Excerpt of Matt Archer Monster Hunter by Kendra Highley
Today we would like to welcome Kendra Highley to YAPC! She is going to share an excerpt of her book Matt Archer: Monster Hunter. If this looks like the type of book you would enjoy, use the buy links to pick up a copy!
Excerpt of Matt Archer: Monster Hunter
I watched the creature’s shadow get bigger and bigger as it headed my way. It didn’t creep. It didn’t barrel toward me. It strolled, like it wasn’t the least bit worried about what it would find inside the tent. Terrified or not, something about its arrogance filled me with cold fury. My muscles burned and my heart beat double-time; I probably didn’t have a prayer, but I wasn’t going down without a fight. I sure as hell wasn’t going to sit by and let this thing kill my uncle.
Uncle Mike usually brought a rifle with him, just in case we met a bear, and he’d made sure I could use it. I dug around in our bags, throwing clothes everywhere, but the rifle wasn’t in the tent. The only thing I came up with was a wicked-looking knife with a smooth bone handle. I pulled it out of the leather sheath, shocked by its weight. It was much heavier than it looked and my fingers buzzed, like the knife was vibrating in my hand. I must’ve been shaking really hard.
I gripped the handle of the knife, hoping I didn’t end up stabbing myself by accident. The blade was longer than most hunting-knives I’d ever used—maybe eight or nine inches—and honed to a sharp edge. I had no idea where Mike would buy something like this, but one thing was for sure: no one would want to be on the receiving end of this weapon. It looked like it could gut a buffalo.
The creature walked the perimeter of the tent, brushing up against the nylon, and a rancid scent wafted through the walls. I gagged and threw up a little in my mouth. The stench reminded me of how the vent in my room smelled after my guinea pig got loose and bought the farm in the air duct. Seriously freaked out, I held still, clutching the knife so hard my knuckles ached. I was planning to let the beast stalk around outside as long as it wanted. One thing Mike taught me during paintball was to make your target do the work. If you could be patient, you’d get the better strike, and I’d only have one shot.
The beast paused and I took a gulp of cold air, knowing I wouldn’t have to wait much longer. With a blur of claws, dark fur and sharp teeth, the thing crashed into the tent, ripping the nylon with one slash. I didn’t have time to think or even get a good look at it. When it pounced on top of me, I thrust the blade into its stomach and twisted. The handle burned in my hand, glowing a faint green.
The beast howled and struggled against me, until I thought I’d drown in the reek of its fur. Somehow, I squirmed out from underneath it just before it collapsed on the floor of the tent. Once it was down, I stabbed it in the back, over and over, swearing at the top of my lungs. Some kind of red-rage took control, and I didn’t stop slashing until the thing shuddered and was still.
In the quiet, I fell to my knees, shaking all over.
When I could finally breathe without wheezing, I gathered up the last shreds of my courage and found our lantern in the wreckage. Scared pissless or not, I wanted to see what attacked me. Squaring my shoulders, I turned on the light.
Then bit my own tongue trying to hold back a scream.
The creature was misshapen, with a huge head, pointy ears and narrow snout, and it had to be at least eight feet tall. Teeth like tusks protruded from its lower jaw. It had brown fur like a grizzly’s and its paws looked like a bear’s too, except bigger, with those brutal, velociraptor claws. If that wasn’t weird enough, the thing’s arms and legs were long, like a man’s. It was like some mad scientist threw a bunch of DNAinto a blender and this is what came out.
What the heck could it be? Was it some kind of alien? A scientific experiment gone horribly wrong? Did we have a Dr. Frankenstein living inBillings? Seriously, the creature looked like a resurrected Wookiee made from spare parts.
Utterly creeped out, I pulled the knife out of the beast’s back and dropped it on the ground. My hands had blood on them, dark stains glistening in the moonlight, and now that I wasn’t fighting for my life, I shivered, half-freezing and clueless about what to do next.
About the Author: Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job.
Kendra believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.
More information about the Matt Archer universe, works in progress and the nature of the Higgs Boson* can be found at www.kendrachighley.com
Where to Find Her and Her Books
Where to Buy
Matt Archer: Monster Hunter
Fourteen-year-old Matt Archer spends his days studying Algebra, hanging out with his best friend and crushing on the Goddess of Greenhill High, Ella Mitchell. To be honest, he thinks his life is pretty lame until he discovers something terrifying on a weekend camping trip at the local state park.
Monsters are real. And living in his backyard.
But that’s not the half of it. After Matt is forced to kill a strange creature to save his uncle, he finds out that the weird knife he took from his uncle’s bag has a secret, one that will change Matt’s life. The knife was designed with one purpose: to hunt monsters. And it’s chosen Matt as its wielder.
Now Matt’s part of a world he didn’t know existed, working with a covert military unit dedicated to eliminating walking nightmares. Faced with a prophecy about a looming dark war, Matt soon realizes his upcoming Algebra test is the least of his worries.
His new double life leaves Matt wondering which is tougher: hunting monsters or asking Ella Mitchell for a date?