Because the writing is very fast, with none of my fervid editing that usually accompanies each handful of sentences, this stuff is a lot rougher than my usual work. That is my disclaimer. Now, I'm going to cautiously post a chunk of my story on here. If you like it--leave me a comment! If you have any ideas for the rest of the story--leave me a comment! And if you think it's rubbish--alright, still leave me a comment, but do try to be kind. If I get a positive response from this, I'll post more. Deal?
Sasha awoke to cold tile pressed against her cheek. Opening her eyes, she saw a ceiling that stretched far above her. The walls were crowded with dark wooden bookshelves crammed with thick tomes bound in austere leather. Low tables squatted on the tile, filled with strange tools and displays that were spiked and harsh and alien. Yellow light flickered from candles set in sconces on the walls, lending extra shadow and depth to corners and angles. The floors were tiled in heavy swirled marble that eerily reflected the candlelight. Her head lay on these tiles, next to a heavy mahogany desk.
Experimentally, Sasha flexed her fingers, grateful to discover that she once again had fingers to flex. Then she remembered, the mental pictures resurfacing of the awful dark bird with the red eyes, her tiny friends turned to wax, the careless way the man had turned an entire home into ash. Her whole body shuddered, quaking with the horror of the memories.
“Good. You’re awake,” came that cello voice, echoing hollowly.
Sasha choked on her gasp and reacted to the overwhelming instinct to hide. She half dove, half crawled under the cavernous desk, wedging herself into the back. Knees folded and pressed to her nose, she whimpered.
Almost curiously, the man bent at the waist to peer underneath his desk. “What a strange creature,” he remarked. “It wants to live under a desk.”
Sasha couldn’t tell if he was making fun of her or not.
The man pulled up a straight-backed wooden chair and sat. From her crouched position, the only part of him Sasha could see was his boots. She studied them. They seemed to be made from some type of skin – the surface was dark and pebbled. She had to resist the urge to reach out and run a finger along the toe.
There was a thud as the man banged his hand on the surface of the desk, using it as leverage to lean his torso down and peer into Sasha’s refuge underneath the desk. The relative darkness suddenly beamed with red light.
“None of that, thank you. Would you like to come out from under there?”
The girl shook her head ‘no’ frantically.
“Ah. You don’t need to hide. I didn’t bring you here to hurt you.”
A beat. “What do you want?” she quavered.
“I heard tell of your remarkable banishing of that rogue troll from your village. I’m very interested in powers such as yours.”
There was a pause. Clearly the man expected Sasha to have a comment. When she remained silent, he sighed and continued. “I’m going to harness your energy so that I can use it.”
Sasha’s head snapped up. For the first time, she looked at the man, her gaze shifting around his face, not wanting to focus on those strange red eyes. His skin was pale but especially thick, bunching at the corners of his mouth and eyes. His high forehead gave way to lank hair the color of a cloudy nighttime sky, combed back straight and falling down his back. He wore strange, fitted black clothes with buckles cinched across the front and a long cloak made from a fabric that wisped about him when he moved.
“What are you?” The question slipped from her lips without thought. She flinched.
The man giggled, a high and unsettling noise. “I’m like you. Shapeshifter, mage, one who is able to commune with the Others. I learn the rules of the cosmos and how to manipulate them to my will.”
Sasha squeaked. ‘I’m not like you!’ her mind screamed. ‘I’m nothing like you!’
The man seemed to read the expression on her face and grimaced a smile, folds of skin piling up by the corners of his mouth. “No? Well. Not for long.”