YAHOO! It is release day!! I'm so excited :) To celebrate I am posting the first chapter of Cleopatra's Legacy- The Emerald Ring for everyone to read. Please enjoy, and if so inclined, purchase my book :)
Book 1-The Emerald Ring- Chapter 1
Death Becomes Her
Drop. Away it rolled, past pink lips and soft cheeks, coming to rest in a mass of tangled brown hair.
For the next few minutes, the girl tossed and turned, her dreams troubled and strange. An adventure book, now forgotten, closed as she rolled over it, crinkling pages and damaging the spine. Suddenly, her fingers spasmed, and a flashlight fell, spiraling through the air and hitting the ground with a loud thud. Briefly illuminated in the darkness was a poster of the Eiffel Tower. Then thump, thump, thump went the flashlight as it rolled unevenly across the floor. Sara, half asleep, reached up to brush her damp hair away, but the large ring on her finger scraped her forehead, startling her into unwanted consciousness.
She groaned in pain. Her brain felt like Jell-O, sluggish and thick. She roused, but deftly sleep pulled her back into its clutches. Deep in the place where dreams feel like reality, Sara tried to turn her head, but it was stuck like glue and didn’t budge a bit. Frantic, she opened her eyes. Where am I? Sara attempted to lower her chin, straining her neck muscles to their maximum capacity. She managed to catch only a glimpse of her body, but it was enough. From her feet to her shoulders, her body was wrapped in white linen bandages. Nightmare, she thought. If this isn’t a dream, I am so screwed. But it didn’t matter. She still couldn’t move.
The pounding of her heart echoed in her ears. Afraid, she bit down hard, piercing her lip. A drop of blood formed while she continued to strain against her bonds. An inch. Just an inch! she pleaded.
Coldness seeped through the linen bandages, and little goose bumps erupted on her skin. Sara struggled to look around, barely making out the rim of some container surrounding her. The rough, uneven walls glittered with little speckles of minerals. Stone? Wait, is this a box?
Big white eyes appeared above her.
A person stood above her. A total freak.
Is it a guy?
Like a bobblehead doll, the painted face and bald head nodded above her. Worse, yucky black teeth and gappy spaces grinned down, and his breath smelled like rotten eggs. Then he disappeared and into her field of vision came monsters: half person, half animal. Breath held, she wiggled and squirmed but still couldn’t move.
In desperation, Sara decided it was an illusion, so she closed one eye and squinted out of the other, but it didn’t help; the monsters still approached. Air finally burst out of her lungs when she realized that they were just weird people dressed in strange hats, but the fear remained. Rising from each head was a headdress that fit over the forehead and then lifted with twisted metal around stretched animal skin. Four vicious jackals stared down at her.
She was so focused on their headgear, it took Sara a minute to notice that each person carried one corner of a long stone rectangle. She didn’t miss the THUD as they placed the first end down upon her stone box. Stone scraped over stone. Slowly the light disappeared as the lid slid over the box. Darkness.
She sat up with a jerk, screamed, and then screamed some more.
In one hand, she clutched her comforter; the other hand squished Mr. Tortuga. Breathe, Sara. Breathe!
Her lips tingled with pins and needles, but she calmed slightly as her eyes made out the familiar darkness and shapes of her own bedroom. As always, her old fairy night-light was plugged in next to the closest.
After a few more deep breaths, her eyes trailed over the different travel posters hanging on her walls. Her favorite, the Pyramids of Giza, stood tall and proud.
Tap, tap, tap.
Oh no! The nightmare wasn’t over. Sara froze and frantically scanned her bedroom, looking for the horrific creature that was surely stalking her. Only the bookcase loomed. Its shelves were filled with scores of adventure books, old history texts, and travel guides.
Tap, tap, tap.
There it is again. The clicking sound came closer. With a raw throat, she opened her mouth to shriek. Suddenly, her bedroom door slammed open, and her father’s dark silhouette, outlined against the hallway light, announced the arrival of her hero.
“Sara, what’s going on in here?”
“Dad!” Thank goodness. “Turn on the light.”
Brightness flooded the room, and she got on her knees and scanned the floor.
“Bad dreams?” He sat on the edge of her bed, eyeing her with concern, worry etched into the lines of his face. Sara knew what he was thinking, but somehow this nightmare had been different.
“I’m okay dad. It was just a nightmare.” Should I tell him? No, he’ll stress. “Do you think you could leave the light on when you leave?”
He took a few minutes to read her demeanor and convince himself all was well. “Sure thing. Sweet dreams, honey.” A featherlight kiss brushed her forehead. “No more nightmares, okay?”
“Hey, when your mom starts speaking Spanish, it usually means she’s mad at me.”
Sara threw her stuffed turtle at his head. “Night, Dad.”
Alone in her room, Sara slowly uncurled her fingers, releasing her wrinkled comforter and allowing it to slump back into her lap. She looked down at the emerald ring on her finger. It sparkled, its brilliance mocking her. She had discovered it just that afternoon in her grandma Dora’s attic, and it gave her the
Tap, tap, tap.
The headboard hit the wall as Sara flung herself backward in a vain attempt to keep every inch of her body centered on the mattress. There was no way she was getting off the bed. What if the monster making those sounds was under her bed, just waiting to reach out and grab her? Her eyes darted crazily around the room.
Where is it hiding?
Beware the cult. A deep voice spoke in her mind.
Oh, heck! What now? Sara pulled her covers up to her nose.
Darkness moved. A shadow passed in front of her face.
What was that? While looking at the windowpane, she noticed a long, furry tail head out of her window into the night. An animal? A breath of relief came, but then she blinked. Her reflection looked straight back at her. Whatever had just left her room had passed through the solid glass.
First nightmares and now voices. She had to get this ring off, but it refused to budge.
Sara shook her head back and forth. Falling back asleep anytime soon was out of the question. Plus, she wasn’t about to get out of her nice, safe bed.
“I’ll just stay up till morning,” she announced.
The emerald ring glimmered at her; in retaliation, she stuck out her tongue. Stupid ring! How did this day go so wrong?
That afternoon, she’d searched Grandma Dora’s attic for a missing honeymoon photo album. It had sounded like an exciting idea at the time—maybe she’d find something priceless. The attic was full of old boxes and junk from her grandma’s travels—travels Sara dreamed of someday experiencing herself. After an hour of dingy newspapers and carefully wrapped china, a wave of boredom struck. She should have left the attic. But oh no, she stayed, hoping to find the album.
When she found the ring, she thought it was her lucky day. It was positively gorgeous. With sunlight pouring over her shoulder, she had moved a porcelain doll aside. And then it appeared, a square cut emerald ring nestled in a small bundle of newspaper. Green light glistened.
She picked it up.
ZAP! The instant she touched the ring, an electric shock traveled up her fingers and into her shoulder, and she fell squarely on her butt. Most normal people would have left the ring alone, but not her. The ring called to her. She had to have it.
Why was I so stupid? But even now as she looked at the ring, she couldn’t help but feel a powerful yearning.
After her first painful attempt, she remembered taking her time on the second, slowly reaching out with one finger. Luckily, this time only a small tingle spread across her hand. She happily picked up her treasure. She held her breath as she slid the ring onto her finger; it was perfect, absolutely perfect. As she bounded down the stairs to show off the ring, she realized her mistake. The ring was now stuck.
Usually her grandma had terrific ideas; in fact, plunging Sara’s hand into a big bucket of butter seemed the right move. Slippery, slimy, yellow ooze covered her finger. But the ring didn’t budge. Her grandmother took it as a personal insult and yanked Sara clear across the room to the sink, immersing her hand in water, freezing water!
Her grandma had pulled and twisted and squeezed until Sara could no longer feel her finger. At one point, Sara thought she felt the ring pull back. Even now, Sara remembered the cold. She looked down at her finger. It was red and raw.
“You are one creepy ring.”
Sitting on her bed, she gave the ring one final tug before lying back onto her pillow.
Win an Emerald Ring!
Pick your size from 5 -9. Open to ages 13+ anywhere that Amazon ships. No purchase necessary to enter. Please read rules.