GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy
Dart knew the hour was late. Guttering candles set high up on the walls threw shadows as he scurried along the hallway. Dragon-shaped sconces held the candles, and their birdlike eyes followed him as he neared Boddington’s office.
Pushing open the door, Dart saw Boddington seated at his desk, dressed in his finest suit, blond hair combed into a side part. He didn’t look up, not immediately, but his nostrils flared briefly.
Turning the page in front of him with a spindly finger, Boddington addressed Dart in a clipped voice. “Well?”
“I’m finished,” said Dart.
Boddington sniffed. “All of it?”
“I – um…” Lowering his gaze, Dart took great care to avoid staring at Boddington's neck. It was difficult not to of course. A vivid burn in the shape of a handprint covered most of the exposed skin, as though someone with a hand of fire had grabbed him by the throat.
“I’m waiting!” snapped Boddinton.
“Um…I scrubbed everything…” Dart’s voice faded as he heard the front door of the building swing open. The sound was faint, beyond the reach of normal hearing.
Boddington’s voice began to rise. “Scrubbed?”
Dart kept half an ear on Boddington, while directing his attention back toward the front entrance. He detected the telltale scrape of heels against concrete - the Ruling Witch’s heels. Glancing at the forbidding portrait mounted above Boddington's desk, a chill ran up his tail.
Curly writing at the top of the frame spelled out the Ruling Witch’s name, Aphelion.