A shrill whistle came from above, and a wave of noise — a mixture of screaming and shouting — swept across the arena.
As quick as a wink, a large red shadow shot out from the hole behind the tall boy, tossed him into the air and caught him as he fell.
Rapidly it coiled around his long-limbed body, squeezing the life out of him, as he kicked helplessly.
It was a red bokwa of enormous size.
Jack was screaming. It was soundless, painful and primeval. He wanted to run, shout and scream. Anything, if only he could get out of the place.
A cold hand caught him by his arm. “Still. You must keep still.” Teilo’s voice sounded too calm to be real.
Seemingly disturbed by the fearful sight of the giant bokwa, the small brown ones, which had until now dominated the arena, slithered meekly towards the edges and vanished into the small holes in the wall. Soon only a handful of them were left, wiggling silently along the wall.
The whole arena became eerily deserted.
The gruesome body of the young boy was now lying alone. Already small in size, it was now curled tightly up, like a baby in a mother’s womb. A stone’s throw away, the large red bokwa thumped the tall boy onto the ground. The feeble gurgling sound from his throat and the spontaneous twitching of his hands were the only signs he was still alive.
Slowly, the giant bokwa opened its large blood-dripping mouth and started reaching towards the boy’s head.
Next to him, Teilo stood still like a statue. Still? Was that how he had survived? Keeping still in the middle of the bloody carnage?
Without knowing what he was doing, Jack lurched into a frenzied run, stomping his feet and stirring up a thick layer of dust. A few steps away from the stricken boy he halted.
“Hmmm, Hmmm …” Straining his throat to utter a sound, he stomped his feet more.
The bokwa’s head froze in mid-air. Its scaly body gleamed splendidly, and its cold, orange eyes gawked at him, sizing him up.
“Hi, here!” Teilo shouted, having somehow taken up a position opposite Jack.
Perhaps because Teilo was nearer, or the fact that he was half a head shorter than Jack, the bokwa only faltered for a second before weaving its giant body towards Teilo, disregarding the incoherent sounds from Jack’s strained throat.
“Zizi …” A threatening hiss escaped from Teilo’s compressed lips, and he adopted an attacking pose.
Flashing in the corner of his eye, Jack caught sight of something shining among the audience. Above the lofty wall, a small boy, the one who had chanted “Teilo” in the washing hall, was bending over the low barrier with a dagger in his hand. As he waved it, the sharp edge of the dagger glimmered brightly.
The dagger, if only he could get that dagger!
About the Book
Author: Coral Walker
Genre: YA fantasy/scifi
It seems that nothing could be worse than waking up one morning to find their parents have disappeared and their young brother Bo bawling his eyes out, but for Jack and Brianna, the squabbling teenage sibling rivals, the worst is yet to come.
Much to the bafflement and distress of their children, Marcus and Zelda have actually returned to their home planet, Cygnore. Marcus and Zelda, the runaway prince and princess of Bara and Rion, had a life on Earth. For twelve years, they lived happily and peacefully under the name of ‘Goodman’.
Bo is kidnapped. In hot-headed pursuit, Jack and Brianna plunge into a wormhole that takes them to Taron. Little did they know their impetuous arrival in Taron has placed the lives of their parents in peril. Locals catch them and bring them to an arena. In bewilderment and dismay, Jack finds himself fettered to a wall and examined by a smouldering-eyed and blue-skinned young woman of Bara, Lady Cici.
Lady Cici, the daughter of Lord Shusha, has come to the arena for one and only reason — to have them killed. She is to be engaged to Prince Marcus, their father, and she cannot afford their existence to jeopardize Marcus’ life and her forthcoming engagement. She must have them killed, and the arena, where slaves routinely fight to the death, is the perfect place.
Coral Walker was born and raised in China. She holds a BSc in Computer Engineering, MSc in computing and PhD in Computer Science and, and has spent most of her adult life striving for an orthodox, academic career path. She now lives in Wales, UK with her husband and three children. Becoming a mother, and teaching her children to live a fulfilled life resuscitated her fading dream of being an author. The urge to write became so great that she pursued her dream and the ‘Children of Swan’ trilogy is the upshot — a symbol of a new journey in life.
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