Authors: Amanda Hocking
Trylle Trilogy #1
by Amanda Hocking
Copyright © 2010 by Amanda Hocking
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental
All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Eleven Years Ago
A few things made that day stand out more than any other: it was my sixth birthday, and my mother was wielding a knife. Not a tiny steak knife, but some kind of massive butcher knife glinting in the light like a bad horror movie. She definitely wanted to kill me.
I try to think of the days that led up to that one to see if I missed something about her, but I have no memory of her before then. I have some memories of my childhood, and I can even remember my dad who died when I was five, but not her.
When I ask my brother Matt about her, he always answers with things like, “She's batshit, Wendy. That’s all you need to know.” He's seven years older than I am, so he remembers things better, but he never wants to talk about it.
We lived in the Hamptons when I was a kid, and my mother was a lady of leisure. She' d hired a live-in nanny to deal with me, but the night before my birthday, the nanny had left for a family emergency. My mother was in charge of me, for the first time in her life, and neither of us were happy.
I didn't even want the party. I liked gifts, but I didn't have any friends. The people coming to the party were my mother's friends and their snobby little kids. She had planned some kind of princess tea party I didn't want, but Matt and our maid spent all morning setting it up.
By the time the guests arrived, I already ripped off my shoes and plucked the bows from my hair. My mother came down in the middle of opening gifts, surveying the scene with her icy blue eyes.
Her blond hair had been smoothed back, and she had on bright red lipstick that only made her appear paler. She still wore my father's red silk robe, the same way she had since the day he died, but she added a necklace and black heels, as if that would make the outfit appropriate.
No one commented on it, but everyone was too busy staring at my performance. I had complained about every single gift I had gotten. They were all dolls or ponies or some other thing I would never play with.
My mother came into the room, stealthily gliding through the guests to where I sat. I had torn through a box wrapped in pink teddy bears, containing yet another porcelain doll. Instead of showing any gratitude, I started yelling about what a stupid present it was.
Before I could finish, her hand slapped me sharply across the face.
“You are not my daughter,” my mother said, her voice cold. My cheek stung from where she had hit me, and I gaped at her.
The maid quickly redirected the festivities, but the idea percolated in my mother's mind the rest of the afternoon. I think when she said it, she meant it the way parents do when their child behaves appallingly. But the more she thought, the more it made sense to her.
After an afternoon of similar tantrums on my part, someone decided it was time to have cake. My mother seemed to be taking forever in the kitchen, and I went to check on her. I don't even know why she was the one getting the cake instead of the maid, who was far more maternal.
On the island in the kitchen, a massive chocolate cake covered in pink flowers sat in the middle. My mother stood on the other side, holding a gigantic knife she used to cut and serve the cake onto tiny saucers. Bobby pins were coming loose from her hair.
“Chocolate?” I wrinkled my nose as she tried to set perfect pieces onto the saucers.
“Yes, Wendy, you like chocolate,” my mother informed me.
“No, I don't!” I crossed my arms over my chest. “I hate chocolate! I'm not going to eat it, and you can't make me!”
The knife happened to point in my direction, some frosting sticking on the tip, but I wasn’t afraid. If I had been, everything might've turned out different. Instead, I wanted to have another one of my tantrums.
“No, no, no! It’s my birthday, and I don't want chocolate!” I shouted and stomped my foot on the floor as hard as I could.
“You don't want chocolate?” My mother looked at me, her blue eyes wide and incredulous.
A whole new type of crazy glinted in them, and that’s when my fear started to kick in.
“What kind of child are you, Wendy?” She slowly walked around the island, coming towards me. The knife in her hand looked far more menacing than it had a few seconds ago.
“You’re certainly not my child. What are you, Wendy?”
Staring at her, I took several steps back. My mother looked maniacal. Her robe had fallen open, revealing her thin collarbones and the black slip she wore underneath. She took a step forward, this time with the knife pointed right at me. I should’ve screamed or run away, but I felt frozen in place.
“I was pregnant, Wendy! But you’re not the child I gave birth to! Where is my child?” Tears formed in her eyes, and I just shook my head. “You probably killed him, didn’t you?”
She lunged at me, screaming at me to tell her what I did with her real baby. I darted out of the way just in time, but she backed me into a corner. I pressed up against the kitchen cupboards with nowhere to go, and she wasn’t about to give up.
“Mom!” Matt yelled at her from the other side of the room.
Her eyes flickered with some recognition, the sound of the son she actually loved. For a moment, I thought it might stop her, but it only made her realize she was running out of time, so she raised her knife.
Matt dove at her but not before the blade tore through my dress and slashed across my stomach. Blood stained my clothes as pain shot through me, and I sobbed hysterically. My mother fought hard against Matt, unwilling to let go of the knife.
“She killed your brother, Mathew!” my mother insisted, looking at him with frantic eyes. “She’s a monster! She has to be stopped!”
Drool spilled out across my desk, and I opened my eyes just in time to hear Mr. Meade slam down a textbook. I’d only been at this high school a month, but I’d figured out that was his way of waking me up from my naps during his History lecture. I always tried to stay awake, but his monotone voice lulled me into sleeping submission every time.
“Miss Everly?” Mr. Meade snapped. “Miss Everly?”
“Hmm?” I murmured.
I lifted my head and discreetly wiped away the drool. I glanced around to see if anyone had noticed. Most of the class seemed oblivious, except for Finn Holmes. He’d been here a week, so he was the only kid in school newer than me. Whenever I looked at him, he always seemed to be staring at me in a completely unabashed way, as if it was perfectly natural to gawk at me.
There was something oddly still and quiet about him, and I had yet to hear him speak, even though I had him in four of my classes. He wore his hair smoothed back, and his eyes were a matching shade of black. His looks were rather striking, but he weirded me out too much for me to find him attractive.
“Sorry to disturb your sleep.” Mr. Meade cleared his throat so I would look up at him.
“It’s okay,” I said.
“Miss Everly, why don’t you go down to the principal’s office?” Mr. Meade suggested, and I groaned. “Since you seem to be making a habit of sleeping in my class, maybe he can come up with some ideas to help you stay awake.”
“I am awake,” I insisted.
“Miss Everly, now.” Mr. Meade pointed to the door, as if I had forgotten how to leave and that’s what was holding me back.
I fixed my gaze on him, and despite how stern his gray eyes looked, I could tell he’d cave easily. Over and over in my head, I kept repeating
I do not need to go the Principal’s office. You don’t want to send me down there. Let me stay in class
. Within seconds, his face went lax and his eyes took on a glassy quality.
“You can stay in class and finish the lecture,” Mr. Meade said groggily. He shook his head, clearing his eyes. “But next time, you’re going straight to the office, Miss Everly.” He looked confused for a moment, and then launched right back into his history lecture.
I wasn’t sure what it was that I could do exactly – I tried not to think about it enough to name it. About a year or so ago, I’d discovered that if I thought about something and looked at somebody hard enough, I could get them to do what I wanted.
As awesome as that sounded, I avoided doing it as much as possible. Partially because I felt like I was crazy for really believing I could do it, even though it worked every time. But mostly, I didn’t like it. It made me feel dirty and manipulative.
Mr. Meade went on talking, and I followed along studiously, my guilt making me try harder. I hadn’t wanted to do that to him, but I couldn’t go to the principal’s office. I had just been expelled from my last school, forcing my brother and aunt to uproot their lives again so we could move closer to my new school.
When class finally ended, I shoved my books in my bookbag and left quickly. I didn’t like hanging around too long after I did the mind control trick. Mr. Meade could change his mind and send me to the office, so I hurried down to my locker.
Bright colored fliers decorated battered lockers, telling everyone to join the Debate team, try out for the school play, and not to miss the fall semi-formal this Friday. I wondered what a “semi-formal” consisted of at a public school, but I hadn’t bothered to ask anyone.
I got to my locker and started switching out my books. Without even looking, I knew Finn was behind me. I glanced back over my shoulder to see him, getting a drink from the drinking fountain, but almost as soon as I looked at him, he lifted his head and looked at me. Like he could sense me too.
This guy was just looking at me, nothing more, but it freaked me out somehow. I’d put up with his stares for a week, trying to avoid confrontation, but I couldn’t take it anymore.
was the one acting inappropriately, not me, and I couldn’t get in trouble for just talking to him. Right?
“Hey,” I said to him, slamming my locker shut. I readjusted the straps on my bookbag and walked across the hall to where he stood. “Why are you staring at me?”
“Because you’re standing in front of me,” Finn replied simply. He looked at me, his eyes framed by dark lashes, without any hint of embarrassment or even denial. It was definitely unnerving.
staring at me,” I persisted. “It’s weird. You’re weird.”
“I wasn’t trying to fit in.”
“Why do you look at me all the time?” I rephrased my original question, since he kept avoiding it.
“Does it bother you?”
“Answer the question.” I stood up straighter, trying to make my presence more imposing so he wouldn’t realize how much he was rattling me.
“Everyone always looks at you,” Finn said coolly. “You’re very attractive.”
That sounded like a compliment, but his voice was emotionless when he said it. I couldn’t tell if he was making fun of a vanity I didn’t even have, or he was simply stating facts. Was he flattering me or mocking me? Or maybe something else entirely?
“Nobody stares at me as much as you do,” I said as evenly as I could.
“If it bothers you, I’ll try and stop,” Finn offered.
That was tricky. In order to ask him to stop, I had to admit that he got to me, and I didn’t want to admit that anything got to me. If I lied and said it was fine, then he would just keep on doing it.
“I didn’t ask you to stop. I asked you why,” I amended.
“I told you why.”
“No, you didn’t,” I shook my head. “You just said that everyone looks at me. You never explained why
looked at me.”
Almost imperceptibly, the corner of his mouth moved up, revealing just the hint of a smirk. It wasn’t just that I amused him; he was pleased with me. Like he had challenged me somehow and I passed.
My stomach did a stupid flip thing I had never felt before, and I swallowed hard, hoping to fight it back.
“I look at you because I can’t look away,” Finn answered finally.
I was struck completely mute, trying to think of some kind of clever response, but my mind refused to work. My jaw slacked, and I imagined that I looked like an awestruck school girl, and I hurried to collect myself.
“That’s kind of creepy,” I said at last, but my words came out weak instead of accusatory.
“I’ll work on being less creepy then,” Finn promised.
I had called him out on being creepy, and it didn’t faze him at all. He didn’t stammer an apology or flush with shame. He just kept looking at me evenly. Most likely, he was a damn sociopath, and for whatever reason, I found that
I couldn’t come up with a witty retort, but the bell rang, saving me from the rest of that awkward conversation. Finn just nodded, thus ending our exchange, and turned down the hall to go to his next class. Thankfully, it was one of the few he didn’t have with me.