GENRE: MG Fantasy
Samantha Greer dug her fingernails into her wrist, anything to keep from falling asleep on the school bus. Not here. Not now. Every time she closed her eyes the dream came and John died. Every time she awoke in a cold sweat calling his name.
Jasmin leaned across the aisle. "Do you think they'll have tapestries and surcoats at the exhibit?" She fingered the hand-woven shawl wrapped around her neck, the one she'd designed herself.
Sam nodded. "The website showed lots of cool stuff. Some embroidery, too."
Amy smiled as she peered around Jasmin. "You should be our tour guide. I bet you know everything medieval, don't you?"
Sam bit her lip. She knew everything you could read in books, plus a bunch of stuff she couldn't share. She knew the chalky feel of a battlement crumbling beneath her fingers, the heat of an arrow slicing her shoulder, the stench of a dungeon after a cold rain.
"Yeah, everything," she mumbled as she turned toward the window.
Outside the bus, stubbly fields and billboards whizzed past. Her head nodded and her eyes closed, the hum of tires against the highway lulling her asleep like a softly strummed harp.
Sam peered over the crumbling stone wall, her fingers clutching wet moss. Above her, the dark castle loomed. The Silver Knight paced its battlements, moonlight glinting off his armor as the silver orb broke from behind black clouds. Men with crossbows stood watch by the tower, while skeleton trees creaked in the wind.
John slipped from one shadow to the next as he crept toward the castle’s secret back gate.
You can make it! You have to make it . . . Sam held her breath. She cringed as a twig snapped beneath John’s foot. She froze when the Silver Knight turned dark eyes toward her. An eerie howl pierced the night, and shouts erupted from the tower.
“Run!” John sprinted down the hill as arrows rained from the castle walls.
Sam leapt over a rotten log and bolted into the forest. Thorny brambles clutched at her pants as terror clutched at her heart. If the Silver Knight caught her, she would never save Galwyn, never get home, never see her family again.
A horn sounded, and waves of armored men swept out of the castle gates.
No! We can’t . . . She tripped over a tree root, the ground knocking the breath out of her.
Strong hands pulled her to her feet. “Hurry, Samantha!” John cried. “We must gain the river before they let loose the dogs.”
A mournful baying jarred Sam to her senses. White, shining hounds with blood red ears and fiery eyes raced across the midnight sky. They weren’t the castle’s dogs, but the ghost-like hounds John couldn’t see or hear, the ones that always foretold death and doom.
She stumbled toward the creek bed, an arrow whizzing past her shoulder. John pitched forward, the arrow lodged in his back.
“John!” Sam screamed, waking with a jolt.