Meet the Bandit Girls, aka the Mederos sisters, side by side, ready to take on the world of Port Saint Frey.


“Can you help me with my buttons?” Tesara said, her voice plaintive. Jalana abandoned her stockings and buttoned up the back of her little sister’s dress, and then took her brush and began to work on her tangled hair. As always, they both received a little staticky shock.

“Did you get up the stairs all right?” Jalana said in a low voice.

Tesara nodded, squeaking a little as the brush caught on a snarl at the nape of her neck. “Not a peep from anyone. I had to put my wet clothes under my bed. I hope Jenny doesn’t look under there when she cleans. What about you?”

Jalana pretended to concentrate on a tight snarl.

“All right for me too. Now listen. If —when Mama finds out, I’ll come clean and tell her I wrote the letters. That way the servants won’t get in trouble.”

“What? Ow!” Tesara squeaked again.

“Sorry… no, we have to.” She turned her sister around by the shoulders and faced her. Tesara was so pretty; it wasn’t fair. She had Brevart’s dark hair and deep blue eyes and her skin was pale and with rosy cheeks. Her lips, too, were not straight and thin like Jalana’s but curved like a little bow. And she was curved, too; she looked like a pretty girl, and she was only going to get prettier. Whereas Jalana was straight as an arrow, Brevart said. We don’t have to worry about the boys around you, he told her once with pride. That had gratified her when she was younger. Now…she flushed and tried to put the thought behind her. “The servants can’t suffer,” she said. “It’s not fair. I’ll take the blame and say I dragged you into it.”

Tesara looked skeptical. “All right, but you know they are going to be mad.”

“Well,” Jalana said, and made a twirling motion with her finger. Tesara turned back around, and she began brushing again. “Mama shouldn’t have decided such a stupid thing.”


Zaib Husain · April 17, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Love the excerpt…now I want to read the whole thing!

Patrice Sarath · April 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Excellent! my evil plan is working!

A3 · April 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Great teaser! I can’t wait to read it! Where did you get the associated picture?

Patrice Sarath · April 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Grabbed it off the Internet. A cursory check showed it to be uncopyrighted. I feel guilty, but I do think it’s free.

I think that the next time I go to the Citywide Garage Sale (only the best most fun vintage/antigue/junk sale ever — they put it on in this huge venue) I will pick up the old photo albums they sometimes have and use those for inspiration from now on. I’ve always thought it was sad that these albums end up at these sales, but people die and their kids or grandkids don’t know who any of these people are. I find them a fascinating glimpse into a long-ago world.

A3 · April 20, 2013 at 7:26 am

I was just wondering if you knew who they really were and had any cool stories about them. I agree, it’s sad when family albums end up in garage sales, and I always wonder if there are other branches of the family out there that wish they had pictures of their ancestors. Sometimes, the family realizes they have pictures of historical significance – a few years ago a family gave an amazing set of pictures of Galveston being raised after the Hurricane of 1900 to the Galveston County Historical Museum, which published them in the fascinating book _Galveston: A City on Stilts_.

Patrice Sarath · April 20, 2013 at 7:53 pm

No, I don’t know anything about them, unfortunately. I just thought it was such a sweet picture. I went antiquing today and found a few more photos from the late Victorian-era that I will scan and post with later excerpts.

Old photos tell such great stories. I love looking through these orphaned photo albums. They are very nostalgic.

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