So in honor of it, here is a sneak peek of Huntsman, I'll be posting a few of these leading up to release day :D
The rustling of leaves sounded like the rattling of dry bones. Trees—their trunks twisted and distorted from the magic imbued within the very soil of Wonderland—reached long, gnarly branches out toward Danika.
The stars shone a brilliant silver, winking from within the navy blue sky. A sickle shaped smile of sharp teeth gleamed from inside shadow and somewhere a voice howled. The haunting sound raised goose bumps on her arms and the fine hairs on the back of her neck.
She flew within the shelter of a hollow, staring at the ground below littered with the twisted, distorted bodies of sightless carcasses. Hundreds of dead animals, with limbs torn off and throats ripped open. A brutal slaughter that brought tears to her eyes.
It’d been eighteen years since she’d married off the last of her Bad Five, eighteen years of peace and quiet, eighteen years of being lulled into a false sense that all was well within her world.
But all was not well. She’d suspected this time was coming, had seen a glimpse of the future first time she’d laid eyes on the child. Danika had tried to deny it, tried to wish it away, to hope that desire could stop reality.
Her heart bled to hear the sounds of the lonely, constant cries shuddering through the woods. The teeth returned, floating right in front of her face.
“Cheshire?” Dragonfly wings buzzed softly behind her back.
A face materialized around the teeth, a ghostly distortion of fur and stripes. Then a body followed suit, until finally, a fluffy tabby stared back at her with eyes the color of an inkwell.
“Godmother?” His lazy drawl echoed with laughter. “What are you doing in my woods?”
She scoffed. “Your woods. You wish you fat alley cat. These woods belong to the Hatter.”
Cheshire did a strange rolling shoulder lift while he licked his paw. Danika shook her head, much as she loved Hatter, his woods were one she rarely visited and dreaded staying inside of for too long. The sensuous curl of white fog wrapped itself around the cat’s body, as if he were readying to vanish into the ether once again.
She may not like the cat, but she preferred his company to being alone in this warped portion of Kingdom.
“Have you seen the creature?” she asked quietly, heart thumping loudly as she strained to hear every creak, groan, and whistle surrounding them.
“Mmmm. I have,” he purred, long and loud and low, the rumbling vibrations of it causing his fur to stir and fluff. “Beautiful madness.”
“Where is it?” She hugged her arms to her chest, the howls had stopped, which meant it could now be anywhere. She wanted to leave, wanted to leave now.
“It? You mean she. Do you not?”
She closed her eyes. To think of it as anything other than an it would make this task impossible. Oh goddess, this wasn’t supposed to happen. Not to Alice and Hatter, they’d gone through so much, this shouldn’t have happened. How she wished she had Miriam’s wise guidance once again, her truest and best friend would have known what to do, how to fix this.
“I meant exactly what I said. Where did you see it last?” She lifted her chin, voice stern, refusing to allow an ounce of sympathy to leak into her words.
His smile stretched from ear to ear, full of nothing but sharp, little teeth that made him look frighteningly macabre. An impossibly long tongue licked at the fur around his eyes.“Silver girds her loins, fire ripples at her feet.”