This is the beta version of my novel. If you are a new reader – welcome. You can read from the start here.
New sections are released every Tuesday and Friday. Please let me know your opinion in the comments section. Thank you for reading.
The violin’s song slid its tendrils into her dream. Artie snapped awake with a curse, still sat against the wall with her sketchbook in her lap. She scrambled out of the bed. What time…? Fifteen minutes. No way was she asleep any longer than that.
Artie froze; Alex’s door was open. Nausea rolled through her belly. He took off at a sprint; her swollen ankle shrieked at her. The back door stood open, and the garden gate. Artie emerged, panting, on the common.
Her brother stood on the edge of the woods facing her. His eyes were closed and his hands were busy with the violin. Artie straightened and ran towards him. Lord March stepped from between the trees. Artie slammed to a halt like she had hit a stone wall. She and March faced one another across the width of the road. March’s face contorted into a sharp-edged smile.
“Leave my brother alone. You can’t have him.”
March stroked Alex’s hip. “I know that now. A shame. My wife will be so disappointed.” His smile festered. “He is her favourite plaything.”
March turned to Alex: “Stop.”
Alex pulled the bow from the strings. The final note hung in the air around them. It left a bad taste in Artie’s mouth. In the absence of the music she could hear a hungry, high-pitched growling.
March leaned into Alex’s ear and murmured. Artie wanted to move to Alex, to shake him awake, but her feet were pinned to the ground. Just like when she had spoken to the other Gentry at the party.
The growling grew louder, closer. Realisation crept across Artie’s skin as every hair stood up.
“No,” she whispered.
March met her frantic gaze and smirked. “No,” he said. “No, I cannot keep your brother.”
Louder. Closer. Artie turned to look down the road. A red car, with bright underlights, careered into view. She looked back at March. His face was alive, crawling with glee.
“You cannot keep him either.”
Alex stepped off the pavement into the path of the red car. Artie screamed; Alex’s eyes popped open. For an instant his puzzled eyes met hers.
A screech of brakes. A loud bang.
Artie’s world disappeared into her wordless scream.