Writing Process Blog Tour

There are not enough hours in the day. I’ve said and hear this a lot. While it holds a lot of truth it can also be an excuse. That is why I was so glad when Author Alan Lewis asked me to be a part of this amazing Blog Tour. For one, it allowed me to share with others what my writing process is and gave me a kick in the butt to keep up with my blog!

Thanks to the Query Faerie for the challenge to all of us authors. Please check out her blog!

http://thequeryfaerie.wordpress.com/author/thequeryfaerie/

If you don’t know anything about Alan then you should get to know him! He’s an amazing author from Tennessee and writes Steampunk and Pulp stories. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Alabama Phoenix Festival this year. Check him out here:

Blog: http://www.snowflakegarden.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-D-Alan-Lewis/141282752579697

What am I working on?

Currently, I’m working on book three of The Darkness Trilogy, my YA Paranormal Thriller. It is yet to be publicly named, but I have a pretty good idea of the title. Funnily enough, I have the ending already mapped out and have even started on the opening. However, I’m not sure how I’m going to get from point A to point B. I’m sure it will all come together as my writing usually does. This is the first time that I’ve started from the ending though. It’s been quite the experience!

When I need a bit of a break from book 3 I am working on a novella from one of the characters from The Darkness Trilogy. I can’t say which character that is yet, but I will say that it is a female. Her voice was one that I wanted to capture into an entire novel. To me, her character needs and deserves her own story and more room to grow. I’m not saying that it will be a continuation of the original story, but it will have similar elements.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

There are so many YA Paranormal books out there it’s hard to keep up with what’s what. However, I would hope that my series can stand out for numerous reasons. For starters, the lead character is a young girl of faith. I didn’t write the books to be targeted to a Christian audience only, but I wanted her to be someone who depends a lot of her faith. I am someone of faith and know that there are many things I have gone threw that would have been impossible without God. My series isn’t preachy, it’s more like speculative Christian. I’ve had several readers who are of other faiths or with no religious beliefs at all that have enjoyed the series. I believe that is because people pick up on the biggest point of the book, hope.

Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always said that if I didn’t write I would go insane. There are so many voices in my head, characters waiting to be born, that if I ignored them I’d lose my mind. The bottom line is, I love it. There isn’t anything better to me then to sit down and create an entire new life  with words. Investing in my characters and their worlds is therapeutic, my escape from reality. The world throws so much at us. We are beat up from work, people and so much more. For me, I want to wrap myself up in my work for just a moment. It’s rejuvenating!

How does your writing process work?

One of the main reasons I wanted to do this Blog Tour is because I really don’t have a writing process per se. There are very analytical writers out there and I applaud them. They outline plot points, character development, and much more. I can’t work that way and I believe it’s because my thought process is just too scattered. The most I have ever done is write out who the characters are and what they might look like. Other than that, I free hand their stories into my journal. I love having a pen or pencil in my hand and just write. Sometimes I just sit down with a fresh piece of paper and start writing. I’ll have no idea what I’m going to say or who I’ll create. That is the fun part! When the story is ready that is when I’ll transcribe it to a Word document and go from there.

Thank you so much for taking the time to get to know me a bit more. If you get a chance, go check out these next authors that will be the next to tackle the four questions above:

Jeremy Hicks: 

Jeremy Hicks

Jeremy Hicks

After nearly dying at birth, Jeremy Hicks gave up his ghost during the sorrowful autumn of his twelfth year. The outsider that occupied his body from that point onward did the best it could to imitate him. However, this being’s bizarre sense of humor and inability to fully mimic human emotions kept it an outsider. After many unhappy years of trying to assimilate to this plane of existence and its daily doldrums, he turned to the cadre of demons in his life for other options.

He teamed up with one of them inhabiting a ginger known as Barry Hayes and together they turned their nightmares into fiction. The writing team of Hicks & Hayes created an original horror-fantasy environment (Faltyr™), wrote a screenplay (The Cycle of Ages Saga: Finders Keepers) to introduce it, and then adapted it into a novelization of the same name. As a result, their first novel was published by Dark Oak Press in August 2013.

Jeremy co-owns Broke Guys Productions and served as Associate Producer on the independent horror film, “Curse of the Rougarou.” He is also a poet and short story writer.

Brian Weimer:

Brian Weimer

Brian Weimer

Brian Weimer is an author, and digital artist from Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Southeastern Bible College with a degree in theology. Brian has recently released his first novel, Nexus, a supernatural, sci-fi thriller currently available on Amazon.com. He is a regular writer for The Examiner, covering such topics as entertainment, pop culture, health and nutrition, and a range of other topics. He is currently working on his second novel, The Citadel, a horror story, as well as a follow up to Nexus.

 

 

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Alabama Phoenix Festival

Alabama Phoenix Festival

 

 

Well everyone it’s almost here, The Alabama Phoenix Festival. I can not tell you how excited I am. There will be so many authors that I will get to meet. There will be a costume contest, for the book characters. The Alabama Ghostbusters, and the Millennium Falcon’s from Stars Wars will be there.There will also be a real life Tardis from Dr. Who.

I can not wait till the Alabama Phoenix Festival. I have been waiting for this for a couple weeks. I am so happy that I will get to be part of this event. It is a wonderful opportunity that I get to go. It will be May 30th- June 1st. I can’t wait to see everyone, and I hope that I have a great turnout!

Gadsden Public Library

I had decided to go to the Local Author Event in Gadsden, Alabama on Saturday May 19th. I didn’t know how it was going to turn out since it was raining, and it looked horrid outside.The sun was not shinning and the clouds were dark and grey. I was thinking that now one was going to want to get out of bed and drive in that weather.

I figured that I would sell only a couple books, but by eleven o’clock I had sold more than I thought I was going to sell the whole day. I had so many people interested in my book. Explaining the book to them, making them want to read the book and buy it made me so happy.

Me getting geared up!

Me getting geared up!

During the day I had seen some of my old friends that I have not seen in years. There was a wonderful author and an amazing women who I had shared a table with name Taomi Ray. I was so lucky to have met her. She was definitely someone I could connect and Share my experiences with as well as she sharing hers.

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Later that day I had gotten to do an interview on a radio station. That was a really good experience. Talking about my book on air was really fun and I hope to do it again. While I had stepped away for the interview my wonderful assistant Katja had sat in my place. I was told she did an excellent job and I definitely believe it.

 

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By the end of the day, the sun was shining and I had a great outcome. I met so many awesome people, and authors. Everyone was so friendly and it was such a great experience. I can’t wait till next year when I get to do it again, and if you are a local author you should come out and participate. It is a wonderful opportunity not just to get your book out there and sell it, but to meet new people and friends. I am so glad I went to the Gadsden Public Library.

 

Me and Katja!

Me and Katja!

Alabama Book Festival Here I Come!

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be going to the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery on Saturday, April 19th. As a kid I would daydream about being an author. I would sit in Math class (Sorry, Mrs. T!) and writer stories instead of paying attention. Side note: This is a practice I do not recommend! You’ll struggle with math for the rest of your life!

It never occurred to me that my daydream would become reality! Being invited anywhere to share my experience and what I know is exciting. If you want to join us book nerds then go here to find out some more information.

http://alabamabookfestival.org/welcome.html

I’ll be speaking at the Moulton House from 10:00 am to 10:30 am. After that I’ll be at the book signing area. My books will be available through Capital Book & News Company. Here is a list of the author schedule:

http://alabamabookfestival.org/author-schedule.html

I hope you do get to come and have lots of fun!

God bless!

~A

First UK Review for The Forsaken

I can’t help but keep up with review of my novels. It’s jut how us Indie Authors track how our sales are going because remember, we have to do it all. 🙂 So, needless to say, when we get a good review we are morally obligated to blast it out everywhere we can!

The Forsaken has been online since February 28th, nearly a month ago, and finally I got my first UK review. UK readers have been very enjoyable to “work” with. I’m an American girl, but it seems that the UK ebook readers have embraced my novels with warm and open arms. For that I am deeply touched.

Here is the first of what I hope is many reviews from the UK readers!

UK Review for The Forsaken

UK Review for The Forsaken

I actually giggled when I read that M.B. was hopeful for a film. Hey, I’m all in for that! At this point I have no idea who, in the current acting pool, I’d want my dream cast to be. When I wrote the book I didn’t picture anyone famous in my mind for the characters. There are visuals of who each one is and what they look like, but it’s of my own creation. Yet, if Liam Hemsworth wanted to play Liam Cole then who am I to say no?!?

God bless,

~A

You Will Receive Power!

When I write, parts of me, of who I am, bleed into the paper. I think that is the same for all authors or any artist. As a Christian, my faith often is seen in the words. When I first started writing The Darkness Trilogy, I knew that I never wanted to write anything that would hurt my witness, but I also didn’t want to sugar coat the world that my characters lived in. That is to say, they live in a dark world. If they don’t cling to the light then how are they going to find their way? I believe the same can be said for us.

It was never my intention to market the book toward Christians. That isn’t to say that I thought Christians couldn’t relate to it or that I thought non-believers wouldn’t give my book a chance. I wanted people to see it for what it was, a book, a form of entertainment. It wasn’t until that first review where a young girl had mentioned she enjoyed the Christian element of the book that I realized I had infused my faith into the words. Deep down I knew that I could never write something that made me feel uncomfortable as a Christian, but from that moment on I realized that by writing I was using a Gift.

If you’ve read TDT then you know that my characters have many Gifts. Granted, these Gifts are of paranormal origin. You won’t find many singers, teachers or preachers, but you will find those who use these Gifts for good. It was a pumped up version of using your God given abilities to make the world a better place and to lead lost souls to salvation. For the most part, the idea has been well received.

Now, it hasn’t been all butterflies and rainbows. I’ve had some Christians tell me, in so many words, that my writing is dark and can be too secular for Christians. That makes me sad, but it has also helped me reflect back on what I’m putting out there. If I’m being honest, it makes me feel a bit defensive. Ha! The reason being is because I know this book is fictional, its a story of make-believe with hints of the real world laced throughout its pages. So, for starters, I hope that people don’t take the book as fact. However, take the book for what it could be. What’s that? Well, I think we could take Rayna’s situation and reflect upon our own lives.

She is thrown into a very dark world at such a young age. She has lost, been victimized and shunned. That sounds like a few real world people that I’ve known or read about. Also,  her everyday life is a battle of darkness and light. She can feel that darkness creep into her little world and she fights it tooth and nail with the light. Rayna leans on her faith, using God’s strength to face each day. She draws from His power and clings to others of like minded individuals. She faces an evil, one of pride, greed and lust, and knows that without her faith she would surely fail.

I don’t see how that is any different than what Christians have to do every day. We might not have her supernatural abilities or actually fight someone like The Shadow, but can’t we say that we do to a certain extent? The devil is always near. He is always searching for weaknesses in our armor. We might not see the darkness that surrounds us all of the time, but it is there. It’s in everyday life. Sometimes we don’t see it until its in our face. How do we combat something like that? The only way we can, with God!

A verse from the Bible hit me square in the chest the other day. I read it while scrolling through Facebook of all places. It was a verse that the page for the movie God’s Not Dead had shared. It reminded me of Rayna, about her Gifts, and it reminded me of our everyday life as a Christian, about our Gifts.

Acts 1:8

Acts 1:8

I’ve been told that you should read the verses before and after a passage. While there is great meaning in that verse alone, there is also so much more if you keep reading. This is when Jesus had come back and was telling the Apostles that the Holy Spirit would give them the power to reach out to the world with His message. When He ascended into Heaven they were left staring after Him. That is when two men dressed in white, who I believe were angels, asked the Apostles why there were just standing there staring? They explained that Jesus would come back the same way He had left. So, to me that means that we aren’t going to miss His return!

Isn’t that how we are in our lives though? We are given so many gifts and powers to share His love with the world, but instead of doing so we are just standing there waiting for Him to return. I find myself guilty of the same thing. I love this life that He has given me, but I get beat down by this world and think there is nothing I can do so I just sit and wait. That’s so wrong in me! That is selfish and disobedient. What Child of Light am I if I keep that warm, luminous love to myself?

Let us use our talents, our Powers, our GIFTS, for the upbuilding of His kingdom! Will we always do it perfectly? Of course not! We are weak, but He is strong. 🙂

~A

Short Stories and Fan-Fiction

Some of you may know that I wrote a short story for an online competition about Alice in Wonderland. It was a horror take on the beloved classic. Unfortunately, I didn’t win, but it helped inspire an idea. I want to take that story and expand on it. I’ve read fan-fiction before or different takes on a well known story, yet I’ve never thought about pursuing that for myself. However, I find that I want to challenge myself to do this. It was weird writing this story. Sure, my books are dark, but there is always this element of light. After writing this story, there seemed to be only just a tiny bit of light in it. So, I may have to brighten things up a bit!! 🙂

There isn’t a timeline I’ve set for the completion. The reason being, I am currently working on the third book in The Darkness Trilogy. So, this may have to wait until that is complete. Until then, if you want to read the short story that is available on my DeviantARt page, you can go to this link:

To Die in Wonderland

 

Or you can read it here:

 

The young girl with pretty blonde hair knew that her time was coming to an end and it was coming fast. Although, she suspected that it wouldn’t come in quite this fashion. She was young; full of life and promise, dying had never really crossed her mind. Of course there had been that one fleeting moment of death tickling at the back of her thoughts. It was after she lost her first puppy to the neighbor’s much larger canine. Yet, it was just that, a fleeting moment, a blink of an eye and then it was gone.
Now here she stood, death looming over her in the form of things that weren’t supposed to be real.
“Alice,” her mother would say. “There is no such thing as talking caterpillars or rabbits with pocket watches.”
Her imagination was very vivid for most children. In fact, her parents had often scoffed at her stories when she would tell them that she was being chased through the gardens by a boy with his heart on the outside of his chest.  In her childlike mind, he had been real.
She had seen him lurking in the shadows of the trees while she sat on the ground, dirtying her dress that her mother told her not to dirty, playing with her dolls. At first she didn’t think he was truly there, that he were a mirage created by the shadows. Then as he moved closer to her she could see that he was indeed, a breathing person, much alive yet with the look of death about him.
The boy had a pale face with dark, black eyes and wore a torn and tattered suit. It looked like a suit her father would wear when he and her mother would dine out or go to the opera. His top hat was bent and sat crookedly on a mess of matted black hair.
When he had moved into the light that was when her crisp, blue eyes saw that his heart was on the outside of his body, coloring his white shirt red with the blood that seeped from his heart. As Alice looked closer she could see that it was still beating.
That was only one of many occasions where Alice saw something she wasn’t supposed to see. After a while she learned to keep those things to herself otherwise she figured that she would end up in the local asylum. Despite the fact that she chose not to share her encounters with her parents, she still acknowledged they were occurring.
Looking back, she wished that she’d just ignored them all together. If she had, there was a good chance that her current predicament would have never taken place. She would have never followed the rabbit with sharp fangs, a bent ear and suspicious red stains around its mouth, to that cemetery. Also, she never would have taken a tumble down the hole in the crypt and ended up here.
In retrospect, she would have never met a cat that could disappear when it wanted and that seemed to be more human than feline. He would have never gotten the chance to taunt her about needing to “fill out” the dress she was in before he would even consider helping her. Or the caterpillar that only wanted her blood so he could smoke it.
“Human blood is more potent than any other blood I’ve tried,” he had said, his eyes glazed over and his many hands fumbling with a small cookie he put in his slimy mouth.
“I need my blood,” she had told him, strapped to a table in his house.
Alice had stumbled upon it after ending up in “Wonderland” as the locals called it. At first, she had been bewildered by her surroundings. It wasn’t like her home, where things had rhyme and reason to them. Here, gravity was askew and so were the laws of physics for that matter.
He had found her huddled next to the giant mushroom he claimed to be his dwellings. Alice didn’t even scream when she saw him approach. Her young mind had accepted the fact that she was somewhere that things were weird and terrifying. That still didn’t prepare her for the caterpillar trying to intoxicate himself on her blood.
He had sat her down at a very large table and given her an oversized bowl of mushroom soup. She had to say that he was the nicest caterpillar she had ever met. He was also very pretty. He was a caterpillar, so his many legs naturally made her skin crawl, but his colors were bright and vibrant. He had a bright purple body and bright green and blue spots that ran the length of him.
While Alice was admiring his markings she began to feel rather odd. His face started to swim in her vision and the next thing she knew she was strapped to a table with a needle in her arm.
“I’m just a young girl,” she told him.
“The younger the tastiest, sweet one,” he said, his words hissing on the “S.”
She struggled with her restraints, which only seemed to make them tighter. Her eyes wandered around the room, looking for something or anyone that might help her out of the straps. This room was nothing like the kitchen she was just in. It was dark, damp and smelled horrible.
She looked to the left and saw the caterpillar, busy mixing her blood with other items. Then she looked to the right and felt a bit of vomit work its way up her throat. There was another girl in here, but she was far gone from this world. Her body looked shriveled, her hair dried and her eyes wide open in horror.
“Do you think you’re the only naive girl to follow the rabbit here?” the caterpillar chuckled as if it were the funniest thing ever to be said.
“You can’t do this to me,” she struggled against the ropes again. “Caterpillars don’t smoke blood.”
“Perhaps not where you’re from,” he had laughed. “But here in Wonderland things are far darker than in your world of light.”
Alice knew then that she was in a terrible situation. She would have died a very slow and painful death if it weren’t for the tall boy with his heart outside his body who burst through the door at that very moment. He looked down at her and then up at the caterpillar.
“I knew it!” he exclaimed.
“Mad, really, have you ever heard of knocking?” the caterpillar asked, his voice thick with annoyance.
“Cater, I told you if the blonde girl came down the hole you were to leave her alone,” Mad said taking off his top hat and bobbing the caterpillar on the head. “She has a mission.”
“Oh, I think I do remember that now,” the giant bug said. “Sorry about that, Mad, really I am.”
“You’re forgiven dear old friend,” the boy said, laughing.
He turned around and looked at Alice. Her eyes were wide with confusion and she flinched as he approached her.
“You’re pretty,” he told her. “I think I should like to kiss you one day, but today is not that day. We have things to do!”
Mad untied the knots that had her bound to the table. She was a bit wobbly so he helped her to her feet and she leaned on him as he helped out of the mushroom house.
The sky had turned dark and there were two super moons in the sky, yet there were no stars. She felt so isolated in this place called Wonderland. Mad lead her toward a carriage. When it came into full view Alice considered going back inside.
It was a carriage made of bones. She could see femurs, skulls and phalanges scattered all throughout the contraption. The driver was a fat, squat boy with a perplexed look on his face. Another boy, who looked exactly like the driver, opened the carriage door for them.
At the front of the cart stood four horses, kicking at the blue colored dust on the path. These weren’t normal steeds. Instead of the beautiful, majestic beasts that pulled her family’s carriage, ones that were covered with skin, these weren’t. The muscles, veins, arties and sinews were all visible. One of the monsters looked back at her with its lidless eyes and snapped its large teeth at her.
“Behave yourself, beast,” Mad waved his hand at it and the horse “nayed” in response.
Without her even realizing it, Mad put Alice in the carriage and they were off. She really wanted to fall asleep. Her eyes burned and her lids were heavy, but being in a bone carriage with a clearly deranged boy sitting across from her, she forced herself to stay awake.
“You’re probably wondering why I’ve brought you here,” Mad said, a creepy smile on his otherwise handsome face. “You’re going to kill the Queen of Hearts.”
“I’m what?” Alice wasn’t sure if she had heard him clearly.
“Here, you’re going to need this,” he said and handed her a sword.
He seemed to have pulled it straight from the carriage walls as the handle was made of someone’s leg bone. The blade was a brilliant silver and sharper than the best sword there ever was. Alice held it in her hands, wondering why she was sitting here in this carriage with this strange boy, holding a sword.
“I have to warn you though,” Mad laughed. “The Queen is deadly. See my heart? It was once inside my chest. I tried to defeat her myself, but you see where that got me. Then the White King tried to stop her. There is no more White King. Actually, you’re sitting on his chest bones right now. The Queen of Hearts cut off his head and had his liver for dessert. So, it has to be you.”
“I don’t understand,” Alice felt sick and moved herself over toward the carriage window.
“A quick history lesson then,” Mad crossed his legs so that he looked like he was getting ready to mediate. “The White King was once ruler of all you see. Here it was as things should be. We could roam your world and ours freely, using the magical portal that has always been there, feeding when we needed to.”
“Feeding?” Alice gulped.
“Don’t interrupt, but yes, feeding,” he smiled. “We like the taste of human flesh if you must know, don’t worry, I won’t eat you. You’re going to save us. But anyway, then the Queen of Hearts rebelled against the White King, who was her husband mind you, and takes over the kingdom. Now, we can only feed when she says we can. It’s been terrible these past two thousand years.”
Alice sat there for a moment, wondering at what Mad had told her. She had two choices the way she saw it. She could do as Mad said and kill the Queen of Hearts or she could not kill the Queen of Hearts and fight her way back to her own realm. She would then find a way to close the portal between the worlds so that these hellish creatures could never return and hurt anyone else.
Alice looked at Mad and then suddenly she pointed the sword at his throat. He held up his hands as if he were surrendering, but he was smiling widely at her.
“If you eat humans, why would I help you?” she asked, pressing the blade harder into his skin.
“Because it is written,” he said. “You’re the Savior or whatever.”
“Find another one,” she told him.
“We’ve tried, over and over for two thousand years,” he said. “ Who do you think that girl was in Cater’s room? A failed attempt; a false Savior. I’ve got a good feeling about you though. I mean, I’ve never wanted to kiss one of you before so that has to mean something. You’re my food, not something I would want to mate with, but with you I’d consider it.”
“You’re disgusting,” she hissed.
“Why thank you,” he replied, his smile bigger.
“Stop smiling! Why are you always smiling?” she screamed.
Suddenly the carriage jerked to a stop. Alice lunged forward, the sword plunging into Mad’s neck. Thick, black blood sprayed all over her, covering her from head to foot. More and more gushed out, running down Mad’s chest, as he struggled to breathe.
“Oh no! I’m sorry! I wasn’t…it was just a threat…oh no!” Alice cried, trying to use her hands to stop the blood from pouring out.
It was useless, it gushed and poured and colored her pale skin black. One of the twins yanked opened the carriage door. She looked at him pleadingly. His expression wasn’t what she expected. He looked…well…he looked bored.  Then he actually rolled his beady, black eyes.
“Mad, we’re here,” he said.
Alice looked at him in shock then back at Mad. He had stopped gasping for breath and was smiling at her again. He gripped the blood covered blade with both hands and yanked it free from his neck. Alice watched in awe as the wound on his neck healed over quickly.
“You were faking it?” she gawked at him.
“Of course I was,” he laughed climbing out of the carriage and dragging Alice along with him. “You can’t kill me with a stab to the neck.”
“Then how do I kill the Queen?” Alice wondered.
“Easily,” he said. “You cut out her heart and no, before you get an ideas, you can’t cut mine out because it’s already out. Now come on.”
Alice and Mad were standing in front of a giant hedge maze. At first glance it didn’t look as if there was an entrance, but with a tip of his hat they were suddenly inside, the plump twins and bone carriage were gone.
Mad lead the way down the dark path of the maze. He hummed a tune as they walked for what seemed like hours. As young Alice contemplated her escape, trying not to think of her inevitable demise, she heard something snap behind her. The sound was that of a twig being broken in two by a heavy foot. Yet, when she looked there was no one there.
She turned to face Mad, to ask if he had heard it too, but he was nowhere to be seen. Alice spun back around as the feeling of being watched crept upon her. She looked from side to side. All that she saw as green, green and more green. There was nothing and no one there except her and the walls of the maze.
Then, out of thin air, a being appeared right in front of her. It was tall, hairy and smelled of decay. When Alice looked at it bit more closely she saw it for what it was. A monster made of all things dead. Its body was made of dead animals, all kinds of vermin. Alice felt her stomach turn for more than once that day. She looked for Mad but yet again, he was gone.
Remembering she had a sword she pointed it at the beast. It looked down at her and the blade and then easily knocked it from her hand. Her eyes widened and her chest began rising and falling rapidly. She did the only thing that seemed rational for a young girl to do when faced with an otherworldly monster. She ran.
Alice ran as fast as her slender legs would carry her. The monster gave chase. She could hear its unnaturally made feet of rodent heads hitting the ground, catching up to her fast. A surge of self-preservation passed through her body and her limbs pushed her even harder than she had ever ran before.
Alice, rounded corner after corner, turning left and then right. Her chest was hurting and her lungs were on fire. The muscles in her legs felt like rubber, but she tried not to think about it. If she stopped now then she would surely be eaten by this beast and this was the last place she wanted to die.
As luck would have it, she made a turn that lead her to a dead end. She felt along the surface, feeling for a way to break through, but the shrubbery was too thick to squeeze through. She turned around quickly as the monster came around the corner. It smiled at her, revealing blood stained teeth that looked too large to fit its carcass covered head.
“You stay back!” she yelled at him suddenly. “I’m the chosen one! It is written. I’ll kill the Queen of Hearts and if you kill me then you’ll be condemned to…to…uh…to feed only when you’re told to.”
“I feed when I want, Child,” it hissed at her.
It inched closer to her, the smell of rancid meet greeted her and she nearly passed out from the overwhelming stench. Alice closed her eyes, waiting to be devoured.
“But you’re not my type,” it told her.
“What?” Alice opened her eyes in disbelief.  “You’re not going to eat me?”
“No, of course not,” it said, sitting on it hind legs.
“Then why are you chasing me?” she asked.
“Because you ran,” it told her.
Alice looked at him with the most surprised expression one has given to another. He reached inside his body and pulled out the sword. It was covered in blood and rotted parts of animal flesh. He extended it to her.
“You dropped this,” he said.
“Technically you knocked it out of my hand,” she told him, reaching for the thing nervously.
“Ah, you’re right,” he laughed. “I forget my own strength sometimes. I was trying to shake your hand.”
He reached for her hand gently this time. Trying not to vomit on him she shook his hand.
“Now that we are friends, shall we have tea?” he asked and then waved his hands.
The maze wall peeled back to reveal a large house made from a giant teapot.  A plume of smoke was swirling out of the spout and lights were on in the windows. Alice followed after the beast, not sure if she were any safer with him or alone.
“I’m Mir, by the way,” he said.
“Mir? What a peculiar name,” she expressed.
“And Alice isn’t?” he barked. “Besides, it’s short for Mirror. My parents called me Mirror because of my eyes.”
He looked back at her and she saw that his eyes were in fact just like a mirror. Alice didn’t know if she should be afraid of that fact that his eyes were grossly unnatural or of the fact that he had parents. That meant there were more things like him out there. Since he was being so nice, she decided it was best to stay with him than try to escape just yet.
When the odd pair, a pretty young girl and a decaying monster, entered the house a rather cozy atmosphere greeted them. There was a fire burning in the hearth and company sitting around a large wooden table. Besides the fact that there were platters of worms, eyeballs and what looked like kidneys, it looked like a gathering of friends.
The white rabbit that had lead Alice to Wonderland sat beside the two plump boys she had seen earlier. The invisible cat, who was now visible, sat next them. Then, right in the front sat Mad, sipping on something dark and gooey with his top hat askew. Alice marched over and slapped him square in the face.
“You foul, sniveling maggot!” she screamed at him.
“That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me,” he beamed at her.
“What? Oh never mind! You left me! Why?” she demanded.
“Call it training,” he replied simply. “How did she do, Mir?”
“Well, she can ran really fast,” he commented and took his seat at the other end of the table. “She’s crap with a sword though.”
“We can teach her,” the twins said together.
“Nonsense,” the white rabbit snarled. “You two fat slobs are only good at lifting your fork to those gigantic holes in your rotten faces! I’ll teach her.”
“You limbs are too short, Whisk,” Mad stated. “It only makes sense that I teach her. I’m better than all of you put together.”
That caused uproar from the others. Alice backed up against the wall as a fight broke out. It wasn’t just a few shoves here and there. The creatures in front of her tore at each other. There was biting, clawing, flesh ripping, blood spraying and she was certain she saw someone’s ear land in the pot of tea sitting in the middle of the table. When a splatter of blood landed on Alice’s head, she stomped her foot on the ground and clenched her fists in frustration.
“Shut up!” she bellowed.
The occupants of the table stopped mid fight, turned and looked at her. They had malice in their eyes from the their quarrel, but it seemed to slightly soften as she came forward.
“Is killing the Queen the only way for me to go home?” she asked as quietly as she could because she was afraid if she didn’t, she would scream so loud their eardrums would burst.
“Well, technically…” Whisk began.
“Yes, that’s the only way,” Mad interrupted and let go of one of twins heads he had in a headlock.
“And the only way to stop her is with a sword fight?” she asked.
“It’s the easiest way if you want to cut out her heart,” Mad responded. “And you must challenge her to a fight. Those are the rules. She has to accept any challenge or forfeit the crown.”
“OK, alright then,” she took in a deep breath. “Teach me.”
The group headed outside where there was more room. Mir lit the torches that surrounded his courtyard. Alice joined Mad in the center of the stone floor as the others sat on porcelain chairs that looked like broken teacups. After Mad showed Alice the proper way to hold the sword he began to teach her how to duel.
Over and over he unarmed her, tripped her and pinned her arms behind her back. For hours she failed time and time again. When the sky above then began to brighten, the darkness bleeding away, Alice declared that she needed rest.
“Do you think the Queen will let you rest?” Mad asked, unarming her again.
“I can barely hold up this sword and my eyes are nearly bleeding they’re so dry,” she stated. “If you want to kill this Queen then I need to sleep!”
“Fine!” he snapped and walked away. “Mir, give the puny human a bed!”
Mir showed Alice to a bed that looked as though the sheets needed to be washed. At that moment she didn’t care. She threw herself on the spring mattress and went fast to sleep.
Her dreams were odd and dark. Mad was there, teaching her to fight; yet this time she could hear music playing. Soon, they were dancing to a tune that made her think of the carnival her father and mother took her to on their last summer holiday. They were spinning, waltzing and twirling.
Painted faces with crooked smiles swirled past them. Thick smells of sweets mixed with something putrid tickled her nose.  Then there was something looming in the distance. A figure rushed toward her, black hair and red lips. She felt someone reach inside her chest, clutch her heart and yank it out.
It dangled there, swinging like a pendulum on a clock. Alice awoke, screaming in her sleep. Mad rushed over to her and shook her until her eyes opened.
“It seems as though you’re upset,” he said, staring into her eyes.
“What gave you that idea?” she asked sarcastically.
“You were screaming,” he said plainly.
“Have you ever heard of sarcasm?” she pulled free from his grasp.
“No,” he replied.
He sat there staring at her for a moment. Then her reached up and touched a blonde strand of hair that was in her face. Alice flinched and backed away. He didn’t seem to take that as her not wanting him touching her because he reached for her again, this time running his hands through her hair.
“Where I come from males do not touch females unless they are invited to do so,” she told him.
“Where I come from there are no females,” he told her.
“Excuse me?” she was surprised. “Then how do you…how are you here?”
“We are just here, well some of us like me,” he said, leaning forward, sniffing her neck.
“That is entirely too close, Sir,” she pushed him back.
“You smell,” he told her.
“Well, I’m covered in filth and God only knows what else,” she wrapped her arms around her body.
“That isn’t it,” he told her sniffing her again. “You smell too clean, too human.”
“Well, I’m so sorry,” she rolled her eyes.
“She’ll smell you coming,” he told her. “You need more dirt.”
“Wonderful,” she sighed.
“Indeed, isn’t it,” he said joyfully.
He didn’t wait for Alice to respond, not that she intended to, and grabbed her by the arm to lead her outside. There he covered her once pretty light, blue dress with dirt and grime. As he took a handful of mud that had something grotesque mixed in with it and rubbed her cheeks with it he began to smile. It was a smile that Alice was sure she had never seen from him before.
“You are not like most humans,” he said to her.
“Why? Because I’m not running and screaming from you because you’re about to eat me?” she asked sarcastically.
“Well, there is that,” he said seriously. “Also, you’re stronger than most humans I’ve met. The majority of humans are too busy with their precious lives to stop and look around them.”
“You sound half way normal right now,” Alice pointed out.
“I and the others in Wonderland are creatures of death,” he said. “We hand it out because it is our job and it is in our nature. We’re busy running toward it while you spend money and precious time trying to outwit it. We embrace it while you run from it. It is just a part of nature. There is no stopping it…however, for you, you must.”
“Why?” Alice wondered, feeling in her bones that his words had more meaning.
“It is written:
A human girl of the World of Light;
Will save the monsters of the night.
She’ll carve the heart from the Queen;
She’ll wear the raiment of blood and of spleen.
She will bring order and bring peace;
So all the monsters are free to feast.
Yet, if the human girl shall die;
The end of creatures shall be neigh.
Only the sword of which she yields;
Can dig the graves in the fields.” Mad quoted.
“That’s inspiring,” Alice said, feeling weak in the knees.
“So, you see, you cannot die,” he smiled. “You must free us.”
“Do you understand what you’re asking me to do?” she grabbed his face in her hands. “You want me to free you, to save you so that you can kill and feed upon my kind. Why would I do that? I should kill myself right now. Isn’t that what the prophecy is saying? If I die, you’ll all die.”
“There is more to that riddle,” the invisible cat said appearing beside them, making Alice jump. “It goes like this:
The girl cannot die from her own two hands;
To keep the monsters from her land.
If she tries and she succeeds;
There is nowhere her people can flee.
She’ll unlock the Queen’s red rage;
Her world will be torn like a withered page.
So you see, dear Alice, if you kill yourself, you give passage to your world right into the hands of the Red Queen. Just because she limits our bloodlust doesn’t mean she limits her own. Why do you think she wants to oppress us? She wants to rule Wonderland and Earth. If she gets her hands on you, captures you, she will make you take your own life. She’ll fill your heart with so much pain; you’ll want to rip it out of your chest. She has her ways.”
Mad, for the first time since she had met him, looked pale with fear. She glanced down at his beating heart and saw that he was clinging to it. It dawned on her then that this is what the Queen had done to him. While she wanted to hate him for what he was, she couldn’t help but sympathize with him. How terrible would someone have to feel to rip out their own heart?
“Where is this Queen?” she asked, grabbing her sword and walking toward the door.
Mad let go of his heart and gave her one of his creepy, yet oddly charming smiles.  The two of them left the teapot shaped home and headed deeper into the hedge maze. As the hours passed they said little to one another. It wasn’t until Alice’s stomach started to grumble that they stopped. Mad expressed that she should have eaten at the house, but she politely replied that she would rather die of hunger.
Luckily for Alice Mad knew that her human body couldn’t live on the flesh of her own so he had brought along a piece of bread. He explained that while they did enjoy a more meaty meal, they did dabble in wheat and flour. Alice took the bread gratefully and ate it with boundless joy.
“Have you ever thought of another way?” she asked him as they continued down the path.
“I don’t understand the question,” he stated.
“Another way to live? I mean, who said you had to eat humans to survive?” she wondered.
“Things are just the way they are because that’s the way they are,” he said which made Alice’s head spin.
“But if you could, would you live another way? Would you survive on the flesh of animals? What about fruits and vegetables?” she asked, taking another bite of bread. “Or of wheat? Bread is very filling.”
“I like the taste of human flesh,” Mad said licking his lips at her. “But to answer your question, why would I want to find another way, to save your pesky brothers and sisters? What makes you so special that you should be spared?”
“I could ask the same about your people,” Alice said crossly.
“That’s simple,” Mad laughed. “We are a unique species with a great purpose. We keep the balance of life and death in your realm. Without us you’d overpopulate your planet. We kill you, you nourish us, and the circle keeps spinning. There is a food chain and an order.”
“I think when it comes down to it, you’ll choose a different path. You’ll find another way,” she told him.
She and the boy who looked like a monster finally came to a stopping point. They stood at a wall that appeared to be some sort of black stone. In the center of the black wall was a white rose that was literally dripping with something red. Alice had an idea of what the substance might be, but didn’t want to think about it.
Mad reached up, cupping the blood in his pale hands until it made a tiny pool in his palm. He dipped his finger into it and began drawing an odd looking symbol that Alice didn’t recognize onto the surface of the wall. When he was finished he took Alice’s hand and brought it to his lips. Just when she thought he was going to kiss her fingers, he bit them instead.
“Ouch!” she said as one of his sharp teeth pricked the tip of her index finger.
“Tasty, just like I imagined,” he stated and then put her finger in the center of the rose.
The ground shook slightly beneath them and then the wall slid up. They entered the courtyard of the Queen of Hearts. Instantly, Alice could tell it was different here. The air was thicker and somewhat hotter. Alice was about to comment on how much darker it seemed here when Mad gave her a push.
“Run!” he screamed.
Alice stumbled forward and began to run, trying her best to keep up with Mad. She risked the chance of looking back and regretted it. There were around fifteen or so guards that were chasing after them with weapons in hand.
It wasn’t just her being chased by guards that brought fear to her mind. Alice thought she had become accustomed to the grotesque nature of the creatures in Wonderland. However, she wasn’t prepared for the monsters that were pursuing them. They were all shapes and sizes, but with similar facial features. They were gigantic for starters with matted hair the color of snow. Their eyes were cat like in appearance and a luminescent yellow. The skin that covered their misshapen noses was black as soot with patches of a muddy green color.
The two of them came around a corner and stopped in their tracks. Twenty or more guards were heading straight for them. They turned back around as the other group reached them. Alice brought up her sword and struck one of the guards straight in the heart that was hanging outside of his chest. He fell to the ground with tremendous force.
Alice was about to strike down another one, but Mad stopped her.
“Save your strength,” he said.
Alice looked confused for a moment, but then nodded her head as they held up their hands in surrender.  One guard moved forward and bound their hands behind their back. Alice struggled against the guards, but allowed them to move her forward.
They moved from one courtyard to another. In this area there was more plant life, sort of like the garden her mother had back home, but the flowers here looked dead. Gray vines grew up the walls of the palace and wound their way around the nearby trees, choking their growth.
“And here she is,” a screechy voice echoed around them.
Alice looked up and saw a slender woman walking down the steps of the palace. She had a croquet mallet in her hand, leaning against her shoulder like a member of a dark military. She sneered down at Alice and then glanced at Mad.
“Mad, my darling, have you come to finally die?” she smiled revealing sharp teeth, stained red.
He hair was pitch black; the tips were that of sharp metal claws. They made a tinkling sound as she moved. The Queen had snake like eyes that were as red as her teeth. Her pale skin looked like death.
“You know me, Your Highness,” Mad laughed. “I’m always ready to die.”
“And I’m always ready to appease my subjects,” she said, stopping in front of them and placing the croquet mallet under his chin.
“Leave him alone!” Alice pushed herself in front of Mad.
“I’ll get to you soon enough, sweet Alice,” she told the young girl. “But first, Mad and I have some unfinished business.”
The Queen shoved her to the side and her bands of black hair reached for Mad’s heart.
“Take me!” Alice screamed, jumping in front of Mad again.
“You’re in no position to negotiate, Child,” she hissed.
“I challenge you,” Alice barked. “I challenge you and you must accept.”
“Blasted!” she hissed and her claws retracted. “I see Mad did what he does best and blabbed his mouth about the rules.”
“He did,” she said. “Now untie me and let’s get this over with.”
The Queen waved her hand and the guards removed her bindings. She led Alice to the center of the courtyard and then stood to face her. The croquet mallet that she held in her pale hands suddenly turned into a sword. She brandished it in front of her.
“Shall we begin, sweet girl?” she bowed to Alice.
Gulping, Alice pointed her sword at the Queen. Faster than Alice had time to see the Queen’s blade sliced her arm. Alice cried out in pain and grabbed at the bleeding wound. She brought up her blade just in time to stop the Queen’s sword from slicing through her head. Then just as quickly the Queen brought her sword around and sliced along Alice’s back.
Once more Alice screamed in pain. She fell to her knees just as the Queen stabbed her through the shoulder. Alice’s red blood covered the blade. The Queen brought the sword to her mouth and licked the blade clean as Alice withered in pain.
“You know, dear Alice,” The Queen began. “Your blood tastes of fear. If I were you, I’d give up.”
“Good thing you aren’t me,” Alice said, trying to stand up.
“Let me guess,” The Queen said. “Mad and is little band of misfits told you of the prophecy and how you were going to save their world and yours, right? Well, isn’t that nice. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in the prophecy, but what I don’t believe is it’s about you. How could it be? From your blood I can tell you’re a selfish child. The only reason you’re here is because you followed the White Rabbit out of pure boredom. You were never satisfied with your life and wanted something more. From what I can understand you were well taken care of and had everything you needed…oh, I see…you felt unloved. Well, that is true. You were unloved. Your parents never had any time for you. Your father always worked and your mother never believed your stories. It would be better to just end it all, don’t you think, just end your own suffering?”
Alice felt the weight of the Queen’s words. She knew in her heart that it was all true. Without thinking about it she felt herself reaching for her chest. There was a slight pain that raced across her chest as she dung her fingers into her flesh. Blood ran down her torso as she dung deeper and deeper.
“Don’t listen to her, Alice!” Mad yelled out suddenly. “Remember, you can’t die from your own hand or she’ll break free.”
“That will never happen,” Alice said, the spell the Queen had cast over her broken.
“So brave,” the Queen remarked. “Let’s finish this.”
Alice stood up and they began to fight.  Alice swung her blade over and over and missed each time. The Queen was much luckier. Each of her swings cost Alice another drop of blood another deep gash. At last the Queen unarmed her. Alice watched as her sword went flying into the group of guards.
“Off with her head,” the Queen said in a menacing whisper and then brought up her blade.
At the last possible second Alice reached up and grabbed a handful of the Queen’s sharp black hair. She yanked off one of the silver claws and jammed it into the Queen’s chest. Black blood splattered Alice’s face, but she kept pushing the claw into the Queen’s chest until she felt something snap and splinter. Alice shoved the claw one last time, twisted it and then pulled out the Queen’s heart.
“You lose, Queen of Nothing,” Alice said.
She walked over to fetch her blade. She gave the Queen one last look and then plunged the sword into the black heart in her hands. The Queen without a heart gave one terrifying scream and then died on her courtyard grounds. Alice threw the heart at the dead Queen and slumped to her knees, exhausted.
Mad broke free of the guards and came over to her. He hugged her close to him and then looked at her.
“You served us well, dear Alice,” he told her. “You are not like other humans.”
“You’re wrong, Mad,” she told him. “There are many humans like me. We are weak and frail, but when the lives of others are on the line we will stand up for what is right.”
“What is this on your cheek?” he asked her as a tear escaped from her eyes.
“Only an expression of happiness, dear Mad. Knowing that I saved many others here tonight has given me great joy,” she told him.
“I think that I might kiss you now,” he said.
“I think that I might actually let you,” she responded.
Mad leaned forward, placing his cold, dead lips on hers. He could feel all of the strength that coursed through her body. Inside he struggled with controlling the hunger he felt, the desire to devour her. He knew that being consumed was not her fate for she was far too precious. Instead, he took the sword from her hand and plunged it into her chest. Alice gasped.
“Thank you,” she told him and died in his arms.
“Why did you do that?” one of the guards asked.
“She couldn’t die by her own hands or we would have reign over her world,” he said. “Yet, if she died by the Queen’s sword her world would be cut from ours forever, severing the portal.”
“You’ve killed us all, Mad!” another guard screamed. “We’re going to starve to death!”
“No!” he turned and looked at them. “We will find another way. In honor of the girl with pretty blonde hair, we will find another way.”

The Forsaken is now Live on Kindle!

With all of these teasers I am happy to announce that The Forsaken is now live on Kindle!

The Forsaken (Kindle)

Also, don’t forget to stop by My Book Addiction’s Facebook page today at 4:00 pm EST. I’ll be taking over her page for an hour. With just a limited time there is no telling what I might do…or giveaway!!!

My Book Addiction

Have a GREAT day of reading, writing or whatever you’re into!

God bless!

~A

Chapter 3 of The Forsaken! (Last Teaser)

Word of caution: All of my posts today on my social media sites are under the influence of fever and Nyquil. If for any reason you wonder why something sounds as if I’m out of my mind…that is why! 🙂

So, this is going to be the last teaser chapter for The Forsaken! That’s because it will be ready for purchase tomorrow!!! Yay!

Chapter 3 

Jayce

 I wasn’t sure what she had done to me. Sure, she broke my heart, but that wasn’t it. It was that kiss. I enjoyed it, way more than I should have. I knew that she was only using me. I deserved it. I had used plenty of girls in the past. But this girl had done a number on my heart and it wasn’t easy to get over.

Not only couldn’t I get her out my head, it was like I couldn’t get her out of my…senses. I felt her everywhere I went. She was in my blood. I could feel her swimming around my brain. When I was asleep, talking, eating, or whatever else I was doing, I felt her deep in my soul.

At first I thought maybe this was what love felt like, you know? I had heard about people not being able to eat or sleep because they were so consumed by the thought of someone else. That was what it felt like at first, but then things started to change.

The first night that I knew something really crazy weird was going on was when I had this wild dream about her. I could see her at The Landing. She looked as beautiful as ever in the moonlight. I watched as she took a step onto a dock and then turned to look at me. She waved me on so I followed.

For a minute, I thought this dream was real, it felt that way. It felt completely normal to just follow her on to that dock, but when I did she was gone. I looked everywhere for her. There was some feeling; some sinking feeling that she had fallen off. It’s silly to think of this now, but I wondered in that moment if she could swim.

Without really thinking about what I was doing I jumped into the lake. I called out for her and then dove under the water, searching for her. It was dark, too dark for me to see anything so I felt around for her. After a few attempts I felt her. She was under the water. I grabbed her around the waist and pulled her to the surface.

After what seemed like forever I got her on the dock. Her dark hair was covering her face so I hurriedly shoved it to the side and then started giving her mouth-to-mouth.

“Come on Rayna!” I screamed at her as I pushed down on her chest. “Breathe, please, breathe!”

Then she did. Rayna began to cough up water so I rolled her onto her side. The water didn’t stop. I watched as water and more water came pouring out of her mouth. She was retching, unable to breathe. I watched in sheer terror as the water rushed forth, choking her.

Then, there wasn’t water coming out anymore; it was an inky blackness. Some dark shiny liquid crashed out of her mouth, running down the front her shirt. Slowly that same liquid began seeping from her nose and the corner of her eyes. She was drowning in it. I didn’t know what else to do, but shake her. Maybe I thought I could shake that filth out of her, but it was no use.

Without warning, something grabbed me from behind and threw me along the dock. I nearly fell into the lake, but managed to stay on the wooden pier. My head suddenly felt heavy and my legs where shaky. Before I could stand up an intense pressure pinned me down. I was being choked, but it wasn’t by the same substance that was encircling Rayna. It was a smell; a sickly sweet smell, like really sweet chocolate.

It was someone. Someone was holding me down on the pier, but I couldn’t make out who it was. The only thing I could see was smoke, thick black smoke. It would enclose me in the darkness, seeping into my pores and burning me up from the inside. My entire body would feel like it was on fire, but at the same time I would feel so cold.

Just when I thought that the pain would kill me I would wake up. For months I was plagued by this dream. I would wake up screaming and thrashing my arms out in front me; ready to fight whoever I needed to. My parents were really starting to worry about me. My mom even sent me to a shrink. The doc gave me a prescription for anxiety, claiming I was just under a lot of stress because I was about to graduate high school.

He was wrong though. It wasn’t high school. It was something else. I don’t know why, but deep down I felt like these dreams meant something. Deep down, even though I was even trying to deny it, I felt like the person in my dream holding me down was someone made of flesh and bone. What was worse, I knew that Rayna truly was in danger and I had to help her.

Chapter 2 of The Forsaken!

Chapter 2 of The Forsaken is now up for your reading pleasure! If you want to leave a comment, please feel free to do so!

 

Chapter 2

 

Liam

I woke again thinking of her. This feeling welled up inside my heart until a slight moan of anguish passed my lips. It felt as though that sound was earsplitting, able to shatter glass, but it was only a whisper. My body was tense and rigid. I must have had that dream again.

There were two distinct dreams that I had of Rayna. One of them was on a beach in my hometown of Australia. It was sunny and the wind was crisp and cool. In the distance I would see her. She would wave to me with a smile on her face. I knew that she was beckoning me to join her as if nothing between us had changed. For a moment, in those dreams, we were happy. There was no Gift and there was no Jayce. It was only she and I.

When I had those there was a part of me that was vaguely aware that it was just a dream. However, there was a part of me that was oblivious to that very important fact. Upon waking, when reality settled in, it felt like something was ripped from my chest. My emotions were raw and vulnerable. A piece of my heart seemed to die each time.
Then there was the nightmare. Rayna and I were always inside some old structure, something made of stone. It was cold and the floor was wet with freezing water. When I looked at her she would always be crying. Her soft purple dress would be covered in blood. She would always have this purplish light on her skin. When I would look behind me I saw moonlight shining brightly through a stained-glass window.
Then we were suddenly transported to The Landing. Rayna would still be crying, but there would be this eerie smile on her face. It was as if she were still behind those soft, brown eyes, but something else or someone else was controlling her body. That would be when she would jab a long, sharp blade into my chest.
When I woke up from this nightmare I always felt sick. There was this sickly sweet smell that always filled my senses. It was no different this morning. I had to run for the window and open it up, letting in the fresh salty sea air. Inhaling deeply, I let the wind wash through me. I rested my arms on the windowsill, bowing my head as the nightmare played in my memories.
There was a sound of a bird chirping and I looked up. The sun was peaking over the horizon, bringing memories back that I wanted to stay buried. Sleep was still clinging to my senses and I could tell it would be for a while.

It actually surprised me that I was sleeping more these days. I don’t know what the change was, but I couldn’t say it was good. I think I would rather not sleep than sleep and dream of her. Then again, it was the only way I could see her face. The only way to feel close to her was to see her in times of slumber. It wasn’t real, it wasn’t healthy, but it was all I had.
I wasn’t sure what the dreams meant. I knew without a doubt that Rayna would never hurt me like that. She may have torn my heart out of my chest, figuratively, but she wasn’t capable of physically hurting me.
I knew that she thought that’s what would happen to me if I stuck around. Try as I might, she wouldn’t believe me when I told her that we could find a way to work around it. There was nothing I wouldn’t do to make sure that she was safe just as there was nothing she would do for me. Yet, she pushed me away and how can you help someone who doesn’t want help? How can you be there for someone who doesn’t want you around?
There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that Rayna loved me. She had made it clear when we were together. The way she smiled at me, how she held my hand, I could feel her love the way I felt the sun upon my skin at this moment, warm and pure.
It was hard to think about that right now. Honestly, I just couldn’t afford to think of it. If I allowed myself to begin to wallow I would never stop. Rayna had taken so much out of me. It wasn’t hard for me to let her in and once I did it was hard to come back.
“Dude, close that window,” my roommate, Henry, said to me. “It’s bloody cold.”
“Sorry,” I said and shut the window.
“I was sleeping so well,” he mumbled into his pillow. “And was having the best dream. I was on an island, finished with school, touring the world in my rock band, surrounded by beautiful women.”
“You’ll get over it,” I said and tossed a pillow over at him. “You need to get up anyway. We’re going to be late for class.”
“What time is it?” he jumped up. “I thought I set my alarm.”
“It didn’t go off,” I informed him.
“Great!” Henry exclaimed and then started moving around the room like a tornado, finding something clean to wear.
I liked Henry. I had gotten to know him fairly well since starting classes at the University in Australia. He was in most of the same classes as me. He was a music major as well and could play the bass guitar like nobody’s business. We had a few jam sessions outside of class too and I was filling in as lead guitar in his band while his buddy, Abe, was recovering from a terrible car wreck.
“If we’re late again Professor Krimble is going to murder us,” he told me.
“Well we wouldn’t want that now would we?” I asked sarcastically at his overdramatic reaction.
“No, definitely not,” he answered seriously.
This made me laugh. Henry was one of those people who was perpetually nervous. He was also very scattered. There were times I wondered how he was able to function. Then when I saw him play the guitar all of that nervousness seemed to wash away. He was an entirely different person; he was very calm and smooth.
The girls loved him. His voice was smooth and I had seen him on many occasions giving out winks, which made the girls in the audience swoon. He wasn’t a vile person, but he took advantage of his charms. Henry came home with numbers and more than a few kisses. I didn’t envy him. There was only one person whose kiss I desired.
“Aren’t you going to get ready?” he asked running a very pale hand through his light red hair.
“I’ll meet you there,” I told him and lay back down.
“You know Professor Krimble isn’t going to let you forget it if you’re late again,” Henry said as he rushed around picking up things he needed. “Even if you are Dr. Jackson Cole’s son.”
“I didn’t think anyone cared about that fact,” I rolled my eyes.
“Your father donated a large sum of money to this school when you enrolled,” Henry pointed out. “Everyone cares about that.”
“Well, I don’t,” I said, hearing the irritation in my voice.
I wondered if I would ever be able to go somewhere without people knowing who I was or who my father was. It was the same story and had been my entire life. It always seemed that my father had to have his presence on everything. I couldn’t just have something for me. The only way my father would even agree to allow me to attend the arts-minded university was if he could put his stamp of approval on it and that stamp was a donation.
It actually was a shock that he agreed so quickly. A part of me wondered if it wasn’t because he knew that something had happened to me after Rayna and I broke up. He wanted to send me as far away from her as possible I suppose. It wasn’t because he was concerned for my broken heart; he just wanted me to finish college.
In a way I understood where my father was coming from. If I had a 19-year-old kid I would want him to go to college instead of following after a girl who didn’t want him. It’s just that Rayna wasn’t just any girl; she was more than that. I wanted to scream at him because he didn’t seem to understand or care about that fact. He would never understand the things that she had to go through and still goes through.
Again, I had to get that out of my head. I couldn’t be there for her if she didn’t let me. I had to just go on with life until she realized that we could be together. I just wasn’t sure how long it would take.
I took a longer shower than I really needed after Henry left. Grabbing my bag I headed out of the door into the cold January air. Pulling my leather jacket tighter around myself I walked toward Dr. Krimble’s class. I would be late, I was sure, and I knew he would threaten me, but I honestly didn’t care.
Dr. Krimble taught music history. While I enjoyed the subject matter I didn’t necessarily enjoy his teaching of it. He was dry, humorless and pompous. He abused his knowledge by treating those he taught with disdain. It was as if he expected all of us to know everything before having the chance to study and if we didn’t then we were treated like idiots.
I gratefully entered the hall, my shoes echoing all around me, escaping the cold wind. The heat greeted me but still somehow I felt chilled to the core. It could be because I knew I’d be entering the Ice King’s dimension soon.
Opening the door to the class Dr. Krimble looked up and narrowed his eyes at me. As I made my way to my seat next to Henry I tried my best to avoid eye contact with him.
“Ah, Mr. Cole,” he began. “So nice of you to join us. I hope my class didn’t interrupt your beauty rest.”
“Not at all, sir,” I said as I sat down, shrugging my bag off of my shoulder.
“Mr. Cole, you might not care to come to class on time because your father paid for your entire tuition, but there are those of us who have had to pay our own way,” he snarled at me. “Considering the fact that there are students here who have had to pay for this class and want to get their money’s worth, without being interrupted by spoiled, rich brats, it would be in your best interests to get here on time.”
And there it was, laid out there for my entire class to hear. Of course, I had brought this on myself by being late more than once. I could sit here and say it really wasn’t my fault since I had felt so sluggish lately, but that would be cowardly of me. Yet, he wasn’t as concerned with his other students as he claimed. He was just ready to jump on the chance to call me out because he viewed me just as he said. Spoiled. Rich. Brat.
He wanted me to back down. I guess he thought by insulting me the way he did I was supposed to crawl back into my shell and hide away from him. Instead, I merely smirked at him. Dr. Krimble sneered at me.
“I can see my words of truth mean nothing to you, Mr. Cole,” he walked toward the bottom of the platform he stood on. “If that is the case, then you can leave my class until you learn how to get here on time, otherwise I’ll kick you out of my class.”
“If that is the case, Dr. Krimble,” I said before realizing it. “How will you ever know if I have learned my lesson if you never let me come back?”
There were snickers from all around me. Henry snorted until he was choked on his own breath. When Dr. Krimble’s face turned an unnatural shade of red I knew I was in big trouble. He walked right up to me and looked me square in the face.
“Get…out…” he whispered, but it was worse than a yell.
I realized what I had just done and felt terrible for it. My anger and torment had provoked me to publicly insult and disrespect him. This wasn’t in my nature. I was the easy going one, the calm one. Yet, here I was, acting like a spoiled, rich brat.
“Sorry,” I said in a low voice, grabbed my stuff and left the room.
I huffed as I walked out the door and down the hall. There was no doubt that my father would hear about this and would be giving me a call. As my feet echoed across the long, empty hall I silently chided myself for playing into Dr. Krimble’s game.
Suddenly, there was a chill at my back as if a breeze had found its way in from the outside. Turning around I looked to see if…if what? If I was being honest with myself I halfway thought there was someone standing behind me. I looked from left to right, but there was nothing and no one.
I furrowed my brows, wondering why I had suddenly become so paranoid. Pulling my bag higher up on my shoulder I turned back around and continued walking. I rounded the corner and nearly screamed like a girl. There was a girl standing in front of me who actually screamed, well, you know, like a girl.
“Oh no!” she yelped, dropping her belongs on the floor.
Her instrument case had busted open and her violin had slid across the concrete floor. I watched in horror as it hit up against the other side of the hall and cracked down the middle. The girl went over to it hurriedly, as if that might reverse time and save the instrument. She kneeled down and picked the violin up in her hands.
“I am so sorry,” I said, picking up her other belongings as I spoke.
She didn’t say anything as she stood up. The girl turned and looked at me with tears in her soft brown eyes. One fell down a slightly freckled cheek. There was so much pain and despair in that tear. Her light red hair fell in her eyes as she looked back down at the mangled violin in her hands, which she held like a wounded child.
“I…I don’t know what…I’m so sorry,” she stammered.
“You’re sorry?” I asked, confused.
“I should’ve watched where I was going,” she said, as more tears fell down her face. “I’m sorry. Oh great, what am I going to do? I don’t know what to do.”
“About what?” I asked. “Your instrument? I’m sure you can get it fixed.”
“I don’t know how,” she said. “I’m sorry.”
She shoved the violin back into the case, grabbed her things from me and stormed off down the hall. I could hear her whimpering all the way as I stood there watching her. She seemed so lost. It hit me all of sudden why she was so distraught. She had said that she didn’t know how to fix her instrument and I knew why.
“Hey! Hey! Wait up!” I called after. “Hey!”
She had already made her way outside. I ran after her into the cold winter air, not paying attention to the fact that it had begun to lightly rain. She turned to look at me as I came to a stop in front of her.
“Hey, listen,” I started, out of breath. “I think I can help you. It was my fault that you dropped your violin. The least I can do is pay for it to be fixed.”
“What?” she sniffled. “No, don’t be absurd, really.”
“Don’t be prideful,” I said back.
She stopped short, taken aback by my frankness.
“I don’t know what to say,” she remarked, still sniffling.
“Just say that you’ll agree to me taking you to the repair shop tomorrow,” I smiled at her.
“Yeah, sure, thank you so much…” she said.
“Liam Cole,” I said shaking her hand. “And you are?”
“Angel,” she smiled. “Angel Rodchester.”