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The Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher (popular romance novels .PDF) 📖

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Date add:
20 March 2022
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The Demon Girl
The Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher (popular romance novels .PDF) 📖
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The Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher (popular romance novels .PDF) 📖 brief summary

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he truth. Let me go, you don't understand what will happen. My brothers-"

The Lord Cleric punched her. Her head flew back and a spray of blood wet the dry mud and spattered over the leaves concealing me. Face wet with tears and whimpering, she tried to crawl toward the trees and dragged up clumps of earth with her fingernails.

"You must let me go." The words sounded muffled, like she had a mouthful of something foul.

The Lord Cleric executed a neat half turn and stamped on her thigh. There was a sharp snap, like I'd picked up a twig and yanked on the ends until the fibers split apart and cracked open. The fairy's leg buckled into an unnatural shape and she screamed. The sound was guttural, a direct translation of pain to sound. I slapped a hand over my mouth to smother my own shriek. Not because of the broken bone, I'd seen and heard tons of those, but because I'd caught the Lord Clerics profile and recognized the handsome face. The Lord Cleric dragged the fairy back into the centre of th

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Copyright 2010 Penelope Fletcher.

ManyBooks Edition

ISBN: 978-1-4523-7321-8

Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales

You are free to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work under the following conditions: You must give the original author credit. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

With the understanding that: Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder. Where the work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.

In no way are any of the following rights affected by the license:

Your fair dealing or fair use rights, or other applicable copyright exceptions and limitations; The author’s moral rights; Rights other persons may have either in the work itself or in how the work is used, such as publicity or privacy rights.

For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the licence terms of this work.

Chapter One

The day I learnt I was a demon was the worst day of my life. I won’t lie. I spent most the day terrified of dying, or losing a limb.

The first thing I heard, and thought about when I woke that morning was of demons. A were-cat scream echoed for a beat, before an answering scream, higher in pitch called in the distance. It sounded like the packs were fighting; a territorial dispute most likely. There was a Pride not too far from the Temple. A muffled shriek drifted up through the floorboards, and I rolled my eyes when it happened on the next scream. I buried my head under the pillow, pulling my blanket up. New Disciple’s thought the world was ending every time a demon passed nearby. It took them long to understand, if the Wall was breached the klaxon went off to warn us.

I rolled out of bed, tripped over the mountains of fabric and crushed cans that littered the floor of my room, and head butted the wardrobe door. It bounced back. Clothes flung over the top and spilling out the bottom had stopped it from clicking shut. I was not a dirty person, but a messy one. I was the kind of person who could make mess in an empty four by ten box. Stood in my fraying bra and panties, I groggily scratched at my knee, trying to pull myself together. It took a lot of rummaging around before I pulled on my ragged jeans and faded tee shirt, some pre Rupture band on the front. Not the best gear for running, but I was going to have to go straight to class afterwards. I put my boots on and headed outside.

It was dark. Dawn was hours away, and the grounds were eerily quiet. Fire drums set alongside the pathway flickered, and weak flames cast a sick flush over the cold ground. Electricity was hard to generate, so the Sect cut corners where it could. Resources during the day, and after dark, focused on Wall hotspots, places difficult for the Clerics to easily defend, like steep ravines and cliff faces. These were the places demons too often breached. My eyes skipped over the Temple grounds, and every graffiti wall, battered trashcan was colored fondly in my mind’s eye. The Temple was an army base, before the Rupture, but now it was the stomping ground of the Sect Clerics and their Disciples. It was home. Safety. My eyes settled on the Wall in the near distance, peeking out from the forest bordering the region. Past that electric fence was Outside. Past that fence roamed the demons.

I started at a jog. In no time I was at the main gate whistling to the security guard who barely looked up from his book. I wondered where he’d gotten that. Books made purely for entertainment were as rare as plain paper. The Sect had a library of course, right here at Temple, but you had to have serious pull with the Priests to be able to rent one. We lucky Disciples got to feel the smooth pages of a book on a regular basis, even if they were educational, and my envy was brief. The guard caught me eyeing up the pages and placed it on his lap. He waved me on as the gate cracked to let me out.

Leaving Temple, I was soon on a wide and flat lane gravitating toward the forest. I reached the Wall and stared at it. Each time I came here I asked myself the same question; was defying Sect Doctrine and stepping past this point worth it? The excited thump of my heart told me the answer. I glanced behind to scan the roadside and check I was not in sight. Confident I was alone; I slid through the sliver of space between the charged wires then held my breath for a beat. There was nothing but silence. I had no idea how I’d done it, but one morning I was tired of plodding the same ground, and I’d looked out into the forest with its thick tree trunks, jutting roots, and seen a thrilling new route to push myself harder and faster. I had stood, and stared at the webbing of steel then wished for a hole to climb through. The wires had just unraveled without setting off the klaxon. I remembered thinking with a horrible kind of panic that I had somehow done witchcraft, and was convinced I was the blackest kind of evil. Then I realized how ridiculous I was being, and figured it was a coincidental gift from the universe, or something. Now every morning I had a new obstacle course to enjoy.

The trees were tall, and the air was fresh and clean and free. I ran, racing the beat of my own footfalls. Cold wind whipped past pushing hair into my face. Gods, how I loved to run and revel in the illusion of freedom it gave. I was the fastest Disciple at the Temple, and the best at cross-country; it took a lot to tire me out. I ran until the forest became too dense for me to sprint without tripping over roots. My chest rising and falling was a pleasant feeling I rarely got to experience, and only could experience when I ran Outside. Pushing at the long and dark tangle of my hair, I wished there was less of it. I snapped off a knobby twig from a shrub at my heel and pulled it back into a messy bun, using the twig to pin it there. I was distracted, and only because a raven boldly cutting past drew my attention from the task of managing my hair, did I see a movement at the corner of my eye.

A figure strode away from me up a leafy incline, into the light side of the daybreak.

“Hai?” I called my voice low.

The retreating shape paused, only to dart deeper into the gloom. Cresting the slope it winked out of sight. I ran after it. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. Skidding to a stop at the slope summit, I let out a surprised grunt. I could see down and far out into the forest. There was nobody down there, nothing but more trees. Fear whispered in my ear no humans are supposed to be Outside, but I shook it off. Such a thing was surely nothing but my imagination. No demon would be this close to the Temple. It would be like a human who wanted to live a long life doing a jig with their eyes closed on the edge of a cliff.

Then I saw it again. The shadowed figure was there when I turned around, but was at the bottom of the slope. My feet skipped back then there was no more floor.

I remembered the same time my head moved to where my feet had been, that I’d been standing on the apex of a steep and high slope. I went down. I tumbled backward and ended up rolling and rolling. The world churned around me, but leveled out abruptly as I crashed into the base of a tree at the slopes underside.

My arse was up in the air and my shins mashed against my forehead. Oh gods it hurt. I rocked my body until I fell onto my side, and pulled my legs back to curl them under me. I breathed in and out slowly, mentally checking myself over. Nothing felt broken. I sat up and stretched it out. No, nothing was broken. The pendant I wore around my neck pressed into my collarbone awkwardly. I fiddled with it until it hung properly, and the leather cord was no longer choking me.

I stood and rubbed at my head, then tried to get my bearings.

The slope was too steep to climb back up and I wasn’t much into rock climbing. Like most people I was reasonably tolerable of heights, up to a certain point and tolerable with deep water, up to a certain point. And even agreeable with confined spaces. Up to a certain point. Heights especially high were a stickler with me, despite my love of the things you could do when you were especially high. I had a way of pretending the floor was much closer than it truly was. Nevertheless, the slope was too high to pretend, so I was either going left or right. Determined to stay calm, I ignored the first curls of fear in my stomach. I hadn’t explored this far out into the forest yet and based on how long I had run for, I was at least ten miles from the Wall. I was not worried about the time; I could still get back for breakfast and with enough time to walk to class with Alex. Looking to the east the sky was lightening to blue, but the sunrise was always painfully slow. Classes did not start until the sun was in the sky.

I picked the straightest line through the trees as I could, and started off, my boots slapping muddy puddles riddling the way. In the early morning the forest was empty of human presence apart from its familiar visitor in me, but it was creepy now, like someone was watching.

A short while later it was clear I’d done something wrong. The trees were getting denser, and more closely packed together, like I was going further into the forest. I stopped and spun around. My first instinct was to go back. I was walking in a straight line, and I could go back to the slope base and start again. I had been walking in a straight line, hadn’t I? Those nasty curls of fear tickled my insides again. I started to walk back, but stopped after less than half a mile. I scanned the ground. Horrified at what I did not see, I knelt down to get a better look. To my dismay I could not see any footprints or other evidence I had passed this way. All Clerics were master trackers, bested only by shifters who changed into predators like big cats. As a Disciple I had been trained in the basics of tracking, of course, and at that moment I felt the bitter sting of failure. What I should have done the moment I felt lost is literally retraced my steps and started again. But I hadn’t

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