Authors: Theresa M. Jones
By Theresa M. Jones
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher.
Text Copyright © 2014 Theresa M Jones
Cover illustration copyright © Theresa Jones 2015
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the authors imagination or are used factiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the internet or via any other means without permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction: Star Wars, the Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, What Does the Fox Say, Dwayne Johnson, Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer, Morgan Freeman, Popeye, Nicholas Sparks, Wizard of Oz, Poltergeist, Disney’s The Lion King, Supernatural, and Anne Rice novels.
Because you continue to inspire me every single day.
Table of Contents
Glossary of Terms
Excerpt from ENTICING VIOLENCE- Empyrean Chronicles Book Two
About the Author
Excerpt from POWER
“Come home right away.”
I stared down at Mom’s text as I hurried down the street. As if I would’ve forgotten that last night she and dad explicitly told me to come straight home.
“No dawdling,” my mother commanded. Who said dawdling anymore anyways?
“Don’t stop at the library,” Dad reminded me.
My parents had a pretty great relationship, as far as I could tell anyway. Sure, over the last several years they’d fought more often. Never went on dates anymore. Rarely even kissed much. But how many parents actually do that after so many years together?
I tucked my hair behind my ears, again. But seconds later it was whipping around my face, assaulting me once more. I pulled my coat closer to my neck, trying to block out the arctic air. Though it was April, it was colder than normal, dipping below freezing for the last few days.
I tucked my phone into my back pocket and buried my clenched fists deeper into my coat. At least it wasn’t snowing anymore, though that really didn’t help much. I was still freezing down to my bones. The sun had already begun its descent, and with each tick of the clock the temperature dropped more.
Living in Dodge City, Kansas wasn’t that bad though. Yeah, it was often freezing as all hell. And it was a pretty small town without much to do. But it was beautiful and windy. It was just another thing that made me a little strange, but I loved the wind. And Dodge City was one of the windiest places in the United States.
A huge gust of wind almost lifted me off the ground. It bit at me through my flimsy coat, which had felt much sturdier this morning when I put it on than it did now. I willed my feet to move faster, hoping to escape the worst of the wintery tempest.
I walked past the library. My eyes sought it out, craving what I couldn’t have today. I already had the newest JLA book checked out that I could read after my parents had their little talk with me, so I wasn’t too concerned with it.
Serious talks make me want to claw my eyes out. When they mentioned it last night, they said something along the lines of, “Responsibility. The future, Lily. We have to have a talk, so come home right away.”
Considering they both were mad and glaring at each other, I doubt it had to do with college applications. I was still a junior, and had pretty good grades. I didn’t know what I really wanted from life, so I already assured them I would take basics at the local community college, and decide later.
Instead, I conjured all kinds of bad scenarios. Dad lost his job, and we were gonna live on the street. Or divorce, I shuddered at the thought. Or, more likely with
parents, it would be something as serious as Mom admitting she hated Star Wars, and Dad coming clean with his complete dislike of Nicholas Sparks’ movies. I shook my head and rolled my eyes, as my smile grew.
The wind lessened, and was more like a caress against my cheeks instead of a beating from the ice gods. I looked up at my house as I got closer. The single tree in the front yard waved its bare branches around wildly, beckoning me forward. The bushes in the front were…well, they were dead. No easy way to put it. I tried to keep them alive, but it just wasn’t happening. No green thumb here.
An invisible, thick fog descended in seconds, surrounding me. The sun drifted further, hiding behind the safety of the clouds, as shadows grew wider and darkness crept into everything around me.
My stomach twisted with nervousness I wasn’t expecting. Nowhere else on the way home was there any moisture, but it was as if a thick cloud had settled around my home. It clogged my lungs and made my eyes water.
With each step up the sidewalk it was getting warmer, like there was a giant heater in my house, trying to warm the outside. Just before I reached my front door, the air was closer to a cool spring day. I started getting creeped out, like I used to get when I walked through the cemetery on my way to the post office.
That’s when I noticed the shimmering in the grass. I turned, looking closer. Glass. All of the windows in the house were shattered, leaving only empty holes in the walls and glittering pieces in my yard.
Goosebumps erupted on my arms as if there were tiny spider crawling along my skin. The hairs along my arms and at the back of my neck stood at attention. My parents getting divorced was
the worst thing that could happen. Things so much worse could happen.
I pushed through the mist, ignored the crawling along my skin, and forced my feet to move. My heart beat faster, and my blood started pumping like crazy through my veins. I had the urge to run away, but closer at the same time. My chest squeezed and tightened around me.
I stepped through the doorway, and flipped the light switch. When I clicked it on, nothing happened. I flipped it up and down a few times, hoping for a different outcome, before moving on.
I fought the urge to call out to my parents because all of a sudden things felt scary. It was stupid I couldn’t even walk through my own home in the dark without getting freaked out. Like I was in a scary movie and something terrible was going to happen, just because the power was out. I shook my head, and tried to shake off the eeries.
I went around the corner, leading from the dining area into the kitchen, and immediately stopped. Something sweet, almost as sweet as jolly rangers, blasted my nose as if flowers were growing all around. That sweet smell was mixed with something rusted though, which totally brought back the creep factor.
“Mom? Dad?” I whispered, feeling stupid and hoping that they would walk in like nothing was wrong.
The invisible fog choked me as I walked through the hall. With each step it clung to me like water clings to your favorite pair of jeans. My eyes watered as my throat constricted.
“Mom? Dad?” I finally called out, giving in to the urge.
I heard something barely audible above the thumping of my heart.
I stopped and listened as hard as my ears would allow. It was like a tinkling of tiny, quiet bells. Or maybe a bunch of wind chimes, blowing softly in the wind. It was pretty, but weird. It got warmer again, despite the windows being broken.
Maybe in a minute my dad would walk in after flipping the breakers and we could laugh at the absurdity of my unease, but somehow I doubted it. The feeling of dread still hung heavy over me, weighing me down and making me fear the worst. I was afraid there was someone in there, waiting to pounce on me as soon as I rounded the corner to the living room.
I tried to stay quiet, to hear anything else that might be going on in the house. But there was nothing.
A strong gust of air from the living room hit me, throwing me back against the wall. My back collided with a picture frame that stabbed me between my shoulder blades. It shattered behind me, falling to the ground in a clump of broken wood and glass beside me. My head hit the wall with such force that spots danced before my eyes. And my left butt check ached from the now-smashed phone in my pocket.
I shivered. Everything was done. The warm wind vanished and it felt like it did outside, freezing. The strange, thick mistiness and flower smell disappeared and a warm, metallic scent replaced it.
I stayed there, sitting on the floor in the hall, leaning against the wall waiting. I waited to see if anything else would happen, or really to see if a bad guy would jump out and attack me.
A searing pain in my hands caught my attention. Right next to my thumb a thick piece of glass protruded out of my skin, red shined along the edge. I pulled it out, and gasped at the pain. Blood trickled out, so I pressed down on it with my dry hand, trying to stop it from getting on the carpet. I waited for a good five minutes before I worked up the courage to stand and continue looking through the house.
I tried to ignore the pain in my back from the damaged pictures, the stinging in my hand, and the pounding headache. I focused my attention instead on the living room, where that gust of wind had come from.
I walked to the wall opposite where I had been sitting. Placing my back against it, I took a deep breath, and slowly peered around the corner. The couch was moved further toward the wall than the center of the room like it normally was. The walls were bare. Their photos and decorations bundled at the floor in front of them- destroyed.
I peered a little further. The curtains blew inward from the breeze outside through the shattered windows. The glass table that sat in the very center of the room, between the couch and the three chairs, was pushed against the far wall and was shattered also.
A dark red liquid dripped from the glass remaining in the table’s metal frame, pooling into a crimson puddle on the carpet.
Blood on the carpet. Red, thick and ominous.
My hands started sweating. My breath sped up again. I turned back around and looked at the bare wall in front of me. My breaths came out in gasps. My heart was going crazy, pounding and beating inside me. None of this made sense. My brain tried to catch up, but it was a train that had lost the tracks.
Afraid of what was in the living room, I looked down at the blood that was pooling in my own hand, and pressed harder on the cut. I could admit it. Fear was a real monster that I had never truly faced before this moment. But I would face it.
I took a deep breath and rounded the corner.