As promised, the second of the deleted Chimehour scenes for your reading pleasure!
Scene 2 - Willow and The Book
Editing Notes: I went back and forth on this scene for so long, it actually almost made it into the final book. But alas- I could not find a way to revise it that didn't make the perspective awkward. Originally, it was written in Helen's POV and then in a named POV for Willow, but so much of the information from the scene ended up in other scenes that it made this section needless.
Still, I enjoyed writing this POV for The Pumpkin Drum and giving Willow's thought process for an early scene. It offered depth that I weaved in later! And as always, SPOILERS AHEAD: there are hints to later plot lines and a scene in Chapter 11-12 that are substantial, so reader be warned.
Dear reader, my research has thus far concluded. I pray you take this book and heed its words as you wander life's path. My recountings are those of the most extreme, given my contact with the Holy Angel (He His Most Noble). This is my blessing and my damning. I pray also that you may never suffer my fate. That you may live your lives away from the terrible, wonderful, fair curiosities that lurk in Merlin's Domain.
The white-haired girl raised an eyebrow as she scanned the last paragraph over, twice just to be sure she had read correctly.
How dramatic, she thought, feathering the pages back on the little green book. I wonder what sort of fae this poor man knows? They sound awful.
She fell back on the rug, mind swirling with all of her new information.
Learning about curses had been a tricky business. And as the leprechaun had said, there wasn't much to say for breaking them other than a handful of stories. Tales of eternal sleep, daring rescue, and the aforementioned 'true love's kiss'.
The latter sounded more like guessing than an actual fix. But the little green book had left her with limited options. Holy relics weren't worth the risk of leaving, and no one here knew her actual name, much less her True one.
This was her hope, however small and strange. She could almost hear her mother's voice echo…
“Sometimes a sliver of hope is all you want, a leanbh.” She could see her mother, boots crushing the wooded path as they walked together in cool, afternoon light. She'd sigh before picking up into the second half. “You'll sooner fight for something that you've seen so rarely.”
Ma. She braced the book against her chest and shuddered. She should have never left the Veil on Bealtaine. There would be no hiding, no frightening headless men, no curse. And certainly no need to wonder what had become of her mother since they had been separated by that awful dog of a man.
She sighed herself calm. She had the answers she needed for now; she had her sliver.
She kept a steady march as she slipped back into the halls, the little green book in hand. Sunset had given way to moonrise, much to her astonishment. She walked through the gas-lamp glow, listening to the noise that drifted through the floorboards; the laughter, and shouting, and clinking of glass.
Let’s check there first.
Down the stairs she climbed, taking her place against the frame as she peered inside the doorway.
The chaos was a familiar friend. The gatherings of drunks and tables of gamblers, flanked by buxom women and the occasional lurking pick-pocket. The plowing scent of ale. The thrum of a fiddle. The stream of colorful Gaelic that her own mother might blush over. That would be something too, considering her mother was quite the artistic soul with swearing.
She let her gaze wander the crowds until she spotted the leprechaun amongst them.
He crawled up the side of a chair, hoisting himself next to the bar with a swing. The owner turned to him from another customer, seemingly sighing, though she couldn't quite tell. It took her a moment to recognize the second customer as the blond boy.
The one who gave me breakfast, she remembered with a nod.
He was grinning as usual, warm and sunny despite his surroundings. Or perhaps due to them. Again, she could not tell. She searched again, but his friend didn't seem to be with him.
She set her lips thin, looking back to the boy.
He might work, she thought. He had offered, after all.
But as time went on- and the three men weaved into heavy conversation, the idea became less appealing. Her research had pointed her elsewhere, after all. And she didn't need an audience for this magic.
I'll check the room instead. And she made her way up the stairway.
Letting her memory act as guide, she retraced her steps from the evening before. Recalling her search for an unlocked door to hide behind, hoping to partake in her latest meal.
That same door was unlocked when she found it again.
She jarred it open, the book pressed close to her chest as she looked inside.
Night enveloped the little bedroom, leaving just enough light from the window to silhouette of the other boy. Asleep in the center of the bed, blankets forgotten as he bundled in his half-buttoned coat. His glasses clung to the edge of his nose. His dark curls were invisible against the void of nighttime.
Names escaped her again, but she knew it was him. The curious, quiet creature with cornflower blue eyes. The one who had disturbed her and helped reunite her with her stalker. She sighed. He meant well, she assumed. He had helped her when she became sick and defended her against said stalker, as well as that troublesome patron.
He suited her findings rather well.
She furrowed her brow, considering her choices on waking him. He might not understand what she was trying. No matter how well he meant, he still couldn’t hear her.
But her time wore shorter every second she didn't have her magic.
She pushed the door open, sending an ache of noise into the calm. The boy shifted in his sleep, moaning incoherently. She froze.
“For the last time, Vince…” he mumbled, his fingers just missing his frames. “There’s… no ghost…”
The girl twisted her expression about. The silence settled back a second later.
I wonder if these sort of things work the other way around. She gave one last glance down the hall, pressing the book close again as she stepped inside.
Caitlin Jones is an author, film editor, and lover of all things Victorian and fantastic. Please check in for information on her upcoming series.