This week we are thrilled to feature author Angela Castillo. She has chosen our Excerpt Extravaganza. And if you would like to be featured like Angela, simply follow the instructions in the top box above our posts for the easy to follow instructions to get started.
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Author Angel Castillo
The Amazing Adventures of Toby the Trilby
Adventure Seekers, Young and Old, Join Toby, Small, but Bold ...
He was born underground, at the edge of the world’s destruction. Twelve years old, Toby has never seen the sun. Created by six scientists who accidentally gave him cat ears (and a tail), Toby decides to leave the safety of his cavern world to seek answers. Did anyone survive the Great Destruction? Why has he been hearing a mysterious Voice? And, most important of all, does he have a soul?
The procession came to a sudden halt. Coils of serpentine brilliance stretched before the leader of the group. Calmly and without a sound, the man found two sticks and gently moved the snake to the bushes on the side of the path. The march continued.
Small, stifled sounds drifted over the people’s shuffled footsteps. Was the fair-haired girl crying?
The path widened, then split in two, circling a large swamp. The glossy, black edges seeped past the view of the torchlight. Patches of slime floated on the surface of the water. A dock made of logs and rope jutted out towards the center, with extra sections of rope coiled to the side. Chunks of rock served as a crude staircase to reach the edifice.
The people placed torches on stakes set a few feet apart. The flames made eerie shapes as they flickered in the breeze. The leader approached the girl. When he turned his face, Toby glimpsed an ancient scar that slashed through his cheeks and lips, disappearing under his white beard.
The man grabbed the girl’s bound hands and jerked her towards the dock. She screamed and tried to pull away. A younger man yanked her back and slapped her face. The sound echoed through the swamp.
Help her. Toby fought the instinctive cry in his head. He watched, useless hands gripping branches at his sides, while the men forced her up the steps and to the end of the dock. The girl’s shoulders slumped and silent tears coursed over the bright red mark on her beautiful face.
The scarred man raised his hands high in the air. His wild eyes glowed in the lights.
“Oh, Natura,” his voice warbled.
“Most beautiful Goddess,” the man continued.
“Giver of good and terrible things.
Milk sours early,
trees bear bitter fruit,
our children are fitful.
We respect your wishes.
Tiend has come.
We give you this child.
Take her into your body
to nourish your soul.
Take her, and we humbly pray for favor.”
Images of human sacrifice flashed through Toby’s mind: Incas’ offerings of life and limb, stone alters of the druids. Escape from the horrific truth was impossible. This girl would die. Even while he gripped the small penknife, his spirit protested the very idea of plunging it into living flesh. Could he hurt someone, even to save another?
The men grabbed the girl’s bound wrists and lowered her into the water. The action seemed absurd. No sharp weapon, no blood shed.
Water lapped at the girl’s knees, harmless at first. She struggled. Inch by inch, her body sank into the mud.
“Please don’t do this!” she pled. “Why would your goddess want me? I’m just a girl! Please help!”
The oldest man turned and took his torch down from its stake. The rest of the crowd followed his motion in a single, swift abandonment and filed back down the original path.
Toby wondered if their action was ceremonial or if the people were too squeamish to watch the death of the innocent girl. Whatever the reason, the opportunity surpassed all hope. While his heart screamed “forward!” his brain told him to wait. He counted to one hundred, then snapped on his flashlight and crept to the edge of the pit.
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We hope you enjoyed reading Angela's excerpt. Be sure to check out her website, connect with her on FB, and/or hop on over to Amazon to read more about her book and purchase your copy today!
Until next time - stay casual, live life to the fullest, and have a piece of chocolate for us!
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