TITLE: To The Bones
GENRE: YA urban fantasy/paranormal
15-year-old Valleri has just become her community's newest curandera (spiritual warrior) after a smoky shadow seen only in her periphery snatched her Nana's soul. Val's spirit followed this shadow into the Underworld, entering her new body - a jaguar version of herself - in order to resuce her nana's soul from a Demon Lord's fortress.
I wanted to spring from my dark corner, pull her down and go home, but everything inside of me screamed not to. I guess this instinct thing ran both ways and I could listen to my body as well, especially if I wasn’t listening to anyone else. But it wasn’t their nana hung on a cross, it was mine.
As I decided what to do, my body tensed, sensing someone or something nearby. I caught a shape out of the corner of my eye. Again? Really? But it wasn’t that same smoky shadow. It was softer, lighter, and smelled of lavender. Just like my nana. But it couldn’t be; I was looking right at her unconscious body. “That’s not me,” I heard my nana's voice whisper in my ear. It was her! Then who was on the cross? For the first time I was scared, really scared, mostly because neither me nor my body knew what to do. But my nana did. “Run, mija,” her voice said as her lighter shadow disappeared from my periphery.
A whimper, like a wounded cat, escaped my lips and I turned to run. I leapt into the air, my body stretched out, ready to land in a full sprint and get the hell out of there, but it was too late. The trap was sprung. An arrow screamed through the air and buried itself in my side. I fell in a heap on the warm stone floor as half-demons poured out of the walls, cheering in victory. I had been shot.