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It’s cool in the library, and I see that the large windows are open slightly to let the morning breeze blow in. I hear quiet swear words and clangs coming from the closet, and repress the urge to laugh at what I’m about to see. Moving further into the room I decide to call out, trying to warn her of my presence and not startle her (thus, saving me from a stabbing). “Started without me again, I see-- What the hell are you doing?”
I was expecting to see a lot of things, but I wasn’t expecting to see Fi climbing the bookshelves. Her toes are curled on the edge of the third shelf, which has to be straining under the extra hundred pounds. She’s holding onto the second shelf with one hand and trying to tug a huge box over her head with the other. When I speak, she jumps and the shelf wobbles. “For heaven’s sake, Flint!”
I ignore her attempt to scold me for walking silently and come up behind her, shaking my head. I reach up and brace one hand on the back of her thigh, the other on her opposite calf. “Get off of there before you break your damn neck.”
“There is no one around here who loves reading as much as I do,” she says with a hint of disappointment. “Except Eir, and honestly, he doesn’t really enjoy the same type of books I do. He once accused me of trying to ‘sissify’ him.”
I throw my head back and laugh. If anyone could look at Eirnin and have the moxie to call him a sissy, they must be itching to be smashed. I shake my head, overwhelmed by giggles. “I highly doubt that was your intent. What book did he think was going to make him a sissy?”
“It wasn’t my intention, but I honestly didn’t think much about it until after he threw a fit.” She giggles. “It was Jane Eyre. Oh, well — he survived and he’s still all boy, so, it’s all good, I suppose.”
“Yes, I don’t think anyone with a brain would be brave enough to call him a sissy,” I tell her. “Very, um…large young man, he is.”
She laughs. “Yes he is. If he gets any taller, I’m going to have to start altering tents for him to wear as pants.”
I ease out of the back door as quietly as possible and take off running as soon as I clear the back stairs. The need to be free of the house for a little while takes over and I revel in the tepid night air that surrounds me. Here is a little relief, finally. The pounding of my feet on the ground and the steady thumping of my heart are the only noises in the night as I pass the gnarled, old oak tree where I first saw Flint. When I hear a second set of footfalls coming up fast behind me, fear takes over for a moment and my mind goes blank. All I can think is that my brother is never going to forgive me for leaving the house without a guard. I make myself keep running and do as I’ve been trained to. On autopilot, I slow just a little and time my footfalls with my would-be attacker’s. I sidestep and reach for the dagger I keep sheathed on the inside of my thigh, and realize in horror that it isn’t there. Having spent the entire day in the house, I forgot my daggers and am completely unarmed. I never leave the house unarmed, ever. Not since I was twelve and my father gave me Gran’s old dagger for my birthday. Terror makes my heart stutter and I make myself turn around to see who is behind me.
Allana Kephart has been making things up and bending people to her will from a very young age. She loves animals and reading and spends a large amount of time thinking up ways to torment her characters. She shares a brain, a love of coffee and the color purple with her alter ego/best friend/co-author, Melissa Simmons.
Melissa Simmons is an avid reader who married her soul mate and is the proud mother of a spoiled cat. She spends her days helping promote independent authors and doing what the voices in her head tell her to. She shares a brain, a love of coffee and the color purple with her alter ego/best friend/co-author, Allana Kephart.
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