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Exclusive #PanicWritingContest Chapter

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Author's Note

In celebration of Amazon Prime Video's newest series Panic, I am thrilled to be teaming up with Amazon Prime Video and Wattpad to write this exclusive chapter that puts my characters from this story into the world of Panic!

I hope this chapter intrigues and inspires you to learn more about Panic. Visit the #PanicWritingContest on Wattpad for the chance to put your creative writing chops to the test and learn more about the show!

To find out more about the contest, prizes, and how to enter, check out the #PanicWritingContest here: wattpad.com/AmazonPrimeVideo

Don't forget to watch the series premiere on May 28th, only on Amazon Prime Video, here: http://primevideo.com/

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Marithyda smelled fear in the air.

            The rest of the competitors trailed behind her, each whispering under their breath to fill the anxious silence with their noise, but it was fruitless. The game of Panic was well underway in the unassuming town of Carp; there was no turning back now. Especially when there was so much at stake: not just a large enough sum of money to escape Carp and scrap together a better life somewhere else, but the chance to be truly free. To go somewhere where their magic powers didn't have to be hidden, where those who didn't fit the norm didn't have to constantly look over their shoulder.

            Paolin stopped in the middle of the granary and the rest of the contestants fanned around him like chicks surrounding a mother hen. Marithyda tried not to stand too close to the emcee: he'd already been accused of favoritism towards her, and besides, she only had eyes for the mysterious contestant across the clearing.

            Sabin, whose magic was the most dangerous of all.

            "Okay! I'm only gonna say this once so listen up," Paolin called, raking a hand through his long ivory hair. "Tonight's challenge is called 'Walk the Plank.' You'll all climb up there—" he pointed up to a precarious plank running between the tops of two silos "—and cross, one by one. Magic is allowed, but not to the benefit or detriment of another player. The quicker you cross, the more points you get."

            "What if someone falls?" Rodney interjected, shooting an antagonistic glance towards Marithyda. Idiot. She clenched her teeth and suddenly her hands ached to wrap around his throat.

            "Any questions?" Paolin asked, ignoring Rodney. His striking eyes scanned the competitors: Marithyda, Sabin, Rodney, Shandra, Judas, Kathy, and Tabitha. All of them hiding magical abilities, and all of them desperate to be free. "Let's get this started."

            The competitors wordlessly started for the ladder that led up to the first silo. Marithyda wasn't surprised that Paolin wanted to start the challenge so quickly: Sheriff Cortez had been on his tail for a while now, suspecting him to be the mastermind behind Panic. The quicker Marithyda could complete the challenge and earn her points, the quicker she could get out of this place. Suddenly, she felt hot breath in her ear.

            "I'm gonna wipe this dirt with your blood, Skyelorn."

            Rodney shoved past her, inching his way to the front of the line, and immediately started to scale the rungs of the ladder. Marithyda fought to control the magic that surged at her fingertips as she remembered what Paolin had said. Her magic could only be used during her own challenge.

            "First up, Rodney Archer!" Paolin called.

            He looked almost like an ant, so high up in the air, but his confidence still radiated throughout the granary. The other contestants anxiously shuffled their feet as he started to cross the plank. It happened so quickly that Marithyda wondered if she'd blinked; without so much as a stumble, he had made it across to the other silo.

            "Ten seconds!" Paolin announced. He glanced over his shoulder, paranoid as ever that he'd see a cop car rounding the bend. "Next, Tabitha Weaver."

            The teenage girl, maybe a few years younger than Marithyda, climbed the ladder with a surprisingly sure grip. She hesitated at the edge of the plank, but ... then she was on the other side. Marithyda squinted her eyes and rubbed them. How?

            "Looks like enhanced speed came in handy. Four seconds for Tabitha!" Paolin called, incredulity in his voice. Before Marithyda could catch her breath, the contestants stepped forward one by one, crossing with little to no problem: Judas walking slowly and surely, Shandra stepping with the poise of an acrobat, Kathy scurrying across like a mouse, and finally—

            "Marithyda!" Paolin called, his gaze boring into her.

            She swallowed a lump in her throat and took a shaky breath, gripping the rungs and climbing to the top of the silo. She'd never been afraid of heights before, but this ... this was almost suicidal. She could see the entire town sprawling beneath the star-specked sky like a scale model. Her heart pounded at her ribs as she directed her gaze to the silo opposite her, where the triumphant competitors waited.

            "Chicken!" Rodney called at her, but she shook it off, slowly taking one step onto the plank. It was wider than she expected. She placed her next foot onto it. And, somehow, determined not to look down at the ground far below her, she continued to walk.

            "Come on, Marithyda!" Sabin called up at her. A small ball of warmth filled her chest, and it gave her the strength to finish the crossing without having to use even an inch of her magic. Shandra clapped her on the back and whispered congratulations, but Marithyda wasn't satisfied yet. Sabin still had to cross, and his magic would do nothing to help his agility.

            "A great showing by Marithyda Skyelorn, and now, introducing our final competitor: Sabin Carthage!"

            He climbed the ladder quickly, and when he stood atop the opposite silo Marithyda couldn't tear her eyes away from him. Please be okay. She knew that only one person could reign victorious at the end of Panic, but she wasn't quite ready to say goodbye to him. Sabin took a large breath and gingerly placed his foot onto the plank. It creaked under his hulking weight, but otherwise held steady.

            He glanced up, staring Marithyda straight in the eyes. And started to walk.

            The first couple of steps were without incident and filled Marithyda with relief. But then, with a wicked snap, the wooden plank gave way and Sabin started to fall through the air as if in slow motion.

            "No!" Marithyda screamed, throwing out her hands, and before she knew what was happening, he hung suspended in mid-air. She'd used her magic, and it wasn't her turn.

            The competitors gasped and Sabin stared at Marithyda with wide, fearful eyes as she carefully alighted his body onto the silo. She knelt down by his side to check that he was alright, but inside Marithyda knew that he wasn't the one she should be worried about now.

            She broke the rules.

            She just got herself eliminated from Panic.

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