Paradise Falls: Prologue
- Paradise Falls: Prologue
- Paradise Falls: Chapter 1
- Paradise Falls: Chapter 2 (draft)
Lightning pain wrenched her from a terrible dream, a nightmare painted with a sudden plunge and screaming terror. But consciousness was worse. Much worse. She tried to drag air into her ragged lungs and cried out, though all that sounded through the haze was a raspy squeak. She felt an invisible grip around her torso that squeezed with huge hands and cracked her fragile ribs like knuckles.
She focused on her body, determined to find her injuries. Her hands clasped into fists—no pain. Next, she curled her toes, and electric fire blazed up her right leg. She gasped and coughed again. Her eyes pressed shut against the void, and she forced herself to take several shaky breaths. As she lay still, the burning receded to a moderate roar.
Hands that shook with tremors crept forward and probed for the source of her agony. Her fingers brushed against jagged debris on her chest and stomach. They touched the rough edge of broken stone where she expected her right leg to be.
She pulled her eyelids open against the grit trapped underneath and strained to see something—anything—to get her bearings. Slowly, shapes emerged. Chunks of concrete the size of her minivan. Clusters of bent rebar reminded her of her son’s ill-fated pipe-cleaner craft from the week before. Water dripped off to her left, and then she heard a smaller sound, breaking through the stillness like smoke that curled and reached for her in wisps.
Panic sluiced down her chest, sliced her stomach like a red-hot dagger, and settled its searing fury deep in her core. She tried to call out, but her ragged whispers fell flat. Her chest filled and deflated in a syncopated rhythm as her breaths came hard and fast.
“Mama!” The voice was louder, colored with fear and need.
She tried to sit up, but the agony returned like an angry dragon woken from a fitful slumber. A shrill note burst through her torment. Tiny lungs now heaved a torrent of heartbreaking sobs. Her arms shot forward and pushed against the boulder pinning her leg, the acute throb overtaken by her child’s cries.
As her body struggled to budge its captor, the howling stopped abruptly, a flame extinguished by a puff of air. She froze, her urgent assault on the crushing weight forgotten. Dread crawled under her skin. It was her turn to scream.
Hi, Abby. I am a former CHW writer and editor, and it is so good to see new blood on the platform. This is a superb start to what looks to be an intriguing story.
Thanks so much Jill!