Sadly, today is the last day of our Dark Winter Tale event. Author Sarwat Chadda is here to bring this wonderful short story to an end. Please join me in welcoming Sarwat here today to Dark Faerie Tales. The first book in his Billi SanGreal series is called Devil’s Kiss, followed by Dark Goddess, which is scheduled to hit shelves on January 25, 2011. Click on the link to read an excerpt from Devil’s Kiss.
Please view the master list to read the story from the beginning.
We want you to choose your own adventure, so you can read the alternate ending written by author A. M. Robinson here.
Aodh the ridiculously good-looking was gone. Instead was a gaping maw of rocks and hair made of thick, tangled vines and roots. His ghost-white smooth skin was cracked and encrusted with dirt. Up and up he rose, ten feet, then twenty. He twisted the goal-posts out of the earth like they were tent-pegs and deep, crooked tears broke along the football pitch and down in the darkness Liv saw eager red eyes staring right back at her.
“Well?” asked Wyatt. He swatted one of the trolls away with a blue, electric blast from his fist. “Finish the damn spell!”
“It is finished! Look!” Liv waved the book in front of her. That was the last page. Why wasn’t it working?
Liv peered closer. She saw the ragged edge of paper just within the fold. A page had been torn out.
The air whooshed and Alice dived into Liv as Aodh swung the goalpost at them. There was a dull crunch as Wyatt was catapulted a dozen feet into the air and crashed down in a puff of snow.
“Not good, not good…” Liv stared around her feet. Maybe the page had fallen out. She got down on her knees and brushed frantically, trying to find even a single scrap of something.
“Nah nah nah na nah,” said a troll. Alice looked. Liv looked.
The troll waved a tatty piece of paper, yellow, a bit soggy, in his claws. He turn around and ran.
“This totally sucks,” she hissed as she dived through the mob of trolls.
Alice shouted again but Liv was focused on that troll. For a freak with such short legs it was bloody fast.
Then it tripped over a root.
The paper danced in the air and Liv kicked herself up. Aodh roared and the blast of wind, dank and fetid, assaulted her as her fingers touched the corner of the paper.
Liv crashed down, getting a fist of snow in her face. Spluttering , she read the last few lines.
“Exelexio obscuram tenebre!”
Aodh groaned as his body sank. The trolls, cackling and gibbering, leapt and dived into the crevasses that scared the playing field.
The ground rumbled as the rocks and earth bound itself together, the portals to the fey realm below sealing once more.
Liv got up.
“Saved the world, eh?” said Alice.
There was a groan and Alice rushed over to help Wyatt. Liv surveyed the football pitch. The turf was torn and piled in uneven lumps. The post lay, bent, in the corner and there were large craters sprinkled across it.
Well, she didn’t care. She’d never liked football anyway.
Liv’s attention was diverted by a sniff and a quite, pitiful sob.
A troll sat, legs splayed out, scratching a the earth.
The realm had sealed up and left him behind. He looked up at Liv, a long trail of snot dangled from his nostril to his chin.
Liv held out her hand.
The troll stared, then took it.
“Bad day, huh?” she said.
The troll nodded. “The worst.”
“I’ve ice-cream,” said Liv. “No day’s so bad if it ends with ice-cream.”
“Vanilla?” The troll gave a long, deep throaty snort and the entire line of snot slid back up his nostril.
“I can do vanilla.”
“Vanilla is good.”
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