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By vas182979 All Rights Reserved ©



Mallory Fionn is not entirely human, and knows that he never will be. The bloodlust of the Wood runs through his veins, waiting for the opportunity to take over. Lorna Owens is a thief. She has stolen something from Them, and will pay for it dearly. The Islanders are hearty people, making merry and living as happily as they can, but as the nights grow longer, everyone knows that They are on Their way.

Prologue: Mallory

Have you ever noticed how much a lily petal looks like a drop of blood?

I never did until now, looking up at one attached to a tree as old as the hills it sits upon.

The blue petals seem to cry, although I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because they reach for the ground in such a way that conveys so much sorrow, so much longing,

I know that combination well. Better than a boy my age should.

Well, maybe not one that refers to himself like that.

Dark lines race across each seemingly fragile petal, giving the illusion that blood had once run down each of its contours.

But it isn’t an illusion, is it? It is the truth in a form too simple for the human mind to grasp.

I don’t think my mind is completely human. At least not now, standing in the middle of Wanderer’s Wood, staring up at a lily growing off a tree, where a lily of our world should never grow.

A single drop of dark blood glides along its blackened track, following the lines left by millions before it.

My vision narrows, showing me nothing but the world’s most intoxicating liquid and the blue petal it flows along.

No, intoxicating isn’t the right word. Spirits, I hate words. No, that’s even worse. I guess it doesn’t matter.

Blood isn’t like alcohol, but it is definitely like a drug. I don’t know how to explain what blood is to me. It isn’t something people would understand, since I don’t and I’m the one that feels it.

At least, I don’t think it’s something people can feel. I figure I won’t ever know. I actually don’t think I’d really care to.

Whatever this blood would be, it heightens all of my senses.

I can feel my teeth sharpen and my pulse race. That dark part of my mind grasping at the rest, almost driving me into that state where I am just murder waiting to happen.

The droplet slides along the petal, running to the edge and then clinging there, as if for dear life.

I watch it with unblinking eyes, eyes as black as pitch.

The single droplet begins to fall and my hand darts out, lightning fast, to catch it.

At first it feels just like a raindrop hitting my palm and then it turns into pain, if you can call it that. For surely the word “pain” is not enough to cover what is happening to my hand. Excruciating pain? Not much better.

It’s like it is dissolving, falling away before me in the worst way imaginable.

But really, it isn’t. What you would imagine to be some kind of acid, eating away at my palm, is something else entirely. It is something dark, filled with what others would call magick. It is somehow turning me to its source: a tree, wood. I’d imagine being turned to wood would hurt, like being set on fire while covered in oil, a kind of hopeless pain. Who would think something like a tree could be so deadly on its own? Who would believe water wouldn’t save you from fire?

I guess I don’t really have to imagine anymore. The small spot in the middle of my palm where the blood had sat looks like someone had decided to stick a cork in it, and then the skin had grown tight around it. But now the cork is growing, and growing, stretching my fingers away from my body until they too can be converted to the cork’s dark ways.

I hear my shins hit the ground, but I can’t feel them and I can’t look down to make sure since it feels like my neck has been turned to wood as well as my palm.

I can’t scream, I can’t gasp. I don’t think I can even breathe. All that exists is pain and the realization that the lily has a name, one that every child is acquainted with, the only real certainty in life:


Depending on who you are, you’re now either horrified, have already closed the book or are into creepy stuff and wondering how the story will continue with a dead narrator. I’d reckon I would be the latter, if I were you. But I’m not, I’m myself, the guy who supposedly just died before his story even began. I’d just like to let you know that I haven’t died yet and am actually asleep, in my bed, in my home, dreaming a dream I won’t remember. And I’m about to wake up.

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