in Primrose Cemetery—a spot no human would visit at night except on Halloween. A night that should have been mine.
A gust of wind pushed my sketchpad to my knees, flung hair against my cheeks and sent my colored pencils tumbling. Wind, I could deal with. Humans? I’d rather not have had to. A swipe of my hand through the air brought the drawing tools back up. I yanked my hair into a tail, twisted the strands around a Cerulean blue pencil and stabbed random colors into the knot for safe keeping.
My frustration with human-kind had reached its pinnacle hours before but ratcheted even higher as someone rattled the gates, girls giggled and dares to enter the cemetery from crackly-voiced, chicken boys reached me.
I slapped my pencil to my papers, my forehead to my palm. “All I wanted was an hour of uninterrupted—”
The sharp end of something way larger than a pencil pierced my neck.
I straightened with one intake of breath, dropping the yellow, number-two from my fingertips. My hand reached toward the uninvited object as I seethed between clenched teeth.
“Hello, Mackenzie.” His deep bass resonated with the confidence of his kind: the not-human variety.
“You’ve got to be kidding.” Whatever the tool, it pressed deeper into my flesh, and I itched to free myself from its penetrating hold.
“And once again, I have won the game before it began.”
“Only because you came up behind me.” A small orb of sunlight formed in the palm of my hand as I kept my neck as still as possible. With one toss, it zipped into the air above my head.
A pierced squeal emanated from behind me, and the point slid away.
Holy hell, that hurt! I jumped to the ground, somersaulted between Matilda Jane, Johann Rowe and the plastic flowers that lay between them. With another roll, James Peak’s extra large headstone concealed my entire form.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are.” The crunch of branches under footsteps gave his position away.
With a deep inhale, my body began its shift into a new form. My incisors elongated. Heart stopped. Eyes burned. On the exhale, strength, cunning and innate wit filled me, matching that of my attacker.
I stood with James as a shield. “Bring it on, old man.”
Author Emi Gayle
Emi Gayle just wants to be young again. She lives vicariously through her youthful characters, while simultaneously acting as chief-Mom to her teenaged son and searching for a way to keep her two daughters from ever reaching the dreaded teen years.
Ironically, those years were some of Emi’s favorite times. She met the man of her dreams at 14, was engaged to him at 19, married him at 20 and she’s still in love with him to this day. She’ll never forget what it was like to fall in love at such a young age — emotions she wants everyone to feel.
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