Friday, October 13, 2017

Read Chapter One From Monsterland by Michael Okon



Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.

Wyatt Baldwin's senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An ongoing debate with his best friends Melvin and Howard Drucker over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance.

But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by werewolves on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?

Chapter 1

he fire Billy created burned bright, rabbits roasted on
a spit made from hickory, the juices dripping to hiss

in the flames. Seven of his hairy friends lay in scat-
tered repose, enjoying the late afternoon lull—two napped,

the others tossed a stuffed fur in the form of a ball around the
clearing, hooting with amusement when it rolled into the
brush. They traveled in a pack, his group, his makeshift family,
foraging together, hiding in plain sight. It had been that way
for generations. But the glades were getting smaller, the
humans invasive.
Mosquitoes droned lazily over the still water; frogs croaked
while they sunbathed on waxy lily pads. The sun started its
slow descent to the horizon, hot pink and lilac clouds rippling
against the empty canvas of the sky. Here and there, fireflies lit
the gloom, doing a placid ballet in the humid air.
Unseen, the men moved closer to the campfire as the sun
sank into the western treetops.
A lone hawk cried out a warning, disturbing the peace of
the glade. Huge birds answered, flapping their wings, creating
a cacophony of swamp sounds. The area became a concerto
of animals responding to the disruption of their home—wild
screams, squeaks, and complaints of the invasion of their
Billy stood, his head tilted as he listened intently. He heard
a melody, that strange organization of sounds, predictable as
well as dangerous. It had been years since he’d heard music.
His stomach clenched with uneasiness. Where those rhythms
originated meant only one thing—they were not alone in the
His pack rose, tense and alert, their eyes watching the
waterway. Billy silently parted the thick leaves to expose a flat-
bottom boat with dangerous strangers floating slowly
toward them.
The boat was filled with people, excitedly searching the
banks of the swamp, their expensive khaki bush clothes ringed
with sweat.

Little John, Billy’s best friend, leaned closer and whis-
pered, “Tourists?”

Billy noticed the rifles before the rest of the group. He
held up his hand signaling for silence. “Not tourists. Enemies,”
he replied.
Men’s voices drifted on the turgid air.
This was no good, Billy thought furiously. He was gauging
the time, his eyes opening wide. It was late. They had to get
out of there. It’s going to happen, and those people were going to
see it.
The bald top of the moon peeked over the line of trees in
the south, the sky graying to twilight with each passing second.
Night came fast in the swamp, dropping a curtain of darkness,
extinguishing all light except for the beacon of the full moon.
The moon floated upward, indifferent to the consequences of
its innocent victims.
A halo of lighter blue surrounded the globe, limning the
trees silver, the cobwebs in the trees becoming chains of drip-
ping diamonds in the coming night.

What did these strangers want? Billy fought the urge to scream.
This is our home. Humans don’t belong in the swamp.
The moon continued to rise, the familiar agony beginning
in his chest. A full moon, a dangerous moon, Billy fought the
demons churning within his body, feeling the pain of meta-

He curled inward, hunching his shoulders, the curse of his
nature making his spine pull until his tendons and muscles
tore from their human positions to transform into something
A howl erupted from his throat, followed by another, and
then another. Grabbing handfuls of dirt, he tried to fight the
awful change, but, as the sun set, the moon took control of his
life, and the unnatural force tore through his unwilling body.
Reason fled; his heart raced. Falling on his hands and
knees, Billy let loose a keening cry as his face elongated, his
body changing into a canine, fangs filling his mouth. He raced
in a circle in a demented dance, knowing his fellow pack
members did the same thing.

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