My stop on the tour today and the extract I have follows on from the post on 15th by chataboutbooks.wordpress.com. Hope you enjoy it.
Eight-year-old Jenny Bell winced as the dying sun lanced through the trees on the right, sending out bright spears of laser light. Narrowing her eyes, the light coalesced into miniscule supernovas as she trudged along the deserted street, goody bag swinging from her right hand, a wedge of birthday cake clasped in her left. Jenny stopped for a moment and eyed the cake with pink icing; her tummy felt full and yet she still took a bite before setting off again. She’d been at her best friend’s house all afternoon, playing on the bouncy castle and dancing until she felt hot and bothered. Jenny had lost count of the amount of jelly and cake she had eaten at the party and now she felt so sleepy that all she wanted to do was get home and flop down on her comfy bed. Her best friend, Kimberly, had loved the present that Jenny had bought with her own pocket money, a fizzy bath bomb from a shop in town and a pair of pretty earrings. Jenny wiped the sweat from her brow with a hand sticky from the icing and jam. The cake clogged her mouth, she couldn’t swallow, so, dropping the remains of the cake into the bag, she lifted out a small bottle, grimacing as she took a glug of the warm bubblegum-flavoured drink. Burping lightly, she looked around, blushing in embarrassment. Her dad had dropped her off at Kimberley’s house before driving off to work.
He had told her to be home by six p.m. and Jenny had promised that she would, but now she was starting to realise that she must have stayed longer at the party than she thought. Kimberley’s mum had offered to take her home but Jenny had said she was fine, after all it was only a short walk home. The sun gave a final flash of light and then vanished completely. Suddenly, the air was tinged a strange, eerie, pink colour and Jenny felt the first fluttering of unease tremble through her body. The street had that typical late-Sunday feel, cars were parked on driveways, a tabby cat sat on a wall, watching her with alien green eyes, yet there was no sign of anyone on the street, no children kicking a ball about, no adults walking their dog after a heavy Sunday dinner. She set off walking again, suddenly keen to be home, the hem of her party dress flicking back and forth as her sparkly dolly shoes hurried her along the street. The sweat she had wiped from her face was back, her hair felt straggly and damp and she started to pant even before breaking into an awkward jog. She thought of her brother, he was two years older than her and Jenny didn’t like him one bit. He was always being mean and he loved to call her nasty names at every opportunity. Part of her mind cringed at the thought of arriving home with a bag full of cake and sweets, her face glowing red, her body tacky with sweat. She just knew that he would smirk and call her fatty, and she wasn’t in the mood for nasty name calling. A trickle of sweat seeped into her right eye and she winced at the sting, stopping to dab at her eye with the sleeve of her blue dress, her young face screwed up in discomfort. Jenny blinked as all the good memories of the day fell away, she felt sick, the jelly and cake sat heavy in her stomach. She started to run again, convinced she could feel all the food swilling around in her tummy. In the distance, she could see traffic on the main road flowing back and forth, one or two of the cars had their lights on and Jenny felt the fear grow as the light started to fade at an alarming rate. When her phone rang, she staggered to a stop, her right hand rummaging in the pocket of her dress, a pocket crammed with toffee wrappers and bits of scrunched up tissue. Pulling out the phone, she panicked when she saw her dad’s name flash on the small screen. She knew he would be ringing to make sure she had arrived home safely, and Jenny also knew that he wouldn’t be happy to find she was still on the street. She hopped from one foot to another in indecision, the fear of having her dad shouting down the phone made her bottom lip quiver, though she knew she had no choice.
Taking a deep breath, she tapped at the screen, the apology forming on her lips when a hand clamped across her mouth and she felt herself lifted from the ground, her eyes suddenly wide with terror as fingers gripped her face, the scream locked in her throat. The goodie bag and phone fell from her hand and hit the floor, seconds later Jenny Bell had vanished as if she had never even existed. In the distance, the cat watched the drama unfold, fur rising it spat in distress before jumping from the wall and dashing into the trees, as if it knew that something monstrous was stalking the deserted street.