Don't Look Out...
Kiala really didn’t want to open her front door. There were no signs that anything was lurking around out there, but she knew she couldn’t be alone. Not on a day like today. She’d thought about sneaking a peek through the blinds, checking the tree line that marked the edge of the village, but realized it wouldn’t do her any good. Sooner or later she’d have to step out. There was little point in making it more difficult for herself.
She took the magic rod from its encasement by the door and tested it out. It was a heavily carved piece of petrified wood that had been handed down by the women of her family for generations. It had many splendid and remarkable properties but it was not, she knew for a fact, in any way magical. It could cast no spells, ward off no evil, and it enchanted exactly nothing. It wasn’t even magical in the way that sunsets and sunrises were said to be magical. It was just an odd looking branch that had beads and feathers and sharp bits stuck to it.
In any other situation, a girl wouldn’t be caught dead carrying around something so flamboyant and so obviously manufactured to look mysterious. As situations went, however, today’s really wasn’t like any other.
But the rod was surprisingly sturdy for its weight. It barely topped half a coin sack and that was the one thing Kiala appreciated about it. Her tiny frame wouldn’t carry a rod of similar proportions if it were made of actual wood. Not for long anyway. Not long enough to cut through the forest that separated the village from the edge of the world.
A deep breath, a hand on the door handle, then a quick, strong tug. Like ripping off a band-aid, she told herself.
What she found outside was bad. Of course it was. It was as bad as she had expected, and then a little worse. But what should a girl expect on the day she’d been chosen to die?
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