TITLE: Beyond the Wild
GENRE: YA Fantasy
When seventeen-year-old Syra is forced to befriend the enemy, she unexpectedly finds them admirable and uses her powers to heal one, defying her tribe and revealing her secret—she is Natura and her race is at war with humankind. To stop her tribe from killing innocents who don't want to fight in the war, she'll risk banishment forever from her family.
I stretch my mind beneath my feet into the earth’s humming energy and pull. Warmth twists up and into my body, washing away my aches. The trees behind me, the bugs in the grass, and even the birds in the sky, sing with life.
I take a deep breath, smelling dirt, pine and the sharp, musky stench of humans. I gag, turning my head into my shoulder. It has been a year and still the scent hits me hard. The humans stand in a disorganized line ahead of me, waiting for the guards to push the camp’s gate open. It rattles and whines, rocking the compound’s nine-foot high fence.
Over my shoulder, the forest’s treeline reaches into the distance. Running through those trees, dried leaves crunching beneath my feet and fresh air in my lungs, that’s what I want. The Wild. Sighing, my chest stinging, I shift my laundry bag and don’t look back.
A bird above me cries while in flight, swooping down in a burst of white energy. It’s too close. I look to the camp’s guards, cringing.
Its essence ceases as quick as lightning, its death cutting a sharp pain through me. I choke back a gasp as the kids around me glance up. They only see a blue jay, dead, its wings out as it spirals to the ground.
By now, the animals should know not to come this close to camp. Every time they do, the guards shoot them down.
“Syra,” Trax whispers, tugging on my arm.