It’s time for March’s flash fic. We’ve all be given the same photo and have to come up with a story based on the image. This is this month’s photo.
His fingers shook as he turned off the engine and stared out at the dirt road before him, cutting a wide swatch through the forest. Being in the closed vehicle didn’t protect him… He could feel this place. As he always could. It reached for him, now, trying to coax him out, eager to have him in its embrace, once again.
Too much, he thought, the pulsing mass of emotions pushing
to get out. His skin ached, stretched too tight, as if trying to contain it
all. Trying to hold back the magic that roiled within him, that fed on his
emotions as if starving.
And, of course, it was. His magic had always been connected
to what he felt, and he’d been cruel in denying it. He’d run from the place it
thrived most, shutting down and becoming cold and calculating, just trying to
survive, to get through one day to the next. Pretending his magic didn’t exist,
ignoring the weakening thrum beneath his skin, in his effort to be normal, to
It had been so long, years, and his magic was ready to be let loose, to be reunited with this place. This painfully beautiful cradle of power and magic. Like was drawn to like, after all. And when he’d escaped the hell he’d found himself in, he’d gone as far away as he possibly could. Had chosen to exist in a place of concrete and steel and people, so many people pressing in from all sides. He’d severed his connection to this sacred place so completely, so severely—and his magic had withered.
And, now, it was time. He couldn’t avoid it any longer.
Inhaling deeply, he opened the door and stepped out. He started down the road,
no particular destination in mind. He was already where he needed to be.
He couldn’t hold back the quiet sob that escaped a few
minutes later. His magic… Oh, his magic was singing, dancing through him,
pressing outward, rejoicing.
The power of this place rose from the earth beneath his feet.
He could hear it in the wind and moving branches and taste it in the moisture-heavy
air he breathed. The scent of it flooded his senses—earthy and green and fresh.
He could see it in the glow of the rising sun cutting through the trees and
feel it in the warmth on his face.
All of it, all of those things coming together in a simple
message that had him dropping to his knees.
It’s time for a Promptly Penned post – we all get the same prompt and see what we come up with. As always, the prompt itself will be in bold.
“So, performance reviews this week.”
Molly looked up as Leah, her friend and coworker, set two
cups of coffee on the desk then flopped into the chair on the other side.
Dread settled heavily in Molly’s stomach, and she grimaced. “God,
don’t remind me.”
“Don’t know what you’re worried about.” Leah waved a hand in
front of her. “You seriously don’t think you’re going to get a bad one, are
Lifting a shoulder, Molly dropped her gaze. She wasn’t
worried about that—she was good at her job, and she knew it. It was just…awkward
“I…” She cleared her throat, face already flaming. “I had the dream, again.”
“What do— Oh! The dream!”
She rolled her eyes. “Yes The. Dream.”
“Well, what’s the problem, Mol? It’s not like you can
control what you dream.”
“I know! You think, if I could, I would be dreaming that?” She dragged her palms over her face then leaned her head back against her chair, eyes closed. “For fuck’s sake, I don’t even like him!”
“Don’t have to like him to appreciate, my friend. And there
is plenty to appreciate,” Leah drawled.
“Easy for you to say. You’re not having recurrent sex dreams
about our boss then having to face him day in and day out. Come on, give me
some real, serious advice how to de—” Her words dried up when she opened
her eyes and caught a pair of amused chocolate-brown ones focused on her. Oh no…no,
no, no. This couldn’t be happening.
“Ms. Halwell, my office in ten. Performance review.”
She nodded, still unable to speak, gaze shifting to her wide-eyed
“Looking forward to it.”
The deep, gravelly murmur—eerily similar to the voice that
echoed in her mind long after she woke—chased a shiver down her spine. She was
so, so screwed.
We’ve all be given the same photo and have to come up with a story based on the image. It’s always fun to see what everyone comes up with. 🙂
I’ve delved into the world of my (horribly neglected) serial, Your Lies. It isn’t about any of the main characters – just set in the same world.
Cora Hale stared at her reflection, ignoring her family’s
voices behind her. This was the last place she wanted to be, but she didn’t
have a choice.
She never had a choice.
It was just a fact of life, and she’d accept it.
She jolted at her father’s voice and turned quickly.
“Come on,” he said, gesturing for her to join the rest of
She nodded and crossed the room, stopping next to the couch
her mother and two sisters sat on, waiting for instructions. They were having a
family portrait done—immortalizing the perfect family before they sent her
away. For her own good, they said. She’d get help with her “problem” then come
back home, they claimed.
But she knew better.
She was getting locked up and was never going to be free,
again. All because of her dreams. Dreams that came true. Something she had no
She bit back a snort. When had she ever had control of anything? When had she ever really been free? She was getting sent away, but it was really just going from one prison to another.
“She’ll stand here,” her father said, waving away the
photographer who had stepped forward with a murmured suggestion on positioning.
Ah, yes, standing to the side while the rest of the family
sat together. Wouldn’t want anyone to think you were too close to the daughter
who had magic—not that anyone knew, but just in case it ever got out. That was
her father, always thinking ahead, protecting the family image. His image.
“All right, everyone look here. Smile.”
Cora lifted her gaze and stared at the camera, trying to
smile but she suspected her expression wasn’t a picture of happiness. She
blinked rapid after the flash went off.
She nearly stumbled back. That wasn’t her father’s voice. It’d come from behind the camera. She looked at the dark-haired man with stormy gray eyes intent on her. The corner of his mouth twitched slightly as he held her gaze.
Whatever her father had been about to ask was cut off when
the photographer waved a hand without looking away from Cora. Heart pounding,
she glanced over and gasped as she saw her family slumped against the sofa, eyes
closed, but chests raising and falling rhythmically.
“Are you ready?”
She turned back to the man…the Magic-user. He’d stepped away
from the camera and was watching her, head tilted to the side slightly.
Time for a song fic. This month we’re working with “God of the Ocean Tides” by Counting Crows. Here’s a link, if you want a listen.
Kept it short and sweet, again, this time. This isn’t connect to any particular story, but it’s set in the same world as Tempted to Death, where there are paranormal creatures and a network of hunters and researchers.
Bastian was impressed. He’d felt Owen’s gaze on him since
they’d left town—it’d taken the other man a full half hour to speak. Yeah,
impressed he’d waited that long, but also annoyed because Bastian knew what was
“You gonna call her?”
Fingers tightening around the wheel, Bastian shook his head.
“Why not? You guys have history and seemed to be rekindling something…”
Owen sighed. “You really want to spend the rest of your life with just me for
companionship? ‘Cause I like you and all, Bas, better than most, but…”
“It’s what I signed up for.”
“That’s bullshit, and you know it. There are plenty of people
in the network who have relationships and do their jobs.”
“Good for them,” Bastian snapped.
“All I’m saying is there’s no reason you and Callie couldn’t—”
“I think I’m a better judge of whether there’re reasons standing
in my way,” he ground out, fingers aching, knuckles now white, on the wheel.
He didn’t want to think of all those reasons, right now. Not
when he could still smell her, feel her, taste her. He’d been an idiot. Weak and
stupid…and careless. He’d allowed himself to forget what he’d dedicated his
life to, and that was unacceptable. Even for a short time, because it brought
too much pain. For both of them.
Because how was she supposed to understand what he couldn’t
tell her? She couldn’t know that he spent his days and nights hunting things most
people didn’t believe in. That he had to be ruthless and focused in his work.
That he’d given up more than he ever thought possible to do it. That he could
never love her the way she wanted, the way she deserved.
Owen sighed. “So, that’s it, then? You move on, satisfied
with the small amount of time you had with her, but refuse to go after any
“Yep, that’s it,” Bastian replied—a mix of half-truth, half-lie.
Because satisfied, he most definitely was not. And he wouldn’t be, not really. He couldn’t love her the way she wanted, but he also couldn’t love her the way he wanted. Not if he was going to do the job he was called to do.
“So, while I appreciate the support and concern,” he continued,
“do me a favor? Call in and see where we’re going next and what we’re up
“Yeah…” Owen pulled out his cell but didn’t make the call
immediately. “I didn’t mean to make it more difficult, man. Sorry.”
Gaze firmly on the road ahead, Bastian nodded. Yeah, me, too.
It’s time for another Promptly Penned post – we all get the same prompt and see what we come up with. I can’t wait to see what the others have come up with, because this prompt made me laugh, even if I had a helluva time coming up with an actual story to go along with it.
For better or worse, this is what I came up with. Short and sweet, this time around.
As always, the prompt itself will be in bold.
Dread sat heavily in my stomach as I stared at Nick across the worn table. We’d met for lunch at our favorite diner – I’d been looking forward to it all day. This week had been hellish with both of us crazy busy with work. Other than muttered good nights while climbing into bed – if that – we hadn’t even had a chance to talk. Lunch today was supposed to change that.
But now… He had that distracted look – head tilted to the side, eyes slightly squinted, lines furrowing his brow, the corners of his mouth turned down – and he still hadn’t responded to my suggestion of a weekend away in the near future. The silence hanging between us was getting on my nerves.
I sighed and, propping my elbow on the table, rested my chin in my palm. After a moment, I nearly laughed. Oh, Nick was still ignoring me, but I’d figured out the distraction. The diner wasn’t very busy. Other than a few people sitting at the counter, the only other customers were a pair of guys two booths down from us. Two guys who were complaining loudly about the changes to Doctor Who.
Most wouldn’t assume it by just looking at Nick, who was well over six-foot, athletic and…well, hot as hell. But beneath the hunky exterior, my Nick was a sweetly nerdy guy and fanboy, who took disparaging his favorite TV show very seriously. Perhaps too seriously, at times.
“Excuse me. I have to go make a scene.” He slid across the booth’s seat and stood before taking the few steps to stand beside the next booth over.
First flash fic of the year. Yay! We’ve all be given the same photo and have to come up with a story to fit. Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!
Sometimes, I hated my job.
Okay, to be fair, I always
hated my job. The necessity of it. Though,
I had to wonder, did being part of a secretly growing rebellion actually count a
job? Or was it a mission? A quest? Or just a series of trying tasks shoved upon
me in between having to fight for my life? And, in the end, did it fucking
“I don’t understand.”
With a sigh, I shoved aside useless ponderings and focused
on the task at hand. Vetting a possible recruit. Oh, joy. Glancing over at the
man in the passenger seat, I stopped the car and put it in park.
Daniel Hartford, my latest assignment—cute, clean-cut, smart,
a recent self-proclaimed Sympathizer of Magic-users. He also happened to be the son of one of the
most influential couples in the country. The Hartfords were old, old money…and very
vocal in their staunchly anti-magic stance.
The leadership wanted to know if he was on the level,
because if he was… Well, he could be a helluva asset with the access he had.
Which was why Daniel was now my problem.
He’d already been checked—I’d gone over the files last night—by
several of the higher ups, and they liked what they’d seen, so they requested
The human lie detector.
I hated that they called me that. Never to my face of course.
Because they avoided face to face with me as much as possible. And who wouldn’t?
Feeling others’ emotions, knowing when someone was lying…seemed like a pretty
awesome power to manifest, but in reality, it led to a very, very lonely life.
I was an asset the leadership never hesitated to be use, but
never someone they wanted to actually have around. Everyone had their secrets,
after all. Even the good guys.
Daniel’s soft query pulled me out of my head again, and I inwardly
cursed my distraction. I had a job to do, and it was time to do it.
“I told you to call me Emma,” I reminded him. “I know this
doesn’t make sense, but it will. Come on.”
I exited the car and waited for him to do the same before walking
toward the house in front of us. Remaining silent as I lead him across the lawn
and up the steps to the front door.
So far, I hadn’t sensed any deception from Daniel. So, that
was good. Everything I’d gotten from him, so far, assured me he wasn’t an
actual threat, a possible plant from the other side.
Didn’t mean that he was a strong ally, though. There was a
world of difference between sympathizing with Magic-users and actually being
willing to act and fight for them, sometimes in violent ways. Not to mention putting
your own life at risk.
Before I’d give my approval, I had to be sure that there was
more to Daniel Hartford than simply rejecting his parents’ beliefs and making an
impulsive stand against them, because trusting him was a huge, huge risk. And,
at this point, I had nothing to assure me of that the risk was worth taking. While
he’d never publicly aligned himself with his parents’ stance on magic, neither
had he ever shown any support for Magic-users. Not until two weeks ago, when he’d
made contact with one of the more public Sympathizer groups and inquired about the
It seemed like an unlikely first leap to me.
Turning the knob and pushing the unlocked door open, I
gestured for him to enter. He frowned then moved past me…immediately gasping as
he walked into chaos. Shock and confusion pulsed on the air between us as we
moved through the main level.
The old house was, to put it simply, a disaster. Ransacked
with no care for the destruction caused. The floor was littered with books,
“What happened here?” Daniel asked, stopping in the doorway
to the back room. It’d once bene a library or an office. Now, like the rest of
the house it was in shambles. He turned back toward me. “Look, I don’t know why
you brought me here, but I’ve already jumped through enough hoops when all I
want to do is help. If you’re not going to tell me—”
“The family that lived here was on the watch lists. Suspected
of having magic,” I explained, though I knew he had to have heard of the blasted
lists, given who his parents were. “Your father reported them—he worked with
the husband, insisted the entire family be brought in for questioning.”
I tilted my head and concentrated. The shock radiating off
him was genuine. He hadn’t known about this family, this incident.
Inhaling deeply, he looked around. “So, what happened? Did
they… Did they resist back when the police came to get them? They used magic to
“No.” I stepped closer, keeping my gaze locked on his face
and my power centered on his every reaction. “They weren’t magic, Daniel. They
went quietly, didn’t resist. They were questioned, again and again. Then, after
days, they were supposedly released, but they never made it home.” I hesitated
a moment, throat tight. ”Their bodies were found in shallow graves outside the city
several weeks later.”
“No, no…” He shook his head then gestured around them. “This
was a…raid…an invasion. If they went quietly, why— They were killed? You’re
saying that they were killed because my father reported them, because there was
just a suspicion that they had magic?”
As his emotions prickled hotly over my skin, I felt an
inkling of regret for what I was doing but quickly squashed it. This was as
much for him as the cause.
“Daniel, in the countless witch hunts in our history, very
few of those killed, who had their lives and family destroyed, were actually magic.
All it took was a suspicion, a rumor…” I reached into pocket and pulled out the
small stack of photos, flicking them one by one, “Henry…Penny…Grant…and Lucy,”
onto the floor in front of him. “They aren’t the first innocents to die, and
they won’t be last.”
The color drained from his face as he stared down at the
images, his throat working convulsively. He crouched down, tracing a trembling
finger over the photo of four-year-old Lucy laughing at camera.
I backed away from him, overwhelmed by his sadness and anger,
but determined to finish this, so we could both move on. “I understand that you
don’t share your parents’ beliefs, Daniel. That much is obvious, but what you’re
trying to sign up for is much more than standing on opposite sides of an issue.”
His head snapped up, and he glared at me fiercely. “I’m not
“No, you’re not,” I agreed. “From everything I’ve heard and seen, you’re incredibly smart with a world of opportunities. What I’m trying to say—rather poorly, I admit—is war is coming, Daniel. It’s inevitable, but you don’t have to be on the front lines. Most of us… We don’t have a choice. We’re fighting for basic rights, for our lives, but you’re lucky. You do have a choice. Being a Sympathizer doesn’t mean you have to risk everything, risk your life. No one would blame you for avoiding that.”
He looked back down then picked up the pictures, stacking them in one palm as he stood. He stared at the little girl, again, for a long, tense moment, then he tucked the photos in his back pocket. Clearing his throat, he walked over to me. I lifted my chin to meet his gaze, my own eyes stinging at the sight of the tears in his.
It’s our final Promptly Penned of the year, and I have been waiting for this one for soooooo long. From the very beginning, this one sparked an idea for Bron and me. We have plans for some connected Bound books—written separately but connected and happening concurrently—and this prompt… Well, it brought forth two guys that I fell in love with from word one. So, our posts are similar but from differering POVs, giving you a taste of two heroes you’ll be seeing from us in the future.
The prompt will be in bold within the story.
Sam cursed under his breath—again—as he stumbled over his own freaking feet—again—and wondered—yes, AGAIN—why he wasn’t buried beneath the warm duvet, unconscious and blissfully thought-free.
But no. Instead of that wonderful escape from reality, he was up at the ass-crack of dawn, tripping like a drunk duck behind his older brother on a trail that clearly led to nowhere. And, because he’d woken late, he hadn’t even had a single cup of coffee. Seriously, up before the damned sun, and Ollie was bitching about being late. Late to where, exactly, Sam wanted to know. It wasn’t like the blasted hill beneath their feet gave a damn that they were treading upon it fifteen minutes later. At least then he’d be clear headed.
He tripped, yet again again—didn’t they have people clearing rocks off the trail? Fucking dangerous is what this was. This…this was not what he’d signed up for. Though, Ollie… Sam sighed, and a small smile curved his lips. Ollie was probably soaking it all up, getting almost high on freaking nature. This was his idea of heaven, no doubt.
Not for Sam. No, give him cities, night-life, clubs, a coffee shop on every corner, a nice enthusiastic fuck to— Nope, not thinking about that. No thinking of fucks, Samuel, enthusiastic or otherwise.
Of course, trying not to think of it…sure fire way to zero his thoughts on the very thing he wished would stay hidden behind the exhausted, hangover fog he’d been swimming in since falling out of bed.
Which, he granted, had been rather enthusiastic. But it hadn’t been his finest hour. He grimaced—not that he’d lasted remotely that long. God, the guy had been so freaking pretty, too. Right down to his thick, flushed co— Sam grunted as he walked right into Ollie, nearly falling back on his ass.
“What’d you stop for?” he snapped.
Oliver turned, brows lifted. “I’m just enjoying how fucking gorgeous this is. I mean, look at this place.”
“I’ve been looking.” Sam gestured around them…at all the nothing. “Not a goddamn coffee shop anywhere.”
Oliver rolled his eyes and started walking again. “Being away from a city and all its conveniences isn’t going to kill you.”
Sam snorted and followed. “You don’t know that!”
“Rough night, I take it?”
Sam inhaled deeply through his nose, teeth grinding at the cheerful, amused tone. He liked his brother. Scratch that, he adored the hell out of him, but aside from their shared features, the two men had very little in common. Sam spent most of his life sincerely believing he’d been adopted. Some days, like today, he still clung to that theory as the only explanation for being in a family who thought outdoorsy shit was fun. Sam appreciated nature as much as the next person, he really did. He just didn’t need to be in it.
“My night was just fine, thank you very much.” Keep telling yourself that, Sammy-boy. It’s the morning I’m having trouble with.” He panted, curses bursting from his lips, as he righted himself, yet again, toes throbbing from where he’d kicked a large rock. “And what the hell is wrong with you that this is your idea of a good time?!”
“This is a great time. And besides, I did the London pub crawl with you when we first got here.”
“Um, excuse me, but that pub crawl was steeped in…in culture and history and shit! We drank at pubs that had been there for centuries. Can’t do that back home. We have trails and dirt and…and fucking rocks,” he kicked another out of his way half-heartedly, “at home, Ollie! And you’re missing the biggest draw of all, brother—there was beer at the pub crawl. There’s no beer here, Ollie. None. There is zero beer.”
He knows he’s ranting, but what choice did he have, really? It was the ultimate distraction from things he’d rather not think about—it’s what he did, always. Not that his torrent of words was in any way stopping the humiliating little movie in his head of the night before. Nothing like acting like a fumbling teenager, from start to, God help him, premature finish, to cut a man down to size.
He lifted his gaze and stared at his brother’s back, happy to see the relaxed movements and the absence of tension in his shoulders. Of course Sam also used his ranting to distract others, too. And after everything that had happened before they’d come here, Ollie was much more deserving of a distraction than Sam was. His brother had been gutted by his break up with Gina. Not that he should still be that cheating bitch. Sam hadn’t been lying when he’d confronted her—if she hadn’t come clean about her fucking around, he would have laid it out for Ollie. He’d have hated every second of it, but no way in hell was he going to let his brother waste any more of his life on that woman.
Sam’s drunken pursuit of cock that ended in embarrassment didn’t rate high at all in the grand scheme of things. And hey, at least he still had dick-twitching memories of Mr. Pretty Boy. He was sure he’d pull those up front and center when jacking off in the future. Once the sting of said memories faded.
Ollie snorted and paused at the top of the hill to look back. “When we get back, I’ll buy you a pint at that pub down the street from Gram’s.”
Before he can respond, he stumbles again. And fine…just fine. He gets it—the universe hates him. He drops to his knees in the grass framing the narrow trail, flips over and starfishes on his back, staring at the lightening sky. “No need to bother, dear brother… This is my life now. I have climbed this hill, and now, I will die upon it.”
Oliver suddenly towered over him, unsuccessfully fighting a grin. He nudged Sam’s hip with his foot. “Shut up. We’ve only been hiking for twenty minutes.”
With a groan, Sam started to sit up, only to collapse again, spreading out even farther, bumping in to Ollie’s legs.
“Could you be more dramatic?” Oliver asked, nudging him again.
Oh, he did not just… Clenching his fists, Sam arched back, opened his mouth, and wailed wordlessly at all the stupid, stupid nature around them…that he would endure any time he had to because it made his brother so stupidly happy.
It’s time for another Promptly Penned post. We’re all given the same prompt and see where it takes us. This week is a bit short and sweet and, dare I say, kinda fluffy (well, much fluffier than I could have done with this prompt LOL). Because that’s exactly what I needed, right now. 🙂 The prompt itself is in bold in the post.
“For God’s sake!” I shoved at his shoulder then, turning away from him, put distance between us. “I’m trying to have a conversation with you!”
“And I’m trying to subtly avoid it!” he shot back, amusement coloring his voice, like he was holding back laughter.
“Ass,” I muttered. “This is important to me, you know, and we have to talk about it eventually.”
“Didn’t think there was anything to discuss, really.”
I jerked away when he touched my arm, and his answering chuckle made my blood boil.
“Nothing to discuss? I don’t know why I even bother anymo—”
My words morphed into a startled yelp as he grabbed hold of me and hauled me back across the mattress. He wasted no time in getting me on my back and pinning me down. I narrowed my eyes at his stupid laughing face. Before I could say anything, his expression softened.
“Babe,” he sighed. “There’s nothing to discuss, because you’re not going anywhere. Of course I’m introducing you to my parents when they come for the holidays. I’m not hiding what we have. You’re not my dirty little secret, not ever.” He dropped a fast hard kiss on my mouth. “And you bother because you love me.”
I rolled my eyes at his exaggerated drawl but brought my arms around him, unable to hold back the low moan as he dragged his lips along my jaw.
“And I love you. Now,” he breathed the words against my arched neck, “let me show you how much. No more talk tonight, yeah?”
I made a small sound in the back of my throat. Not exactly a sound of agreement but close enough. Of course there was still loads to talk about. His parents were coming to visit. and they didn’t know about us yet. Didn’t know I was now officially living in their son’s house…where they would be staying for a full week.
I let out a shuddered breath as he kneed my legs apart and settled heavily between them, pressing me delciously into the bed. Tomorrow… Tomorrow was soon enough to talk about all that. And I could admit, even if just to myself, I didn’t exactly mind his method of avoidance.
I hope the weekend was a fab one – I spent most of it being lazy. Gotta do that once in a while. 🙂 It’s time for November’s photo flash fic. This is the photo we’re working with:
“Mom? What’re we doing out here? Where are we going?”
This was not how I expected to spend my thirteenth birthday. Sure, we’d had the cake and ice cream, but we didn’t even get to the presents before my mom took my hand and pulled me outside with her. Now, she, my older sister, Petra, and I were walking through the woods. I was freezing, and it was just creepy out here. It was dark and foggy, and I could barely see where we were going. So, yeah, not exactly the birthday of my dreams.
Mom stopped suddenly. “We’re here.”
I looked around. Where was here? This peice of woods didn’t look any different than any we’d walked through already. I glanced at my sister but she was staring in the same direction as my mom was, and her jaw was tight. Good, at least someone else wasn’t happy with what was going on.
“It’s almost time,” Mom murmured then she turned to me, with a smile even I could tell wasn’t real. “Baby, you’re thirteen, now. It’s time for you to know.”
“The women in our family have a gift -”
Petra snorted. “Gift? More like a curse. At least be honest with her, Mom.”
“Stop it,” Mom snapped. “You have only known for three years. One day, you will see this for the gift it is.”
Rolling her eyes, Petra shook her head. “Don’t count on it.”
With a sigh, Mom turned back to me. “Elena, this is a gift every woman in our family connects with on the day of their thirteenth birthday. It can seem scary, and it may be difficult to see it as a gift, especially when you’re so young, but it is. It’s a part of you, and part of why you are so very special.”
I shivered, not from the cold but because I had a feeling what was coming was going to change everything. And I didn’t want anything to change.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“Look.” She gestured ahead of us. “What do you see?”
“Trees. We’re in the woods.”
“Look harder,” she said firmly, her fingers squeezing mine. “Focus.”
“On what?” I muttered. There was nothing there. It was trees and bushes and fog and– My eyes narrowed, and my breath caught. There was somthing there, something big…HUGE…in the mist. I jolted when cold fingers wrapped around my free hand. I turned to look at Petra and met her gaze. Her dark eyes glittered in the mist-muted moonlight… Was she crying?
“You’re not alone,” she whispered then faced foward, again.
As I turned back, my heart thundered, hurting my chest. Suddenly, it was as though the woods around us disappeared. Melted away to be replaced by gardens with pointy trees, like the kind on those big historical estates we visited on our last vacation, and beyond that a massive brick… House was too plain a word. It wasn’t quite a mansion, but it was much bigger than most of the houses around here.
I was about to ask my mom what the heck was going on when movement caught my attention. I blinked several times, and took half a step forward. People. There were people walking around the gardens, some close enough I could almost touch them. And they were all dressed…in costume? No, it was more like those people dressed like they were part of a reenactment or something.
“Mom?” I choked out. “What is this?”
“The past,” she said simply. “Our gift is our connection to the past.”