Spooky sample: The Bones of the Earth

Photo used under Creative Commons from wwarby

It’s the last Sunday before Hallowe’en, so I thought I’d share a scary episode from my first novel, The Bones of the Earth. Here, the protagonist, Javor, is riding with a column of Roman Legionnaires because … well, you’ll just have to read the book for the “because” part.

The column is riding two wide along a long, twisting forest path, when suddenly they’re attacked by something they cannot see. Their only option is to gallop as fast as they can to the end of the path and hope …

In one motion, Valgus picked up the fallen standard, jumped on his own horse and yelled “Ride! Legion, forward!” He kneed his stallion and the animal leaped forward into a full gallop. Together, the column raced along the path. Javor clung to his horse’s mane as tightly as he could, but as mud and water sprayed onto his face he felt himself slipping sideways until a strong arm pulled him upright: Antonio again.

Three times, they heard screams; three times, legionnaires at random points in the column fell to the side. But the column dared not break stride and flew along the path. Horses stumbled, but righted themselves. Men gripped their saddle horns and prayed for salvation. Javor heard nothing but thundering hooves and jangling steel, and the amulet was vibrating so hard it felt like it was on fire.
Up ahead, he could see light as the path came to some kind of clearing, but at that moment, something cold and damp clutched around his neck and yanked him from the saddle.

He fell to the ground in a tangle of leather and steel, landing hard on his side. From the side he could see a blur of horses’ and men’s legs and flashes of steel. The wet grip around his neck tightened, but he couldn’t see what it was. He groped for his sword or knife or something.

Then there was a blur as something else landed on the ground. It grunted, yelled, and moved, and Javor realized it was Antonio. He had thrown himself from his horse when he saw Javor topple. He landed on his feet with his short sword drawn and stabbed at something shadowy. The pressure on Javor’s neck ceased and the two men heard something rustle into the underbrush.

Javor scrambled to his feet and fumbled for his dagger. “Did you see it?”e72b9-bonescoverfinalforweb

Want to find out what happens to Javor? Click the cover image on the right and get the whole book!

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  1. Thanks for reminding me how much I enjoyed this story. I’ll have to carve out time to read it again. Scott, you are a master at your craft. 🙂

  2. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!