Chapter 1 – The Hungry Woods

This is the first chapter of ‘War of the Elements’, a fantasy novella.

In Pip’s world, every element is a predator.

The people of Keraseya have always managed to keep them at bay, living in tribes of skilled Ice Slayers, Fire Soldiers Wind Riders. However, when the four elements seem to start working together, Pip and the planet are in great danger.

Pip is flung into an unknown realm with a gaggle of misfits from other tribes, including Everett Flame, a sworn enemy of Pip’s family. She not only must work out who or what is controlling the elements and find her father, but control her quick temper and try not to kill Everett.

***

Pip flew through the woods on a Wind Bound Leaf, across the lashing vines of the Toothy Trees and under the swiping petals of the Leachastingus. Wind Bound Leaves didn’t like being ridden but Pip had learnt to fly them when she was a child and had kept her wrestling with them down to a minimum. She flew through bulbous, claw-like branches, swooped through gaping mouths of snapping plants and dove through luminous, poison-oozing vines.

She spotted the spiny back of a Hunch-Back Crilla and couldn’t resist swooping down to catch it. Crilla’s looked like slow hunched gorillas with spines all the way from their hunched necks down to the floppy, dragging bottoms and they tasted delicious with boiled Sour Snap Leaves.

“Ya!” Shouted Pip, leaning forwards on the bucking leaf.

The leaf leant reluctantly forward flicking its point back aggressively at Pip. It dived towards the Crilla and as it neared the ground, Pip kicked off the leaf and landed lightly on the mossy forest floor.

The Crilla didn’t move, it had its back to Pip and all its spines lay flat, unaware it was being hunted. Crilla’s were known for being particularly slow and stupid but this one was going to be a breeze. Pip pulled a spiked stick, called a Spiker, and a long curved knife from her back. She crept towards the Crilla, crunching lightly on the scuttling Blur Beetles and Squishodills.

Pip raised the spiker above her head and brought it down heavily on the Crilla’s head with a meaty crunch. She swiped across the Crilla’s neck with her knife and sliced the head clean off its shoulders.

“Yes!” Cried Pip triumphantly.

Spines flew across the forest floor and the body of the Crilla flopped lardily on to the ground. Pip used the handle of the knife to unhinge the spiker from the head of the beast and stepped back to admire her catch. As she moved away, the head remained floating in mid-air. Pip’s face morphed from smug to terrified as the realisation hit her.

The backdrop of cascading jungle and vines transformed into a thick sheet of pulsating, purple moss. The organism dropped the Crilla head from its sticky clutches, which was now faceless and pocked. She should have known it was a trap, Blur Beetles loved Camomoss and they were everywhere. The moss began to close in on Pip, even the ground beneath her feet was tightening over her ankles like ropes of cold, sticky sponge and the milky sky was covered by a cloud of purple.

Pip sliced at the moss from her legs with the knife but every time she put her foot down again it was covered by more moss. The rippling Camomoss came towards her left arm and she stabbed at it with the spiker. The plant swallowed the weapon whole and almost took Pip’s hand with it. She was struggling to balance now, the moss underneath her had reached her knees and was lifting her off the ground, ready to cover her completely. She swiped at her legs again in panic but cut her own knee badly and dropped the knife.

“Get off me you greedy pile of mould!” She shouted, not willing to give up “I am not your breakfast!”

She wriggled as much as she could but she was covered up to her waist now. The moss had surrounded her like a purple cuccoon. Pip opened her mouth to shout more abuse at the Camomoss but it swamped her entirely, everything went black and her scream was stifled.

Go to Chapter Two >

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