This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2016 by Inara Reynolds
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Book cover by Inara Reynolds
Jellybones Part One
October 31, 1224
She ran as fast as she could; that damn cat had tricked her. Her father had been right; the cat was a witch's cat, no more than a demon. She should have thrown it into the ditch of the Motte and drowned it as her father had insisted. Instead, she had hidden it from her father and taken care of it. The charcoal gray cat with the sweet yellow eyes, a new friend for a lonely girl, or so she had thought.
She could hear it howling, calling her name in its demonic tone, surely someone inside the Keep would hear the cat's horrific screeches as it searched for her through the maze of corridors.
I should have grabbed a weapon. Why didn't I grab a weapon?
She found herself on top of the palisade. She did not remember running out of the Keep. She did not know how she managed to climb to the top, let alone how she was able to keep her sense of balance as she stood on the timbered pickets.
I must be dreaming, surely I flew up here.
She looked down into the ditch below her. The moon poked its face out of the clouds revealing its bright yellow light. A beam of light cascaded down into the murky water. The illusion made the water look deeper than she knew it was.
She could hear the rumbling of wood splintering below her; the palisade began to shake and groan. She turned to look down at the archer platform as the entity started to climb out of the floor, leaving a pool of fresh blood around it. She knew she should jump into the ditch below and hope to land in the water. Raising a foot, she looked over the palisade wall into the water far below. She hesitated, frightened of drowning in the depths of the cold, dark water.
The cat jumped up to the palisade next to her, purring softly. The demon had found her.
It rubbed against her legs lovingly, trying to distract her from the brute pulling itself out of the floor below her.
"Demon cat, stay away from me!" She heard herself yell.
She kicked at the cat, hoping it would fall into the water below them. She screamed in terror as it jumped at her face in retaliation. She struggled to keep her balance, teetering on the pickets of the palisade. She began to fall.
The being had caught her. The creature of blood had grabbed her ankle as she fell, forcing her down to the archer platform. It slammed against the wood with a thud. She kicked at it, trying to break free from its grasp, it managed to pin her to the floor.
The cat had not lost its grasp of her face during her fall. He dug his claws deeper into her tender cheeks, narrowly missing her eyes as she landed on the archer platform, helping to hold her down. She tried to fight the cat, but he dug his claws deeper into her flesh, digging their way to the bone.
She lay on the wooden surface, the sweet scent of her own blood overwhelmed her. She could hear the droplets falling around her, landing with a dull thud as they poured from her face. She lay on the platform, helpless, sleep trying to take her over.
The creature pulled itself the rest of the way out of the wooden platform as the moon hid behind the clouds. She could hear it walking towards her; each movement sounded like a sick squashing sound similar to jelly hitting the floor. The smell of rotten fruit filled her nostrils.
I am dreaming. This is only a dream I will wake up soon enough.
She closed her eyes tightly and opened them again.
Her face turned ashen as she looked up at the entity standing above her. Her breath came in labored respite, heavy gasps as it reached for her. As the creature's bloody hand began to wrap around her throat, she screamed, but no sound came.
The world faded to black.
Thank you for reading! Creative and helpful criticism is welcome! Find typos in this draft? Let me know!