For the A to Z challenge, I present Murder Most Fowl, an unedited serial story from the unpublished Cera Chronicles. Please excuse the grammar mistakes. This hasn’t been critiqued yet. If you’re just diving into this story, you may want to start with part A.
Someone was saying my name. The loud clatter of train wheels swept past my head. I squinted into the silhouette blocking the sun. “Michael?”
His face neared and came into focus. It had gone white, with red splotches dotting his cheeks and ringing his eyes. “Mistress Cera!” Even with his shouting, I barely heard him over the train.
He pulled me into a sitting position. Train cars roared past us, the backdraft threatening to suck us in and drag us along. Pebbles bounced and sand shifted, vibrating away from the mass of mayhem on wheels.
The last car passed, leaving us with the dank scent of burnt coal. I glanced across the tracks. Who had I expended all that energy to save?
A semi-familiar face stared back at me. Huh. Who was this guy?
He grinned, still lying as a rope burrito on the ground. “Woohoo! That was a close one.”
Bartholomew spat on the ground. “Joe?”
Joe’s eyes rounded. “Pa?”
Bartholomew growled and cocked his shotgun, training it on the bound man. “Did Perry do this? Have you been cheatin’ on her again?”
“Aw, Pa. You know how cowgirls–”
Bartholomew fired. Shot pelted the ground inches from Joe’s head. “Don’t talk about your mother like that.”
“I wasn’t referrin’ to Ma!” Joe squirmed. “It’s Perry. She’s gone crazy. Won’t stop talkin’ about some stolen somethin’ or ‘nother.”
A long silence passed before Bartholomew lowered his gun. He looked at me. “Thank you for savin’ my idiot son.”
“Sure…” I fingered the fresh tear in my corset–laced with my blood–then scanned my companions with a raised eyebrow.
Fues grinned and hefted his spear. “I catch. You no fall.”
“Gee, thanks.” Glad I hadn’t been conscious for the Cera-kebab.
“Better than you run over by train,” he offered.
My stalker sat perched on the top of Fues’s wooden mask, staring down at me without expression. Maybe I’d hit my head, because Michael was right. That bird was starting to look familiar.
I met Molly’s troubled gaze. “What?”
“I’ve never seen anyone worry for another as much as you people do.” She folded her arms around her middle and averted her eyes. “I wish someone cared for me like that.”
Joe wiggled closer with a leer. “I’ll care for you.”
She wrinkled her nose. “As I told you before, ew.”
Bartholomew swatted Joe across the back of the head before looking at me. “A’ight. Let’s git this ordeal over with.”
Thanks for reading! If you want to start at the beginning, find it here. Don’t forget to visit other bloggers participating in the A to Z Challenge.
Do you have any criticism? Suggestions? Wild, off-the-wall ideas of “you know what would be funny…?” Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear them.