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Stolen Songbird

Stolen Songbird

Description : Stolen Songbird
My voice rose an octave, resonating through the Goshawk’s Hollow marketplace, drowning out the bleating sheep and the hammer of the blacksmith down the way. Dozens of familiar faces abandoned their business, expressions uniform in their nervousness as they anticipated the note I had dreaded daily for the past month. She liked an audience for my failures.

A tremor raced through my body, my palms slicking with sweat. Madame Delacourte’s gaze burned between my shoulder blades, her low expectations only fueling my resolve. I would not break.

Resisting the urge to ball my hands into fists, I pushed my last breath into the crescendo of the piece. Almost there. Several people stepped forward, the words of encouragement on their lips drowned by the enormity of my song. This was when my voice broke. Always, always.

But not today.

The market erupted with cheers as I finished. “Well done, Cécile!” someone shouted, and I bobbed a little curtsey, my cheeks flushed with a sweetbination of embarrassment and delight. The echo of my song drifted off through fields and valleys tinted green with spring, and everyone went back to their business.

“Don’t go getting all puffed up in the head,” Madame Delacourte sniffed from behind me. “Impressing that lot of backwards country folk is no great feat.”

My back stiffened, and I turned to meet her wrinkled glare.

“You’re good,” she said, lips drawn tight to the point...