Welcome to another stop for the second annual YASpooktacular, hosted by Frenzy of Noise and Wicked Awesome Books.
This year, there are three stories written by some of your favorite authors that will be posted throughout the week. Each story is a choose your adventure, where you get to decide what path to send the character down. Sometimes you live, sometimes you die, and sometimes you fall into a pit of no return.
There are also some TRICKS or TREATS scattered throughout the story, where you can enter to win prizes and get bonus points toward the prize packs. The prize pack for Story 3 will be up tomorrow! On Halloween day, the grand prize pack will be posted. You can click the banner above to see a full list of the YASpooktacular prize packs!
As a child, Kristi Cook took her nose out of a book only long enough to take a ballet class (or five) each week. Not much has changed since then, except she’s added motherhood to the mix and enjoys penning her own novels as much as reading everybody else’s. A transplanted southern gal, Kristi lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters. Her first novel, Haven, came out in January of 2012. She’s currently working on the sequel, Mirage.
You can find Kristi on Twitter, on her blog, on Goodreads, and you can order her books here.
Kara screamed, her eyes wide with terror.
I would have joined in, if my constricted airways had allowed it.
“Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God!” Kara scrabbled backward, half crawling, half stumbling.
I reached for her arm, tightening my fist in her hoodie’s sleeve as I dragged her to her feet. “We’ve got to get out of here,” I said.
She fell against me, her sticky, wet hands gripping my wrists. I flinched, bile rising in my throat. Don’t puke, I told myself. Just…don’t.
At once, the lights snapped back on—just like that. An ice-cold breeze rippled through the cornstalks, creating an eerie howling noise that made gooseflesh rise on my skin. I glanced down at Kara’s pale face. Her eyes were wide, her bottom lip trembling.
The sound of pounding footsteps drew my gaze toward the bend ahead of us. In seconds, some guy I’d never seen before sprinted toward us and screeched to a stop, his arms pinwheeling. “Dude, we gotta get out of here!” he gasped. “Someone”—he shook his head, his eyes wild—“something is killing people.”
His gaze shifted to the viscous reddish-black puddle on the ground, smeared where Kara had slipped in it. “Is…is that…” He trailed off, swallowing hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat.
With a hiss, the lights popped off again. Kara pressed her face against my chest, a moan escaping her lips.
And then the lights popped back on and began to flash—off and on in quick succession, like a strobe light. I blinked hard, raising one hand to shield my eyes from the dizzying effects.
“Are you okay to run?” I asked Kara.
She nodded, the movement terrifyingly eerie beneath the strobe. “Yeah, I am. Are you?”
“Yeah.” I took a deep, steadying breath.
“Go,” the stranger urged. “Run!”
But it was impossible to run, impossible to maintain your equilibrium as the lights continued to flash. Instead we lurched forward haltingly, bumping into sharp, scratchy stalks as we shuffled on.
I had no idea which way was out. Which way was up. Which way was down.
Still, we continued on, clutching each other tightly.
After what felt like hours but was probably only a minute or two, we came to a fork in the path.
“This way.” Kara tugged on my sleeve. “To the right.”
“Are you sure?” I asked with a wheeze. “Where’d that guy go?”
“I have no idea, Josh. No idea where he went, and no idea which way to go, okay? I can’t believe you dragged me in here; that you--”
“Do you hear that?” I interrupted
It sounded like laughter. Soft, low laughter, off to our left.
“Hear what?” Kara’s voice rose a pitch. “I swear, if this is some kind of joke, I’m never going--”
“Sssh!” I hissed, my gaze darting around as I held Kara close.
We weren’t alone. There was someone there, someone who wasn’t the guy we’d seen before.
“Are you crazy?” Kara tugged me toward the right. “Why are we stopping? Let’s get out of here.”
I shook my head, rooted to the spot. I felt his presence, whoever he was. A shudder worked its way down my spine.
Evil. Pure evil.
The strobe light stopped, and for a moment we were in total darkness again. I could feel my heart banging against my ribs, could hear Kara’s ragged breathing beside me.
When the lights popped back on again, there was a man standing not five feet from us, leaning casually against the stalks, watching us.
His skin was pale, his eyes a piercing pale blue, his lips almost unnaturally red.
Beside me, Kara gasped, her grip tightening on my arm. I took two steps back, dragging Kara with me, wanting to put as much distance between him and us as possible.
“Who…who are you?” I stammered, hating the way my voice shook.
He smiled then, his lips lifting slightly to reveal sharp, pointy incisors that looked vaguely like…like…fangs?
“Why, the Corn Stalker, of course,” he answered with a slight bow. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
If you're brave enough, continue the story here.
And don't forget to enter the Story Three Prize Pack tomorrow by going to Escape from Reality.