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    “Look-” Beck’s voice caused us all to follow his gaze. 

    Through the windstorm, a figure emerged. A man dressed in black clothing and a gas mask. The dirt storm whipped around him. Then two more gas-masked people appeared. Another man and a woman. Towards our car, they extended a hand and gestured for us to follow. One of the three, the shorter of the two men, had his hand balled up in a fist. He was the wind harness creating this windstorm. The shorter man and woman disappeared back into the haze, but the first man remained. Again, he gestured to the car. 

    Greg started to open his door. 

    “Wait!” I shouted, stopping him, slamming it shut. We had no idea who these masked strangers were or what they wanted. 

    “Mae, no! When a sexy stranger comes dressed in full riot gear, offering to save you, you go!” Greg announced, flinging open the door. “God, I miss Marcy!” He added over his shoulder, as if she was the only one who would understand his pain. 

    “Greg!” Beck shouted, but he was already gone into the storm. 

    The man in the mask led him away. 

    Hilde looked back and forth between us, then ran out after Greg. 

    “Come on!” Ferris shouted. She raced into the storm next. 

    “What makes the riot gear sexy?” Vince groused, but he followed the girls. 

    Beck glanced at me, but I was already moving. Better to be wrong with our friends then left here alone. We raced after Vince’s trail. The whirling gravel and dirt particles blinded our passage and caught in our throats, but the cyclone was actually quite shallow, designed to be an optical hindrance more than an actual one. Running straight forward, we burst through to the fresh air on the other side of the storm in only a few strides. Two of the three riot-geared witches were waiting. The woman and the harness. Silently, they directed us into the forest. Beck and I, like the others, crashed wildly into the woods, following their guide. 

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Teaser excerpt: Paternal Bonds

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