Thursday, March 13, 2014
Skye of the Damned will also be a book! (Here's a sample)
In honor of tomorrow being the release of Episode Three of SKYE, called "The FAE" (stay tuned here and on the website SkyeOfTheDamned.com as well as both SKYE's and my Facebook), I thought I'd announce that I have been working on the book version of the story and here is the Prologue to the book. It is information you don't have yet, if you are watching the online TV show...so ENJOY! (and remember...this is not professionally edited, so if you find an error...alas, that is the nature of the beast.)
The snow fell in large, floating flakes while the wind swept them about Fiona’s head. An uncontrollable giggle escaped while catching them on her tongue as her stepfather ordered her to hurry along.
“Fee, quit dawdling. We need to get home. Santa’s coming tonight. He won’t stop by if you’re not in bed.”
“Oh, Da…I’m thirteen, I know darn well—”
“Shh! Don’t upset him with blasphemy!” he said, a grin on his face as put an arm around her shoulders.
“You think I don’t know mum sent us out to run errands and see a movie so she could wrap things?”
“Your mum wanted some alone time. Come on, we best be getting back.” He unlocked the sedan, opened the passenger side door, and closed it behind her once she was in.
Withe the cold seeping in, Fiona rubbed her hands together as she leaned forward to watch the snow falling in the parking lot lights. This was her first Christmas with the white stuff. Due to her adoptive father’s job, they moved around a lot. A year here, a year there, and often in the southern states of the U.S. However, this year was different, they were in New England, and there was beautiful snow falling for the holiday.
Her mother, a stunning woman with Fiona’s pale complexion and dark hair, claimed they came from a Gaelic ancestry. Hence why she called her adoptive father by the term, Da, versus Dad or Father. His real name was Jackson, but he’d been in her life since she was around the age of four, so she had always called him Da.
No one spoke of her biological father. All she knew about him was that he was a dangerous man wanted by the police somewhere on the east coast. That, and he had gone out to buy groceries when she was two years old and never come back. Stories had swirled about him and by the age of five, the rumor was he'd been kidnapped and killed by the mob. But the long and short of it was that he'd abaondoned her and her mom, so in her mind, he was never her Da. He was a worthless bastard. He didn’t count at all.
Plus, he was the other reason they moved around a lot, which she hated. If he was out there, her mother didn’t want him to find them, so if she ever thought they’d been somewhere too long, they left. Of course, Jackson’s job helped perpetuate that as well. It made it hard to make friends. In fact, Fiona had stopped trying. But maybe, if they stayed here long enough she would. With the thought of that, she smiled.
Jackson got into the car and turned the vehicle on. He adjusted the heat and looked at her. Reaching over, he ruffled her short, dark hair. “What’s that look for? Your baby blues look all starry eyed.”
“Oh, nothing,” she lied, looking back out the front windshield, worrying her lip between her teeth.
“Mmm-hmm…okay,” he said, obviously not believing her, and pulled out of the movie theater parking lot.
“I hope we stay here,” she said in a whisper, still watching the snow.
“I hope so, too, a stór,” he said, using the Gaelic words for “my darling.”
The drive home was a little far, as they lived about thirty minutes from the center shopping area of the town. However, their small house was only five minutes from the hospital, where her mother volunteered, and walking distance from the grocery store and her new school.
Jackson turned down their lonely back road, which was always quiet, but somehow the snow seemed to make it eerie as well. In this area of town, the houses were spaced far apart with a bunch of trees and brush between them. Most were decorated with colored lights and other Christmas items, which she loved. Their closest neighbor was across the street and even they were new and didn't bother them. Which was fine with Fiona. She was awkward with new people. She’d heard her mother complain to Jackson about it before. That the moving around wasn’t good for her. He’d remind her that it was safer this way and her mother had left it at that.
As they approached the house, the warm holiday feelings began to drain from her as a sense of dread crept into her core. Jackson pulled into their long driveway and Fiona suddenly knew something was wrong. Stepping out of the car, she got her first sign that supported her dread; the front door was open. Without shutting the car door, Fiona bolted toward the house. Barreling inside, she noted that the latch was broken and splinters of wood littered the inside floor.
“Mom!” she yelled as she stared into the pitch black of the house as she reached for the kitchen light switch.
Jackson stepped in, blocking her hand. “Don’t touch anything.” He pulled out his cell phone and dialed.
A ringing could be heard from somewhere inside the house, toward the living room. Before Jackson could stop her, Fiona ran toward it. The main living space was dark, save for the glow from the small Christmas tree in the corner. The little multicolored lights made it possible to see the room had been destroyed; side tables were turned over, the wooden coffee table was cracked in half, a chair lay on its side in pieces, and there were holes in walls. Then there was the blood.
Panic gripped Fiona’s heart, pounding so hard she felt her head begin to throb with each beat, every breath like jagged glass along her throat.
“Mom!” she tried to yell, but it came out more like a strangled cry. Fiona continued to look around the disaster as she heard her father speaking to a 911 attendant.
Following the blood, she walked around the back of the sofa, and there, laying motionless, was her mother.
The scream that ripped from her sounded unworldly as Fiona ran, dropping to her knees next to the her mother just as her Da came around the corner.
“Melly?” he said, panic alive in his voice. “Come away, Fiona!”
“No!” she yelled at him, tears streaming down her face.
“Help is on the way,” He paused and touched her cheek. “Melinda, can you hear me?” He said, his voice soft and broken.
Sirens in the distance became louder as Fiona began to understand that her mother’s life was ending. Each rise and fall of her chest seemed to take longer, her body shaking with the effort.
“The Paramedics are here, I’ll go get them,” her Da said, “Stay with her,” he said, and left.
Taking her hand, Fiona said, “Mom? Can you hear me? Mom?” When she didn’t respond, Fiona used a name she’d heard her Da call her every now and again, in private. “Melody? Can you hear me? Melody?”
Her mother’s eyes fluttered open, finding Fiona’s. With effort, her mother reached for the necklace she always wore, but it wasn’t there. Panic spread across her face. Fiona scanned the area and saw the pendant under the edge of the couch. Reaching out, she grasped it, and handed the pretty crystal to her mother.
Melody promptly handed it to her daughter. “Wear this. Always. Life or death. For me.”
Taking the blue quartz necklace, she said, “Mom…you’re not going to die. Help is here. Just hang on.
“Love you so much…” her mom said. “He did too. Remember that.”
“I love you, too. He, who?”
Paramedics were suddenly all around her.
“Sebastin…” was all she got out before Fiona was removed from her side.
“Who? No! I need to talk to her. Let me go! Mom? Mom!”
Placing the oxygen mask over her mother’s mouth, the Paramedics lifted her onto a gurney, stating she couldn’t be treated here, and needed a hospital immediately. Before Fiona could say or do anything, they whisked her mother away. Jackson followed right behind, leaving Fiona sitting on the couch, stunned, with a pendant in her hand. Finally finding her feet, she slipped the quartz into her jeans pocket, and ran to catch up with her Da.
She saw him next to her mum, holding her hand, leaning down to hear something she said, nodding at her, before they replaced her mask and hauled her into the ambulance. Tears streamed down his face as they pulled her from him, his hand falling by his side before he turned to look at Fiona. Their eyes met and even though she was young, she understood what had transpired between them.
“No! Mom!” she screamed out and ran for the ambulance, but her Da stopping her from reaching it. With arms and legs flailing, she screamed for her mother while he held her and the doors shut.
Once the ambulance pulled away, Jackson let her go, hand on her shoulders, eyes on hers. “Get in the car. We’re heading to the hospital. It’s not over yet. Come on.”
But Fiona knew the truth in her bones and sank to the ground in tears.
“Come on, Fee. We need to go. Can you walk?”
After a moment, she numbly nodded, wiping tears away with the back of her hand. Jackson helped her up and with an arm around her, led Fiona back to the car. Her door still stood open from when she’d run out only minutes ago. Was it minutes? It felt like hours.
Fiona brushed the snow from the seat and got in as Jackson started the car. Once she shut her door he backed out and they followed after the ambulance. Fiona could feel her bottom lip trembling as more tears slid down her face in silence as they drove. The snow, no longer pretty to her, slammed against the windshield, making it appear like the Millennium Falcon going to light speed.
If only they could go that fast, she thought. Then they’d beat the ambulance there and she could ask her mom who Sebastin was. Could it be her biological father? She'd only ever heard him called Cal. So why would she tell her someone named Sebastin loved her? She needed to know more.
Once at the hospital, the night seemed to pass in a blur of motion, voices, colors, and tears. Cops and doctors came and went. At one point, they even let her in to see her mother after surgery, but the prognosis wasn’t good, and they couldn’t stay for long. Either they needed to go home or they could sit in the waiting area until visiting hours began.
Understanding there was nothing else they could do, Jackson forced Fiona into the car and took them home, where more cops were waiting to ask them questions. Then, because they deemed her home a crime scene, they were forced to pack a few things and head to a motel for the night.
Laying there, in the dark, the only sound the rare car going by outside, Fiona knew her Da wasn’t sleeping either. Yet, she said nothing. What could she say? All the information from the past few hours ran through her head as if she was on a bumper car ride. One minute she’d slam into one topic and then she’d find herself contemplating another. From the words “home invasion gone wrong” to “crime of opportunity” to “comma” and “possibly dead by morning,” she just wanted to turn her brain off. Then she could sleep, forget, and dream of the Christmas morning she should’ve had.
It was around eight in the morning when she remembered her mother’s necklace. Slipping out of bed, she fetched it, and crept into the bathroom. Quietly shutting and locking the door behind her, she lay the pendant in the palm of her hand and noted that the stone still had some of her mother’s blood on it. Torn between the connection to that blood and the desire to wash it off, she stood there, staring at the blue quartz. The chain was missing, very likely somewhere in her house, lost in the struggle.
But who had she fought with? Why would they come into her house? Why had her mother said to wear this? Why did she see it as life or death? Or had she not been talking of the pendant at all?
Overwhelmed with questions that had no answers, Fiona set it on the counter, put the toilet seat down, and sat on it. Resting her chin on the counter to stare at the stone, as if it could clarify everything for her, she watched as the blood on the pendant glowed bright and then faded. Fiona blinked her eyes a few times and shook her head. She must’ve imagined it. Reaching for the pendant, she finally washed it clean.
Once it was dry again, she turned to leave the bathroom as she heard the phone in the main room ring; and she knew. Stepping out, she watched as her Da sat up, answered the phone, and fell apart.
The following days were full of the faces of people she didn’t know telling her how sorry they were. Some asked questions, others gave papers to her Da to sign. When all was said and done, and they were allowed back into their home, Jackson pulled her aside and sat her down.
“Fee…I need you to pack your things. Only take whatever will fit in your two suitcases and a box, as usual, and we are leaving.”
Her lungs felt tight in her chest. “But we just moved here!”
“I know. But right now we need help. I need help,” he clarified. “I need my family.”
“Your family? I thought you were an only child? Mom always said you were alone like her.”
“That’s not totally true. I have two brothers. We’re going to go live with them.”
“I can’t tell you right now.”
“What? Why not? That's not fair!”
“Fee...please. No one can know where we are going.”
“Not even me?"
"Once we're on the road."
Fiona sighed. "What if they find out more information on who killed Mom? They need to find us! You have to tell them where we’ll be.”
“They won’t find them.”
Anger flooded her being. “You don’t know that! Did you even love her?”
Two tears escaped before he regained control. “With everything that I am,” he answered, stroking Fiona’s hair.
He looked tired, she realized. More tired that she’d ever seen him. Had he even slept since that night? She barely had. But that wasn’t a reason to give up hope.
Petrified of the answer, Fiona asked, “Do you really think they’ll never know who did this?”
He took a moment and said, “I fear may never know. But you’re right, they might. I’ll make sure they have my cell number,” he said. “I promise. Now go pack. We leave in the morning.”
Knowing there was nothing she could win by arguing, she stomped up the stairs to her room, packed like routine had taught her, and cried herself to sleep. When she awoke, she found her things already taken down to the car and a wrapped Christmas present in their place. Tentatively, she opened it to find a new outfit.
Putting on the new sweater and black jeans, Fiona stuffed her pajamas into the box, shoved her feet into her tennis shoes, grabbed her purse, and with one last look at her room, left it behind, like all the rest.
“That blue sweater looks lovely on you. Your mum picked it out. Are you hungry?" Jackson asked her as she came down the stairs.
Fiona shook her head.
"Well, if you change your mind, we can stop for something on the way," he said, and awkward pause filling the air. "I know you're mad, Fee. And you can be pissed at me all you want. But this if for your safety."
"Whatever. Let's just go."
Jackson opened his mouth to say something but changed his mind and just nodded. "The car is in the garage and packed. Go get in, I'll be there in a second."
She grabbed her coat, determined to never speak to him again, and did as he asked. She kept her silence as they rode about town, visiting the bank, the crematorium, and her school. Only when he handed her a tiny Ziploc bag did she break her vow of silence.
“It’s a black satin cord. I thought you might want to string your mother’s pendant on it.”
Tears threatened to escape, but she swallowed them back. “How did you know?”
“She told me she gave it to you by the ambulance. I assume it’s packed in your things?”
“Go ahead, get it out.”
“Sure. I want to see if it fits.”
Fiona sighed. “Fine. Whatever.” She undid her seatbelt and reached back into her make-up bag behind her seat. Pulling it out, she sat back down and strung it on the cord.
“Did she tell you to wear it?”
“Yes. She said to wear it always.”
“Then you should do as she said.”
"She wasn’t making any sense at the end, Da. How can a necklace be life or death?”
“I don't know, Punkin'. I think she might've just wanted to know part of her was always with you. Can you do that for her?”
Slipping it over her head, Fiona nodded.
He started the car. “Good.” Then, once they pulled onto the highway he said, “Open the glove box.”
Without a word, she did so. Inside she found a large manila envelope. She pulled it out, her brows nit together in question.
She dumped the contents into her lap. There lay two envelopes, two passports, and a slip of paper with a green wax blob on it, a symbol pressed into it. Selecting one of the passports, she opened it to see her Da’s face and the name Jackson Reece. Opening the other, she saw it had her latest picture, but it had a different name on it.
Supremely unhappy, she complained, “Again? But why?”
“Your mother told me to.”
“Did my father kill her? Is that what she was saying? Are we still running from him?”
“No. But we can’t be sure that the press on this won’t lead him to you and she begged me to keep you safe. So we change your name, and mine, and we go live with my family. Nodding toward the passport, he said, "She always like that name best, and the last name is from her family, a piece of her, so to speak. My real last name is Reece. My brothers run a lumber and construction company in upstate New York. That’s where we are heading.”
“For how long?” she asked, tentatively.
“Hopefully, for the rest of our lives.”
Fiona felt her first ray of hope since the night she watched the snowflakes fall. “Really? No more moving for your job?”
Heavy traffic brought the car to a crawl and Jackson looked over at her. “No more moving as long as you can keep your new name and new back-story straight. Think you can do that?”
Forgetting her promise to hate him, she threw her arms around his shoulders and hugged him hard. “Thank you!”
“It’s on you, Fee…think you can do it?”
Letting go, she stared him in the eye, her face serious now. “I know I can.”
The traffic started to move and he looked at the road. “Good. Let’s use the drive to get our facts straight. Okay? And maybe get some McDonalds? That sound okay?"
Fiona had to admit, she was hungry, and he knew her weakness for junk food. "Yeah, that sounds okay."
"Good. So, let's start working on your story. What’s your name?”