A/N: I’m following the tradition of sharing a bit of my NaNo WIP: The One with Talons. It’s more of a prologue than a first chapter.
I’m eight and don’t yet know fear.
Mother’s screaming pierces my sleep. Getting out of bed and picking up my new blade, I race up the servant’s staircase in the North Tower. It’s cramped and dark, the screams echo against the cold stones, making the space smaller.
I’m eight and don’t yet know monsters.
A blast of cold air hits me as I reach my parents’ bedchamber. Moonlight falls through an enormous slash in the wall. The smell of butchered meat and feathers fills my nose. A rush of wings and claws overpowers Mother. I see Father strewn across the bed like a discarded doll. His once-proud chest lies in shreds; he stares at me with eyeless sockets. A bird-woman throws Eleanor, my infant sister, out into the night to another who catches the babe in her feet and flies away. Eleanor’s wails carry on the wind.
I’m eight and don’t yet know bravery.
The steel’s heavy in my sweaty grip. Stepping into the room, chin held level, I avoid looking down at my parents. “I command you to leave!” I scream in a high-pitched voice. A beautiful woman’s face, streaked with blood, turns to find me in the dark of the stairwell.
I’m eight and don’t yet know pain.
In an instant she’s upon me, one talon gripping around my waist, and the other stabbing deep into my left cheek. Her wings snap and move in the air above me. Something sings through my veins. I raise my sword, slashing down hard and true. The blade bites until two heavy talons fall to the floor. The price: my eye. I grip the hollow space, and hear the king’s guard marching inside. The bird-woman escapes, a curse on her lips.
I’m eight and don’t yet know the word for revenge.
Stay tuned for Julie’s No Rules Friday next week.