Jivaja: Chapter Nine, Part Three & Chapter Ten, Part One

 

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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 Nine – David, Part Three

 

“I considered going into the military and getting into cryptography,” Sara said, between bites of scrambled eggs. “But I’m pretty sure I couldn’t handle the whole authority hierarchy thing. I’m more of a loner. And then there’s all the fighting. And the guns.”

“Not a big gun fan?”

“Not at all.”

David nodded, munching on a slice of buttered toast. His belly finally felt comfortably full. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d eaten. “I can understand your decision about the service. So you want to go into computer security then?”

“Yeah, I think that would be cool. And it’s something I’m good at. I’d also like to expand into AI. That’s an amazing field right now, along with VR. Man. Love that shit.” She raised her shoulders in a shrug. “I guess it’s a gift, but computers have always been really, really easy for me. I built my first one from spare parts when I was ten or eleven. It’s just a knack.”

“I’m glad your mom gave you my e-mail address when you came out here for school. I’ll admit, it was a surprise to find that out too. A strange coincidence.”

Sara finished her last slice of bacon and downed her milk. “Well, the university has an outstanding prof who’s doing some amazing stuff with AI. That’s the real reason I chose to come here. I had a full-on scholarship to Brown, but decided I’d rather hang out with the really big geeks.” Her smile lit her face, and it reminded David again of her grandmother.

He pushed back his chair and stood. “Let me clean up?”

“Sure. I hate doing dishes. Anyway, I’ll go check on the computer. Maybe we got lucky.”

“Is that likely?”

“Nope, but I’m going to check anyway.”

David gathered the dishes and tried to keep his guilt in check. He’d tried to do his best by Grace. It had been her slow, painful descent into alcoholism and self-sabotage that burrowed into him. He didn’t know why he’d kept in contact with her. He suspected that a bit of remorse had set in after years of coldness; he felt responsible for her breakdown.

He hadn’t remarried after Susan. Not until he met Teresa. And Teresa had changed everything. She’d made him a better man. A much better man.

David finished washing the dishes and set about drying, leaving them stacked on the counter top to be put away. After, he left the kitchen and went down to the basement.

Sara was leaned back in the chair, her feet perched on the edge of the desk. Her gaze fixed on the screen, watching the characters fly by. A thick trade paperback lay open on her lap.

“Any luck?”

“No.” She looked up at him. “Man, you look beat. I think your jitterbugging days are done. You wanna nap for awhile? There’s a spare room upstairs.”

David hadn’t thought about it in awhile, but when she mentioned sleeping, he realized he was fast coming to the end of his line. The energy pull and the coffee had lasted a while, but with a full belly, he found himself droopy. His only other option would be to take from Sara, and he wasn’t willing to do that.

“Yes, that’s a good idea. You’ll call me if the program cracks the hard drive?”

“You bet. I wouldn’t know what you’re looking for anyway. Bedroom’s the second door on the right at the top of the stairs. Bathroom’s just across the hall. Towels under the sink.”

He smiled as he mounted the stairs to the living room. “Thanks.”

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Chapter Ten – Claude, Part One

 

“What is it?” Salas asked. He’d been laying out Claude’s attire for the day and had included a set of cuff links which housed stones of a bright blue — lapis lazuli. Set in silver, the beautiful stone tapped something inside Claude’s mind. It had been his mother’s stone. She had worn it for wisdom in leading the Visci.

“I’ve finally remembered.”

Salas stared at him for a moment, a shirt in hand, and then realization dawned in his eyes. “Mecca Trenow?”

“Yes.” Claude turned and slid his arms into the silky sleeves of the garment Salas held out for him.

The memories had come to the forefront in pieces, chunks. The wild flurry within the throne room, the hushed whispers. Flashes of a mummified corpse being carried in.

“We had one of her kind invade our kingdom when I was very young.” He began fastening the ivory buttons, his mind only half in the present. “I’d forgotten.”

“What happened?” Salas continued holding garments out for him in the manner he preferred — pants Claude stepped into himself, a jacket offered.

“I was never told the actual details. I was still a child. But what I pieced together from eavesdropping and listening to the servants gossip was frightening. A man had come from the east — I don’t think I ever learned where — and he had been traveling with a family heading for Spain.”

Salas paused in his attendance and watched Claude as he listened.

“I had an uncle who made a habit of preying on travelers, though my mother had done many things to try to break him of this habit. It had been his body — a husk, really — that I’d seen them bring in. It was as if he’d been dug up from a grave after having been long dead.” The wispy, thin scattering of hair on the corpse’s head was what had stuck with Claude. His uncle had had a full, thick crop of midnight black hair. What was left on the corpse had been fragile, white, and nothing like what Claude had known of him.

“Did they discover what happened?”

Claude tried to remember details, but they were slow in coming. Four hundred years of memory was a lot to sift through. “I think they did, but I don’t recall anything specific. As I said, I was young. I do remember a word though.” He had been hiding under the great table, listening to the discussion when his mother had said it, almost in a whisper. “Jivaja.

He had been hiding under the great table, listening to the discussion when his mother had said it, almost in a whisper. 'Jivaja.' ~~ Read #Jivaja for #FreeFictionFriday! #amreading #urbanfantasy #FFF #UF Click To Tweet

“I do not think I know what the word means.”

“It means ‘mover of essence.’ Of life force.” He looked Silas in the eyes. “I believe that is what our Ms. Trenow is.”

Salas gave nod. “I will see what I might find on these Jivaja. Perhaps there is more information out there.”

“Very good. Now, here. My shoes and then the blood. I have things to do.”


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