This is an extract from a book I'm working on - with release planned for sometime in 2021. The current working title is Angel's Choice.
By evening the injured man had still not improved. I sat on the kitchen counter staring at him. Kippy jumped up beside me, butting me with her head.
“Meowrrr?” she asked, then stepped across my lap tickling my chin with the end of her tail. Absent-mindedly I stroked her back and she purred at me before jumping down from the counter and leaping – gently – onto the bed. She padded delicately up to the man’s head and nudged the back of his neck carefully. He didn’t respond; Kippy stared up at me as if it were my fault then jumped down and stalked off.
“I can’t work out what’s wrong, Kippy,” I said to her disappearing tail. As I did so, Saffy’s words rang through my head.
“When a patient doesn’t react like you expect,” she’d said, time and again, “that means you’re missing something. Are they older or younger than you think? Is there something else weakening them? Is something competing with what you’re doing? Remember, patients may not lie, but they never tell you everything. That’s when you have to take your time, Thyme, and study them fully.”
I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, reached out with my mind and studied him. It was a gift, passed down through the female line and part of what made us such passionate healers. But it was demanding and draining and we kept it secret, only using it when there was no other choice. Now, I started at his feet, which were pointing towards me, and worked my way slowly up his body until I got to his shoulder blades and the strange tattoo I had found there. An intricate pattern curved along the edge of each shoulder blade, up to the back of his neck where they joined in a horizontal line. A further line perpendicular to that one went up the back of his head into his hair.
I worked my way along the tattoo, pushing it with my mind, enticing it to reveal its secret. Once it had, I opened my eyes to verify what I now knew.
This man had wings.
Not just one pair, but three pairs, all slightly darker in colour than his hair, and with that same hint of red. And they were damaged.