For the A to Z challenge, I present Murder Most Fowl, an unedited serial story from the unpublished Cera Chronicles.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.
“Quit complaining.” I slung an arm around Molly’s shoulders. “At least I didn’t let them kill you.”
“Yeah?” Molly leaned her head back and stared up through the cell bars enclosing the cart. “Well, I ain’t keen on rottin’ in a jail cell either.”
Bartholomew snorted from the cart’s driver’s seat. I’d made a deal with him; if he took us to the next town, I’d let him collect the reward on Molly’s head to pay for damages. It’d been his idea to use the jailer’s cart.
A dark, bird-shaped shadow passed overhead. Mr. Stalker landed on the cage—short a few feathers and looking the worse for wear, but undeniably alive. Drats.
Molly shifted on the cart bench and pulled a folded strip of leather from under her corset. She unfolded it and stared at the designs on the other side.
Michael’s eyebrows rose and he leaned closer. His hand slid over her thigh. “What is that? Is that a map?”
She grabbed his wrist and shoved it back into his lap. “I don’t know. My husband gave it to me before he died. Said something about it bein’ big.”
“Big enough to get killed over,” I muttered. I sighed and tried to ignore the twisting in my stomach. I wanted off this world. Where were my other companions? How was I going to find them?
Michael lifted a hand, his fingers twitching. “It looks like a map. May I see it? I may be able to decipher it.”
She pursed her lips and held tighter. “You three ain’t normal.”
“Normalcy is relative,” he replied.
“See? Normal people don’t talk like that.” She shook her head. “You’re a child who sank a pirate zeppelin—” She pointed at Fues. “—he’s a funny little creature who eats people—” She looked at me. “—and she don’t have pupils, not to mention she throws fire. Where did y’all come from, and how am I so unfortunate as to make your acquaintance?”
She already considered us abnormal, so what harm was there?
“We’re from another world,” I said. “We came looking for a cure for my dad’s coma. So far, your world has nothing to offer. Now, I just want to find my last two companions and leave for the next world—one that might be able to help my father.”
My stalker squawked.
Michael glanced at the bird. “Does he look familiar?”
I studied the golden features and expressive eyebrows. Beyond the fact that it’d been following me? “Nope.”
The bird grumbled in a series of caws.
Michael licked his lips and shrugged. “Now about that map…”
A distant horn reached out little cage. With it came a scream.
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.