Mo is a shy teen who is just trying to survive high school. He has secretly fallen in love with a girl named Prophecy who lives with a group that some call a commune and others call a cult. When she disappears, Mo must find the courage to face the monster that her family has become. Chasing Prophecy is a contemporary coming of age story that is heartwarming, suspenseful, and beautifully written. This book chronicles the adolescence of one boy who must transform himself to save the girl of his dreams.
“A stellar read for teens and adults, full of hilarious growing pains, tenderness and a few surprises. Moser’s debut is an unflinching young-adult novel that sees a group of friends tested by bigotry and the illegal machinations of a religious cult. The author serves up an irresistibly wisecracking narrator in Mo Kirkland. Every page ripples with a controlled cleverness. There’s also a rawness to this tale similar to that which many teens face in the real world. Moser can wax rhapsodic about young love, but he shows that he knows how to raise the tension in the second half of the novel.”
Kazzy looked at me with a blank face. She wasn’t afraid. She looked like she did when we were in Math class, eyebrows up, mouth open a bit, question marks dancing in her eyes.”How’d it get into the ravioli?” she whispered.
“What do you mean?” I whispered back.
“The ravioli. How’d it get in there?”
I thought: The lids had those pop-tops where you just pop up that little ring and peel back the top.
“Opened them, I guess,” I said.
“Opened them with what?” she whispered back.
I looked up ahead and thought of the sharp crack we’d just heard. A huge weight leaning onto huge paws with thick claws.
I thought, A bear would have just ripped the can open with its teeth and claws. Big paws and claws wouldn’t have the—the whatever–the coordination, I guess you’d say–to pull it off.
Later, we admitted we were doing the same thing standing there on the path—trying to picture a bear holding a can with one giant paw and delicately getting a claw from the other paw underneath to pry up that pop-top ring. That stuff only happens in cartoons with cartoon bears that have fingers.
No real bear could do that.
Nothing that walks on four legs and lives in the woods could do that.
We both jumped at another cracking tree branch. I squinted uphill and saw a dark form, moving slowly, jerkily, as if dragging something heavy. It stopped and turned in the fuzzy shadows. It was still, and I couldn’t make out its face but I felt it looking right at us.
The bear rose up and stepped toward us, a great crunching of pine needles reaching our ears. The sunset cast the last of its rays through the trees and reflected off two softly glowing eyes which stared and blinked and stared again. The bear elevated slightly and then a little more and then it was standing, legs apart. We realized that the crickets, the birds, even the raindrops were frozen on branches. The shadow was standing upright on two legs with its front paws relaxing–then lengthening–then dangling down almost to its knees. Then no longer paws at all but easing and extending more like fingers attached to hands attached to really long–
Our canned food.
Yeah a bear would have—
–would have just.
A bear would have just crushed those cans with its jaws and then slurped out the food. The cans were licked out completely, but they had been opened by.
“Shit!” she whispered fiercely.
It moved toward us but we were frozen in the decision between:
1) Running. We had a head start, but if we ran, it might think we were something worth catching.
2) Waiting, holding still, and hoping it kept going up the road.
It’s moving away from us, it’s definitely moving away from us, no, actually, it’s moving toward us, oh man it’s definitely moving toward us
And in the next heartbeat we knew, not guessed, not felt, knew that we were being stalked by a legend–deep in a dimming forest on a road that the rain and sun had filled with traps.
We heard the settling of a great weight leaning forward into dead twigs and pine needles.
The mountain breathed the scent of sour milk and garbage. The footsteps came not in quick sets of four like it would from a bear, but in sets of two that went crunchCRUNCH. . . crunchCRUNCH.
The first gunshot came from Kaz’s mouth, now screaming the word
Two glowing dots blinked at us, floating there in the mist. Then they moved a bit upward and our brains were pounded by an explosion of sound.
It wasn’t anything like the rumbly roar of the bears a the zoo during feeding time. It was more like the shriek of tires squealing on wet pavement—mixed with the howl of a wounded cougar.
Kazzy pulled the flare gun from her jeans, napped off the safety, pointed it at the eyes, took a breath, then aimed higher, and pulled the trigger, lighting up the near darkness.
For just a second, the woods were lit in the brightest of daylight, if daylight were colored pink. The trees with moss dangling from their limbs, mushrooms sticking to their bark, a faded blue mile-marker just ahead of us. All these details popped into sharp focus for just an instant.
And we saw a head, shoulders, deep-set eyes that glowed in the flare’s reflection. Dull teeth.
Not hunched over on four legs.
Walking forward on two legs, like a human.
We ran straight
down the mountain
into the fading
did the crickets stop
is that wind or breath
on my neck
Jesus don’t let me fall
before I get
To the edge of
on my neck
My chute opened
And then Pop
Her chute opened
We floated straight into the last rays of the setting sun. I twisted my neck around and saw our shadows pasted onto the stone feathers of Chief’s Head cliff.
Just above our dancing shadows, we stared up into the glowing eyes of Sasquatch.
Moser has a B.A. in English and a Master’s degree in Secondary English Education. He lives in Seattle with his beautiful wife and eight year old son. When he’s not reading and writing, or thinking about reading and writing, he’s watching way too much television while snacking on frozen treats from Trader Joe’s. Man, those things are good.