Title: A Crown of Roses
Genre: YA Fantasy
Scattered beams of moonlight penetrated through the tree canopy barely illuminating the daunting forest. I squinted, trying to weave a pattern through the shadows and trees. My bloody breath constantly puffed into the chilly summer night air as I ran. Progress was slow, but my mind contained one thought: I must get away from Henbane Tower.
A twig snapped behind me and my head shot over my right shoulder. My eyes scanned in every direction, but nothing greeted me except for darkness. As I turned forward again, a tree had sprung up right in front of me. It was too late to miss it. My unblemished cheek collided with the bark, scraping my skin as stars wiped my vision. Grimacing, I put my palm to my face and continued on. The stinging soon subsided. It wasn’t as deep as the cut on my left cheek.
Low hemlock and elm branches barred my way. Thorns and sticks continually pierced my bare feet. Snarling vines snagged my toes, making me pause to frantically free myself.
I had stopped noticing the shooting pains hours prior, stopped thinking about how my perfect skin was marred like a commoner. My mother had always insisted I take goat’s milk baths to keep my royal skin radiant, but she was dead and I was running for my life.
Skirts raised in my filthy, sweating hands, I sprinted through the first clearing I came across.