Welcome back to the party! I’m so glad you’re sticking with me today and hope you’re having a blast. Here is another except from IN THE TOWER OF THE WIZARD KING!
She halted mid-reach, gasping for breath and shoving back against the wall. She couldn’t. She’d been forbidden her entire life to go into the attic. Her mother made that painfully clear. She was not allowed and neither was Sunnie.
Do it, Aoife. Go up into the attic.
The voice whispered inside her skull. She had no idea whose voice it was. She didn’t think it was her own. She was compelled to open the attic and take that first upward step.
So she did. With her heart pounding in her throat, she ascended and paused in the darkness listening to her ragged breathing. She stood on forbidden ground.
Again that voice. She scanned the darkened room, only barely able to make out shapes. There were the holiday decorations on one side. An old desk on another. She headed for the desk.
The trunk. The trunk.
She pressed her palm against the side of her head and rubbed. She was hearing things.
The desk was coated in a thick layer of dust that had been disturbed not so long ago. There were several cubbies with papers sticking out of them in a chaotic and untidy way and two books that had finger and handprints left behind in the dust.
“Hidden Dimensions and Fae Time Travel,” she read aloud.
She picked up the second book, A Hypothesis of Fae Magic in Other Realms, and flipped through it. She understood none of it as it was written in a language she couldn’t comprehend. She dropped the book and reached for one of the scrolls when her fingers brushed one that felt different than paper. Curious, she pulled it out and untied the faded red ribbon, letting it roll open. Despite the flawless handwriting, the words were of a language she couldn’t understand. Except for the two words in English scrawled across the top.
She dropped the scroll and shoved it away as something dark gripped her. Like she’d touched something forbidden or evil. With her heart pattering a quick beat, she reached for another scroll. The parchment fell open on the desk revealing a drawing of an ancient map. The ink had faded. When she peered at it closer she couldn’t make out the words, which were in the same language as the book. Something flowery with lots of squiggles and she had no idea what it said. A small compass was drawn in the lower left hand corner with north pointing to the right.
Aoife reached for a second piece of paper. It had been folded and looked as though it was a page that had been ripped out of a book. Again, the language was strange. Like nothing she’d ever seen before. As she stared at the faded ink, the words and letters re-arranged and morphed into words she could read.
A wizard of both Fae and Wizard blood will come into power and rule from a silver throne.
“A wizard of both Fae and Wizard blood…?” Her voice was quiet in the darkness.
Something behind her glowed. She dropped the paper and turned to see a symbol on the top of the trunk had lit up, like a beacon in the darkness.
The trunk. The trunk. The trunk.
It called to her. She was certain she had heard her name coming from it. In a fog, she walked toward it and dropped to her knees. It was an old steamer trunk. She had never seen it before in the house. Where did it come from? Was it her mother’s?
The glowing symbol on the top was an intricate Celtic knotwork circle with a sword through it. The light pulsed, beckoning her.
The trunk, Aoife.
“Yes,” she heard herself say. “The trunk. Of course.”
Her fingers brushed over the Celtic knotwork and suddenly the interior illuminated. Light pushed out around the lid. She gasped and opened it. When the blinding light faded, there in the trunk was a stone staircase leading down into darkness.
“What the heck…?”
Downstairs, she heard a door slam and then Sean’s voice. “Aoife? Are you here?”
Step into the trunk, Aoife.
“Yes, I must.”
She stood and stepped onto the first stone step. Her racing heart thumped a wild beat and the next thing she knew she was on the second step. Then the third.
Glancing up, Sean appeared at the top of the attic stairs. She sucked in a sharp breath, grasped the lid and slammed it closed above her head. She was instantly plunged into total darkness and hunched down on the step, waiting for Sean to open the lid and come after her. She heard nothing. No sounds above.
Panic seized her. She reached above and her hand brushed against smooth, cool stone. She pushed and pushed and pushed but the stone would not give. She flattened her trembling hands against where she thought the lid was but again met cold stone instead of smooth wood. The lid had disappeared. Where did it go?
A cold tingling sensation went through her as she realized she was trapped. Gasping for air, she banged the side of her hand against the stone until it hurt, shouting Sean’s name as hot tears stung her eyes. Her voice bounced off the stone walls around her, echoing through the shadows. It was useless. He couldn’t hear her. Sean didn’t follow her because Sean couldn’t follow her. She was trapped.
There was no going back and there was no way she could get out. Her only option was to go down. With her pulse racing, she descended into the shadows.
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