(The Essential Elements, #1)
Publication date: February 27th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Valerie Moore was a beautiful, headstrong girl with below-average social skills and above-average anxiety (including a flair for over-analyzing).
With her mother long deceased, and her father recently deployed, she ends up being sent to live with her eccentric aunt in a tiny town nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. But, being a Navy brat had made her into a bit of a loner, and making friends certainly wasn’t her strongest suit. As if the life of a typical teen wasn’t hard enough.
But Valerie soon discovers she’s not a typical teenager. Not by a long shot.
SECRETS are revealed…
…About her family, about her newfound friends and relationships, and about her whole world… Things that have been kept from her for her entire life…
But the biggest secret of all is revealed when Valerie discovers that she has Elemental powers, and a chain of inexplicable and irrevocable events unleashes throughout the little town…
Want a little taste?
Cade leaned against the wall just inside the doorway, eyeing us silently and intently. The warring emotions that blurred in his eyes were like the chaotic flashing of lights. I tried to pin down a few of them, but I wasn’t sure if I actually succeeded.
Curiosity. Suspicion. Disdain. Jealousy?
“What’s up, Cade,” Holden said, tossing out a calloused greeting.
He shook his dirty blond head. “Just waiting for my lab table to open up.”
His emerald eyes locked onto mine, slowing me, maybe slowing time itself, until I was barely creeping on my way to the door. I so desperately craved for him to talk to me, and jaw taut, lips pursed, he looked like he was fighting the urge to do just that.
But he didn’t. He just watched with a frustrated expression as I tiptoed out of the room.
My lime green sandals had barely touched the old checkered tiles of the hallway when I felt it. The whole school began to shake. It sent palpable vibrations up my legs and dust falling from the ceiling like mini waterfalls. Balance and gravity completely eluded me and I dropped to the floor like a dizzy drunk. A siren screamed at the top of its lungs as the already dim lights flickered off and on under the strain of the trembling.
“This is not a drill!” Principal Bauer bellowed quickly over the intercom. “Use earthquake protocol; drop and take cover immediately! I repeat, this is not a drill! Drop and take cover immediately!”
All fifty states were at some risk for earthquakes, I knew, but Pennsylvania virtually never had them. It was completely uncharacteristic and absolutely terrifying.
The lights took their last breath then, plummeting the school into a thicket of shadows.
I crawled haphazardly on the tiled floor, the ground rumbling violently beneath me, until I reached the classroom across the hall. Most of the desks were unoccupied, so I slid under one in the front and waited. The quaking was subsiding, but the hammering in my chest was as jarring as ever. Each rapid breath I took only prolonged the anxiety as I waited for the aftershock.
Other students crouched under desks, too, silent with fear, eyes wide and disoriented. Dust hovered like a chalky fog and had a number of kids sneezing, coughing, and gagging. I coughed, then glanced at my hands. My palms were scuffed and stinging, but luckily that was all.
Lightning flashed blindingly through the windows and across our faces as a violent downpour suddenly unleashed from the sky.
And holy shit, global warming might have been happening after all. I wasn’t sure how else to describe the phenomena erupting all around me, but pinning a name to the destruction was the least of my worries right then; I just wanted to get the hell out of there in one piece.
Minutes ticked by ceaselessly, but no one called for evacuation. It dawned on me as I heard a solitary set of heavy footfalls echoing quickly through the hall that there was no power, and therefore, no loudspeaker.
Noise was blossoming from a distance, crescendoing in the wake of the person’s gait. And then he reached our room. Sweat poured from Principal Bauer’s splotchy pink face as he hitched up his slacks. “Evacuation protocol,” he puffed as he thumbed us toward the hall. “Go outside and find your homeroom teacher. Once you’ve all been accounted for, we’ll announce a dismissal. The intention and expectation is that you’ll go straight home and stay out of harm’s way.” He stared at us decisively, then moved to the room across the hall.
He was the only one over there, as far as I knew. Oh, god what if he was hurt? Why hadn’t I just crawled backward? A knot tied itself securely around my stomach and squeezed.
From under my desk, I watched as Principal Bauer poked his head in the other room and looked around. “Clear,” he barked into a walkie-talkie before moving farther down the hall.
Clear? No, that wasn’t right. It couldn’t be. Cade was in there; I was sure of it. A tidal wave of nausea ripped through my core and crashed into my skull, knocking my crouch off kilter.
Students were rushing the halls, filing like sand through an hourglass. Crossing the hallway now would be like running perpendicular to the bulls, but I was determined to do it anyway. If Cade was still in there, then he was hurt—badly, maybe even unconscious.
I lurched sideways but was immediately carried forward by the crowd. Weaving quickly and carefully, I eventually made it to the other side of the hall, two doors up from Mrs. Caldwell’s room, where I’d last seen Cade. I hugged the wall snugly as I battled the opposing flow of people, creeping one sidelong step at a time until I made it back to where I’d started, but on the opposite side.
I slipped in smoothly and dropped to the floor in a crouch. Dust covered the room like a tarp, but it wasn’t difficult to see. Principal Bauer was right. Cade wasn’t there.
Elle Middaugh is a newly published author, born in the sticks outside of Clearfield, Pennsylvania. After moving around the east coast a number of times, she now lives in her hometown with her husband and three children.
Reading has been a favorite past time since Elementary School and choose-your-own-adventure books. Writing has been her dream since Middle School when she first began penning her own material. Being published is the most awesome achievement in her writing career so far, but she hopes for more exciting landmarks and stepping stones in the future!
She’s a proud Navy wife; a frazzle-brained mother; a homebody who dislikes cleaning; a fan of tennis, and fitness in general; a lover of hot tea, mountain dew, and all things fiction; and she’s a bigger My Little Pony fan than her children.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway