Metamorphosis

Taking a page from my amazing writer-friends, I’m going to take a moment and have a little fun.  Metamorphosis is my finished novel, and I thought it would be amusing to share snippets with y’all.  For more information on it, visit the page ‘Novels’ on my blog — click the three horizontal lines up in the left-hand corner of your screen.  Because I would never be able to figure that out.

  •            “—Changelings.”

           Fraina stopped short and cocked her ears. Behind her Brenda was speaking with another woman in hushed, curt tones.  

  •           Fraina was examining Ariodante closely, frowning as she watched him. His skin was glittering ever so slightly in the sun, almost as if made of scales. Close to the pupil his irises were a deep lavender, but as the color moved outward it was replaced with a forest green. He was tall and something about the way he moved and the muscles rippling under his skin reminded Fraina of a python. But perhaps the most eye-catching thing about him was his shock of bright orange hair – not red like many people, but a florescent, unnatural orange, which seemed styled to look unkempt, giving him a roguish, rebellious air.
  •            “No one can have books on every subject. The universe is quite large.” — Romeo
  •             “I will have no part in murder,” [Fraina] said calmly, and walked away.
  •             Suddenly the most terrible, blood-chilling, horrifying scream he had ever heard rent the night, and Romeo leapt to his feet, his breath caught in his throat. He sprinted toward the door, yanking it open and throwing himself into the street. A cold wind had started up, but he fended it off.

            What had it been? It was indescribable. His heart had nearly stopped with the noise, but now it pounded ferociously in his chest. It had been the sound of death, and joy in pain. His ears were ringing and his fingers were tingling. It took a moment for him to notice that he wasn’t alone in the road – it seemed the whole village had spilled into the night. Even the travelers had run from Marcel’s house with terrified expressions.

            Suddenly the silence was broken once more by another scream – a woman’s scream. No one in the street moved, all staring at one another in horror, and Romeo finally bolted down the road toward the sound.

  •             The gun went off, and a bullet whizzed past her turned head. Twisting around, she saw Ariodante slump over the unconscious body of John-Mark. With a livid cry, she stepped back and slammed the door in the faces of the crowd, shoving the bar across it.

            “Fraina, what were you thinking?” Romeo demanded, grabbing her arm as they rushed toward the wide-eyed Ariodante.

            “I’m shot,” he said in bewilderment. “I’ve never been shot before. I take ‘em out before they can pull the trigger.”

  •             “Please refrain from running,” Ariodante said, mockingly polite. “It hurts my wound.” After a slight pause, he added, “But hurry. I think Fraina’s lost her mind, and I want to see the show.”
  •            A tiny sound to her left made her whip around, muscles tense and ready to either fight or flee.

            Down the beach sat a figure so thin she seemed made of twigs. Fraina assumed it was a female, for a shock of long cinnamon curls framed a sweet-featured face which seemed to be rigid with fear. Gasps were coming from the creature, and she seemed just as coiled to spring as Fraina herself.

            They sat staring at one another for a long moment as the waves gently washed against the shore. “Who are you?” Fraina called, before sucking in a small, sharp breath. She was beginning to despise those words.

            “Marguerite.” The voice was rather strong, especially coming from a shivering creature hiding in the dark.

  •          Romeo gave her a weary, irritated look and said to Marguerite, gesturing at Fraina, “She’s obstinate.”
  •             “I’m bitter, so you’re bitter,” he replied, a sneer in his voice, almost mocking.

            “Correct.” Finally she sighed explosively and demanded, “Can’t you get in a better mood? No one around here seems to be able to function on a single pleasant feeling!”

  •             A sharp, rich voice suddenly filled her ears: “Come forth.”
  •             Romeo and the others were silent for a long moment, each in their own thoughts. Suddenly Ariodante tried to sit up and gasped.

            “Ariodante!” Fraina cried, reaching out and all but shoving him back to the ground. “No!”

            “I’m not a dog!” he snapped, pushing her away angrily. “But there’s that bird-girl in the trees again.”

  •            “You are very unlikeable,” said Brünnhilde.
  •            Brünnhilde turned away, staring into the forest. “I don’t know.”

            “They frighten you.”

            “Marguerite, you should really stop doing that,” said Ariodante, his voice muffled as he spoke through the arm flung over his face.

  •            Danger. They were dangerous. Murderous. No wonder they killed wherever they went – everything in them was driven toward that.
  •           “Why are we staying together, anyway?”

           Romeo was taken aback – he hadn’t thought about it. “No one but fellow Changelings will ever understand us,” he said. “We have to look after one another – it’s natural.”

  •             Flying always calmed her, and she felt better after her hunt, but she still wondered what she was doing here. She was curious concerning these creatures like her, but didn’t find herself liking them very much. She couldn’t count all the times she had been spotted and had had to escape when she was young – she wanted to know how these humanoids behaved. But why was cinnamon-hair so upset with her for being angry? She wasn’t angry. Everyone else were irritants.
  •             “I don’t think I’ve learned how to really control my abilities,” Marguerite said softly. “I want to be able to not be affected by all the feelings around me.”
  •            “He’s angry at me,” Marguerite replied, staring after him. “Because I said I’m all right.”
  •             “If that was supposed to open the door,” Brünnhilde said drily, “it didn’t work.”
  •             Marguerite was free. The chains were no longer holding her, and she explored the room casually, feeling Ariodante and Brünnhilde watching her warily. “I’m not going to hurt anyone,” she said, but the feelings of tenseness and distrust didn’t change in either of them.

          “If you do, I’ll hurt you,” Brünnhilde said.

          “I’m stronger than you,” Marguerite reminded her and felt her resentment keenly.

          Suddenly Brünnhilde got to her feet and strode toward the fireplace.

          “What are you doing?” Ariodante demanded.

          “Leaving,” Brünnhilde growled. “There’s hardly any food left in this house, and what little we have is just weeds.”

         “’Vegetables’ is the proper term,” Marguerite said, and Brünnhilde turned to her as something close to hatred reared up inside her.

  •           “Ariodante,” she said softly. “I need the blood.”

          “And I need to kill Takeshi. Neither of us is going to get what we want, are we?” Suddenly he got to his feet, and she felt the pain sear through him as he put weight on his infected leg. He limped to the door and was about to exit when he turned back to look at her, gentleness and betrayal the most prominent feelings within him. “You lied about the others,” he said, his voice hard. “You lied about me. I’m going to tell them to watch out for you the instant they wake up tomorrow.”

         She dropped the façade of the person she had once been, letting a sneer overtake her mouth. “Informing them isn’t going to stop me,” she told him. “I’m still more powerful. And,” she grinned, “I didn’t lie about everything.” She got up and as she brushed past him, she tapped his heart with one finger.

  •            Slowly, Fraina turned to look at the girl. It felt as if it was the first time she had done so since they had arrived at this place. Her black eyes were dull and her once-lively face was empty. She sat in the chair with her legs curled up to her chest, bare arms around them. Sorrow stirred within Fraina, and she responded, “We’re trying to find a way to heal you.”

              “Heal me from what?”

  •             She doubled over, and time seemed to stop. Her large, black eyes slowly moved to meet his, and for a moment he saw who she once was in their endless depths. Then, she took hold of the spear in both hands, and with a gasp, tore it from her body, the force hurling Romeo backward. “Go!” he screamed, and the little family raced forward and out the door.
  •          “Are you insane?” Brünnhilde snapped. “The moment they see you, they’ll strap you to a stake!”

         Fraina grinned. They couldn’t know how afraid she was. This was different than any fear she had ever experienced – these were the people she’d known for years, and they had already tried to kill her, back on the beach. They wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. She’d seen what they’d done far too many times to doubt them. “Are you worried they’ll hurt me?” she taunted.

        “No, just concerned for your mental health.”

        “I’m so touched.”

  •           Fraina lowered herself onto a log beside the fire, putting her hand into the flames and toying with them. Brünnhilde watched as she creates beautiful figures of horses and deer, sparks flying from their dancing hooves.
  •          “Who wants the honors?” she snapped. “I’ve helped kill two people in less than twenty-four hours, and I’m not doing it again!”
  •         “What are you here for? We only want peace!”

This is my book.  Pieces of it, at least.  I hope you enjoyed!

Cheers!

Ana

(And for the life of me, I can’t get it to look right.  I need lessons in technology.)

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