January 6, 2014

here's a snippet from Upon a Time, posted with permission from the publishers.

                Charlotte’s eyelids drooped. The sun was just beginning to appear on the horizon. Her plan was for Thomas to assist her in helping move the young man into her bedroom; she would be the one to sleep in the stables while he recovered. There were far too many dangers in the barn, and besides, it would be much easier for him to heal in a real bed and not a makeshift one of hay.

                She had almost drifted off for a second when she heard a low moan; the same kind of sound the man had made as her father first used the potion to return him to unconsciousness.

                She reached for the bottle but before she could administer its contents, the man’s face contorted in agony. He had attempted to open his eyes, and only one would cooperate with the demand.

                He cried out, and Charlotte’s stomach twisted. Her hands trembled as she held the cloth up to his nose, trying not to touch the freshly stitched flesh on the left side of his face as she attempted to send him back into oblivion.

                “Where… am I?” he managed to say, before his eyelid fluttered closed again and once more, he was silent.

                “You are alive,” Charlotte whispered in his ear, just in case he might, somehow, hear. “You are safe.”

                She slumped back down onto the bale of hay where she’d been sitting, her heart thumping in her chest. He must remain asleep, otherwise the damage he could do to the newborn repairs her father had gifted him would be detrimental.

                Thomas heard the commotion from just outside and rushed in. “What happened? Are you all right?”

                “I am not the one we need to worry about,” she answered, gesturing toward the man. “I have given him the maximum amount of medicine I dare to keep him asleep. If he wakes again…” She shook her head sadly. “Then the only thing that will send him back into darkness will be fainting from the pain itself.”

                “Poor soul,” Thomas observed, and he stirred the small fire that burned below the same cauldron of water which had previously held the medical instruments; partially in order to clean it, but also to keep the area warm on this unseasonably cold summer night. “I wonder how on earth he ended up in such a state.”

                “That is the first thing I will ask him,” Charlotte replied, “as soon as he has the strength to speak.”

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