Authors: Melissa Aden
Tags: #faith, #spiritual, #young adult, #love, #warfare, #god, #paranormal, #demons, #Fiction, #romance, #demonic, #Satan, #adventure, #truth, #fear, #jesus, #angels
A PORTAL Chronicles Novel
Destiny Mode Publishing, May 2012
Cover Design by Melissa Aden Designs
Copyright © 2012 Melissa Aden
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any
printed or electronic form without permission
from the author. This ebook may not be resold.
This is a work of fiction. Any references to names, places, brands, and events are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
To my lovely Lina
May you learn to trust yourself,
trust your God and conquer Fear,
for then and only then will you truly
be able to spread your wings and fly.
It’s quite common for a new mother to stare into her baby’s face and wonder what her child will one day become. Will he be an astronaut, a truck driver, an artist, or a doctor? Will she discover the cure for cancer, fulfill Mom’s long-lost dream of dancing on Broadway, or touch hundreds of lives as a teacher?
What’s strange is already knowing.
I marveled at the perfect bundle in my arms as I rocked her in my grandma’s old rocking chair. Never did I think I’d be rocking my child in the chair my grandma rocked my mom in and my mom rocked me in. But now, it was my turn.
As I watched her sleep, I chuckled recalling my fretting over what she’d look like. Comparing her father and myself, I wondered how our features could possibly meld into anything halfway normal looking. But alas, Sophie was stunning, making me feel shallow and foolish for not trusting Dio’s handiwork. Of course the Creator’s work would be flawless.
I took in her long dark lashes, her rosy, chubby cheeks, and her cotton candy pink pout. I was glad I’d taken the time to document her beauty of four months with lots of pictures today. I’d have to mail some to her grandparents, and to my best friend, Victory. She’d be shocked by how much Sophie had changed since she’d seen her last, the same reaction I’d had upon recently receiving pictures of her lovely twin boys.
Everett and Benjamin. I couldn’t believe they were already three years old. They were so handsome, Everett resembling Victory with his brooding green eyes and dark hair, and Benjamin looking more like his father every day.
“Time flies,” I whispered to Sophie. “Before I know it, you’ll be a beautiful young woman ready to spread your wings and fly. I hope by then you’ve learned that life is about living, laughing, and loving to the fullest, for a life of holding back is no life at all.”
Closing my eyes, I listened to Sophie’s steady breathing as I savored the warmth and weight of her body in my arms. Who was I to be granted such an amazing gift — this little bundle of joy? I didn’t deserve it. No one did.
Oh, Sophie! My sweet girl. How will you save the world?
I was six months pregnant when Dio came to me one cool spring day. I felt his power all over me, stronger than ever before. Sensing him about to speak, I grabbed my journal and waited. What he said that day blew me away:
From the mouth of a babe,
The world will be saved.
Sired by priest, mothered by prophet,
Divine wisdom, I will give,
To the priest’s precious poppet,
Do not doubt or procrastinate,
The wisdom she’ll give
Or it might be too late.
I will gift her, and lead her,
and show her the way. A Seer, Heeder,
Sayer will keep the enemy at bay.
My strategies, my insight,
My strength of will and mind,
Will sustain and carry her
Into my Power’s great light.
If all that I tell her is directly obeyed,
In the days to come,
Defeat will be staved.
I’d mulled over those words so many times since that day. At first, I second-guessed what Dio told me thinking there was no way this word could be about Sophie. How was my little girl to stave off defeat from a ruthless dictator like Lucian Divaldo? Then Dio gently reminded me of the many miraculous things I’d seen and the countless times he’d saved me from defeat when it seemed all hope was lost. If anyone was capable of turning a sweet little girl into a warrior, it was Dio. So I submitted, trusting he’d protect her in the days to come.
“Clara? Where do the spatulas go?” Evyatar yelled from the kitchen.
“Shhh… I just got Sophie to sleep,” I hissed from the nursery.
He clunked noisily up the stairs and squinted into the dim room. “I love watching her sleep,” he whispered, coming to us.
“Me too,” I agreed, smoothing my hand over her soft auburn curls. “We’ve been blessed with such a sweet girl.”
My husband smiled, kneeling down beside me. “May I see them again?”
I laughed. “Yes, but don’t wake her.” I pulled back Sophie’s blanket, revealing one of her perfectly plump thighs.
“I can’t get over them,” Evyatar gushed, gently kissing her leg. “I could eat her up.” He kissed me too, making my heart flutter.
It was probably my hormones, but in this perfect moment, I could cry. “I love you,” I told him, my heart brimming over.
“I love you,” he replied. “And I love this beautiful gift you’ve given me.”
He stroked Sophie’s cheek as he quietly broke into song, his rich voice carrying the melody passed down through his family. “Poppet, my poppet, my sweet little poppet, you’ve stolen my heart and you’ve filled me with joy. I love you, my poppet, my sweet little poppet. Your Daddy adores you, and you he enjoys.”
My heart — and eyes — overflowed. This was all too much — more than I had ever asked for or expected.
I silently prayed.
Is this the One I serve? Is this how you treat your people — blessing them this much, above and beyond their wildest imaginings? You’ve given me all my heart’s desires. Who am I to deserve all this? Thank you! Your love is more than enough.
A boom then shook through the house, startling us and waking Sophie.
“They’ve found us!” I gasped.
“You know the plan,” Evyatar calmly said. “I’ll sidetrack them. You go.”
For the first time of many, I tightly clutched Sophie and prepared to escape.
He can’t make me go!
I scowled at my bath bubbles, my arms rebelliously folded across my chest. Sulking. I’d been trying to calm down for almost an hour, but the unrelenting memories of my fight with Dad pierced my hard facade like a knife. Quick. Painful. Deadly.
“You are stubborn like your mother!”
I winced from the blow, my wounds still fresh from earlier in the day. He went too far, I thought, fighting back another onslaught of tears. Judging from the look in Dad’s eyes as he’d said it, he knew it, too.
Tears flowed as his face appeared in my mind’s eye. It boggled me: the spite on his face as we argued, the hurt in his eyes as he weighed my defensive words, and his remorseful look as I retreated from the room. My predicament ailed me like a sickness, like a disease, leaving me exhausted and hollow, weighing heavily on my heart.
A fresh torrent of hot tears ran down my cheeks, gracefully landing in the warm, sudsy water below like high divers.
What would Mom do if she was in my situation?
Probably exactly what I’d done: fight. Dad was right. Mom and I were so much alike.
I popped a rogue bubble on the water’s surface, watching it burst with a satisfying “pop.”
Pop! Pop! Pop!
I smirked at my silliness. How I felt like a little girl right now, shying away from my fears like a baby. Just a scared little girl. That’s all I was. And yet he expected me to live on my own?
Motionless, I watched the ripples of my bathwater still as I strained to hear the faint sounds of music and laughter in the rooms below. The drone of conversation. The occasional pop of yet another champagne bottle uncorking. The clinking of crystal wine glasses and champagne flutes.
“Salute,” a masculine voice cheered. A gale of high-pitched laughter floated up to me and I could make out some of the voices: Mrs. Dennison from down the street, Dr. Danesky, one of Dad’s colleagues from the university, and Mrs. Falden, my teacher.
A pang of guilt ached through my chest. All those people here for Dad and me. And what did I do? I hid away in my bathroom like a total brat. Mom had taught me better, and I knew she’d be very disappointed to witness me pouting and doubting Dad. Besides, he’d made a valid point today. He’d never hurt or betrayed me before, so why was I questioning his intentions now?
Tonight was supposed to be special: our grand going away party before our expedition on yet another great adventure together. Just me and Dad. Little did I know that, this time, Dad and I would be “going away” to separate destinations.
“Why are you doing this to me?” I demanded upon hearing the awful news. I was shocked. Confused. Grasping for reason where there was none. Desperately searching for sense and order in a crazy, cluttered world. I could usually read Dad like an open book, but I hadn’t seen this one coming — not by a long shot.
I’d been so excited. Off to a new city on a new adventure with Dad. The inseparable duo! The disembodied duo was more like it. I sank lower into the fragrant bathwater, plunging my nose into a bubbly peak. Why was he sending me away? The question revolved in my brain like a dog chasing its tail — never coming to resolution.
Tears brimmed over my eyelashes as I replayed our conversation from the afternoon. Dad’s words had made my head spin and my stomach clench — the same feeling when Rebecca Turner elbowed me in the stomach at day camp in the second grade because I’d unsuspectingly sat too close and invaded her “personal space.” (She really just didn’t like me and wanted an excuse to hurt me without our leader giving her a time out. Though, she got one anyway when I told on her. Served her right.)
Another wave of laughter reached out to me, pulling me from my reverie and beckoning me to join in the fun. They were putting a major damper on my pity party. I closed my eyes and tried to drown out the happy noises, only leading me back to what I was avoiding: replaying my fight with Dad again.
“Why are you sending me away? Why can’t I go with you like I always do?”
“Calm down, poppet,” Dad cooed.
“No! I will not calm down. This is a big deal.”
“Sophie, I thought you’d be elated. I’m honestly surprised by your reaction. Things will be better this way,” Dad struggled to convince me. He said it like he really believed it, but his eyes told otherwise. “Just try it for a few months, and you’ll soon see that—”
“A few months!?!” I yelled, darkening. I hadn’t been away from Dad for a few days before, much more a few
Was he crazy? How could he possibly think this wouldn’t be a big deal?
Dad was valiantly trying to keep his composure, but I could tell he was slowly losing his cool — something he only did when I caught him off guard. “Yes, Sophie. Just a few months. Most kids would be honored and proud to attend Brightman Academy. They’d be excited to get away from their parents and to have a premature try at life on their own.”
Though lucrative, I wasn’t about to give in so easily. “You know better than anyone that I’m not ‘most kids.’ You’ve raised me around Physics grad students and other professors. I have no blatant idea what ‘most kids’ even do.”
Dad stiffened. “Sophia Margaret! Be reasonable.”
I recoiled as if he’d physically slapped me. There went his cool — out the window! He only called me by my full name when I’d really upset him.
Though the scenario wasn’t playing out as I’d hoped, Dad had sorely underestimated his opponent. Crossing my arms and pouting, he softened like clockwork. Doubt flashed across his face and I was on it like a dog on a scent. But before I could speak, he crossed to me and looked me in the eyes — an equally dirty move from a well matched opponent.
I tried not to meet his gaze as it would only lessen my defenses, but I couldn’t resist. In my seventeen years with Dad, I’d learned to read his heart through his big, warm brown eyes, and sure enough, staring into them now told me he was hurting too.
“Sophie—” Dad hesitated before plunging headlong. “You. Will. Be. Fine. You know me better than anyone. I would never do anything to hurt you.” His words rang true. No clever response came to me, but I was used to it. I’d never been good with confrontations or spouting clever comebacks on the fly. Encouraged by my silence, he continued. “This is best for you. I’ve always worried about you — hanging around old professors, discussing quantum physics and mechanical engineering with the latest and greatest grad student, and spending late nights with me in stuffy offices. It’s no way to bring up a young lady, but I’ve done my best and we’ve made it work. Until now.”