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Jivaja: Chapter Three, Part Three & Chapter Four, Part One

Welcome to Free Fiction Friday! Every week, I’ll be posting a scene or two (in order, of course!) from my book, Jivaja. If you want to read along, just come on back every Friday!

Some scenes will be shorter, several hundred words. Some will be a thousand or more. Read them in order though, otherwise none of this will make sense!

Follow along as Mecca, a young woman with a Gift for manipulating human life force, runs head-first into a shadowy vampire-like society that discovers her power and wants to use her.

If you missed any parts, head over to the Jivaja Table of Contents to get caught up!

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Chapter Three – Mecca, Part Three

 

Mecca jerked her head up. She’d slid into sleep again. The rocking of the BMW and the familiar scent of leather and old cigarette smoke had lulled her. Her dad claimed he’d quit, but she knew he snuck a smoke here and there. Outside, the city moved by at a quick clip. They hadn’t gotten off the interstate yet.

“Where did the blood come from?” her father asked. The blue light from the dashboard added a gruesome element to his features. Mecca looked away.

“He bit me. Or something. I don’t know exactly. It happened really fast.” She pulled the visor down and flipped the cover off the mirror. The brash light made her blink several times before she could see again. Her face looked haggard. Little red veins lined her eyes, brown irises against a pink backdrop.

When she tilted her head, just looking at the angry puncture mark on her neck made her flinch. A single wound, it looked like a bee sting, slightly raised and swollen, the tiny opening puckered like a mouth. If there’d been two, it would have looked like Dracula had come calling. She brushed a fingertip along the skin, bracing herself for a stab of pain. Instead, the flesh beneath the skin was sore, but the puncture itself felt tingly, something like when pins and needles set in after her arm fell asleep.

#FreeFictionFriday - Jivaja : When she tilted her head, just looking at the angry puncture mark on her neck made her flinch. A single wound, it looked like a bee sting, slightly raised and swollen, the tiny opening puckered like a mouth. Click To Tweet

“That looks pretty ugly.”

Mecca let the mirror cover snap shut and put the visor back in place. “It’s okay.”

“We should have cleaned it up before we left.”

“It’s fine, Dad.”

She couldn’t believe they were going back. What if the police questioned them? What would she say? Would she lie? Would she even be able to? Her belly churned. She was going to give herself an ulcer.

A chirp came from her purse. Her cell phone showed four missed calls and one incoming.

“Hey, Jo.”

“Where are you?” Josie said. Her roommate’s voice came through shrill and filled with worry, loud enough to get her dad’s attention. He raised an eyebrow and looked at her sidelong.

“I’m with my dad. I’m going to crash at his place tonight.”

“Jesus, Mecca, I came home and you weren’t here. I was getting ready to call the cops!”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to worry you.”

Josie took in a deep sigh. “I tried to call you a bunch of times. Why didn’t you answer?”

“I forgot my purse in the car when I got to Dad’s.”

“Don’t do this shit again. I’m too young to have a heart attack.”

“I won’t. I’ll be back in the morning.” She paused, unsure for a moment whether to ask.

“What was Little Five like when you drove through?”

“One of the clubs had closed, so everyone was heading back.”

“Anything else?”

“Nope. Usual Friday night.”

“Okay, thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Less than ten minutes later, they arrived. Mecca directed him around to the parking lot in the back, tucked between a four story apartment building and the backsides of the shops along Euclid. The lot spread out like a dull, grey sea, its smoothness broken only by the dark blue Jeep Wrangler parked near the Dumpster in the back. The Dumpster where the man had been.

No police. No news vans.

No body.


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Chapter Four – Mecca, Part One

 

The library lights flickered for the second time. Mecca frowned and clicked the link for “More Life-Suckers.” A somewhat dubious website but it contained a lot of interesting information on the vampire mythos. The idea of vampires seemed ridiculous. But Mecca couldn’t ignore the bite, or sting, or whatever it was on her neck. So researching vampires seemed the best place to start. Maybe she’d run across something more plausible than the undead.

For the third night since the incident at the Brew-haha, she’d spent the entire evening parked in front of a computer. She usually used her laptop, but found she needed to print a lot. Not having a printer meant relying on the terminals in the main library.

Sunday, she’d checked out half the books on the shelves relating to vampire legends. That got her some interesting looks from the librarian. Monday, she’d stayed in the dorm, reading and researching. This afternoon, when she’d gotten out of class, she stopped by the library to print out some things from the Internet.

She hadn’t realized so much time had gone by. Now the library was closing and she hadn’t left yet. Her stomach rumbled.

There wasn’t much out there on what vampires could and couldn’t do. Not anything concrete, anyway. Hundreds of powers and skills were attributed to vampires and most of them seemed to have their basis in fiction. But of course they would. Vampires were fictional, right?

What could be believed? The only things she counted on to be real were the things she’d seen and experienced herself. And that wasn’t much. The entire attack, once it started, had happened faster than she could have imagined. When he’d concentrated his attention on her, he tugged at her consciousness. And when he’d made the wound in her neck, it was like the sweetest electric shock slipping through her veins. She shivered. So those things she knew.

And so her hunt for information continued.

“Hey.” A low, rumbly, unfamiliar voice.

Mecca looked up, past the monitor she’d been studying. Approaching, she saw a guy, younger than her, with wiry blond hair tumbling over his forehead, obscuring his eyes. Even so, she thought those eyes might be focused on her. He pulled up short three feet from the computer desk she occupied.

“Hey, you know the library’s closing. Didn’t you see the lights? You need to be shutting down.” The deep octave didn’t match the whiny tone of his voice.

Entitlement via work-study.

“I am. Just give me two minutes.”

He looked from Mecca, to the back of the monitor, then to her again. “Just hurry it up.”

Mecca nodded gravely at him, trying hard not to laugh. She turned her attention back to the computer. She hadn’t had much luck this evening, anyway. She scanned the dodgy website in front of her, about to shut the whole thing down, when she reached the bottom and found a small, grainy photo of a young man.

Is this man a White Widower? Three wives dead of unexplained causes. Coincidence?

Mecca’s breath caught in her throat.

The blurred image had been scanned from a newspaper photo; that much was obvious. The pained look in his eyes would have touched her if not for the caption. And for the fact that she would have recognized those eyes anywhere.

The lights wavered again. Any minute, the work-study guy would be coming around to herd her away and shut down the computer. Mecca hit the print icon on the browser and watched the screen as the printer spun to life. She studied the picture, her mind numb.

Her father stared back at her.

 


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See you next week!