I’m putting together a collection of fantasy short stories, and this is a new one to the set. A short story often has the potential to turn into a novel, but sometimes it is complete as it is. This one started from a writer’s group prompt, and grew from a few simple words. So I hope you enjoy this early sneak peek into the collection!
Mum sighed, drooping over the dishes until her long silver blond hair touched the bubbles. I pushed a box over to the sink and finished them, while her work roughened hands stroked my hair.
I’m older now, but I still remember her smile. A hard life, raising a daughter without a father. But she had a network of friends in strange places, and we never went hungry. We moved often when the men of the village cast glances at us, and the women warned of strangers who asked questions.
So many questions I had too. Would I have made the same choices, dooming my child to a life in the shadows of society, making friends with the fae, the strange, and the unwanted. Hardship in a foreign land, far from her birth, far from even the memory of love.
But for love one may do many things. To die young, in glory, in love. Or live with responsibility. Each day to brush my dark hair and be reminded of a man who was like a ghost in our lives. Not there, never mentioned, but a presence as if a guardian watched over us.
But the was no regret in her – ever.
Mum told me when I reached twenty-one. Of age to choose, she told me, to choose a future.
A box of possessions. Not much, we never had more than we could carry. An old picture of a man’s face.
My father. I took it into the light.
My face. Thin, with feathery dark hair. Behind him were wings, white feathered like an angel. A crown he wore, a delicate thing of silver and pearls.
I looked a question.
Her face was young, the years might not have been. She caressed the photo. “A fairytale,” she said. “A prince and a beggar maid. A kingdom toppled by a love that was forbidden. Human and shifter. Prejudice for her, death for him.” She smiled, but the smile was for the past, the long-gone years.
“I fled, with you quickening inside me. Before they knew. They sought to kill you before you could claim your inheritance. That’s why we moved so often, to escape and protect you.”
“Inheritance?” There was nothing in the box but a feather.
I picked it up. A feather should be light, but I caved under its weight.
Responsibility. Inheritance. Justice.
Friends. I had an army of the strange, the other born, the dispossessed. Angry at the people who made rules to suit themselves. Pride blazed from my mother’s gaze. It would be her battle too.
My wings are grey, the mark of the half born. The glory of flight is almost worth the pain of shifting in a body not born for it.
Blood stains my wings. Every time.
I have my father’s wings.
My mother’s strength.
A kingdom to win back.
Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre author, with her SMP series Druid’s Portal a time travel action adventure romance set in Roman Britain. Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. The 30 Organizing Tips for Writers provides much needed help for authors trying to navigate social media and build an author platform. Doing NaNo this year? Check out her free book NaNoWriMo Ready. Or pick up a copy of the free Romance Short Stories.
Contact Cindy on