GENRE: YA science fiction
The power has just gone out, trapping sixteen-year-old Maya five stories underground. She’s with Beck and a group of kids from school—though except for Cam, she doesn’t know who else is there. Beck stands behind Maya, holding her. She wonders what makes a strange clicking noise.
If it’s a giant bat I’ll freak. I hate bats.
Someone screeches and people shout, “Don’t DO that!” The air stinks of breathy fear and something else. Something horrible.
“Did anyone see it?” a girl whispers. “Does anyone know what it is?”
“What’s that smell?” a guy asks.
Someone yells, “Shut up!” God. I think it’s Lance Monson. He’s a total jerk at school.
“We all heard it,” a girl offers. “Back in the hall—”
“I said shut up! You guys are gonna get us killed!”
“You mean like Dustin?”
The darkness swirls with clicking. A girl whispers, “We don’t know he’s—”
“Shut the freaking hell up or I’ll shut you up myself!”
A sudden jet of air tickles my ear. Then the darkness sniffs me with reeking breath. My eyes open wide, burning to see. “Wh … wha—?”
Beck exhales, “Shhhhh.” His hold on me is cement.
Prickly fur or whiskers touch my cheek. My skin crawls hot then cold. I dig my fingernails into Beck’s arm.
He relaxes his hold on me and disappears.
I whirl around, grabbing at air. “Beck!” My voice cracks. “Where are you? Beck?”
A girl yells, “I can’t take this anymore!”
Something slams into me. I punch and kick it with everything I’ve got. A warm hand catches my wrist. A quiet voice says, “Maya. Stop.” Beck pulls me into a full body hug. I almost melt. “It’s okay,” he whispers. “It’s just me.”