Celebrating Milestones! An Excerpt from My Work In Progress: “The Mark”

woman-reading

This has been a big week for me on social media.  100 likes on my Facebook writer’s page, almost 230 followers on Twitter AND the highest amount of blog views here as well as hitting 45 followers on Word Press so far all happened this week. And, in order to celebrate, I’m sharing an excerpt from my novel in progress. It’s a first draft excerpt, so the final rewrite will be a little different. Please forgive any rough grammar or any other bumps. This is sort of like giving you guys the beaters from my mixer full of unbaked cookie dough.

Hope you all enjoy! I’m hoping to get this tied up very soon and all of you being so excited and encouraging means the world to me. 🙂

Tess kept replaying the conversation with the fortune teller in her mind, thinking of how the woman’s attitude and demeanor had changed in the brief interview.  There had been moments where Tess was certain the woman was simply stubborn, desperately ill and just waiting for her chance to finally die.  But then, there was a second where it had been so clear that a game of cat and mouse was being played, just before the old woman had tried to grab Tess’s hand.

Ask me my name….you know the significance of being given someone’s name, don’t you?

“I do know the significance.” Tess answered the voice in her thoughts aloud. “I just wish I’d thought of it yesterday.” She walked over to the bookshelves, scanning the spines of each book.  There was something sinister in those scars, hiding like a tiger ready to pounce. Tess shuddered, wrapping her arms around herself.  The sensation of being watched grew stronger, the air growing oppressive with the scent of moldy feathers and something metallic, almost bloody. “Get a grip, girl.” She told herself, scanning the books a little faster. “Your imagination is getting the best of you.” Tess began to hum, as she had when she was a child and afraid of the dark.

The feeling of eyes on her intensified, the same dirty, oily feeling as she’d felt on Ellie’s lawn Saturday afternoon.  Invisible feathers tickled her cheeks, her neck, and Tess reached up to brush them away, her rational mind explaining them away as stray wisps of hair and not anything else.  She forced herself to hum louder, keeping her mind on the task of finding what she needed, and not on turning around.

It was the deep, threatening growl from the corner of her office, across from where she was standing that made Tess jump. There was another growl, this one a bit more menacing and Tess straightened her back, squaring her shoulders as she stared at the shelves.  The thing in the corner hadn’t moved either, it just crouched there, a seething shadow with claws and sharp teeth.  She wasn’t sure how she knew that, but it was just there, growling at her, waiting. The stench of burning feathers and blood was even stronger. Tess let her hands move over the shelf in front of her, searching for something, anything to throw, to force whatever it was out into the open. What she would do when it was out in the open, Tess couldn’t begin to imagine, but she had to do something.

It’s presence filled the room, filtering the sunlight, oppressing even the small stirring of air from the air conditioning vents. Her hand landed on a small olivewood box Tess had found in a shop near Jerusalem and she picked it up, testing the weight before she turned and hurled it into the corner with all her strength.  The box passed through the shadow, hit the wall and shattered into fragments, taking a picture frame down to the floor with it. The sound of glass crashed through the thick silence. Tess jumped back, knocking books from the shelves, letting the antique volumes rain down on her.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph! “The words rang out of her by reflex and bad habit and she reached up to clutch the pendant that hung around her neck. The words had an immediate effect on the atmosphere in the room, the light became brighter, air clean and carrying only the scent of books and the floor polish Maintenance used in the tile hallways. The stench of blood and feathers was gone, as was the overwhelming presence in the corner.

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