Tama’s eyes widened and he seemed to stiffen where he sat, bound. Addie tried to smile reassuringly but her face wasn’t really under her control, not with the Faery so close.
The Fae was different from the one they’d seen before. This one was in red, the colour a vibrant contrast to the endless grey around them. Its hair was in tall red spikes bound with what looked like gold wire. She blew her own hair out of her eyes, keeping them fixed on the Fae.
Turning to look at her, an expression that looked like it might have been an attempt at a smile crossed its face. It was too cruel to be a smile though.
“Ah. A rescue. It’s been many years since anyone has dared try to take back what we have taken.”
Ignoring the nausea twisting her insides, she gripped the crossbow, thinking of Ryder. She wasn’t alone. She wasn’t 12 anymore.
She had to cough to get her voice to work. “He’s not yours to take.”
Its laugh grated against her and she couldn’t stop herself shuddering. Let’s hope it doesn’t do that again, it’s creepy enough as it is.
The fae grabbed Tama by the hair and pulled his head back. She kept her eyes on the Fae but had to fight not to look at Tama; he was too quiet for her liking.
The Faery paused, sniffed the air, and turned to stare directly at her. Its eyes were like the ocean, blue and green and shifting like the tide. She couldn’t control her heartbeat and it began to race, her hand was slippery on the crossbow she held but she drew back the string with a trembling hand.
“You” it said, its voice like an off-key melody that grated on her nerves. “There’s something about you. Something familiar.”
Its long arm reached out and the hand at the end shifted into a claw, its smile drew back to reveal sharpened teeth.
Lifting the crossbow to sight along it was the hardest thing she’d ever done. It cocked its head, eyeing the crossbow. “You are foolish, human, if you think that will stop me.”
Ryder rose up beyond it, machete out, and with one strong arm he hauled the wings towards him, eyes widening as they burned his skin. He sliced at them with the machete while the faery screamed and twisted, its glamour fading to show the thin angular beast beneath.
She took aim with a much steadier hand and fired. She wasn’t expecting the bolt to grow and heat to a red hot glow but it did, and the noise as it slammed into the faery’s skull was much more solid than the small bolt had a right to be. The tracker’s angry cries cut off and it buckled at the knees, falling to the ground making the dust rise up into small eddies above it. She looked from the body of the fallen tracker to Ryder, who was standing with his machete still raised and the wings thrown on the ground. Burn marks travelled up his arm in the shape of scales. His eyes were wide and he was looking at her with a suspicion that turned her heart into a burning stone in her chest.
She put the crossbow down, letting it fall against her hip from its strap. Turning her head away she pulled the scarf over her mouth so he couldn’t see her mouth trembling. “We have to hide the body.” she said.
His voice was gravelly and she tried not to read distrust into his tone. “We’ll do that. But how about as we do you tell me what just happened.”
“I don’t know. I didn’t do anything.”
“Bullshit. I saw your eyes change. They swam like the Faeries’ eyes do and then the bolt began to glow.”
She looked over at him and blinked at the machete still held in the air.
“I didn’t do anything. I wished that it would kill it, that’s all. And it did. Don’t faeries grant wishes?”
extract from Dust Bound, first draft WIP