It's Friday and you know what that means?! Time for another excerpt from one of my novels in progress. Today I chose to go with a portion of the newly revised first chapter from WOLFSBANE AT MIDNIGHT. Scarlet is in the herb garden in the heart of the forest . . .
"One arnica flower, one white poppy flower, one small garlic bulb, and one bloodroot rhizome," she read. And then she noticed a scrawl at the bottom, "Please return with these potion ingredients before sunset."
Why hadn't Grandmother Aradia said something before she left? She knew Scarlet loved to wander in the forest. Especially now when the trees gifted her with a canopy of vibrant color and a carpet of crunchy leaves to enjoy. Aradia had scolded her many times for her slowness, but had never given her a deadline before. Scarlet pushed the list back into her pocket. She had set out late in the afternoon, so she knew she needed to hurry if she hoped to return in time.
Shoving her hands into her brown leather gloves, she used the herb knife to cut a yellow-orange bloom from the stem of an arnica plant. After wrapping the daisy-like flower in a piece of cheesecloth, she placed it in her basket. She hurried on to collect one of the delicate white flowers from the stem of a poppy plant.
Icy fingers of fear trailed down her spine.
Someone or something watched her. She tightened her hand around the herb knife. The blade might be small, but it was sharp. Scarlet walked to the herb basket and dropped the poppy flower into it.
She wanted nothing more than to run from the clearing, but she'd returned once before without the herbs and couldn't face Aradia's disappointment again. Despite the pounding of her heart and her brain telling her to flee, she reached for the garden trowel. Her hand shook as she stabbed it into the soft ground and hurriedly dug up the garlic. Normally she'd push the rich black soil back in place, but she left it with the promise of fixing it tomorrow.
She tossed the garlic into the basket and hurried down the row to the bloodroot. A web pulled at her hair as she bent down. She brushed it aside and hoped the spider hadn't found its way onto her head. Digging even more quickly, and damaging a few roots in the process, she managed to expose a suitable rhizome and harvested it.
Somewhere close by, a branch snapped.
She swung her head to the left.
Yellow eyes gleamed from behind a nearby tree.
Scarlet's eyes locked with the glittering ones of a wolf as it stepped from the shadows.
And that's all for today. Happy weekend to everyone.