Doctor Amy spends her nights running a secret clinic for supernatural creatures. When she is forced to use her magic to save the lives of a centaur infant and its mother, she vows never to regret her decision, no matter the consequences. Not even when the Mages capture her, beat her, and condemn her to die.
Before the sentence can be carried out, Amy is abducted by a mysterious being named Rowan, who demands she use her healing abilities to save his father. But when Amy fails to save the ailing man, her actions unintentionally force Rowan into an exile that will soon turn into a death sentence.
Now Rowan and Amy must join forces with the creatures who were once her patients and fight to uncover the one secret that may be powerful enough to save them all.
The pixie was very close to shooting me.
I took a deep breath and tried to sound calm.
“If he moves while I'm working, the damage could get much worse.” I explained. “It can be you, or it can be Jason. But we need to do this fast, and someone is going to have to hold the boy down.”
Not much taller than the length of my hand, Grenalda crouched on the exam table in front of her son's crumpled body. Her chest heaved from the effort it had taken to carry him here in her arms. Blood smeared the colorful bits of woven bird feathers she wore as clothing, and her eyes were wide and panic stricken. She kept her right hand up, poised over her shoulder, stretching her fingers toward the dart-blower strapped across her back. We were humans, and though she might have no choice but to come to us for help, she made it perfectly clear that she didn't fully trust us.
“Why can't you just bandage him up?”
“His head wound is simple—we'll wrap it and it will heal just fine. But his leg is broken. If we don't fix it correctly, the bone will heal crooked. He'll limp for the rest of his life.”
My chest burned and I still wore my scrubs from my shift in the ER. I hadn't eaten since breakfast, which I vaguely remembered choking down while driving to work at around 5:00am. Now dark had nearly fallen, and the chill early evening air streamed in through the thrown open doors of the converted barn that sat on the edge of my property. Usually, I had a break between a shift in the county ER and the arrival of the first patient to my night clinic. But Grenalda's boy couldn't wait for treatment. I blinked and tried to focus on the small creature glaring up at me.
“Very well,” she announced, after a long pause. “Dr. Jason may hold him. Gently. I will watch.” She launched herself into the air and came to hover just over my shoulder, her eyes narrow as she watched my every move. Jason had moved with impressive speed, setting out everything I might need on the table. The magnifying equipment I used when working with our tiniest patients was waiting, as well as an assortment of salves and bandages. I ran my fingers down the small boy's body, checking to make sure there weren't any injuries I had missed.
“All set?” I asked Jason.
He lay his hand over the boy's chest, holding the child's arms down and his body still. “Ready when you are, Amy.” He nodded, and I set to work.
The most difficult thing would be not using too much force. The boy's bones were so thin that it was hard not to break more while trying to set the leg bone he had already injured. The child's eyes flickered, open and then shut. He made a sharp, high-pitched sound of distress that sounded like the mewl of a kitten.
“What is wrong with him?” Grenalda demanded, her voice breaking even as her eyes flashed and her fingers tightened around her weapon.
“Nothing,” I replied, working hard to keep my voice even. “Setting bones is a nasty business. We have clover leaf on hand to give for the pain, if he fully regains consciousness. But if I move quickly, this can all be over by the time he wakes up.”
But the boy's cry of pain had pierced my heart, and as I spoke my conscience twisted uncomfortably inside me. It doesn’t have to be this hard. I could heal this boy with a touch. With barely a thought. No need for pain or fear. He could be whole again already. But I shook my head to dispel the thoughts, and leaned closer to my work. No, I told myself. Those days are over. If I use my touch to heal him, then in two or three days I will be dead. They would find me. And then who would heal him the next time he falls? And Grenalda and her son are not the only ones who need me.