Monday, July 8, 2013

The Siren's Secret--an excerpt

The Siren’s Secret
by Heather Ostler

A dark shape appeared next to her, and Julia tripped on an uneven surface. Falling onto the noisy gravel, she scrambled. When she tried to scream again, a clammy hand fell over her mouth.

“Julia Levesque,” the figure whispered. “Don’t be afraid.”

The hand was removed, and Julia sat up. “Who are you?” she demanded.

A small light illuminated the space around Julia. She took in the image of a tall, beautiful woman with brilliant blue hair. Her face was round and her eyes were dark. Was this the creature from her dream?

“I am Riley, and I am a friend of yours.”

Julia took a deep breath. “A friend? But I’ve never met you. And anyone using dark magic is not my friend.”

Riley opened her eyes wide, looking confused. “I had to talk to you. This is urgent.”

“This is not okay,” Julia retorted. “Once they realize I’m gone, we’ll both be in a lot of trouble.”

“Julia,” Riley said, her tone becoming a little more serious, “I had to talk to you. And I knew the Soldier Union would never let me speak to you.”

“What do you want?” Julia asked. “Are you with the Guild?”

Riley’s face became troubled. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

Julia looked at the castle. She wasn’t close enough for anyone to see what was going on. And who would even be looking out the windows right now? Sierra wouldn’t realize Julia was missing until morning.

“It seems pretty suspicious that you lured me out here. Please say what you need to, quickly, and then release me.”

“This is important, Julia,” Riley answered. “I’m about to change your life.”

“Ch-change my life?” Julia’s heart began to beat madly. It was time she shapeshifted and clawed her way back into the castle.

“Yes. You see, you are a siren.”

Julia willed herself not to shapeshift. “What?”

Riley nodded innocently. “I’ve been sent on behalf of our leader. It’s time you know the truth.”

“I’m not a siren,” Julia answered. “I’m a werecat, a shapeshifter.”

“I know what a shapeshifter is,” Riley said. “And I know what a siren is. You are both.”

Julia shook her head. “No!” she yelled. “That’s impossible. Sirens are evil.” She’d been taught repeatedly to stay away from them because of how dangerous and manipulative they were. “You’re lying to me. It’s not true.”

Riley watched her. “So you haven’t had any strange occurrences lately? Nothing to do with,” she glanced at the lake, “water?”

She didn’t answer. Whenever her reflection changed, it had been in water.

“You’re a siren, Julia. And it’s not the first time someone’s been half-werecat, half-siren.”

Julia opened her mouth to protest but fell silent. Could this be possible? She had once denied that she was a werecat. What if she were a siren too? The thought made her feel sick. Sirens were scary, terrifying creatures.

“And now having told you that,” her sweet voice began again, “I need to continue my mission and take you to Loretta.”

Julia immediately took a step back. “Loretta?” she whimpered.

Riley walked closer, and her blue hair moved softly in the breeze. “Yes, it’s my job.” She spoke so kindly.

Something stirred in the lake, and Julia froze. She watched as two more sirens arose from the water and slowly walked out onto the lake’s shore. The women looked almost identical to each other, but one had long, silvery white locks, while the other had short, apple-green hair.

“I’m not leaving the castle grounds.” Julia planted her feet.

“Come with me,” Riley said, an edge to her voice. “Now.”

Julia closed her eyes and began to imagine herself shapeshifting. She felt the fear rising inside of her and used it to motivate the process.

However, as two clammy hands gripped each ankle, Julia’s legs flew out from under her and she landed on her back. She yelled out as the two women dragged her away from the castle.

“Stop! Help!”

“Quiet, Julia,” Riley ordered. “You’ve left us with no choice.”

Riley stepped onto the shore and the two sirens followed, pulling Julia. She kicked and thrashed against them, but they were too strong and only ignored her cries. Julia dug her fingers into the lake’s gravel, but she could already feel her foot in the water. She let out one last cry before she became completely submerged, and her consciousness slipped away.

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