Genre: Dark Fantasy
Digital Price: $4.99 (99c/99p through 27 March)
BUY HERE: Tirgearr Publishing
In an overpopulated city-state where technology and magic are forbidden by the corrupt church, young witch, Mirabel Fairfax, plots the creation of a deadly plague to cull the burdensome rabble.
That is, until she falls in love with the very alchemist she has been deceiving.
Now, with soul-hungry geists flooding the city, the church scrambling for their prey, and her own mind at war with itself, Mirabel must decide what she's fighting for before she loses everything to the evils of Autumnfall.
• • •
It had always been lonely. The endless halls had enough rooms to accommodate an army, but no army resided there, and seldom did family. No windows offered the dreams of an outside world. For light, her mother kept lanterns lit in the halls the girl had permission to visit. She knew those places well. Four years she had lived here, her lifetime.
Loneliness didn’t grip her heart today. Not anymore. Dragging the tail of her white gown behind her, she navigated warped corridors that rippled like sheets. The distortion used to frighten her and make her sick, but her desire to explore outside her bedroom endured. A year ago she discovered what would become her favorite burgundy chair; one big enough to curl up on, made of soft velvet, and always with a lit candle nearby.
She crawled atop the cushion and sat with her brown-furred friend almost as big as her. He had silly long, floppy ears, pink paws, and a hard nose. Since introduced to her yesterday, he hadn’t stopped smiling. The girl knew better than to smile without good reason, but she often felt like joining him.
An imperfect, sweet tune sang behind her lips as she brushed his fur. She didn’t hear it often enough to remember the specifics, so she stuck to humming the series of notes she knew best: a three-second loop. With all her heart she hoped the redundancy wouldn’t irritate her friend. His smile remained. He hadn’t bunched her hair up in his paws. He hadn’t send to her tumbling to the floor, causing cuts on her knees. The stuffed rabbit merely sat there. He must have found the melody as agreeable as she did.
A door opened and slammed. The manor had plenty of random activity. It couldn’t have been her father; he visited yesterday, so he wouldn’t return for months. No reason to run to the foyer, but perhaps a reason to hide. The girl scooted toward the edge of the chair. Too late. Her mother marched into the room, carelessly throwing her fur coat over the piano. She kept walking past her daughter. Unfortunately, she stopped and turned around.
The girl looked up. “Yes ma’am?”
“Are you not going to say hello to your mother?”
Mother’s face grinned like her friend’s. “I heard your father visited last night.”
She nodded, and moved her body to obscure her stuffed companion.
Mother crouched at the chair. “What is this, then?”
“To heal your loneliness, I take it. Does it help you with your studies?”
“Yes,” said Mirabel.
“No, child.” Her hand extended. Today it went for Leonard, snatching him away. “Do not be ridiculous. It helps you with nothing. The study books your loving mother gives you are all the company you require.”
Mirabel sat motionless. She wanted to reach out and take Leonard back, but nothing could be reclaimed from her mother’s grasp. He should have been hidden. It had been reckless to bring him out in the open. Fingers spreading apart, her mother’s hand swayed over Leonard. He still smiled. So naïve, so innocent. He understood nothing. She had failed him. He probably still loved her, until the moment fire from Mother’s fingertips turned him into ash.
“I will be having one final discussion with your father, and then no more of this pain.” She patted Mirabel’s head and disappeared into the darkness of the next room.
Mirabel slinked from the chair and sifted through the ashes. A singular pink paw remained. There was always a part that didn’t burn. Carefully she placed it on her lap and stroked it. She hummed for him again, but Leonard’s smile wouldn’t return.
• • •
Sam Poling has been writing fantasy and science fiction for the thrill of it his entire life, from short stories to screenplays. His love for each of the subgenres led to dedication to writing genre-skirting fiction with all the elements that make up the human condition. He holds a strong enthusiasm for medical studies and currently works as a medical assistant in a large clinic while taking classing for nursing. He also serves on a health and safety committee, including disaster preparedness and infection control. His interest in epidemiology and medical science tends to spill over into his writing endeavors.
Find Sam online:
Website - http://www.samuelpoling.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Samuel.T.Poling
Twitter - https://twitter.com/SamuelPoling
Tirgearr Publishing - http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Poling_Sam