Title: TERRA INCOGNITA
Genre: YA Post-apocalyptic paranormal with romantic elements
Word Count: 100,000
Seventeen-year old Haylee Wells thinks she lives in an ordinary world. Her biggest concern has been convincing her mother she may not want to attend college. Ever. But just out of sight something not so ordinary lurks. Hidden in the shadows of city streets and forests – just like the one in her backyard – the Pale Ones plan their coming out.
In the future, the cities are gone and the land barren. Mankind, fearing the deadly touch of the Pale Ones, knows better than to venture into dark places. Haylee awakens to this world, where the supernatural is common: inanimate objects become poisonous organisms, humans survive – and fight back – with powers of their own, and Seers discern what secrets lie within the confines of your mind and heart.
Taking refuge with a group of humans, she becomes fast friends with Glenna, who has a calming presence – literally – and is drawn to Derik, the duty-bound protector, despite his condescending-jerk quotient and creepy insider knowledge of the Pale Ones. He can sense when they are near, and his description of them leaves her thinking they may be the monsters on which many supernatural creature legends are based.
The Pale Ones know great power dwells within Haylee and have propelled her through time to claim it. When her abilities become evident, she wonders what the supposedly immortal creatures want with an inexperienced Seer with a knack for healing. She knows she should return home. But her growing affections for her new friends, particularly Derik, leave her unsure in which time home resides.
Fighting my way through images of thick forest undergrowth and moonlight-catching foliage, I bolted up in bed, gasping for air, drenched in sweat, my ears ringing.
I had been running. Whether from something or toward it, I was unsure.
Banging and howling.
That is what pulled me from the dream, made me struggle my way out. Realizing this, though still wondering if that too had been a dream, I calmed myself down and listened.
I heard it again. Something hitting a windowpane. Untangling my legs from the blankets, I climbed out of bed, followed the sound to the room across the hall, and stood in the doorway. Moonlight poured in, casting an elongated shadow across the floor. A tree branch. The window rattled with every gust of wind, as the branch hit the glass. I let out the breath I had been holding, closed my eyes briefly, and crossed the room. The yard was bathed in milky light and, as I stood looking down, I heard the other sound.
Lobo was howling. Howling interspersed with intervals of all-out barking.
When I spotted the dog, he was sniffing around the garden fence, only stopping to howl and bark toward the forest. The closest neighbors lived on the other side of the woods but could likely still hear the commotion, so I opened the window.
“Shh! Lobo! Cut that out!” I called, trying to keep my voice low. When the dog continued, I said more loudly, “Lobo! Stop it!”