Today's excerpt is from Eye of the Soul by Terri Rochenski.
We hope you enjoy today's tease!
Cursing her arthritic fingers, Miri squeezed out a rag and draped it over the human man’s hot forehead.
“I’ve seen a lot more harvests than you, old goat,” she muttered, lifting his eyelids. “I’m thinking you’ll never catch up either. Doubt you last another half-moon’s phase.”
Miri pushed to her feet and stretched her hunched back. A heavy sigh slipped past her wrinkled lips as she glanced around the sick house. Keeping the night watch wasn’t too bad—she’d volunteered often since her old bones wouldn’t allow much sleep.
“Joints wasted, hearing all but gone…” Miri yanked on the long white braid lying over her shoulder. “I’m the old goat.”
She shuffled down the aisle, woolen kirtle swishing in the silence. A cool, autumn breeze rustled the crimson leaves of the magnolia and palm fronds overhead, drawing her gaze upward. Violet streaks lit the pre-dawn sky.
A dog barked, yipped, and fell silent.
Miri peered across the village green to the thatched buildings beyond. A shadow passed between two cottages. Another three hurried toward the neighboring dwelling.
“Sight fading or my mind, too?” Miri rubbed her watery eyes, blinked, and leaned forward. Light flickered through the palm trees behind the outlying homes.
The flames drew closer, weaving between the trunks.
Humans from the mainland? Miri’s hand clutched at her throat. Soldiers. Fadir have mercy.
The men crept through the village, taking up positions at every doorway. Two brutes, more horse-like in size than human, approached the sick house. Sputtering torch held high, the first strode forward, dark eyes intent upon Miri. A green surcoat covered broad shoulders and fell to his thighs. The golden wheat sheaf of the city of Varosh adorned his chest.
Cold sweat beaded upon Miri’s brow. Breath burst from her lungs, and she moved back, clutching the door jam.
The second soldier stepped closer, chains and shackles clanking in his hand. He stopped two paces away from Miri, and a smile stretched his stubbled cheeks, revealing rotted teeth. “Good morning pointy-ears.”
Miri stared, heartbeat thundering. She’d been called worse in her eighty-three birth passings but never with such malice.
A single cry rang out across the village, and doors crashed inward. Screams rent the air.
“Don’t fight Native woman,” rotten-teeth sneered, shackles outstretched.
“W-why?” Miri whispered, taking a step backward.
A scowl narrowed his gaze, and his fist shot forward.
Bursts of light and pain exploded through Miri as she crumpled to the floor.