Today is my post for the awesome Halloween event, YA Spooktacular hosted by Frenzy of Noise & Wicked Awesome Books. I'm lucky enough to have Elizabeth Miles, author of Fury, to guest post on my blog. Corn Stalker is a great continuation to all the other stories written by most of our favorite authors. If you missed the stories, please feel free to read this post, it gives you all the links needed to read from the beginning!
In addition, thanks to Danielle and Nikki, they are offering readers a chance to win two great ARC's. Please make sure to check out this spooktacular, it's a fun event you don't want to miss!
THE CORN STALKER
“Kara? I’m here,” I hissed. “I’m coming for you.” I thought I heard a whimpered reply, but I couldn’t be sure. With one last longing look toward the gate, which seemed to glow with promise, I wheeled around to face the maze. In this dark labyrinth lay danger and death, but also Kara. The girl I loved.
I decided that my safest option was to leave the mown paths and step into the reedy mess of cornstalks that lined the pathways. In there, I had a better chance of staying hidden. I would let the other maze-goers act as bait; I was going to save Kara, and get us the hell out of here.
Stepping as lightly as I could to minimize the crackling beneath my feet, I pushed through the stalks toward where I thought I’d heard Kara’s plea for help. Every few seconds I stopped and held my breath, just to listen. I heard sporadic sounds of panic—a scream in the distance, an unidentifiable crash. Someone ran by me; I could hear them mumbling to themselves, saying a person’s name over and over and over again.
Just as I was about to risk calling out to Kara, throwing out the next round in this sick game of Marco Polo, something caught my eye. I froze. There, through the leaves, I’d seen orange. I stayed perfectly still until I saw it again. Yes, there it was. The dreaded blaze of orange, a warning for me to run. In the silence now, I heard a ghoulish panting, the animalistic sound of a hunter about to devour its prey.
And then, even worse: I heard Kara’s soft cries. “Please don’t hurt me,” I heard her say. “Please.” So he had her. The Corn Stalker had my girlfriend.
I wanted to bolt, believe me. Every nerve in my body was screaming that I should flee from this madman. But I couldn’t leave Kara behind. Escaping without her would be no escape at all.
I took a moment to assess the situation. I had no weapons, so I would have to overpower him by brute force. Perhaps a surprise attack would throw him off enough to get me one good punch and one hard kick. And in the meantime, Kara could grab his sickle. Yes. It was the only way.
I squared my shoulders and took a deep breath, balling my fists and knowing that I would get just one chance to do this right. And then I charged forward, out of hiding and into jeopardy.
My terror was so consuming that it practically blinded me; I felt like a hood had been pulled down over my face and I could barely see through the blackness. I was being led by adrenaline alone. I tackled the first spot of orange I saw, throwing my full weight against a body that fell easily—too easily—to the ground.
“Josh! Stop!” Kara screamed as we tumbled to the ground. It was her. In my panic, I’d mistaken her orange hoodie for a piece of the Stalker’s trademark costume. Now I’d lost my window of surprise. We heard a sickening snorting snicker come from behind us. I rolled over just in time to see a beastly man lumbering in our direction.
“You can’t trick the Corn Stalker,” he garbled in a sing-song voice that made my stomach turn. My vision tunneled and I thought I heard Kara sobbing, as if from behind a curtain.
The fiend stepped into view: hunched and huge, with biceps the size of bowling balls and legs that looked like tree trunks. His face was a horror to behold, pale and blood-splattered, with a trickle of drool coming from the left corner of his mouth. If our ancestors were pigs, not monkeys, this is what we would have looked like.
“Kara?! Where are you? Run!” I would try to distract him so she could get away. “Do you hear me? I’m serious. Get away. I’ll be okay.” I knew I wouldn’t be, but it was a sacrifice I had to make.
And then, just as the Corn Stalker heaved his sickle above his head, readying it to come down and slice into my flesh, I heard a bloodcurdling yell, the sound of a warrior going to battle. There was a thud of impact. With a surprised oof, the Corn Stalker fell to the ground, face first—I had to scramble to get out of his path. His sickle went flying off to the side.
As I attempted to piece together what was happening, I saw a small figure dart over to the sickle, pick it up, and in one motion, swing it forcefully into the Corn Stalker’s wide back. It pierced the skin between his shoulders, and I felt a soft rain of blood mist around me. The body issued a brief convulsion, then nothing more.
She had saved me. I had come back to rescue my girl, but in the end, Kara was my savior. I leaned back on my elbows, trying to catch my breath, almost laughing with the release of this terrifyingly close call with death.
But when Kara stepped closer, my eyes widened and my blood went cold. This wasn’t Kara, my Kara. This was someone…something else. Her eyes looked white and filmy, her smile was jarringly wide.
“Wha—Kara?” I took in the smears of blood on her clothes—the Stalker’s, as well as that of his victims.
“I told you that coming to the corn maze was a bad idea, Josh,” she said. Her voice was raspy. “Kara, what’s the matter with you?” I asked as she leaned over to grab the Stalker’s sickle.
“A new Corn Stalker is chosen every year,” she said with an icy grin, twirling the weapon like a baton. “Happy Halloween!”
Try the story again from the beginning and see what happens. Maybe next time things will be different. www.pureimaginationblog.com
:: AUTHOR'S BIO ::
Elizabeth Miles grew up in Chappaqua, New York, not far from New York City. She graduated from Boston University in 2004, and has worked ever since as a journalist for an alternative newsweekly. She has been honored by the New England Press Association and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Elizabeth is a former trustee of the Portland Players, a community theater and second home. She loves pizza; she can often be found running around on stage while scantily clad; and a cold winter night in Maine is one of the creepiest and most beautiful things she can think of. Fury is Elizabeth’s first novel.
You can find Elizabeth on Twitter, on her blog, on goodreads and you can order her books here:
:: TRICK - HALLOWEEN FAVORITES GIVEAWAY! ::
-One person will win an ARC of SHIFTING by Bethany Wiggins and an ARC of BETWEEN by Jessica Warman.
-To enter, write a post (on a blog or facebook, tumblr, livejournal--wherever you are!) with your top five favorite things about Halloween. This can be movies you love, books, traditions, costumes, fun facts, the scariest moments you have--anything. Include a link in the form below, not in comments.
-US/Canada only (unless you have a mailing address they could send to in the US.)
-All Tricks/Treats end on October 31st at midnight.
!! FILL OUT FORM TO ENTER !!
Also, the prize pack for story three will be posted on October 29th at Escape from Reality. (http://christinasbooks.blogspot.com/)