© Alexandria Thomson
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An Extract from
The Glass Butterfly
Silence gripped Aquelianus’s sleeping chamber, the motionless air hanging thick with
the unheard words of the dead.
“They own the night,” his brother had whispered, his voice heightened with childish
delight, “filling every quiet place. Every shadow. If you listen hard enough, you might even
hear them whispering, begging for light and life.”
How many sleepless nights had he suffered after Thesaqa shared his night time
tale? How many other opportunities for innocent teasing had they lost in the
Far too many.
Aquelianus pulled his blankets aside, swung his legs over the edge of his bed, and
shivered. Night’s chill clung to the stone floor, freezing his soles.
A quick rub of his fingers cleared the sticky salt from his eyes, whilst a yawn dispelled the last dregs of sleep. He
pulled the corner of his mattress back and stared at a faint red spot in the frame until it came into focus. Only a tiny
flicker of power remained in the pea-sized crystal’s centre. He had ten minutes, perhaps less, before the guard arrived.
With his hands extended to guide him through the impenetrable dark, he shuffled to the foot of the bed, slipped off
its end, and dropped to his knees.
His questing fingertips brushed wood worn smooth by time and use. He traced the curved lid of his clothes chest,
located the catches, and opened them with a flick of his thumbs. An ominous creak followed the catches’ double clunk.
He froze, lid held half-open, and braced himself for the soul-numbing assault of the disturbed dead.
Disturbed dead? When did I become a superstitious fool?
Still, in the unnatural quiet of the sleeping complex, it was easy to imagine a host of disembodied fingers reaching
for him, the ethereal tendrils of their spirits wrapping around his body like smoke, drawn by the warmth of a living soul.