Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Excerpt 8

This is the scene that sets the rest of the story in motion. Alexis is woken up by the bus driver and finds that she is not in Atlanta.

"Miss, we're here. You have to get off the bus now."
Alexis opened her eyes to see the shadow of a man with his arm extended to her shoulder. She jumped in her seat, nearly shifting on instinct before realizing it was just the bus driver waking her.
"Thank you," she stood and sidestepped into the aisle. She looked out the windows as she walked toward the front of the bus. Nothing looked familiar. She had been to the Atlanta bus station a few times before, and remembered it being much busier. She did not see the metro buses lined up in their usual places. The late morning sun bleached the concrete in a seemingly empty lot, and there was no din of traffic, or dark wall of tall buildings.
"Excuse me, Sir," Alexis tapped on the driver's shoulder. "Are we in Marietta? I'm paid all the way to Atlanta."
The bus driver gave her a serious look, but then a smile crept across his lips until creases formed in his cheeks, consuming gray stubble in folds of dark brown skin. He blurted, "Well then young lady, I guess you've gotten your money's worth." His eyes welled up and his cheeks expanded until Alexis thought he was choking, and then he let loose with a laugh so rich, it made him bend at the waist, the buttons on his shirt dancing over his round belly. His laugh was so infectious, Alexis began laughing with him, but having not understood the joke, could not sustain the mood. The driver got himself under control, his face becoming serious and caring once more.
"Young lady, you're in Montgomery."
“You mean, Montgomery, Alabama?”
“The one and only,” the driver said, nodding his head.
Alexis stepped backward, shocked at the news. She had never been in Alabama. She had never been out of Georgia. She even chose Georgia State University because they had a campus in mid-town Atlanta. Now she was in a city she didn’t know, which put her at a disadvantage for hiding places when someone might come looking for her.
"I'm sorry," Alexis said. "I must have slept through the Atlanta stop. Can I pay you for the extra mileage?"
The driver, still chuckled a little as he spoke. "You most certainly slept through Atlanta. If I hadn't woken you up here, you might have gone on to Mobile, or even New Orleans."
Alexis asked again, "What do I owe you for the ticket?"
"No need to pay me, young lady. In fact, I'll let the ticket office know to give you free passage back. There's a bus leaves for Atlanta late tonight."
Alexis thanked the driver, and gave him a twenty-dollar tip, before stepping off the bus. She was still groggy, and a little upset with herself at her lack of awareness, but the pressure in her bladder and the groaning from her stomach told her the first order of business was to find a bathroom and something to eat. She walked across the huge concrete parking lot to the edge of a four-lane divided roadway. Fast food, payday check cashing establishments, and pawn shops darted the roadside. Across the roadway and just a couple hundred yards to the left, a big pink neon sign featuring a horse rearing up, caught her attention. Underneath, neon letters in the same color read, "Pink Pony Bar and Grill."
Better than fast food.
Alexis she ran across the four-lanes at the first opening.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday Excerpt 7 - Tatianna

This scene introduces a new character, Tatianna.

Tatianna was very briefing mentioned in the first few scenes but that was mere foreshadowing of a character that one may find is much more of a main character than previously thought. Tatianna becomes a driving force for many events throughout the story much like weather becomes a character is some stories. As one might discover in this scene, she is not a normal, mortal human. Rather, she is an Imp, a third-class demon that is normally seen as neither good or evil. imps can be both and like to play tricks on humans like poltergeists. But this Imp is different. Tatianna has a means of gaining strength and knowledge from all creatures -humans and demon alike-and the more she interacts with others, the more her power grows.

Enjoy, and don't forget to comment below with your thoughts and criticisms.

Alexis felt a presence in the seat next to her and knew who it was before she opened her eyes. A tickle in the back of her mind reminded her that she was sleeping, but even if the presence was a mere dream, it felt real enough. Rolling her head to the side and opening her eyes, she saw her longtime friend sitting next to her. Tatianna was not looking at her but staring straight ahead as if watching the road through the front windshield of the bus.
Alexis had a sudden flash of self-consciousness as she realized this little girl—who appeared to be no more than twelve years old—sat next to her right in front of other passengers. Silly, but she wondered if other passengers might see them together and wonder if Tatianna were her child. She pushed the thought away, smiling as she turned to the large bus window. The dim interior lights of the bus reflected her own face across the blurred landscape passing outside, but not Tatianna’s. Nevertheless, the mere presence of Tatianna calmed her mind. Alexis always felt a sense of calm when she visited. Alexis looked looked to Tatianna and found her still staring to the front, no acknowledgment of their long-standing friendship forthcoming.
“Fear not,” Tatianna said, still not looking at her. “Accept this path and continue on your journey. It is through the hardship you will face that your true mate will be revealed.”
Alexis took in all Tatianna said but understood none of it. She always spoke in such a cryptic fashion, Alexis rarely understood what she meant without clarification. Sometimes, not until after whatever she said came to pass. There was so much she wanted to ask Tatianna, so many questions. Why did Tatianna not make her presence known so others would not think she was just imagining her? Was she imagining her? She never felt like she was crazy, but did people ever know when they were crazy? Alexis felt Tatianna’s hand on hers. She turned to ask what she meant but Tatianna was no longer sitting beside her.
Maybe Tatianna was never there. No, it had to be real. Alexis had felt her presence, not just a dream but the real measure of someone sitting next to her. Alexis felt the pressure of her sitting on the seat beside her, heard her breathing, sensed Tatianna looking at her when she first felt her presence. Already her head was reeling with unanswered questions and doubt. All she could gather from Tatianna’s words was that she did the right thing by leaving. The thought came as some relief. Despite her best efforts, her mind drifted and sought the resolute world of sleep. The blurred landscape through the window became shadows until darkness enveloped the scene completely. Finally, the questions abated and fell into the darkness as lifeless entities sinking slowly into the abyss of a dark ocean. Then Alexis succumbed to the encroaching darkness, closed her eyes, and slept again.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday Excerpt 6

In this scene, Alexis recounts her reasons for hating Leonidas as she leaves her small town on the way to the Greyhound Bus Station in Dalton, Georgia.

Alexis looked out the window of the taxi, more to hide her face from the driver, then to look at scenery. She wondered if Leonidas had left a mark on her throat and tried to look at her reflection in the glass. She only saw the North Georgia Medical Center as the taxi sped out of town along Main Street. She turned to look out the left window as they drove past the Gilmer County fairgrounds, her anger and hurt still burning her cheeks. An angry heat rose again in her as she remembered the first time Leonidas had shown his true nature. She was just eight years old and at the apple festival with her parents. She remembered it as a time when everything was true and innocent, a time when she still enjoyed her secret identity, and felt like she was a kind of superhero, hiding her powers from the normal, unassuming humans. That was, until Leonidas found her waiting in a line at a concession stand, threw her to the ground, and took the money her parents had given her. He beat her up on many more occasions as they grew up, and did much worse to some of the other girls in the pack.
Alexis finally began to relax as the taxi crossed the bridge over the Coosawattee river, where main street turned into State highway five, and the little town of Ellijay gave way to the great expanse of farmland and wilderness. The sun sat low in the sky and harsh light came through the front windshield forcing the taxi driver to flip his visor down. Alexis continued to look blindly out her window into the blur of trees and fields. She wasn't sure where she was going besides Atlanta, or when, if ever, she would return to Ellijay, but just getting away was good enough for now.
By the time Alexis saw the sign announcing her taxi had reached the Resaca city limit the sun had disappeared below the horizon. The meter attached to the dash was already above ninety dollars as the taxi driver turned right onto Highway forty-one, leaving Resaca behind for more open fields. The occasional flash of headlights from oncoming cars dwindled until they became only a slight interruption within miles of darkness.
"Looks like you're in luck," the taxi driver said as he turned the car into the parking lot of a Pilot Travel Center Truck Stop that seemed like it grew out of nowhere. Parked along the side of a large McDonald's parking lot, Alexis saw lights reflecting off of a big Greyhound bus.
"Is that the bus to Atlanta?" Alexis pointed at the window before realizing the taxi driver was not looking at her.
"Gotta be," the driver slowed the car and pushed a button on the meter, showing her total fee. "It only runs twice a week, from here to Atlanta."
Alexis shoved her credit card forward before the taxi even made a complete stop, worried the bus might pull away any second. She did not care how much the ride cost, at this point, she was willing to max out her parent's credit card to get away from the oppression of Ellijay, her pack, and Leonidas. She looked over at the bus and saw a line of passengers forming by the door. "Go to that big building behind the McDonald's," he said, as he pointed to a building that looked like a garage, standing lonely in a vast sea of dirt and gravel.
Alexis snatched the card out of the driver's hand, tossed four twenty dollar bills to the front. "Can we keep this fare to ourselves?" The driver smiled and nodded his agreement.
"Thanks again," she yelled back as she turned on her heel and ran toward the building.
The driver was standing outside the doors checking passengers for tickets. So, She decided to go for the direct approach and buy her ticket from the driver. She pushed through the twelve or so passengers to ask the driver if she could purchase the ticket from him.
“Sorry Miss, were not set up like that.” The driver shrugged his shoulders. “You’ll have to get your ticket from the office.”
Alexis shook her arms in frustration before bolting toward the office, trying desperately to hold her run down to normal human speed.
"Hurry up, though. I can't hold the bus very long," the driver yelled to her, as she ran toward the building, waving her credit card at the man in the window.
Alexis made it onto the bus and showed her ticket to the driver with a weak smile. She found a seat near the back of the bus and looked out the window into the darkness as the bus pulled onto the road, and almost immediately onto the on ramp of Interstate Seventy-Five. She smiled to herself as the bus merged into the far right lane of the road. The roadway was dark, made even darker through the tinted windows of the bus and only sparsely traveled, an occasional set of headlights reflecting across the shiny blacktop the only indication a populated world beyond the bus interior. She felt a weight lifting off her shoulders as she mentally left her old life behind. She had no idea what the future would bring, but it had to be better than her past. The darkness and the movement of the bus was relaxing. Alexis scooted down in her seat and let the swaying motion sooth her. She closed her eyes and drifted into sleep.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Excerpt 5

This scene provides more insight into Leonidas. Although Leo is not a main character for most of the story, he is the driving force (at in part) behind Lexi's decision to run rather than accept the fate that's been decided for her. Enjoy, and comment below.

His father offered no help to his problem with Alexis and, as sick as he was, probably wasn’t thinking straight. Leonidas stomped around his room while putting a few clothes and toiletries in his overnight bag. He could not stop thinking about his father, lecturing him about compassion and humility. How dare he speak of things he displayed no awareness of. His face began to flush and he tossed articles into his bag violently as his thoughts turned, as they always did, to his own mother. His mother died when he was very young in a car accident. Even with the supernatural healing abilities she possessed, her injuries were too great. She could not recover and succumbed to a massive head injury. At least this is what Leonidas had been told, but he didn’t believe it. Rumors spread faster than disease in their small secret community, and as he grew, he became convinced that his father staged her death to cover the truth that she simply could not submit to his father’s will and ran away. Deep down in the pit of his heart, Leonidas believed the rumor that his mother left his father, and him, for another mate. He’d heard through his youth, that she was still living with this mate in Alaska.
A single tear let loose and streamed down his cheek. He brushed it away and threw his bag on the floor at the foot of the bed. Falling back onto his bed, he thought about this whole ordeal about having a mate. The only reason he needed a mate was to produce offspring—an heir. Producing offspring was all females were good for. Hell, he grew up without the benefit of a mother and he turned out just fine. Maybe his father was right. Any female would do, as long as she was a natural, but he wanted Alexis. She should be his. She was gifted to him and he should have her, and if he couldn’t have her, nobody should, and he would make sure of that.
Chances were that she would go to Atlanta. It was the only place she’d ever been outside of Ellijay. Yes, that’s where she would go, right back to her college. Hell, he’d probably find her hanging out at her old dorm. Knowing for certain where she would go was a huge relief and it would probably be best to confront her in daylight with plenty of witnesses around to keep her from shifting or simply running away. Yes, he would have no problem finding her, and would be on his way to Atlanta first thing in the morning.