So, I’m posting up the second chapter of Dragon Kin ^.^ Feel free to check it out below. Also, there are some new poems up on the Fun Stuff page! Enjoy!
(Haven’t read Chapter 1 yet? Click HERE.)
Cecily’s stomach did a gut-wrenching drop. Her eyes! They weren’t black-slit like Derek’s dragon-gaze, but they weren’t human either.
Haze began to edge her vision, framing her traitorous eyes.
Oh, no. It was happening again.
Cecily bit her lip, hard, but it was already too late.
The frigid sensation of terror in her stomach washed upward, encasing her heart in ice. Her hands and wrists were bound above her head, bound so tight the skin felt raw. Pain stabbed through her shoulders. Her arms were dislocating from their sockets as she dangled above the ground.
Sahak loomed over her, his voice a high, grating noise in her ears. “So weak! So helpless! What a wonder your line wasn’t extinct before we ever woke from the long sleep.”
Razor-sharp, all-encompassing pain cut through her delicate skin in a ragged line down her ribs. Sahak raised long, amber, dagger-like claws, dripping with her blood. “The powers your race once had! You were among the most powerful of our foes. Now?” He spat to the side. “Pathetic.”
She struggled, muffled screams rising in her throat.
Sahak leaned forward. “Your line has fallen so low. You used to be a race which rivaled our own. Now?” He spat to the side. “You don’t even know who you are.”
A loud ringing drowned out his next words. Where was that sound coming from?
Sahak raised his claws again, but Cecily grabbed onto the sound, letting it drag her back to reality.
The school bell was ringing.
Cecily shuddered and slumped against the sink counter, the cool marble soothing away the sensation of rope burns on her wrists.
She swallowed. That flashback had been the worst. She’d remembered something valuable though. Sahak had made it clear that he, at least, had never considered her to be human. Not only that, but hadn’t the Queen named Cecily something else as well? What was it Queen Saranyu had said?
“Cecily and her family are descendants of a line we had hoped were wiped off the earth. Though we have sworn not to kill them, they are our mortal enemies.”
Cecily exhaled. Since the night Derek had given up his rights as heir to the Dragon Throne to protect her, she had tried to push the hard, painful memories from her mind. Now, she had no choice. She could no longer deny what she could see with her own traitorous, glowing eyes.
Whatever the Queen had meant by calling Cecily’s family “kin” had nothing to do with being human.
The school bell rang and Cecily jerked backward from the mirror, smacking her hand hard against the sink in her surprise. School was out. How long had she been staring in the mirror? Students would be staring at her in the hallway. Oh, no. Solon, Cassia, and the rest of the club would see her unless she left now.
Grabbing her backpack, Cecily hurried from the restroom. In the hallway, a few students here and there were already emptying into the halls, and Cecily lowered her head, trying to hide her face.
“Cecily!” Tara’s voice called from behind her.
She shook her head and walked faster, ignoring the complaints of students as she rushed by. If she waited for Tara, everyone would see how she’d turned into a freak.
Hurrying forward, she finally saw the faded metal front doors, and nearly stumbled in relief.
Oh, no. That was Solon’s voice. The club was probably right behind her. Cecily broke into a run. She reached the doors, pushed them open, and her nerves tightened in a moment of fear. Would the outside of the school look like it had in her dream? The door swung wide, showing the school stairs leading down onto the street.
The trees and grass outside were a normal green. Cecily exhaled and hurried through the doors.
She ignored Tara’s call and ran down the school steps, ducking her head as she passed startled students heading home. At the curb, Cecily saw Derek’s car idling, and angled her head away, hoping he wouldn’t see her. The last thing she wanted Derek to see was her face. She wove and ducked between walking students, and when she finally passed his BMW without him noticing her presence, her shoulders relaxed with relief.
She peeled away from the group of students. When they gave her startled looks, she bent her head, letting the curtain of shimmering ebony hair cover her face. Moving away, she hugged the trees edging the crumbled streets. Tenders working further inside the woods glanced up as she passed, and Cecily’s skin went cold at a sudden thought.
Would dragons feel threatened by her change? She’d just applied to Lyman’s a few weeks past, and it wouldn’t be long before she received a response. Would dragonkind rescind her dispensation for college?
Cecily lifted her arms to wrap them around herself as tears burned her eyes. Everything could be ruined. She could end up working like a slave, cleaning the woods and streets as a Tender.
The purr of a car approached as Derek’s BMW rolled up beside her, and she stiffened. The window rolled down and Cecily turned her head away and continued walking.
“Cecily, why didn’t you wait for me at school?” Derek’s voice sounded concerned.
She heard the sound of Derek’s car rolling to a stop. Shaking her head, she picked up her pace.
“Cecily, please, talk to us!”
That was Tara’s voice. Had Tara followed her in Derek’s car? Had Tara told him what happened to her face? Cecily’s chest tightened. “I don’t want to talk.”
Derek jogged up to her side and Cecily quickly turned her face away.
“Cecily.” His voice sounded worried. “Tara told us something had happened in school today.” He laid a hand on her shoulder and she stopped walking. “Come on, Cecily – speak to me.”
“What’s wrong with her?” Daniel’s voice came from behind them.
Cecily’s shoulders tightened. Derek had brought both of them in his car? Had he brought the study group, too?
Solon came around Cecily’s other side. “Cecily, Tara didn’t tell us why you ran away. She said you had to tell us what happened.”
Cecily’s stomach sank. Derek had brought almost everyone. “Don’t look at me.” She tried to pull away, but Derek tightened his grip on her shoulder.
“Cecily, please,” his voice was low, pleading. ” Did you have another flashback? Tell me what’s wrong.”
He sounded so hurt that Cecily shuddered and went still. After a moment, she whispered, “Yeah, I did, but that’s not why I’m upset.”
He pulled her closer. “Ok, we’ll talk about the flashback later. What’s going on right now?”
“Derek, it’s really bad. I didn’t want anyone to see.”
“See what?” He sounded exasperated.
Cecily lifted her face and looked him in the eyes. “This.”
His grip tightened as he inhaled.
On either side of her, Daniel and Solon froze in shock.
“See?” Cecily’s eyes burned and she tried to turn away. “I’m a freak. Maybe this is what the Queen meant when she called me kin. I’m not even human.”
“Stop it.” Derek pulled her roughly into his arms. “You’re beautiful. We’re going to figure this out.”
Cecily shook her head and buried her face in his chest. After a second, she felt Daniel, Tara, and Solon come closer and place their hands on her back.
“Cecily, you’re my twin.” Daniel’s voice was low. “You’ll always be my twin.”
“And you’ll always be our friend.” Tara’s voice was soft as well, and Solon nodded in agreement.
Cecily felt the fear and tension lessen. “You guys really don’t think I look like a freak?”
Tara grinned. “Not more than usual.”
Solon gave her a soft smile. “Actually, Cecily, you look gorgeous.”
Cecily pulled away from Derek and gave a shaky laugh. “I don’t know if I believe that.”
Tariq finally came up their side and stopped when he saw Cecily’s face. After a second, he looked at Derek. “This might be a problem.”
Derek frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I don’t know how the others will react, but I can’t think their response will be positive.”
Cecily’s breath caught in her chest at Tariq’s words. That was exactly what she’d been afraid of.
Derek’s frown deepened into a scowl as he ran a hand through his black hair. “I hadn’t thought of that. You’re right.”
“What’s going on?” Daniel demanded.
Solon and Tara came closer to Cecily and placed arms around her shoulders.
Derek glanced at Daniel then turned to Cecily. “Remember what the Queen said about your kind and mine being enemies?”
Cecily swallowed. “Yes.”
Derek exhaled and exchanged another look with Tariq. “We’re going to have to hide this somehow.”
Tariq looked grim. “You don’t know how well that will work, Derek.” He crossed his arms and studied Cecily’s skin, hair, and eyes. “A glamour is difficult to keep up constantly.”
“What are you guys talking about?” Cecily interrupted. Beside her, Daniel, Tara, and Solon listened avidly.
Derek exhaled and placed his hands on Cecily’s shoulders. “I’m going to place a covering of magic over you. It will hide your change.”
Tariq grunted. “You forgot the rest, Derek.”
“I didn’t forget.” Derek sent him an irritated look. He turned back to Cecily. “You have to tell us everything. How did this happen?”
Cecily glanced upward. The sky had darkened to sunset red, and the edges were already moving into darkness. “We need to get home first.”
Derek grimaced and motioned everyone toward the car. “Everyone get in. I’ll drive you all home. Then we can talk.”
Cecily climbed into the back seat. “Why do you need to know everything that happened?”
Derek waited for everyone to settle in, then started the car. “Because depending on when, how, and why you’ve changed, a glamour might not work on you at all.”