This is the story of Aveline, a girl born with magical powers who must learn to control them if she is ever to keep them a secret from the townspeople.
The night Aveline was born was the night the winds came to Restrepo. These were not the usual soft, whispering winds that blew on the plains and flirted with the curtains in the window — these were serious, life-taking winds. They battered the walls of the town, bent trees forward and sent livestock airborne.
The people of Restrepo bolted their doors against the winds and cowered under their kitchen tables, holding their hands over their ears. But they couldn’t block out the high keening wail of the winds. Some later reported hearing words on the winds, wild, weird, unintelligible words that pierced the ears of all who heard them.
In the midst of this pandemonium, a slight woman lay in bed, bent forward like the trees outside. She was oblivious to what was happening outside, battered by an inner storm. Her breathless cries were swallowed by the winds, but her husband saw her pain-racked eyes and felt a trickle of fear creep down his spine.
The midwife looked at him and he knew the worst was yet to come.
1 hour later, the winds died down.
2 hours later, a child with bright red hair and emerald green eyes was born.
3 hours later, the child’s mother was dead.
9 years later …
“Aveline, get down from there! You’ll crease your dress.”
“But I’m talking to this squirrel. He says — "
“Yes, yes, that’s all very well and good but it’s time for church, dear. Come along now.”
Aveline clambered down from her perch on the branch after solemnly bidding the squirrel good-bye. The squirrel chittered once at her, twitched his bushy tail, and squirreled away up the tree.
Aveline was able to get down from the tree with no additional creasing of the dress, although her hair was significantly messier than when Nanny Annie had dressed it that morning. There were leaves and small twigs embedded in her braids and a smudge of dirt on her forehead.
Nanny Annie sighed and placed a hand on her charge’s disheveled head. “Come with me, Aveline.”
They walked into the house only to find Aveline’s father on top of the table.