Jivaja: Chapter Five, 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 Five – David, Part One

 

David paced his office. It wasn’t like Mecca not to answer her phone. She’d missed their breakfast plans, and he couldn’t get hold of her all day. He’d called the friends he knew about, and none of them had been able to help. Josie hadn’t even seen her. And those two were joined at the hip.

He couldn’t shake the thought that Mecca being missing had something to do with what had happened the night before. Dread crawled through his bones like ants. He didn’t like this helplessness. The last time he’d felt this way was when Teresa had been sick. And he’d been truly helpless then.

That couldn’t happen again.

David scooped up his cell phone from his desk and dialed Jim Barron, his best friend and once a top D.A. for Fulton County. Jim now sat on the City Council and schmoozed regularly with his old friends in law enforcement. If anyone could find something out under the radar, it would be Jim. David just wasn’t sure how to explain why he wanted it under the radar.

David didn’t give him much of a chance for small talk once he answered. “Jim, I need a favor.”

“Sure. Shoot.” It sounded like Jim was working late, from the tap-tap-tap of computer keys.

“I haven’t heard from Mecca all day. We were supposed to get breakfast this morning, and she never came by. All of my calls went to voicemail.”

The tapping stopped. “Do you want me to send someone by her dorm?”

“I’ve already called her roommate and several of her friends. She’s not in her room, and no one’s seen her.”

“I can get a couple guys to look into it. We can’t file a missing person report until tomorrow, but we can get them on it now.”

David hesitated. Above all, he needed to keep Mecca’s secret. But there was no way he would turn down help finding her, especially when he didn’t even know how to begin searching. “Yeah. That would be good, if you don’t mind.”

“God, Dave, of course I don’t mind. Let me make a few calls. When was the last time you talked to her?”

“Last night.” David weighed out his options and decided to see if he could get any extra information. “The other night someone attacked her outside a coffee shop near campus.”

“Shit. Did she report it?”

“No. She came straight here. She wasn’t hurt, just shaken up. But she’s a bit wary right now, so we’ve been talking a lot more often.” The panic he’d been holding at bay ramped up for a moment — that feeling of uselessness and lack of control. He shoved it back into the little hole he’d banished it to earlier in the day.

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“She’s probably fine,” Jim said, his tone even. “Maybe spending time with a guy or putting in some extra hours on a paper or something.”

“Don’t try to placate me, Jim. I’m worried. This isn’t like her.”

“I know.”

“Are there other reports of attacks near campus lately?”

“I’ll ask when I make my phone calls. Is there anything else you can think of that I can pass on to them?”

“I need her home.”

“We’ll find her. I’ll call you back with an update as soon as I can.”

“Thanks.” David disconnected the call. He’d hoped talking to Jim would have eased some of his anxiety, but he still felt just as edgy as before.

The lighter’s flame surged as he lit a cigarette, and then he paced for a while longer. Four different times, he picked up his phone but didn’t know who to call, so he put it down again each time. He considered going out and looking for Mecca — again — but still had nowhere to begin the search.

Finally, he booted up the computer on his desk. It, along with every other piece of electronics in his house, was state of the art. Computers had become an obsession for him after his wife died. Too much time creeping around his days, most likely. As a result, he’d wired his home with the latest gadgetry, including controls for all his lights, heating and cir conditioning, and locks on the doors. Definitely an early adopter of the smart home tech.

He hadn’t even opened a web browser when a message came through.

Solaris: My taser finally came in!

Solaris — Sara — had taught him most of what he learned about computer security. And hacking. David smiled at her excitement and then typed in his response, letting the cigarette dangle from his lips.

Nereus: Congrats. Didn’t you order it a month ago?
Solaris: Yeah. Had to call and give them some shit. When are we getting together? I’ve been here for a few months now and I still haven’t even gotten to meet you.

David didn’t have the energy to deal with this right now. When Sara had contacted him out of the blue last year, with her mom’s blessing, he’d been apprehensive. When she’d enrolled in Atlanta State — Mecca’s school — at the beginning of the term, he’d all but panicked.

He’d been begging off any chance of meeting for weeks. He knew he wouldn’t be able to put her off forever. After all, he was still her grandmother’s widower. But he couldn’t just walk away. He couldn’t ignore her. In that respect, age — and perhaps having fallen in love — had changed him.

Solaris: Hello?
Nereus: Sorry. Can’t meet this week. I’ve got a crisis going on.
Solaris: Can I help?
Nereus: Don’t think so, but thanks.

Knee-jerk, but David wondered whether she could help. If he just had some place to start…

The phone startled him. He grabbed it on the second ring. “David Trenow.”

“Hey, it’s Jim. I’ve got some guys talking to Mecca’s friends and checking out the coffee shops around the school. Give them a couple hours and hopefully we’ll have something. Want to come around for a drink? You don’t have to wait alone.”

David wasn’t sure he wanted company at all. He was already champing at the bit.

“I did learn that there have been some weird assaults in the area lately. I can fill you in.”

Well, that decided it.

“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.” He hung up.

Nereus: Need to run. Talk later.
Solaris: Yeah. Right.

David signed off, unwilling to placate her. He hadn’t asked her into his life, after all. He put the computer into sleep mode, stubbed out his smoke, and went to find his shoes. Feeling guilty about Sara wasn’t on his to do list.


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