A Song of Fear and Freedom

Alanna and her sister Brenda have come with their father to Ireland so he can help their aunt sort out their grandmother’s will.

But Ireland is an ancient land bound by spells and inhuman creatures.

And beings who used to be human.

Can Alanna and Brenda put aside their differences to save themselves?

Or will they be caught in the banshee’s song of death?

Formats: ebook $2.99

Genre/s: urban fantasy

Audience: young adult, middle grade

Length: short story

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The unearthly screeching woke Alanna from a restless sleep.

She sat bolt upright in the small bed, staring around in terror. The moonlight shone brightly through the window, sending dark shadows chasing through the room from the trees outside. In the other bed, barely a metre away, her older sister Brenda was still curled up with her face to the wall.

Alanna hated this room. The walls were stone and half a metre thick, the floor was stone covered with a scratchy-rough rug with the ugliest-ever pattern of red and brown swirls, and the ceiling was low enough that Dad had to stoop a little. The single wooden wardrobe was way too small for both her and Brenda’s clothes. Brenda had claimed it, throwing all of Alanna’s clothes back into her suitcase.

The rest of the ancient stone cottage was just as bad. Wonky walls. Up-and-down floors. Thick-paned windows that opened on screechy hinges. A kitchen straight out of the fifteenth century even if it had been fitted with a modern fridge and freezer. And an outdoor bathroom!

Alanna eyed the window. She knew she’d pulled the curtains closed before she went to bed – she’d had to yank on them because they were so heavy. Brenda must have opened them after Alanna was asleep.

Alanna glared at her sister. Brenda was six years older than Alanna. She was tall and thin like their father, with long white-blonde hair, while Alanna was short for eleven with dark brown hair like her mother. Brenda was also moody and grumpy and downright snarly.

And she’d been in a really foul mood for days because she’d had to miss the Howling Bears concert to come halfway around the world to the small village of Renner in County Clare, Ireland.

Alanna missed the old Brenda, the sister who would play cubbyhouses under the kitchen table with her and their collection of cuddly toys, the sister who had taught her to read.

Because this Brenda was just mean.

And Alanna really didn’t want to go and shut the curtains. Because some of those shadows looked really real. Like that one, which looked like a long thin girl with her hair blowing in the wind –

Alanna squeaked as the window rattled and the wind whistled coldly through the narrow gaps in the window frame. She hated this place! She scrunched down under the blankets and buried her face in the clean-smelling sheet.

She wanted to go home!