Lost Souls: Deception is here!

LaurelODonnell_Deception300x450Were you wondering what was going on with the three Lost Souls, Samantha, Ben and Christian?  Deception is finally here to continue the urban fantasy series!

Here’s an excerpt:

Ben looked down at his feet.  He didn’t know what to say to Cora.  There was no easy solution to her situation, but every moment he was away from her, he thought she might be trying to get more power.  He felt obligated to stay with her, to help her resist.

“You know, I was thinking.  About that angel.  About how to go with her.”

Ben shook his head.  “We’ve gone over this, Cora.  There’s only one way you can go with her.  And making the Jump is out of the question.”

“If I absorb enough power–”  Ben continued to shake his head with even more conviction and Cora hurried to continue.  “Then she would come for me.”  She grabbed his arm.  “Listen to me.  All I have to do is absorb some power from the Souls, not all of it.”

“No!  That’s not going to happen.”

“There’s no other way.  You know it.  I want it to be over.  I want to be done with this unending life.  I think that I’ve earned it.  Six hundred years!”

“Draining Souls is not an option.”

“I won’t hurt them!  They can recharge.  I won’t kill them.  I just need energy.  Just to make the Jump.”

“Into some poor human?”

“No.  I’ve really thought about this.  It should be into a human who is dying.”

Ben’s gaze swept her face.  No Changed wants to Jump into a dying human.  What would be the point of that?  How could they hurt humans that way?

“Maybe someone in a hospital.  Someone sick.  I just want the angel to come for me.  I want her to…take me.”

Ben sighed.  There was no other way for Cora.  As a Changed, there was only one way to die.  “It would take centuries to build up that kind of energy.  The kind of energy you need to make the Jump.”

“I need Souls, Ben.  Please, don’t think bad of me.  But I need their energy and I need it soon.”

“No.  I won’t do that.  I won’t help you with that.”

“It’s the only way.  I need the energy to make the Jump, otherwise, I’m stuck here.”

Ben shook his head.  He wasn’t going to offer up his friends.  He didn’t want her draining them.  “Don’t ask that of me, Cora.”

“Maybe some of them will help us.  Maybe some –”

“You know they would never do that.  Not with you…like you are now.”

Cora flinched and then nodded.

Ben saw the glimmer of hurt in her black eyes before she turned away.

“There has to be a way.  I mean, we have the Regen Chambers.  Eugene has a Regen bed.  It’s not like I’ll drain them completely.  I’d never do that.”

“They won’t do it.  You know that.”  Ben couldn’t even tell any of them he had found Cora.  The others would come after her.  “And I’m not going to ask them to.”

Cora’s brows came together.  “If you’re not even willing to consider that option, then you think of something!”  She crossed her arms.

Ben opened his mouth to argue with her, but then snapped it shut.  It was no use.  “I’ll think of something else.”

“There is nothing else!” Cora shouted.  She sat back.  “I’m stuck here.”

“You’re not alone.  I’m here.  I’ll help you.”

“You couldn’t help me before.  You couldn’t stop me from changing.”

Ben winced at the truth in her words.  “Cora –”

She fazed away from him to the tree.  “Stay away from me before I drain you.”  And then she vanished.

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Maura’s Story IIII

They say one day you wake up and you know when you’ve crossed the line.

You know… and there’s nothing you can do to turn back.  You’d think that was the day I sent Brian home.

Nope. My day came a week later.

We’d gathered at the meadow down by Paddy O’Leary’s house at dusk.  A local farmer whose family had ties with the Tuatha for centuries. A big bonfire roared  in the center of a stone circle. The megalith boulders rose twelve feet in the air and encompassed a hundred foot span.  Hundreds of  guests circled the fire inside the rock boundaries. Sizes of the guests ranged from gigantic to itty-bitty. Brownies and fairies and even a banshee, I later learned. Today was the day before Samhain and trepidation hung in the air. Tonight I was going to take the reins from my grandmother and start my journey.

Was I ready? Was I capable?

I watched from afar, the laughing and cheering, as I sat beneath an old oak tree and hugged my knees. I almost wished a hole would open up under me and suck me from this world.  As night fell, I rose on shaky legs and then emerged. A silence came over group. My gaze sought the guidance of my Nana.

She smiled and nodded her approval.

I walked forward, head held high and entered the circle.

What was it with being royalty? We’re real people, with real feelings.

I stopped and searched the gazes of the people. Some happy, some scared, some were curious, others angry. Why? I’d never asked for this. Would gladly walk away.

A powder was thrown into the fire and a blue smoke swirled around the crowd. As if I was being pulled, I was drawn closer to the flames. And as I stood before the great blaze my eyes sought, connected, held with a stranger from across the way. I’d seen this person before. That second day in Ireland.

Circenn.

The man at the museum. The man who I should fear.

Did fear.

His long black hair free from a braid framed his bronze face, his yellow eyes more feral than friendly and the magnetism he presented made my palms burn. His hash lined face, so magnificent, so fascinating to watch, become more as he appeared to search my soul. I felt a presence in my head, his, and I struggled to throw him out. I couldn’t. His eyes seemed to glow, to swirl. I felt every hair on my body stand up and began to pulse. I felt the air leave my lungs. I felt the world shift as he gazed into my eyes. My head started to pound, my heart started to flutter. I squeezed my legs together.

He nodded once, as if he was pleased. Damn him.

His thoughts were suddenly my thoughts. Myself alone heard. “Every hero must die before they can truly live again.”

I looked deep into the flames. Let the word mingle in my head. Felt the heat, embraced the unknown as it flickered across my skin. I stepped closer to the roaring in my brain.

I sought his gaze once more.

His lips drew tight. The only sign he showed.

And I knew.

I closed my eyes and stepped forward.

The ending is your choice. But? Is this really the end or just the beginning….

Thank you so much for joining HerStoryCalls. This month of short stories was so much fun. I hope everyone has a great and SAFE Halloween.

Be sure to leave a comment, or better yet-share your story, and enter to win a fabulous prize this week!

Maura’s Story Part II

When people say their lives aren’t complicate and then put kohl under their eyes while they’re dressed in a beautiful flowing dress and talk about the world ending, you can guarantee they’re lying.

“Did you ever wish you were someone else?” My Nana asked as I stood next to her in the bathroom. I couldn’t take my eyes off her reflection in the mirror. I’d arrived three nights ago and was still reeling in shock. I was in Ireland, with my Nana, and feeling more nauseated by the minute.

“Ah, sure,” I said. As in right now. What had I gotten myself into? I still couldn’t believe the woman I was standing next to was my grandmother. I wanted to touch her, hug her, but I was scared to. “But then I never aware of what I was missing.”

“Take me for instance,” she said, not paying attention to me as she touched up the last of her mascara. ” I asked for help a long time ago, from the Goddess Morrigan.  But as a Tuatha De Danann and her being the Celtic goddess of war, think Athena on a whiskey bender, the results were more complicated than usual. I went to sleep one night and when I awoke, I was someone else. A human! I was in bed with a man I didn’t know, and pregnant with your mother. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t return to my home.”

“Nope. Not hearing a word,” I said placing hands over my ears and walked away. But no matter where I went, she followed. This was exactly why I didn’t want to come to Ireland. Every letter, every card, every call was the same for the last twenty years. A silly story about an immaculate conception and my family roots tied to the Tuatha. The fifth race of people to settle Ireland, conquering the island from the Fir Bolg, in Irish mythology and apparently my close relatives. “I hate to break this to you, but you’re not the Virgin Mary.”

“You’re so funny, Maura. Your aunt was the one named Mary, not me.” My grandmother, who looked younger than me, with her flawless white skin, black hair, grey eyes and size four frame,  patted my cheek. “Your father’s sister was a weird one. She fit into California so easily.”

“Funny that, coming from you.” I watched as she sat a pan on the stove and took out a carton of eggs. She was nice, very eccentric, oh, and not to mention a total fruitcake.

“Why are you being so stubborn?”

“Me? You’re the one talking about  fairies and mythological people.” I still couldn’t get over how she looked. Allison, my Nana, looked about twenty, twenty-two. Maura wanted to ask who her cosmetic surgeon was, but she was frightened to hear another of Allison’s truths.

“Stop worrying about how I look. You’re a beautiful woman, Maura.”

I couldn’t get over she could read my mind either.

“You  refuse to listen or talk. What choice do I have?” She smiled placing the eggs on a plate.

“If you spoke an ounce of truth, talking wouldn’t be difficult.” I took a sip of my orange juice. Everything appeared so normal. If Maura was having a conversation with a woman her age, not someone who was supposedly three thousand years old. And her supposed Nana.

“If everything you said was so important, why didn’t you raise me?”

“I no longer have my power. You were safer in California.”

“In the town of Oz? My neighbor was a warlock.” A supposed warlock. I didn’t believe in such things.

“No one looked for you there. Your potential was covered by all the other spirits living in the community.”

I loved how she called it potential. A nice way to say I had nothing great going for me…yet. “I feel so much better knowing they’re more crazy people out there like you.”

“Like us,” she said pulling me close. “Let’s not fight. I’m just so glad you’re finally here with me after all this time.”

Her arms folded about me and I felt a sense of energy, of heat, from her. I closed my eyes, and sighed, leaning into her. “How on earth are you my Nana. You look younger than me.”

“Good genes.” she laughed. “The world works in mysterious ways, my child. I’m here to help you now. You’re ready to embrace your heritage. There wasn’t much time left and I thought I’d have to come after you. Your boss wasn’t as difficult to manipulate. Her motives are very clear, yours are not.”

“I don’t have motives. I like my life. ” The whole world was ending and it was up to the daughters daughter of the Tuatha De Danann to save the earth in the realm it was in today. And that was Maura. Yah, me. “I like my life. My life back in California.”

“But you’re a princess?” She looked at me like she couldn’t fathom me not rejoicing.

“I’m sorry I ever joked about it to Brian.” I sighed, letting go. What woman didn’t fool around about wanting to be a princess. But now that it was real? I stared deep into my grandmother’s eyes. “I don’t want to be a princess.”

“My sins have now become yours. You have three weeks to adapt. The ritual has to take place on Samhain.”

The ritual. Oh, yeah, there was more to look forward to.”My editor’s going to love that.”

“You’re still thinking of your editor.” She blinked up at me.

I sat down and took a bite of toast. “The whole reason I’m here. I came to write a story-not be a story. Now I’m going to have to invest what life savings I had, in a therapist.”

“I’ll have Regan come over. She’s a wizard with herbs.”

“When you say wizard,” I swallowed hard, “do you mean, literally a wizard?”

Nana laughed. “No.”

Relief rolled through me.

“She’s fey.” Nana laughed at my horrified expression. “Her hands are pure magic.”

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What’s Scary to You?

I don’t read a lot of scary stories. Halloween isn’t a big holiday in my house. And so I wondered what I was going to write about in order to fit in this month? What was scary to me? Writing Urban Fantasy and in first person scares me to death…so here is my story about an Irish girl in search of her roots during the active time of Samhain (the real Hallows Eve). Remember I love all things Celtic!

WTF. That’s right. What the fey?

Maura’s Story 

Part 1

October. My favorite month. Not.

October, the month that ruined my life. The month that destroyed everything I believed about my life…about myself.

Perhaps I’m jumping ahead.

My name is Maura. Maura Kennedy. I’m what some would call disorganized, scattered, but I’m a people-pleaser and I try real hard to fit in. I have a great little Victorian styled house, a perfect doctor boyfriend and many, many friends. My future of pushing out babies and making cakes for charities was looking really good. I knew where I was going and I was happy with me.

Or should I say, I was.

I’m a part-time reporter. I write short articles concerning macramé and how to pickle beets in the fall. I’m the crafty girl over at the bustling newspaper, The Good Witch, in sunny Eureka, California. And this month, October, my editor wanted more from me. More than I bargained for.

Delaney Williams is my boss. She’s a big black haired, black eyed bitch. She would lie, steal, cheat and sell her own child all in the name of getting a good story. Did I mention she’s a witch? And when she heard I received a letter from my Nana, who lives  in Ireland and that I was born in that far off country, a light bulb went off above her head.

“Maura,” she said the morning of our weekly meeting. “We are sending you to Ireland for the month of October. With our target audience you’ll write all about Samhain.” Samhain, the ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic people, who were once found all over Europe, divided the year by four major holidays. According to their calendar, the year began on a day corresponding to November 1st on our present calendar. The date marked the beginning of winter. “They’ll love it. The potential for our biggest success story ever.”

See, the village we live in is the local hot spot for the United Witches and Warlocks or UWW. I don’t believe in such ridiculousness, but I was raised here by my Aunt Mary. My parents died when I was three and reasons I couldn’t go into I never could leave after my Aunt’s death. It was home.

“You’ll cover our sisters and brothers practicing their beliefs in the traditional  sense. Their gods, their customs.” Celtic belief in supernatural creatures persisted. While the church made deliberate attempts to define them as being not merely dangerous, but malicious, followers of the old religion went into hiding and were branded as witches. Druids were banished and the true fairy’s forgotten. “The old beliefs associated with Samhain never died out entirely. The powerful symbolism of the traveling dead was too strong, and perhaps too basic to the human psyche, to be satisfied with the new, more abstract Catholic feast honoring saints.  Halloween is a ruse and the Celts knew it. The church tried to supplant too much with their Christian faith.”

“Delaney, thanks for the history lesson, but I have no interest in covering such drivel. No offense.” I held up my hand and shifted and thought of my boyfriend, my sweet good-looking, down to earth doctor. Whoops, my fiancé as of last night.  I flipped over my hand. A big one carat diamond ring twinkled and everyone ahh’ed.  “Besides Brian just asked me to marry him. I can’t leave now. He has a big dinner planned with his parents to talk about wedding details.”

“That’s nice. He’s waited three years, what’s another month?”  Delaney’s black eyes bored deep, looking for any sign of weakness. “The problem is you don’t believe.”

“Of course, I don’t believe. ” I snorted. I played with my fire engine red hair and wondered what I’d cook for dinner tonight. Salmon cakes? or would Brian like a steak? Three years wasn’t a long time to wait. And at twenty-four, Maura,  had plenty of time to decide what was best for her. Delaney wasn’t going to intimidate her.  “Send anyone else. They’re all dying to go.”

“You’re not listening, Maura. You’re going to Ireland. You have connections there. They’ll trust you.”

“Because of my green eyes and red hair?” It would be nice to visit my Nana, Allison, but I didn’t want to go. A lump formed in my chest. I needed some Rolaids. The spicy spaghetti  I’d had  for lunch burned. “I’m not a guru. The audience will know I don’t care. The writing will be weak.” I looked around at my co-workers. Their eyes were wide. They were impressed I was standing up to the battle ax.  I smiled. “And nothing you can do will make me go.”

“Really?”

So, here I am. Two days later. Crammed in between two smelly people, one of alcohol, the other of sweet gardenia’s. I fluffed my pillow and frowned. I should have known the daughter of Satan would find a way to get what she wanted.

I was flying across the world. I was headed to Ireland.

The land of the Tuatha De Danann.

The land of my people.

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I hope you stick around for the next 3 installments. Leave a comment (and email addy) and be sure to post on Tuesdays your own story.

Next week- It’s my turn to be giving out a gift. A $25 Amazon card.