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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“You have to be very careful when you touch people, Mecca,” her father murmurs as he kneels on the warm ground pulling weeds out of the flowerbed. He brushes the back of his glove-covered hand over his forehead, wiping away a faint gleam of sweat. “You’re still learning to use your Gift and you could hurt people.”
She nods. The plastic beads on the ends of her braids click against each other with a muted sound. “That’s why you don’t want me to touch Mom.”
He exhales and leans back on his ankles as he looks up at her. She wishes her eyes were like his. When he looks at her, his love shows in his bright, dark blue eyes.
“Yes,” he says. “Mom is sick, and she needs all her energy. I know you’re careful, and I know you love her very much, but you can’t control it yet. You wouldn’t mean to but could accidentally make her worse. Do you understand what I mean?”
Even at eleven, she gets how much it hurts him to forbid her to touch her mother. She understands why too, but she hates it. She hates it more than peas, more than cleaning her room, and more than cough medicine. And she hates herself for having the “Gift” that keeps her from her mom.
“Yes, I understand,” she replies. “I get it. I wish — I just wish there was a way…”
He grabs her arm and pulls her into a bear hug. “I know, baby. I’m so sorry. I hate doing this to you. When you’re older. When you learn more…”
Her tears spill onto his thin white T-shirt as she wraps her arms around his neck and weeps into his shoulder. He smells of earth and sweat.She stays with him for a while after she stops crying. Watching him work in the earth, planting new flowers, she can pretend her life isn’t the freak show it really is. She can imagine running home and hugging her mom without having to make sure there is something between their skin. In her thoughts, in her wishes, skin to skin means nothing.
Later, she wanders behind the house and down to the pond. It’s large enough to be home to many fish, birds and animals, but not so big that a bunch of people come to play in it. She never sees boats or even swimmers, here. That’s why she comes. It is quiet.
An expanse of trees backs up along the pond’s bank, and she catches sight of a doe with her fawn just as they catch sight of her. They dart into the safety of the trees, leaving her behind. Where the pathway goes into the trees, she continues along the water’s edge, until she reaches the flat, smooth boulder at the water line.
She loves this rock. Surrounded by trees and brush, this is her spot, her rock. She scrambles to the top and sits, her legs stretched in front of her. A magnificent bird swoops across the still water, looking for fish, she guesses. It had rained earlier and her Keds are dirty from the walk through the woods. With one finger, she flicks a spot of mud from her toe.
“Stupid Gift. Why couldn’t it skip me like it did Dad?” A ladybug flutters past her nose and lands on the tip of her shoelace. It crawls along until it comes to the end where her lace leans against her ankle. The bug hesitates a moment and then creeps onto her soft brown skin, a tiny red spot moving along her leg.
She watches and feels the tiny tickle from its movement. Her anger at her life still bubbles below the surface, but she is happy to watch this small, pretty thing living its life carefree, in a way hers would never be.
She sighs and then a sharp little tingle slips from that tiny bug’s spot and up through her body, a feeling that reminded her of putting her tongue on a nine volt battery. The tickle stops and she watches, wide-eyed as the ladybug slides down her leg, bounces off the tongue of her shoe and falls to the hard surface of the rock.
It is dead.
She clamps her palm over her mouth and cries into it. She scoots away on her backside, then draws her knees up to her chest, bends her head, and sobs.
Chapter One – Mecca
Darkness cloaked the back parking lot in Little Five Points. On the asphalt, the man shuddered and gasped, his dusky blue eyes wide in his confusion. Mecca Trenow, her fingers wrapped around his wrist, held her own fear at bay by the need for survival. A confused grimace transformed the man’s face into an ugly, alabaster mask.Check out today's Free Fiction Friday! Prologue & Ch1 of Soul Cavern! ~ On the asphalt, the man shuddered and gasped, his dusky blue eyes wide in his confusion. #FFF #amreading Click To Tweet
Mecca’s heart thumped hard against her breastbone. Everything had happened so fast! His attack. Her response. Now, crouched over him, she found the arm in her grasp thinning, becoming more frail, until she could feel the actual bone between her fingers. His dark hair greyed and then wafted to the concrete like so many delicate feathers.
Superimposed over his form, like a double-exposed negative, the Cavern where his soul would have resided spread before her. It should have been bathed in golden light. Instead, a small ball of gold looked to be tethered to the walls with thick, silver-grey tendrils.
She closed her eyes to block out the reality behind the image of the Cavern. She tugged at the golden life force within him. Its colored fringes had already washed out to a pale pink. The silver tethers which held it stretched and then popped, one by one. Mecca surrounded the sad little ball with her own energy, gold with blue fringes, as it began to come away.
The captive energy swung free from its bonds, momentarily bathing the cold, dank Cavern in light. It hurled into Mecca. Her own life force, the little part of her soul she’d sent into him, crashed back to her, breaking her hold on his frail arm. She toppled onto her ass between the cars, sharp pain vibrating up her spine.
Energy tore through her, mixing with her adrenaline. The red-hot spike shuddered through her body and along her limbs. It reached her toes and then bounced back and shot through her entire body again. Her skin tingled electric.
She had no concept of how long she lay on the gravel lot. The acidic smell of piss coming from the ground made her queasy. The energy waned and ebbed until it settled into her and became familiar, became a part of her own soul. With a long, deep breath, she pulled herself up from between the cars, leaning against the cool door of a Toyota Camry.
As the energy finally began to level out, she realized that she felt drunk. Her fuzzy brain had trouble registering things around her, or even thinking, for that matter. So it took a moment to realize that the blob she stared at now was actually a man. He stood near the Dumpster, across the parking lot.
Tall, with dark, tousled hair, he watched her with wide eyes. What she’d done began to sink in. Panic edged her thoughts. She looked down at the withered corpse, at herself.
Dark droplets dusted her blouse. She touched the side of her neck and her fingertips came away bloody. The thump-thump of her pulse pounded in her ears.
At her feet, the shrunken carcass looked nothing like the sexy man in the coffee shop who’d approached her so many times over the last few weeks. His energy had been strange, which had kept her from engaging. But today, she’d said yes to a chat. And she’d ended up a murderer.
She stared at the dead thing. The fear she’d been holding back crashed over her like a flood.
She turned on her heel and ran.
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See you next week!