This is a preview to the chapter Chapter 1 from the book The Weeping Empress by Sadie S Forsythe.
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To soothe its aching heart,
For far away its lover roams,
A storm front in the dark,
Chiyo opened her eyes and looked up at the crisp blue sky. There was a fluttering in front of it as the leaves of a sparsely foliaged tree waved lazily. The wispy tendril of a cirrus cloud floated into the periphery of her vision and then disappeared and was forgotten. It was beautiful, the type of view that children cherish and adults forget. When was the last time I laid in the grass and just looked at the sky? Chiyo wondered. Life is so busy. Who has the time? She appreciated the one small moment as her head began to clear, bringing with it a dull ache.
She felt hungover and rubbed her eyes groggily. Her head was foggy, and her limbs were heavy. She felt bad enough to believe she had been out the night before, but try as she might, she couldn’t remember anything more raucous than drinking a glass of wine as she loaded the dishwasher.
“Ugh,” she moaned.
Her hand rose to her aching forehead, but it provided little relief. She rolled over and replaced the peaceful blue of the sky above with the spiked greenery of grass below. A wave of nausea swept over her, and for a moment she saw nothing as she closed her eyes and waited for it to pass. She faltered in her attempt to stand up. She clenched her fingers in the brittle greenery and thought of her plush cream bedroom carpet at home. Where am I? she asked herself.
Bringing herself as far as her knees, she started as an unknown man grabbed her arm and jerked her roughly. She wasn’t able to correct her balance and stumbled. He dragged her two or three feet, scraping her knees painfully across the rough ground. When she had been lying on it, she had only noticed the grass, but now her knees told her unequivocally that there was all manner of stone present as the land scraped the skin from her kneecaps.
“Get up, you useless sack of shit!” he snarled. “I won’t tell you again.”
His grip tightened, and he pulled her the rest of the way to her feet. She clawed at the fist clenched firmly around her upper arm. Blood beaded weakly across the back of the hand, but it didn’t loosen its hold at all. Confusion and disbelief dulled her senses, and fear slowly crept through her body.
“This is just too ridiculous,” he spat as he gave her another jarring jerk. “So much trouble for nothing. Honestly, how far did you think you could get? Did you really think you could escape? Did you?”
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