Jivaja: Chapter Eight, 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 Eight – Mecca, Part One

 

Someone had removed the leg belts while she’d been drugged this time.

Mecca remained attached to the bed, but they’d left the chains on her cuffs, so she felt as close to free as she had been since she’d gotten here. The added mobility also allowed her to eat the food they’d brought earlier.

For a long time, she’d refused, until Will told her — the last time she was awake — that if she didn’t eat, they’d feed her intravenously and put a catheter in her. Mecca decided the turkey sandwich didn’t look half bad. She’d eaten the whole thing, faster than she’d expected.

Will had been moving toward the door when she told him she needed to use the bathroom. He didn’t reply to her, but as he left, she saw the cell phone pressed to his ear. He must have had it on vibrate. Damn. If I’d know he was on the phone I could have screamed or something. Instead, I told him I had to pee.

This might be the only time they left her alone and awake at once. She didn’t want to waste any of it.

Mecca shoved the plate off her lap and onto the bed beside her legs. She examined the thick leather cuffs on her wrists. They didn’t seem to have any sort of locking mechanism, only a belt-like fastener.

The chain rattled against the bed rail as she frantically worked with her mouth to unfasten the cuff encircling her left wrist. It took a moment, more awkward than difficult. As the handcuff came free, she kicked the covers off of her legs.

At the foot of the bed, the plate with her uneaten chips on it began a slow slide. Mecca noticed too late. She scrambled to catch it.

Everything slowed down as the plate fell sideways and smashed to the floor, sending ceramic shards and wavy potato chips in all directions, in spite of the thick oriental rug.

Mecca froze, certain Emilia must have heard the heavy thud from wherever she might be in the building. For those moments, Mecca’s head throbbed along with her heartbeat. She fiddled with the cuff on her right hand, but slowly, quietly.

When no one broke through the door, Mecca swung her legs over the edge of the bed. She pulled the chain free of the bed rail and held it and the free cuff in the crook of her elbow as she worked more diligently on the one still on her right wrist. The IV tube stretched and the taped needle tugged on the skin of her hand. She got to her feet.

The room tilted and then wobbled. Someone had turned it on its corner. Then it spun like a top. Mecca eased back against the bed and closed her eyes. Please don’t let me puke. The turkey sandwich felt alive in her belly. Like it wanted to crawl back up her throat. Ugh.

Her stomach twisted. Saliva flooded her mouth. She retched and gagged and then clapped her hand over her mouth. Bile burned the back of her throat.

No. I have to get out of here. I don’t have time for this.

She drew a long breath in through her nose that made a tight, wispy sound, but it slowed her hammering pulse. Her belly tightened again and she took another deep breath. In. Out. In. Out. She willed her body to relax and concentrated on breathing.

The turkey sandwich settled down and Mecca opened her eyes cautiously. The room remained intact in the proper position and did not seem inclined to move this time. She lowered her hand.

Blood smeared, dark and wet, across the top of her hand. The needle, tape still adhered to it, lay off the edge of the bed. A single drop of fluid hung from its tip, pink with a mix of the clear liquid in the tube and her own blood. Mecca shook her head and started again on the other cuff.

How much time had passed? It felt like an hour, but she knew it couldn’t have been. The cuff finally fell away, and she left both of them and the chain in a serpentine pile on the bed.

She pushed to her feet again. The room didn’t swim this time so she took two steps along the thick carpet beneath her feet, testing her balance. Though still queasy, her belly had stopped rocking, and the turkey sandwich seemed restful.

She went to the door. The smooth knob turned a quarter of an inch, then stopped, locked. She ran her fingers along the seam, where the door met the frame. Mecca stepped back and looked at it.

It was a simple wooden door, stained to match the chair rails, with a modern, brushed silver knob on the left. No keyhole anywhere. The black electronic pad on the door had no buttons. She ran her fingers over the cool surface. The metal card reader. She didn’t think she had any way of overriding it. Mecca took a step back and studied the door.

The hinges. They were on the right side of the door. But more importantly, they were inside the room.

It can’t be that simple, can it?

But they obviously didn’t expect her to ever be mobile.

Mecca dragged the chair over from the writing desk, positioned it behind the hinges and stepped up with care. The pin in the top hinge turned readily, but when she tried to lift it up and out of its metal casing, it wouldn’t budge. She slid her thumbnails between the head of the pin and the top of the hinge. She wiggled it and tried to lever it up. Her nails bent backward and desperation welled up with the burn in her fingertips.

“Come on,” she whispered. Please.

She tried again, this time with one thumb and two fingers on the same hand. The hall seemed silent. A soft click came from the doorknob. Before she could react, the door opened and slammed into one of the wooden chair legs. The chair shook. Mecca, reflexively, took a step back. Her heel missed the chair altogether. She had just a moment to see Claude’s surprised face peek around the door before she fell.

Her right shoulder connected with the wall with a thud. It twisted her body and she slid. She ended up folded between the chair and the wall, her backside almost on the floor. Her left leg remained on the chair and her right leg lay pinned beneath her. She didn’t think she was seriously hurt, but her window of opportunity closed as she and Claude stared at each other.

She scrambled to get her feet beneath her and pulled herself upright by the back of the chair.

Claude’s surprise had dwindled, and now he watched her, his face drawn in a tight, wary mask. Mecca thought of a snake, tensed to strike. That was how he looked.

Her skin tingled as she watched him. That weird feeling again. Claude closed the door with two fingers. It latched shut, then locked with an electronic whirr and click that sounded final. She couldn’t let it be.

If she could get him down, she’d probably find a plastic key on him. Then she could escape. They watched each other like gunfighters at high noon.

Claude wasn’t dressed like a gunfighter though. He wore tight black jeans and black boots along with a navy blue, short-sleeved polo shirt. The outfit made him look more like a porcelain doll than ever.

“You should get back in the bed, Ms. Trenow,” Claude said, his voice flat. “Emilia won’t be pleased that you’re up.”

Mecca lunged forward, both arms in front of her. He blocked her right hand, but the fingers of her left hand wrapped around his upper arm, just above the elbow.

Mecca couldn’t waste a moment. She sent her energy out into him, searching for the Cavern, for the captured soul she knew he must have.

His Cavern, dark and grey, superimposed itself on reality. Claude’s face was clear to her and only inches away from her own, but her soul’s vision overlaid his face like a translucent layer, showing her the Cavern as her own energy moved through it.

In the span of a moment, Mecca felt the enormity of his soul’s Cavern, empty and crumbling, like the inside of a long-forgotten cave. Fuzz covered the floor, thick and inky black. It reminded Mecca of the wooly surface of mold on cheese, and she was glad she didn’t have to walk there.

A faint glow came from a tiny alcove inside the far wall. Behind the vision of the Cavern, Claude’s face reddened and his blue eyes flashed with dark anger and knowledge. More than knowledge — understanding.

Chapter 8.1 ~ His grip tightened on her shoulders as her spirit slipped into the alcove. A bound bundle of energy glowed with bright golden light~ Read #Jivaja for free on #FreeFictionFriday Click To Tweet

His grip tightened on her shoulders as her spirit slipped into the alcove. A bound bundle of energy glowed with bright golden light, though it seemed dim because hundreds of grey tendrils covered it, maybe thousands, anchored it to the black mossy floor.

How would she ever free it? She circled the energy, trying to find a weakness in his hold on it.

The connection broke. Mecca’s life force slammed back into her.

She realized, with sudden surprise, that she was airborne, sailing across the room. The wall stopped her with a crash, and sharp pain knifed down her spine like a plant taking root.

As she hit the floor, her head cracked against the chair rail. The room dimmed. Air hissed out of her lungs, and she gulped to refill them, trying not to panic.

She didn’t pass out, but the room wouldn’t come quite into focus. It shuddered and wobbled. She couldn’t stop sucking in large swallows of air; it was the only sound in the room.

Claude stood over her, but as she tried to center her vision, she found that she kept seeing two of him. She closed her eyes. She opened them again and blinked several times. A hammer thrummed at the back of her head.

He squatted beside her and brushed the tip of his finger against her chin, light as a moth’s wings. The shiver that traveled along her spine wasn’t unpleasant. She didn’t like that. She looked into his sea-blue eyes.

“I’m going to take you to the bed.” He spoke slowly, gently. “I don’t want to have to knock you out to do it, but I will if I have to. Do you understand me, Mecca?”

She nodded once. Still groggy but coming around, she doubted whether his small frame could support her weight. She could still try to get him down and get his key while he struggled to lift her. When he slid his arms under her and she was close enough to reach out and touch his face, however, she didn’t have the will to send her energy into him.

And he lifted her without a second of hesitation or difficulty.


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