I'm excited to be showcasing the short story The Bone Knife by Intisar Khanani. I loved Thorn by Intisar, so I have high hopes for The Bone Knife.
Title: The Bone Knife
Author: Intisar Khanani
Genre: YA Fantasy, Short Story
Blurb: Rae knows how to look out for family. Born with a deformed foot, she feigns indifference to the pity and insults that come her way. Wary of all things beautiful, Rae instantly distrusts their latest visitor: an appallingly attractive faerie. Further, his presence imperils the secret her sister guards. But when the local townspeople show up demanding his blood, Rae must find a way to protect both her sister’s secret and their guest. Even if that means risking herself.
I drop the eggs and run as fast as my turned foot will take me, barreling through the kitchen and down the short hall to the front door. I shove the bolt home just in time. On the other side of the door, a fist hammers against the wood and a chorus of voices rise up, shouting for my father. I turn back to see Stonemane at the top of the steps.
“I must close the back door,” I tell him. “Please fetch my father.” Thankfully, he does not argue but turns back towards the rooms. I return to the kitchen, barring the back door and closing up the shutters as well. The rest of the windows on the ground level remain barred from the night; we will be safe now till Baba can calm the villagers.
As I reach the hallway again, I hear Baba and Stonemane descending the stairs.
“If it is me they want, I will be happy to show them what a Faerie is,” Stonemane says, his voice amused.
“I’ll not have it,” Baba says, his deep baritone gruff with anger. “No guest of mine will be threatened—certainly not by my own neighbors!”
As Baba takes the final steps he spots me. “Rae, my dear, you’re all right?” I nod. He looks back towards the door, which rattles beneath a hammering fist. “Would you accompany Lord Stonemane to the business room upstairs?”
I glance at the faerie, astonished. A lord?
His eyes flash with annoyance. “I see no need to hide. I am not afraid of these fellows with their sticks.”
“Some of them carry iron,” Baba points out. The battering on the door has increased, and now I hear voices coming from further along the wall as a group of men begin to make their way around, pounding on the shutters. Suppose they break in? We cannot stand about arguing in the hallway until they do.
“Please, my lord,” I say, taking a step forward. “If the townspeople see you, they will know we shelter magic here.” When we should not.