Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Janalya - Marie Godley

Here is the first page for the story I am currently working on for the teen market, Read it and let me know your thoughts. Did you want to find out what happens next?

Chapter One
It was a cold crisp evening; the moon, its face clear and welcoming, shone brightly and the stars were beginning to appear in the black expanse of sky overhead.
A band of little witches, ghosts and vampires came into view making Janalya laugh out loud, sending a cloud of warm air into the darkness; dragon breath, she always called it. She smiled indulgently as parents hustled their children towards home, their trick or treat bags bulging with sweets and their outfits beginning to look dishevelled or the masks long since discarded because they got in the way. The children’s protests that they weren’t tired fell on deaf ears and the streets were relinquished to the teenagers; full of high spirits, in their more elaborate costumes, covered in face paint and gory masks. Janalya shook her head at them; it was one thing for kids to play dress up but surely at their age the teenagers should know better? Then she realised that there was no reason for them to think differently, she smiled wryly; the truth about magic and people who were different was rarely told and had been kept secret for hundreds of years. No Witch would be seen dead, no pun intended, wearing a tall pointed hat and stripy tights, and as for needing a broomstick to be able to fly; well that was just laughable.
The glowing eyes of the carved pumpkin lanterns seemed to watch Janalya as she retreated from her position on the top of the hill. She pulled her cloak more tightly around her slender body, raised the hood once more to conceal her white blond hair and walked in the shadows back towards the woods. Halloween; the night, so it was said, that the boundary between the human world and the spirit world became thin; allowing spirits to pass through. Janalya wasn’t about to hang around and act as a welcoming committee, she had more important matters to see to.
Janalya gained the cover of the trees and paused, her head turning as she listened for any sound of movement. She was confident that nobody had followed her but she wanted to be sure. The silence was broken by the call of an owl but otherwise all was quiet. Her feet made no sound as she advanced stealthily through the wood, her eyes continually assessing everything shown up by her light. The scent of the damp earth and pine needles filled her nostrils; she stopped suddenly as the aroma became tinged with smoke. Janalya clicked her torch off quickly and was instantly cloaked in darkness. She gave her eyes chance to adjust; years of wandering around at night had sharpened her vision but not enough to see further than the area next to her; unfortunately those that she most wanted to avoid were endowed with better night vision. She stared into the darkness, listening intently; all her senses heightened, ready to take action. A breeze picked up and carried with it a stronger smell of smoke. Janalya cautiously headed in that direction, placing each foot with measured care; her ears straining to hear any sound. Stray branches threatened to latch onto the wool of her cloak but she brushed them aside, not wanting to be delayed until she had discovered the source of the smoky smell. Her heart began to beat faster as she caught a glimpse of orange between the trees, she moved closer, unconsciously stooping lower and stopped behind a large tree. Keeping as hidden as possible, she peered round the gnarly trunk.