Mercy fears attacks by the blood wings. These hideous, winged beasts often raid her tribe’s home in the treetops. The monstrous, batlike creatures steal supplies and drink the blood of villagers.
Mercy soon realizes there are other things to fear when a fierce rain of blood begins and sends the creatures of the land into a wild frenzy. Her father, the chieftain, tasks her with finding the one responsible for the rain.
Mercy’s quest leads her back to the blood wings, where she will gain a surprising ally. Will Mercy’s courage and cunning be enough to stop the storm of blood?
Mercy looked at the blood dripping down her hands in small rivulets,
trailing lines of red down her tan skin. She wasn’t sure if it was her
own blood or the rain. All she knew was that her forehead and her
shoulder burned, but not as much as they should have from such deep
wounds. It could’ve been that the cold was seeping into her bones,
making her feel numb all over. But, she knew the venom of the creature
that attacked her was really what stopped the pain. She also knew that
she shouldn’t be as cold as she felt; she was slowly bleeding to
death. While the thought should have panicked her, death would at least
give her a chance to close her eyes.
The clouds were the color of a slowly healing bruise, dark purple and
pink. The eerie red haze hung beneath them, showing that the sky was
still bleeding. The black sand of the beaches was a pleasant contrast to
the red earth that she saw while she was fleeing from the jungle. At
least here she couldn’t see the blood on the ground. But the
lighthouse in front of her, once clearly a vibrant white stone
structure, was now slicked with a red splattering of blood. It was a bad
omen, but Mercy was too weary to care. Off in the distance she could see
the city of Concord sprawled out along the beach in a tightly packed
hodgepodge of different types of buildings. It hardly seemed to matter
since she didn’t have enough energy to limp into town.
As Mercy stared ahead of her, she saw two men silhouetted by the
mirrored flare from inside of the lighthouse. Their forms looked red
from the crimson seeping down her forehead and into her eyes. One nudged
the other and pointed in her direction. They leaned slightly over the
railing on the side and shielded their faces with their hands, shouting
something she couldn’t hear over the sound of the wind. Mercy sank to
her knees and the two began rushing down the stairs. Their forms became
clearer when they opened the door at the base of the lighthouse.
One was a tall man with a strange complexion. It might’ve been a trick
of the light, but his skin seemed light blue in coloration and his hair
looked teal. She wiped her eyes and saw that it must’ve indeed been a
trick of the light. He had brown hair and very pale skin. He wasn’t
heavily muscled either, hinting that he might’ve been a scholar or at
least someone who didn’t spend much time in the sun.
As Mercy’s eyes locked on the second man, she wished that she had the
energy to run away. Just the sight of him was enough to make her want to
flee back into the jungle, even if it meant that she bled to death on
the way. He was tall, but didn’t look lanky. His muscles were spindly,
hinting at an agile build, but his thin and strong frame wasn’t what
worried her. It was his ashen skin. His skin was gray like the ash of a
volcano, only slightly lighter than the grayish black sand beneath her
feet. His hair was the cherry red of volcanic magma, and his eyes were
an eerie shade of blood red.
Mercy thought, miserably, as she felt her body falling on the sand
beneath her, “I’m sorry, father. I guess I have no choice but to
trust one of the Ashen Folk.”
Mercy fought against the blissful pull of unconsciousness as she watched
the two men running towards her, kicking up sand behind them. She could
feel worry and concern coming from them in waves, which was a good sign,
but the Ashen man was fighting against his feelings of suspicion and
mistrust. The feeling was mutual on her part as well.
As her eyes began squinting shut, the one with brown hair said to her in
the common language, in an odd accent that she couldn’t place, “Hold
on! We’ll take you someplace warm. Don’t give in. Just hold on a
The rest of what he said was lost. She felt as though she was floating
away from the conversation as the pain and bitter cold overtook her
Her last conscious thought was, “I need to remember why I came here.
Oh, Spirits of the Forest, please help me remember.”
Excerpted from "Blood Rain" by Nancy Gray. Copyright © 2016 by Nancy Gray. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.