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Jivaja: Chapter Six, 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 Six: Mecca, Part One

 

She sits on a cushioned chair in the hallway. The hospital corridor, wide and brightly lit, makes her feel very small. A man in blue pants and shirt gives her a smile as he hurries past. She tries to smile back, but it doesn’t work very well. Her face feels like a statue’s, and her heart is a great big stone in the middle of her chest. She’s been sitting here forever, waiting for her dad to come get her.

The door to the room creaks open and he finally peeks out, giving her a gentle smile that doesn’t overtake the sadness in his eyes. “Come on, Sweets. Mommy wants to see you.” He holds his hand out, and she slides hers into it, grateful.

She tries not to drag her feet as he leads her into the room. Her belly is in knots, and her knees feel wobbly. She hates the hospital, but mostly she hates that her mom is here. The medicine-y smell itches at her nose.

“Hi, honey.” Mom’s scratchy voice almost makes her burst into tears.

She struggles with all her twelve-year-old strength to hold it back, but she can’t stop the hitch in her voice. “Hi, Mom.”

She takes in the bed and bites her lip. Machines surround her mom. One holds a tube attached to her arm. An air tube sits under her nose, like the ones on TV. Her mother is so, so thin. A bandanna replaces the thick dark hair she remembers.

Mecca wants to cry again, just looking at the dark skin under Mom’s bloodshot eyes. “Are you okay?” Mecca’s voice is tiny, and she hates that.

“Oh, sweetie.” Mom holds out an arm and pats the bed. “Come sit down.”

She doesn’t want to sit there, so close, and guilt sweeps over her. She takes several tiny steps and perches on the very edge of the bed, leaning back into the curve of her mother’s arm. She’s careful that her skin doesn’t touch her mom’s.

Even sitting this way, she can feel the weakness and thinness of Mom’s limbs.

Her mother squeezes her and kisses the top of her head. She watches her dad take a seat in the corner. She can read his sorrow, even though he gives her a courageous smile.

“Honey, you know I love you more than chocolate, right?” her mom says. Their love has always been better than chocolate.

She turns on the bed and looks at her mom, who sits there with her fading spirit, but with lips curled up in a small smile and eyes filled with love. The bright red of the bandanna makes Mecca think of a bloody head wound, and she twists her body around to bury her face in her mother’s bony shoulder.

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The weight of everything crashes down onto her head.

“Momma, I want you to come home! I don’t want you to be sick anymore!” Sobs wrack her body, and her tears soak the dressing gown. Her mother’s hand caresses her head, the finger tracing the little braids along Mecca’s scalp.

“Baby…” She hears her mom give a heaving breath and knows that she’s crying too. “I don’t think — I don’t think I’m going to be coming home, sugar.”

Fear jets through her, and Mecca pulls away. “What do you mean? You’re going to live here?” Her voice is panicked and high-pitched, but she doesn’t care. Why would her mom not want to come home?

She watches her parents exchange a glance, and then her mom looks at her. She can see all the love in those eyes, even with the tears escaping and leaving wet paths down her Mom’s cheeks. “No, sweetie, I’m not going to live here. I’m very, very sick.”

“But you came here so the doctors could make you better. They’ll make you better!” She holds the sleeves of her mom’s gown, her knuckles pale with her grip.

She wants to scream, to push her mom away, to hold onto her and never let her go.

“You have to come home.” She sucks in a ragged breath, and the tears pour down her cheeks. She looks at her dad in his chair, his elbows on the armrest, head bowed, his forehead in his palm. “Daddy, tell her she has to come home. Tell her!” He looks up and she sees the tears on his face too. She lets out another desperate sob.

Her daddy never cries.


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See you next week!