Echo

echo-girl-2

Photo From Pixabay. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Echo

The eyes staring back at me are heavy-lidded and bruised. Stretches of deep purplish chasms encircle irises as flat and brown as bark, their expression the same as ever: accusatory, distrusting, nervous…a clear fuck you and fuck off if ever there was one. I raise one dark eyebrow in silent challenge and am rewarded as she does the same. The corner of her sharp mouth turns down into a sneer and I can’t help but notice that her lips are chapped, marred with tiny indents and tears from gnawing teeth. They stand stark red against the pallor of her skin.

Ugly.

I no sooner think the word then I see it spread slantwise across her brow in inky, determined strokes, written into her skin by an invisible hand. Ugly. The word means the same even when it’s beautifully penned, with curlicues and flourishes, a deep onyx atop porcelain skin. Ugly. Her bitten mouth and hate-filled eyes. Ugly. The endless litany of words tattooed across her flesh, a lifetime’s collection of thoughts and conversations emblazoned forever for the world to see.

Ugly.

I tear my eyes from her in disgust, feeling the contents of my stomach rise, and force myself to continue reading. “For never was there a story of more woe…”

Personally, I can’t help but think Juliet had a simple life all things considered…but it’s no good, I can’t concentrate anymore. The memory of that face haunts me and I sigh, rubbing a hand over my tired eyes in frustration. If I look up, she’ll still be staring at me. Challenging me. Dammit.

This is why I avoid mirrors.

 

I have the whole of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet memorized. Word for word I know every pause, every phrase inside and out. From the first Two households to the final Romeo I can recount the entire play in five hours and seventeen minutes. Of course the words scrawl themselves across my skin as I go, some flashing and fading almost as soon as they appear, while others stake a claim to my flesh, refusing to fade back into obscurity as the play unfolds. I’ve acquired many words this way over the years: the slender rose that follows the arch of my left brow, the bold Mercutio – my favorite of Shakespeare’s characters – that straddles my jutting hip. Since every thought and spoken word reveals itself, I’ve learned to keep Shakespeare on a constant repeat in my head, like a broken record of beautiful words. If I have to be encased by words then I want them to be the work of a master.

I’d like to think the grandeur of his phrases counterbalance the barrage of stupid ones that have stuck for some reason or another over the years. Unconsciously, I glance down at the tiny shampoo curling down the side of my pinky from nail to palm and roll my eyes. I know they don’t, but I live in hope.

My eyes flicker upwards again before I can stop them, as gluttonous as ever for punishment, but this time it’s not myself I see, it truly is a stranger. Startled, I bury my nose back in my book before I remember I don’t need to hide, the library is my private sanctuary, especially in the middle of summer. He’s the one out of place.

Still, I lean forward, shaking my head slightly until the mass of brown-black hair falls against my cheeks, better covering my face and neck. My exposed fingers itch for the gloves I shed as soon as I arrived but putting them on now would do nothing but draw attention and it’s too hot in here for the damn things anyway.

I’m bristling now. Agitated.

Why is he here? I want to leave but I refuse to be driven out. Instead I fume. Silently cursing the stranger and whatever drove him to interrupt my peace. Well… as close to peace as I ever come. Doesn’t he know who haunts this place? I sneak a glance at him beneath lowered lashes. He doesn’t look familiar… with a jolt I realize the book he’s reading does though. I would recognize that peeling leather binding anywhere, let alone the tea still staining the tops of the pages from a mishap years ago. Hamlet.

Hmmm.

At least he appreciates the work of a true artist.

Inexplicably soothed, I return to my own copy of Shakespeare and finish the final line: than this of Juliet and her Romeo. On their own accord, my fingers flip back the pages, turn back the story to the prologue. Certainly Shakespeare’s finale is beautiful, but I always hate when the story ends. It’s not the sadness of the characters’ fate, everyone dies, but the thought that there are finally no more words that ruffles me. In fair Verona where we lay our scene.

He’s definitely a stranger. Early thirties I would guess, a few years older than myself, with dark, chin-length hair, broad, powerful shoulders and long legs that stretch out beneath the table he’s claimed. Casually hunched, his head rests in one palm, eyes downward, his whole being absorbed by what he’s reading. Even his lips move along, forming each new word in silence, completely enraptured. I recognize the sight.

I’m watching him, I know, but I can’t help it. He’s intriguing, and handsome – there’s no use denying it. Without warning, he looks up. His eyes are a bright blue with a hint of sage green, an odd, singular mixture. His expression is dreamy at first, lost in thought until his gaze sharpens and his eyes lock on me, seeing me at last. Heat rises beneath my skin and I look down in time to see desirable scroll along the outer curve of my wrist. Mortified, I snatch my hands to my chest and force myself to keep reading. My only love sprung from my only hate. Too early seen unknown and known too late. I swear, sometimes I just want to shake Juliet and tell her to wake the hell up.

The desirable hasn’t faded.

Seconds tick by, minutes, how long I’m not sure. I keep reading, keep my eyes trained on the words, until the fire leaves my skin and my fingers relax their death-grip on my forearms. I really should leave now, but I can’t get my legs to move. Maybe he’s gone, maybe he’s left already. I should check but I can’t do that either. I’m stuck here, locked inside myself with the words of Shakespeare ringing in my mind, but I’m not listening to them anymore. I want to leave. I want to leave. I want to leave.

“Hello.”

I consider it a personal miracle that I don’t fall out of my chair.

His voice is directly in front of me. Too close for him to still be sitting. I glance upward, unwilling to face him completely head on, and find that he’s standing just on the other side of my wooden table, hands clasped behind his back and a smile on his lips. For a moment we just stare at one another until I realize he’s waiting for me to say something. Good luck with that. I nod jerkily and his grin grows wider. My eyes narrow, looking for malice or ridicule, but I find neither.

“Do you mind if I join you?” His words are warm, like an embrace, his voice deep, cultured. He’s definitely not from here. Why? I don’t ask, won’t ask, but I let my gaze travel from him to the empty chair and back. He understands and within seconds we’re eye to eye, staring again. I feel his gaze as he takes in the words marking my face, or what he can see of it. I let him look.

“Do they not all fade? The others, when you were reading, they disappeared, but these are still here.” He touches his brow and I know he’s looking at the rose. His gaze is soft, thoughtful as he brings his eyes back to mine. I shake my head. His friendliness make me nervous. People are never this calm around me.

“I’ve never seen a girl wear Shakespeare so prettily.” My eyes are rolling and I release an exasperated sigh before I can stop myself. But he’s chuckling and I find I’m smiling. It’s a small smile. But still. “I’m Sebastian.”

My name flickers to life on the back of one hand, getting his attention. “Tara,” he reads quietly. “That’s a beautiful name.” I’ve never thought so, but it sounds different when he says it.

“I would ask what you’re reading, but I think I can guess.”

The look I give him needs no translation but he just smiles and his eyes take on that faraway look again.

 “Let me be ta’en. Let me be put to death. I am content, so thou wilt have it so. I’ll say yon grey is not the morning’s eye. ‘Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia’s brow. Nor that the lark, whose notes so beat the vaulty heaven so high about our heads. I have more care to stay than will to go. Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.

My excitement is instantaneous and insuppressible, surprising even me. With a clap of enthusiasm, I nod happily, while a smile, a real one, tips my lips upward. My fingers find the frayed cover of my book and I press it to my heart. Beautiful flashes beneath my right eye, reflected back at me from a glass case close by.

“Beautiful,” he repeats. He’s staring at me again, but I don’t mind. He’s not judging… just looking. I tuck a lock of hair behind my ear and point to the book he brought with him.

“I’m a little rusty on my Hamlet,” he admits with a wince. “I haven’t read it since high school actually, but I have an audition later and I figured a little Shakespeare never hurt anyone.”

An audition?

“I’m an actor,” he says, answering my unspoken question, then chuckles, shoving a hand through his dark hair, sweeping it out of his eyes. “Or so I keep telling myself.”

I don’t know what to make of this but I’m intrigued and I don’t want him to stop speaking. I’m leaning forward now, nodding slightly. Something passes over his features but it’s gone in an instant and his beautiful smile is back and those bright eyes are fixed on mine.

“What about you?”

My mouth curves downward and I sit back in my seat in dissatisfaction. I don’t want to talk about me. He sees this, sees my withdrawal, but doesn’t change the subject or ask another question. He just waits. Seconds pass by. My heart thumps like an anvil in my chest. What does he want me to say? What I am?

A freak. Ugly. Monster. Word-collector. Shakespeare-reader. Lonely. Angry.

I’m all these things but I don’t want to say these things to this man, though I’m sure they’re etched somewhere on me right now. But he isn’t looking for them. He’s waiting. Giving me time to decide what I want to say, if I want to say anything. If for no other reason, this makes me want to speak.

What am I?

I don’t even think I know. I’ve never been able to choose what to tell someone before, it’s almost as frightening as having no choice at all.

What am I?

It really shouldn’t be this difficult.

It’s not until his fingers settle over mine, like warm butter curving around to encase my hand that I realize how tense I am. A sigh escapes me before I can stop it and I’m sucking in air like someone who’s nearly drowned. His hand is stroking mine; warm, beautiful skin against, pale, inked skin. It’s almost hypnotic. I can’t remember the last time someone has touched me. I try to pull away, embarrassed at myself, the situation, his kindness, but his hand tightens on mine, catching me before I can escape.

There’s another choice here.

I let him keep my hand. His fingers curve against the inside of my wrist, stroking my palm with some strange magic that both calms and excites me. I manage a small smile in thanks but the irony of the situation leaves me almost giddy and lightheaded. Words. Words. Words. My life is nothing but words, I take them in and spit them out, and now they’ve failed me. What would Shakespeare think?

Frailty, thy name is woman.

Ha. Shakespeare’s so damn applicable.

With a reckless, unexplainable grin that feels so strange, and foreign, and wonderful, I meet his eyes again and shrug. I have no idea how to tell him who or what I am. I guess if he really wants to know he’ll just have to wait and find out.

Smile-lines crinkle around those blue eyes and my stomach flips into my throat. “An enigma then. I figured as much.”

 

 

Two days later and wouldn’t you know it, the Daily Prompt is Silence . Coincedence? I think not! 😀

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Of Dreams And Nightmares

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Inspiration can come in many forms my lovelies and it varies for each writer and each story they set out to tell. It can be a snippet of a poem, a lyric from a song, or the way a color brightens in the morning light that sets our minds buzzing with insatiable curiosity. For me it’s usually music that strikes a chord, but quite a few of my plotlines have come to me in dreams and nightmares.

Some are beautiful and sad, with brilliant colors and emotions so strong I can still taste them after I wake. But others are so dark and frightening they leave me paralyzed for days after, too afraid to fully comprehend what I’ve seen, but unwilling to forget the story I’ve been told. One dream stands out vividly, and I think always will, with its pain, horror, and unimaginable sadness and unthinkable monsters — the likes of which, I’d never come across before. It pulled me in and refused to let me go, even when I woke up multiple times gasping for breath, I only had seconds before I fell back asleep and the story picked right back up where I left it.

There were people I knew in this dream and some places I recognized (markers for characters and settings for the novel, i.e. my best friend was the characters best friend, my love hers etc.) and it was so real. Every moment felt as though it could be my last. There were brief moments of hope followed by crushing pain and always the need to stay alive…to just stay alive no matter what. It was me, but in so many ways it wasn’t, and when I finally woke I knew exactly whose story it was. The character and her story frightened me, intrigued me…and inspired me. I have many WIP’s and planned future stories that happily take up my time and thoughts, but this one is never far from my mind. I hear it’s pain in music and see it in colors that captivate me, and occasionally when, I’m lucky I dream of it again, though it’s never the same dream.

As much as it scared me, I understand now how incredibly helpful that first dream was, it made me understand…it forced me to see things I didn’t want to see. And now I find myself longing to dream it again, to see it as vividly as I did years ago, as it’s faded a bit with time, and there are certain things I don’t remember as clearly. But that is the way of dreams and of inspiration, it strikes white-hot for only a moment before slowly turning into a slightly blurry, haunting notion that tickles your mind and leaves you scrabbling to catch a wisp of it before it disappears forever.

What inspires you my lovelies? Has it ever been a dream or a nightmare?

*Originally posted on 2/26/2014 in response to a Daily Prompt.

The Water Maiden: A Realm of Light Short Story

The closest to restless spirits my Realm of Light  novels (Believe, Prophecy, Ashes, and others) get…

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Water Maiden

She had lurked in the rolling, pounding depths for nearly a thousand years, a presence under the undulating surface with no true form beyond a vague sense of being. Lolling and drifting, she spread like a drop of ink, but never left the waters surrounding the ruins of what had been a mighty castle, the home of the ancient gift-bearer kings. Her memory, still perfect after all this time, recalled those days when the iolite-laced walls were tall, unscarred, and whole and when torches blazed with life and light. She had been born here, in that time once upon a time and had spent her life among the people who had lived within the stone walls. She’d walked the derelict stone corridors, smelled the fresh sweetness of the night-blooming flowers in the gardens, sat on a throne in the great hall, and slept in a lonely tower. That tower with secret winding steps…

She had lived here, loved here, hated here, and died here.

And now she waited, as she had waited for a millennia. All but one had passed beyond her senses, vague as they were beneath the icy waters. When she first woke to this existence all those years ago, it was with no knowledge of what she waited for, merely the awareness that she must wait. It did not take long for understanding to come. At first she felt them almost unceasingly. For centuries the consciousness of what she’d set into motion filled her until the flood slowed into a trickle, then a slow, steady drip. Friends, enemies, strangers, she felt them all and knew she would continue here until all those alive when she last drew breath were gone from the Realm of Light. The passing centuries gave her time to think, to reflect, to know. Her new life was no punishment, but a chance to heal, not just her own Spirit but countless others. And so she waited as the waves washed her Spirit clean of hate. They broke over her, broke within her, shattering and reforming her with each new tide. There was pain but she welcomed it. Centuries more passed with endless tides until only one remained. Only one. Just one.

Until now.

He was here, on the beach beneath the ruins. She sensed it. She sensed him.

At last, she and the water breathed with a releasing sigh. A ripple stirred across the frothy surface as she drifted upwards, gathering into a solid form that coalesced in the breaking of a white-capped wave. Suddenly she was, again for the first time in an age.

He watched the crashing waves, watched the violet-blue water crash down upon itself and turn white. He saw the water gather and fall and the woman form from the sparkling droplets. The fire of her hair caught the scant sunlight and shone, as vibrant as he remembered. It framed her ivory face beckoningly, and for that moment he believed she could truly be a sea siren, a being born of the depths and wilds of the water. By all the Spirits she was just as achingly lovely as ever, so beautiful, pain lanced across his chest, leaving him breathless. Her full wine-colored lips pursed in thought and her golden eyes bore into him as only hers could, leaving him feeling foolishly young – a sensation he had neither felt nor remembered in nearly a lifetime.

For moments they did nothing but stare, lost in thoughts and memories at the sight of each other. Years, centuries, a lifetime faded until they were once again the two people from a story lost to time.

Unused to speech, she fought to remember how to form the words that she must. With slow deliberateness, she opened her lips and thrilled at her voice – a strange tinny thing she no longer recognized above the waves. “Hello little boy,” she said with only a hint of mockery. Kindness, familiarity, and a deep respect echoed in her words. He grinned nervously and ran an elegant hand through his short dark hair. There was still something within her, even now, that left him with that embarrassing sense of immaturity. No one but she had ever made him feel that way, and now nearly a thousand years later he slipped back into the awkwardness of youth.

She smiled seeing his sudden uncertainty and knew she was a bit naughty to tease him so. The boyish vampyre she had known was no longer, this man before her was a hero, a legend in his own right. Even she had heard whispers of his greatness on the depths of the darkness. She had seen the possibility of such a man shining in the boy’s eyes all those years ago and now felt a strange pride in knowing he had become the man she thought he could be.

“I knew it would be you,” her voice carried across the water effortlessly to where he stood on the shore. The air was still and cool against her exposed flesh, but she did not shiver in her thin silk gown. The surging water kept her warm, tugging and pulling at her waist before rising again to brush the underside of her breasts. The tide was slow, hypnotic. “I knew.”

He nodded, not bothering to ask how, there was no point. He had known she was here, not at first, but over the centuries he felt her, heard tales of a water maiden, and knew she waited.

“I’m sorry to have kept you,” he replied, not sorry to have lived his life but that hers had not been. That she had been kept from him for all this time, even after all they had suffered before those last dark days. The injustice of it flashed like a fire beneath his pale skin. Had they not suffered enough in life? Was this really…

“Yes,” she nodded peacefully, knowing well where his thoughts were. “This was necessary.”

A stubborn gleam filled his onyx eyes as his sensuous mouth turned downwards. “But…”

“Nothing. What’s done is done my friend, and for a greater purpose than we may ever understand.” Spoken aloud, the truth of it all reverberated deep in their bones. The last of whatever kept her tied to the sea faded, releasing her to take one small step towards land, towards the fallen castle, towards him. One step, then another, and another until breathless and invigorated she stood in the shallows with only wavelets lapping at her toes. She hesitated then, frightened now that freedom was so close. What if she had it wrong? What if it was taken from her now when she wanted it most?

The man who had been the greatest vampyre king noted her sudden fear and held out a strong hand for her. The foolish youth was gone, he was once again the man he had been for centuries now. The man who never forgot the suffering and strength of this woman he had so missed.

She took his hand with a determined grin, exhilarated at his strength as well as her own as she stepped onto the sandy shore, walking a few steps until she was sure she was free. Joy, elation, excitement, and a small taste of sadness at leaving her home nearly overwhelmed her, crashing over her head like a breaking wave. He squeezed her hand questioningly and realizing she held her breath, she let it go, opening her eyes. Her lips curled into an adventurous, triumphant smile that was mirrored on his own up-turned lips.

“Are you ready My Lady?” he asked, feeling now an insistent tug on the edge of his consciousness. It urged him onward, their time was almost at an end. He did not want to forget her, but perhaps oblivion would right the wrongs of all those years ago. Perhaps they would all do better, be happier, this time. He certainly hoped so, for their sake if no other.

She felt the same tug, the same hint that time was finally coming to an end on this life. What would the next one bring for them all, all the players in the game that was her old life? “Yes,” she said slowly, turning towards the sun. Whether it was rising or falling, she struck out to meet it and he fell into step beside her. “Yes, I’m ready.”

They walked in silence for a time, the tug growing more persistent with every step, until he spoke one last time. “Did you ever see him?”

“No,” she whispered, picturing his face as she remembered it, knowing this was the last time Elesain would remembered Fallon. Their story was finally over, no one would remember him again as she did now. No one would remember her. With a sigh, she met Treyuston’s gaze as they continued walking, hand in hand.

“But I will.”

*This is set in the same land as my first novel Believe and is a short companion story to a future novel I haven’t written yet. I don’t normally jump ahead to future books (usually, though I have done so a bit with Ashes), but this was playing continuously in my head and I wanted to get it down before it disappeared! Hopefully it’s not too confusing, though I know you have no idea who these people are or what happened to them. Suffice it to say the title of the novel this goes with is Wrath, and that should give you some insight 😀

Weekly Photo Challenge: Careful

Well my lovelies, I’ve searched and searched for pictures that bring to mind this week’s challenge (Careful) but I guess most of my pictures aren’t about being careful so much as living a little! So really I only found one that brought being cautious to mind.

This was one of the first pictures taken my very first day of classes at FSU my freshman year. Walking to class, I was terrified, lonely, desolate, and trying so carefully to keep myself together when all I wanted to do was crumble and break into a thousand little pieces.

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Thankfully things improved with time and this terrifying place became my home away from home, a place where I carefully, deliberately, wildly, and unexpectedly became myself. 😀

***

P.S. WordPress just informed me that this is my 200th post! *Happy dance* Thank you for all the support and friendship my lovelies and here’s to the next 200!

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The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Thirteen

If you need a refresher course on the Ratha James series here on Moonstonemaiden, go ahead and click here to catch up on all the piratical adventures of this amazing woman and her steadfast friends!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Thirteen

The sun was setting in a blaze of citrine and ruby light into the churning cobalt sea beyond the massive diamond-paned windows when Ratha finally stepped into the glorious St. Clare library. Maddie, Joona, and an unusually weary-looking Eric sat near the warmth and light of a crackling fireplace on the far side of the room, soft conversation enveloping them with the love of longstanding friendship. Each looked up when the door opened, their words halting as Ratha strode towards them, a scowl tugging her lips downward and darkening her bright eyes. Eric St. Clare rose from his seat and moved to meet her with a warm smile, pulling her to him in a brotherly hug that squeezed what little breath she had left from her lungs. Even after all this time, he worried for her safety and to see her and Madeline alive again and home brought him such fierce joy. When he finally released her it was only to lead her to an overlarge chair beside Maddie and to fetch her a glass of port.

Doing her best not to wheeze, Ratha sank into the chair with relief, breathing in as deeply as she could manage in her borrowed gown. She accepted the port with a small smile and took a deep drink, letting the liquid burn it’s way down her throat to her belly, warming her from the inside out. In brilliant contrast to the jagged fire inside her, the crystal goblet was cool and perfectly smooth in her rough, weathered hands. She bit back a rye smile at the sight of her scarred hands holding something so perfect and fragile before setting the goblet down with a decisive clink. Looking back at those before her, she leveled a pointed glare at the red-haired woman sitting before her, her brows arching questioningly.

“Well Joona St. Clare,” she huffed, gesturing down to the emerald gown in disgust. “Why am I in this monstrosity?”

“I think you look lovely Amalee,” Maddie offered with a grin, running an appreciative hand over her own rose pink gown with unabashed pleasure. The sea had yet to take Madeline’s enjoyment of beautiful things and Ratha doubted it ever could. Madeline was born to see beauty in a cruel, sparkling world.

“That’s not the point,” Ratha said with a wave of her hand and a ghost of a smile at her friend’s deserved happiness. But her eyes never left Joona’s. Some new secret lurked beneath their sharp green surface, churning in the depths where love and intellect normally resided. Ratha’s heart beat a little faster. “What is it Joona, what haven’t you told us?”

“There’s a merchant ship moored in our shipyard,” Joona admitted, her mouth a slight grimace. “You’ll have seen it no doubt as you came into port.”

“Yes,” Amalee nodded, thinking back to the ship bearing the garish orange and silver flags with entwined songbirds that had given her pause before she had arrived. A matching grimace turned her mouth downward as well, settling into port with strange ships and crews so close by was never something she enjoyed, but the bulk of the St. Clare’s fortune was made on the seas and ships came and went through their shipyard far too often for it to frighten her away. The vessels never stayed long, and the crews were kept bust unloading a foreign cargo or loading a new one bound for some exotic destination before settling sail on the next earliest tide. Her women had strict orders to stay well clear of the St. Clare shipyard and the men who worked them and the sailors who passed through them. Their names and faces did not need to become known. But her women knew this well and St. Clare had never before felt the need to draw her aside just to mention a ship. Her stomach tightened into a thick fist. “Is it dangerous?”

“No,” Joona said slowly. “But there was a storm at sea some weeks ago and the vessel was badly damaged, the hull breached and a mast snapped in two. The repairs will take some days and in that time the crew will work and sleep aboard their own ship. They will not be a danger to you and yours so long as your women remain out of their way and in their sight. But unfortunately…”

“But unfortunately what?” Ratha demanded, her heart beating so fiercely that sure it would explode out of the confines of her blasted gown at any moment.

“Unfortunately, you have already been noticed. Or rather your beauty has. It seems the Captain was quite intrigued with a certain person, and asked Eric just who the exquisite brunette was wearing men’s trousers and boots as though she was born in them.”

Ratha’s face paled. How on earth did a sailor recognize her as a woman from such a distance, especially with her long hair — her most telling feature — tied up and out of her face?! “What did you tell them?”

Joona held her friend’s gaze, the very air tense with unspoken possibilities before her lips curved upward. “That you were my cousin of course. Fresh from Ireland with a few companions and on the hunt for an English husband to rival my own.”

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Nine

*St. Clare Manor* Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artists.

*St. Clare Manor*
Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artists.

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Nine

The room fell silent for a moment as each woman struggled with her own heartbreak. Seeing Joona’s swollen stomach unleashed a torrent of fresh hatred in Amalee’s heart for the monster she had wed. If not for Derek’s brutal lusts, she too would be carrying her first child by now. He had stolen much from her in the months since their wedding, but sitting in this quiet from with her friends so near, Amalee felt the depth of the injustice anew. But as powerful as her hate was, it was tinged with a strange sort of relief as well. With no child, there was nothing linking her to Derek but a name, unpleasant perhaps but remedied easily enough with a lie. Perhaps it was best the only thing she took from her marriage was herself. Thinking back to the wrenching fear and perils of just the last few days of flight, she blanched whiter than snow. Escaping with a child, even one unborn would have been nearly impossible, she may not have made it — though she would have perished trying, to save the child if not herself.

With a war of emotions blazing across her face, she looked up to find Joona’s sharp green gaze upon her, taking in her tattered, dirt-streaked appearance with a calm that only St. Clare possessed among them. Amalee flushed a heated scarlet to be seen in such a disgraceful manner in her friend’s elegant home, but there was no judgment in Joona’s gaze, only love, and a readiness to do what must be done. It was when her eyes moved to Maddie that Amalee saw them widen with suppressed tears.

Oh Maddie…my poor Maddie.

Cursing herself as a fool for thinking only of her own woes, she turned and felt her heart splinter at the sight of such longing and grief as was etched into Maddie’s lovely face.  If ever a woman deserved a child to love and raise in happiness, it was Madeline…fate had been cruel indeed to take this possibility from her.

As one, Amalee and Joona silently rose and went and knelt by their friend, wrapping her into a tight embrace that spoke of more love than words could ever hope to.  For several long minutes the three women held one another safe, Joona with the fierceness of a fledgling mother, Madeline with the tender hope of an innocent soul, and Amalee with the raw determination of a survivor.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Are you new to the Ratha James story or just feel like you need a refresher to catch back up, just click here and read to your heart’s content my lovelies 😀

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Eight

Image From Google.

Image From Google.

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Eight

It was that day that two of the Irish brides escaped their husbands and fled to the only place they could think of: St. Clare manor. Each had been there a handful of times in their youth and knew that it was close to the sea, some miles from London. Convinced that their third friend must have been treated as badly as they, Maddie and Amalee forced themselves to keep going when their tired bodies wanted to stop, to rest. It took two days to reach the manor, and each girl knew the horror that could be inflicted in just two days, and prayed that they were not too late. It was to their great surprise when, in the pitch blackness they found their way to the manor door and discovered that the lady of the house was in and doing well. Being filthy and strangers, the friends were left to wait outside until Joona came to the door to inspect the two travelers who pleaded an audience with her.

Upon discovering her friends, Joona threw wide the door and pulled them into a private sitting room where Amalee and Madeline rushed to tell their stories and to plead for their friend to join them in escaping their English husbands. It was not until Amalee had finished outlining her idea of stealing inside a ship dressed as men that she noticed her friend’s swelling stomach and the smooth paleness of Joona’s face, unmarred by bruises or hidden beneath powder. She reached a hesitant hand out to settle atop the firm swell and was surprised to feel the strong kick of a baby settling inside its mother.

“You have done what we could not,” she whispered reverently, thinking that she too should be this swollen and would be if not for Derek’s temper.

 

Here There Be Snakes!

Ok my lovelies, I’ll have a real post for you tomorrow but today I just wanted to share with you a little snippet of humor I experienced last night! Oh and I just want to apologize for the last week or two if two of each of my posts have been showing up in your Reader but only one being clickable. What can I say, WordPress is giving me hell and not posting right, but I am sorry 😀 And when in doubt, usually click the second link! But ok I promised you a funny, so here you go, (it was my Facebook status last night after I calmed down enough to type lol):

That moment you go outside in flip-flops and are confronted with a snake on your porch blocking your retreat and must resort to flashlight code and wildly elaborate hand signals to get the people inside to notice your distress and reopen the door wide enough for you to barrel back in like a freight train with the leaping grace of a gazelle, but not wide enough to let the snake inside the house…oh yeah.

He Didn’t Leave

Forest Scene- found on Facebook

Forest Scene- found on Facebook

 

I fear being left behind, uncared for…alone, and you were leaving early.

Panic.

Nightmare.

Fearful, I cried. I don’t think you heard me, but you may’ve.

Be brave, I thought, only to discover you were staying after all.

“Did you change your plans for me?”

“Does it matter?”

Yes.

 

This is for the Weekly Challenge for the Daily Post and was inspired by my awesome brother. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/writing-challenge-fifty/

Dreaming Of Ashes

Here’s a little snippet from one of my WIP’s called Ashes, (I call this scene Mother). I hope you enjoy! 😀

It’s been over twenty years and I still dream about her nearly every night. Her copper eyes – my eyes –twinkle back at me from an unearthly lovely face framed by dark, flowing black hair as she laughs –a throaty, feminine sound – at something I cannot see or do not remember. The crown of blue ink stands out vividly against her pale brow, and I long to trace those entwined lines with my fingertips again, feeling the slight ridge where marked skin meets flawless porcelain. Her face is as familiar to me now as it was then; other details of that life long ago have faded, but not this. Often I find her near our home, standing amid the stark beauty of the reddish-brown desert with the heat of the sun bearing down upon us both as we search each other’s faces for traces of the passage of time. There are other faces in these dreams as well – dark, blurry images – that leave me with a tingling sensation of home and something lost, but always I reach for her.

At times she evades me and hides in the darkness of the place I cannot enter, a place she won’t let me near. The darkness is off-limits, a place out-of-bounds and forbidden, even here in my own dreams. Don’t…don’t look back.

Some nights she weeps there in the darkness and for a brief moment I can see her stretched over-top a pile of stones where she slumps into herself, broken and sobbing, asking me where I’ve been, why I’ve not come to find her yet. Help me…help me Ryzan, she begs before she begins screaming, those awful, tearing screams that haunt me and leave me shaken and drained for days afterward. Her piercing voice shifts from agonizing howls of pain, to gorge-rising screams of fear, before finally becoming the guttural shrieks of rage, so filled with hatred that I’m suddenly thrust back, forced from her presence as though shoved by a full-blooded vampyre.

From these dreams, I always awake trembling and reaching for her, fearing that once again I am lost and knowing that for a moment, she had been near enough to grasp. Thankfully these dreams are few, and most nights I merely see her smiling face haloed by the buttery, yellow light of the desert sun – the face of my memory – and I know. She is out there still, waiting for me to find her.

One day I will.

Image From GoogleAll Rights Belong To The Artist

Image From Google
All Rights Belong To The Artist