In this excerpt from ‘Starquest,’ the first story in the ‘Destiny’ trilogy, The heroine is exploring underground passages on a strange planet, and has separated from her companion, Dahll:
As I rounded a bend in the passage, deep in my own thoughts, but with my blaster poised ready for trouble, a distant blood-curdling screech shattered the silence. I shrank back against the wall, holding my blaster in both hands, expecting at any moment some gigantic creature to materialise and launch itself at me. After a few minutes, when nothing had appeared, I continued cautiously along the passage, blaster still at the ready. I had only gone a few hundred yards when the tunnel divided without warning, forking obliquely to the right. I hesitated a moment, before continuing straight ahead.
As I progressed along it, the passage began to narrow, and to my concern, the light faded out. Also, I noticed the ground had become very uneven and boulder strewn. I decided to go back and try the other branch of the passage. Then it came again, that shrill, wailing cry. I braced myself for another of those unearthly cries, as I activated my communicator.
“Dahll,” I said, anxiously. “Are you all right?”
Dahll’s voice held a note of surprise. “Yes, of course. I haven’t come across anything interesting so far. What about you?”
“You didn’t hear it then?”
“There was a strange sort of animal cry just now. It seemed to come from somewhere ahead of
Dahll’s small holographic image hovering above my communicator seemed to stiffen and his voice registered concern. “I haven’t heard anything this side. You may be in danger, I think. You’d better come back. I’ll meet you in the cavern.”
“No, Dahll. If there is a creature of some sort in the passage, I might lead it to you if I came back
now, and then we’d both be in danger.”
The image was too small for me to see Dahll’s expression clearly in the dim light of my wrist flare. I could imagine it, though, in the brief pause that followed.
“It would be better to have two weapons against it, if it’s dangerous.”
I thought for a moment and decided perhaps he was right after all. “All right,” I said reluctantly. “I’ll come back now. This particular passage doesn’t look as if it leads anywhere anyhow.”
“Good,” Dahll said, sounding relieved. “I’ll wait for you in the cavern.”
I was about to retrace my steps when the creature shrieked again, this time sounding much closer. I wasn’t sure of the direction because the rocky escarpments sent echoes reverberating in all directions. I flashed my wrist flare in front of me, straining my eyes in the semi-darkness, trying to see beyond the shadows.
I moved forward a few metres. The surface was very uneven. I stumbled, and the ground gave way beneath my feet. I felt myself slipping and stifled a yell, dropping the blaster as dust and pebbles rained down on me. I slid down a steep slope and when I scrambled to my feet at the bottom was relieved to note that at least my wrist flare was still intact. My descent had been brief, and I was shaken more than hurt. However, the walls of the declivity down which I had fallen were several metres above my head and looked none too safe to attempt to climb. I was about to contact Dahll to explain my predicament when I became aware of something moving behind me.
I turned sharply, and came face to face with a huge, bear-like creature, with luminous green eyes that seemed more feline than ursine. As I looked around in desperation for my blaster, the beast raised a giant paw. I shrank back against the cold stone wall, realising I was completely at its mercy.
What about you – have you ever had the scary experience of feeling someone or something was watching you in the dark? What’s your creepiest memory?
Don’t forget to enter to win my prize of a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate
‘Freeread’:‘A BARGAIN WITH DEATH’ : ‘CHILDREN OF THE MIST’ (The second in the Series) BELOVED ENEMY (The third in the tilogy Each book can be read as a ‘stand alone.’