By Pat Cunningham
All that talk about dirty birds last week made me realize how underrepresented avian shifters are in the community. Sure, we’ve seen hybrids, gryphons and such, but no straightforward werebirds. And, since I hate to see a niche go unfilled, the flash marathon continues.
(I still want to do a caper story involving a male human and a female coyote. Ravens and coyotes are too evenly matched when it comes to trickiness. Of course, if they were to team up … )
“You bird-brained idiot! What have you done?”
Corvin sat up groggily and rubbed his aching head. What in the name of the one-eyed eagle did I drink? he thought. He opened his eyes to Lady Perriot’s snarling face and pearly fangs. Hulls, there was a sight you didn’t want to wake up to. He flinched back, then flinched again as the first flinch triggered a fresh wave of dizziness. He remembered pouring wine …
Lady Perriot sniffed the air. “You brought a woman in here.”
So that’s who he’d poured the wine for. Bits of memory drifted back like the lazy flutter of feathers. That new serving wench with the coppery hair and legs whose length put a heron’s to shame. She’d come along willingly enough, for all her demure manner. He’d shown her the wonders of the royal treasury and smiled as her golden eyes grew wider and wider …
Golden eyes. Shifter eyes. Oh hulls.
He hissed under his breath and ran his hand through his shiny black hair. “What did she take?”
“What do you think?”
He glanced around. She couldn’t get at any of the good stuff; all that was safely locked away. Most of the ornaments, gems and artifacts in here were fake, used to impress visitors with a show of the kingdom’s wealth. He might have a weakness for a pretty girl, but he wasn’t a complete imbecile.
Then his gaze hit the alcove that housed the Idol of Shim. Normally. Now it stood empty. The all-but-invisible mesh that formed the alcove’s protective screen had been neatly snipped and bent aside.
Starlings peck my eyes out, Corvin thought, I’m in it now.
“Head of security,” Lady Perriot said on a sneer. “’I’ve got the room booby-trapped. Nothing can get in.’ Yet a bitch with a knockout potion gets by you.”
Not just any bitch, he thought. This one had a voice like a nightingale’s song and a bosom you could bounce your head on. He doubted very much if Lady Perriot would appreciate such attributes as he did. He risked a glance at her face. Her tiger’s stripes showed faintly like scars along her cheeks, indicative of her rage. No, most likely she wouldn’t.
“Not a problem,” he said. “What’s she going to do, sell it on the open market? No, she must have a buyer lined up, a collector. I think I know who. I’ll beat her there and get the idol back.”
“You’d better. Otherwise – ” She leaned in far too close again, and ran her tongue over her long, bright teeth. “I get to eat crow.”
(On second thought, maybe I’ll make the thief a werevixen. They’re tricky bitches too.)
Humungus congrats to Savanna for "Branded" hitting #1 on Siren's bestseller list. Looks like it's time for that party. You bring the virtual booze, I'll bring computer chips and dip.