GENRE: Upper MG Adventure/Fantasy
Jonah is a cursling (a youth with a gift, different), exiled and presumed dead. Scouting for food, he's tripped up and pinned by someone's foot.
A nasal voice says, “Little cursling! You’re supposed to be dead.”
“Oh, I am. You’re just imagining this. So you might as well let me up.”
“What, and forego the bounty?”
“If I’m dead, they’re not offering a bounty.”
He thinks about it. “Okay, you’ve got me there. By My Sire’s fingernails, how are you, Jonah?”
The foot lifts. Slowly, I roll over until I’m looking into the narrow, olive-skinned face of Lennard Shepherd.
“I am.” His dark brown eyes bore in on me. “How…. Everyone thinks you’re dead. And they can’t even mourn you, cursling. Boryn would send them into the night after you.”
“Then maybe I should start a rescue service.” I sit up, trying to make sense of his meaning. “Are you going to let them know?”
“What’s it worth to you?”
“You can have half of what I own,” I say, smiling.
“What’s half of nothing? I must have missed that lesson. No, I won’t tell anyone. Not even your parents.” He shakes his head. “They’ve lost both their children. They’re… I think they’re dying, slowly.”
I grab Lennard’s hand. “Tell them…. I don’t know. Something. You had a dream that I’m okay. Something.” He looks skeptical. “Promise. Please…?”
Finally, he agrees. “Where are you living?” he asks.
“In The… the woods.” I don’t want to tell him, just in case all is not what it seems. “There are… ways.”
“You’re getting by? You look okay, actually. A bit thinner, but you were always scrawny.”
“Wiry, not scrawny.”
“Nah.” He laughs. “Scrawny.