TITLE: The Shadow of the Tree
GENRE: YA Fantasy
The chirping of the crickets sharpened as Hauk slipped out of his hut. Somewhere in the forest, a barking owl claimed its territory. The humid warmth of the day still lingered, but the camp lay in darkness, the moon hiding in clouds. Hauk held still and scanned the circle of grass huts. His eyes were adjusted to the deeper dark inside, but he had to strain them to see all the way to the other side of the grounds. Embers still glowed in some of the fireplaces, but none of the other kids were up and about.
Still, his heart fluttered as he stole across the encampment.
He was cutting it close. The Guardian had just finished her nightly patrol. She could still be lurking around. You’d think she was an elder, not a kid like the rest of them, the way she stuck to the rules of her task.
When Hauk passed the camp entrance, a ray of light flickered in the corner of his eye. His head snapped toward it, and he stopped short in his tracks. Nothing but trees, just as it should be. But he could have sworn there was something. Check or continue? It would only take a moment, and if anyone saw him, he could claim he needed a pee. Hauk prayed to Light no dry sticks hid beneath the soft grass and tip-toed between two of the huts. At the outskirts of the camp the forest lay before him, dark and desolate.