In a crumbling otherworldly society once dedicated to life, love and beauty, one young woman must risk all to free…the Uske.
“The sun had begun to set but it was light enough for Alder to clearly see the thing in his hand.
It looked like nothing. Three inches of black stone or glass: rough and rounded at one end, hooked like a tail at the other. Vertical indentations lined the surface between the ends. He held it up to the light. The grooves were marked by spikes and shallows, difficult to see except by close inspection.
What difference would it have made if he’d looked at it in her presence? He had no idea what it was. Or why she thought it belonged to him. For a second he considered leaving it in the woods. He didn’t want a reminder of her. A reminder of the hot slice in his chest. A reminder of her early-morning gaze. Of the way she’d smiled at him. Of the way she’d waited until he took her hand in order to give him something. Not to take something from him.
For that reason alone he decided to keep the black stone thing. He put it in his pocket and sat near the entrance of the cave until dawn.
Even his kind couldn’t stay in the forest for longer than the length of a day or a night. He wouldn’t die like the others, but the painful consequences would be hard to recover from. Worse, it would make the others notice him more. Want him more. He’d never have time to sleep or get away. Or be alone.”