Excerpt: Whisper Falls

Excerpt: Whisper Falls

Book 1: Whisper Falls Series

Something hovered near the mouth of the cave, behind the falls. A rectangle of cloth seemed to glow in the fading light.

A shadow wavered and shifted. It was a girl about my age. She wore dorky clothes—a long-sleeved brown shirt, an ankle-length skirt, and a ghostly white apron. Silent and unmoving, she stared at me through a liquid sheet of glass.

I guessed it was my turn to speak.

“Did you say something?”

She waited before responding. When she finally spoke, her voice was low and husky. “You’re being foolish. If you wish to reach the top of the bluff, perhaps you’ll arrive more quickly by carrying your odd machine.”

And there it was, a completely wrong interpretation of a perfectly reasonable training technique. The need to explain was irresistible. “I don’t want to arrive at the top quickly. I want to get there by riding the bike.”

She had no reaction—just watched with big, dark eyes in a pale, oval face.

This was stupid. Why couldn’t I drop it? The daylight was disappearing while I wasted it on a stare-down with an Amish girl.

After securing the bike to a tree, I hopped from boulder to boulder along the creek’s edge, stopping on a rock that would get me as close to the falls as possible without being sprayed.

“Do not take another step, or I shall scream.”

I halted and gave her a closer look. The girl stood on a flat rock behind the falls, only a few meters away, her face expressionless and fists clenched against her sides. She was a head shorter than me, thin but not to the eating disorder level, with dark hair hidden under a cap. Her bare toes were visible below the hem of her brown skirt.

I couldn’t stop a smile. She had nothing to fear from me. “Don’t scream. You’re safe.”

“Indeed? Why should I believe you?”

“For starters, that’s an incredibly expensive bike back there. I’m not leaving it alone.”

“A bike? Is that what you call your odd machine?”

As if she didn’t know what a bike was. “Right.”

The girl was so still. Her face. Her body. Nothing on her moved except her lips and her eyes. “May I ask an impertinent question?”

“Sure.”

“You wear most unusual clothes. Where are you from?”

She was frickin’ strange. Did her keepers know where she was? They really shouldn’t have let her roam around on her own. “I was going to ask you the same thing.”

“You’re the stranger in our village, not me.”

“Right.” Village? With a half million people? “I was born and raised in Raleigh.”

Her chin jerked up. It was the first real reaction I’d seen from her.

“You cannot be speaking the truth. Raleigh is miles away, nor did it exist when you were born.”

“What are you talking about?” I shifted onto the balls of my feet and scanned the bluff above her, looking for signs of other freaks in dorky costumes. But I saw no one.

A chill wind swirled around me. This was getting creepy, like I’d stepped onto the set of a bad reality TV show, only there were no cameras rolling anywhere that I could see. “We’re in Raleigh right now. And the city’s been here since the 1700s.”

“Indeed, it has. Since 1794, to be precise. Two years ago.”