Forgotten will be out on Wednesday, June 20th, so you know what that means…it’s time for a little teaser!
After walking for a few miles, Amaal came upon a small clearing with a perfect oval of a pond in its center. The water looked very clear and clean, showing the pond’s sandy bottom. In the summer, this might be a good spot to bathe; not quite the same as the sparkling swimming pool that had been installed in the rooftop deck outside his late, lamented penthouse, but better than nothing. He might have been a fire elemental, but that did not mean he didn’t enjoy a good swim on a warm day.
As he stood there, looking down at the shimmering surface of the pond, a strange malaise suddenly swept over him. He put a hand to his stomach, wondering if perhaps he had eaten something that didn’t agree with him, although any kind of sickness was exceedingly rare in a djinn.
His heart began to hammer in his chest, and almost before he realized what was happening, his legs had given way beneath him and he had fallen to the ground, face down in — luckily — the grass that surrounded the pond, rather than on its narrow, sandy shore. A strange shaking overtook his limbs, and the world seemed to spin around him.
Am I dying? he thought. The irony of expiring here, in the middle of nowhere with no one to know of his passing, was not lost on him. But no, a djinn could not simply drop dead for no reason. A mortal wound might lay him low, but he had suffered no such blow, had taken no injury on his walk. It was as if this dreadful weakness and sickness had descended out of the clear blue sky.
A rustling in the grass told him something was approaching him. With a great effort, he raised his head to see what it was.
He had expected to see a deer, or perhaps a coyote or even a bear. However, his eyes met those of a young woman who stood a few feet away. Her sun-streaked light brown hair blew around her face, which was surprisingly lovely, with regular, delicate features. In one hand she held a shotgun, but she clutched it by the barrel and didn’t appear very comfortable with the idea of using it.
Even so, for one mad moment, he wondered whether she had shot him. No, that was impossible. He had heard no report from the gun, which should have boomed off the surrounding trees. Besides, while a shotgun blast might level a human, it certainly couldn’t incapacitate a djinn to the point where he could barely lift his head from the ground.
She was human, so she had to be immune. How she had managed to survive out here in these mountains for so many weeks, Amaal didn’t know, but he had more pressing issues on his mind. He hated to ask for assistance from a mortal, but he feared he had little choice.
“Help me,” he whispered. The weakness of his voice shocked him, but at least he’d been able to form the words.
Her slender fingers tightened on the gun, pale against the blued steel. Otherwise, she didn’t move. “Who are you?”
“My name is Amaal.”
Her eyes narrowed. He noticed that they were a clear, piercing aquamarine blue, quite the most arresting eyes he had ever seen in all his long life. “What’s the matter with you?”
“I — ” Good question. The problem was, he had no idea what was wrong with him. Never before had he felt so ill, so helpless. Djinn were not supposed to feel this way. It was humans who suffered from illness and disease, who led short, brutish lives filled with all kinds of pain. “I don’t know,” he managed to whisper. “I was walking, and then I began to feel ill.”
A strange sort of comprehension seemed to pass over the young woman’s face. Some of the rosiness left her cheeks, even as her eyes widened and she gripped the shotgun, now raising it so it pointed directly at him. “Oh, my God,” she murmured, although it was clear she had not intended those words for his ears.
The official release day for Forgotten is Wednesday, June 20th, but you can pre-order it now and have it sent straight to your e-reader or app as soon as it’s out!