Thanks for stepping by the Book Tour of Omega!!
Series: Omega 1
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia, Fantasy
Release date: October 25, 2015
Nothing bad had ever happened in five minutes, right?
… I approached the red rope and nudged my toes up against it then looked around. I half expected there to be a siren or an electrical shock or something after the constant reminders from Herakles and the priests never to leave the woods.
I stepped on the red cord.
I stepped over the physical boundary of my world, and a thrill went through me. Not only was there no alarm, but I didn’t feel guilty or bad for doing it, emotions that might derail me from continuing. I stayed where I was, my heels butting up against the cord, and lifted my gaze to the lake.
The possibilities were endless. My whole life started right here and right now. I laughed at my overdramatic thoughts, realizing nothing was about to change except I might upset Herakles. That alone made me hesitate. I loved my crazy mountain man guardian, and it bothered me to think I was going to make him mad by doing this.
Assuming he finds out. The stubbornly independent side of me he spent hours trying to exhaust with physical activity knew there was only one way he could find out, and I wasn’t about to tell him. At least, not for three weeks. Maybe after graduation when we were on the way to the Burger God I was going to spend my life working at, I’d tell him of the one time in twelve years when I defied him to dip my toes in the lake.
Crouching like it was a race, I breathed in deeply, then bolted. There was no real reason to run. I was completely alone, and I laughed as I sprinted, tickled beyond anything to be completely free, if only for mere minutes.
Sprinting to the lake, I kept to my internal promise of not spending more than a few minutes off the property and threw myself to the ground. Wrenching off my shoes and socks, I scooted to the edge of the lake and dangled my legs over the rock on which I sat. The moment my feet dipped beneath the cool surface, my world seemed to slow to a stop. I leaned over, marveling at the sensations. It shouldn’t have been, but this was somehow different than a pool. It felt… alive.
“Holy Poseidon,” I murmured.
The sensation of being united with something living moved through my system, a wave that ran from my toes to the tip of my head, in rhythm with the water, then outward, rippling the grass around the lake. I shivered. Fascinated, I peered into the dark depths of the lake. My feet caused small waves that were pushed back to the natural tides of the lake. Deep within the depths, I caught a glimmer of something odd.
I squinted in the fading light. They weren’t fish or rocks or anything. The lake was too deep to see the bottom, but I swore I saw ribbons of soft colors twisting around like smoke through the waters. Their movements were too precise to be dictated by the tides. I blinked- and they were gone.
Realizing my five minutes were up, I lifted my feet and dried them on my pant legs then replaced my shoes and socks. I didn’t feel nearly as urgent about returning to the forest where I’d spent most my life and ambled back. It was strange, but I could almost feel the tide of the lake still moving through me, rocking from toes to head and back again before rustling the grass around me. It was gentle, soothing and peaceful. I was an extension of the water, and it felt nice, natural.
I had nothing to compare the experience to and couldn’t help wondering if I’d spent my entire life cut off from such small pleasures. It made me despise the nymphs even more, since they probably spent every weekend feeling whatever this was out in the real world.
Stepping over the red rope, the internal rocking stopped, and I realized it hadn’t only been the lake I felt. The breeze that stirred the surface of the lake stopped at the barrier, too, and its gentle touch on my skin fell away.
I missed them almost as soon as I left them. Facing the lake once more, I smiled. If nothing else, I now knew one of the secrets of the world outside my boundaries, and it was beautiful.
Beyond happy with my secret adventure, I moved five meters from the cord to an area big enough for a fire and built a little campsite. My assigned kit contained a canteen of water and the ingredients for s’mores. Herakles’ thoughtfulness only added to my happiness. I went through my tasks of finding shelter, starting a fire, and stretching out on the ground to watch the stars with a smile plastered on my face. After my treats, I let the fire die out and retreated to a small shelter I’d created from a poncho and tree branches. I had brought a sleeping bag and crawled into it. My mind was on the lake, on my future and how incredible it was going to be to leave the compound once and for all and join the rest of the world. I slid into a deep, contented sleep.
Something awoke me shortly before dawn. I opened my eyes, senses trained on the world outside my makeshift tent. Animals used their instincts and intuition better than humans, and Herakles had emphasized being more like the locals when camping out. So I listened in silence and stillness.
An animal was rustling quietly, but it wasn’t close, and it wasn’t in the forest, which meant that it was large if I could hear it from this far off. The sounds came from the direction of the lake. I crept out of my sleeping bag and covered the distance quickly between me and the boundary. Reaching the stump where I often perched to gaze at the lake, I squatted on top of it and stared.
It was an animal, but nothing like I had ever seen before. Monster was probably a better description. The creature had a wingspan of ten meters and was the size of a linebacker with the long, lean, musculature and grace of a feline. It stood on two legs, and had two arms that looked pretty human. The sound I heard was of its long tail tapping the brush lining the bank of the lake. Its skin was an unnatural shade of stone grey. One of its ears stuck out at an odd angle and its eyes glowed like blue jewels in the night. It had fangs, talons, and a barbed tail, and its eyes were positioned facing forward, all of which were characteristics of a predator of some sort and not something I cared to confront.
It stood where I had sat earlier, peering at the lake, at the surrounding area, at the sky. It crouched beside the lake, tail tapping the dirt.
It was horrifying- and magnificent. I couldn’t have imagined a more incredible combination of a man and a beast. The raw power it exuded in each tiny, controlled movement exceeded anything a human or traditional predator possessed.
This is a dream. It had to be. No such creature existed, unless it was some sort of undiscovered animal or leftover dinosaur. And if that were the case, I didn’t think this would be the first time I’d seen it. I spent too many days and nights in the forest for it to belong here. Where it had originated, and why it chose here to stop, I couldn’t begin to guess.
There was intelligence in its movement and visual exploration of the environment. The man-beast hybrid wasn’t something I was able to explain away. I pinched my arm to ensure I was awake. The light sting wasn’t much of a reassurance when faced with a monster from a nightmare.
It stood and unfurled its wings.
About the Author
Lizzy Ford is the award winning, internationally acclaimed author of over thirty five books written for young adult, new adult and adult romance readers, to include the internationally bestselling Rhyn Trilogy, Witchling Series and the War of Gods series. Considered a freak of nature by her peers for the ability to write and release a commercial quality novel in under a month, Lizzy has focused on keeping her readers happy by producing brilliant, gritty romances that remind people why true love is a trial worth enduring.
This is a tour-wide giveaway. Open INT. Ends October 15.