Excerpt 001 from PHEA

Rating: G, for all audiences.

Freya moved through the underbrush like a shadow spilling along the soil. Above the canopy, stars poked through the inky black sky only rarely. The small stones and twigs beneath the pads of her feet were cool but her thick coat kept her warm. She slinked along that way for a while, barely a whisper of fur mostly, until, all at once, a sudden blur of coppery motion as she darted between bushes.

Anticipation shivered up her spine and stirred at the hair follicles along the way. Her adrenaline coursed through her, spiking up her pulse rate. In the smallness of her fox body, the thrumming was loud.

Ahead, just through the thick growth of trees, she could see the illumination of the palace. The locals affectionately called it the Purple Palace, but for Freya, it was only the location of her target. Inside the towering walls, buried deep in the labyrinthine corridors of the vault in the basement, was a very particular chunk of orgonite.

A few feet before the trees began to spread apart, Freya stopped, scratched at a tickle on her snout with one paw, and shifted her self-image into human form. As soon as the visual formed in her mind’s eye, she felt her body respond to it, stretching, shedding, cracking in some places. It felt like letting out a breath of air she’d been holding in too long while popping all the joints in her body simultaneously. Not all shifters enjoyed the transition, but Freya did.

Brushing any loose dirt or fur off her skirt, she walked out from the trees and into the open night air.


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