A Valentine Anthology: Three tales of Romance, Fantasy and Humor
EXCERPTS: A Valentine Anthology
The Lending Library:
Ailidh wobbled precariously on her high heels.
Kayne smirked. "Having problems, dear?"
"Shut up!" she snapped. "I need to practice this until I get it right. We don’t really have many options left open to us, Kayne. You had better practice, too."
He stopped and steadied himself on the railing of the porch. He wriggled his feet out of the closed leather shoes that encased them.
"I don’t know why you insist we wear these ridiculous articles of clothing. This long-sleeved shirt cuts off the circulation to my hands not to mention the lack of space for my wings and these long pants chap my legs.
"Worst of all, are these horrendous leather shoes. They pinch and make my feet swell. Why do we have to go through all of this? I don’t understand." Kayne grumbled.
Ailidh sighed and slowly, patiently explained to him, once again, why they were practicing.
Ka-boom! The blast shattered the settling peace of dusk as Marissa Madison pulled into the circular drive. Rissa threw open the car door and sprinted toward the gray stone house.
"Please, no blood this time," she whispered as her feet hit the rough-hewn steps leading up to the broad double doors.
A bespectacled man stepped through the doorway amid a confetti shower of envelopes and leaflets. His silvery hair stood in startled spikes around a balding pate as if it too had been a victim of the explosion.
"Too much torque in the mail conveyor," he muttered with a frown.
"Please turn it off, Uncle Horace!"
"Right." The old man disappeared back into the house. Within moments, the clanking stopped and silence fell over the rolling hills once again.
Just another normal day, Rissa thought, as she surveyed the day's mail scattered in gay abandon across the landscape.
"Get in the house, now!"
Elice Weld shielded her eyes and watched the ground fog rising in the distance. She didn't know what was coming her way, but she could guess. The rumors that a Union cavalry unit was in the vicinity had spread like a wildfire on a Kansas prairie.
Rain had fallen all morning. Now the clouds had separated, and the sun heated the earth, causing the evaporation of the water-soaked ground. The cavalry rode through the mist like dark, avenging wraiths bent on the destruction of all mankind. She could see seven men silhouetted on the horizon.
"Izzy, go." Elice didn't want to frighten her daughter but the urgency of the moment could not be denied.
"Go to the cellar. Now."
Izzy's voice echoed in Elice's head, filling her with a wild panic she didn't know how to stop. Every time soldiers approached she was terrified. The last four years had been the longest years of her life. "Do as I say, quickly." Elice hugged her daughter, turning her at the same moment and with a gentle shove sent her through the open door of her house.
Elice knew the panic in her voice would mobilize her young daughter. She despised the fear and the terror. She loathed the war. She looked up. The fog was dissipating, and she could see the dark blue of the Union coats. She didn't have anything left for the soldiers to take. Good God, they'd taken everything already--everything save her daughter and her hope for the future.
She inhaled a quick breath then stood on the steps, hands folded together in front of her, watching the dark wraiths inch closer. She knew from experience she couldn't fight these men. She would do as they said and when they left, she would put the pieces of her life back together.
Until the next time…