What’s a WIP you ask? Simply a work in progress. And the Snip? You get the chance to preread a sample of my newest book or get a look at something already out there! Check in once a week for a new taste of paranormal…
Part two of chapter one of Light and Shadow is here!
I didn’t last much longer than that. Once the cake was devoured and the presents torn open and admired, most of the kids left, picked up by their witch parents who treated me with a mix of deferential awe and fear. Well, I guess I was okay with that. Better than hate and revulsion.
Yup, I’d take it.
Erica hugged me as I stood from my chair, Meira huddled with three friends, giggling over something.
“How are you, Syd?” She stroked my cheek. Erica Plower had been Mom’s second since I was little, and had always treated me like she was my mother too. She had new wrinkles too, though not as pronounced as Mom’s. The old me would have brushed her off, anger rising. But my arms reacted without my consent and hugged her to me.
“I’m great, Erica,” I whispered in her ear. “How are you?”
She pulled away after a moment, teary eyed but smiling, a real, happy smile. I think I surprised her. Surprised myself, actually. But ever since I’d come home from Demonicon I was hyper aware of the people around me, the ones I loved, cared about. How fragile they were.
Part of me wished Grandmother had never told me I was immortal. But at least it made me more empathetic. And appreciative.
“I’m wonderful,” she said, blonde hair back to its old bob, the one I missed. It swung around her face in shining gold strands and I found myself grinning at her.
She didn’t get to say anything more. Meira burrowed her way between us and hugged me, her forehead pressed into my shoulder. She was getting so tall, and had matured so much in the last year, it was hard for me to remember she was only ten.
Wait. Eleven. Wow.
“Thanks for coming.” Meira grinned up at me, cute black horns shining in the low light of the room, amber eyes lit from within. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”
I nodded, hugged her again, pulling her tight before releasing her to go back to her friends. I waved at Erica, not prepared to go into any kind of deep conversation with her and headed for the elevator.
Charlotte stepped out of the shadows, my bodywere practically attached at my hip as I waited for the doors to open. She seemed to suffer no ill effects from my prolonged stay on Demonicon, despite the powerful reaction she’d had to my absence. I was happy to know she didn’f suffer any permanent damage thanks to my grandmother’s arrogance. Still, Charlotte was very insistent she remain in close contact these days.
I found I didn’t really mind it, though there were times it would have been nice to open the bathroom door and not find her waiting for me on the other side.
Guess I could get used to anything.
At least things had been quiet since we returned from Dad’s plane. As Charlotte and I stepped out into the Yard and I reached for the veil, I felt a tiny shudder go through me at the memory of being trapped. Yes, that fear stayed with me, that somehow when I rode the veil one day Grandmother would be waiting to pull me over and keep me prisoner there forever.
Silly, maybe. And yet, I wouldn’t put it past the old bat.
Powerful Ruler or not, she was a conniving politician without morals who used her family on a regular basis to get whatever she wanted. I’d take my human grandmother over her anytime.
As we stepped into the veil, the rubbery membrane that held the two planes apart, sliding through toward home, I thought of Gram with a twinge of worry. She’d been absent lately, wandering off on her own. Not that I worried about her, not in the least. Of anyone in our family, Gram had proven to me without a shadow of a doubt she was more than capable of taking care of herself.
No, I missed her, it was that simple. The air was warm on the other side of the veil as Charlotte and I stepped out into a secluded area of the park near the house, outside the reach of the family wards, neither of us missing a stride as we began the short walk home. Gram was my constant, even when she was still lost to us, spiraling in and out of madness. Now, back to her abnormal self and about as stable as she was ever going to get, her constant presence and her support in our co-leadership of the coven was something I counted on without question.
When she disappeared on me, I finally felt alone.
The sun was just setting as I walked through the back door. One feeling of the house told me Gram still wasn’t home. A bit bummed and missing my family, I said an early good night to Charlotte and retreated to my bedroom, closing myself off a little.
No more poor me. I’d made that vow and I intended to keep it. But there were still times I just needed to be alone.
Good book in one hand and a half-bag of chips dug out from under my bed in the other and I was lost for a while.
One touch was all it took. I didn’t hesitate, didn’t think, just ran for the stairs, the back door.