TITLE: BEFORE ME RUN
GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy
— Southeast Missouri, 1842 —
Poteet swept drooping branches aside as she marched toward the sound of a squalling newborn. Across a small clearing in the dense forest, the infant lay naked and twitching on a slab of granite, her wet blanket slapping in the wind and rain.
Poteet’s jaw tightened. Rex Stafford had lost his mind, abandoning his only child like that. It could only mean one thing.
Isabelle did not survive the birth.
Beyond the rock where the baby lay, a trio of wolves emerged from the trees, their eyes fixed on the infant. They crept forward, rumbling with low, hungry growls.
Sprinting toward the child, Poteet pulled an arrow from the quiver on her back and snapped it into place. One smooth motion, never breaking stride. “HEAAAHH!”
Two of the wolves glanced her way, then darted for cover in the nearby trees. But their leader continued bounding forward.
Ignoring her, he sprang toward the child, his fangs bared.
Her arrow struck him in mid-air. It was perfectly aimed, piercing him clean in the heart. At least she could give him that.
He fell with a thud, his pointed teeth landing on the baby's exposed belly. The blow knocked the wind out of her, silencing her cries.
A cloudy vapor whooshed from the wolf’s slack jaws at precisely the moment the newborn recovered from her shock with an enormous gasp. In so doing, she inhaled the wolf’s final breath.