Today we are excited to introduce you to Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan.
Day 5: Konderra
Fields of Elysium
A YA romantic fantasy
The hairy creature started to climb a tree with me wedged tightly under its arm. Gripped with fear and panic, I looked back toward the waterfall and spotted Weston and Roger storming out from the maze of trees. They never stopped moving, just bolted through the jungle after us. When Ben and Edwin joined the boys with knives in hands, I felt a sliver of hope for survival, but for only a second because soon they all disappeared from my view.
I twisted my body to get a look at the creature’s face, but I wasn’t able to bend enough; I was too confined. With my face hanging downwards, I could only watch as our increasing elevation dwarfed the terrain under me. I thought of biting the monster’s arm, but the thick layer of dark, rusty fur seemed impenetrable. There was still hope for me to reach one of my knives and stab deep into its side, but my arms weren’t long enough. Besides, from the height we were at by then, the fall would prove fatal.
I gave up the struggle for now while my brain conjured up frightening images . The idea that I was being taken to the creature’s lair to become lunch for its offspring started forming in my mind.
As I was preparing myself mentally for the encounter, for the first opportunity to pull my knife, the creature jumped from one tree to another. At the first landing my forehead hit something and the oozing blood blinded my left eye. The second jump left me with a badly bruised elbow. After the third one I felt like a well-beaten rug dangling languidly from a clothesline.
My tear-filled eye bored into the dense undergrowth, which seemed so far down and scary. I came to the realization that the boys had no chance to keep up with our speed. As all hope that they were going to rescue me slowly evaporated, one wish emerged. Please, God, let it be done quickly. Don’t let this monster devour me slowly, piece by piece.
But dark desires attract dark thoughts. So in the moment between life and death, I became possessed with negativity instead of fighting strength. Images of documentaries started to haunt me: scenes where lions took down a baby elephant and started to rip big chunks of meat out of its legs while it was still alive. Then a new picture surfaced – two orca whales tossing a seal back and forth between them, using their prey as a sporting device, sending me into panic. To stop the flow of these brutal images, I closed my eyes and started to weep quietly.
The abrupt termination of movement caused my eyes to open. I was lying face down on a flat cliff, a crimson smudge from my face on the rock in front of me. I wiped the mixture of blood and tears from my eyes with my shirt and rolled over. Less than an arm’s length away, a giant, furry animal stared at me with bulging amber eyes. Its pupils were split, as if a black almond had been pressed into its eyeballs. Short red fur covered its face and chest, but black tufts of hair stuck out of its overhanging brows, while the rest of its heavily-built and ferocious-looking body was brown and very hairy. Two small, arched ears peeked out from the side of its head and its nose was diamond shaped. But its scariest features were the projecting jaws and saber teeth. The sight of it made me shake like a dry leaf on a branch from a gust of autumn wind. Still I managed to sit up, keeping my head bowed to avoid looking into the animal’s eyes, and holding my injured elbow close to my chest.
A deafening howl erupted from the animal’s throat. It must have been a calling sound, because similar animals in diverse sizes and colors descended from the mountain. The biggest one of all, with black fur and red chest, came the closest. I looked up into its dreadful, orange-framed eyes, using the last of whatever bravery I had.
If I must die, I’ll die with dignity, I thought, and a single teardrop trailed down my face. The giant raised its right paw at me, baring its four fingers and long sharp claws. The last thing I could remember was the salty taste on my tongue as I licked my quivering lips.
“I’m sorry, Mom and Dad,” I whispered, straightening my posture and accepting my fate.
Written and illustrated by A.B. Whelan
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I’m the author of the Fields of Elysium saga, which I like to call a young adult romantic fantasy. The first book of the series was inspired by amazing movies like Dirty Dancing, Avatar, and Twilight and earned praise from prestigious review companies and readers. I’m currently working on book three and four, and planning to write one more novella to finish the series, dedicated to another very interesting character in my story, The Prophet, the mysterious leader of the Arkanians.
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