Read Traitor Online

Authors: Megan Curd

Tags: #Bridger, #Young Adult, #Faeries, #molly, #Faery, #urban fantasy

Traitor

BOOK: Traitor
7.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

By Megan Curd

TRAITOR

Copyright 2012 Megan Curd

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without the permission in writing from the author, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper or broadcast. The author does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for third-party websites or their content.

Edited by Kara Malinczak ([email protected])

Cover design by Neil Noah ([email protected])

Ebook formatting by Studio 22 Productions
PRAISE FOR TRAITOR

“It is so well written that you find yourself submersed into the world Megan has created, and you won't want to leave it! Adventure, love, truths, and of course traitor…all in one word…Captivating!”

—Heather Robbins, SupaGurlBooks

“Megan is a beautiful writer to be so young and I can’t wait to read more of her work and this series!”

—TT, Goodreads

 

DEDICATION

For Beth and Laurel, who braved a cold Minnesota winter in an unfinished basement to read my first manuscript.

For Biggie, who continues to be a source of great lines for Reese.

 

ONE
ASHLYN

S
PRINTING HEADLONG TOWARD
the glowing crack that emerged out of thin air, I willed my spindly legs to go faster. The muscles in my legs cramped and burned, and my lungs screamed for more air. Two Changelings were behind me, their feet pounding the barren and dusty ground of Neamar. They kept my pace with ease. Feeling their ragged breath on my neck sent shivers up my spine like cockroaches skittering from the light would. I hurled myself forward.

My limbs flailed in all directions, and I doubted I looked any kind of graceful. Wind rushed past me and licked at my chapped face; the sun had burnt me to a crisp. I had been in Neamar for far too long.

It was way more awkward jumping in Changeling form. My coordination and sense of balance was completely off-kilter and it showed when I tripped over my two massive feet. My hands scrabbled the ground to gain my balance and my feet searched for traction.

Panic set in as a Changeling’s fingers grazed my ankle. I kicked back hard and felt my foot connect with the Changeling’s face. A howl of agony ripped through the air, but there was no time to look back and see the damage. My muscles worked to right themselves and I took off like a shot once more, lanky arms and legs moving in insubordination, revolting with every step I took.

How they managed to do anything with coordination was a mystery. I felt their magic skim across my arms as they hurled angry balls of black magic at my back, and I knew they were closing in. Another curse flew past me and singed my tattered clothing. A moment later the magnetic pull from the crack drew me in, taking me back to the human realm.

Holding my breath, the suction of being pulled through the crack was like being flushed down a toilet. The force on the other side flung me into a world of green, and I caught sight of people waiting as I was flung mercilessly through the air like a rag doll.

I hit the ground hard and tumbled to the side to avoid the inevitable onslaught of Changelings to come. I gasped for air, and my lungs burned with gratitude when it came. Before I had a chance to truly catch my breath and shift, a hammer of a fist connected with my face. I keeled over backwards, seeing stars, and the crack pushed two more beings out of the gnarled hole in the tree. The Changelings made it through before the crack resealed. It sizzled as it shrunk in size, leaving a dead and charred spot in the tree.

Black magic. Cursed magic. The tree would die now.

I was disoriented. Which end was up? The voices that surrounded me were male as I attempted to push up off of the mossy ground, squelching as my fingers dug in to support my weight as I stood. The forest behind Tess’s house was teeming with life. I felt a gentle hand connect with my forehead, pushing me back to the forest floor. “Let the boys do their job,” Memaw said in an amused tone. “They certainly enjoy being Protectors, don’t they?”

Memaw was the direct line to all the madness I’d just encountered. For years I thought she was just an average grandma full of fairy tales and wives tales, but the past few months proved to blow all of those preconceived notions into dust. Memaw was the Glaistig faerie’s assassin. Whom she had killed I didn’t know, but I knew her skirt bore the scars of battles. I’d also seen her in action when Rebecca, the leader of the Glaistig, ordered us to fight.

It’s something that still had me waking up with chills.

That day I was a participant in the other side of her life, and it opened my eyes to just how dangerous Memaw really was. It made me see why she might not be able to relate to normal people like me.

Well, like I was.

Since realizing I was a Bridger, Memaw and I were forced to get to know one another and put aside the hard feelings. It wasn’t easy, but having her on my side made things easier to swallow. Easier to embrace. Memaw was the reason I hadn’t lost my mind with all of this.

I was glad she was here.

The blood dripped along the side of my eyebrow and splattered on my white t-shirt. I sighed in annoyance; blood never came out of clothes easily. Gently pulling me into a sitting position, Memaw held me against her shoulder. She clucked her tongue in distaste as she ripped off the hem of her bloody skirt and pressed it to my forehead. This couldn’t be sanitary, but there wasn’t much purpose to argue with her. Her embrace was an iron grip that would only get tighter if I tried to fight it. She dabbed at the wound. “Desmond got a bit overexcited, didn’t he? Liam isn’t going to be happy that he hurt you.”

The blood was pulsing out of the gash in my forehead to the rhythm of my heartbeat. I pulled the rag away and placed two fingers on the gash. Memaw pulled my hand away. “You’re going to get it infected,” she lectured.

I waggled the bloody skirt hem at her and gave a sarcastic smile. “And this won’t do that?”

She leaned forward conspiratorially, an indulgent grin displaying her laugh lines, created by years of smiles that I had never witnessed before the past few months. “I’ll let you in on a secret…it’s not blood.”

“Really?”

“Really,” she nodded, tapping my nose with her finger. “It’s all about the image. It’s just dye and some magic. Nothing fantastic. Do you think I’d let you put dried blood on your head? What kind of grandmother do you think I am?”

“An assassin one, which doesn’t make me think you’re the milk and cookies kind.”

She chuckled and gestured to the fray across the clearing. It made me feel bad for a moment that we weren’t helping, and Memaw must have seen it in my eyes. “They need the practice,” she murmured, “and two Changelings is hardly practice.”

I watched with Memaw as our two family friends, Desmond and Issac, took on the Changelings. The evil gleam in the Changelings’ coal black eyes offset the papery look of their skin. It stretched taut as they slunk around Desmond, parrying his attacks. I wondered if it were possible for them to stretch and break. “I hope Liam beats the snot out of Desmond if this Changeling doesn’t,” I growled. I choked on a yelp as Memaw moved the rag to keep the blood from congealing in the bandage and it pulled at the wound. It would help later, although it hurt right now.

“I for one would have liked to see you use the magic we’ve been working on.”

The voice came from deeper within the trees that surrounded the opening in the forest where we were all situated. Even in the height of the day, the giant, lush trees muted nearly all sunlight deeper into the forest. A stray, persistent ray of light would pierce through a weak spot in the leaves’ defenses every few feet, but otherwise it felt like we were outside in the dark. My eyes strained to adjust to the darker lighting, and there was Roslin. She leaned leisurely against an oak tree as though she were enjoying a picnic in the sun.

Roslin was my best friend besides Reese and Mary these days, but sometimes she could be such a pain. Her arms were crossed in amusement as she took in my bloody shirt and Memaw’s makeshift bandage that covered my head wound. She wore what I knew was her old grey Rolling Stones t-shirt from the partial outline of the tongue that peeked over her crossed arms. Her artfully frayed jeans revealed her flawless porcelain skin. Her pink and purple dyed hair was spiked in all different directions and made her look like she’d be perfectly at home in the front row of a rock concert.

The instruction she gave me throughout the summer was an attempt to teach me faery magic. It wouldn’t have been hard if I would simply listen. There was just part of me that didn’t want to embrace this life. It would mean I really was different. Being human had its perks.

Perks like not being attacked by waist-high, hateful little faeries.

“Sorry, Rozz, but there wasn’t an opportunity to do much of anything since I got sucker punched to the ground straight out of the gate,” I said irritably. It was an excuse; there was plenty of time to use magic in Neamar, and I’d actually knocked one Changeling unconscious with it. The feat wasn’t intentional, but I’d never admit that to anyone. When no one was around, I’d ask Roslin how I’d done it so that when the time came to use it again, the magic would be there.

Memaw chuckled and patted my back. Her smile broadened as she watched Desmond leap on top of his Changeling, then she turned back to Roslin. “Easy on her, Roslin. She has a point,” Memaw patted the ground beside us. “Why don’t you draw up some dirt and watch the fireworks?”

Rolling her eyes, Roslin stuck her tongue out at the both of us and then pointed a perfectly manicured finger at me. “I’ll let it slide this time. I need to get back to Adaire, anyway. Ash, you better be able to show me some magic tricks next time we hang out. Let me know how long it takes for the Changelings to give Desmond a black eye,” She nodded toward the guys. “Issac has already taken care of his. Looks like Mr. Desmond could still use some practice. You should have brought more Changelings with you, Ash.” Winking, she disappeared from sight with a small
crack
. Pink and purple wisps of smoke that matched her hair wound into the air in her wake like those of an incense stick.

“Her portal is in this forest outside of Tess’s house?” I looked up at Memaw, surprised.

Memaw laughed. For having to be so hard, her laugh made it feel like she didn’t have a care in the world. “I have no clue. It might be. More likely though, she’s just gone to wherever her portal is in the world.”

“You can do that?” I asked incredulously. Memaw’s ability to show up at the most inconvenient times in my life suddenly made sense. The first one that came to mind was last year’s homecoming when my junior high crush tried to kiss me and Memaw pulled him off me by the collar of his suit. That was the talk for the next two weeks. I shuddered just thinking about it.

“Oh yes,” she said, chuckling. She situated her skirt around her better and leaned back against the tree trunk, letting out an audible sigh in the process. “We can disappear and reappear wherever we want in a heartbeat. We just have our one portal to Adaire. You, on the other hand, have the ability to go to Adaire wherever you are, whenever you like. One of the perks of being a Bridger is that you aren’t limited by what limits us. You know no boundaries.” The jealousy was thick in her voice.

I smiled at this neat revelation of superiority to my grandmother. The sound of a scuffle not far away drew me away from the conversation at hand. Desmond was on the ground wrestling with the remaining Changeling while Liam held ropes at the ready. The other Changeling was already hog-tied and Issac was sitting on it. Issac cheered Desmond and Liam on wildly, as though he was watching one of his soccer matches on TV. He pumped a fist in the air and whooped loudly. “Come on, Desmond, you claim to be the expert! I already have mine bagged and tagged. Let’s go!”

BOOK: Traitor
7.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Dragon's Prize by Sophie Park
The Tankermen by Margo Lanagan
A Stranger at Castonbury by Amanda McCabe
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Seduced by the Beast by Fox, Jaide