INHERITANCE Release! – July 26th in print and digital. Stay tuned for online events!
Flowers By Lynne – Reading, Q&A, and book signing – July 28th, 6:30 pm. Raymond, WA.
South Bend Timberland Regional Library – Reading, Q&A, and book signing – August 20th, 2 pm. South Bend, WA.
Raymond Timberland Regional Library – Reading, Q&A, and book signing – September 17, 2 pm. Raymond, WA.
Chapter 1: Sorry, Not Sorry
Some days, I swear, the whole planet was mad at me.
“Take it back! Take it back!”
I could hear the chant even before I reached the doorway. They had said there would be protesters. I expected a few people waving signs. I didn’t think the entire train station would be full of people who hated me.
I looked at the faces of the Warriors who were forming a barricade for me. Their disdainful expressions said, “What did you expect? This is what you get when you disobey orders and give interviews to slimy reporters.”
Seriously? I grunted disgustedly to myself and hefted my overstuffed duffel higher on my shoulder. Geez, where’d all these protesters come from anyway? I didn’t know what to do besides duck my head and pretend to ignore them, while keeping a lookout from the corner of my eye. A few looked twitchy in that way I was starting to recognize.
The Kindred Warriors and their Ahatu cat partners stretched themselves into two lines, holding back the crowd and making a walkway down the stone steps and across the wide train platform. The Afflicted Rights protesters gave the cats a wide berth, but pressed in close to the Warriors who held their scys out horizontally to the floor, poles extended like a high-tech alloy rope line. Their blades remained folded into the poles.
“Take it back, take it back! No one deserves to die like that!” The stone train station echoed with the protesters’ chants filling the cavernous space. They pressed toward me, against the human-cat barricade, waving their protest signs and shouting in my face. I put my head down and hunched my shoulders against the onslaught of hate coming at me from all sides.
The stone train station had been my underground haven these past few months, with the space, but not the equipment, to practice gymnastics. But now the stone made this an echo chamber of anger, and my haven was ruined.
Micha, my mother’s Ahatu Warrior partner, walked next to me, her giant tiger bulk coming up to my chest and taking up most of the walkway. I gripped my fingers into the fur on her shoulder, a bit harder than she liked. She bonked her head against my side with affection and purred reassurance.
Teague, with my mother gone and her second-in-charge on maternity leave, was the first Warrior on the steps next to me. “Whatever you do, Sunny, leave your scy on your hip,” she said next to my ear. “That’s an order.”
I looked down not even realizing that my hand was on my weapon. On my belt, it looked like a police baton, but it would take only two flicks of a button to extend it to full-length, double-bladed deadliness. I nodded to show I’d heard and started down the steps when something small and hard hit and burst on my cheek, making me stumble and flinch to the side.
I swiped at it with the back of my hand and saw dark red and bits of red cellulose casing. I probed at my cheek and found it sore, but the skin unbroken. I sniffed the back of my hand. Ewww, blood. Someone else’s blood. Gross! I looked around in time to see Teague snatch a protester out of the crowd and pat her down, coming up with an air pellet gun and tucking it into her belt.
Really? This was what I got? I did my best for my mother and my family. I put my brain on the line to testify about the monster who had climbed in my window and attacked me. (Fat lot of good that had done. Months later, Mom was still wrongly imprisoned for a murder she hadn’t committed.) And I gave an interview to show the world the proof that the court wasn’t willing to consider. In return, I got hatred and bloody paintballs from rich, Glass City activists who didn’t know a thing about it. All they knew was that they didn’t like my phrasing in an interview. Well, sorry. Not sorry.
I flicked the bloody cellulose bits off my hand and jerked my chin up and my shoulders back, glaring around at the protesters. I knew there must be a big smear of blood down my cheek, but I refused to wipe at it again.
— Excerpt from The Faarian Chronicles: Inheritance, copyright 2016 Karen Harris Tully. All rights reserved.