Today we're taking a look at an excerpt from THE WICKED AWAKENING OF ANNE MERCHANT by Joanne Weibe. First, here's the 411 on the book:
The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant
by Joanne Weibe
Book Two in the V Trilogy
Young Adult Fiction
Date Published: January 20, 2015
Life and death, light and dark, spirit and flesh-on Wormwood Island, the lines are always blurred. For Anne Merchant, who has been thrust back into this eerily secretive world, crossing the line seems inevitable, inescapable, destined.
Now, as Ben finds himself battling for the Big V and Teddy reveals the celestial plan in which Anne is entwined, Anne must choose: embrace her darkly powerful connection to a woman known as Lilith and, in doing so, save the boy she loves…or follow a safer path that is sure to lead to Ben’s destruction at the hands of dark leaders. Hoping the ends will justify the means, Anne starts down the slippery slope into the underworld, intent on exploring the dark to find the light. But as the lure of Lilith proves powerfully strong, will Anne save others-only to lose herself?
First it’s black and then it’s bright. I’m running.
Someone has me by the hand. He’s shouting for me to hurry as he drags me over tangled roots and under sharp branches.
I realize I’m back in this world before I know I’m racing up from the shores of Wormwood Island, between its craggy trees, and toward its dark, beating heart: the Cania Christy Preparatory Academy, a stately campus of mossy stone buildings veiled in ocean mist and secrecy.
Oh, God. I’m back.
My heart’s pounding at double time.
I’m staggering. Lumbering. In bare feet.
“Come on!” Teddy hollers at me. I recognize his voice at the same time my eyes adjust to the bluish light. Sunlight through the trees. Sunlight trapped in swirls of low-hanging fog. I trip, and he yanks me back to standing, to running. “Wake up, Anne, before it’s too late. Before we’re there.”
Teddy. Teddy brought me back here. He was next to me in California only moments ago—or what seems like moments ago. And he was taking my blood, doping me, telling me—what was he telling me? My mind feels stuck back in that damn hospital bed, back with my body, back where I’m supposed to be. Remember. Think.
Ben helped me. Ben risked it all to help me escape Wormwood Island.
I’m back here, where Ben is. A silver lining I’ll think about later. After. After I wrap my brain around the here and now.
“Can’t you move any faster?”
“Good. You’re alert. Now hurry. He’ll be here any minute.”
“Teddy,” I repeat and stop suddenly.
He jerks my arm like it’s the leash of a disobedient dog. I pull back. He yanks again, harder. I free myself from his hold, stumble away, and stop cold against a tree. My feet sink into the chilly, wet earth of the forest floor. Standing here, feeling the ground beneath my feet, makes this all real.
My efforts with Ben were for nothing.
Flashes of last night—God, was it just last night?—strike me like furious fists. The glowing interior of Valedictorian Hall. That short-banged girl named Hiltop P. Shemese transforming into Villicus, and Villicus revealing he’s none other than Mephistopheles, the not-so-fictional devil who makes exchanges with humans. And then came Pilot Stone, my very own Judas, to help the devil do his dirty work. I see the vials—his, mine, beautiful Ben Zin’s—glinting in the firelight; I see myself grab them and flee, in flames, into the rain, up to the cliff. And then…and then Ben joins me, holds me, frees me. Kisses me. We jump. I vanish. Wake. And then Teddy…
“I need a sec,” I tell Teddy.
“I didn’t say we could stop!”
“I’m not asking.”
He’s panting when he halts to glare at me with those pale eyes of his. This demon-boy.
Behind him, the woods double and conflate. I brace myself against a tree, clear my head. I know what’s happening. I know I’ve just been vivified, created anew. I know Teddy’s got vials of my blood in his satchel.
I know all those things.
But I can’t intellectualize away the fact that I feel like my body, mind, and soul are bricks that have yet to be cemented together.
“Don’t give me that look,” I growl his way. “You’ve ruined everything.”
“Everything? You had nothing. What’s to ruin?”
“I was awake. After years in a coma, I was awake.”
“You’re not needed in California. I need you here. So does your mom.”
Teddy told me I had a purpose on Wormwood Island. Over the racing beep of my heart rate monitor and the slow drip of my IV, he said I should trust him, that my mom trusted him. My deceased mom. How could he know my mom?
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