EXCLUSIVE COVER REVEAL!
by Chess Desalls
Marian Spritz won’t gain guardian fairy status if she fails her summer school project. But when she hears a call for help—a song felt only by Glistens—she must choose between not letting her schoolwork and teammates suffer and protecting a ward who faces grave danger.
A guardian can’t shine without the song of her ward.
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Drawn by the light of the stars, Marian pressed her fingertips to a nearby window. The buzzing intensified—soft still, but faint as if far away. It called to her. My ward is out there somewhere, and in need of help.
Marian strode back to the couch, careful to keep her footsteps as light as possible in the house full of slumbering Minikins. She held her breath as she wrapped the blanket around her shoulders and decided what she must do. Knowing she wouldn’t rest until she found out what was happening, and to whom.
The latch of the door clicked softly behind her. Moments later she was through the gate.
Her breath was visible under the pale light of streetlamps that lined the road. She faltered a moment while considering whether to turn right or left. Until she felt a pull forward.
Static and popping tingled at her right ear. After turning her head in its direction, an invisible force tugged at her, beckoning her to follow.
Pulling the blanket more tightly around her, Marian wandered past houses with unlit windows. Her feet systematically pushed forward as if strings were attached to her toes. Whomever or whatever tugged at the strings did so gently and leisurely. Despite the underlying sense of urgency Marian was sure she felt.
The farther she walked, the louder the buzzing intensified, until the song crackled in through her ears. And moved inside.
Marian stumbled, breaking her fall with one hand. She stopped to catch her breath.
She looked up, wondering where she’d stopped.
Above her was a window.
Light—soft and blue—emanated from the inside of a house.
Marian peeked through a crack where the window had been propped open. She squinted, willing her eyes to adjust. A night-light shone from the corner of a room, tucked neatly beside an end table. An IV drip hung from a pole on wheels. Marian’s eyes followed the tubing from a plastic bag to a bed, where someone lay asleep. The tubing ended at a needle attached to a hand covered with bandages. Marian cringed when she noticed that the person’s other hand was also wrapped in gauze and medical tape.
Buzzing crackled in Marian’s ears and inside her chest. She swallowed a gasp, and then clamped a hand over her mouth.
The figure on the bed stirred.
Marian held her breath. I don’t want to wake anyone up, but how else am I supposed to figure out who’s calling me? This must be my ward; he or she is sick. She frowned. But this doesn’t look like a Glisten’s home. Who could it be?
“Please make it stop,” a voice called out.
Tingles ran along Marian’s arms. She’d heard the voice before, earlier that day. A female voice, smooth and silky. But instead of being mocking and rude, the words held weariness and pain. Pity flooded Marian’s chest, drowning out the buzzing, the song that had brought her to where she was now.
The figure in the bed sat up and moaned. “Please,” a girl whispered. Mussed and clingy with sweat, locks of silver shone in the blue light.
Marian ducked her head below the windowsill and covered her mouth.
Chess Desalls is the author of the YA time travel series, The Call to Search Everywhen. She’s a longtime reader of fantasy and sci-fi novels, particularly classics and young adult fiction. Her nonfiction writing has led to academic and industry publications. She’s also a contributing editor for her local writing club’s monthly newsletter. The California Writers Club, South Bay branch, has awarded two of Chess’ stories first place for best short fiction. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys traveling and trying to stay in tune on her flute.
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