Turning the Stone


Here is a small snippet from Turning the Stone. Please remember this is a rough copy, and is unedited.

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Silas sent Finis to scout ahead of him. Letting Hex take up the rear as they made their way to the cave. He knew the girl would be startled at first, but he also knew he would be able to get her to trust him. He’d have to.

The leaves crunched underfoot as they navigated between the tress in the thickest part of the woods. The August air was suffocating; hot and thick even in the darkest point of the night. Silas could tell they were getting closer to the cave when a cool breeze separated the dense dry air picked up off the large body of water nearby. Silas moved his hair from his forehead and pushed it behind his ears. A light shone faintly in the mouth of the cave, and he stopped, took a deep breath and looked down at the large white wolf next to him.


“What do you think? Subtle? Or barge right in?” The wolf sniffed the air and turned away flicking his tail left to right. “Huh, what would you know anyway?”

The rock wall was cool to the touch. Using one hand for balance Silas maneuvered his way into the mouth of the cave, taking care not to slide down the slope of the path as he went. The light moved around inside telling him it was not stationary.

“Where did it go?” He heard the girl’s temper ringing throughout what sounded like a small space. “Where the hell did that go?” The sounds of papers rustled, several small thuds of sound which reminded Silas of what his books sounded like when he’d let one fall on top of another.

He moved forward still. Listening to her growing frustration. The wall curved and twisted until finally he caught a glimpse of her. Her long raven hair billowed down to her waist in mismatched curls and waves. From the distance he’d seen her from before, he was unable to see the clarity of the blue in her eyes, the pout in her lips and the curves of her body. She was wearing a long black summer dress with thin straps at the shoulder. One had slipped and rested across the smooth skin of her arm, and he wished he could reach out and push it back up to feel her milky white skin. The longer he stood there the more he began to notice the slight fragrance of cherry blossoms. When his foot hit something solid in the middle of the path he stopped.

“1865, 1866, 1867…69. Where is it?”

“Looking for something?” He watched as she jumped back. She fell from her knees to the flat of her bottom. Silas moved into the light producing the small leather-bound book. The date was stamped in gold lettering on the spine, 1868. "Doesn't look like it's worth enough to be upset over."

"Yeah? Well, how would you know? You don't even know what your holding." She moved quickly from her knees to her feet and held out her hand in a way that demanded her property be returned to her.

Silas took stock of the room from the opening. He'd been right about the size of the space, it was big enough to fit a queen sized bed in, but nothing more. There were blankets, books, pencils and empty soda cans scattered around. A gas powered lantern sat on the floor, and a heavy pair of iron manacles hung from the stone wall. Without releasing the book, he walked over to study them. They were connected by an iron chain. The cuffs themselves looked too old to be useful.

"Do you actually use these? They look medieval."

"Can I have my book please? Then you can tell me who the hell you are and why you've stumbled onto my property." She sucked a breath in between her teeth. He looked at the book, then started to flip it open. "I'd rather you didn't do that!"

"Fine." He jumped when the echo of her voice boomed inside the cave wall. "Here, have your book back." He trust the book at her with one hand and turned back to the irons on the wall waiting for her to take it. "But seriously, is this for shifters?" He spared her a glance. Not able to make heads or tales of whether she was going to answer, he placed one of his wrists in the cuff and latched it, then the other.

"What are you doing?" She asked resuming her position on the blanket beneath her.

"I thought I was making you feel more at ease to talk openly, but I can see you really don't care one way or the other."

"If you know about shifters then chances are you know who I am. Which means you didn't stumble on my property. You just don't want an audience for your request. This," she said motioning to Silas' hands trapped, "is going to do nothing to sway me one way or the other."

"Really?"

"Yes."

"Well, what is it then that you think I want?"

"Evelyn wants my position as high priestess, I know. She can't have it. Surely, one of you people realize that it's not as simple as requesting it from the Council. Chaining yourself to the wall isn't going to sway me into giving it up."

"No?"

"Of course not." She stood then raising her voice to echo within the cave once more. "I resent the fact that so many of you have gone to my father to make him see reason. This is not negotiable.

"Granted, there hasn't been a high priestess since my grandmother, Margaret passed, but that's not my fault. It is my birthright. I will not squander it away."

"Ok, if your certain that's how you feel, would you mind releasing me?"

She moved to where Silas saw the key hanging from the stone wall on the opposite side of the cave, but stopped short. "Your not a Delaney are you?"

"What makes you ask that?"

"I can't sense you. Which means you are not a Delaney come to discuss the position of high priestess, but someone else entirely."

"Very good." He smiled and she back away from him.

"Why does that make you happy? I've figured you out before letting you free."

"I never planned on get out of here without telling you who I am. I suppose you'll want to keep me here and ransom me off."

"You’re a death watcher. As far as I know there is only one family in this state with that gift. Mine. Who are you?"

Silas released the hold he had on his gifts. Putting the wall up was as second nature to him as breathing. Taking it down took a bit of work, but he did it. He wanted her to figure out who he was by using her own. She needed to be trained. With others vying for her position with the Council, she needed help now more than ever.

She looked at Silas with hungry eyes, but hadn't made a move on him yet. He wanted her, no needed her to get angry, not just suspicious. She would need that anger as a trigger to allow her to access all the gifts of a death watcher that she had no idea about. Once recognition set in him that she was trying to read him he released the rest of his barrier. Her expression grew weary, then filled with fear and finally became dark.

"Get a good look"?

"Why?"

"Why, what sweetheart?"

"Why let me find out? Why not lie? Anything other than the truth. Why would you...?"

"Let you see who I am and what I'm after?" She shook her head and he lowered his. "Because, I might be my father's son, but I'm not my father."


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