WWA Book 1 – Prologue

WWA Book 1 – Prologue

Life is notoriously unfair. Siren knew this. She’d known it ever since she was little. Hadn’t everyone? It was one of those things you learned in preschool, something that the teachers made sure to engrain deep within the marrow of your bones from a young age. Life was unfair, and it was the kind of thing that you just acknowledged and didn’t complain about.

Except right now, Siren desperately wanted to complain. She desperately wanted to sob into her pillow and scream at anyone who got too close. No amount of condolences or therapy could fix this. No amount of flowers and well-meaning words could bring back Harpy. Her big sister. Her role model. Her rock. Her best friend. Siren could’ve cried herself a river bigger than Big Sur, but she knew what Harpy would tell her if she could see her right now.

“Chin up, kiddo. Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Harpy was the sun, and Siren was the moon. The whole world was their sky full of stars, and their friends were the other faraway planets of the solar system. All Siren’s life, they’d shared such a strong bond together, doing everything with one another.

Siren’s claws dug into her pillow, and she had to fight to keep her eyes open. Every time they slipped shut, all she could see behind the darkness of her lids was the image of her sister lying prone in the water, tainting it red with her blood. All Siren could hear in any kind of silence was the sickening sound of bone being cracked against rocks and her own panicked cries. One paw reached out to turn the volume of her headphones up a notch, letting the music wash her away like waves and sandcastles on a beach. She wished that she’d never have to see the sun again.

The trailer lurched ever-so-slightly as the door swung open and paws stepped into the RV. From the quiet shuffling sounds of feathers and the heavy footfalls of big, fluffy paws, she could tell it was her dad. The smell of her mother’s signature dish; fried chicken, wafted to her nose. He must’ve brought food with him.

Her bed creaked as he sat on its edge, wrapping one of his off-white wings around her body, steadying his breathing to match hers.

“Hey kiddo. I brought you dinner.”

Awkward silence flooded the room.

“You… you don’t have to eat it right now. Your mom and I just want you to stay fed.”

A gentle nuzzle came to the top of her head, careful to avoid doing any damage to the bioluminescent lure that sprouted from it. He’d always done that sort of thing to comfort her, ever since she was little.

“I know it’s hard. Your mom and I… we miss her too. Just as much as you do, and I… I know it’s hard, but I also know we can get through it. I know you don’t want to talk about it… And you can take all the time you need… But I’m always here for you when you need me, okay? I’ve always got your back, little fishy.”

Siren had to bite back a sob. The waver of her father’s voice and the way he paused a few times to carefully consider his words were a telltale sign of the pain he was in. Harpy’s loss had been a huge hit to everyone who knew her, like watching the last light in a dark tunnel go out. Her mother hadn’t said any words in days, and her father hadn’t stopped collecting rocks and feathers to hot glue into ornaments that he hoarded in a little drawer by his bedside. Every single one of them reminded Siren of Harpy in some way, and she knew it had the same effect on him. Secretly, she wished he’d hang some of them above Harpy’s old bed, hoping that would make the obvious vacancy there feel less painful.

“She’d be so proud of you, Siren. I know she will, watching while you keep growing up. Every step you take, she’ll be protecting you, and she’ll be so proud of you.

Siren’s whole body trembled, tears starting to stream from her eyes. Her father placed one of his massive paws over her shoulder, hugging her close, and she let him. As much as she normally hated being touched, all she wanted right now was to be wrapped up in someone’s embrace. The tears kept falling faster and faster, no matter how hard she tried to stop them. She just gave up, bawling into her father’s soft tan fur. It’s okay, Siren. It’s okay to cry.

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