Today I offer you another tiny teaser from Shadows on the Moon. Everyone seems so excited about this book that I've decided post snippets as often as I can - maybe every couple of months or so - given that the release isn't for another ten months. The snippets won't be in chronological order and they'll be short because I don't want to spoil anything. Turns out it's really HARD to find interesting exerpts that make sense on their own but don't give the plot away. Who knew?
Anywhere, follow the cut to find the teaser. Tell me what you think!
It was the wrong thing to do. I knew it, even as instinct moved me. My brain screamed at me to be still, but my legs reacted before I gave them leave, pushing me out from under the table and turning me to the door. I had no choice.
He would follow. I knew it. Terayama-san was a hunter, and from the moment he had seen me on the other side of that screen, I was his prey.
He would chase me.
He would catch me.
He would never stop until I was dead.
He was shouting, telling Mai to stay in the room. I cleared the doorway and was halfway down the corridor before he finished. The corridor was dark; the lamps had not yet been lit. My sock-clad feet made no sound on the tatami mats, but my long sleeves flapped with the movement of my arms, making a noise like the frantic beating of trapped birds wings.
The outer screen slammed shut behind me and footfalls thundered through the floor. It was like being in a dream, except that I was sweating, my heart jumping with fear. No nightmare had ever terrified me like this.
I rounded the corner and flung myself into an alcove, tucking my body into the gap between wall and a tall arrangement of spiny black branches and white flowers.
I reached for the threads of an illusion – a familiar one – of shadows and nothingness. Frantically I wrapped it around myself, weaving it so thickly that my own vision went dim and grey. It was clumsy, but I did not have time to pick it apart and begin again.
Terayama-san came into sight, his posture tense and ready, leaning forward as if in anticipation. He did not hold a weapon. Not yet. There at the corner, not a full arm's reach from me, he stopped. His eyes searched the corridor ahead, and then he turned back to look behind him.
“I know you're here. Come out.”
The gentle coaxing tone, the way his hands flexed and clenched, sent a sickening quiver through me. I bit down on my lip to hold in the whimper that wanted to escape.
“Little Suzu-chan, don't hide. Answer me. I don't want to get angry with you.”
He turned, his gaze tracking slowly over the twilight shadows of the corridor.
I had used this weaving a dozen times and no one had ever pierced it. No one. He could not find me, because I was not there to be found.
Why didn't he walk away?
Why did he stand there still?
People see what they wish to see.
Terayama-san knew me. He knew my smell, the sound of my breathing, the feel of my presence. He knew I must be somewhere in this corridor. People saw what they wished to see – and right now, Terayama-san wished to see me.
His gaze came back to the alcove. The little space where the shadows were ever so slightly too dense, and the flower arrangement was ever so slightly askew. The only place within sight where a small, frightened girl might be able to duck out of sight.