Jivaja: Chapter Eight, Part Two

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 Two

 

Later, Will had returned and replaced the needle in her hand before stepping out for a moment. When he came back this time, he had a small brush and dustpan, along with a hand-held vacuum. He began cleaning up the broken remains of the lunch plate without asking what had happened. Claude had left without telling him anything and Mecca hadn’t spoken a single word to Claude since he’d returned her to her bondage on the bed.

She lay there under the crushing weight of her captivity. Of her failure.

“Why are they keeping me here?” Mecca asked, now that they were alone.

“I think you know the answer to that.”

“They want to know how Hayden died.”

“Yes.”

“But why keep me here, drugged? Why all the reading?” Mecca hated the soft whine that crept into her voice. “Why not just get everything over with?”

Will dumped the contents of the dustpan into a small trash can. The ceramic clacked as it tumbled. Moving from his crouched position, he sat back on the floor and looked up at her. A small crease developed between his eyebrows as he watched her. When he finally spoke, his voice was gentle and quiet.

“I can’t pretend to know what Emilia is thinking. I have been with her for a long time though, and I do know that everything she does, she does for a reason. She always has a plan of action. She is keeping you here, giving you the research on your father—”

“Those are not about my father!” Mecca’s face burned, both with her anger, but also with embarrassment and inevitability. She didn’t want the papers to be about her dad.

Will lowered his head, his eyes hidden by a wave of his nut-brown hair. Then he looked up at her again. “Very well. She is keeping you here, giving you those papers to read, because she believes it will give her the results she wants.”

“What results?”

“That, I don’t know.” He moved forward, into a crouch again, and picked up the brush and dustpan. He swept the smaller pieces and dumped them into the trash can.

“So why are they drugging me? It’s not like I can even get away from this damn bed.” She pulled hard on her cuffs. The chains rattled against the metal side rails.

“Well, obviously that’s not true.” He gave her a pointed look and held up the dustpan. Then he said, “It’s the easiest way to keep you quiet.”

A wry smile lit his face. “Emilia will be in later. You may wish to ask your questions then.”

Mecca leaned back against her pillow and closed her eyes. The motorized suction of the vacuum turned on, and she listened to its whirring as Will ran it over the carpet near the foot of her bed.

As far as she could tell, all their research came as a result of the original information she’d printed out at the library but never read. They had much more information. The articles were so damning. It was like someone had wrapped a hand around her heart and squeezed the life out.

Growing up, he’d always told her the Gift had passed him over. His father and brother both had it. Sometimes it didn’t manifest in every child, he’d said, but every child could be a carrier. That’s how Mecca got the Gift. So he said.

She’d never doubted his word. Not ever. But now… There was no other explanation for the deaths of his wives. The doctors would never know.

Neither would the families.

But she knew.

He’d lied to her. Her heart broke again with the betrayal.

And her belly roiled. Mecca didn’t want to believe the awful stories. But those photos — she couldn’t discount them. His face. He’d been married to those women who’d died.

Been murdered.

She shuddered.

Even worse was having the crushing truth handed to her by these people — these things. Will had called them Visci, but Mecca didn’t know what that meant. Not really.

The idea that they witness her betrayal made Mecca’s skin crawl. It made her angry and that anger mingled with the pain of her father’s deceit. The whole mess was like a bubbling, rotten stew threatening to spill over the edges.

In her mind, she pushed around the haunting sentence from her mother’s file. Although Teresa Trenow’s illness cannot be directly attributed to David Trenow, nor can the woman’s death be positively attributed to the cancer itself. A tear squeezed from her closed eye and slipped down her cheek.

But it wasn’t him, was it? They couldn’t know that.

Mecca wanted to shove the whole thing from her head and forget she’d ever read any of it, ever even entertained what she knew felt more and more true yet didn’t want to be true. But the faces of six murdered women weighed in on the other side, and their deaths could not be brushed away.

Was everything he’d ever told her a lie? Perhaps her mom had never been sick at all. Maybe that was how he started it every time. Perhaps, if it hadn’t been for her father, Mom would have gotten to see Mecca go on her first date, to her first prom. Perhaps Mom would have been around to see her graduate.

Maybe I wouldn’t have fallen asleep that afternoon. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered if I had.

Mecca couldn’t really shift gears away from herself. Her own guilt held strong, even though her rational mind understood the evidence she was looking at.

A sob crashed through her, but she strangled it behind pursed lips. Pressing her eyes tightly shut, she resolved not to let any of her fear and betrayal show. She had no idea how she would get out of here, but she wouldn’t be doing it by letting them see her hurt any more.

She sucked in a soft, ragged breath and released it quietly through her mouth. She opened her eyes. Will sat in the chair nearby, the brush, dustpan and vacuum in a small pile near the door.

“Will Emilia be here when I wake up?”

Will looked up from the clipboard on his lap and nodded. “She may not actually be right here, but she’ll be down soon after.”

“They’re afraid of me, aren’t they? They’ve got me chained up, and they’re afraid to let me stay awake for any extended amount of time.”

“I don’t think they’re so much afraid of you as they’re not sure what to do with you. You’re an unknown, and so carry a certain amount of risk. I don’t think caution should be equated to fear.”

'Have you done this before?' ~~ 'Done what?' ~~ 'Guarded someone they kidnapped.' ~~ 'No,' Will said. 'They don’t often take the trouble to kidnap people.' ~~ Read #Jivaja for free! #amreading Click To Tweet

 

“Have you done this before?”

“Done what?”

“Guarded someone they kidnapped.”

“No,” Will said. “They don’t often take the trouble to kidnap people.”

“They’re not worried that I’m going to attack you and escape?

“Well, you had your hand on me once, yes? There was your chance, and you didn’t take it. She guessed you wouldn’t.” He watched Mecca for a moment, but she couldn’t read his eyes. Then he said, “Once upon a time, I was a medic. Emilia’s made sure I kept up with the times. I’m probably the best qualified to deal with a medical emergency, should one arise.”

“A medic? Like a paramedic?”

The metallic ring of the timer sounded, and Will stood, setting aside the clipboard. “Not the sort you think of today.”

She didn’t understand what he meant. She watched him fill a syringe with liquid. She didn’t say anything as he slid the needle into the butterfly portal and depressed the plunger.

As the weight of sleep crept into the edges of Mecca’s consciousness, she said, “I’d like to know more sometime.”

His voice, sounding thick in her ears, replied, “Perhaps sometime.”


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