Posted in author, book. ebook, cover, ebook, edit, editing, excerpt, fantasy, help, magic, paranormal, premade, published, science fiction, Uncategorized, urban, writer, writing, YA, young adult

Chapter One, Asgrove Academy & lots more

For the past six months I have not wanted for something to read. I don’t know how long Instafreebie has been around but it is a killer.

While you can get hundreds of free books (sent to your email in three available formats), I have learned to check the title through Amazon before proceeding to download. Sometimes it is a book that isn’t offered through the Kindle Unlimited program and you’re getting a great deal.

Then be prepared to get an email box FULL of files you must forward to your chosen reading device (I use the Kindle app on my iPhone).

But that is not a problem for  free books right? Also be prepared to get your box filled with newsletters, some even asking you to join an author’s street team.

I have so many files on my computer from Instafreebie (because when you click on one and say yeah you want it, then, sometimes three more titles will pop up where you can choose one, so on and so forth) that I often both fear and look forward to checking my email.

Example:

Sent: Friday, March 24, 2017 10:40:27 AM
Subject: Freebie Friday: 293 Free Ebooks Just For You!

and here is the link Instafreebie free books

Did you know that this link can offer more than 500 books and I’ve got more than just one email offering Instafreebie books!

HUNDREDS of books from all different categories haunt me now.

What takes priority are three things: responsibilities to my family, reviewing books requested of me by authors/publishers and my own writing.

I recently tried my first short story writing contest. The theme was ‘person in a hole finds their way out’ by thewritepractice.com. I’ve officially joined the community of amazing people.

My short story was published and can be found here: http://shortfictionbreak.com/spring-17/

My story was called ‘Death Isle’.

Also, you should join Kindle Scout! Help choose a book to be published, if chosen you will receive a copy. But it is more than that. You’re in a contest to be the best at choosing the next great book. You get three nominations a day. This is really important for authors and readers.

As for my own writing, I have changed Witches and Wizards Retribution into a trilogy. It is now, Asgrove Academy, Witches and Wizards Trilogy, Book One, with a new cover and the cover with the girl is for Book Two, Power Rising and Book Three, Retribution.

Here’s the cover for book one I bought from selfpubbookcovers.com (credit will be in book):

asgrove academy cover

And here is Chapter One, in all its terrible glory.

This is a story about a girl who falls through a portal from Earth into Asgrove, a realm of magic where witches and wizards are the norm. Sentient buildings, classes for animal companions, potions, charms, talent training and more await her in Asgrove.

Only human females with blood tracing back centuries to the loss of Asgrove’s queen who was abducted and brought to Earth where she was eventually killed, can enter the one-way portals. In Asgrove, it has been said that the return of the lost queen’s soul would be soon, possibly within the group of human females brought to Asgrove a month before school was to begin. But dark magic has had centuries to snake its way deep within Asgrove and the residents within.

Chapter One
Earth

Bright sunlight filtered through the dense giant redwood tree canopies at the Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park.
After being on the road for more than five hours cooped together with my brothers in the back seat of our dad’s truck, I felt happy to see the park’s light green, weathered, paint peeling welcome sign.
I leaned my head against the glass window of dad’s old truck, stealing glimpses of the hot guy dressed in park ranger green.
After paying the ranger for a two-week camping pass, our blue truck rumbled along the single lane dirt road. “Hand these out to the kids please,” dad said to mom. As I took the paper, a heavily detailed map of the campsite unfolded in my hands. Might be useful.
We made several loops before reaching spot number ninety-nine.
The minute the truck stopped, I jumped out. Sweet freedom at last. No more, acrid stench of sweat. The scent of clean air found from within a redwood forest cleared away the hours of constant teasing and bickering.
Even though I had managed to get out of the vehicle first, the twins, Eric and Derek grabbed their tent from the bed of the truck before I could nab mine. My younger brother Chase along with older brother Sid got to theirs by knocking me to the ground.
“No foul,” Sid said with his trademark grin.
“Got it,” Chase laughed, passing me by, tent tucked under one muscled arm. His dark eyes, the same deep brown as dads met my glare.
“Hey, don’t forget to put the groceries in the food locker,” mom hollered.
“On it,” dad said, coming to stand in front of me. My fingers dug into the loose dirt of the ground as my anger grew.
“What a load of bull! Did you see what Sid did?” I asked my lumberjack dad. He towered above me, dressed the same as always; pale jeans, a white undershirt with a red and black plaid short sleeved shirt and thick, black boots.
“They like to make sure your tent is protected by theirs.”
I frowned at him before taking his hand. Once on my feet, I brushed the dirt from my jeans.
After I dragged my tent over to the set-up area, I saw the familiar pattern. My pink, single person canvas abode would be wedged between two gray double tents. I smiled when I could see this year, we’d have thick trees at our backs instead of another family.
Letting my frustration melt away, I cast my eyes to the beautiful trees semi blocking the rays of the high noon sun. The rich, earthy scent came from being deep within a forest. A natural balm to my frayed nerves. The shade we did have wasn’t enough to lower the temperature until an hour after the sun set. I don’t possess a single drop of ‘outdoor, nature girl’ blood. I missed my friends. Real toilets would have been welcome.
Tent pitched, I frowned when I felt sweat drip along the skin of my back.
“Get her!” Chase shouted. His voice cracked. I laughed. Oh, sweet puberty sure sucked! Yeah, I laughed when I heard my brother’s voice break because I knew he hated it. Which made me like it even more. Chase, the shortest of my brothers. What he lacked in height, he more than made up for in mischief.
I squinted against the sunlight. Then I shook my head. I had forgotten, he had shaved his head right before we left this morning. His golden curls were gone.
I stood perfectly still, right outside my tent.
I knew the drill.
Same thing each year.
“Filled ‘em back at home. Maybe the water will be cool enough for you Lissa.” Erik said, a slight breeze rippled through his long, blond hair. The musician in the family, wore nothing but dark jeans, a dark T-shirt with obscene words and black Converse high-top sneakers, without socks.
Though I stared straight ahead, I could see their bright orange and yellow, mega water blasters currently aimed at my head, from the corner of my eyes.
I didn’t have a mega blaster. I had a green plastic gun filled with water tucked inside my jeans at my lower back.
They moved in to capture me in a circle.
“You guys ought to join the military,” I said.
I had enough water for six shots.
I only needed four.
Before they pulled their triggers, I whipped my gun out and shot them each in the middle of their forehead.
“Gotcha first,” I said. My laughter made my stomach cramp. Wholeheartedly worth it. The looks on their faces simply precious. A good memory at last.
No escape. I weathered the hits from their water guns until they ran dry.
“Didn’t see the shot coming sis,” Derek patted me on the back. I shrugged his hand away.
“You’re dead. I shot each one of you! If you had stayed dead, I wouldn’t be dripping wet!”
“What? It’s a hot day. Gotta cool ya off somehow.” Erik held his empty plastic shooter next to his lips and gave it a kiss.
“Better than last year’s bro,” Chase grinned, slapping Erik hard on the back.
“Got some time before lunch, let’s go refill them,” Derek said as he stared at me.
I rolled my eyes.
They laughed. Then they were gone, off to refuel their blasters.
“Where’d they go?” dad asked as he came to stand near me.
“To refuel.”
“I saw your shots. Surprised to see you participated.”
“Doesn’t getting soaked count as participating?”
“Um, I hear your mother calling me. Got to get a fire going for the hot dogs.”
I watched him walk away from me until I stood alone.
I dropped my little pistol on the ground near my tent.
Bending over, I unzipped my tent’s door.
Quick as a magician, I changed into a fresh pair of jeans, white T-shirt with a lightweight red hoodie. I pulled my hair into a ponytail with a white scrunchie, in case my brothers me again. I took my wet clothing and hung it over the top of my tent.
When they did return, their interest no longer aimed at me. For a few moments, I watched as they ran around outside in the sweltering heat, like drunk mountain lions.
The twins were exact duplicates of each other than the way they dressed. Derek’s casual khaki shorts hung low on his thin hips. Same as his twin, he wore no socks but his feet were always jammed into colorful Van’s. The only shirts he ever wore were plain, white T-shirts. And he hated the music his twin Erik played. So, did I. Loud metal banging noises from his band, The Metal Masters. No joke.
I unzipped my tent’s door and crawled inside to search for my ear buds and music player. Exactly how I planned on spending my time. I brought a few books but with the heat, I had a hard time getting lost in a story.
Listening to music, passed the time. I also tried to exchange text messages with several friends, bemoaning the cruelness of life. The terrible cell reception in the forest made most of my text messages undeliverable.
“Change of plans. We’ll have hot dogs for dinner. Your mom made sandwiches for lunch,” dad said from outside.
“Heard,” I said. I crawled out of my tent to see my brothers standing directly in front of me.
Dad and mom were by the truck with the dry fire pit in between us.
“Couldn’t get the fire started?” Derek asked. He spoke loud enough for us kids to hear but not dad.
“He brought wood instead of buying it from the park,” Chase said quietly.
“Thanks for lunch,” I said, as I elbowed Erik and Derek in the ribs at the same time.
“Yeah, thanks,” my four brothers called out at once.
“Ah, do you have to be so loud?” I rubbed my ears as I made my way past them to get my sandwich.
I smiled as my mom handed me a tin foil-wrapped lump. For a moment, a saw the apology in her blue eyes.
“I’ll eat inside my tent. No water allowed. Cute hat mom.”
“Sure Lissa,” mom said, handing out more silver wrapped packages to the boys.
I looked back and saw her pat her brilliant green baseball cap. Such a shame. She must have wedged her long, black hair inside the hat. Her smile showed me what I needed to know. For now, the world would survive.
I retreated to my tent. The sandwich turned out to be peanut butter and strawberry jam.
After I ate, I crumpled the tin into a ball and left it beside my pillow. I might need it later if I bored.
I retrieved my camera bag from the truck. I returned to my tent without encountering anyone where I set it carefully on top of my navy-blue sleeping bag. I plugged in my ear buds, closed my eyes and listened to the soundtrack of Pink Floyd’s, ‘The Wall.’
On the evening, what would come to be the strangest of my life, my family shared a casual meal of hot dogs roasted over the campfire. We stoically ate them and ignored the blackened crunchy texture. Dad tried his best to behave like a true outdoorsman, but he wasn’t as skilled as Augustus McCrae or Daniel Boone. of us discreetly wiped the tears from our eyes from the campfire smoke.
At the end of dinner, I had to fight off my brothers who attempted to attack me again with their water guns. They laughed as they mocked me. “The water will cool ya off better than that air conditioner you’re always dreaming of!”
I screamed when they shot me. The devils had fired hot water!
Thankfully dad stepped in. He made the jerks back off by standing in front of me. Without their target, my brothers grumbled.
While dad motioned for them to point their guns away, he whispered to me, “Go take a walk on a nearby trail.”
My head turned toward him.
“Don’t forget your camera. There should be several places nearby where you could get some great shots.”
“Thanks, Dad.”
“New target. For this one time, you can shoot me,” dad said, holding his hands in the air. A seriously cool move for dad; sacrificing himself for me.
I took the precious moment he gave me to duck into my tent, tucked my music player in the pocket of my jeans before grabbing my camera bag. I placed it over my shoulder. My eye caught on a map of the campsite. The hot ranger had given dad several of them, which he then gave to us. I grabbed it, stuffed it into a pocket and made my getaway.
Nearly out of range, I heard dad shout, “But don’t go too far.”
I waved at him before turning my full attention to the beautiful foliage around me. “Maybe I’ll get some decent pictures to post online and sell as stock photos. Easy money.” I talked to myself as I stepped on a path leading into the redwood forest. The shade enveloped me. With the setting sun, I figured I had an hour before I needed head back.
Alone, I intended on taking a short walk, when a swarm of blue and white butterflies caught my eye. I pulled out my map and studied the colorful images on the back of the wildlife in the area. There were six types of blue butterflies and at least three types of white ones. The combination of their groups mesmerized me, and I followed them until I came upon the most amazing sight. I looked at my map and frowned. I had stumbled upon a trail called Damnation Creek.
I hesitated for a second before I stepped off the well-worn path and into another world, it could have been a picture from a bedtime storybook. An enchanting lush green meadow surrounded by the thick trunks of the redwood trees. It formed the backdrop for the swirling butterflies and fairy tale like flowers.
I gently set my camera bag on the soft grass. I walked slowly to the secret spot. Using the map to compare, I identified the flowers as Smith’s Fairy Bells.
The spellbinding butterflies were flying high and low as if their movements were an award winning, gracefully choreographed dance. Then, ever so elegant, they would land on the little bell flowers blanketing the meadow.
A tiny bird crossed paths with the dance. The magic broke. I remembered my camera.
I returned to my bag and bent to unzip it. I took great care to assemble my most prized possession – my Nikon D700 digital SR camera with 24.1 pixels and 6 SPS continuous shooting. I attached my Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor lens and closed the bag. I moved slowly around the area outside the butterflies’ path. Ever since a special birthday as a toddler when I received my first plastic red camera, I have loved photography.
After twenty minutes, my arms ached. “Got enough to last me awhile,” I sighed as I carefully removed the Nikkor lens from my camera and tucked it away before putting my camera back in its bag, zipped it and left it where it sat, safe on the enchanted grass. The flora and fauna forgotten, my attention focused on a huge redwood with a funky knot near the bottom which appeared to be a built-in seat.
I walked over to it and ran my hand over the natural contours. Curious, I sat and pressed my back to the trunk of the tree. The wood felt smooth as glass. I tilted my head against the tree and closed my eyes, letting the fresh air clear my thoughts.
Then the tree and beautiful meadow fell away.

**Needs loads of work. Changing a book into a trilogy will be very interesting!**

All comments welcome.

Posted in alpha, amazon, author, blog, blood, cover, ebook, excerpt, fantasy, HORROR, magic, moon, paranormal, published, shapeshifter, shifter, Uncategorized, urban, writer, writing

NaNoWriMo day 13 and one Great Book Series

Okay, my NaNoWriMo.org book got derailed by my reading of a five book series. It was so good I did not open my computer for three days.

Sonja Bateman’s DeathSpeaker Codex series is about this guy who finds out he’s not quite all human.

Enter now many different worlds with each book, the story gets richer and you get more addicted to Bateman’s fabulous writing.

I swear I watched a movie instead of reading five books!

If you have read Laurell K Hamilton’s vampire and Fae series, this book series is for you. If you haven’t, this book series is for you.

The whole series is available through Kindle Unlimited, which just makes it that more awesome.

Wrong Side of Hell Book #1 in the DeathSpeaker Codex series This link takes you to the first book of the series on Amazon. Give it a go!

First Book!  This link takes you to a pictuer of the cover of the first book but if you already clicked the link above, don’t bother, you’ll have seen it!

Sadly, back to reality lol! Okay National Novel Writing Month which ends on my birthday here my call, “I am going to finish my story!” Where Angels Weep, here I come!

 

Posted in blood, book. ebook, edit, editing, excerpt, HORROR, mature, nanowrimo.org, night, sex, teenager, Uncategorized, urban, writer, writing

Day 5 & 6 NaNoWriMo.org 12k words total MATURE CONTENT

There are currently two versions of my story for National Novel Writing Month.

One shows the twins past. The other is current day. Mystery, Suspse, Horror, Thriller just isn’t my genre. I am pushing myself to write this even though it makes me sick.

But as with all stories, once the dream or nightmare has shattered my night, it demands to be told.

So remember that this is all reallly rough draft. Over 8,000 words. Unedited. No check check. ROUGH. MATURE CONTENT

PRESENT DAY

 

After completing a heavily detailed, commissioned piece for a VIP in France, twin brothers Jacob and Jason sat together in their living room. Each held a cold beer in their right hand.

Jacob turned their father’s old radio on and began to twist the dial in search of something interesting. Jason removed Jacob’s hand when he heard a male voice delivering the evening news.

“In just one month, the State will be taking custody of the seventy-five children living at Anna’s Orphanage, on Klein Avenue. Mr. Longly, the manager, stated that he was sad to see the home for orphans close its doors. Unfortuantely, the long standing funding it had been receiving was cut off last week when their anonymous benefactor passed away. According to lawyers from Ashton and Davis, this benefactor had no will. This wonderful establishment has been home to many orphans for over fifty years…”

“I didn’t know there were any orphanages left in this country,” Jason said, scratching an itch on the side of his face. His eyes stared at the old fashioned radio that once belonged to their father.

“Sounds like the opportunity we’ve been waiting for,” Jacob replied. After setting his beer down on the glass table next to the radio, he entwined his fingers and set them behind his head as he rested against the black, leather couch.

“Better us than the government,” he mused. “I agree. I think I have a plan. Those children will be moved in to the foster system in thirty days. How about we take a trip to meet, who was it? Oh yes, a Mr. Longly, to see if he would like a small donation, to ease the transition of the children?”

Jason rubbed his chin with his long, thin fingers. “It has been a very dry summer.”

His brown eyes, a mirror of his twin, glittered with excitement. “Klein Avenue is only fifty miles away. We can take the sedan.”

Together, the brothers sat and talked for the rest of the evening creating a fantastic ruse.

Two days later, Jacob, wearing a solemn, black suit, met with the man in charge, Mr. Longly. He spoke of making a donation for the children. After Jacob was inside, Jason, wearing black sweatpants with a matching sweatshirt, under the cover of night, snuck around the building. The ground was covered in dry, brittle brown leaves. After making three large piles, with a flick of his lighter, he created brilliant orange flames.

Both brothers had heavily altered their outward appearances using face putty, false mustaches, and long side burns. Their clothing had been stuffed in various places to change their body shape.

After the fires were cleared, fifteen girls were found missing. Mr. Longly gave the police a firm description of the man who had come to see him before the fires had started.

A large search spanned six months before the authorities had no choice but to declare the case cold.

After the orphanage was closed and the remaining children entered the foster system, the search for the missing, orphaned girls was easily replaced by the news of royal marriage. It was that of Prince Edward and Cassidy Forton that stole the attention of the world.

The Jovinet brothers had achieved their first goal.

The fifteen girls, ranging from four to thirteen were held, unbeknownst to all, in the basement of the brick building on their estate.

A building that happened to be located behind the very Statuary that had most recently provided a stunning angel to the newly married couple.

The perfect gift, a standing angel, arms crossed over her chest, face tilted toward the heavens as if pleading for redemption.

 

CHAPTER ONE

A girl no more than five, stood before a silver, metal door set in a large brick building. Its roof was covered in dark brown tiles.

Big green bushes with bright red flowers grew on both sides.

The man, dressed in a black leather duster stood holding the young girl’s hand.

The girl bit her tongue so hard that blood beaded on her lower lip.

They faced a single door set in the red brick building.

There were no windows on this side of the building.

The girl had a terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach.

A keypad was revealed, hidden behind one of two ivy plants hanging on opposite sides of the door when, with his right hand, the man pushed aside the plant, and entered a code.

After a slight hissing sound, the door was set free from its frame.

The little girl cautiously peeked out of the corner of her eye at the man holding her hand firmly in his.

As she considered his appearance, she didn’t think he looked like a monster.

He didn’t have horns or a devil’s tail.

A shiver ran through her aching body.

Monsters didn’t have to be slimey or scaly.

This man had short, brown hair and was dressed nice right down to his shiny black shoes.

No, she thought. Monsters came in many different forms. Even though he appeared charming, darkness lurked beneath his careful façade.

Standing in the open area just inside the door, the hissing sound came again as the door sealed closed and the girl tried her best not to let her tears show.

The light was dim as the man guided her to the right. They stopped at the wall where he pressed his right hand against one of the bricks. A small opening appeared along with wooden stairs leading down into pure darkness.

The man tugged on her hand and she followed behind him, blind to her surroundings.

At the bottom of the stairs, the man flipped a switch.

Three paths appeared.

The man chose to walk down the middle path that flowed beyond her sight.

After a few minutes, they stopped walking.

The girl’s slightly glazed hazel gaze wandered to the silver numbers on the gray door. 525.

“Be a good girl,” the man said as he unlocked the door using the keypad directly under the numbers.

As the door swung inward, he pushed the little girl into her new home.

She stumbled and then stood still, facing the bare walls.

She listened as he closed the door.

The lock was set in place with a firm click.

Under his long duster, the man wore a red long sleeved shirt along with tightly pressed black slacks.

Indeed, it appeared as if he was off to a business meeting.

His tie was the only thing that made him stand out from others.

It was a thin black tie covered with little brown monkeys covering their mouths.

Hands in the pockets of his pants, he walked leisurely through the maze of little rooms, each holding something very dear to him.

With a smile on his thin lips, he began to whistle softly, his dark, hooded eyes watching the numbers on the rooms as he returned to the main house.

Back in 525, the girl glanced at the tiny vent in the high ceiling. There were no hooks to hang clothes upon nor was there a chest of drawers to put things away. Not that she had anything anymore.

There was a single object in the space, a black, thick metal framed twin sized bed. It had a thin, spring free, mattress upon it.

There was a single, white pillow along with matching white sheets.

She hadn’t earned a blanket yet.

But she had paid dearly for the bed, its pillow and sheets.

The little girl climbed up onto her bed and stuck her fingers through the narrow slits in the headboard. Rubbing the skin off her pointer finger, she made a few small tally marks upon the gray wall.

Quickly withdrawing her hand, she stuck her finger into her mouth to soothe the pain and sucked away the blood.

Her movements made her appear as if she had fallen over on the bed and accidentally got her hand stuck in the metal headboard.

At least, that’s what she wanted anyone to believe when they sat down to watch the camera feed coming from the four cameras mounted near the ceiling, way beyond her reach. Each appeared to be no bigger than her fist. All four had a single, steady red light.

The small girl with brown curls down to her waist removed her black slippers and placed them by her bed.

“Must be perfect,” she whispered, her petite fingers arranging the slippers so that they were flawlessly aligned.

She removed her long, dark cloak and carefully folded it into a neat square before placing it next to her slippers.

As she had been instructed, she picked up the book on the floor and began to read it out loud in her soft voice. She made sure she was loud enough for the recordings.

The punishment for breaking this rule, as she painfully learned yesterday, would be the return of the silver chain around her neck which would be attached to a metal pole in the room without a door.

She wrinkled her nose at the memory that wouldn’t go away.

The man had ripped away her cloak, thrown a bucket of cold water over her bare skin and grinned at her.

“You will remember to read loudly enough for me to hear you. I’m sorry you are making me do this. But little girls who break the rules must be punished.”

First, he set a thick silver metal collar around her neck. Before she could figure out what was happening, he had attached it to a metal chain that was connected to the only thing in the room, a metal pole.

Out came a scary black whip which rained down on her back exactly ten times.

With each strike, her body jerked, pulling at the chain, which hauled her back by the collar around her slender neck, nearly choking her.

Her legs had collapsed at the third lash and a scream tore from her throat, raw and nearly feral.

“Good little girls do not scream,” the man said calmly as he struck her again with his whip.

She shivered as her blood ran in streaks from her back to her thighs and feet.

Next came another bucket of cold water which set her teeth to chatter.

Blinking through her tears, she hung her head. Wet hair concealed her face.

The man had left her in that room alone for a long time.

She wasn’t sure how long, only that when he returned, her hair was dry.

She was crouched on her knees, holding her legs to her chest when he had carefully removed the metal collar from her neck.

Then his fingers had pushed against her tender flesh as they probed inside the place that shouldn’t be touched.

She had squeezed her eyes closed and pretended she was swinging in the air on her swing set back at the orphanage.

The man had pushed her forward until she was on her hands and knees.

She swallowed her cries.

Disorientated by the pain and cold, she heard a zipper and then a quick rustle of clothing before the man grabbed her hips and plunged his thing inside the place that shouldn’t be touched.

Fresh blood ran down her thighs.

When her body was rammed hard from behind, she felt the man’s body quiver as he moaned.

His fingers bruised the flesh of her thighs as he pinched them.

Letting the cold steal through her bones, she was vaguely aware of the man dressing.

She caught sight of his chest, covered in strange silver metal balls before a thin a gray towel was thrown down on her.

She grabbed it and wrapped it around her bruised body.

That was the first time she had met Audrey.

“Take her back to her cell. 525. Use the ointment and make sure no blood remains on her body,” the man instructed the willow thin girl with large, round, empty brown eyes.

“Yes, sir,” she had said, her voice rough yet clearly feminine.

When the man left, Audrey had walked over to her.

She remembered feeling shocked when the girl had gently picked her up in her arms.

In a whisper, Audrey had counted to ten before she carried her from that horrible, blood stained room.

“You’ve earned your own room with a bed,” Audrey had whispered in her ear.

Earned.

Now, she knew that with every item in her room, it all came with a price.

She had paid in pain and blood for the items she had now.

“Give me the towel. Lay down on your stomach, on the floor,” Audrey had told her.

As the little girl did as she was told, Audrey leaned close to her ear, and whispered a few rushed words. Tears pricked the girl’s eyes but she did not cry.

Not even when Audrey applied the ointment to her back that made the pain so much worse.

Nor when Audrey had gently cleaned between her legs.

She had learned something important in those few hushed words.

Audrey was twelve.

And she had been the first which meant she was the oldest.

Sadness, a black, hollowed space in her flat chest ached at the thought of Audrey living in this place for seven years.

She held this information close to her heart.

She wasn’t alone.

There were girls living in tiny rooms just like her own.

There were girls, naked with silver collars chained to steel posts outside.

There were girls who lived in a similar building as her own but they were older.

The biggest clue she had was the number inked into the skin of her hand. 525.

Her building held a total of 600 cells but not all of them held a girl.

Some would never be opened again.

Audrey’s building held one hundred cells.

And the girls chained outside could be as much as fifty at a time.

And to become one of sir’s angels was to never have to feel pain again.

This puzzled her but she set it aside.

The days and nights she had spent chained outside was branded into her brain.

She had been disorientated from the drugs the man had used when he had taken her from the playground behind the orphanage

One moment she was happily slipping down the big, blue plastic slide, and the next she was naked, wore a collar like a dog around her neck and was chained to a post outside with other girls who appeared to be of the same age. Somewhere she had never been. Hell.

Audrey told her something far more important than numbers.

She had said to never forget her own name.

She promised herself each morning that no matter what happened, she would be Angie and she had been loved.

She remembered how many days she had spent outside.

Angie had marked the dirt near the post with her tally marks.

Five miserable, degrading days until on the fifth day, the man had come to her and asked her a question.

Her lips had been so dry they bled.

Her tiny body shivered in the cold morning. The sun had barely begun to rise in the clear sky.

She didn’t feel human anymore.

She felt like an animal lost and alone.

The man had snapped his fingers twice, and she knew what was coming. She had seen him do this very thing to several of the girls chained near her.

The chain had been very short. With her neck held close to the pole, she laid down on her back and spread her arms and legs wide, pretending to make a snow angel, although the hard dirt below her wouldn’t yield to such a whimsy idea.

Just as she had witnessed, the man, so neatly dressed it confused her, had violated her body for the very first time.

He had no shame in showing himself to all present as he licked the skin on her chest.

His tongue continued to explore her body.

She sent her mind far away.

Later, Angie could barely stand. Everything hurt.

The man had unchained the collar from her neck and then lifted her up and set her on her feet. Holding her empty collar up in the air like a trophy, he had spoken to the rest of the chained girls, “This is the beginning for you, my sweet girl.”

He had then given her the black slippers and dark cloak to wear. He had taken her trembling hand in his own and walked with her to the brick building.

It was the first time she has been in her room.

There had been nothing but the book on the plain, cement floor.

Her first night on her lumpy mattress was spent curled in the fetal position. She pulled her hair around to conceal her face as she cried. It was that first night that she had not spoken loud enough during her reading.

“Every night, a bell will ring. You are then to stand, and read. Punishment for not reading in a loud, clear voice entails a whipping. Be a good girl. Remove your cloak and fold it neatly into a square. Place it near your bed. Place your slippers neatly next to the folded cloak. There are many punishments for not listening to me, do you understand, sweet girl.” It had not been a question but a statement.

As she nodded her head, she watched him leave.

Once she heard the click of the lock, she allowed herself to sigh ever so lightly.

She had been left alone.

Inside, there was no way to tell the time other than by certain sounds. There was a beep at night which was when she was supposed to read. And there were the strange triple beeps that she took for morning.

Outside, in the bitter cold, at least she could see the moon for feel the sun.

At one point, a red tray had been pushed into her room from a slot in the wall next to the door.

She hadn’t noticed it before.

The food spelled so good. Her stomach rumbled. She couldn’t remember the last time she had eaten.

She had sat next to the tray and studied its contents. There was a white, plastic, nearly rubber cup that held water. No way to break it. In fact, everything was unbreakable. There was a bowl made of the same material which held warm noodle soup. There wasn’t any utensils so she had lifted it to her cracked lips and drank it.

When she was done, she left the tray where it had come into her room.

Then she sat and watched it.

Time slipped by.

She heard a small sound and her eyes widened as the tray was pulled out of her room by slender fingers. Unpolished nails. No words were exchanged.

Angie understood. Everywhere she was, someone was watching.

She moved to sit in the corner furthest way from the door. She held her knees to her chest and cried.

Time continued to move but she had no idea if she had been given lunch or dinner.

When no more food arrived, she found she needed to pee.

But there wasn’t anywhere to go.

She had looked up at the cameras. “I need to pee, please,” she had said.

From the far wall, a bucket made from that strange rubber plastic popped out with a seat on top. It was attached to the wall. No toilet paper.

Glad for strange miracles, she sat and pee’d.

With the relief came the awareness of being watched.

When she stood, the toilet retracted back in to the wall.

She thought about screaming for help yet again but found she no longer cared.

Being inside, unchained was a gift she had earned through pain and the loss of her innocence.

 

Later, a bell rang.

She stood in the center of her room and read from the book. Afterwards, she lay on her back, watching the unblinking lights from the cameras that watched her.

Then he had come for her. That had been her first trip to the whipping room and her first meeting with Audrey.

Now, several days later, marked in blood on the wall, her tally marks, she huddled under her sheet, willing herself somewhere else.

 

It must have been a new day, for when her door opened, the man had come for her.

He was wearing jeans and a blue plaid shirt.

He held out his hand.

She scrambled off her bed, tugged on her cloak and shoes and was at his side within seconds.

Her body felt numb as she walked with him back up the wooden stairs, out of the brick building towards the main house in the center of the property.

She felt eyes on her and couldn’t let herself glance back at the rows of chained girls.

Once they stepped inside this new building, she was surprised to see that it resembled a normal home. Aside from some strangely painted rooms, she was deposited into a room where to her shock, a man with a face identical to that who held her hand sat with an array of instruments and different colored paints.

The second man had taken her hand from the plaid shirt one and her firmly down on the single wooden stool.

Then he had taken her right hand and pressed it upon the cold, stainless steel table he sat behind.

She watched as he glanced up at plaid shirt man who said, “Use green. 525.”

After speaking, the plaid man left.

Angie turned her attention to the man in black leather pants with a bare chest covered in different silver balls.

Her mind flashed back to the whipping room.

“There are two of them,” her mind screamed at her.

“Don’t move,” his rough voice said before the buzzing began.

A new pain burned through her hand and the ink was etched into her skin forever.

Angie could feel stress in the air.

But the man didn’t speak to her again.

When he was done, he sat back and stared at her.

She tried her hardest not to wiggle on the stool.

She kept her gaze off the side but it wasn’t a very big room.

“I’ll be seeing you soon, 525.”

 

A hood was placed over her head. It had come from behind.

It took everything inside her not to scream and thrash around.

The person behind her held her shoulders and she stood.

Her burning hand throbbed in time with the pain coming from that place that should not be spoken of.

She tried to push the pain from her mind.

She concentrated on the small hand that had grasped her own.

She was guided through the house and into a bathing room.

With the hood still in place, her cloak and slippers were removed.

Gentle hands washed away the final signs of her innocence.

She let herself cry silent tears of pain.

Hands that didn’t hurt her dried her body with a soft towel.

When she was dry, the slippers were returned to her feet and a softer cloak was set upon her shoulders.

Then she was led outside and the hood came off.

She had been delivered into the waiting hands of the flannel shirt man.

“Call me sir, sweet girl,” he had whispered into her ear.

She swallowed the bile that rose-up in her throat.

Afterwards, he had taken her back to her room where he left her after giving her a quick kiss on her nose.

 

So, on her twenty-second night stolen away from her world, she finished her first read through. “The rules are set by sir. Punishment of various degrees shall be given as needed. Gifts can be earned for being a good girl. One day I hope to be one of sir’s angels.” She closed the book and returned it to its place on the floor. Then she had laid down upon her bed. In her mind, she could see her tally marks. All twenty-two of them.

She pulled the thin white sheet up to her chin. A memory flashed brightly through her mind. She had once slept in a place of peace and safety.

Ignoring the pain that throbbed in those places she wasn’t to speak about, she willed herself to sleep. The low lighting was never turned off. The cameras acted like silent sentries.

Morning came, not with the rise of the sun, for there were no windows to see but with the customary beep-beep-beep that showered every cell in the building.

For Angie, this meant little on this day. But for others, it was a turning point.

The man stood at the control panel dressed as smartly as he had the day before.

The pads of his fingers danced down the lines and over the rows of numbers.

A few moments later, five cell doors opened.

He closed the panel and turned to await his little girls.

He was not disappointed. The give girls came to stand before him, each wearing their black slippers and dark cloaks. “What a lovely morning to see such beauties. Come with me. We shall breakfast in the main house, together.”

Sir entered his code, unlocked the door, watched his little girls walk out into the morning light before securing the door once more.

“Come, come, little ones!” he said, his hands tucked into the pockets of smartly pressed pants.

They walked with their heads down, one following the other along the stone pathway until they stood at the entrance of the main house.

Sir uncoded the heavy oak door, and motioned for his angels to enter. He secured the door behind them.

“I think we shall begin in the morning room,” he said with a smile.

He walked towards the room covered in bright yellow paint. The single window was open, letting in a soft breeze.

The little girls stood shoulder to shoulder, eyes downcast, each working hard to ignore the garish paintings of monkeys on the yellow walls. These monkeys had their mouths and eyes covered.

“Please sit,” sir motioned for his angels to sit at the oval wooden table elaborately decorated with glowing white candles in elegant golden holders, embroidered place mats, each with a row of monkeys covering their ears. The table wear was bone china and the utensils pure silver.

Domes covered five large plates.

When the man nodded his head, after sitting down and placing his linen napkin upon his lap, the girls removed the domes, set them on a long wooden table and returned to carry the dishes to sir. One at a time, he took what they offered from the plates they carried along with a bite to their left ear.

Through the pain, none of the girls made a sound. In a group, punishment was worse than if a single rule was broken.

After they had served the man, they set the plates down on the table and served themselves.

“For today, you may say my name once. Jacob. Now say it.”

As one, wide eyes stared at the man and spoke softly, “Jacob.”

“Very good, now eat.”

Forcing the fluffy pancakes dripping in real maple syrup down their throats and washing it away with freshly squeezed orange juice. None of the girls could enjoy their break from their bleak cells. Not when they knew that their day hadn’t really started yet. Sir would begin after breakfast was over.

 

Audrey had been awake long before sir had woken the cell girls. She and two other girls, all the same age as Audrey worked in the kitchen making breakfast for the girls that would remain locked in their cells. Across the room, standing side by side was twin girls with fiery red hair. Their dresses matched that of the rest of the kitchen workers except for one small detail. The sash around each girl’s waist was a brilliant purple.

Audrey herself wore a sash of bright, sunshine yellow just as the other two girls helping her wore.

The kitchen was set up in the shape of a square, with a large island in the middle. Here, the girls arranged the trays that would be sent to the cell girls and those that would be given to the girls outside, chained to the cement area located behind the brick building.

Audrey and the others rarely deterred from their daily schedule. They all knew they were being monitored. That every movement and word was being recorded. Audrey wasn’t sure how many girls remained outside. It had rained last night and they had no protection from the harsh elements surrounding them. Audrey thought of the tall brick walls that encompassed the property. From her years spent here, she knew there was no one near them. The estate must be set far away from humanity. She believed it to be tucked away, hidden in a forest where no satellite could perceive their location. Her father was a scientist and used to tell her stories about space travel, and the satellites that roamed the free air of space.

“Time,” a short, mocha skinned girl said, holding two trays in her hands. She set them upon a push cart before going back for more. The tallest girl who happened to have no hair at all but beautiful amber eyes set her trays on another push cart. “Almost done,” she said, her voice raspy. Her hands shook.

“Right,” the twins said together. With pale hands that quivered, they finished placing their bowls on their single cart.

“After the three of you finish with the cell girls, could you come and help us with the chained ones? Last night was a terrible storm. I’m afraid of what we’ll find this morning. We may need help with the oven.” Though her eyes were downcast, Audrey remembered their crystal blue color, as light as the sky itself.

“Of course,” the three girls replied.

“Carts are ready for the cell girls. I see yours are ready for the chained ones. Good. Let’s go,” Audrey said, leading the way out of the kitchen with her cart ahead of her. The door was open and they left it that way as they walked carefully to their designated locations to distribute breakfast.

Audrey waved the black device soldered to her wrist by the door to the cell girls building.  She allowed the two girls to enter before her with their carts before following them inside. She closed the door, inwardly cringing at the hissing sounds the door had made. Bad memories came with those sounds.

“Meet back here when you are finished. Note numbers,” Audrey said stoically before turning away from the others. She began to distribute breakfast trays to the cell girls through the small slit near the bottom of the door. No words were exchanged until Audrey finished and returned to the entrance where the two older girls like herself stood next to their empty carts.

“Outside,” Audrey said as she waved the band around her wrist at the door again. As each girl passed, they whispered numbers. Audrey had an excellent memory. Now she knew which girls were in the main house. A shiver ran down her spine.

Nodding at the shorter girl, Audrey whispered her name, Ebony. “Take your cart back to the kitchen. Make sure the oven’s flames are at their highest. Be quick. I do not want to see sir outside with the girls he has taken for the day. We will see you soon.”

As Ebony rushed towards the kitchen, Audrey and Sallie, an eleven-year-old girl with blonde hair that fell in waves to her shoulders walked slowly around the bushes to see the bright haired twins finish feeding the chained girls.

“Rose, Helen?” Audrey whispered, her eyes anxious as they roamed over the naked girls.

“Six are dead. Ten still live,” whispered Rose.

“For now,” Helen said just as quietly as her twin.

“Put two on each cart. We’ll take them to the kitchen. Ebony will be ready for us.” Audrey followed the twins to the first dead girl. Pulling a key from the single pocket of her dress, she unlocked the collar from around the tiny figure. Rose picked her up and gently placed her on the bottom of her cart.

The girls followed behind Audrey as she unlocked each of the dead girl’s choke collars.

Once they had them placed carefully on the carts, they hurried back to the warmth of the kitchen, where sir never entered.

Safely inside, all five girls sighed before glancing at one another.

“I’ll do it,” Rose said. “It’s my turn.”

She bent down and picked up a dead girl with long, straight black hair. She placed her tiny body on a large rack before sliding it into the hot oven used for this sole purpose.

The other four girls fell to the floor, each horrified by their own actions and terrified of the punishments they would receive if they didn’t follow through with their assigned tasks.

“It’s done,” Rose said. She walked to where the others sat slumped against the far wall of the gray colored room.  “Whose turn is it for the cell girls?”

“Mine,” Sallie said, wiping her brow with the back of her hand before quickly leaving the warmth of the kitchen.

“I’ll sketch the dead into the book,” whispered Audrey who got to her feet. She pushed herself away from the wall and walked to the sink. The other girls came to make a half circle around Audrey, blocking her from the every one of the camera’s. Opening the right wooden door, she touched the back to move aside a hidden panel where she retrieved her book of the dead and her pencils. Once she was finished, she carefully replaced the heavy book and pencils. Content that they were hidden once more, she stretched her back, as did the others who stopped humming.

“This completes our morning yoga,” Helen forced herself to smile.

Aside from Helen, the rest of the girls returned to the upper level of their residence where their rooms were located. Each had a small four paned window with white curtains tied back with light purple sashes. There were no doors.

They made their beds, and spent the rest of the morning in the laundry room. Sallie came up the stairs, her arms loaded with blood stained cloaks and sheets. “This will take longer today,” she sighed. The others continued their tasks in the laundry room. They did not stop until everything had been washed.

 

“What a lovely breakfast.” Jacob smiled at his little girls who returned his gesture.

“Time for a stroll,” he said.

The girls stood, pushed their chairs back in place and formed a single file line near the door where sir stood waiting. They knew not where they were going. None could know the fate awaiting each of them in the darkness of the forest.

“Come along. I wish to wander through the forest,” he smiled as he led the way out of the back of the charming house and into the dense forest.

When they came to the first weeping willow tree, sir pulled a black haired girl with the number 146 away from the group and told her to stand at the base of the tree.

When she was where he wanted her, sir led the girls on until they reached another weeping willow tree. This time, sir pulled a short, blonde haired girl with the number 500 on her hand away and led her to the tree. She stood without a word.

Continuing deeper into the forest, sir once again stopped at the third weeping willow tree where he motioned for number 45, a small, very frail looking red headed girl to come forward. She took her place at the base of the tree, her eyes downcast.

Not far ahead, they stopped at the fourth tree. With its long, graceful, ground sweeping branches, a single tear slid from Jacob’s eye. He took number 388 away from the remaining girl and placed her next to the base of the huge shade tree.

The man named Jacob took the hand of the plain faced girl and walked deeper into the forest. They walked in silence until finally, they reached another tree, just as elegant as the others. He moved the girl to stand at the base of the tree where he got down on one knee. He set his hands upon her shoulders until their eyes met. Nearly identical brown in color, they gazed at one another for a few moments.

Straightening his shoulders, he took on the persona of sir again.

Sir broke eye contact first. Number 25 began to cry and sir backhanded her hard. “No crying is ever allowed.” He said sternly. Her frizzy, orange hair framed an oval face and his heart softened. “I am sorry that you made me punish you sweet girl. I find it is time for some truths. You have been with me for quite some time now and no matter what I’ve done for you, you just do not meet my angel standards.” Sir shook his head before standing. “Stand there like a good girl now,” he murmured as he moved out of her sight. His right hand reached up for the lever and he yanked it down hard. He waited a few moments before resetting the metal lever. Looking down at the ground, his head tilted to one side as he toed her macerated flesh and crushed bones. “The skull is always hard,” he sighed. He pushed a dark green button built into the tree and the ground opened up and swallowed the mess 25 had left behind.

This button automatically reset. He kicked dirt around the spot that was bare until it resembled any other place in his vast, dense forest.

“Such a waste of time,” sir sighed. He took his folded hanker chief from his breast pocket and wiped his brow. “No more time to waste on these silly girls who will never be angel material.” He talked to himself as he made his way back to number 388 where he performed the same routine but this time without words. 45 and 500 met the same fate as the previous girls who were never able to reach his high standards for becoming one of his angels.

Sir stepped into a patch of bright sunlight. He let the warmth sink into his skin. Feeling refreshed, he strolled back towards the chained girls awaiting his presence and attention.

 

Shortly before lunch, the five older girls returned to the kitchen. They made sandwiches for the cell girls and soup for the chained ones. They followed the same pattern as they had for breakfast.

They met back in the kitchen where they ate together in silence. Audrey passed a tiny slip of paper around where she had written down the numbers of the girls she had seen disappear with sir into the forest. After they finished eating, they returned to the sink, where Audrey retrieved her book, quickly sketched the dead while her fellow angels stood in a half circle around her, stretching and humming for the cameras.

Once the task was done, they walked to the main house where they cleaned up the breakfast from the yellow room with the disturbing monkey paintings. As they cleaned, Audrey made a series of hand gestures.

In this haunting place, ten young girls died for no reason today. Five survived to live on as angels while ten remained chained outside and twenty-six lived inside their cells, never knowing when a reward or punishment would be coming for them. Even though the girls in the cells could not communicate, they shared more than one common fear. Whether reward or punishment, both brought pain, and humiliation.

Next chapter

When her door opened, Angie’s heart nearly stopped. She was terrified of what might be coming. She thought hard about all the days she read from the book. She was sure she had read and clear. She ate what food was brought to her and left a tidy tray. She did her best to keep her space clean. Nothing good ever came through that door. Huddled naked underneath her thin white sheet, five year old little Angie’s hands trembled.

“Good morning,” sir said as he leaned against her doorframe. He wore a crisp white shirt today with jeans. Jeans? Angie’s legs began to quiver. Which of the two men wore jeans?

“Good morning sir,” she replied softly. Angie set herself on automatic. She sat up in bed, pushed her sheet off of her body and stood. She made her bed, nice and neat. Then she put on her slippers and cloak before turning to face the man she called, ‘the candy man’. Before her momma had died and Angie had been sent to the orphanage to live, she used to tell her a story about a man who would steal children away from their parents if they were naughty. He would offer them candy. If the child took the candy, the candy man would take them far away from their loving parents, to a place of fear and death.

She knew he wanted to be called sir. But that was reserved for good men. These men were not good men.

“I brought you something special,” the candy man smiled, bright white teeth flashed at her.

“That was very nice of you sir,” Angie said carefully.

“Would you put it on for me, now. Please,” the candy man said.

Angie’s eyes set upon the pretty, pink dress the man held out to her.

Not wanting the present but dreading the punishment more, she took the dress slowly from the man’s fingers.

Angie removed her plain cloak and pulled the dress on over her head. There was a zipper in the back she couldn’t quite reach. Terrified to upset the candy man, she slowly turned to face him.

“I’m sorry sir, I…I don’t mean to upset you but I can’t reach the zipper in the back,” once the words were out, she didn’t know if she felt better or worse.

“Is that why your pretty face is wearing that awful frown? Turn around,” he instructed and Angie did as she was told.

She held still as she felt his fingers touch the bones of her spine. Feather soft touches with the tips of his fingers wrapped around to beneath her arms, forcing her to laugh as he tickled her without mercy. Her laughter quickly turned to tears as he threw her down on her bed.

“Little girls should learn to not make the angels weep,” his warm breath fanned across Angie’s face as his hands wrapped around her neck. His body straddled her tiny frame and she began to thrash around as the oxygen was cut off from his forceful strangulation. Her hands pulled at his strong fingers. As the light dimmed, Angie’s eyes stared into the candy man’s brown, manical gaze and she wondered for a second if this was the end.

Just before she passed out, he let go of her neck, threw her dress up over her face and pulled her legs apart. When the pain became too much, she gratefully lost consciousness.

A burning pain from her chest had Angie opening her eyes to a grinning candy man. “Liked that, did you now, 525? How about this?” he asked, his fingers pinched her nipples again.

Tears sprang to her eyes but she held them back with sheer will. It will be over soon, she told herself.

“525, you are making amazing progress towards becoming an angel. I’ve even considered a few names for you but, alas, you aren’t quite there yet.”

The candy man bent down and bit her shoulder. Though her back arched from the pain, she did not speak.

“Hmmm, you taste delightful. Let’s see if you taste good here too,” the candy man grinned, displaying his bright, white teeth again. Angie felt his fingers dig into her tender flesh between her legs and she froze.

He brought his fingers to his lips and sucked on them. “Yes, you do taste sweet.” He decided.

The candy man pushed her away as he stood. He turned to look at her. “You can keep the dress, it looks very good on you. And you’ve earned it. You may keep this too,” he said as he withdrew a small, fabric doll from the pocket of his jeans. He tossed it to her. Her numb fingers caught it. She was still too scared to move even though the candy man could see all the places that couldn’t be talked about.

“Have a wonderful day, 525 and don’t forget this,” he grinned one last time before tossing a green mint onto Angie’s bed. “I can hear your whispers. You talk in your sleep. You call me the candy man which is fine by me. But my brother must always be called sir. He pulled up his shirt and showed her his chest full of silver balls. He laughed while pulling his shirt back down. “I’m the one who brings the pain.”

Then he stepped out into the hallway. After she heard the lock engage, Angie held her breath a moment longer. Sure that he wasn’t coming back right away, she slowly sat up, pulling the dress down to cover her abused flesh.

She stared at the little doll. It seemed like it was homemade as it was created using a light cream colored fabric. The eyes were blue and probably made by a marker while brown, curly hair was drawn on.

As Angie inspected the doll, she nearly dropped it when she realized the doll had no clothes. There was a black X in the spot between the doll’s legs.

Feeling nauseas, Angie laid back down on her bed, curling herself and her doll into a ball. She stayed that way for a long time. When her dinner tray was pushed through the slot, she didn’t feel hungry but the thought of being punished for not eating made her pick up the silver tray. There was a bowl of mashed potatoes with a small dab of butter, a square container held what she thought might be meatloaf and the smaller circular container held peas.
Angie hated peas. She hated the candy man more though. She poured the green peas into the mashed potatoes and using her finger, she mixed them up really good. There was a cup of milk on the tray and she drank the whole thing using it to help her choke down the gross vegetable infested potatoes.

When she finished, she placed the tray through the slot and returned to her bed where she tucked her sheet tight around herself. She had time before she had to read, she thought. Just a few minutes for the food to settle and she’d read the rules in a clear, loud voice before going to bed.

A different chapter

“if you’re an angel, why haven’t you tried to escape?”

Seraphim pointed to the black, silicone band that sat right above her ankle bone. “Because if I take one step off the property, boom. I explode. There are no phones in any of the buildings. No televisions either. We have set routines. Even if either of them isn’t watching the cameras, they have got programs running that alert them if we deviate from the routines.”

“What does deviate mean?”
“Basically it means alter. I learned it from the one with the piercings. Remember, we were all five when we were taken. I wonder if my family still thinks about me.”

“That’s what those balls are? Piercings? I thought we just pierced our ears.” She shuddered.

“I think about my room at home a lot. Not the orphanage but my real home before momma died. I had a brown bear that sat against my pillows on my pink bed. Everything was pink. I think about my dolls too. I might have to blindfold them now that I’ve seen what real evil is. They seem so not a part of this world now that I’m in this gray room with gray stuff.”

“There was a younger angel named Dumah. She tried to send messages to anyone outside the tall walls by writing notes and attaching them to rocks she’d throw over the walls. She also tried the rebellious act but it only got her hurt more. One day she went with sir who took her to the forest. He came back, humming. We never saw her again. Bad things happen in the forest. Death. You do not want to go in there. I’ve got to go. Too much time has gone by and one of the twins will come looking for me.”

Seraphim stood and left Angie in her cell being careful to lock the door behind her.

She rushed off towards her building to wash Angie’s clothing hoping with every step she took that she would not run into either of the twins.

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Day Four, NaNoWriMo.org, 1,362 words today

This chapter is still rough but should be okay to post.

CONTAINS MATURE CONTENT. DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU CAN HANDLE UNCONSENSUAL SEX.

Chapter Three

Over the next six months, the twins used their new keys every night.

One evening,  Jacob went alone to visit his favorite girl, Heidi. But when he got there, her eyes were open, staring up at the ceiling, fixed.

“Damn, why’d you have to go and die? Jeez,” Jacob hit the bars of her cell with is hands until they stung. “Pain feels good,” he sighed..

He took a deep breath to calm his rage.

“I’ve got to tell papa.” he said aloud.

He left the cell girls. He stood outside his father’s work shop for a few minutes.

He glanced around but no one was there.

He looked at the sun and decided there was plenty of time before dinner.

He knocked on the door to his father’s workshop and held his breath

He waited, pushing his impatience deep down inside.

The opened a crack and Papa stuck his head out.

“Jacob? You know you’re not supposed to interupt my work.”

“I know papa and I am sorry but one of the girls is dead.”

“Oh? Which one?”

“Heidi.”

“Okay son, let’s go get her. We’ll bring her back here.”

As they walked back to the cells, Jacob dug inside himself for the courage he needed to ask his papa the question that had been burning inside him since he’d first seen the “cell girls”.

Jacob followed behind his papa as they retrieved the girl’s body all the way back to papa’s workshop.

“Will she be an angel now?” Jacob asked as they entered the sacred space.

“I hadn’t planned on using her so soon but yes, we can put her in the statue we’re making for the high school.”

“The one that’s kneeling in prayer?”

“Yes,” papa said as he laid the girl’s broken body on a wooden bench.

“Can I ask you an important question? I promise not to tell anyone except Jason. He needs to know too,” Jacob said, leaning his back against the closed door.

He watched as papa turned from the work bench to observe him.

When he didn’t speak, Jacob took it as a yes. “Where do the girls come from?”

He watched his papa’s lips form a peculiar smile before they settled into a grin.

Jacob kept his posture straight and did not break eye contact with his father.

“I buy them. It is a simple matter really. Now that I think about it, it is about time to visit the market again. I’ll bring you and your brother and you can help me pick out some fresh treats.”

“Seriously? That sounds awesome! Thanks Papa!” Jacob’s body relaxed upon hearing his father’s answer.

“I need to make a few phone calls and then we can go. You’ll need this information for the future.”

“Don’t talk like that papa! You’re going to be here forever!” Jacob crossed his arms over his chest.

Laughing, his father shook his head. “Not forever my dear son. But I’ve got enough years in these old bones to get you and your brother on level with the family business in all areas of course. Now let’s get this girl into the statue shall we?”

“Yes papa,” Jacob pushed off from the door. He went to stand near the kneeling statue.

Hours later, with the weeping angel statue finished for the local high school, Jacob found his brother in the woods, swinging on their old swing set.

“I got lots to tell you,” Jacob smiled as he settled his tired body onto the swing’s seat. He grasped the chains and pushed off with his feet.

“About what?” Jason asked, soaring high towards the sky.

“Well, I found out where papa gets the girls. He’s gonna take us to pick out some new ones. Heidi died today.”

Without turning his head, Jason said, “Sorry dude. I know she was your favorite. Sounds cool about the trip with papa. Thanks for sharing.”

Jacob swung high. “I thought you’d be more excited.”

“Oh I am! I was thinking about mother and I had an idea.”

Wrinkling his nose, Jacob replied, “What about her?”

“Well, after papa had bestowed his gift upon us I think it is time for a big change. It’s time to stand up to mother. No more of punishments.”

“I get it. Good idea Jason. I just know that papa will be very upset with her secret actions against us.”

“Especially now that he’s shared so much with us,” Jason laughed. The fresh air felt wonderful against his skin.

“It’s getting late bro. Let’s go inside and eat dinner. We can talk about what to do with her later.” Jacob dug his heels into the grass and stopped swinging. He reached out and grabbed his brother who laughed. “Okay, okay! I’m coming stop pulling already!”

The next morning, the twins sat on their beds, finishing up their plans.

“I won’t allow her to make us dress in stupid angel costumes for her enjoyment. I mean, we’re home schooled through that computer program. There’s no one to see us anyways,” Jacob said as he sat upon his bed. Early rays of light filtered in through the open window where his brother Jason sat flipping through a comic book.

“We’re taller and stronger than her now,” Jason agreed.

“She’s just a useless woman anyway. It makes me sick to think that we let her bury us, torture us without papa knowing!” Jacob snarled.

“Tonight at dinner, I think we should tell papa about mother’s misuse of us. Maybe he can lock her up in a cage. She deserves worse.” Jason shoved the comic book away from him. He stared at the ceiling lost in thought.

“That’s not a bad idea. You want to know what I hope he does?” Jacob grinned.

“Sure.”

“There’s that statue he’s making for a park in Italy. Wouldn’t it be cool if mother was put inside it?”

“Who would wash our clothes or prepare food if she was gone?”

“Papa could hire a house keeper to do that stuff. He might even let us help fill the statue this time. I mean, I did help with Heidi but it was mostly observing. I mean, like hands on work.”

“We have been working really hard at learning papa’s techniques and skills at creating the angel statues. I’ve almost gotten as good as him at the hands and face.”

“Yeah. I’ve been able to do their wings and postures pretty good too. We’re not ready for copper crafting but we’ve mastered a lot since he began to teach us.”

“I’d like to hear her scream,”Jason smiled and Jacob stared at him.

“That’s usually my view. When did you become so jaded?” Jacob got to his feet, walked over to his dresser and began to dress for the day.

“When they scream, it makes me want to fuck them harder. I like hearing them scream.” Jason sighed, leaving a grin on his lips.

Jacob turned to see his brother’s face. “I know, right?” he said softly. He returned his attention to his clothes.

“I don’t want to wait till dinner.” Jason said, glancing at the blue plastic clock on the far wall next to the door. “I want to go tell papa now. It will give him more choices if he has more time.”

“Damn Jason, you’ve grown a strong backbone there.” Jacob ran slim fingers through his thick hair.

“You’re a good teacher.” Jason pushed off his bed. He walked to his green dresser which sat next to his brother’s blue one.

“I’ll go grab some muffins while you dress. We can eat them on the way to see papa. I think we’ll need the energy. Today’s going to be a big day for all the souls living here.”

As Jacob left, Jason turned towards the window. “Finally going to pay. Bet papa won’t like the scars on our backs either. That woman is not my mother. Mother’s don’t hurt their children. But I am going to enjoy hurting her.”

He pulled on a plain, white T-shirt and blue jeans. Then he slipped his feet into his sneakers and raced down the stairs to join his brother in the kitchen.

-end, for now-

Posted in author, blog, book. ebook, cat, excerpt, game, mature, nanowrimo.org, night, Uncategorized, urban, writer, writing

Day 2, NaNoWriMo! 1,536 words thus far!

(Remember that this has just been written. It needs to be fleshed out more!)

REVISED AT 7:50 pm 11/2/16

 

 

Chapter One

Fifteen Years Before

As the sun died, twin brothers watched from their seats on the velvet blue sofa.

From the front room’s big bay window, a streak of orange turned their heads.

 

Without a word, the boys stared at one another.

Together they stood and walked to the staircase in the front of their house.

One of the boys ran his hand over the polished oak surface of the banister.

They glanced at the closed door upstairs where they knew their mother had quickly retired to directly after dinner.

She’s sewing new robes,” Jacob, the eldest twin by two minutes whispered to his brother.

Angel robes, again,” Jason whispered, a shudder running through his small frame.

Halloween is next week,” Jacob said, turning away from the stairs to study the front door.

She’ll make us be angels again,” Jason sighed, his dark eyes downcast.

Papa doesn’t mind. Thinks it’s good for business,” Jacob said before taking Jason’s hand in his own.

She’ll make them shine with gold thread. Probably take her ages. Let’s go capture that cat.”

Jason looked at his brother, glanced back once at the door upstairs before nodding his head.

Together, they opened the big front door with its fresh coat of olive green paint.

Their eyes searched the dim area outside for the cat.

Over there!” Jacob began to run towards the prohibited brick building to their left.

His brother Jason carefully closed the front door.

He was quick on his brother’s heels.

They stopped to kneel down on the gravel as they stared at the cat who sat between them and a long area covered in coralberry shrubs.

“Don’t push, if we get any of these dark berries smashed into our clothing, mother will bury us again,” Jacob said, as Jason pressed against his back.

“Hey! I want to see it too,” Jason replied, elbowing his brother in the ribs. “I think she likes punishing us even when we haven’t done anything wrong.”

Everything is wrong in her eyes,” Jacob mumbled, tearing apart the soft leaves.

How does papa not know?” Jason asked, his eyes glued to the cat.

He’s always busy with his statues.” Jacob said. He put his hands on his knees to get a better look at the cat.

They had never been allowed to have pets and seeing a real cat up close was very intriguing for them.

He’s just in time for Halloween!” Jason laughed, pushing away thoughts of punishment and abandonment.

Jacob stared at the sitting cat who had began to groom itself.

The sound of a door opening had both boys jumping into the bright flowery bushes.

If they were caught outside, their punishment would be great.

And painful.

Their mother had a penchant for angels and she expected nothing less from her only children.

Neither boy wished to be buried alive again.

Their mother’s ‘special’ punishment for bad boys who caused too much trouble.

They watched, breaths held tight in their thin chests, as a tall shadow appeared from the forbidden brick building that rose up into the starry night sky.

Their eyes widened when they understood that the figure was their father.

He held something small in his arms.

“What’s he carrying?” Jacob whispered. He positioned himself behind Jason’s shoulders.

“Shut up! He’ll hear you,” Jason said, his jean covered knees knocking together as a fresh wave of fear riddled his system with adrenaline.

In a patch of moonlight, the brothers were easily able to see what their father was carrying.

“It’s a kid,” Jason said, folding his shoulders in upon themselves.

“A little girl. Maybe our age. She’s small enough,” Jacob hissed into Jason’s right ear.

Where had the girl come from? The brothers thought together.

Their father, a tall man with wide shoulders, neatly trimmed brown hair, wearing his dark suit from his day spent at the Statuary in front of their house, walked calmly towards his sculpting building.

His place of solace, he often told them.

Another forbidden space they could not enter.

As their father disappeared into the dark, wooden building, the boys scrambled over to stand on either side of the single dirty window near the row of weeping willow trees that held back the spooky darkness of the woods right behind them.

“What’s he doing?” Jacob asked, pulling himself up to see through the smudged window.

Before he could see anything, his brother had peeked into the building.

Jacob heard his breath catch in his throat and his stomach dropped.

“What’s happening?” Jacob asked, more urgently.

Falling down to the grass, Jason hunched his shoulders, folding in upon himself. He hung his head low.

“Stop stalling,” Jacob huffed, slapping his brother on the top of his head.

When he got no reaction, he knelt down and shook him by his shoulders.

“What did you see?”

“The girl,” Jason mumbled.

“Yeah, so what about her?”

“Her legs are covered in blood.”

‘Don’t lie to me.”

“Go look yourself.”

Fine, I will,” Jacob left his brother to tremble by himself as he crept back to the window and peered in.

His eyes widened. Saliva built up in his mouth causing him to drool.

Unlike his brother, he stayed to watch the activity in their papa’s workshop.

After what felt like hours, Jacob left the window and approached his brother, whom he found still trembling on the grass.

Looks like he’s nearly finished. We better get inside. Mother will get mad if she finds us missing from our bedroom,” Jacob said, pulling on Jason’s arm.

Okay,” Jason said, barely lifting his head to see his brother.

When Jacob gave him a hand, he took and stumbled to his feet.

Huddled together, quiet as mice, they walked towards the back door leading into the main house.

Want to know what I saw?” Jacob asked.

Not really,” Jason whispered, his eyes searching the surrounding gloom.

Don’t be a spoiled sport. I know why the only statues our family makes are weeping angels.” Jacob said somewhat triumphantly, hands on his waist, feet spread apart.

What are you talking about?” Interest piqued, Jason stopped trembling.

Papa put the girl inside the angel statue.” Jacob said with glee.

Your lying,” Jason shook his head.

Nope. She didn’t cry though which was strange. She didn’t even move her body but I could see her eyes move. I thought she might have seen me but I don’t think she did.”

She’s inside the statue papa is creating for his latest commission? It’s supposed to go into a pubic garden in Rome.”

“Well, angels must weep because she’ll suffocate inside.”

“Do you think there are more kids in the forbidden building?”

“Huh, didn’t think of that. Not sure.”

“Do you think there is a kid inside every angel statue papa makes?”

“Where would he get the kids?”

“Not sure I want to know.” Jason toed the gravel around, eyes downcast, deep in thought.

Come on, before mother finds out we’ve been outside,” Jacob opened the screen door slowly.

It had a tendency to squeak.

I want to go to bed,” Jason muttered.

He left Jacob as he walked slowly up the back staircase.

The scent from the apple pie their mother had baked still hung in the air.

He felt like his feet were encased in cement.

Each step he took was painful as his mind scrambled to understand what their papa was doing. And why his brother was so calm about it.

Their bedroom was right off the back staircase.

Without turning the light on, Jason changed into his dark blue pajamas.

Jacob went into their shared bathroom. “Dam! I got some red on my socks.”

Tomorrow at dinner you can accidentally spill some of your cranberry juice on your shirt. Mother will make you change right away. Run upstairs and rub your socks in the shirt before you change.” Jason said from his bed by the window. He watched the stars twinkle in the sky and wondered why his feet still felt heavy even though he was on his back.

Their estate was far removed from the major part of the city and the stars were easier to see.

Great idea bro! Thanks,” Jacob said as he stuffed his socks under his pillow.

As he was changing for bed, Jason sighed.

Why so glum?” Jacob asked, finished changing.

He pulled back the thick brown blankets from his bed which was positioned in an L shape, with his bed being the bottom of the letter and his brother’s the bigger part.

You don’t seem bothered by what papa did.”

Jacob didn’t answer right away.

There must be a reason for what he does. Maybe he’s punishing the girls like mother punishes us.”

Silence filled the air as both brothers lost themselves in their own thoughts.

At least we live,” Jason whispered.

 

The next day, after lunch and with permission from their mother, the boys headed out into the thick woods that stood as silent sentries at the back of the main house.

“Race you!” Jacob said, laughing as he ran as fast as he could, deep into the thick trees.

“Ah man, you got a head start,” Jason said, and then launched himself in his brother’s direction.

The boys ran through the tall trees, over a well worn path.

Sunlight, warm and bright filtered down through the trees.

“I win!” Jacob crowed as he swung himself around a silver pole.

“Fine, you win,” Jason grumbled, leaning over to catch his breath.

“Let’s swing, I bet I can go higher than you,” Jacob said, the challenge clear in his young voice.

“No uh!” Jason glared at his brother before setting his attention on the swing set.

Each boy climbed on to one of two black, smooth seats of the swings.

Their little hands gripped the silver chains tight.

They began to pump their legs hard, soaring higher and higher into the afternoon sky.

Jacob laughed as the air rushed through his thick, dirty blond hair.

Jason tried to mimic his brother but he couldn’t get his mind off the things his papa was doing with the statues.

He warred within himself.

Was their mother more evil for her punishments or was their papa worse for killing stolen, little girls?

Hearing his brother’s happiness in his laughter, he pushed the disturbing thoughts away.

Embracing the sunlight and the cool air whipping past his cheeks, Jason closed his eyes and pumped his legs harder to fly higher.

Away from the phantom cries of the girls he could not see but knew must be stowed away in the bad building.

They had gone looking for a cat and found their papa doing things he couldn’t wrap his mind around.

Jason’s hands tightened harder on the chains and he threw his body forward and back.

Far away from the secrets that lurked inside the weeping angel statues his family had created, peppered throughout the world.

 

 

 

Posted in author, book. ebook, cover, excerpt, mature, nanowrimo.org, night, Uncategorized, urban, writer, writing

NaNoWriMo Begins Today!

As a side note there is another writing event. It is called NaNoRenO. It is for writing Visual Novels. Awesome! NaNoRenO 2017 starts in 119 days.

National Novel Writing Month begins today! Here is what I’ve got going for this year’s contest. Book cover art by SelfPubBookCovers.com/Saphira.

Here is my entry.

Synopsis

In Abilene, Kansas, there is a famous Statuary that has operated for over a hundred years. Its creations of beautifully tragic, one of a kind, weeping angels are breathtaking.

It is owned by twin brothers, Jacob and Jason Jovinet.

These prized, hand carved ethereal masterpieces are sold to cemeteries, convents, public and private gardens as well as restaurants, and churches worldwide.

While the clock turns from morning to evening, angel statues are created out of marble and designer resin as well as cast bronze.

When night falls, the angels weep for the cries of young, tortured souls that soar through the air of the forest while empty swings twist and turn on their long silver chains.

Under the cover of night, in the large, red bricked building behind the Statuary as well as the weeping willow filled forest, depraved activities commence.

Excerpt

Preface

After completing a heavily detailed, commissioned piece for a VIP in France, twin brothers Jacob and Jason sat together in their living room. Each held a cold beer in their right hand.

Jacob turned their radio on and began to twist the dial, Jason removed Jacob’s hand when he heard a male voice delivering the evening news.

“I didn’t know there were any orphanages left in this country,” Jason said, scratching an itch on the side of his face. His brooding eyes stared at the old fashioned radio that once belonged to their father.

“Sounds like the opportunity we’ve been waiting for,” Jacob replied. He entwined his fingers and set them behind his head as he rested against the black, leather couch.

“Better us than the government,”

“I agree. I think I have a plan. The news guy said that the children will be moved to the foster system in thirty days. How about we take a trip to meet, who was it? Oh yes, a Mr. Longly, to see if he would like a donation, to ease the transition of the children?”

Jason rubbed his chin with his long, thin fingers. “It has been a very dry summer.”

His brown eyes, a mirror of his twin, glittered with excitement. “It’s only fifty miles away. We can take the sedan.”

Together, the brothers created a ruse. Two days later, they put their plan into action.

Jacob wore a solemn, black suit, and met with the man in charge, Mr. Longly. He spoke of making a financial donation. “I think it would help with the children’s transitions.” Mr. Longly, a tall fellow with neatly trimmed brow hair, pushed his glasses back up his nose with one finger. “That sounds like the miracle we’ve been hoping for.” As he tried to hide his building excitement, Jacob was outside, wearing black sweatpants with a matching sweatshirt. Under the cover of night, he snuck around the plain, two-story building with its empty windows where he created a brilliant fire.

Both brothers had heavily altered their outward appearances using face putty, false mustaches, and long side burns. Their clothing had been stuffed in various places to change their body shape.

Long after the fire was out, Mr. Longly gave the police a firm description of the man who had come to see him before the fire started.

A large search spanned six months before the authorities had no choice but to declare the case cold.

After the orphanage was closed and the surviving children entered the foster system, the search for the ten missing orphaned girls was easily replaced by the news of a royal wedding. It was that of Prince Edward and Cassidy Forton that stole the attention of the world.

The Jovinet brothers had achieved their first goal.

The ten girls who had been stolen, ranged from four to thirteen. Unbeknownst to all, they were housed in the basement of the impressive brick building on the Jovinet estate.

A building that happened to be located behind the very Statuary that had most recently provided a stunning angel to the newly married couple.

The perfect gift, a standing angel, arms crossed over her chest, face tilted toward the heavens as if pleading for redemption.

Chapter One begins tomorrow 🙂

 

Posted in fantasy, games, paranormal, romance, science fiction, urban

Goodreads Printed Book Giveaway and ManicReaders where books can be free!

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GOODREADS

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/119396-love-awakens

I have an active Goodreads giveaway where I put up five printed copies of my debut novel, “Love Awakens”.

Giveaway runs until 01/12/15!

MANICREADERS

http://www.manicreaders.com/

After I get a few reviews, I will post Love Awakens as a pdf

and anyone can download it and read it for free!

My author page is under nightshadelane.

When I asked for reviews, it won’t allow me to post my book for free until the review process is over.

Also this site has a variety of books but lots of adult books.FYI!

AMAZON KINDLE

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Awakens-Paranormal-Young-Fantasy-ebook/dp/B00QPRMJ60

Price has returned to $0.99 but I will get it back down to Free soon.

Results of 5 day FREE PROMO on Amazon Kindle

This was very interesting!

This was the first time LOVE AWAKENS was available on Amazon

(or anywhere)

Day 1 12/08/14: 63 free units

Day 2 12/09/14: 37 free units and 1 Kindle Unlimited unit

Day 3 12/10/14: 37 free units

Day 4 12/11/14: 71 free units

Day 5 12/12/14: 69 free units and 5 Kindle Unlimited units

NO LONGER FREE; $0.99 the lowest I can make it without a promo set up

Day 6 12/13/14: 4 free units