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From Chapter One of the first book in the "Hannibal's Elephant Girl" series


Painful thought it was, I ran along the path leading into the woods. I was grateful for the comfort of his cape and knew I should have thanked him. The thick cloak was dappled in leafy green and shades of tan. It extended almost to the ground, covering me from shoulders to ankles. 

I stopped and looked back, but the young man was gone.

The large lump on the back of my head hurt more than ever. When I touched it, pain shot across my forehead and into my eyes, making me dizzy.

If only I could lie down and sleep for a little while.

A patch of grass, like a soft green bed, lay beneath a nearby oak tree. When I took a step toward the grass, I heard noises in the distance. A dog barked and the clang of metal echoed through the forest.

The camp must be nearby.

I walked toward the sounds, too exhausted to run any more. 



Near the path, a boy gathered wood. He wore a gray tunic and had his shaggy hair tied back with a leather string. He gave me a contemptuous sneer and I wondered why. One of the sticks fell from his arm He snatched it from the ground and cocked it back over his shoulder, as if to throw it at me. I kept my eyes on him and picked up a jagged stone the size of my fist, raising it in defiance. After surviving the river, the elephant with his long horns, and the frightening soldiers, I wasn’t going to be intimidated by a boy. He was taller than me, but I had the rock.

He swung his stick, hitting a nearby tree, then turned away, carrying his load of wood along the path. After he was out of sight, I continued the same way he had gone, keeping my rock handy.

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