Firstly, let’s acknowledge the incredible cover art by Illustrator Aykut Aydogdu. I think this cover art is half the attraction and hype of this book. So good job, marketing team.
Alright let’s get to it. Few-to-no spoilers for this part (when regarding specific plot-points). Just a straight-shot review. If you’d like to see my in-depth analysis, read “Getting Through the Weeds” below.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power has been called a combination of Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies by literally every popular review website. Except, it’s really like a knock-off teen version of the movie Annihilation and a watered-down version of Lord of the Flies without the social commentary undertones. The writing was vague, the plot was thin and often petty. For a book saturated with powerful girls, this book was seriously lacking some girl power.
Wilder Girls is set in a time period most likely close to ours, where a group of students at a boarding school in Maine are attacked by a mysterious island disease that kills males quickly and leaves the females with nature-influenced transformations. With anything from scales to second spines, these girls are fighting for their lives. Meanwhile, the flora around the school continues to morph and a group of scientists search for answers to help them (from a distance). The story is told from split perspective of two best friends Hetty and Byatt, while other girls and teachers are splattered in scenes here and there.
The premise of Wilder Girls is obviously an interesting one, with potential for political commentary, LGBTQ+ romances and conversations (when considering the “biological” response to the disease), and scenes of girls being kick-ass. The author did a great job of making an ailment that might have been humorous actually seem terrifying and even cool at parts. But I came into this book expecting powerful girl romance and great story.
Unfortunately, that didn’t really happen. The romance was forced and weak. The “feminist” aspect of the book was non-existent. The writing was somehow so vague and dream-like that moments felt under-described and blurry. As if the picture wasn’t completely formulated when it was written. All in all, I felt super disappointed by this book. Especially because I felt like it had so much potential. If you’re into girl drama and an interesting setting, then this book might be an okay read for you. But if you were really banking on this book being your next favorite soft Sci-Fi YA, you might be let down too.
Things started out strong. We have a sassy narrator who described their current status, with shocking details of each girls’ mutations. We have some hierarchy shifts with Hetty getting picked to be a supply-runner, which drives some conflict with her loner friend Reese. And then this line:
“She looks almost shy. But Reese doesn’t do shy. Even when she came out to me, it was like a weapon. ‘Queer,’ she said then, as though she was daring me to disagree.”
I don’t know if this passage was just out of place, forced, awkward, or all of the above. Did we have to make it such a clunky statement? This line makes me feel like Reese is obviously going to have a crush on one of the main girls. There’s no tension, no tenderness. It’s just kind of awkward? Maybe I’m crazy.
The relationship between Byatt, Reese, and Hetty gets even more complicated when Reese tells Hetty that she doesn’t want Byatt to be a part of the picture anymore. It’s just cold and toxic, and automatically makes me kind of resent Reese as a person. I want to like the main characters, but they’re all so distant and mean to each other. Constantly bickering over trivial things when they’re all literally dying from a terrible disease. It’s almost like the book is saying girls can’t stop being petty even if their life depends on it.
When Reese kisses Hetty, it was really forced and also inconsequential. They kiss near the beginning and spend most of the rest of the book fighting or running. There’s not much relationship building at all, which was super disappointing. Hetty also seems to have feelings for Byatt, who’s gone for most of the book, but she’s still okay with making out with Reese? Maybe she’s going for a love triangle, but it was pretty lukewarm.
But the trivial conflict of our protagonists is really just the icing over the poorly laid plot. Most of the driving plot points are Hetty sneaking places with little-to-no tension or consequences (at least for her and her BFFs). In a setting of fantastic beasts and creepy mutations, we see very few interactions between our girls and the fauna. The climax of the book isn’t even a major point towards figuring out the diseases. It’s just a bear trying to break into their school. That also somehow gets diluted by the fact that Hetty and Reese escape super easily. Even when the scientists are threatening to blow up their school, because they’ve given up on trying to find a cure, there’s no suspense. I just didn’t care.
It’s definitely a challenge to make readers care about sick characters who are most likely doomed to die a horrible death. But this book didn’t even seem to try to connect characters to readers. Dialogue is pretty shallow and their constant bickering doesn’t help.
Byatt gets separated from Reese and Hetty pretty early on in the book and has her own adventure. Including purposefully giving the disease to a male scientist. I guess he was stupid enough to fall for her sick ass in a couple of minutes and kiss her. Because…feminism?
Speaking of which, feminist literature is supposed to be like a defense or establishment of equal rights of women — whether politically, socially, economically, or otherwise. I don’t think I would ever consider this feminist literature. For one, there’s nothing inherently political about the disease affecting only women. It’s not like The Power, by Naomi Alderman, where this is some sort of revelation of power dynamics. It’s just a hormone reactant. The only feminist power line was this:
“We don’t get to choose what hurts us.”
And yes, true. Preach! But that’s about it in the commentary department. I don’t need a book to be saturated in socioeconomic comments, but just because a book is an all-girl cast doesn’t make it feminist. At least in my opinion.
Byatt was by far the superior character, and I wish the story had been told by her perspective a little earlier on. She had some gorgeous poetry-like paragraphs when she was on drugs with the scientists. But she also had this gut-wrenching self-harm scene that made me tremble with nausea. It was honestly a bit much at times, but I kind of liked that about this book. It was definitely fearless with the horror descriptions. BUT, these clearly written violent details made everything else look even more under described.
There were a couple of logical errors like Hetty breaking open a window with her fist when she had a knife on her to use as a blunt force against the glass. And are you telling me that all they had to do was cut the parasite out of them and they’d be better? No scientist tried that at all before? Instead they just keep trying these drugs and gassing the girls. It’s just a little weird.
I think this book just focuses on the wrong things at the wrong time. The pacing is weird. The characters are just not great people and flat half the time. The concept was definitely interesting, but it just didn’t rock my world.
Change my mind about this book! I want to like it so much more, but right now I feel quite meh about it. What do you think?
I had a reading slump at the beginning of the month. I blame it on my anxious mental breakdowns and the usual — playing Skyrim. However, I finally got back into reading after finding the Booktube community. Mostly binge-watching ReadWithCindy. Anyways, here’s my book recap for the month. Have you read any of these books, or are they on your TBR list? Let me know what you think!
Beautiful Creatures was….meh. You can read my review, but I felt lukewarm-to-not-great about it. It was very bland with bad pacing. That’s about all I have to add to my thoughts on the book.
I actually listened to Becoming on audiobook, which is great because Michelle Obama just won a Grammy for the reading of this book. While I really loved hearing her life story and getting an inside look to what it’s like to be the President’s wife, I felt like she ran out of things to talk about in her early life. She did do a good job reading. I was entertained and engaged for most of the book. I also had an emotional breakdown when she talked about her disabled dad dying. My dad is similarly disabled, and it was like hearing my future before my ears. Needless to say, I was sobbing for most of my car ride home from work.
To Drink Coffee with a Ghost is a poetry book, and I realized a little too late that it’s actually the second part of a poetry collection. Despite this, it was definitely readable as a stand-alone. I connected to a lot of the poems about her mom, but some of them were just a little too obvious. I like poetry that’s pretty heavy in the metaphor department. So if any of you have recommendations, hit me up!
Ah, The Last Wish. This book made me believe in fairytale retellings again. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it really fast actually. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was because it was a little disjointed at times (partially because it was a collection of short stories). But there was a lot of names thrown at you, and the “overarching” storyline was really short and non-essential for the most part. But, I’m looking forward to the other books in the series for sure. LASTLY, I think the show did a really great job of connecting these disjointed stories into one giant storyline. And I was still able to enjoy the book’s differences.
If you’d like a full review on any of these besides Beautiful Creatures (which I already did), let me know!
I’ve been reading Dracula for a while, and it will probably be another month before I finish. I mostly read it when I have nothing else to read. Or if I only have my iPad with me (because I’m reading it via Apple Books).
I’m also giving the second book of the Castor series a try. *Sighs for eternity.* I’m just trying to figure out why it’s so popular.
Lastly, I’ll be writing a full review of Wilder Girls when I’m finished, which should be in the beginning of the month of February. I’ve got a lot to say about it so far.
What books have you read this month? Do you agree with my ratings? Leave a comment below if you’d like to share your lovely thoughts.
I couldn’t find the actual website this prompt used to belong to. It took me instead to a Game of Thrones online game… Well that’s alright. Anyways, let’s get to the prompt.
As always, 30 minutes and enjoy your writing everyone! Don’t forget to leave a comment about what you think of my version, or where you’d want your own prompt to go.
If you have any prompts you want to see on this website, be sure to leave them in the comments section.
And for even more prompts, check out my Pinterest board just for writing prompts!
*WARNING THIS PROMPT CONTAINS VIOLENT IMAGERY*
I inhaled as the creature rounded Tommy once more. Not today, I begged. Please, just not today.
The monster was a milky pink with layers of skin folding over its body like an obese worm. No eyes, only two small slits where eyes and nose should be. And his mouth was ripped open to his ears, filled with several rows of razor teeth.
Of course, my friend couldn’t see the thing licking his ear. He probably couldn’t even feel it.
But I could.
My eyes snapped to meet his.
His eyes narrowed and then rolled to the side. “Never mind. I’ll see you later, okay? I have to get home before my dad does.”
He adjusted the strap of his backpack on his shoulder and walked away from me. I took a breath as the creature vanished in a single blink of my eyes. Like its existence had popped out like a bubble. As long as it was gone, I didn’t care.
As I waiting for Tommy to turn the corner and start on my own way home, I noticed a rustling in the leaves.
I walked towards it, numb in my fingers and face. Just thinking about all that I was yet to see today. They had started to show up when I was seven. My aunt had been arguing with my mom when my dad came home. Then they all got into it. The next thing I know, some freaking ugly-ass creature blinks into existence, slices mom and dad’s throats and leaves my aunt to go to jail for the crime. Now I live with my grandma. If you can call “living with” a situation where I don’t even usually see her. I don’t know if she leaves the house or is just hiding in one of the massive rooms so I can never find her. Either way, I’m on my own.
I realized that I was now standing in front of the bushes. Two black-pit eyes were staring back at me through the shrub and several feet below my eye-level. The eyes swayed from side to side until I made out its gaping mouth in the darkness. Filled with row after row of yellow teeth.
I took a step back.
The creature beckoned me forward, pushing its frail hand — from which long black nails jutted out — through the branches of the bush.
I can’t tell you why I moved forward. There’s no reason why I should have. But I did.
I entered the shrub as I started to hear shouting from across the street. A group of kids — two girls and one boy — crossed the street and raced towards where I had been standing. I stepped farther back into the bushes, knowing full well that the creature still stood beside me, gawking. Not really moving, just staring at me and the scene that was unraveling before my eyes.
“Claa-ire,” the shortest girl called out in a song-like tone.
“I swear I saw her,” the other girl said.
“Yeah, I definitely did too.” the boy said. He had something he held in his hand that was sharp on the end. It caught the glint of the street lamp like some sort of glass dagger.
I recognized them all as my classmates, with varying degrees of feelings towards each. The boy was Jake, the basketball center and often too quiet to make assumptions about. The other girl I had seen before but only knew her name as Trisha. The short girl was Hailey, the only one in most of my classes and someone I had personally tried to avoid since we had met.
“Shut up,” Hailey said, brushing her cropped curls behind an ear and raising a hand to silence them. “Maybe we can hear her.”
I knew the art of silent breathing. When I was in bed at night I was often “greeted” by these strange beings. If I hid under the sheets without making any sudden movement or noise, they would often just stand there until morning. One time I accidentally coughed and the loudest moan echoed off the creature’s lips. I had run out of the room and searched through the house for my grandma all night. And I still didn’t find her.
“She’s definitely not here,” Trisha said.
That’s when Hailey and Jake turned in towards her.
“You tipped her off, didn’t you?” Hailey demanded, grabbing the sharp tool from Jake’s hand.
Trisha took a step back with her hands raised at her chest. “Um, no — why would I do that? I told you, I thought she was weird. I wanted to go through with this.”
Hailey’s chin lifted up so she could make eye contact with Jake, and he nodded.
Then two things happened. A shadow appeared behind Hailey and latched itself onto her back like some sort of felt fabric sewn to her skin. Only the shadow’s hand wrapped around her hand and dragged it forward as she pushed the dagger into Trisha’s body.
Jake grabbed Trisha’s arms and pulled them behind her back as the Hailey-shadow combination plunged the knife in two more times.
“That should have been Claire,” Hailey said, wiping her dagger off on Trisha’s shirt. On the only spot she could find that wasn’t drenched with blood.
Trisha was still gasping for air. But only for a few minutes. Then she was gone.
And so was the shadow.
In my paralyzed fear, I realized that the creature in the bushes was still beside me, breathing faintly. As I noticed it again, its hand reached out at me. I flinched, but not before one of its claws brushed against my skin. It scratched the surface, but not in a normal way. Instead, it left a symbol, almost like a rose but with thorns built inside of the petals.
And somehow I knew at that moment: these creatures might be more complicated than I had first thought.
So in my quest for finding work in LA, I began to look into freelance writing and ghostwriting. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and though I love fiction writing, any writing feels “right” to me. Like many accountants love balancing checkbooks, or mathematicians love solving equations, I love completing a well-rounded article.
That’s also why writing for the blog has been quite the challenge. I’ve been working a 7 hour job — editing photos, taking photos, and content creating for a fashion company — and then I come home and work on articles for separate companies.
There’s a couple things I’ve learned in my short time in the freelance writing world, so I thought I’d share for all you writers out there.
When I first started looking for gigs to freelance write, I was overwhelmed by the number of other writers doing the same thing. Not only were there so many freelancers, but there was also so many businesses who were hiring freelancers for different reasons. But I couldn’t seem to find a job that fit for me. I applied to several companies and heard nothing back.
But as I continued to study my options, I came across several opportunities to write. Here are just a few things that helped me get started:
After I started blogging, I also contributed a short story. I picked up a freelance writing gig for a SEO company that was just starting out and needed someone with a background in excellent proofreading and content writing. I also got the opportunity to write for LA Elements and go on the red carpet to interview actors and crew members about the new movie Agent Emerson.
The point is, opportunities are out there. You just have to be persistent.
After I submitted my short story as a contribution post, I received and email saying they loved my piece so much that they wanted me to be a paid author on their site. I was so thrilled (obviously!). But when I sent an email in response, I got back silence. Nothing. For over two weeks.
When I sent another email, I got back a short reply that they actually had meant to send that email to someone else. *Sigh.* Back to square one.
While this situation is pretty particular, there are going to be tons of scams out there. Be sure to look up where your writing will be posted if you contribute writing. Make sure you’ve established good communication with whoever you write for. Make contracts ahead of time. Meet up face-to-face if possible. People want writers to work for free. Don’t let that happen.
There are also tons of people who are “professional freelancers” who just want to sell you their $500 freelancer kit. If you really trust one of these people’s programs and have the money to spend, sure. Go for it. But personally, I’ve found I can learn just as much about anything through YouTube and Google. I’ve left some resources at the end of the blog if you’re interested in SEO and content writing.
The internet will tell you that freelancers are paid anywhere between $.03 to $.10 per word. Some crazy ones even say $1 per word. In reality, you’re more likely to get paid $.02 per word or a set payment for a project. For example, I’ve gotten paid $60 for a 600 word article. And I’m currently getting that rate of $.02 for my SEO writing. It does add up, and it can still make you a good amount of side change. But you won’t be able to live off these rates at first.
Don’t be discouraged. If anything, a paid gig is still better than just contribution posts or working for free. You can add it to your resume. Also, keep track of your assignments so you can send them to future clients as examples.
Dig into the grind of getting paid little for work that deserves much more. Prove to your employers that you’re worth more than the rate they actually pay you. Eventually you might be able to negotiate higher rates.
Above all, remember that your writing is a craft that not a lot of other people are capable of. Whether it’s fiction, poetry, self-help, SEO, brand writing, etc. You are a word artist. And just like any other legitimate job and craft, you deserve to get paid.
It’s fine to do a couple jobs pro bono, especially if it’s for a cause you love, contests, or contribution posts to major blogs. But don’t let anyone tell you that your writing is an easy thing to do and doesn’t deserve to be paid. If it was so easy, then all of these companies and websites would just do it themselves.
The world needs great writers. And they need to pay them too. Stick with your guns. You’re a great writer, and you deserve to get paid for it.
As much as I love content creating for other people, it’s important to still take time for yourself. You’re a writer for a reason, and there were probably projects you were working on for yourself before you started working for others.
If you started writing that book, keep writing. If you love poetry, keep working on your poems. Just because you aren’t getting paid for those projects now, doesn’t mean they aren’t worth your time. Your passions are important. They bring you life. They’re the reason you’re a writer. And someday, those projects will come to life before your eyes.
So make time for your craft. It’ll be hard. You might have to start with a small amount or one day a week. But make time for your own writing. And make time to relax too!
What are some lessons you’ve learned as a writer? Comment below!
Canva – helps you create easy graphics for your writing
Grammarly – is great for picking up little grammar mistakes
Hemingway Writing Ap – useful for correcting sentence structure and length
All Freelance Writing Jobs – a website that shows great and diverse writing jobs
Last year was my first vegan Thanksgiving. And fortunately, my mom was so wonderful enough to go all-out for me, Mitchell, and my vegetarian sister Bri. She made us a full spread of vegan goodies.
This year, it’s unlikely we’ll be able to make it home for Thanksgiving. And we won’t necessarily want to make everything from scratch if we make a dinner of our own.
Maybe your family doesn’t know how to make their traditional meals veganized. Or maybe you just want to bring a few dishes to your meat-eating relative’s party.
Here’s a compiled list of amazing products and recipes to make your vegan Thanksgiving easy and delicious.
There’s plenty of recipes out there that use coconut milk for the cream of mushroom soup, but if you’re lazy like me and don’t want to make it completely from scratch, here’s a great cream of mushroom soup mix that’s completely dairy free. This recipe is based off the casserole from Mccormick.com.
All you have to do is mix everything except the crispy onions and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Then add the crispy onions on top and bake for five more minutes.
I don’t know about you, but yeast dinner rolls are one of my favorite parts about Thanksgiving. Luckily, there are quite a few of the frozen brands that are vegan.
We usually put two in one muffin tin so they look like butt rolls. But they’re perfect to split apart and slather with some vegan butter.
Most vegans have come to the consensus that the Gardein Holiday Roast is the best alternative to turkey for Thanksgiving. I’ve tried a couple from Field Roast, but this one was definitely my favorite. It reminded me of a Thanksgiving-themed frozen Cordon Bleu, which used to be one of my favorite things in the world.
There are tons of pie crusts that are ready-to-bake and also vegan. All you have to do is fill it with canned pie filling of your choice. Of course, there’s also recipes to make vegan pumpkin pie out there. But if you’re lazy like me, this is as good as it gets.
My mom’s pie crust actually uses Crisco which is vegetable shortening, so all of her pies are vegan already which is amazing. I haven’t mastered the art of the pie making yet, so I think I’ll stick to pre-made.
This mac and cheese is great baked, and it’s super creamy. If you want to make something from scratch, all you have to do is make a rue from vegan butter and flour, add cooked macaroni noodles and your shredded vegan cheese of choice. Then you can bake it at 350 degrees with some breadcrumbs on top.
Check out this recipe and swap out the ingredients for vegan ones for a fantastic baked mac and cheese!
Sure you can boil potatoes and mash them yourself, but why not make it easier? All you have to do is add your plant-based milk and butter of choice and boom. Mashed potato paradise.
You can’t have mashed potatoes without gravy! Last year we made some vegan gravy from some fancy mushrooms, but it did take quite a while. To save time, there’s plenty of vegan gravy options. But you can also make this simple recipe below. It was inspired by Cookingwithcurls.com.
Instructions: melt the butter over low heat, add flour and whisk, simmer for 2 minutes, add stock and seasoning, continue stirring until thickened. Make sure not to boil!
A lot of stuffing mixes have hidden milk or egg ingredients or just a lot of garbage. I really like this one in particular because it has a lot of interesting fun ingredients that are both healthy and vegan. Just bake and eat!
You may have already thought corn casserole was vegan (someone at one of our Thanksgivings definitely did). But just because it has a vegetable in the name doesn’t mean it’s vegan. But don’t worry! Making vegan corn casserole is one of the easiest ones out there. And it only has 5 ingredients. This receipt was inspired by the non-vegan recipe found at tastesoflizzyt.com
All you have to do is mix all those ingredients, put it in a 8×8 pan, and bake at 350 degrees for around 45 minutes.
Of course, one of the most difficult parts of Thanksgiving can be family. While my parents were cool with a vegan Thanksgiving (even though they still ate turkey), when we went to other Thanksgiving dinners, it was usually a little more awkward or meat-oriented. Of course, right? That’s pretty much the norm.
But here are a few tips for vegans at Thanksgiving.
Happy Fiction Friday everyone! Can you believe it’s already #6? If any of you has great prompts you think I should write, be sure to leave them in the comments section. I’d love to know what you all are writing out there too! Whether it be these prompts or just your personal projects.
This week’s prompt is from promptuarium.wordpress.com. I have a huge obsession with Celtic mythology. While I’ve never heard of this particular lore, I think a lot of creative ideas can come from it.
Is the fugitive innocent or guilt?
What kind of spirits would follow him out?
Does he believe in ghosts at all?
As always, spend 30 minutes writing today. And don’t forget to check out the links at the bottom of the page to previous Fiction Fridays!
As I ran through the darkness, my thoughts ran loose in my mind, like a roll of paper dropped on the ground. How did I get here? How did it come to this? When did I get that stain on my only good shirt?
Blinded by my spinning mind, I tripped over a root poking up from the ground. My world flipped as my feet lifted into the air. My head angled downward. And cracked right into the glowing gravestone in front of me.
I reached for my head, wanting to feel if there was any blood. My fingers touched a warm liquid that proceeded to drip down my forward. I thrust my hands out — trying to find any kind of surface to help me stand.
Even in my haze, even between the many trees in the graveyard, I was starting to see a flicker of a flashlight. I could hear the dogs barking.
My hands took a hold of the gravestone, and I felt the blood transfer from my hands to the rough surface.
“Stupid, stupid stupid,” I hissed, kicking the stone with each word. I was going to get caught this night. That much was certain.
At the pressure from my kicks, the stone buckled as if it was made of chalk. The entire top half of the rounded stone made a large cracking noise and fell to a dozen pieces to the tangled grass.
“Caylen!” a barking voice called out from too close. “Come out now, or we’ll make it even worse when we find you!”
“Not a chance,” I muttered. And I kept moving.
I stayed crouched this time, my eyes trained on the ground to look for more roots. But every few seconds I had to blink the dizziness away and wipe the blood from dripping into my eyes. I had only just gotten out of range from the flashlight wielding police officer when a stubby gravestone caught my foot.
I flew forward, hitting the ground on my elbows this time, but getting a mouthful of grass and dirt. So much for just one stain on this shirt. I’d be lucky to get to wear it again at all. My wardrobe was the least of my problems. My knee had hit another gravestone that was only a square polished stone poking up from the ground. When I hit it, the entire stone had been pulled away from it’s original spot.
Who makes these gravestones so flimsy? Come on, Caylen, keep moving.
I stood and hobbled my way forward as fast as I could manage. Which wasn’t as fast as I preferred. I could see the iron gate ahead. I could jump it, no problem. But I would definitely be seen if the cop got too close behind me.
A crow sounded over my head as I passed under the last couple trees. My hands grasped the rusty iron gate at last. For a moment I hesitated, looking over my shoulder into the quiet night. No sign of flashlight.
I started climbing.
The voice had gotten much closer. I didn’t dare look over my shoulders. I just kept climbing. When I reached the top, I narrowly avoided the pointy bits and jumped to the ground below. My knee screamed out in burning pain, and I gasped as my hand reached towards it.
A flashlight lit up my face.
“Gotcha,” Officer Paula said. “Don’t move, kid. I’m coming over.”
I started to back away from the gate as she started climbing. But it wasn’t out of fear that she was coming after me. It was the vapor white figures materializing behind her. It was…it was like a ghost.
I opened my mouth, but I found that my breath had been stolen from me. The figures became clearer: one woman, one man. They floated into the air next to Officer Paula. For a moment they only rose higher as she climbed.
They each took hold of one of her shoulders. And pulled her to the ground hard. I heard the crack of her body hit the gravestone. She moved a little. Alive. For now.
The figures still hovered above the grass. But I was already turning to run. My heart pumped adrenaline through my injured body. I had to get out of here. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but worse — maybe worse — was that I knew I would get blamed for Paula’s injuries. Just another thing to add to the list.
The ground under my feet changed from grass to assault. I was on a road. Not great, but better. It was still quiet. A country road at the dead of night wasn’t going to get many visitors.
A chill spread along my bruised arms. I let the shivers come for a moment but paused as I started to see my breath.
“Is Caylen your name?”
I swirled around and there were the two figures — pale and white like inverted shadows — staring at me. Their feet touched the ground now, and they were fully detailed. Both were close to my age and I could tell by their similar features that they probably were related. Their clothes were older than mine by a few centuries at least, though both of them wore trousers. Though they had just pulled Paula off the gate and injured her possibly fatally, their faces were calm and examined me.
I couldn’t find my voice. My throat was dry and as cold as the iron gate.
“Caylen?” the woman asked again. She put out a thin hand towards me, expecting me to take it. “I’m Lucy. I believe you just knocked my gravestone over?”