Authors: Sarah Brocious
The Awakening By: Sarah Brocious
Dedicated to my Grandma Mary Ellen McCullough. Without her gentle prodding and constant encouragement I may have given up one of my greatest loves…writing.
Chapter 1 The Wake Up
The curtain was drawn back, and an audible sigh was heard. Sometimes the night was easier. No sounds outside. No light to reveal the life spring had brought. Yes, it was certainly easier at night. Breathing came without effort, calm wasn’t a struggle. Memories could be pushed aside but the pain of those memories could tear wounds anew.
“Oh David, I miss you.”
And just like that the calm shattered. The dark street blurred.
Raina blinked back tears. Why hadn’t she grown use to this? It had been nearly two years. Two years without David, holed up in her home. No friends….she had pushed them all aside, and most had finally given up. All had given up but Emily.
A small smile pulled at her lips. Raina believed a person was never named without taking on the characteristics of the meaning. Emily was the exception. Her tenacious little friend wouldn’t be pushed out. Emily meant Rival….but she never had been and never would be.
She had been there through all of it. She held her hand at calling hours. Forced food down, so Raina wouldn’t starve. They had spent many sleepless long nights just talking. The only thing she had ever tried to force was when she attempted to get her grieving friend out of the house. Raina refused.
She spent her days inside, where she could not be hurt. The exception for her was the woods behind her home, where she would hike...or the store on the corner of her street. When she wasn’t doing that she had her nose in a book. Books were an easy escape. Well, it was an escape until the hero in her head, turned into David. He'd be there...laughing blue eyes, sandy blonde hair. Not a tall man, but certainly taller than her, and strong. Her David had been so strong.
Raina closed her blue eyes. She let the curtain drop back in place, turning her back on it. She sat down on the chair she had abandoned, and reached for the glass of Riesling poured and forgotten. She took a sip and swallowed. It was warm now, but still had its desired effect. She took a gulp, feeling the warmth wash over her. Numbing was the only way she knew how to fully kill the pain.
She opened the book she had been hiding in all day. Two more chapters left... that was it? She had no new book to start, and an entire night to go with no escape. She could always read this over again, or choose from her stacks that lined the wall in her guest room.
Sighing, she set aside the book, and lifted the glass to her lips once more... and tucked her feet beside her, they’d grown chilled.
A small meow startled her, and then made her smile. Percy….her persistent cat! She patted the spot beside her. The grey tabby jumped up, already purring. He had been a gift from her husband. Turk the Border collie that lay on the rug by the door, as if expecting some ones arrival, had also been a gift. He did this every night, every night for years. Turk was given to her, but he was David’s.
Percy mewed, rubbing his head against her cheek. His grey fur was damp from her tears. Turk whined and his tail thumped against the floor, but he didn’t move. His brown eyes watched her, his ears lifted. He was torn.
Raina pulled back her long blonde hair, and sucked in a breath. “Outside Turk?”
Turk lumbered to his feet, wagging his tail. The black and white collie was a beautiful animal, and his loyalty was unfailing. Maybe Turk was purchased on purpose, maybe David had known she’d need a guard, a friend, for when he was gone.
Of course he had known! Hadn’t he hid his secret for one whole year? A year she could have spent just on him? Instead she got four months beside a hospital bed, watching her love die. David meant beloved. He had been exactly that, her beloved. Cancer was an ugly beast.
He had worked up until he was so sick he couldn’t work any longer. He collapsed at work, was rushed to the hospital, and never had returned home. She had failed to see the warning signs, and she asked herself constantly how she hadn’t.
She knelt beside the dog, and roughed his fur. “Come on buddy, let’s go out.”
Warm spring air met them, as they moved through the sliding glass door, onto the deck. Strange, living in Oregon, you learned to appreciate any warm day; any day void of cloud cover. She had learned to accept it. This was home, where she’d lived all her life!
Her parents met here, and remained, raising their only child. They had her later in life, both in their forties. She was their miracle baby. They were now retired to Hawaii. Her mother called every week. She had attempted to get Raina to move there with them, now that she was alone…but Raina refused. Starting over really didn’t appeal to her. Solace was her life now.
Opening the gate on the deck, Raina allowed the dog past.
Turk leaped down the back stairs and began sniffing around.
Raina leaned on the railing, looking out on the moonlit back yard. No clouds this night. Stars twinkled brilliantly. It was not every night she got to see them.
David had always said he wanted to move them where it was warmer….where she could see the stars every night! But she had refused! She loved the change in the seasons...she couldn’t face a winter without some snow!
Now she’d have her snow every Christmas, but she’d give it up in a second to have him here now.
She felt a tremor run through her. When would that feeling go away? She stared up at the stars again…so far away. So beautiful though, a wonderful reminder of how small she was compared to what surrounded her.
Her eyes snapped back to focus, as a breeze blew through her. She stopped to listen to the wind…its eerie howling sent shivers through her. She often thought she heard voices in that wind…whispering. She drew in a startled breath, as she swore someone was calling her. She turned to the house, and Percy sat by the glass door, tilting his head and shifting his tail. Raina laughed at herself again, as he yowled….and yes, it sounded as if he called her name…scared by the cat yet once more tonight.
Raina sighed, turning her back on the cat, and looking again into the yard. Turk sniffed the edge of the back yard. He was hunting, some mouse, or perhaps a bunny? Was it raccoon perhaps?
“Come Turk,” she called, when she noticed he was getting a little anxious.
He nosed the ground, then lifted his nose in the air, sniffing deeply.
She was not concerned, until he growled deep in his throat, giving Raina goose bumps. Turk never growled. Now, he may whine when he’s concerned, but never growled. His fur rose straight down his back, and it became more menacing. He took a step toward the wood that lined the yard. He moved with stealth, as if hunting, not a mouse, but something much larger. He stared into the dark.
Raina trembled, but tried to shake off the overwhelming feeling of dread.
“Come Turk,” Raina called again. She grew more concerned when he did not obey immediately, which is his usual reaction. She stepped down into the yard, into the wet grass. Her feet protested at the now gathering frost. She shivered. The air was definitely getting cooler. She cautiously neared her usual mild mannered dog. She looked into the wood to see if she could find the critter he was trying to intimidate. She gently touched his soft fur. His muscles were ridged. His whole stance was stiff.
Her eyes adjusted, as she stared into the dark. “Hello?” she called. Adrenaline pumped in her veins. She grasped a handful of her dog’s fur, half expecting an answer. A twig snapped, and she started, her heart pounded in her chest. She stared up hoping to find comfort in the bright moon. It was gone! She was shocked to see it was shrouded in clouds. Her blood hummed in her ears. She turned her eyes back to the wood. She felt a small amount of fear. But not quite fear. It was more like an excitement. “Who’s there?” her throat was dry, so the words came out raspy. “T-this is private property! I’m sorry if my dog scared you, but he has every right to protect!” She took a step toward the dark. She started when thunder rolled from far away. It was ominous. She laughed at herself, and refocused on whatever was out there. But the adrenaline was gone. She felt no presence, no anticipation.
“Oh my, what an imagination,” she chastised herself.
Turk whined, turning to her, wagging his tail. He licked at her hand.
Raina sighed with relief. “Silly puppy! There’s nothing there boy.”
Turk sniffed the air, hesitating to move from where he stood.
She pulled on his collar, and he reluctantly followed her.
“My feet are freezing,” she chattered.
Quickly they got back inside, where Percy promptly greeted them.
Raina settled back in her chair, picking up her book once more. She didn’t turn the pages right away. Instead, she went over in her head what had just happened outside. Had she really been cooped up so long without more than a visit from Emily every couple days, which she could imagine anyone or anything other than a raccoon was out there? Maybe she’d read too much fiction? She still entertained the thought. Maybe it was Sasquatch, werewolf, alien? She giggled at that thought.
David would have said it was the Lock Nest Monster. He always laughed at such myths. Not Raina, she loved the thought that there was still mystery in the world. You just had to be open to find it.
She pulled her knees to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. Her book fell forgotten to the floor, as her mind rolled over this newest experience. She knew nothing was there, but invited the distraction by entertaining the thought that there had been. Her mind pieced together scenarios….possibilities.
“Hmmm, what shall we name our visitor?” She looked to Turk. Leaning over the arm of the chair, she reached into the basket beside it and pulled out her trusty name book. She shuffled through the pages, eyes skimming through the lists. She stopped flipping, and smiled when she found something that pleased her. “Well, let’s see, it seems he likes the forest…so... Silas? Means of the forest! That’s perfect!” She smiled, her eyes lit with new joy. Silas was forming quickly in her mind and she wanted to write down every detail. She wondered if it would help.
Running up the stairs, she grabbed a note pad and pen from her “office”, tripped over books on her way out. Percy and Turk had followed her, shocked at their masters sudden burst of energy. She nearly tripped over them as well. She made it back to her chair without much more trouble.
She sat quietly for a moment, mulling over where to begin. First…what did this character look like? She closed her eyes; let her imagination run a bit. Then, she knew exactly what she would have seen, if he had actually been there. Silas would be tall, in dark clothing because he blended into the wood. His eyes were somber, brooding, maybe grey, changing with his moods. His mouth would be stern, hard, with a strong nose, straight - aristocratic. Rich warm brown hair, gentle voice, like the breeze thru the tops of the trees. He was lean, stood tall and confident. He looked like someone you wouldn’t want to mess with, yet there was something there that made her feel, he would be someone you could trust. She again focused on his face. It was a handsome face. A face that was full of questions, curiosity and…pain?
Raina's brow furrowed. Pain? She knew a little about that. Why was he feeling pain? She looked down at the scribbling of her brainstorm sprinkled over the page. If he was in pain too, did she want to write about more pain? Deal with another’s pain?
With a little bit of disappointment, she put the notebook aside. The little flurry of excitement she had felt began to fade. The reality set in again.
Saddened, she lifted the glass of Riesling. She’d finish this, and then try to get some sleep. Suddenly she felt tired. She’d grown use to staying up most of the night, but her little escapade had made her quite weary.
The soft pillow was welcomed, as she laid her head upon it. She hoped sleep came easily tonight. Percy curled above her head, and Turk flopped onto the other side of the bed. How good that was for her now, when she was dependent on their companionship.
“Good night boys,” she whispered. A minute later, her eyes slid shut. She felt blessed sleep seep into her muscles. She gladly gave into it.
Raina wasn’t sure when the dream began. It had to be a dream. She stood at the edge of the back yard. She felt the adrenaline hum through her. There was a strange feeling there again…whatever, or rather whoever had been there before. Yet, not like before. She glanced toward the house, blurry in a dream like way, looking warm and safe. She shivered.