Beasts and Savages (The Beastly Series Book 1)

Beasts and Savages (The Beastly Series Book 1) by Emma Woods

Book: Beasts and Savages (The Beastly Series Book 1) by Emma Woods Read Free Book Online
Authors: Emma Woods
jutting pelts reached my knees any longer.
Mother pulled my hair up to just above my crown and wrapped a leather strap around it several times before tucking it in. The result was a high ponytail, the end of which swung just above my shoulder blades. My pulled up hair made my cheeks look higher and my face more angular. I looked older, almost grown up.
“You look beautiful!” Mother breathed.
“Thanks,” I smiled. “Am I ready?”
“Almost.” She reached for a leather pouch lying on the bench. “Here.”
The brown pouch was well worn and soft. It smelled of leather and lavender. I pulled the strap over my shoulder before looking inside. A knife in a sheath and silver compass were the only contents. I considered rejecting the knife and reassuring Mom that I wasn't going to kill, but I knew that a knife would come in handy along my journey.
“Your canteen is downstairs. I filled it earlier,” Mom explained.
“Can I have a few minutes? Alone?”
She smiled. “Of course.”
When I got to my room, I dumped the contents of my satchel on my bed. I pulled the knife out of its sheath and pricked my thumb with the sharp tip. I wondered how long this knife had been in my family and how many hearts it had taken. I shuddered and put it back.
My compass was exactly like Beth's. I supposed that all the compasses were the same. The jerky I had taken from the kitchen was stuck to the bottom of the satchel. I counted the pieces and wrapped them in a tissue. Ten sticks of jerky wouldn't last me long.
As I thought about other things I would need, I wandered around my room. I opened the drawer to my light stand and took out a lighter. It would be cold soon and a fire would be helpful. As I shut the drawer, a photo fluttered to the ground. It was a picture of Mom and me on my first day of school. Mother was wearing a sunny yellow tunic. I was wearing a dark blue tunic and my favorite red leggings. Mother was kneeling beside me, beaming into the camera. My hair was pulled into pigtails and I was clutching my new school bag to my chest.
I remembered that day. Nana had taken the picture while mother begged me to be still through her smile. Lucille and her mother were waiting for us at the end of the street. I was more excited about spending the entire day with my best friend. We walked to school that day hand in hand, chattering about all the fun we would have while our mothers walked behind us lamenting about how much we had grown. It was a happy day. One that I wished I could live over and over.
I picked it up and tucked it into my satchel. I grabbed the nail file and dropped it in. Those long pointy nails were arduous to work with.
I took in my room one last time. The blankets on my bed were crumpled and my trash can still overflowed with papers. My doll slouched in her rocking chair. Everything appeared so normal, unchanged, and I suddenly felt uncomfortable in my own room. The girl who grew up here, lived here was accepting, never questioned her life. I was an unwilling hunter who challenged everything.  Finally, I flipped off my light and closed the door.
When I reached the bottom of the stairs, I had to dodge neighbors streaming in and out of our kitchen. Nana, Mom, and Grandmother were packaging up food and passing it to every pair of hands that came in the door.
“Oh, Lea, you look wonderful!” Ms. Fitzpatrick exclaimed. The short woman with grey curls reached up and pinched my cheek.
“Thanks.” I pulled away from her and picked up my canteen.
“She's right.” Nana gave me a hug.
“Thank you Nana.” I kissed her cheek before heading out the door.
The evening air was cool and crisp. A breeze rustled the leaves and I shivered. I picked up my bike.
“Lea honey! Who'll bring your bike back from the reserve?” Mom called out.
“But I can't walk. It's too far.” I leaned the bike against the house.
“I'll walk with you. We'll be fine.” She wrapped her arms around me, and we set off for the feast.
***
The fires were

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