Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tuesday Teaser: This is bare bones--unedited--WIP



For the third time this week, I almost lit my little brother on fire and not on purpose. When I get mad, well, fiery things tend to happen. Some people throw temper tantrums, I throw fireballs.
My mother’s a witch. A real --spell-casting, ghost whispering, High Priestess-- witch. She’s famous too. She’s been in the papers and on TV. So, as you can imagine, it’s not easy being her daughter. Especially since I’ve somehow inherited powers far beyond hers and I’m only eighteen-years old. It started about two years ago. Fire is my element and my mom and her coven sister, Ouida, decided it’s time to help me harness this ability. Before I really hurt someone like my brother, Jake.
“I want to you to focus. Concentrate on your power center and raise the energy. Send it to that pile of leaves,” Ouida instructed, pointing to the leaves.
My mom was standing next to me, coaxing me like I was six years old and learning how to ride a bike. I focused on the anger I still had concerning my father. He’d cheated on my mom and they got divorced this past winter. It’s a long story.
“You can do it, Pookie,” my mom whispered.
My stomach churned, the heat emanated from that center and I pushed it out. I had a new respect for women going through menopause. This had to be worse than any hot flash Ouida described.
Smoke rose from last autumn’s pile of dried up maple leaves. Soon, I saw flames leap up and consume the dead leaves.
“Excellent,” Cliff applauded.
“Thanks,” I answered him aloud. Cliff’s handsome ghostly features formed out of the ethers as he gave me a thumbs up.
“Ah, I’m glad to see you’re talkin’ to the spirit,” Ouida said with a wide smile.
I shook off the residual energy and wiped the sweat from my brow. “Yeah, well, he doesn’t understand the word no.”
My mom laughed. I looked over at her. She’d been through so much these past few years. Including going up against this uber-evil murderer, Cliff, who was now dead and helping us work out some karma. Not to mention he’s working out a lot of his own debts.
You’d never know it to look my mom. In love and pregnant with—I believe—the love of her life’s baby. This will be the fifth and final installment of the Kane/Bennette clan. Or so I’m told.
“I think that’s enough training for today,” Ouida added.
“You did great, Amber,” my mom said.
“I’m my mother’s daughter.” I smiled.
I could tell Ouida was concerned for my mother. I watched as she walked over to her and the two walked inside. My mom had a miscarriage a few months back and Ouida and all my mom’s friends were extra cautious with her.
“So you did good, kiddo.”
“It seems to come easier.”
“It will.”
“What is it, Cliff? I can tell you want to talk about something.”
“Nah, it can wait.”
Then he was gone.
I walked toward the water. Our backyard was the Long Island Sound and I sat on a lounge chair. The weather was finally getting warm and before long I’d be performing my first Solstice ritual.
From the darkened corner of my mind, a sound emerged, slowly forming words. They sounded hollow, almost tinny. “I’m here, can you hear me?”
“Cliff? Is that you trying to play one of your semi-scary ghost tricks on me?”
“Please help me.”
I turned and saw there was no one around, not even my little twerp of a brother. I leaned back and closed my eyes. I must have dozed off because the next thing I knew I was in a park setting. I noticed a young man sitting alone on a bench. His hair was the color of ripened wheat and had the most beautiful eyes. They were a pale hazel-green color with flecks of burnished gold. Immediately, I realized this must be a spirit. I walked over to him.
“Hi, my name’s Amber,” I said, introducing myself.
“I know. I tried to get to talk to you before, but your friend wouldn’t let me get through.” His voice sounded intensely masculine, with a husky quality to it. I thought I detected a slight accent.
I watched his expressions as I spoke to him. He seemed lonely, and somehow scared. Maybe he’s newly crossed. “That’s his job, among other things. He’s sort of like the gatekeeper, or a spiritual bouncer. Spirits have to get his okay before they can communicate with me. I’m somewhat new to this.”
“I got that impression. I just wasn’t able to…get through to him the way I would’ve wanted to, but I knew I would be able to talk to you—directly.” His head bowed down as he stared at the ground.
He looked extremely sad as he tried to explain himself.
“You are really beautiful. I—I mean inside and out. You radiate a calm energy. I like being around you,” he shyly admitted. “Not to mention the fact I find it oddly disturbing that I can even see your energy.”
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“I can’t remember,” he said. “Another oddity.”
“How did you die?” I tried to read his energy, but he was scattered and unable to ground his energies.
“I—I don’t know,” he said with a sigh. “Am I dead?”

7 comments:

sue laybourn said...

oooh, me like!
You definitely need to stick with this, missus!

Ella said...

Thanks, Sue!

inkwench said...

Great job, Branwyn! Sounds very cool. Love the first line!

Marissa said...

The first line really snagged me. Interesting read. Good work!

Carmen said...

I thought the beginning and ending of this piece were really strong. I felt the middle of the scene could use a little more conflict or tension, a better sense of the stakes. It's very nice work, and I'd keep reading.

sunna said...

lovely opening line! I like the idea, and your voice is very strong, as always. :)

Gretchen said...

I really loved the opening, but it lost momentum somewhere in the middle of the scene. A little tightening and it will rock!