Excerpt from Published Book:
Rocked: A Chelsie Valdar Saga, 1
By Gina Marie Long
The ground trembles under my feet. I pause on the nature trail, forcing Gator to stop, too. I wonder if it’s an earthquake but each tremor is short and separate from the next one. Not how a quake’s rumbling feels. Maybe something heavy dropped on the ground or exploded nearby.
Or it could be something else…
I look at Gator for his opinion. Whatever caused the disturbance stopped. His head tilts from side to side as he makes eye contact then sneezes. I smile at his cuteness, shrug my shoulders and we take off walking fast and steady.
Staying in shape is a priority to me and even though it is the first day of summer vacation, I refuse to ease up on my workouts.
Besides, I need to burn off some restless energy and vent my anger from Dean breaking up with me yesterday. The last day of school is supposed to be fun and carefree. Especially now that I’ll be a high school senior when school starts again in August. But no, Dean ruined that. At my locker, before first hour, he caught me and whispered he wanted to breakup. He claims I need an attitude adjustment and that I keep secrets from him. Well, maybe. Screw him. Whatever.
The temperature feels perfect for early June. Blue skies and a nice breeze. The nature trails at Milo McIver State Park are next to my hometown of Estacada, Oregon, close to where I live with my dad and brother. This place is peaceful but motivates me to walk my butt off.
Boom, boom, boom. I freeze again. The pounding echoes from all around and the shuddering of the earth travels through my feet and up my legs. Gator strains at the end of his leash, not moving, quiet, ears alert, and eyes searching for the invader.
A savage roar rises from within the dense woods. Birds screech and fly from the surrounding trees in fright. A young deer bolts over the trail, not even noticing us as it flees from the commotion.
From the tree line on my left, someone large hurtles through the tangled branches directly at Gator and me. The window of opportunity to move out of the way is gone. He slams into my body, blasting me backwards through the air almost ten feet before I hit the ground. Flat on my back, I try to breathe in but struggle as my lungs and stomach protest in pain, refusing to function yet.
I am embarrassed and annoyed with myself. Years of grueling training have prepared me to be on the lookout for this sort of situation. “Plan A” is to avoid trouble. Don’t get involved. (I’ve never been good at following that advice.) If slipping away fails, try negotiating. Or conning my way out of a tight spot. If all else fails, I fight.
I did nothing. Except lose focus on my environment from dwelling on Dean’s rejection, and become the victim. I lie out of breath in the dirt and wonder what my attacker plans to do next.
During the tackle, I lost my grip on Gator’s leash. I never let him run loose and here he is – free as a bird. The rustling of leaves and his barking signal he is close. Why doesn’t he run to my face, brush against my hand, or jump on my belly? I hope I can snatch the leash before he decides to dash into the woods and explore.
I rub my fingers across my eyes, trying to remove dirt from the corner of the left one. My ponytail presses into the back of my head, creating a painful ache. Sucking in a shallow breath of dusty air and blinking rapidly, I am aware I need to recover now and be on the defense.
My vision clears and I partially rise, propping my upper body on my elbows. I realize I have company standing spread-eagle over my legs. Shock and panic ricochet through me as I stare up into the daunting, coal-black eyes of a Bigfoot.