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This article was first published 9 years ago  » Getahead » #Fiction: It's dark; it's scary; it's Sceadu!

#Fiction: It's dark; it's scary; it's Sceadu!

February 06, 2015 10:09 IST
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All this while, Matilda's shadow had been growing larger and larger.

Suddenly, it lunges out of the ground and swallows her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.

An excerpt from Sceadu, a work of fiction by Prashant Pinge:

When nine-year-old Matilda lands a really, really old book and disappears, her brother and cousins follow her to a dark land inside the human shadow, Sceadu to get her back.

But there is more than meets the eye in this mysterious land.

Matilda and her siblings must overcome grave challenges, and unlock the secrets before a ruthless enemy sets out to destroy mankind.

We bring you an excerpt from the book with permission of the author:

Matilda sat at her old wooden desk, staring into the thick yellowed pages of a book under a dull moth ridden beam cast by the night lamp.

But every time she blinked, it seemed as if the words had played a round of musical chairs.

And the moths, fluttering through the words at times and hovering over them at others, did not make things any easier.

Matilda was about to turn the page when there was a tug at her feet. It was a very gentle one, almost imperceptible.

Surprised, she glanced down, but there was nothing.

Perhaps it's just my imagination, she thought. She was about to shake her thick dark brown curls out of her face when she felt it again.

Matilda pushed her head down and looked into the dark void with furrowed brow. Her skinny legs stared back.

But before she could decide on whether she had actually felt anything, there was another tug, an unmistakable one this time. And another one. The truth suddenly dawned upon Matilda.

It was her shadow, trying to drag her into itself.

Matilda jerked back the chair, kicking hard at her shadow.

But it snapped back, pulling at her even more viciously.

She stomped upon it repeatedly.

But the dark grey shape began jabbing at her feet and ankles.

Matilda pushed herself up and made a frantic attempt to run. But her legs refused to move, and she almost toppled forward.

All this while, Matilda's shadow had been growing larger and larger.

Suddenly, it lunged out of the ground and swallowed her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.

Matilda's frail body shuddered as her hands reached for her throat.

For a few moments, she grappled with an invisible force that seemed to be choking her.

And then, the coughing started, in fits at first but soon with such intensity that her eyes burned.

Slowly, silhouettes of familiar objects began to take shape. It was her bedroom.

Matilda sat up with a start and dug her nails into the soft blanket.

Only a dream, she mumbled repeatedly, bobbing her head up and down.

Her thick curls were matted to her forehead and her entire body drenched in perspiration. It had all seemed so real.

A few minutes later, Matilda's heart finally stopped pounding against her ribcage.

She took a few calming breaths and flipped on the table lamp.

But just as her hands reached for the towel, so did her shadow, swaying ominously on the wall. Matilda froze.

Was it going to devour her? But all it did was mirror her movements, almost mocking her inability to escape its presence.

Matilda's hand shot out to switch off the lamp.

And that's when her eyes fell on the book, staring back innocently from under her satchel.

At that very instant, a nauseating feeling needled her from within, like rats were gnawing away at her intestines.

Excerpted from Sceadu by Prashant Pinge with kind permission of the author.

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