Hello, blogosphere! How is everyone on this fine Tuesday? I have another teaser for you, of course!
In today's snippet, Maire's mysterious stranger (who still doesn't have a title... I need to think of one) whisks her off to her new life, and Maire decides that it's high time she asks a few questions. I want this story to be a bit like a twisted fairy tale, so you will let me know what you think about that aspect, won't you?
“Where are we going?”
“I will be taking you to your new workplace, of course.”
“Yes,” she said, only just managing to bite back a more flippant response, “but where is that?”
“Oh, it’s not far now,” he said, his voice sing-songing with the tilt of his head. “Come along, then. Up you get.”
He nudged the horse towards her, and it snorted and protested as it walked. Maire wondered what it was about her that displeased the creature so much, but she did not flinch; instead, she reached up and took the man’s hand when he offered it. She could just barely get her foot into the stirrup, and with between her leap and the man’s fierce tug, she found herself in the saddle in front of him. It seemed to be miles up off the ground, and she tried not to look, instead busying herself with arranging her threadbare skirt around her legs so that her knees, at least, stayed covered.
Then the man shouted something to his horse, and it sprang forward, racing along the road like the crest of a wave. Maire was nearly unseated, but she managed to get her hands into the horse’s thick mane and steady herself before she fell. The familiar landscape streaked past her, far too fast, so fast that places she had known all her life became unrecognizable blurs. This was not possible – a horse could not gallop as fast as this. There was something wrong here, something strange.
“You never told me your name,” she asked, twisting her neck awkwardly to speak to him, feeling as though she was shouting into the wind. “What is it?”
The man laughed, keeping his eyes on the road.
“Now why would you want to know a silly thing like that?”
Maire paused for a moment, one fleeting moment where she watched the grass and hills and lightening sky rush past, slipping away from her in the same way she felt her world, her control, her everything was slipping away, before she thought of a proper response.
“Isn’t it only right that I know the name of the man whose debt I am in?”
The man laughed; it was a hollow sound, one that Maire could feel resonating through her shoulder blades, and she was glad that she could not see his face.
“You are a clever one, Maire Finn,” he said slowly, emphasizing each syllable in her name, telling her without having to say it: I have the upper hand. I know everything, and you know nothing. “Watch yourself, now – cleverness will serve you well, if you are also cautious.”