Since no one answered me earlier this week I decided to do another teaser from the sections of Crow that I'd re-written from Silas' point of view.
Once again, I probably don't have to say this by now, but if you haven't read the first book, you're about to be spoon-fed some tasty spoilers... You've been warned :P
Crow - from Silas' POV:
I awoke to blinding pain.
It was a pain I recognized, but hadn’t felt for a long time.
Heaving several steadying breaths, it slowly lessened to a dull ache - but I knew what it meant. My claws dug into the plastic covering over the couch cushions as I stretched out with a yawn, making sure to prick the offending, uncomfortable barrier with my sharpened nails out of spite.
I swear, Henriette puts this blasted covering on just to ruin my favorite sleeping spot.
I narrowed my eyes over the old woman’s recliner near the window.
No, the pain wasn’t coming from her. My owner was perfectly safe and snoring like a buzz-saw in the corner.
My ears pricked at the faint sound of her live-in Nurse’s voice floating in from the kitchen, “Miss Henriette, I’m going down to the store for some milk. I’ll be back in only a minute.”
Her keys jingled musically in her hand. I darted off the side of the couch into the shadows, creeping quietly towards the door as I heard her footsteps round the threshold into the living room.
Hunkering low, my paws lifted and fell eagerly as I readied to pounce. Slippered feet shuffled across the hardwood floor in my direction. Vicky turned the knob…
One - Two -
The wooden barrier creaked open, and I took off, slipping easily between her ankles before she even knew I was there.
I leapt up on my hind legs towards the second door that led out of the brownstone to the street while Viktoriya stumbled, wailing and scampering to catch me.
A hard laugh escaped my lips as I skidding around her reaching arms, taking off down the darkened steps leading into the basement of the building. The old witch may have owned the brownstone, but I’d lived here for almost a century. I knew every grain of wood on the floors, every crack in the walls - every small hidden hatch and doorway in the basement that might possibly, secretly lead to the outside…
Henriette’s own aunt had installed it for me when she was just a child. They called it a “doggy door” now, which I found slightly offensive, but still, it was useful for moments like these.
Henriette would be furious, of course - but that was half the fun of it. I’d let the rotten old woman stew for a bit while I tried to figure out what or who had triggered the effects of my curse.
I could feel the pull of danger - something bad had happened. It was pulling me further into Brooklyn. South, towards the water.
If it wasn’t Henriette who was in danger, then who? The obvious answer was usually her daughter, Leena. That girl was always getting herself into trouble, but after Henriette had disowned her I’d stopped feeling the tenuous link between us.
Which was a blessing because I honestly couldn’t stand the girl.
That left the Garro kids. Three boys and a girl. Children of Henriette’s niece who had died a few years earlier. They were the only other living relatives Henriette had left. Other than the eldest, Julian, who sometimes came by the brownstone to check on the old woman, I hadn’t seen any of them in some years. I’d been friendly with their mother - her favored childhood pet. I’d even encouraged her to strike out on her own when things fell out between Leena and her mother. Fiona had done well for herself - married for love, brood of kids, good job…
Then she died.
Then her husband went missing.
Poor kids had pretty much been left to fend for themselves the past few years. I was curious to see how they’d turned out, living such sheltered lives, without use or knowledge of their magical heritage. They were Clandestine after all - they just didn’t know it. Those naive kids were all that remained of the Duvain Clan, with Henriette as their hapless Matriarch.
Damned Duvains and their damned Matriarchs.
I had every reason to be bitter. I didn’t choose to be their familiar - their obedient lifelong servant, bound by a curse to protect them and their bloodline until the end of time.
That’s what it felt like, at least.
It was that same curse that was pulling me across the borough, to a long brick building where a pizzeria sat on the ground floor with three small apartments above.
This was where they lived now. The four Garro kids. They weren’t really kids anymore, the eldest in his mid-twenties and the youngest a freshman in High School. When I was growing up, they’d all be considered practically adults at that age - working, paying taxes and the like.
I sat on the sidewalk across the street and panned my eyes up towards the windows on the third floor.
What ever it was, it definitely happened here - but what?
The Garro kids had no idea about me, what I was, or what they were. I couldn’t just waltz up to their door and poke around, looking for signs of magical interference. As far as they were concerned I was just their Great Aunt’s lazy black house cat.
It was one thing when they were younger - a talking animal is a wonder and a joy, but when they grew up and found out that I was actually a man, forced to spend my days living like a flea-bitten feline, the whimsy quickly wore off. It just became pathetic.
I sighed, my eyes fixed to the front door that led up to the apartments upstairs. I had to figure out a way in. There was something black rustling near an open window on the third floor.
My eyes narrowed to slits as they focused on the shapes moving in the dim light of the Garros' apartment.
On the opposite side of the glass, two beady black eyes stared back at me and squawked.
Thanks for reading.
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