‘Shadow in Her Pocket’ by teen Ren Koppel Torres: An excerptMay 2021
Teen author Ren Koppel Torres recently published The Shadow in Her Pocket. Ren’s debut fantasy novel is about three young girls forced to pool their strengths to survive a war between a rebel group and an army of sorcerers on a frigid island wrought with magic, beasts, and secrets.
Ren shares an excerpt here:
“ A distant haze of lavender blazed ahead, a blurry silhouette against the stark black sky. From the distance, Holly could make out a town, a forest, an island: a world of its own. She released a small puff of disbelief, which floated up as a gasp of vapor.
Despite her exhaustion, Holly’s face broke out into a proud grin. She had arrived! And she’d arrived in one piece, to boot!
Smaller lights dotted the shore, and Holly realized that the lights were torches with strange lavender flames, held by dark cloaked figures she couldn’t make out. She frowned at the heavy droplets still drumming on her head. She wondered how the torches remained lit in the rain—magic, probably. In any case, she was glad for the light.
As Holly veered the S.S. Audrey closer to the shore, she supposed that the small wooden plank of a dock was about as close to a port as she’d get, considering the coast seemed to be lined with thick forest for miles in both directions. Several small boats were already docked.
Holly frowned at the huddle of angular masses at the dock, framed by pinpricks of light. She drew nearer. They were hooded figures bearing torches, their shadowy faces growing more and more defined with each passing second. Holly switched the boat’s motor off, and it puttered to a stop with the creaks and clacks of the large gears shifting. As Holly reached for the rope to tie to one of the unoccupied piles, the S.S. Audrey bumped into the shore with the slightest of impacts. The cloaked figures stared down at her intently, and Holly tried for a sheepish smile even though her puffy, sleepless eyelids encroached on her bleary vision.
They did not smile back.
The next second was a blur as an impossibly strong hand grabbed her by the hood of her yellow jacket and yanked her effortlessly from her boat, plucking her from her only comfort. Holly stumbled to find her footing on the slippery dock with a sharp gasp.
A torch was shoved near her face, and Holly squinted, shivering slightly. The bright light of the purple flame was an unwelcome contrast to the placid darkness that had consumed her all night. Her heart was pounding in her ears. None of the coasts she’d visited in Elgarve were guarded like this.
Shutting her eyes tightly, Holly begged herself not to flinch, not knowing how close the flame would get to her face. It was already close enough for her to feel its heat seep into her cold, drenched skin. “What—” Holly started. The guard released her jacket, though another still held her arms firmly crossed behind her. Holly glanced longingly at her boat. There was no turning back now.
Save for the woman who held her, the group—five or six, maybe—paid her no heed and turned to each other in hushed voices.
“She’s not one from another island, is she?” ”