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Published July 1, 2017
"It started with blood. Doesn’t every good story?"
When Raven steals an illegal magic the evil wizard is searching for, a hunt for this young dreamer of bones begins.
A red-haired witch and a grey-eyed wizard. The reward is astoundingly high.
You’d think red-haired witches would be common, and word is they used to be, but now, they’re as rare as a unicorn.
But the reward. It’s enough to buy a small island.
“Shh!” I all but put a hand to Sim’s mouth. “You mustn’t talk like that! You know nothing will be so bad as if she heard you use that word.”
“What will she do with a star, anyway?” Sim says, angry, doubting Esme’s ability, as he often does, and to his detriment as well.
“I figured you’d know that, Sim.”
He sighs. “No. I honestly have no clue. Catching a star is illegal in the Order and comes with great consequence.”
A twig snaps in the wood, and like a spell broken, Sim and I quickly search the barn, as if the witch lurks there. After we hold our breath, half expecting her to burst in and break us in two, I give a nervous laugh.
Sim turns to me with a mischievous grin.
“I was there, you know,” I say. “When she brought you. She said I was in the village, but I wasn’t. I watched through the window, and I thought to myself, who else has fallen into her snare? I wished on a star, that very night, for you, Simeon. I wished with all my heart that you’d be free. No reason my fate should have to be shared.” I stare down, embarrassed. “I have no people that love me. But you…”
“You do, Raven.”
I glance over, and Sim looks as if he’s overcome by some emotion, but the deep grooves hide whatever it is in the folds of his face.
We stay like that, eyes locked, and sit in silence long enough for the unspoken to drift far away into the wood.
It’s a hungry place, gobbling up all our endeavors, greedily, just like the witch that rules it. And for weeks after my dreams, I’ll see skeletons grinning in the knots of the trees, singing to me. But I’m never afraid.
“We’re supposed to be watching the stars,” I say, taking his drink and moving to climb into the loft.
Sim follows me up the ladder, and we find places under the opening in the roof, where we can lay back side-by-side on the hay. The heavens are brimming on the Edge this night.
Maybe Sim’s right. Things could change.