Exile: Part 1 by Emily Finch

“By law you cannot kick me out because of my race or Dragonspite,” Ethne said keeping her nose poked in her book. Dragonspite, however shifted uncomfortably on her shoulder, his warm feathers brushed against her cheek.
        “Actually Ethne,” sneered the Liberian. “Detective Crowl Booker was hoping to see you.”
        Ethne looked up; Detective Crowl Booker was casting a shadow over the stacks of books and papers. His arms were folded over his chest and a crooked smile was imprinted on his face. “Ethne,” he said in a low slurry voice. ”I have reason to believe that you and your phoenix started the fire in hourglass square last Saturday.”
        Ethne was taken aback; she had seen the charred remains on her way into the library. Did Detective Crowl think she did it?
        Looking Crowl in the eye she said, “No sir, I was here all afternoon.”
        Detective Crowl turned to the Liberian, “was she?”
        The Liberian smiled, “I think not.”
        “Well Ethne would you like to decline the evidence? Tell me I’m wrong?”
        “What evidence?” Ethne scowled, getting to her feet. “Something some old hag told you?”
        “And also, this,” Detective Crowl said. Reaching into the folds of his coat he pulled out a long feather that shone with amber light. Dragonspite’s feather. “Found it at the scene of the crime,” the detective said, twirling the feather between two fingers. “Is this not your phoenix’s feather?”
        “Yes but-”
        “But we’ve found our perpetrator.”
        Ethne looked over at the Liberian who had not said much. I hope some sense comes back to Crowl or I might never see Ahoy again. Ethne thought but part of her didn’t believe this was happening; one moment she had been happily reading her book the next accused of treason. Ethne expected to wake up any moment now.
        Detective Crowl booker bent down so their noses nearly touched. “Because under eighteens can’t go to prison you will be sent into exile.” Ethne could smell the ale in his hot breath. Ethne’s stomach dropped at the word ‘exile’ tears came rushing to her face and stung her eyes as she fought them back. This can’t be happening they can’t send twelve-year olds into exile they can’t!
        Detective Crowl grabbed her arm and snatched Dragonspite out of the air and shoved the graceful bird in a sack. “You can spend the night in the dungeons,” he said, escorting Ethne out of the library. Ethne wanted to kick off Crowl, free Dragonspite and run out into the streets of Ahoy. No looking back -that’s what the characters in her book would do. But courage had deserted Ethne, maybe it was time to face fate properly.

To be continued…