Bookstores and Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and BooksAndThings.com all carry T. Lynn Adams’ “Lair of the Serpent,” which is the third installment in the Tombs of Terror series, which has been optioned by Hollywood producer Kevin Buxbaum, who produced “Avatar” and “Life of Pi.”
Loosening the laces, opening the upper leathers wide and laying the tongue down as flat as he could, Severino prepared the boot. Finished, he looked up at Jonathon. “¿Listo?”
Nervous, Jonathon gave another quick nod.
Taking his own deep breath, Severino pushed the boot over Jonathon’s foot.
Instant, searing pain claimed every nerve in Jonathon’s body, and he jerked back, hard. Muscles clenched in his jaw, tightening down around the root until he thought it would break. With nostrils flared to breathe, Jonathon tried to suck oxygen into his lungs. He did not feel Delia behind him, did not feel her arms tighten around him or hear her quiet words . . . only the excruciating twisting and pushing of the sturdy boot over his swollen foot.
Severino fought the reinforced leather, desperate to work it over the burned area as quick and easily as he could but neither seemed to happen. “I’m sorry,” he breathed. “Can you push?”
Incredulous of the request, the teenager sucked in a bracing lungful of air through his teeth and shoved his foot hard into the boot. It finally slid into place.
With the first boot on Jonathon collapsed to the side, shaking in pain. Spitting out the hated root and drawing air in through his mouth, he groped for his ankle. Moisture glistened in the corners of his light brown eyes. “Caray! That hurts!”
A hand gently touched his back. “Take a moment, and catch your breath. You did great.”
Still at Jonathon’s feet, Severino nodded his agreement and started to lace up Jonathon’s boot. “You did increíble. I’m proud of you, pata. Let me know if this is too tight.”
Jonathon said nothing, could only grimace and fight the pain. It pounded his body relentlessly, trembled his frame. Around his foot the boot felt like a vice, clamping tighter every second. Razors of pain sliced through each surviving nerve ending, muscles twisted, skin contracted, and he wanted to rip off the boot, break his foot free of the horrific jaws, and fling it across the room.
Severino sat back and looked at Jonathon, unable to give him more time. “You ready for the next one?”
On the ground, Jonathon shook violently and closed his eyes. Defeat washed through him as the pain continued to ravage his body. A single tear escaped from the corner of his left eye. “I don’t think I can do it again.”
“Once they are on, you won’t have to do it again until we get you back to medical help, I promise.”
For the first time, Jonathon’s voice threatened to break. “The pain isn’t stopping! The boot hurts so bad!”
Desperate to calm him, Delia leaned close. “You can do this, Jonathon.”
“I can’t. Severino, take Delia and leave without me. Go now, before anyone comes back or the guards wake up. Get her out of here. She’s who we came for anyway.”