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First pages

 

Peggy threw her phone across the room, and it landed on her bed with a thump. She stared after it with a scowl. She felt her breathing pick up and the Fear edging in on her mind. She shook her head in an attempt to dislodge it and stalked over to the door of her room.

Her dad had called… he… he wanted her to move. He wanted her to leave her life behind again.

With a hand dragging over her face Peggy walked into her tiny living room the box with her plastic tree in it still standing in the corner, unopened. Christmas plans were also canceled during the call. She felt like kicking the box.

She stopped and frowned. She didn’t need to feel violent - she had to stay calm. She pulled in a deep breath and realigned her thoughts. If she could just calm her nerves and focus on what to do next she could decide how she really felt about the situation and what she wants to do about it.

Her phone’s alarm went off. With a deep sigh, Peggy gave up on her short meditation. She hadn’t realized it was so late already - she ran out of her small living room and into her room again. Her phone lay buzzing where she had thrown it. She grabbed it and with the flick of her thumb she turned the alarm off.

She shoved her phone into her jean’s pocket but caught a glance of herself in the mirror as she did so. She didn’t look like herself, or at least not like the person she was trying to be. Her shirt still had stains on it from the day before and her short, vibrant pink hair was in serious need of a wash.

She deflated, all her anger sweeping away. This was not a good day, perhaps she should simply stay at home.

The Fear took the gap and started whispering in her head. Started telling her to run and hide.

The Fear was a shadow creature that lived on her shoulders. It would wrap itself around her throat in times of panic, cutting of her air as it whispered a mix of lies and harsh truths in her ears.

Peggy shut her eyes and thought of Benjamin and the warm smile that he always greeted her with. She clenched her hands into fists by her side as if fighting a physical battle and forced herself to remember the smell of coffee and the sound of actual laughter.

She pulled herself away, eyes snapping open, and quickly pulled a hoodie out of her closet, and yanked it over her filthy shirt. She grabbed her deodorant spray and emptied what might as well have been half its contents to get rid of the sweaty smell that clung to her thanks to the summer weather.

She missed living in Ireland where Christmas fell in the winter - in South Africa Decembers are hot.

Not bothering to fix her hair she just grabbed a grey beanie and shoved it on, covering her pink hair nearly completely. She left the apartment before the fear could come back to her and then went, as she did every other morning, to get coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The small bell above the cafe’s door rang and Benjamin looked up to see Pink walk in, dressed in a hoodie and beanie that was unfit for the hot temperatures of summer.

He gave her a smile and watched with delight as her own mouth pulled up at the corners. He liked having that reaction on her.

“How’s the holidays going so far?” he asked, reaching for a mug to make her coffee in.

She sat down at her regular bench and nodded slightly.

“It doesn’t really matter much to me,” she said softly. “What about yours?”

Benjamin looked up at her and frowned slightly. She was sitting with her legs on the seat, a small frown between her brows and her arms folded over her chest. It was a striking difference from the happy girl he said goodbye to before the weekend.

“Is there something wrong? Did something happen to your holiday plans?” he asked.

She sighed and glanced away from him. “Just tell me about your own, okay. Mine is kind of non-existent at the moment.”

Benjamin knew better than to push Pink when she didn’t want to talk; her stubbornness is why he still didn’t know her actual name. He smiled instead and went back to making her coffee. Forcing his voice to be light he told her about the family that was coming to visit him.

“You see, my aunt is a pain, but we absolutely adore my cousin, who happens to be her son so we put up with her for the holidays. Of course my sister is ecstatic about the gifts she’s lined up by our tree, she claims that this year she has gotten the best gifts ever and that hers will totally outshine mine.”

Pink smiled slightly as she listened to Benjamin talking. Finally, he handed her her coffee and leaned back against his counter.

The silence fell between them and Benjamin tilted his head to look at her. She was wearing a beanie again even though she hadn’t done that in a while, and he wondered what had upset her that day.

He didn’t ask though, and she didn’t tell him. His fingers tapped on his counter filling the silence.

“Sounds to me like you’ll be enjoying this holiday then,” Pink said after a moment.

“What about you, will you be enjoying them?”

Pink shrugged. “I’m not sure, some of my plans fell through and I probably won’t be spending it with my family this year.” She said it casually but the fact that she was only seventeen made the words sit uncomfortable in the room.

He wanted to ask her to spend Christmas with him, but knew that he couldn’t. Not because he didn’t want to give her ideas as to their relationship, in fact he actually really wanted to ask her out, but more because Christmas was a family thing. He couldn’t just go around inviting people to join them.

He watched her sip her coffee though and smiled slightly. She was pale with a couple of light freckles dotting her nose and for some reason the more he stared the prettier she looked.

She raised an eyebrow at him.

“What?” she said defensively and Benjamin let his eyes fall away from her face. He knew she didn’t like the attention.

“How about you and I spend a day together to celebrate Christmas?” he said, looking up again.

He saw her backtrack in her head - her face was becoming easier to read every day. “The two of us? Outside the cafe?” she asked her voice rising slightly.

Benjamin nodded looked her in the eyes.

“Like friends or-“ she fell short, her face growing nearly as bright as her hair.

“I was thinking it could be like a date,” Benjamin said hurriedly, his heart picking up.

Peggy stared at him for a moment and he couldn’t help but fold his arms. She looked at him with wide eyes - like a deer caught in headlights. With each moment it felt like the gap between them grew wider.

Benjamin was about to apologize and take it back when she nodded furiously.

“I think I would like that,” she said.

Benjamin stared for a moment, he could feel his smile slowly creeping wider, and again she smiled in response.

“Today, he burst out,” standing up straighter now that is was out there.

“Today?” she asked cringing slightly.

“Yes, today,” he said. “If that suits you of course.”

She frowned slightly, but her faint smile gave him hope. “Why are you in such a hurry?”

“Because if it goes well I want to be able to ask you on a second date before I have to stay out of town for the holidays.” He was grinning now and while she still smiled slightly, he was glad to see her smile widen.
“Okay, today then,” she agreed.

“Does after lunch hour work for you?” he asked biting his lip.

She nodded and he couldn’t help but simply stare at her as she smiled.

She stared back and it was as if whatever had bothered her earlier, no longer showed on her face.

 

 

 

Peggy rushed into her house. Slamming the door shut behind her and she rushed straight into the bathroom. She stripped off her dirty clothes and turned on the shower. Stepping beneath the hot spray, she let the water run its tracks down her body. She put shampoo on her hair and the smell of pudding scented soup filled her nose. She turned her face up to the water, until it choked off her air.

On worse days she would she would stand like that contemplating what it would be like to take a deep breath. She straightened her head again letting fresh air flood her lungs and continued with her wash.

When she got out of the shower, the tiles of the bathroom fresh and cool beneath her bare feet. She wrapped herself in her favourite towel, a fluffy cream one that was huge and heavy.

It was hard to believe she was actually going on a date with Benjamin. The thought hit her like a club and she froze in the doorway of her room. She half expected the fear to come then, to start whispering to her and to tell her not to go. It didn’t come, her breathing stayed even and all of a sudden she was smiling. Yes, she was going on a date with Benjamin, and she wasn’t afraid like she should have been, in fact it was about time he asked her out.

The summer outfit she grabbed from her closet was one that she had put together a couple weeks ago but hadn’t had time to wear yet. It was simple short pants with a floral blouse that had loose sleeves hanging all the way to her knuckles. Despite the long sleeves she still grabbed a dozen bangles and shoved them onto her arms to cover the scars that lay there.

Benjamin already knew of her scars but that didn’t mean that she was going to stop covering them. They were ugly and uncomfortable to look at, she wasn’t going to let them be a problem if she could avoid it.

She ran her fingers through her hair, looking for her brush. She had left it in the living room of course.

Peggy rushed to the living room, her eyes focused on the couch where she had left her hairbrush. The room was dark and stuffy from her lack of care and on a whim she decided to go open the curtains; at least some natural light could help the situation.

She heard the footstep before she reached the curtains and spun around in shock. A large man stood in her doorway, which with her entry she must have forgotten to lock.

Her hand went to her chest and she felt her heart speed up then.

“Can I help you?” Peggy asked, taking a step to the side to put the couch directly between her and the man at the door.

“Are you miss Carter?” the man asked, his voice low and smooth.

Peggy folded her arms and then nodded after a moment.

“I’ll give you one of two choices, either you come with me easily and I’ll be certain you don’t get harmed or I’ll have to lug you over my shoulder and take you with me myself.”

He stood straight and calm as he laid out her options. Peggy’s stomach dragged into a knot as she stared up at the man.

“Please, not again,” she whispered, more to the universe than to the man.

“You’re going to come easily aren’t you kid?”
She took a step backwards until she was pressed up against the curtains and the windows behind them.

“Please, I just started getting my life back together. I don’t want to lose everything again,” she pleaded.

He sighed and took a step into her apartment, closing the door behind him and cutting off her only exit. He held out his hand to her in an almost inviting manner revealing the dark tattoos which created small circles on his coloured skin.

Peggy didn’t take his hand and instead just stared at it.

“Please, I don’t want to hurt you,” she said softly.

The two of them stood like that for a moment, her words hanging in the air.

The man dropped his hand realizing she wasn’t going to take it and straightened up his posture a bit. His hand went to the inside of his jacket and Peggy felt her eyes widen. He pulled out a short metal rod that would have stretched about the length of Peggy’s elbows to her fingertips.

“I’m sorry kid, but you are coming with me one way or another.” He flicked the rod, and with a sliding motion its length doubled.

Peggy had seen the weapon before and the sight of it was enough to make her breathing catch, lodging in her throat.

Peggy moved. The man leaped for her over the couch but she was already to the side and his attack missed. He spun to her and Peggy let the fear grab her. She dashed for the door, the man nearly right behind her. If she could just get outside, she could get away.

Her hands closed around the knob but the man’s metal rod came down on her shoulders. Pain shot up her arms and down her back making one hand drop from the knob. She kept her other hand on it though and started turning it. Large hands grabbed at the back of her shirt and yanked her away from the door. Peggy felt like a rag doll as she was thrown back into the living room, onto the carpeted floor.

The man came to stand over her, the metal rod held to strike.

The Fear was there like a second heartbeat in her chest forcing pressure into her throat.

Peggy shook her head and forced down the scream. She didn’t want to hurt anyone. The metal rod came down and Peggy raised her arms, catching the brunt of the attack.

The man didn’t stop for a second and instead leaned over, grabbing her by the hair and pulling her onto her feet.

“Like I said, you’re coming with me, one way or the other.”

Peggy was a lot shorter than the man and he easily pulled her head around with his one hand. Her neck strained and for a moment he brought her to stand face to face with him.

She wanted to run, she wanted to escape and hide.

She grabbed at the man’s arms and tried to pull his hands out of her short hair. He didn’t let go and instead dropping his stick brought his other hand over to hit her in the face.

Peggy saw it coming and in a moment her fear won.

She screamed and the man froze, his hand mid-air.

She shoved at him, not daring to fall silent as he stumbled back. He fell onto the floor, his eyes wide and staring at her.

Her screams sounded to her like that of a desperate person, full of rage and fear. She screamed until the man eventually collapsed, his eyes shutting. Then her breath ran out and she stood there gasping for breath.

She stared in horror at the man now possibly dead on her floor. She rushed over to his side and checked for a pulse. She held her breath, fearing that she wouldn’t find one.

She felt a beat beneath her fingers, faint and slow so she waited until she had felt three more beats before letting herself fall away from him.

He was alive at least. He had tried to kill her though.

Peggy stood up and didn’t try to stop herself from shaking as she thought about what to do next.

Banshee hunting was illegal now, but it seemed someone still wanted her caught and possibly killed. The memory of a warehouse and chains filled her mind and she shook her head to dislodge the thought. Thinking about that would make her shut down, she couldn’t afford to.

She rushed into her room, grabbing her hairbrush as she passed it and throwing it onto her bed. She quickly ruffled through her closet for her emergency bag, which only really contained necessities and a power bank for her phone.

She tossed it onto her bed as well, and then quickly filled it up with some other things. On a whim she added her three favourite books to the bag along with some hard candies she had been keeping in her bedside drawer.

She packed her laptop into its own bag along with all its power cables and her notebook with her work in. Lastly she went to her closet and got out an old shoe box. Inside was, along with her mother’s old jewellery, nearly ten thousand rand in cash.

She grabbed her bags and her hair brush then careful not to walk too closely to the man on her floor left the apartment. She considered calling the cops on the man but then they would probably go after her as well. Attacking a banshee might be illegal but so is using your scream against someone.

She stood outside the apartment building for a moment and let herself take a couple of deep breaths.

Where could she possibly go? Was she supposed to cancel her date with Benjamin now? If she was she would have to walk to the cafe to do so, she didn’t have his number after all.

Her stomach pulled into knots and the Fear threatened to keep her standing right where she was so she wouldn’t have to face Benjamin. He knew what she was but even he probably wasn’t going to be willing to help her if she was in trouble. People just didn’t help a banshee, that was how it worked.

Peggy swallowed it down and started walking toward the cafe, bags in hand.

 

 

 


 

Benjamin stood by Pink’s regular table, waiting for her to arrive.

The doorbell rang and he did little to hide his excitement when he looked up at her. He smiled at her and took a step closer.

She dropped her eyes to the floor and he froze in place. She was carrying two bags with her, one that he recognized as her laptop bag and the other one which looked like a bag for traveling.

“Umm, Pink?” He said trying to catch her eyes. “What are the bags for?”

She shrugged but Benjamin stayed quiet until she looked up at him. She wasn’t wearing makeup and her bright pink hair, while looking clean was definitely not styled like normally.

“I’m sorry Benjamin,” she said. “Something’s come up.”

His breathing slowed and he stared at her. It was weird, he hadn’t really expected the date to mean that much to him, but suddenly he felt as if... his day had just gone all wrong.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“It’s nothing you need to be worried about, it’s just a family thing.” She didn’t meet his eyes as she spoke.

“Don’t lie to me, Pink. What’s wrong? I thought you wanted to go on this date with me.”

She met his eyes then. Her own brown ones were shining but the small crinkle in her brow made her seem fierce.

“I do,” she said firmly. “I really, really want to go on this date with you Benjamin. I just... I can’t.”

“Then do, go on this date with me.” He brought one corner of his mouth up in a half smile.

She was quiet for a moment. She turned away from him and stared at the world outside the cafe. Her eyes roved over every inch while he stood there with his hands in his pockets - trying not to look as awkward as he felt.

She turned back to him and he steeled a breath as she nodded.

“One date, and then I have to leave.”

Benjamin smiled properly then. “That’s great. How long do you think we have?”

Peggy shrugged. “A couple of hours, I think,” she said smiling a little.

Benjamin walked straight up to her and took hold of her bags. He came in close to her watched as her cheeks went the color of her hair as he smiled down at her. “Then let’s get going.”

 

 

 

 

 

Peggy got off Benjamin’s motorcycle and he went to stand behind her.

“I’m covering your eyes,” he warned.

His hands went over her face, and he pressed against her back. She could only imagine how bright her face was turning. “Walk slowly now,” he said.

Peggy walked forward with Benjamin leading her from behind. The ground beneath her feet felt like gravel, and she could hear the cars rushing past on a road behind them.

“We are doing the penguin shuffle, right now,” he said near her ear.

Peggy frowned. “The penguin shuffle?”

“Yes, the penguins shuffle. It’s okay though, we look adorable.”

She could hear the smile in his voice and as always her own mouth tilted up at the sides to respond. He was the only one who ever did that to her. If it wasn’t for him in fact she would probably never smile.

He pulled her to a halt. “Okay, we’re here.”

Peggy battered her eyes against his hands and she heard him give a soft laugh, before his hands peeled away.

The light from the sunny day was bright, making the white building in front of her sting her eyes. It was a big two story building with a front porch made of some red stone and pillars holding it up. Bright flower boxes hung over the porch. Their flowers were matching the flowers growing by the side of the steps which lead onto the porch.

There were a couple of tables on the porch, three looked like tiny dining tables for two and the third was a large table filled with books. Peggy looked up to the sign hanging above the porch. In bright red letters read the name ‘Penelope books.’

Peggy smiled as she realized where Benjamin brought her. “Is this a bookstore?” she asked turning to him.

He was smiling down at her and his eyes were filled with satisfaction. “Do you like it?”

Peggy nodded and let him see her smile. “I love it.”

“Well then you need to see the inside off the place, it smells like old books. You’ll love it.”

 

 

 

 

 

They ended up hanging out for far longer than the agreed on two hours. Instead they ate a meal at the bookstore, and then Benjamin insisted on buying Peggy a book for Christmas so she spent a while panicking about what to get. All the time Benjamin would make movie references and jokes to get Peggy to laugh.

By the time the sun was starting to set Peggy had probably laughed more in a single afternoon than she had in the past two years combined.

She watched Benjamin as he opened the cafe’s doors for her so she could get her bags where she had left them earlier. He was smiling, like he always was and she took a moment to take it in as she stood there.

He was truly beautiful, raising a single eyebrow as she observed him. He was tall, or perhaps he simply looked so because of how confidently he stood. His hair looked as if white highlights had been dyed into it but Peggy knew it was as natural as the light freckles dusted across his cheeks. She looked into his eyes and imagined that she could see massive forests reflected in their green.

“What are you staring at?” Benjamin asked, leaning onto the door.

Peggy bit on her lip for a moment. There was always the chance that this was the last time she’ll see him. She had been ignoring the attack, but the fact was clear that she couldn’t go back to the apartment.

“I think you’re beautiful,” she said softly.

If possible Benjamin’s face lit up even more at the complement and he stepped away from the door to leave it swinging shut behind him.

“My manliness would normally be offended by that comment,” he teased. “But thank you anyway.”

Peggy let her eyes fall to the floor in front of her and pulled in a deep breath. She had so much to say to him, he had been the hope in a dark place for her since the day they had met. She wanted to say thank you.

He took a step closer and took her chin in his hand, tilting her head up to look at him.

“You don’t need to hide from me,” he said. His face where bare inches away from hers and his voice came out a low whisper.

Peggy felt her heart sink as she looked up to his beautiful face. She might never see him again.

She wanted to grab his shirt, and to hold onto him so she would never have to be alone again but... she had to go.

“You might not see me around anymore Benjamin,” Peggy said softly. Her head felt as if it was swimming and the words came out a little broken.

He frowned at her. “What do you mean? You’re not going anywhere for too long are you?”

Peggy swallowed and tried her best to keep looking him in the eyes.

“I have to go,” she whispered to him.

Benjamin took a step back, letting go of her chin and Peggy felt the loss as if it she physically lost a limb. His smile was gone now and he was outright glaring at her.

“You’re leaving now?” he said harshly.

Peggy felt like shrinking as she nodded.

“And you’re not coming back?”

Peggy didn’t know what to do with his anger. She hadn’t been good with people in a while, and has never been good at confrontation. She stood there, her hands held up as she considered going to him and holding him.

“I might not have a choice,” she croaked.

“What do you mean?” he asked running his hand through his hair. He wouldn’t know what life was like for someone like her of course. The outside world only ever saw a glimpse into the supernatural, and as such he wouldn’t know about her need to move every couple of years. He would definitely not know that even when in hiding she wasn’t exactly considered safe.

“I don’t want to explain,” she said honestly.

He dropped his hands to his side and frowned at her. His face held more concern than she had ever seen and he took a step closer again.

“Pink, you can tell me. If it’s because of... what you are, then I want to help.”

Peggy shook her head. “You’ve already helped me enough. Besides you might know what I am but you don’t understand the consequences of that yet. I got to go.”

She walked past him, to the cafe. The bell rang above her hair and she went straight to where she left her bags.

Benjamin didn’t follow her and she got the bags without anyone stopping her. The manager of the cafe smiled at her and might have well said something but Peggy wasn’t listening. Her heart had gone still, a striking contrast to how fast it normally beat.

She exited the cafe and passed Benjamin who was still standing where she left him again. She crossed the middle of the street without any problems before he called out to her.

She turned to see Benjamin’s silhouette against the lights of the cafe. He dashed off the sidewalk toward her.

“Pink, I don’t want to –“

His words were cut off when the sound of a revving car hit them. Peggy watched with horror as the car rushed toward them, not slowing at all.

Her head shot back to Benjamin as he shoved her. She hit the street and the sound of glass shattering filled her ears. Benjamin went over the car, tossed to the hard ground, and landed sprawled a couple steps away.

The car hardly even slowed, the sounds of its engine roaring as the driver stepped on the gas.

Peggy shot into movement and was by Benjamin’s side before she knew what she was doing. Her knees hit the ground hard but she ignored it as she took in the scene before her.

Benjamin was lying on the ground, blood staining his hair and his torso bent at an odd angle. His face was pulled into a tight grimace, with his eyes shut. With relief Peggy realized he was breathing.

Peggy looked up at the cafe, where the manager was standing in the door. Frozen with her eyes wide.

“Call an ambulance,” Peggy screamed at her.

The woman jumped into motion and Peggy let her eyes fall back to Benjamin.

“Are you okay? Talk to me Benjamin,” she whispered.

“It hurts,” he gasped.

A sob went through Peggy’s body and she raised one hand to her mouth.

“It’s going to be alright,” she whispered to him. She took hold of his arm and wrapped her fingers around his hand.

“What song is that you always hum?” Benjamin asked through gritted teeth.

Peggy frowned at him for a moment. “I don’t know what song you’re talking about.”

“You know the, the one with the three hums.”

She shook her head, trying to remember what he was talking about as tears filled her own eyes.

He tried humming something but ended up hissing in pain.

Peggy frowned for a bit before starting to hum. Three notes that grew slightly higher each time.

“Yes that,” Benjamin said. “What is it?”

Peggy shook her head as she held onto his hand.

“It’s a keening song, we sing it to remember other banshees that died.”

“Can you sing it to me?”

Peggy shook her head in shock. “No, it’s a death song. I’m not singing it.”

Benjamin was quiet and Peggy checked to make sure he was still breathing.

“I can sing you something else,” she pleaded.

“Ok,” Benjamin said after a moment.

Peggy wet her lips thinking of a song. Only one came to mind. It was one she wrote herself.

 

 

“Little bird, sing for me

Of all the places that you’ve been.

Sing for me about land above.

And the oceans far below

 

Bring me tales of brave young heroes

 

And princesses sitting on thrones.

So that I may gain some courage.

And not feel quite so alone.

 

Little bird sing to me.

Sing bravery into my heart.

So I may travel to find my lost love

With whom I’ll never again part.

Little bird sing for me

 

Then sing for me again.

It is your tales that help me conquer

It is your tales that have become my friends.

 

Sirens finally interrupted her singing and in moment’s medics were by her side.

“Please take a step back,” one of them said putting a hand between Peggy and Benjamin.

She nodded dumbly and let his arm go.

She watched from the side-line as they ran some quick tests then put Benjamin on a stretcher.

“You know this boy?” the paramedic asked as if it wasn’t obvious.

Peggy nodded and the paramedic gestured to the ambulance. “Are you driving with us?

Peggy looked to Benjamin again, with his broken form and nodded without hesitation.

“Let me just grab my bags.”

 

 

 

 

Peggy sat by Benjamin’s side in the hospital. He was covered in a soft blue blanket, his head resting on more than one pillow. He was mildly awake, and on occasion said something silly, because of the pain medication he was on.

“My sister eats chips really loudly. I mean, is it necessary for them to crunch that much?” he babbled, squinting at Peggy. Peggy focused on his soft golden eyelashes, trying her hardest not to look at the bruises and scrapes that covered the one side of his face.

“I don’t know, maybe,” she said with a smile and shrugged.

“You think so? Well then I’ve been eating chips wrong my whole life.”

“Unless you also eat loudly,” Peggy said.

He frowned. “Won’t I hear it?”

“Yea, you’re probably right,” Peggy said.

“You know; you ask a lot of questions. You remind me of someone.”

“Really? Peggy said perking up. “Who?”

“My friend Pink,” he said.

Peggy slumped down again. “Benjamin, I am your friend Pink.”

He laughed a little. “That’s something she’d say.”

Peggy just shook her head. She was waiting for his family to show. They had been called a while back, but apparently had to drive all the way from out of town.

“She’s really pretty, you know,” Benjamin mumbled.

“Who?” Peggy asked frowning as she refocused on him.

“My friend Pink. She has like really pale shoulders.”

Peggy stifled a giggle. “You think she’s pretty?”

“Yea definitely. She’s pretty and fun.”

“All right, Benjamin,” Peggy said patting the blankets of his bed. “How about you rest a little, okay?”

Sharp footsteps could be heard coming from the hallway which made Peggy look up.

A young woman with blond hair froze in the door then and Peggy watched as her hand went to her mouth.

“Benji,” she gasped.

The young women had a pony tail with a blunt fringe and wore a golden top that clung perfectly to her body. She swept into the room on black heals until she was by Benjamin’s other side.

Her hands wavered over Benjamin, as if afraid to touch him. She looked up, her eyes shining as she frowned at Peggy.

“What happened?” she asked, her voice hard.

“There was an accident,” Peggy said, glancing down into her own lap.

The young women glanced back down to Benjamin and frowned, she then moved her eyes to where Peggy was holding Benjamin’s hand on the side of the bed. Peggy pulled her hand away. It felt as if the simple move cut her completely off from the room around her.

“You’re Pink, aren’t you?” the young woman asked.

Peggy felt like shrinking into her chair and nodded. “My name’s Peggy actually.”

“I’m Ash,” the young woman said returning her attention to Benjamin.

Peggy knew the name. Ash was Benjamin’s sister, he often talked about her and the shenanigans they got into together. She didn’t look like the childish person he had described and instead looked like someone right out of a movie, with a strong posture and a set face.

“Has the doctor said how bad it is yet?” Ash asked.

“He hasn’t said much, but Benjamin’s stable.” Peggy’s voice sounded soft and small to her own ears. She returned her eyes to her lap, so she could pretend no one was staring at her.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Endlessly telling stories as a kid and teaching the other kids how to play my imaginary games, I have always been interested in sharing the tales and fantasies that go on in my head. Since then I have grown and truly fallen in love with the written word as it helped me through scoliosis and anxiety. You see, I have lived through some tough times but it taught me to value the strength fiction can give you. I now write my own stories so I can help others

Q. Where did the idea for this book come from?
A.
After a bad day of anxiety I was sitting down and drawing a figure with my pink pencil. I asked myself: if anxiety was a character for one of my novels what characteristics would she have? This question led to some brainstorming and eventually the creation of the main character for this novel
Q. What did you learn while writing this book?
A.
I learned about pursuing what I want while writing this book. I was busy adventuring while writing this and that combined with this novel taught me that I want to write and that I don't want to settle for anything else.
Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
A.
I have a personal blog (freckled & fierce) that shares more about my life and what I've been through growing up with scoliosis - it is on this blog that I hope to share encouragement and strength with other people. https://enetteventerblog.wordpress.com/