Hi since it’s been a few days (okay like 8 days) since I posted I thought I’d share a story excerpt of one of my WIP, Touch of the Moon. Maybe a hotter excerpt at a later point. I’ve been working on it and solidifying the plot of a bounty hunter story which will be put onto the list to work on when I finish something.
Andrea Benoit stopped at the bottom step of her Mamere’s old two story house. Located at the edge of the swamp, her grandmother had lived isolated, especially these last few years. Andrea bit her lip and swallowed hard. She looked at the ground.
They should have come out here more often. At the last, Mamere Sylvie had pushed everyone away. She’d been angry. So angry. They hadn’t been able to get her to talk to them or discover the reason behind it.
Mamere had died two weeks ago. At first, she’d been so lost in grief that she hadn’t listened to the talk of neighbors and others in the city. Eventually though, she’d heard. Tales of a ghost appearing in homes, touching someone, and leaving them confused and weak. Sickness characterized by continued weakness, nausea, and tiredness followed that ghostly touch. The illness lasted a few days and then faded. There was no physical reason for the malady.
“Drea, we’ll figure this out. It might not be Mamere, but we have to be sure.” Charisse came up beside her and put her hand on her shoulder.
Andrea looked over at her sister. She mustered a little smile and nodded. At least, she wasn’t alone doing this. She had her sisters. Bethany, Daniela, Savannah and Charisse.
It might not be, but some of the symptoms the people talked about were suspicious. The confusion and disorientation sounded familiar and much too similar to the power of Nox. Nox was an ancestor on their father’s side.
Andrea had never experienced the powers, because she had them herself, she seemed to be immune to them. The intensity and effects depended on the situation. Darkness surrounded the person. Not normal darkness where light could penetrate. Nothing could pierce the cloud of darkness produced. Disorientation and confusion swept over the victim. It could be mild and of short duration or it could last for days. If the person wielding the abilities wanted, they could slip in and slit the person’s throat.
Those abilities worked on immortals with just as much effectiveness as they did mortals. There was a reason that Nox was one of the only gods Jupiter feared. Andrea had heard talk of the ability expanding to being able to pull someone or something into the oblivion of darkness. She didn’t know if that was a rumor, but it was probably possible. Not to mention Nox’s prophetic abilities.
Mamere Sylvie had a bit of the Nox abilities, but she didn’t receive immortality, the line was too diluted.
Andrea had the feeling that being a moon witch wasn’t enough for her Mamere. That might explain why Mamere had become so angry. Maybe she’d been trying to extend her life and failed. The ghost part, well, Mamere might have found a way to keep some of her abilities after death. It didn’t make sense though. What could she hope to accomplish though?
“Ready?” Daniela walked up to stand near the stairs.
“As I’ll ever be. If we’re right about this, she’s been doing things we’ll be cleaning up for years.” Andrea took a deep breath and let it flow out of her.
“There’s been something off with her for a while. And you know I still say she had something to do with mom and dad going to Elys and not coming back.” Bethany walked up the steps onto the porch. Her black hair was cut in a short pixie cut.
There probably was something more to it than her mother wanting an extended time in the realm of the Erysi or the gods as they were once known. Her father was technically human, although his life had been extended when he’d bonded with Selene, their mother, once known to many as goddess of the moon. She was immortal and his life was tied with hers.
Unless attitudes had changed significantly in Elys, her father couldn’t be very comfortable there among those elitist snobs. Not everyone was like that, but those that were could make that place unbearable in spite of the beauty and peace to be found there.
“Well, we’ll learn about that when we get in there.” Andrea exhaled and slowly climbed the steps.
Yes, Mamere had been acting weird for a while, but who wanted to think that their grandmother was doing something evil. Especially do something to her own son so bad that he had to leave.
Andrea pulled out her keys and walked to the big double doors. She inserted the key and unlocked the house. They hadn’t been here since the day they learned of Mamere’s death.
She pushed the doors open and looked around at the antique furniture in the entrance. The wooden furniture still gleamed with polish. The room had looked just this way for as long as she could remember.
“Where do we start?” Savannah walked over to the curio cabinet. She trailed her fingers across one of the glass panes.
Mamere would absolutely hate that. She didn’t like people touching her antiques. Not because she feared things being broken. No, Mamere simply hated anyone touching anything that belonged to her. She was very possessive.
“Her study?” Charisse gestured to the thick wooden door to the right. “it’s one of the places she kept important things. The only one we wouldn’t have to go looking in drawers and various little cupboards for her current hiding place.”
Very true. The study was Mamere’s work room, but they all knew she had books, notes, and folders spread throughout the house. Andrea could remember getting a tablecloth at one of their family meals years ago. She’d found a notebook tucked into the folded cloth. Mamere had smacked her hand, taken the notebook, and yelled at her not to be snooping. The old woman had been a fiery matriarch.
The problem was Andrea could remember a different Mamere than the secretive, angry woman that had been present for the last few years. She’d been loving and funny, always a proud woman, but family centered.
“Let’s go. It will take us a while even in there. Last time I saw it, there were stacks of books and such everywhere. It probably got worse since then.” Savannah walked over to the door and turned the knob.
The doorknob turned, but stopped before the latch clicked open. Savannah tried again. The door didn’t open.
When Andrea thought about, she didn’t really expect it to simply swing wide. That wasn’t the way Mamere worked. At least not in the last few years. She’d been paranoid about keeping her privacy.
“Where do you think the key is?” Charisse asked.
“If I know Mamere, it was buried with her.” Andrea clenched her fist and thought about what they should do.
“Do you think we should use a spell to open it?” Bethany came to stand in front of the door.
“No.” Andrea shook her head. “She’d expect us to use magic. If she turned bad before she died, she’d set a trap. We’ll open it physically and check for a spell.”
“Any ideas on how to do it?” Bethany glanced over at her.
Andrea smiled. “Yeah, Dad told stories about using a nail file to unlock these doors when he was young. I figure if none of us have a nail file we can use a thin screw driver. I have one of those in my tool kit in my car.”
The inside doorknobs hadn’t been changed. They were still the old mortise locks which could be unlocked with a skeleton key. They didn’t have one though.
“Well, I have a nail file in my purse. We can certainly try it.” Charisse opened her purse and dug through it.
Andrea watched as Charisse dug around in the brightly colored bag. It was a large thing that held far more than a wallet and nail kit. Charisse finally found the nail kit, lifting it out and waving it in the air.
“Here, see what you can do with it.” Charisse handed Andrea the nail file.
Andrea knelt in front of the door. “You four be ready, just in case.”