J.T. Marie

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Two wood nymphs play a deadly game that goes farther than they anticipated.

NOTE: This story appears in my collection "Bones of the Sea and Other Stories " and is offered here as a sample of my writing.

ISBN: 978-1-93575-338-4
CATEGORIES: Free Romance Books, Chick Lit/Hen Lit, Contemporary, Fantasy
KEYWORDS: fantasy, young adult, feminist, fairies



COPYRIGHT J.T. Marie/2009

The tracks stretched across the culvert and disappeared into the woods. Sabrina listened for a whistle in the distance, or the tell-tale rhythmic thumps of an approaching train, but the tracks were clear and she heard nothing but the birds in the trees and the water rushing through the culvert below. She looked down the tracks again. Her mother would have a fit if she knew Sabrina took this shortcut home from school. Sabrina hadn’t dared cross the tracks in weeks, ever since the wooden bridge edging them broke away. But the rails ran on wooden boards that spanned the culvert. A bridge themselves, of sorts. It’s not like she could


get hurt crossing them. Not unless a train came along while she was still on the tracks.

She cocked her head to the side, listening. Still nothing.

Shifting her book bag to a more comfortable position on her shoulders, she took a deep breath. The smell of oily wood filled her lungs. Stepping carefully on the sharp stones, she climbed up onto the tracks until she stood between the twin sets of rails. She looked across the culvert. The other side was no more than eighty feet away. “It’s not that far,” she whispered, and started walking.

Her footsteps echoed dully on the wood, and when the ground below her ended, the sound took on a hollow quality. She picked up her pace, not daring to look around. All she saw were the tracks ahead and the grassy spot beneath the trees where she would stand in a few minutes. As soon as she crossed the tracks.

About halfway over the culvert, she stumbled. Her heart skipped but she steadied herself. Looking down, she saw a splintered piece of wood on the tracks. Must be part of the bridge, she thought, and then kicked it over the side. She watched it


until it splashed into the water below. The water rushed beneath her, frothy and white, hypnotic. She leaned over a little further, looking for the stick. It was gone.

She remembered when the bridge broke, about a month ago, now. A girl had been crossing at the time, a girl


about her age. The bridge had been rotted and worn, and when the train came along while the girl was still on it, the wood finally shook apart. She remembered


hearing that the girl had


plunged into the water, but her body had not been found. Sabrina wondered what it felt like to


never be found. She leaned over a little farther, trying to see the water beneath the tracks.


Sabrina jumped back from the edge and looked around. Ahead of her, a girl stood on the other side of the culvert. “Bryn!” she called again. “Get off there.”

Suddenly Sabrina’s skin felt cold, clammy. She hurried off the tracks, toward the girl. She didn’t dare look behind her until she was across and standing in the grass. “Is there a train coming?” she asked, breathless. But the tracks were still clear. She looked at the girl beside her. “Who are you?”

The girl pouted. “Surely you remember Xyla.”

Sabrina took a step back and gasped.

“Bryn? What’s the matter?” Xyla reached out to catch Sabrina’s arm.

Sabrina twisted free and looked more closely at the other girl. She was around her own age, no more than ten or twelve, with huge green eyes and a halo of pale green curls surrounding her head. She wore a ragged dress the color of dried moss, and her feet were dirty and barefoot. Sabrina edged around her until she saw what she hadn’t seen from the tracks—a glittery pair of iridescent wings folded against the girl’s back like a cicada’s. When she looked back the girl grinned mischievously. “Do you remember now, Bryn?”


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