Excerpt from my novel:

The girl's back pressed up against the undressed stone of a high wall. An unwilling voyeur, Kieran felt the scrape of its unfinished edges against her bare upper arms as if her skin were his own. Three young men surrounded her, each much taller and bulkier than she. They ringed her with their bodies, throwing taunts and innuendos like rocks. She stood very still, but Kieran could feel the rage and fear coursing through her, clutching at him like a hot fist.

Taunts turned to touches as the oldest, who could not have been older than Kieran's own age of nineteen, reached forward with grasping fingers to fondle her breast. The girl's skin crawled as the three groped her, bruising her flesh with their eager hands.

When she moved, it surprised all of them. Her fist flew with speed, strength, and precision. Kieran heard the crack of bone in the smallest man's nose and watched with admiration as the girl swept his legs from under him with a well-placed kick. She sprang into the sudden opening between their bodies and ran.

Kieran watched as they pursued her, as she sprinted nimbly around various obstacles littering her path and scrambled over a low wall. On the other side, one of the young men caught up and grabbed her arm. As she tried to pull away, a group of teens exited the building in front of them, blocking the girl's path. Kieran felt their fear and hatred as they recognized her.

Like a pack of feral dogs scenting blood, the teens descended. The boy whose nose the girl had broken landed a punch on her collarbone. Kieran heard it snap and watched her fall back against the cobblestones. Pain blossomed in the girl's left shoulder, and burned in Kieran's own. Once her body lay prone, the group of teens began to attack with fevered glee, their blows impacting randomly and rapidly on her body. Fists and feet planted agony wherever they landed.

Kieran felt each blow as the girl screamed, lashing out with her right arm and legs as best she could. At the same time, she withdrew into her mind to keep the pain from overwhelming her body. Kieran knew the moment she delved deep inside and sensed a core of golden strength. He reveled with her in the sudden burst of power as she wrapped it around herself like a blanket. She shouted again, a cry of anger and agony, and the blows stopped.

Energy seeped out of her into the air and Kieran watched her now through a haze of golden light. She built a wall between the attacking teens and her poor abused body, and the world around her slowed. The wall was fluid but viscous, and cloudy like crystallized honey. It held the others in suspended motion, some caught in the midst of a kick or punch. Finally safe, the girl allowed her body to go limp on the ground. The pain nauseated her. Gingerly, she tried to touch her left shoulder to assess the damage. But her right arm erupted in fire as she attempted to move the tortured limb.

A rough whimper escaped her lips and she blacked out. She did not see what happened next, but Kieran did. Still reeling from the pain he had shared with her, he watched as the amber-colored wall hardened and then cracked open with a bang, tossing her tormentors to the ground. Each teen lay sprawled against the stones, unconscious, their bodies radiating outward from the girl's like a sunburst. A servant came out into the courtyard and saw them lying thus. He held his hands over his face, palms toward him, and drew them down into an X shape, a sign against evil. Then he started screaming.

July 2011

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