Sneak Peek – I have yet to come up with a title for this story

I’ve finally decided which of my story ideas I’m going to publish on my blog. It’s been a bit of a debate because I’ve heard that, if I ever had the chance to publish something, some publishers won’t take writing which has been posted on a blog. They consider it “previously published”. So I decided on this one. Here’s a piece of it that I wrote for a school project a couple years ago.

Thanks, guys! Enjoy!

M.C.

Length: 2,350 words

Trigger Warning: Abuse

Moonlight drifted through my window, casting dancing shadows onto everything in the room. My cell phone illuminated the side of my face, giving it a faint, blue glow.

“I’m ending this tonight.”

My voice broke the silence once again, though it was a dull whisper, barely audible to my own ears.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” came the response after a few more moments of silence.

“Yes,” I said, just as quiet as before. “I’m tired of this. I can’t live this way anymore.”

I heard a deep sigh. “I know I can’t stop you, but please, don’t do anything stupid, okay?”

“You expect anything less from me?” My voice cracked, ruining my mocking, fake confidence.

“Yes, actually, I d-“

I flipped my phone shut, cutting him off. It was a rude gesture, but a necessary one. It was almost time for me to leave, so I didn’t have to argue with Liam. I had my bag all ready to go. It contained few items: some spare clothes, a bit of food, and some money which I gradually took from my father’s wallet. My alarm clock read 3:30am, and I was ready to go. I had previously deleted all the messages off my phone, leaving no evidence of where I’d gone. I had no intention of taking it with me. Besides, Liam knew better than to call me back.

I slipped out of my room, silent as death, not daring to wake my parents. I crept through the house, avoiding the weak floorboards in the hallways and the creaking stair. Noiselessly, I moved towards the back door. My house was suddenly so large; it felt as if grass could grow faster than I was moving. I finally made it to the rec room. I could see the door, but it looked miles away. I took a few steps into the room, and then I smelled it. It was stale, bitter, and sour. Alcohol. My heart began to race, and when the light flicked on, it fell out of my chest. I couldn’t breathe. Against the wall, beside the light switch, stood my father. I closed my eyes and let out a long sigh, forcing myself to breathe again, willing myself to wake up from the nightmare. I opened my eyes again and there he stood, watching me, waiting for me to make a move. I waited.

My eyes darted to the door as I mentally calculated my chanced of making it before he got to me, but I knew from experience that I wouldn’t make it. He was a fast drunk. I looked back at him and didn’t move, which caused him to frown. It was always more fun for him if I tried to run. He grumbled something I couldn’t hear and stood up straight.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he growled, surprisingly clear. Sometimes I wondered if he was ever drunk at all.

I stayed silent for a moment, thinking of a response. I figured I might as well tell him the truth.

“I’m leaving,” I snapped. “I’m done with you!”

“Is that so?” he chuckled. “That’s too bad, because I’m not done with you.”

I wondered what kind of father says that to his daughter, but then he came at me. In two strides, he closed the distance between us and smacked me across the face so hard it knocked me to the floor. I scrambled to my hands and knees to try to create some distance between us, but he grabbed my backpack and kicked me in the stomach.

“Did you think I wouldn’t notice the money missing from my wallet, you little bitch?!” he screamed at me.

I coughed until I found my voice, and then shot a wincing glare over my shoulder at him.

“I figured you’d be too drunk to notice,” I choked.

His eyes flashed and he grabbed my hair, pulling me to my feet. His eyes were wide and bloodshot as he stared at me. I trembled slightly, and he hit me again. I knew I had lost. I wasn’t fast enough to get away from him, especially since every time I moved he hit me or kicked me. I couldn’t do anything but wait and take the pain of his abuse. I tried to curl up to protect myself, but he just beat every part of me he could get. He beat me until I bled, screaming things that became less and less understandable. I slipped into my mental safe haven, one I frequented many times in my life, and never uttered another sound as he beat me until my world faded to black.

There was a pale figure off in the distance, surrounded by darkness. It was fuzzy, though, so I couldn’t make out what it was. I blinked repeatedly, yet the figure did not clear. Somehow it seemed familiar, as if I had seen it before. Suddenly, the figure began to clear, and before I knew it, I was five years old again, kneeling before my mother. Tears began to stream down my cheeks and I screamed for her, begging her to help me. Nonchalantly, she turned and she walked away. Darkness crept in and all was quiet again until the pain began to inch its way back into my body. I was, once again, denied the privilege to die. I opened my eyes to slits and peered around. My father sat in a chair across the room, a knife glinting in his hand. I needed to get out of there, fast. I didn’t really want to die by his hand. My backpack was sitting beside his feet, so I had no choice but to leave it. I drew a deep breath, pushed my pain away and jumped up, moving as quickly to the door as I could. The dead-bolt was locked, but I easily flipped it, flung open the door and ran into the night before my father could get to me. I ran hard and fast, feeling my body burn and finally noticing the unfamiliar wetness on my cheeks.

I ran until my legs could no longer support me and I collapsed into the snow. The cold November air licked my skin and soon I realized where it was I ran to. The place I sat was the very same as when I had first met Liam those long years ago. I gasped a laugh at the irony. It still looked the same, the small community playground that was hardly ever used. The rusty swing-set still sat too close to the slide. I remembered we could never swing very high, worrying that we would hit the slide. Besides, the chains were so old they looked as if they were going to give out at any moment. The merry-go-round was nearly impossible to turn, so we would just sit on it and talk after we became too tired from trying to spin each other. We used to come here often, Liam and I. It was a refuge – somewhere I could go to forget everything for a while. Then, as my body faded into numbness, I wondered if I should just let myself freeze. I was free, but had nowhere to go. I couldn’t bear to burden Liam anymore.

I was beginning to drift into unconsciousness again when a rustle in the bushes snapped me awake. I focused on the direction the noise came from; though I wasn’t sure I could move. Out from the bushes came a large fox, not five feet from me. To say he was large would be a grotesque understatement. He was as grand as a wolf and white as the soft snow around us. He had ten long, slender tails, making his presence even more commanding. What topped it off was his eyes; a bright blue so piercing they surprised me. I didn’t think foxes could grow so big, let alone have such sharp blue eyes. He tilted his head slightly and I swore I saw his tails twitch. I was wondering why he hadn’t killed me yet when I realized what he was: a kitsune; a Keeper of Change.

In that moment, I was not ready to die. I always wished for death at home, but I was free from that; it was a past life. The thought of the Change made me start to shake. It was the chance I’d been waiting for. I looked into the Keeper’s eyes and prayed. The image of my mother walking away from me flashed through my mind, so I shook my head and ground my teeth. I had to focus. The Keeper tilted his head again and then it was like my body was hit by a tidal wave. I was drowning, gasping for air and getting nothing. Gradually, it became easier to breathe, only to have pain shoot through my body. I was on fire; my blood boiled. My skin prickled. Gravity began to crush me intensely. The wind blew through my body and suddenly the heat vanished and was replaced by deep, burning cold. The feelings came, one after the other, only to be replaced by more crippling pain. My skull was being split and my lower spine crushed. I squeezed my eyes shut and cried out. I hadn’t made any noise from pain in years. How long was I crumpled there? Hours? Days? I couldn’t tell, because every second was an eternity before the pain began to subside. After a moment, I opened my eyes and stood up shakily. I felt oddly fantastic.

My senses were so sharp it was as if I was a part of everything. Most of all, though, I could feel the water. The seemingly dry air was filled with it. I was aware of every bit of moisture on the planet. I ran my fingers through my hair, surprised by its sudden length. It had grown down to my knees and turned a deep, midnight blue. My hands moved to my face, but I couldn’t feel my ears! I traced my fingers up to the top of my head and rubbed my new soft, fox ears. I regretted that immediately. It sounded like dragging my fingers over an amplified microphone. I looked at my hands, which had a faint blue glow. I quivered excitedly and looked back up at the Keeper. His expression made me do a double-take. His eyes were widened, and as I watched, they narrowed and looked me over. I felt naked under his gaze.

“Impossible…” came his voice. “How can this be?”

“W-what?” I stammered.

His eyes shot to mine, then he radiated a pale white light and proceeded to transform before me.

I’ll admit, he was handsome. So much so, he seemed other-worldly, like a god. He was tall, probably 6’5”, and thin, though not lanky. His hair was long, straight, and show-white like his fox fur. His piercing eyes were narrowed in a calculating gaze. I blushed, despite myself. It was like he was looking inside me, making me embarrassed.

“Why are you looking at me like that?!” I cried.

He flinched, as if I’d woken him from a deep slumber, then composed himself. “Your tail… or shall I say, tails.”

I blinked, then looked behind me. Coming out of the back of my pants were three fox tails, much like his, only the colour of my hair. I looked back at him, my eyebrows furrowed.

“Members of Change are only supposed to have one single tail. Only the kitsune have more than one tail,” he explained. “It shouldn’t be possible. Keepers cannot create kitsune.”

“So does that mean I’m a Keeper, too?” I blurted, slightly stirred by the idea.

“No. You must not try to create Members, for it is far too dangerous. Your powers have not developed yet. Though I suspect we can expect great things from a mortal kitsune.”

“A mortal kitsune?”

“The kitsune are, essentially, entities. We are spirits created by the gods and given magical and shape-shifting abilities. That is how the Change came to be. A kitsune passed a portion of their power into a mortal. The number of tails marks the amount of power a kitsune contains. Thus, the reason Members only have a single tail. But, you have three. Therefore you are a kitsune, not a Member of Change.”

I was speechless. Why did this happen? How could I become a kitsune? I had always been curious about the Change.  I brought it up with my parents, once, but my father had hit me for mentioning a “curse”. When people first found out about the Change, they often sought out the kitsune, desiring power. Most of those people ended up dying during the process of Changing, so it was deemed a curse. People began to fear the Change. The kitsune were also very mysterious, which didn’t exactly help the situation. I never thought it was a curse, though, but a new way of life. I always figured it could be a way out of my life. Yet here I was, Changed into a kitsune. I had a feeling my life was about to become extremely complicated. Suddenly, the Keeper shook his head.

“My apologies, I’ve been very rude. My name is Jeremy,” he said, “but my fox name is Shimo. As you could probably guess, my elemental power is mainly ice.”

He smiled at me, making my heart flutter a little.

“My name is Naomi,” I replied, pushing the feeling from my mind. “Pleased to meet you.”

“I’m well aware of who you are, Naomi,” he grinned, flashing a set of straight, white teeth. “We’ve been waiting for you to leave that… interesting home of yours for a while now.”

“We?”

“Ah, yes. The Order of the Kitsune. I suppose I’ll have to escort you there. There is much we have to explain and discuss. You are obviously special; we just have yet to find out how much.”

Something about the way he said that made my heart beat faster, yet concerned me at the same time.

This is subject to a bit of change / improvement as I write the actual story.

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