The Books of Bílo (working series title)

Only a few find the gates between worlds, and even fewer find them on purpose. The gates are careful that way.

The world of Bílo has taken in refugees over the ages, including from our world.

But one person is about to step into Bílo and find that our world isn’t where she was born at all.

Dear reader, meet Erica.

Erica's Story (working title)

 

Note: The following is a snippet from the first draft and, as such, may contain errors that will not appear in the final book.

 

Wide and as ancient as redwoods, the trees stood, rooted in the mossy soil. To see them was to wonder if you had shrunk or if your world had grown, a question forever unanswerable. Among the small branches and low plants that grew among the feet of these giants, one might find birds flitting, squirrels running nimbly along the bark as they chattered to each other. And, in this deepest of green places, caught in the centred silence behind these sounds, it would be hard to convince yourself that there was no faint laughter, no words carried on the wind. No faces in the leaves.

At the base of one of the trees, a deer stepped around the trunk and bent its head to the delicate new leaves atop a shrub. Before it touched them, its head shot back up, ears alert. Only a foot away stood a human, one hand in her jacket pocket, the other resting on the massive trunk. Her auburn hair was in disarray, a few leaves entangled in it, but they were from plants other than the ones around her. The deer’s deep brown eyes met her hazel ones, both sets wide, each body still as though waiting for a signal from the other.

A caw sounded from far above. Nonetheless, it was loud enough, and the deer fled.

Erica, meanwhile, turned her gaze upward, gasping. Layered above her were the leaves of the younger trees first, those not yet grown to the stature of their elders, followed by the larger, up and up until their thickness hid the rest from view.

“But it’s fall…” she said. She spun to face behind her, finding only more forest, her hand still on the tree trunk. No Kim.

Feeling numb, Erica lifted her hand to stare at it, mind empty. A single thought sparked through her head and she turned back. If touching a rock had brought her here, then surely—but all she found was knobbled bark against her skin again, and nothing more. Not even the pull that had so compelled her remained.

Where am I? she wondered. Am I dreaming? She’d never seen a forest like this before, not even in pictures. The huge deciduous trees all around her seemed uncannily like they were waiting for something. For her to say something? Do something? Hard to say. Erica took her phone out of her pocket. No signal. Well, if I’m dreaming, I fell asleep in a split second because I was definitely awake when I was walking with Kim. And since that’s unlikely, this has to be real. So. Where is this?

Phone returned to pocket, Erica surveyed her surroundings. After a moment, she laughed. “It’s not like I’m going to find anything new like this, and any direction is good when you don’t know where it’s going to take you. The point of going somewhere at this point is to get information, right?” With a grin, she started walking.

“Kï-ihis màr lòn dàr.” It was a child’s voice, coming from behind Erica.

Erica spun to find a girl of about nine or ten with startling white-blonde hair standing next to one of the largest tree trunks. Her eyes regarded Erica with the intensity of an eagle’s.

“Um. Hello.”

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