For the next month, I'm going to post Chapter One of my newest novel, a couple of paragraphs at a time each day, Monday to Friday.
Once there was a world that seemed at first glance much like other worlds you may have lived in or read about, but it wasn’t…
Chapter One: The Unexpected Benefits of Remembering
Even among the Wise, animals did not talk.
These two were talking.
Rachel Griffin awoke in her bunk bed in prestigious Dare Hall. It was her first night at Roanoke Academy, her first night in America, her first night away from home. The other girls in her dormitory room were asleep. She could hear their rhythmic breathing. Yet she distinctly heard voices. She opened her eyes and sat up.
The tall, arched window was open. A chill blew in through it. On the windowsill sat an enormous raven, jet black with blood red eyes. The raven addressed the familiar that belonged to one of Rachel’s roommates. The girl must have been a fan of the new fad of shrinking wild animals and turning them into cute playthings. Her pet was a tiny lion the size of a house cat.
The raven croaked harshly, "You are not supposed to be here."
The lion sat regally beside his human, who lay sleeping across the room, on the other set of bunk beds. "I was called. Where I am called, I come.”
“None of my people called you.”
“You called one of my daughters. I am always in her heart."
“You need to depart.”
The lion yawned. It turned in a circle three times and settled down to sleep.
The raven cawed raucously and flew away.
Rachel replayed the conversation in her head. She did not know what the phrases meant, but she was certain she had just overhead something crucial, something not meant for her, something not meant for any human ears. It was like hearing a door swing open to another world. She would never forget a word of it.
But then, Rachel Griffin never forgot anything.