Stories on the edge of familiarity

The Beginning (from chapter 1)

(I haven’t actually figured anyone’s names. Until I do, I’ll be stealing names from stories I’ve already written. The name Adren is stolen from the main character of a story, who happens to be insane. This name choice is entertaining to me on so many levels, but explaining them would give spoilers. :P )

(As for the excerpt itself, these are the opening paragraphs of the novel. Enjoy!)

Knuckles white with effort, Adren held the ladder invisible. Shouts sounded from outside, along with the small thunder of boots as police and personal security officers ran along the street, searching for her. She had only barely managed to scramble up the ladder, the only way of getting to the top floor of this empty barn, and managed to turn it invisible before anyone turned the corner. If they had seen it before then, the magic would have been useless and they would have climbed up to search for her. Thankfully for her, they had been only just too far behind, and now would not even think to get up to a floor that obviously had no access.

Breaking into the lord’s private vault probably had not been one of her better ideas, but it was the only place she could get enough money. Everything had gone well, Adren keeping herself invisible whenever anyone might be around, following the steward into the room, removing what she needed, then coming out when she could hear no-one outside the door. The only problem was that the door had creaked, and a sharp-eared security officer came by to check on the vault. Adren had tried to turn herself invisible when she had heard the footsteps, but the officer had seen her before the magic began to work, and so she had no other option but to run.

Thank the saints she had more stamina than the average human. That plus the officer pausing in shock when he saw her magic trying to work had given her an advantage in the chase, but only slightly. She barely knew the layout of the town, whereas he was intimately familiar with it, and he had called for help. Before long, she had known she would have to hide, or they would catch her, and she preferred not going through what would inevitably follow. Even with just the slight danger of the chase, Adren had been able to feel the unicorn’s anxiety in the back of her mind and its desire to keep her from harm. If she had been caught, she would not have been able to stop it from charging in to save her, and then the whole robbery would have been nothing but another opportunity lost due to the very creature she was trying to help.

Her chest was beginning to tighten with the strain. Just because she could make something invisible did not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that she could keep it that way indefinitely. She listened to the officer who had seen her taking the moment to describe her to the others and give orders for the rest of the search, now that they had lost her. Panic started to rise as they took longer than she liked organizing themselves, but she stuffed it down the moment she felt the unicorn’s concern. Not for the first time, Adren wished she could somehow send it words, but it would not have understood her had she the ability to do so. She would have to make do with what she had and keep herself as calm as possible, no matter what happened.

Before Adren could hold the magic in place any longer, she heard the officers disperse, and knew from their plans that none had stayed behind. Why would they, after having searched every conceivable as a hiding place? A few had come through the barn, but none had come near enough to the ladder’s place on the wall to brush against it. Even if they had, Adren was fairly sure that they would not have thought much of it, but she did not like relying on luck. Once she was certain that no-one was near enough to see the ladder anymore, she let it go. Her body sagged in relief as the tension of keeping up the magic drained away.

“Well, that’s interesting,” said the voice of a young man.

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