TITLE: The Sirens of Falkeld
GENRE: YA Fantasy
Pain so sharp, its like a fist. My breath is gone. I’m choking. Drowning in her. In loss. Then it rushes back. Each breath is fire. Scratching and burning. And the cold inside me hardens to ice. “It was nobody’s fault, Brayan,” I say.
“Nobody’s fault?” He repeats.
“It was an accident.” I force my breaths to come slow. A pressure is building behind each one.
“An accident?” He is an echo.
“HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT?” His eyes are wild.
“It was nobody’s fault,” I raise my hand, taking a step towards him. He has to stop. He can’t say those words. I have to make him stop.
“IT WAS YOUR FAULT,” he screams.
No. The words twist. Digging into me. I stagger. Her face. Her voice. I can’t breathe.
“You didn’t follow. You wouldn’t let me go after her. We could have been there. We could have stopped her. BUT YOU WOULDN’T LET ME!” He punches the air with the gun. Emphasizing words. Waving it from side to side.
“YOU WOULDN’T LET ME,” spittle flies from his mouth. He clenches his jaw. His neck taught. Face red. A strangled sob escapes him. He grabs at his scalp and drops to his knees.
“Look, I’m a bird.” She lifts her chin, cawing. She flaps her arms, running down the beach with the wind, scattering a flock of puffins. They squawk, nipping at her heels and flying away. “I’m a Bonnie bird! I’m a Bonnie bird!” She calls after them, running around a bend in the beach and out of sight.
The pictures and words won’t stop. The memories haunt me. Its hell. She is a bird. She is flying away. She disappears. She never returns.
A blue dress on the beach. No brown-eyed girl in sight.
“AND WHAT ABOUT YOU?” A beast—my pain—rages inside me. Frothing and furious. “You were her brother. You let her go off alone. You shouldn’t have listened to me,” my laugh is crazed. “ You should have stopped her.”
His arms drop to his sides. Dazed.
“If its anyone’s fault, its yours,” I say with hate. The rocks and sea and night are red. It is all I see. Red and rage. Everywhere.
A sound rips from his chest. Like a wounded beast. Inhuman. He charges.
Releasing a scream of my own, I swing a fist. Searching for an arm. A leg. A piece of face. I don't care what. I'm not fast enough. My hand slices air. Brayan slams into me. Its like hitting concrete. Breath hurls from my lungs. I can't breathe. I fall backwards, hitting the ground.