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Half Wild by Sally Green

Read on for the first chapter of Half Wild, the second book in the fantasy series by Sally Green, where Nathan is on the run and wakes up to find himself in a forest...

a new day

 

 a crossbill calls

another bird replies, not a crossbill

the first bird takes over again

and again

the crossbill-

shit, it’s morning

i’ve been asleep

it’s morning, very early

shit, shit, shit

don’t panic

need to wake up                      need to wake up

can’t believe i’ve been asl-

chchchchchchchhchchchcchhhhhchchchhchcchchchhhchchchhchchchcchchhcchcchchchhchchchhcchchchchchchhchchchchchhchchchchhchhhchchchchccchchchchchhchchchchhchchchhchchchchhchchchhchhchchchchchchchchchhchhhchchccchchchchhchchchhhchhchchch

SHIT!

the noise is here. HERE!

chchchchchchchhchchchcchhhhhchchchhchcchchchhhchchchhchchchcchchhcchcchchchhchchchhcchchchchchchhchchchchchhchchchchhchhhchchchchccchchchchchhchchchchhchchchhchchchchhchchchhchhchchchchchchchchchhchhhchchccchchchchhchchchhhchhchchch

that level of noise means, oh shit, someone with a mobile is close. very close. shit, i can’t believe i’ve been asleep with Hunters on my tail. and her. the fast one. she was close last night.

chchchchchchchhchchchcchhhhhchchchhchcchchchhhchchchhchchchcchchhcchcchchchhchchchhcchchchchchchhchchchchchhchchchchhchhhchchchchccchchchchchhchchchchhchchchhchchchchhchchchhchhchchchchchchchchchhchhhchchccchchchchhchchchhhchhchchch


i’m not dead

she can’t see me
 

chchchchchchchhchchchcchhhhhchchchhchcchchchhhchchchhchchchcchchhcchcchchchhchchchhcchchchchchchhchchchchchhchchchchhchhhchchchchccchchchchchhchchchchhchchchhchchchchhchchchhchhchchchchchchchchchhchhhchchccchchchchhchchchhhchhchchch

THINK! THINK!

chchchchchchchhchchchcchhhhhchchchhchcchchchhhchchchhchchchcchchhcchcchchchhchchchhcchchchchchchhchchchchchhchchchchhchhhchchchchccchchchchchhchchchchhchchchhchchchchhchchchhchhchchchchchchchchchhchhhchchccchchchchhchchchhhchhchchch

it’s a mobile phone, for sure it’s a mobile phone. the noise is in my head, not in my ears, it’s to the upper right side, inside, constant, like an electrical interference, pure hiss, mobile hiss, loud, three or four meters away loud. SHIT! THINK! THINK!

chchchchchchchhchchchcchhhhhchchchhchcchchchhhchchchhchchchcchchhcchcchchchhchchchhcchchchchchchhchchchchchhchchchchhchhhchchchchccchchchchchh

ok right, lots of people have mobiles. if it’s a Hunter, that Hunter, and she could see me, i’d be dead by now.

i’m not dead

she can’t see me

chchchchchchchhchchchcchhhhhchchchhchcchchchhhchchchhchchchcchchhcchcchchchhchchchhcchchchchchchhchchchchchhchchchchhchhhchchchchccchchchchchh

the noise isn’t getting louder. she’s not moving closer. but she’s not moving away either.

am i hidden?

i’m lying on my side, face pressed into the ground. totally still. can’t see anything but earth.

got to move a little.

but not yet. think first. stay calm and work it out.

there’s no breeze, no sun, just a lightness. it’s early. the sun has to be behind the mountain still. there’s the smell of earth, the pine of the forest. the ground is cool, dry, no dew. there’s the smell of the forest and . . .  there’s another smell.

what is that smell?

and there’s a taste.

a bad taste. it tastes like . . . oh no-

don’t think about it

don’t think about it

don’t think about it

don’t think about it

think about something else

think about where you are



You’re lying on the ground, in the early morning and the air is cool. You’re cold. You’re cold because . . . oh shit, oh shit . . . you’re naked. You’re naked and the top half of you is wet. Your chest, your arms . . . your face are wet.

And you move the fingers of your left hand, the tiniest of movements, and they’re sticky. Sticking together. As if with drying, sugary juice. But it’s not juice.

don’t think about it

don’t think about it don’t think about it don’t think about it don’t think about it

DoN’t THiNk aBOUT IT

THINK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE

THINK ABOUT STAYING ALIVE

You’ve got to move. The Hunters are close on your tail. That fast one was close. She was very close last night.

what happened last night?

what happened?

remember!

NO.

FORGET THAT. THINK ABOUT STAYING ALIVE

WORK OUT WHAT TO DO

You can look, move your head a fraction to see more. The ground by your face is thick with pine-needles. Brown pine-needles. But the brown isn’t from the pine, it’s the colour of dried blood. You’re left arm is extended. It’s streaked in it, dried, brown. But your hand isn’t streaked in it, it’s thick with it. Sopping. Red

close your eyes

close your eyes

close your eyes

 

chchchchchchchhchchchcchhhhhchchchhchcchchchhhchchchhchchchcchchhcchcchchchhchchchhcchchchchchchhchchchchchhchchchchhchhhchchchchccchchchchchhchchchchhchchchhchchchchhchchchhchhchchchchchchchchchhchhhchchccchchchchhchchchhhchhchchch

You need to go. Without thinking or looking or remembering. You need to go. For you’re own safety you have to get out of here. You need to get moving. Get away from here. You can find a stream and wash. Wash it all off.

The mobile phone is close, not changing. It won’t be coming closer.

You should look, check. Turn your head to the other side. You can do it. Look, check. . .

it looks like a log

Please be a log. Please be a log. Please be a log.

Please.

it’s not a log.

it’s a shape in black and red, with black boots and with two legs; one straight, one bent. legs dressed in black. black material covering the torso. light-brown hair. her hair. cut short. sopping with blood. her face is turned away.

she’s lying as still as a log

still wet

still oozing

not fast any more

the mobile phone is hers

chchchchchchchhchchchcchhhhhchchchhchcchchchhhchchchhchchchcchchhcchcchchchhchchchhcchchchchchchhchchchchchhchchchchhchhhchchchchccchchchchchh

and as you raise your head you see the wound that is her throat

and it is jagged and bloody and deep and

red

More about the author

Half Wild

Sally Green

After finally meeting his elusive father, Marcus, and receiving the three gifts that confirm him as a full adult witch, Nathan is still on the run. He needs to find his friend Gabriel and rescue Annalise, now a prisoner of the powerful Black witch Mercury. Most of all he needs to learn how to control his Gift - a strange, wild new power that threatens to overwhelm him.

Meanwhile, Soul O'Brien has seized control of the Council of White Witches and is expanding his war against Black witches into Europe. In response, an unprecedented alliance has formed between Black and White witches determined to resist him. Drawn into the rebellion by the enigmatic Black witch Van Dal, Nathan finds himself fighting alongside both old friends and old enemies. But can all the rebels be trusted, or is Nathan walking into a trap?

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