Submission begins January 14th. Wish me luck!
A girl. A quest. An unexpected ending...
Although Rain didn’t see him at first, one townsperson paid her a great deal of attention. He had been told to watch for a girl traveling alone. Well, traveling alone except for a large hunting dog-- but a dog hardly qualified as a useful escort for a young woman walking along these roads, no matter how large he was. She might as well be traveling alone. There was a shortage of any girls at all traveling between towns—and none of them would travel alone, not these days.
This was definitely her.
He smiled to himself and raised his voice. Now there was a reason to say what he had been yelling all morning. She wouldn’t be able to miss him.
Crowds moved around her neatly, immersed in afternoon shopping and selling. The general hum of conversation was muted here, prim and restrained, which made the voice rising above it even more noticeable.
“Evil is here! It has reached us even in this fair city! What is its root, you ask? No one knows where evil comes from, but we all feel it when it strikes!”
“Crackpot,” Rain muttered to Hunter as they passed the youth standing in the middle of the path.
“If we continue to ignore it, we’ll never know what’s behind the eyes watching us from the shadows.”
Rain turned on the spot, mid-step.
“What did you say?” she asked.
He looked surprised that someone had actually been listening.
“I’m sorry,” he said politely, “I wasn’t aware that people usually paid much attention to crackpots.”
“Only if they’ve got something interesting to say,” Rain replied, undaunted. She patted Hunter and he sat down beside her. “What do you mean about the eyes?”
“You’ve seen them, haven’t you.”
“What makes you think so?”
“No one else has listened to me, let alone come up to me to talk about what I’m saying.”
“Someone pointed them out to me,” Rain explained grimly. “I left home to get away from whatever was watching me there.”
“Where are you headed?”
“To find my father. He's traveling, and I have to warn him before he starts to head for home.”