Catching Butterflies - Book 2 of the Escape Series released in June 2019 with Next Chapter Publishing (formerly Creativia).
It has has recently been entered in the 2021 Cygnus Award contest from Chanticleer Book Reviews.
The novel is published in a number of formats including audio-book.
While the broad flat rock created the perfect spot to build a campfire, it was not the same for sleeping arrangements. I sat upright and rubbed my lower back. The pre-dawn morning air chilled my skin; I shivered and draped my grey blanket over my shoulders. Thoughts of the bear entered my mind but disappeared. Other than my worries the night had been uneventful.
Heat emanated from a charred piece of wood; fissures emitted an orange glow. I covered the burned remains with tinder and blew life into the smouldering log. Flames erupted with a hiss and a plume of smoke. No one stirred as I placed another piece of wood on the rekindled fire.
I pushed my feet into my shoes and tiptoed away from camp enveloped in my warm covering. It was my favourite time of the morning, right before the sunlight touched the sky and woke the creatures of the day. A rocky knoll with a smattering of juniper bushes and other shrubs overlooked the reedy shoreline and made for the perfect spot to watch the day begin. I sat and observed the edges of darkness change from deep blue to a greenish hue as the sun rose behind the trees. In the dim light a heavy fog hovered above the lake and blurred the landscape. The atmosphere was eerie, and my imagination conjured a multitude of animals lurking under the vaporous cover; the bear once again entered my thoughts for a moment. But every passing minute treated my eyes to another delight as dawn broke and I forgot my worries.
A dark shape emerged from the shadows a few metres away below my position and meandered through the undergrowth. The odd snapping of sticks punctuated the quiet rustle of vegetation in its wake. My heart skipped and my body prepared to flee, but then decided I was far enough away to watch the moose. Considering its size, the creature’s grace and agility surprised me.
The huge horse-like animal foraged on plants and grasses. Broad and flat antlers splayed from the skull like two enormous hands. The increasing daylight highlighted the muscular frame of the beast, and I gasped. The majestic bull moose was the biggest herbivore I had ever seen in the wild.
I shifted to get a better view and dislodged a stone. The brute lifted its massive head, ears flicked; the powerful jaw mashed a mouthful of grass into pulp. Flared nostrils emitted a low snort, and he continued his trek across the shallow, marshy water and disappeared into the trees on the other side.
With the moose gone, I was no longer distracted, and the rambling in my brain started again. The quarrels had kept me from a good night’s rest as much as the hard ground. I tangled with my conscience the whole night, the back-and-forth debate of leaving, and the pro and con arguments for staying. The list of disadvantages for following the others outweighed the advantages, and despite the dangers I could face, I made up my mind. But my decision tore me apart. In twenty-four hours, I would slip away and leave the others behind. We needed help, and I hoped it wasn’t too late.