Damien Walters Grintalis fantastical horror or horrific fantasy or, sometimes, horror or fantasy. Her first book, Ink, arrives from Samhain Horror next month. It provides one more reason to be careful about what you have permanently affixed to your skin.
Finally, the guards come for her.
They bind her arms behind her back. Even with their gloves, they do not touch her hands. They lead her into a windowless room; the door shuts with a bang that vibrates in her teeth. The room smells of pain and sorrow. Of giving up. Giving in.
The man in the room smiles. A lie.
There is a table covered with a stained cloth, the fabric full of bumps and bulges. She does not want to see what the cloth is hiding.
“Will you serve your king?” the man asks.
She takes a deep breath. Doesn’t answer.
She will not.
He does not remove the cloth from the table, he does not ask his question again, and the guards take her back to her cell.
Magic was not always forbidden.
When she was a small child, there were no Healers, and only criminals were locked away. The old king was loved by the people, not feared. He loved balls, grandeur, music. The new king does not care for music, save that born of screams. Only those sworn to his service are allowed to wield magic; even then, they are only allowed a magic that has been perverted. Inverted. Fire to ice. Healing to—
No. She will not think of that now. She cannot.