Stories on the edge of familiarity

Nadin and His Demons (a Hunter and Prey excerpt)

In celebration of hitting 10,000 words in the first draft, here’s an excerpt of what I’ve written so far in Hunter and Prey (this may end up reading differently in the final book, but that’s part of the fun, don’t’cha know):

Nadin had checked the unicorn’s magic after Adren had told him what Loram had seen while they were in Evinad. Something broken, she had said. Would he be able to see what a full fairy saw? His ability to see magic flickered as he pressed to uncover what had disturbed Loram so much, and he couldn’t tell.

And then there was the way the monarchs had responded to Adren pretending the unicorn was a demon. They’d seen something in the unicorn that had convinced them, even if she didn’t believe it herself.

Try as he might, Nadin couldn’t find what they’d seen, no matter how many times he’d tried since they’d left the town. The unicorn’s magic was broken in some way, yes, but like a broken leg, not a… a broken soul. So he’d looked deeper, trying to see what they had seen without trouble. But the more he tried, the harder it was to keep the magic in focus. Just like always. He would, for a moment, think he’d found the beginning of the thing those fairies had been afraid of, only for his sight to slip, causing the magic to disappear.

He clenched his fist at the memory. Why was he so useless? He couldn’t break the curse on Lord Watorej, couldn’t see the unicorn clearly. Couldn’t heal his mother.

Or maybe he didn’t want to heal his mother.

The thing is, no matter how much Adren said they didn’t exist, Nadin believed in demons.

“They’ve come for me, they’ve found me,” his mother had told him before her mind had gone. “Find them and break their power over me.”

“No, mom, no, it can’t be demons. It’s just a sickness. You’ll get better.”

“Find them for me, or I’ll never get better.”

But he’d been angry at her in those years. Growing up without a father, without learning the sort of things only his father could teach, had made Nadin resent his mother and he had refused to listen to her.

“Am I doing the right thing now?” he whispered. He didn’t know.


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