Genre: YA Gothic Fantasy
Nothing thrived at the far end of the park. Even laughter died at the first stunted tree. Clay could have skipped the shortcut had Alex, who had the communication skills of a bad WIFI connection, called an hour earlier. Proper packing takes time. He tightened the straps on his overnight pack and pedaled up the dead forest path.
Dread pressed in around him. Clay took a deep breath and filled his lungs with dusty air. There had to be a logical explanation for the creepiness of the dead forest, like buried electrical lines. He pedaled faster, but only because he was late, and left the park behind in record time.
An orange car rocketed down the street. Clay made a mental note to avoid orange cars when he got his license in a few months. That guy was going to kill someone. He coasted past the exhaust trail and skidded to a stop in Alex’s driveway. His friends were scattered around the yard, none of them in uniform. He straightened his scout shirt. They needed to take scouting more seriously.
Alex aimed a small camcorder at him and pushed a button. Light flashed in Clay’s eyes, blinding him.
Clay blocked the light with his hands. “Alex!”
“The enhanced light works!” Alex switched the light off, leaving Clay seeing spots.
“What’s the camera for?” Clay got off his bike and dropped his pack at his feet.
Alex shut the tiny screen, leaned forward, and whispered, “The camera sees what we can’t.”