Don't forget, Chasing Freedom will be on sale on the 15th of June. A date that ended up being far more significant than I had originally realised - but more on that another time. For now - here is a little snippet to hopefully spark your curiosity.
Chase woke with a groan of pain. Every part of his body ached. Even his hair hurt. He felt like he’d been used as somebody’s punching bag, either that or he’d been tackled by a guy twice his weight. The latter seemed more likely. He lay for a moment, eyes scrunched closed against the sunlight, trying to remember taking any big hits at practice the night before.
Slowly he became aware that something wasn’t right. It wasn’t his soft bed under him, but what felt like damp grass. And how could the sun be shining on him? His dorm room faced west.
Vague memories of the previous night flooded back and he bolted upright. The memories were disjointed and confusing, but most of all he remembered the pain. The feeling of his entire body twisting and convulsing. The agony as his hands became paws, as his ears moved up the side of his head, and as his teeth lengthened into inch long fangs.
Chase took deep breaths, shuddering at the memory. It had to have been a dream. Right? He hadn’t really turned into some kind of animal.
He got shakily to his feet and froze. He was in the middle of a forest. And he was naked. Completely, and utterly, naked.
Taking a second, calmer look around he realised it wasn’t a forest, but the woodland on the edge of the Common in his home town. It lay nearly twenty miles from his school. He couldn’t remember getting there.
On the plus side, it did mean home was nearby, and clothes. He really, really wanted some clothes.
He edged towards the border of the woodland, peering out between the trees. It was very early morning, not long past dawn if he could judge. There was no one in sight.
Closing his eyes he took another deep breath and set off at a run.
It took him fifteen excruciating minutes to get home. He used the back alleys, and cut across back gardens, but he was still fairly sure old Mrs Jenkins at number sixteen saw him as he leapt her garden wall and onto his mother’ flowerbeds.
His mum and dad were almost certainly still asleep, but a spare key lived in the bottom of the flower pot by the back door. He’d told his mum a thousand times it was too dangerous leaving it there, but for once he was glad she had ignored him.
The door creaked a little as he pushed it open, but he made it to the bathroom without waking either of his parents.
Two minutes later Chase stood under the shower, scalding water beating down on his back. Muddy water swirled away from his feet and down the drain. The shower wasn’t helping, even when he scrubbed himself again and again, he still felt somehow unclean. His nails were caked with mud, and more worryingly blood. He racked his brain, trying to think where the blood had come from. Was it his own? A vague memory of a man’s terrified face suggested it wasn’t. Bile rose in his throat. Had he attacked someone? Killed them? Why couldn’t he remember?
Chasing Freedom, Chapter 3
So there it is.
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