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Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!

 

Photo Credit Clarita from Morguefile.com

 

My heels clicked on the sidewalk as I ducked into an alcove outside the antique shop. Please don’t let Kelly notice, I’ve left. If I had to hear about Rafe or Pierre or Beau or any other French guy, I’d scream.

Paris was supposed to be this epic adventure for me. Touring the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, Notre Dame, not to mention all the museums I’d wanted to visit.  Then Aunt Silvia decided to invite my cousin Kelly along. So instead of visiting historic places I’d dreamt of since I was like ten, I spent every waking moment chasing college guys with accents. Not that I didn’t find the guys hot, but I so wasn’t here for that.

The bell above the door jingled as I entered, the scent of old books and wood overwhelmed me. Shelves filled with china glassware, crystal, jewelry, and trinkets reached to the ceilings. Centuries’ old furniture lined the walls, while garments hung from hangers swaying like ghosts from the past.

“Beautiful,” I whispered, running my hand over a carved cherry jewelry box, with pearl insets. My body thrummed as if I’d come home.

Wooden planks creaked beneath my footsteps and I made my way further into the shop, away from the windows. The light dimmed, casting shadows across the floor at my feet. A cool draft snaked down the neck of my coat and I pulled my collar tighter.

I scanned the shelves, when a snow globe caught my eye. Curious, I picked it up. It was heavier than I imagined, the base made of white oak, a glass sphere on top. Inside was a tiny version of Paris, the Eiffel Tower distorted in the center.

My fingers brushed against a tiny key like knob at the bottom. I wound it up and music tinkled eerily from it.

“Hello, can I help you?” a masculine voice said from behind me.

I fumbled with the souvenir, almost dropping it. “No. I’m just looking.”

My gaze shifted to a pair of mahogany eyes, nearly hidden beneath floppy dark bangs. My breath caught in my throat. As a chiseled face gave way to a perfect smile.

He chuckled. “For a moment, I thought you might be hiding from someone. The way you dashed in here.”

Heat fluttered across my chin and I knew without even looking, my face was a lovely shade of strawberry. “It’s a long story.”

“I’m Antoine, the owner of the shop.”

“Kyra.”

His smile widened. “An American. You must be here on vacation.”

I laughed. “That’s debatable. I’ve done very little sightseeing.”

“And why’s that?”

Without hesitating, I gave him the abridged version of Kelly. It’s like I had no off button.

When I finished, Antoine patted my hand. “Don’t worry, by day’s end, I promise, you’ll see the city of love. Up close and personal.”

Just then the door burst open and Kelly rushed in. “There you are. Shit, I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Pierre invited us to this party tonight. I told him we’d be there. And get this, he’s totally gonna hook you up with one of his friends.”

“Sorry, Kyra has plans.” Antoine stepped between us.

She stared at me. “Don’t ruin this for me. Please. Pierre’s friend is expecting the ‘blonde with big tits’.”

Sometimes I totally hated her. Why did she have to embarrass me in front of Antoine? Besides, I didn’t want to spend the night being fondled by some overeager jerk.

“I’m not going. You’ve dragged me around every day this week. Tonight, is for me.” I crossed my arms at my chest.

“Fine. Then I’m calling Aunt Silvia.” She slid her cell from her pocket, her long chestnut hair falling in her face.

Antoine leaned closer to me, his breath warm on my cheek. “All you have to do is make a wish and I’ll take care of everything.”

My pulse soared, thundering in my ears like battle drums. If only it was that easy.

But it is.  A voice sounded in my head.

“I wish she’d just disappear,” I said.

Swirling fog snaked up through the floorboards. Antiques rattled on the shelves as if an earthquake rumbled the earth’s core. The lights flickered until the room was drenched in darkness.

Kelly screamed and I reached for my cousin, but grasped nothing but air.

“Kelly?” My voice wavered. What happened?

“Shhh…just hold still.” Antoine grabbed hold of my waist, nestling me against him.

Then all went quiet. Moments later the lights came back on. She was gone.

“Oh God. Where is she?” My eyes widened as I spun to face Antoine.

“Don’t worry, she’s safe.” He took the snow globe from me and pointed inside.

Holy crap. There, standing next to the distorted backdrop was a tiny Kelly. She waved frantically.

“How did you do that?” I glanced at Antoine.

He laughed. “Magic. So, what do you say? Want to see Paris?”

I stared that the souvenir once more and smiled, giving it a firm shake. “Absolutely.”

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!

 

Photo Credit:  Stage 11 by Clarita

The magician swooped across the stage, his cape billowing behind him.  His dark eyes scanned the crowd.  Locks of raven colored hair swept across his forehead as he focused on me and Natasha.  Why did he seem so familiar to me?

“For my next trick, I need a volunteer from the crowd.”  His melodic voice danced over my skin, causing goose bumps.

Natasha flipped her long, chestnut hair over her shoulder and smiled at me.  “Come on, Claire raise your hand.  He’s so, freaking hot!”

I clenched tight to the edge of the table, my stomach churning.  My blood felt as if it were on fire.  The way he’d watched us all night made me dizzy.  The Great Kalif, magician and illusionist.  He couldn’t be much older than me at seventeen.  If only I could remember where I’d seen him before.

“Claire.”  Natasha jerked on my arm.  “Either you volunteer or I will.”

My gaze narrowed.  “No.  I’m not going up there. You know I hate crowds.”

Her crimson lips turned up into a wicked smile.  “Then don’t be pissed when I snag him.”

My hands fisted at my side.  Why am I so jealous?

“Come on, there must be one brave soul.”  Kalif sauntered to the edge of the stage, his eyes once more on our table.

I squirmed under his scrutiny and ducked my head, right as Natasha jumped to her feet and said, “I’ll do it.”

He grinned, then held out his hand as she pushed her way to the front of the stage.  Once there, he helped her up the stairs and to a black chair. 

Already, wisps of fog rolled across the room, while strobes pulsed with a rainbow of color.

“What is your name?” Kalif asked in a thick accent.

“Natasha.”

“Natasha, that’s lovely.”  He pressed her down onto the chair, then turned back to the crowd.  “Now, if you’ll focus up here.  You’ll witness the most horrific of illusions.  But I assure you, it is all in your head. Or is it?”

I swallowed hard.  Something wasn’t right.  The idle chatter faded as people in the room faced forward. Eerie music tinkled through the loud speakers and everyone around me sat straighter, eyes focused intently on the stage.

“Yes, that’s it.  Watch the show.”  Kalif’s white teeth beamed against his tanned skin.  He raised a hand and ran it along Natasha’s shoulder.  “Relax.  You won’t feel a thing.”

A content smile formed on her lips.  Then came the glint of a blade.  His arms moved quicker, bringing the knife across her skin several times.  Blood sprayed across the floor.  Tattered fabric from her shirt littered the stage like confetti.  Natasha screamed, but no one moved.

Oh God, this was real.  Frightened, I leapt to my feet.  “Stop!”

Just then something warm spattered my face.  I raised a shaking hand.  My fingers trembled as I stared at the crimson liquid. No.  This wasn’t happening.

I stumbled backward, covering my ears against the shrieks.  Why was everyone so still?

A breeze swirled around me and I jerked back as a black wing blocked my vision.  “Please, let me go.”

“But I can’t.”  Kalif appeared in front of me.  Large ebony colored wings protruded from his back, his suit ripped away.  “I’ve come for you, my dear Claire.”

“I—I don’t understand.”  My heart pounded in my ears.

“I think you do.”  He ran his fingers through my long blonde hair.  “You and I are always at odds.  Dark vs Light.  But I’m tired of the games.  I want to be with you.  Why must you fight this?”

My throat thickened.  “Because I don’t want to die.”

“You don’t have to.  Your friend offered herself up freely in your place.”

My eyes widened.  “No.  You can’t have her.”

“Then give me something else.”

His skin was warm against mine as he traced my cheek.  How had I forgotten about him?  I’d spent centuries hiding from the Dark Prince, yet he’d found me, just like he always did.  Every century he descended upon me.  He’d utter sweet words, tempting me.  And each time I’d run away only to find death and madness. 

“Bring her back to life.”

“It will cost you.”  Kalif stepped back.

“You can have whatever you want.  Just please, save her.”

“Anything, I want?”

“Yes.”

“No tricks this time?”

“I promise.”  No sooner had I said the words when I felt a strange burning beneath my skin.

“Then I chose you.  From this day forward, you are bound to me.”

He waved his hand and I watched the cuts on Natasha close. All traces of blood on the stage disappeared.  She gasped, staring around the room.  Her gaze met mine.

“Claire, what have you done?” she whispered.

“Saved you.”  I gave her a sad smile.

Kalif wrapped his arms around me, cocooning me in the folds of his wings.  Already, I felt the shadows embracing me.  White feathers fell from beneath my sweater as the light slipped away.

“I love you, Claire.  I always have.”  His lips captured mine.

For years, I’d fought against my yearnings.  But to no avail. I wanted to be good. I wanted to share my light. But it’d always been Kalif for me, even when the Council threatened to take my wings.  For too long, I’d let them rule me and decide my fate.  How many times had I been sacrificed in order to punish Kalif?  No more would I allow it. Today, I’d done one last good deed.  I’d saved Natasha.  And now, I was through fighting.

“I love you, too,” I said.  My arms encircled his neck.

“Nothing will keep us apart again.”

Thunder rumbled from above, but I’d made my choice.  I chose love.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN  (or week of Halloween). Today begins a week long Trick or Treat event hosted by several fabbity-FAB YA authors.  Who says you have to get all dressed up to get some treats?  So pop in, say hi, and enjoy the fun prizes and giveaways!

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!

A strong hand shook me awake, and I glanced up to see my sister leaning over me.  “Kendall, listen, you’ve got to get out of here, now.”

Her bright blue eyes pierced mine as she tugged me out of bed.

“Shit.  What’s your problem?”  I glanced at my alarm clock.  “It’s two in the morning, Paige.”

My older sister knelt next to me.  “If you don’t leave, they’re going to kill you.”

Blonde hair cascaded into my face as I let her pull me to my feet.  “Who’s going to kill me?”

“Listen, the Federation stopped here earlier.  I heard them talking to Mom about you.”

My throat went dry.  The Federation.  Crap.  They’d been trying to recruit me since I was thirteen.  But my being underage had kept them from touching me, from using me in their games.

But now, at seventeen, I was legal. 

Paige jerked my duffel bag out from underneath my bed and shoved some of my clothes in it.  Then she turned to her dresser and pulled a wad of bills from her purse.

“What did Mom say?”  I met her gaze as she shoved the money into my hand.

“I told them they could have you, if they promised to leave your sisters alone.”  Mom flicked on our bedroom light.  She refused to meet my eye.  “It was either I send one of you, or lose all of you.”

Two grizzled men pushed past my screaming sister and gripped hold of my arm, dragging me toward the door.

“Stop.  Please!”  They covered my mouth with a gag and tied my hands behind my back.

People taken to the Federation, never came back.  At least not alive.  What had mother done? 

Tears burned my eyes as I watched Paige’s grief stricken face disappear from sight.  Then everything went black.

***

I struggled to open my eyes as my arms brushed against the coolstone walls behind me.  But when my lids fluttered opened, I noticed I was in a tunnel. 

Tiny red lights flickered along the ceiling and I knew the cameras watched my every move, broadcasting it for the sick fucks who bet on people like me making it through the Labyrinth.

High pitched alarms blared in the distance.  The games had begun.  Too bad they didn’t know who the hell they were messing with.  With a smile, I wiped the make-up from my neck.  My tattoo blazed in the darkness.  Flames licked at my fingertips as my magic shot forth.  I rushed forward where a shower of bullets came at me from a lone sniper in the corner.

I rolled to the ground, creating a shield around myself.  The ammunition fell to the floor in front of me. 

“My turn.”  Heat licked at my body as I thrust fiery orbs at the gunman.  He screamed as his flesh burnt on contact.  I wrinkled my nose against the scent of his charcoaled body.

“Shut down the Labyrinth,” a frightened voice came over the intercom.

I laughed.  “Too late.  The Federation is going down.  You really should do better background checks before you recruit people.”

Smoke filled the Labyrinth as I went path by path, taking out the workers who’d aided in killing people for fun.  All so they could place bets and watch our fear on TV.  Tonight, they’d get their fill.

When I came to the end of the maze, I kicked opened the door.  A helicopter loomed overhead, its spotlight focused on me.  “I don’t even think so.”

With a flick of my finger, I sent a fireball right for the gas tank.  I dove to the side as it exploded mid air, in a shower of hot metal and body parts.  I slipped into the shadows and raced towardNickletreePark. 

There, I found Paige waiting for me, a slow smile upon her lips.  “I knew you’d do it.”

I hugged her tight.  “Did you make the bets?”

“Oh yeah.  The monies already in the account.”

“And Mom?”

“Taken care of.  She’ll never betray us again.”  Paige grabbed my hand and jerked me to our getaway car. 

At last, we were free.  Free of our mother who’d sold us for various things over the years.  But most of all free from the Federation.  Never again would I have to hide my powers or be afraid of the dark.  No.  I was the one to be feared.   

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

Joey

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!

 

PHOTO CREDIT: IMGo796xe by Ardelfin

 

I shivered against the crisp October air, as Ian tugged me toward the park. There in big, bold letters was a sign that read CLOSED. I came to a halt. Not that I was a chicken-shit or anything, but some rules weren’t meant to be broken.

“Come on, Love. We’re only going to the park,” Ian said. His ever adorable British accent would never get old.

He released my hand, staring down at me with stormy gray eyes. His shaggy auburn hair fell across his eyes and he did a quick flip of his head to get it back in place. Ian traced my cheek; his fingers cool against my skin.

“But the sign says they’re closed.” But it wasn’t the only thing that unnerved me. Gram had one strict rule in our house. No going into the park. Ever.

“Lena.” His lips met mine in a small, enticing kiss. “I promise all I want to do is go to the fountain and toss in some coins.” He smiled.

My pulse quickened. I swallowed the lump in my throat, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. He didn’t know my parents were murdered in the park. Ten years ago, today. I’d been six years old, which seemed almost a lifetime ago. But it was time to face my fears. To go back.

“Fine. But we have to make it quick.” I fingered the pentagram necklace at my throat. It felt like fire against my hand. I stiffened.

Ian’s fingers entwined with mine and he led me toward some loose rungs in the gate. We squeezed through. Dead leaves littered the cement walkway, skittering at our feet as the wind picked up. The scent of autumn heavy in the air.

Chills snaked up my back and across my skin. I shouldn’t be here. But before I could change my mind, Ian looped his arm through mine and ushered me toward the fountain. Three stone figures stood in the middle of the fountain. Cold rock cloaks covered the gothic trio as water whispered around their feet.

Ian reached into his pocket, coins jingling in his hand. “Here, you make a wish first.” He clasped my hand.

Something sharp scraped against my palm. “Ow.”

He closed his hand over my fist and the coins. “Throw them in.”

I hesitated as I watched the strange gleam in his eye.

No. Don’t do it

. A voice called in my mind.

My eyes widened. I knew that voice. It belonged to my mom. I took a step away from the fountain, but Ian clutched me tight forcing me to drop the coins into the water.

Wisps of fog swirled around the statues; the water bubbled and boiled as if it was a cauldron hanging over a hearth.

“What have you done?” I shrieked.

But Ian only stared at the sculptures. The stone cloaks fell away from the statues heads. Then I saw her. My mother. And next to her was my dad.

“Lena, you have to stop this.” Mom’s eyes darted to the third and final statue. “Before the spell is completely broken.”

“Oh, Goddess.” Blood red hair burst with flames, eyes the color of hot coals sizzled with power. A fire demon.

Ian bowed before the demon. “Master, I’ve come to free you.”

“The hell you have.” I tore the dagger from my belt. “I Lena, light witch of the Goddess invoke the spirit of earth to bind the demon.” In one swift motion, I sliced my palm and dripped blood into the fountain’s water.

I turned to Ian, who glared at me. “You can’t stop this. The demon will be free.”

“No. She’ll destroy everything. Even you.” I knew I had to make the sacrifice, even as I stared at the tears in my mother’s eyes. She didn’t want this for me. But she’d already done her duty. Now it was my turn.

Without a second thought, I lunged at Ian with the blade, catching him in the arm. But it was enough. We both tumbled into the fountain.

“No.” Ian tried to stand, but I clung to him.

“Great towers, I invoke thee. Bind us and use us as instruments of your will. Earth, I invoke thee. Water, I invoke thee. Air, I invoke thee. Fire, I invoke thee.”

Power surged through my blood. A great light burst from the sky. The ground trembled beneath our feet. The shriek of the demon was the last thing I heard as me, Ian, and the demon were turned into stone.

It was my turn to guard the demon and her subject. Like my mother and father before me.

 

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Kit Forbes

Jenn Fischetto

Joey Nichols

Miranda Buchanan

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

 

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

 

 

Photo credit: Kakisky from Morguefile.com

Tiny dancers swayed across the dance floor, their multi-colored tutus gave me a headache. Already I felt the ballet moms’ eyes burning into the back of my head. They probably thought I was a perv. I mean, I was the only guy sitting in the dance studio. My balls itched, but I didn’t dare scratch them. Otherwise, they really might think I was playing with myself.

Classical music echoed across the room and I groaned. Why in the hell did I tell Katie Nigel I’d give her a ride home from dance today?

Because she has a nice rack.

“Okay girls, now move your hips like this,” Katie said.

My eyes bulged as they trailed up her long legs to her pelvis. Shit. I shifted in my chair, dropping my coat in my lap to hide the bulge.

Okay, breathe Damien. You’ve seen chicks dance before.

“All right. That’s it ladies. We’ll see you next Tuesday.” Katie smiled, swiping a strand of loose dark hair from her face.

High-pitched little girl voices echoed as they scurried out to their moms to put on their coats and tennis shoes.

Katie came out last and made beeline for me. “Damien, hey, I hate to be a pain, but do you think you could stick around for another fifteen minutes? I so need to practice my routine.”

I’d eat dog crap if she asked. My lips twitched. “Yeah. Take as long as you need.”

She held out her hand to me. “Want to watch?”

She had no idea.

I let her lead me into the mirrored room, my combat boots heavy on the wooden floor. Katie grabbed a chair from the corner and set it up at the center of the room.

“So why aren’t there any guys hanging around here?” I ran a hand through my blonde hair.

“Because we eat them up.” She rolled her eyes. “Trust me, all guys are the same. They hate dancing and gymnastics. You know if it doesn’t have a football or baseball in it…”

I shrugged. “I don’t mind ballet.” Especially if it meant watching Katie.

 

Katie smiled then dimmed the lights. Music with a heavy drumbeat pulsed in the air. She spun around me, her leg gliding over my head as she kicked up and out. My heart thudded as if it might burst through my skin. Her movements were almost ritualistic, the way they kept time with each beat.

She bent backward then twisted to face me once more. Her finger traced my cheek. God, if she didn’t stop, I’d have to make a quick trip to the bathroom.

Her lips turned up at the corners as if she read my thoughts. “See, you’re all the same.”

“What?’

“I know what you’re thinking, Damien. Trust me. I know that look. You would follow me anywhere. Do anything I say. All for the chance to be with me.” Katie stopped moving. “The thing is, you don’t stand a chance. Because in the end, you’ll end up just like the rest of them.”

The rest of who?

Then the lighting changed and I saw the bones lining the walls of the room. The stench of spoiled meat made me gag. I tried to stand, but strong hands held me in my chair. Katie laughed, deep and throaty. Then her jaw unhinged, and rows upon rows of teeth gleamed like butcher knives.

I screamed, but no sound came out as she lunged forward. My flesh tore from my body, as she ripped into me. Warm liquid poured into my eyes. My blood.

“Damien, come on, get up. You’re going to be late for school.”

With a howl, I fell from my bed. Sweat drenched me.

“Mom?”

She stood with her arms crossed. “I’ve been calling your name for the last ten minutes.”

It was just a dream. Relief flooded me.

“Listen, Mrs. Nigel and I are supposed to go to a purse party tonight. Do you think you can give her daughter Katie a ride home from dance class?”

I went still. “No. Absolutely not.”

Mom frowned. “You don’t have to be rude.”

“I’m not. I’ve got plans.”

“Since when?”

Since my effed up dream of being eaten alive by her. “I promised Matt I’d teach him some new guitar chords.”

“Fine. I’ll tell her no.” Mom stormed from my room.

She’d probably be pissed at me for the rest of the day. But I didn’t care. I threw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. After I grabbed my book bag, I headed out the door to my blazer.

I pulled onto the main road then sped up in order to avoid getting stuck behind the school bus. As I turned ontoMonroe Avenue, I spotted Katie. She glanced at me, a smile forming on her lips. I jerked my head around and stared straight ahead. No way in hell would I ever look at her tits again. As a matter of fact, I considered talking to Mom tonight about transferring schools.

For a moment, I thought I heard her laugh.

It was just a dream,” I whispered. Wasn’t it?

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Miranda Buchanan

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Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.  Enjoy!

 

PHOTO CREDIT delboysafa from Morguefile.com

 

The cage bars were cold against my skin. “Let me out!” I screamed as I slammed into them once more.

The tigers lay in the fake jungle like surroundings, watching me. Traitors. How could they bask away beneath the sun, letting him decide their next meal? So docile, as if they didn’t remember what it was like to slink through the thick grass and hunt for food.

The door at the back of the tiger exhibit opened, and one of the handlers came in carrying slabs of raw meat.

“Please, help me,” I called, shaking the bars.

His startled gaze met mine. “What are you doing in here?”

“The zookeeper kidnapped me. He’s had me locked up in here for days.” My face crumpled, tears streamed along my cheeks.

One of the tigers, Felix, the male, let out a roar. The handler tossed him a hunk of meat.

“What the hell’s going on?” the handler asked. He came close enough for me to see his name tag. Rick.“I—I don’t know. A couple of days ago, I came here with my family. And the head zookeeper asked if we wanted to take part in a special exhibit.” My fingers trembled as I tried to forget the screams. “When he got us in here, he fed my parents to the tigers, and locked me up.”

Rick looked horrified. “Listen, I can sneak you out of here. But you’ll have to give me a minute so I can get you something else to wear.” He gestured to my torn, bloodied clothes.

He slipped from the holding area, his dark hair sticking up in messy tufts. When he returned he carried a khaki colored zoo uniform. He slipped them through the bars, then turned while I changed.

“What’s your name?” Rick asked.

“Tia Queen.”

“Okay, Tia. I’m going to unlock the cage real slow. When I throw the purple ball to the tigers, I want you to move toward the exit.”

I wanted to tell him that they wouldn’t let me go passed. But he already had the toy in hand and rolled it across the floor. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed hold of Rick’s waist, jerking him against me. The tigers growled. They knew what I was doing.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Rick tried to break my grip, but I was too strong.

“Just stay with me, I’ll explain when we get out.” A smile tugged my lips when the tigers backed down. I knew Felix wouldn’t have the balls to go against the zookeeper.

When we reached the door, I released Rick. “Who are you?” he took a step back.

I laughed. “There’s a reason the zookeeper had me locked up. And it’s time I paid him a visit.” A loud crunching sound filled the air as my bones broke, and my skin tore. Pain radiated through my limbs. I cried out. Only it came out a roar instead.

The shift was always the worst when under stress. But I had to take care of the zookeeper. He’d imprisoned me and family, forcing us to work in his zoos. But no more. Tonight it ended.

Rick’s mouth fell open, but he stepped out of the way holding the door to the park open for me. I stopped long enough to lick his hand, then went to find the zookeeper.

It didn’t take me long to pick up his scent. The stench of cheap cologne and day old whiskey. He never saw me coming. He stood leaning against the brick building, talking on his cell phone. Making more deals to buy our kind. I gave one low growl, and he went still. Before he could turn around, I leapt on him. My teeth ruptured his skin, warm blood dribbled down my fur. Finally. Paybacks. He should’ve realized keeping wild animals can be dangerous. My claws dug into his flesh as I used him for my personal scratching post and when I was done he was beyond recognition. No more than he deserved.

Once I shifted back, I found Rick waiting near the back gate for me in a truck. “You need a lift somewhere?”

I smiled. “Yeah, anywhere but here.” As I glanced behind me, I saw Felix standing on the other side of the glass, staring it me. I flipped him the bird.

He sold me out to the zookeeper and for that, he could stay in a cage.

Rick turned on the radio, and I rolled down my window letting the wind blow my hair. Never again would I be anyone’s pet. Today was the first day of the rest of my life.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Vanessa Barger

Miranda Buchanan

Traci Kenworth

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