A Creature of Moonlight

By Rebecca Hahn

Sixteen-year-old Marni lives along with her Gramps in a one-room shack, cultivating an impressive flower backyard that draws villagers and noblemen alike. simply the invasive blue dragon vegetation in her backyard belie Marni’s mystery: She is the niece of the king and the daughter of a dragon. while occasions strength Marni to say her rightful position as princess in her uncle’s court docket, King Roderick eyes the dragon-born woman with suspicion, blaming her for the enchanted, speedily encroaching woods which are destroying his state. Will the king kill Marni, as he did her mom, or will Marni get her revenge first? A wealthy, compelling fable for the wild at heart.

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I suggest, I’m now not a horror, yet I’m not anything exact, neither. I paintings outdoor with the vegetation all day lengthy. I take no pains to clean my face or arms. I put on a gown as patched as any you’ll locate on a beggar within the urban, I bet. My hair will be whatever lovely if I took care to comb it each evening. yet so much instances it’s tangled and dulled by way of the airborne dirt and dust and the weeds and from getting torn by means of rose brambles and via branches within the woods. I determine it’s now not me they’re observing, even though, or besides now not the woman i glance like. It’s the item I’m no longer anymore. It’s how I’m now not something or one other, yet anything else, anything not like a person they recognize. Gramps did question me as soon as, final iciness, if there has been any lad I fancied. i used to be placing a loaf over the hearth to bake; I became around, nonetheless bent over, and stared at him. “It will be a manner, Marni, to be forgotten as soon as and for all. it will provide you with extra defense than you’d ever have residing the following with me. ” I straightened, feeling the flush of the flames on my cheeks. “There’s lifestyles, Gramps,” I stated, “and then there’s lifestyles. I wouldn’t marry considered one of them if it have been my final likelihood ahead of the awl. What, and put on a village skirt and drink from the village good? Wouldn’t be simply the king and his court docket who’d put out of your mind me. I’d omit myself. ” Gramps appeared over my costume pointedly, and he sighed and shook his head, yet he didn’t say not anything extra. convinced, the various village ladies put on greater clothes than me. yet then, they've got the time to stitch, or a wagon for touring to the town for higher textile. And my costume doesn’t say I’m something or one other. It’s only a piece of material, taking where of what I should still by means of rights be donning. Now I put on the gown of—what? A flower woman? A made-up factor, a not anyone. If i began dressing like a villager, i'd develop into one. I’d hand over what I’m no longer anymore. Gramps didn’t say, you'll marry a villager to make me secure. He didn’t say, this is often no existence, Marni. turn into another person and begin back. Who you have been is long past, pretty much as good as useless. Gramps knows issues occasionally. nonetheless, he watched me shut all of the remainder of the night, and that i went to mattress uneasy that evening, with an itching in my toes. it can be frustrating, to be courted with sideways glances and half-formed flatteries, yet a minimum of those village lads are risk free. the genuine chance, i do know, is from the lords. Jack and the others could get annoyed. they may elevate their voices, pushing for a note from me, a solution to a few idiot question—but a snap of Gramps’s darkish eyebrows, and so they hush back. They’re in awe of him. They’re in awe of ways he speaks, the way in which I by no means discovered to, with the fast vowels and the clipped consonants. each notice out of Gramps’s mouth feels like he potential it, like he is familiar with simply what he’s asserting and why. Out of my mouth, out of the villagers’ mouths, the phrases all mash jointly, as though we can’t be afflicted to maintain them one from the subsequent, as though we haven’t any time yet needs to rush headlong from one notion to a different. occasions are I’ve attempted to talk like Gramps, however it by no means turns out typical.

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