by S. J. Abraham
Winner of the 2017 Realm Award in the Debut category
AYLA THINKS SHE’S JUST a comic-book geek with photophobia living in boring Colorado Springs until the day a space fold forms in her living room. When her father drags Ayla through to the other side, she discovers an alien world. Her birthplace. Karanik.
Everything should be great for Ayla, but it’s not. The boy who has been crushing on Ayla all summer was pulled through to Karanik too. Her long-lost sister thinks Ayla’s some sort of messiah. Her grandmother wants to shape Ayla into a ruthless leader and Earth is under attack.
It’s up to Ayla to stop millions of invincible alien creatures before they devour the souls of everyone on Earth.
TERRA SOUL BY S. J. ABRAHAM — EXCERPT
She stared vacantly up at one of the four security cameras trained on her, her mind miles away, atop a snowy peak stained with blood and ash. Despite trying to keep them open, her eyes closed and she rubbed them. The endless assault of the fluorescent lamps overhead was taking its toll. The jittery light hammered down on her, making her eyes burn like a pair of sizzling meatballs sunken into her skull.
This su-ucks! How’d I survive this before?
She looked down at her hands.
At least they’ve stopped shaking. Finally.
A streak of dried blood on her wrist peeked out from beneath the cuff of her shirt. Somehow she’d missed washing it off in the shower and during all the medical exams. Tears stung her eyes, but the door opened at that moment and she hurried to hide her emotion. She caught a glimpse of a stark hallway and military police officers flanking the door.
An Air Force officer stepped in, looking almost absurdly clean in his light blue shirt, dark pants, and rows of colorful ribbons on his chest. The name placard on his breast read “Tarver.” He was dark-skinned, tall, muscular and exotically handsome with a broad nose and strong jawline. His hair was little more than black fuzz beneath his dopey flat-sided cap. The poster child for Air Force recruitment.
Blinking her unshed tears away, she snuck her hand into her pocket. She groped blindly for the button to start the app recording and felt a tiny buzz beneath her finger as she fount it.
I hope this works.
Tarver sat down across from her, the silver leaf insignia on his collar flashing.
What is that? Major? Colonel? Something like that.
The officer paged through a blue leather folio thick with papers. Cl-click! went the silver pen in his hand. The officer looked up and gave a brief smile. It was thin, tense, an apology.
“I’m Lieutenant Colonel Tarver with US Northern Command. I’m here to debrief you.”
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AUTHOR BIO—S. J. Abraham
As a child raised in the Southwest United States on the border of one of the largest oil fields in the country, S.J. Abraham was a lonely nerd. With no interest in rodeo or baseball, he spent his time reading. His heroes were fictional characters and great novelists. It wasn’t long before he started scratching out his own stories.
In recent years he has embraced his geekieness and has set to work turning his writing hobby into a career as a novelist. While he originally wrote for adults, he has since realized he is still fifteen at heart, so he now focuses on writing for Young Adults.
S.J. lives in the beautiful city of Colorado Springs, where all the exciting outdoor activities are wasted on him, though the ever-changing views fire his creativity like few things can. He spends the shreds of his free time playing with his wife, children, brothers, sisters, friends, nephews and little nieces.