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Shadows On The Wall Chapter 1

Below, is Chapter 1 of my new book, Shadows On The Wall, which will be released on 5/27/14.

Shadows On The Wall (The Immortal World, #2)

Chapter 1

The dream woke her as it did every time. She couldn’t remember the specifics, only the vague memory of that acrid burning smell, the sound of people talking, and so much pain. Her stomach rolled in memory of the pain. A phantom ache in her legs made her restless. She had to move. 

Throwing back the covers, she swung her legs over the edge of the bed and stood quickly.
She walked to the other side of the room and then back, her hands twisting in each other. A sharp stinging in her palms caused her to yelp and look down. Deep half-moon shaped gouges in her palms were welling up with blood. Her eyes strayed reluctantly to her nails to discover, without surprise, that they had shifted into claws while she had been sleeping.

While the cuticles were fairly normal, between the nail bed and the tips they grew into razor sharp points, curving in on themselves like a feline’s claws. In her terrified state she had buried them so far into her own hands that one of the tips had broken off inside of her skin.

She took a very deep, shaky breath and forced her eyes away from the disaster that was her hands. Blood was a dangerous thing in this house, and a person could not be too careful in their caution of it. A mislaid drop could start something that ended in death. Of course, her own blood had far less weighty consequences. She would never be killed, but the alternative she faced was not one she enjoyed.

She missed the disaster on the floor because of how much worse the bed was. The once pristine white pillow covers were shredded. Through the holes feathers, popped out. The severely rumpled sheets were also ripped in many places. To make bad worse, everything was dotted with red, the first drops from her injured hands.

With a sudden gasp, she flew into action. If anyone saw this, if he saw this, the hell she would pay would make her wish she was dead. Ripping the comforter out of the way, she tore the sheets off the bed and ran to shove them down the laundry chute. Next she removed the pillowcases, trying not to spread the feathers everywhere and tossed them down too. Let the downstairs servants deal with that problem, at least they wouldn’t be out for her blood when they found them.

Taking the pillows up gently so as not to dislodge anymore feathers, she examined them closely and found, to her great relief, that no blood had gotten on them. She replaced them on the mattress and then covered the whole bed, pillows too, with the comforter. She rearranged it until she was satisfied that it looked normal and then went about picking up the loose feathers.

After she tossed them in the trash bin she examined the room for signs of trouble. She found none and breathed a sigh of relief. With any luck the downstairs staff would be up in less than an hour to change sheets and remake beds.

She went into the bathroom to tend her hands. She glanced in the mirror and had a bit of a start as, once again, she didn’t recognize herself. She should have been used to it, she never recognized herself anymore, but this time was worse. Something about the dream always seemed to mess up her shift. If her weight didn’t shift then her eyes would change color. If her eyes didn’t change then the length of her hair would.

Staring hard into the mirror she discovered that her eyes had changed color this time, and there was also a perceptible change in the bone structure of her cheeks. She sighed and quickly fixed her cheeks, raising the bone until it was a sharp and unforgiving line. Her eyes had changed to a light hazel blue. Her master would be very displeased if he caught her with those eyes. That was one color he never, ever requested.

As she looked the color slowly brightened and then turned a very bright blue. It would be obvious to anyone that it wasn’t a natural eye color, but her master didn’t care about that. He wanted what he wanted and that was what he would get.

With a sigh, she let the color rest.

“Cameo.” The voice from the door should not have startled her, but it did. The calmness of the voice belied everything about the man who spoke. In his eyes and his body was a wild anger that burned everything it came into contact with.

Pointing to the ground next to the bed, he waited for her eyes to find it. Yes, right there, the drop of blood that had slipped from her hands as she paced away from the bed. Her eyes widened in horror, just before she was slammed into the wall behind her.

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