Dissever is done! I have written the last word and I am so excited :) Here is a little sneak peek of what's to come with this story. In this section, Roarke and Anna are 10 and 9 years old.
Queen Elizabeth Anne died two years later. Despite dining with the Royal Family almost every night, I knew very little about her save for the similarities in our names. I asked my mother once if she was named after me. She laughed and told me it was probably so.
King Phillip never shed a single tear, not that I saw, but Prince Frederick was despondent. Though I never saw him cry, I will forever remember his cheeks being blotchy and red. He was growing into a young man more and more every day. After the death of his mother, I swear I hardly recognized him. It made me fearful for what would happen to Roarke, who was only one year younger. I prayed for the good health of his mother every night.
“How old is your mum?” I asked him one afternoon. We were sitting in the grass eating apple slices and cheese curds that squeaked against my teeth as I chewed.
“I don’t know,” he said with a shrug. “Very.”
I frowned. “No, she can’t be very old. She doesn’t have any white hair.”
“Then kind of. She’s kind of old,” he amended.
“Do the Tem Aedha really live forever?”
He looked up at me, suddenly paying attention and frowning. “Who says we live forever?”
“Everyone. I hear it all the time. You live forever, you speak to the trees, some of you can fly, though if that were true I don’t understand why you don’t leave the island. If I could fly, I’d leave. I’d leave tomorrow.”
“Well it’s not true. We die just like you. We do everything just like you. We aren’t different, Anna.”
“Yes you are,” I replied, catching his eye. “You are completely different and utterly wonderful.”
He smirked at me. “You’re mad.”
“Yes,” I agreed, intentionally squeaking my cheese in my cheeks.
“How is Frederick?”
I lowered my eyes, feeling sad just thinking about him. “He’s upset. Always very sad. The funeral is tomorrow. I don’t want to go.”
“But you have to?” he asked. When I nodded he sighed. “You have to do a lot of things you don’t want to do.”
I snorted. “Yes.”
“I wish I could go with you. I’d hold your hand and let you cry on my shirt.”
“I wish you could too.” I felt my heart pound in my chest as I considered my truth, then I whispered, “I wish you could always be with me.”
“Me too,” he whispered back, no hesitation.
We smiled at each other conspiratorially, sealing our secret inside the manicured walls around us.
“How did she die?” Roarke asked abruptly. “No one in our village knows.”
“I don’t know. No one here knows either. I guess it was the storm.”
“The lightning storm a few days ago? That’s when she died?”
“They think so.”
“How do they not know?”
I glanced around, knowing we were alone but double checking anyway.
“They can’t find her body,” I told him quietly.
His eyes widened. “Then how do they know she’s dead?”
I lowered my voice further, forcing Roarke to lean in closer. I wasn’t supposed to know any of this and my father would lose his mind if he heard me talking about it. It was all things I’d overheard whispered at dinner when people thought I wasn’t listening. But I was always listening.
“They found her shoes and a scrap of her dress. That’s all. And it was surrounded by dead grass. Everything else was alive, but the grass in a circle around her shoes was completely dead.”
“Was it burned? Was she struck by lightning?” Roarke asked, taking a bite of his cheese, loving the mystery.
“It wasn’t burned, just dead. No one knows what happened to her. It’s like she disappeared. And you know what else? They say no Queen’s body has ever been found. They die all the time and none of them are ever seen again. They call it the Queen’s Curse.”
Roarke looked at me dubiously. “No Queen has ever been buried? Ever?”
“Only one,” I insisted. “Forever ago one Queen died of old age in her bed, but her life was awful. Her’s and the King’s. All kinds of things went wrong for them.”
“Like unborn babies and strange illnesses. Like a terrible storm with fiery rain and huge waves that swept people out to sea. The same storm that brought in a ship full of strangers that crashed in The Shallows…”
“The night my people arrived,” he said in a hushed tone.
“What are you two whispering about?” Roarke’s mother asked, suddenly appearing in the orchard.
“Nothing,” Roarke said immediately.
“Uh huh,” his mother replied doubtfully. “I know that ‘nothing’ and it always means something. Usually something I’ll end up apologizing to someone for.”
“I haven’t done anything wrong in a week.”
“Oh, well, let’s throw a party for you. Roarke hasn’t misbehaved in days. Ring the church bells and shout for joy.”
I giggled as she pretended to dance in celebration. Roarke scowled at her.
“You’re being weird,” he told her.
She laughed. “Oh, honey, if you’re just now realizing that your mother is weird, you’re not nearly as smart as I give you credit for.”
Author of YA/NA science fiction and romance peppered with wit and sarcasm.