To start the ball rolling, we have the first page for paranormal urban dark fantasy tale: The Buried Blade, released last week by C.M. Simpson.
When the grass in one of her uncle's fields starts to die, Amanda tries to work out why, but her uncle only sees stones, where she sees fragments of pottery. In a war as old as time, will Amanda convince her uncle of the truth, and remain unscathed, or will she fall under the control of an old and subtle power?
First Page Excerpt: The Buried Blade
The sword sang in the darkness. It sang through the rubble that buried it. It sang through the bones of skeletal fingers that had wrapped themselves around it.
The song could not be heard through the muffling shroud of earth covering the sword although it echoed throughout the ancient citadel that was imprisoned with it. The song seeped through the earth for an age, pushing upwards and infecting the soil as it went. It was inevitable that, where the song forged the way, the ghosts would follow.
Nature tried to sound a warning but its guardians were gone, driven out or sleeping or unaware of their powers—and the responsibility that went with them.
Animals fled the mounded earth beneath the grassy field. At least, they fled it where they could. The wild ones forsook it with the freedom that only they possessed, while those of domesticity's prison could only show their reluctance for the field, before their masters forced them into it.
* * *
“Durned beast!” Willis Harran cried, bringing his willow switch down upon the milk cow's rump.
She was the last of the herd to be forced through the gate and, though she had been the easiest of them all, Willis was ready to send her to the knackery. He waved his switch at her once more as his niece closed the gate behind her.
“Don't know what's got into them,” he muttered, as he climbed the fence beside the field. “They've been right skittish of late.”
Amanda looked at her uncle. The cattle weren't the only ones who'd been skittish about the field. She'd watched the rabbits forsake their warren, and the morning fox skirt cautiously around the fence instead of cutting straight across the field as he usually did.
Even the birds had stopped hunting for worms within its bounds. Amanda said nothing of this to Willis. He wouldn't have believed her. He might even have laughed.
She followed his broad no-nonsense back towards the small house that served him and her aunt as home, the smell of breakfast driving the field's strangeness from her mind.
The sword's song kept upwards until the cattle began to lose their milk, and Willis's threats of both knackery and willow switch were no longer incentive enough to goad them through the gate.The field's grass began to fade. Willis moved the cattle to another field and watched their milk improve. Amanda, interested by this unseasonal change, began collecting soil samples to...