Home > Wandering Queen (Lost Fae #1)

Wandering Queen (Lost Fae #1)
Author: May Dawson




Five Years Ago


I was on my knees in the forest. I didn’t know how I’d gotten there.

The sun filtered through the green leaves of the trees above. The trees looked wrong somehow, but I didn’t know how. In the distance, there was a faint, constant rushing noise, and I tilted my head, trying to understand the sound.

As I rose to my feet, confusion almost tipped into panic. I didn’t remember anything. Not my name, not where I’d come from, not how I’d ended up there.

Looking down to make sure I wasn’t hurt, I cataloged my narrow wrists and pale skin, and the simple jeans, sneakers, and t-shirt that I wore. There was a note pinned to my chest, and I frowned as I pulled the pin loose.

Your name is Alisa.

You don’t have friends. Don’t trust anyone who claims to be one.

You’re quite good with a sword.

Well then, I supposed that was all I ever needed to know.

My hands shook a little as I folded the note and shoved it in my pocket, as if it might somehow answer more questions later. I touched something else in my pocket, and pulled out a wallet. There was nothing in it except for dozens of crisp hundred dollar bills. Nothing that told me who I was.

I headed toward the source of the strange sound. I had to go somewhere.

The sound led me through the forest to a hard, wide, black path. A road. The name followed for the path a few seconds too late. Constant noise rose and ebbed, coming with the cars that raced up and down the road. I knew what they were, but they still felt unfamiliar. Dangerous.

I glanced to both sides along the road. Maybe I should walk down it until I found…what? What was I even looking for?

No one ever found their path by standing still. I didn’t remember whoever said that to me, but I had a feeling I’d heard those words plenty of times. I started down the road. Where the hell could I go for help? What could I do?

My Converse sneakers rubbed my heels raw before the forest gave way to houses. Cars whizzed past me, and even though I walked in the grass on the side of the road, they made my heart beat fast when they came so close.

I was limping as I passed a building with several cars parked in front. Two men watched me from the front porch.

“Hey,” one of them called. “Where are you going, girl? It looks like your feet hurt.”

I didn’t know where I was going, but I didn’t like the way those men looked at me.

I ignored them, but from the corner of my eye, I saw the two of them exchange glances. Then the second man leaped over the porch railing and crossed toward me.

“Hey,” he said. His voice sounded gentler than the first man’s had. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I assured him. Never show weakness. There was that voice from the past again.

“You need a ride?”

“Thanks, but I’ll be fine.” I’d been through worse things in my life than a few blisters. I didn’t know what. But getting into one of those cars with a strange male might lead to something worse than blood-stained sneakers.

“Call you a cab?” he asked.

Cab. Right. That was how people got around with no car of their own, if their destination was too far to walk. I’d forgotten they existed until I heard the word.

I hesitated. “Yes, that would be helpful.”

He nodded as he put his cell phone to his ear and took a step back, leading me toward the bar. “Have a drink with me while you wait?”

He wasn’t much taller than I was, and his frame looked weak, his shoulders slumped in his white t-shirt. I had a feeling I could kill him if I had to. I just needed to be cautious; any warrior can die if their guard slips or their luck runs out, no matter how weak their opponent.

“Sure,” I said.

My shoes crunched across the gritty parking lot. I followed him up the stairs, passing a few peeling rocking chairs and a tin can full of cigarette butts.

He pushed the door open with his back, then stopped, holding it open for me. I made sure I didn’t touch him as I walked in.

Faces in the dimly lit bar turned toward me. The scent of stale beer rose to my nostrils, along with a whiff of the man beside me. I’d expected him to smell bad, because his shirt was yellowed at the armpits and his dark hair was greasy, but he smelled like something both pungent and clean. Bleach.

I followed him to a table where his friend was already waiting.

“Cab should be here in about fifteen,” the first guy said, slipping his cell phone into his pocket before he held out his hand. “I’m Steve.”

I didn’t like touching people—how did strangers touching each other ever become the normal person thing to do? But I committed, offering him a grin as I shook his hand. “Alisa.”

“And I’m Roger,” the other guy said. He was bigger than Steve, wearing a flannel shirt and a trucker hat pulled down low; escaping brown hair curled around his ears.

“Nice to meet you both,” I said. One of them signaled for the waitress, who came over glancing at me skeptically. “Water, please.”

Neither of them complained I wasn’t drinking, so that was a point in their favor. My throat was dry from the long walk.

How the hell had I ended up in the middle of the woods? With no memories?

Did I have a home? A car of my own?

A last name?

The two of them were staring at me, and I knew I’d better let go of my questions about the past for now. Staying alive in the present kept me busy enough.

That note had warned me I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t think I’d suddenly found some.

I drank my water. The men asked me a lot of questions about my life that I didn’t answer. I couldn’t answer them, but let’s be honest, I wouldn’t have told them even if I could.

When Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee weren’t distracting me, I looked around the bar curiously, taking in the bartender that leaned on the bartop to gossip with a cute young blond guy, and a couple of tables of aging good old boys who kept the noise level elevated.

An older woman was drinking by herself at one end of the bar. She slowly sipped a glass of wine. Her posture was perfect and dignified, and even though her hair was gray-streaked in a ponytail, her jeans and halter top clung to her fit frame. One of the good old boys swaggered over and tried to buy her a drink, and from what I overheard, she very politely told him to fuck off.

Okay, okay, she said she was waiting for her boyfriend. But it was obvious what she meant.

It was an interesting cast of characters. I drained the last of my water and set it on the table just as Steve’s phone buzzed against the table. “There’s your ride,” he said, holding up the cell.

“Thanks.” Then I lied, “It was nice meeting you both.”

Out in the parking lot, a yellow cab was idling. The car looked like it had been through a lot; mud was splattered all across the back of the car, obscuring the license plate.

Steve opened the door for me, which was a little more gallant than I needed, and I slid across the ripped black vinyl of the back seat.

“Where to, little lady?” The driver asked. He might have been looking at me in the rearview mirror, but he was wearing sunglasses and a hat and I couldn’t see much of his face.

The passenger door opened just as Steve slid in beside me. I slid over, glimpsing Roger settling into the passenger seat, then I kept moving. Instinct took over. I grabbed the handle and tried to open the door, but the door was locked. I yanked harder on the handle as I heard the doors slamming shut on the passenger side.

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