This week, I am getting back to my normal blogging schedule — if my schedule has ever been normal. I’ve worked this summer but took a step back from much of the blogging for a number of reasons. Mainly, I just needed to recharge the batteries some. But, if the kids have to go back to work, I guess I can get back to blogging.
Today’s snippet is from the book that took charge of my muse and my life about a week or so ago. Starting Wednesday, I’ll be snippeting Dagger of Elanna, the follow up to Sword of Arelion (Sword of the Gods Book 1), once a week. I will probably snippet this currently untitled book as well once a week, at least until I figure out what to do about it.
So, with that said, here’s the snippet. I’ll warn you now, it is weird. It has mystery, magic and a house that might be sentient and that might possibly eat people it doesn’t like. And no, it’s not horror. Heaven help me, I have a feeling there might even be a romance in it before all is said and done. As with other snippets posted on this site, this is a rough draft. By the time it goes to publication, it will be edited and so the final version very well be different from what you see here. Copyright 2016 by Amanda S. Green. All rights reserved. You know the drill.
Anyway, here you go. This is the first scene.
It’s never easy going home, especially when you left under less than ideal circumstances. But that’s the situation I found myself in. It might never have happened if it weren’t for my daughter, the light of my life. Three months earlier, Ali turned five. A month after that I finally admitted she presented challenges I didn’t know how to deal with. Fortunately, at least in some ways, my mother did know how to handle my special little girl. Like it or not, that meant returning home to Mossy Creek, Texas, smack dab in the middle of the buckle of the Bible belt.
And that made life very interesting for the citizens of Mossy Creek where normal was not something you encountered every day.
So I called my mother, scheduled a leave of absence from work and made our plane reservations. With our bags packed, Ali and I were about to walk out the front door when my pocket started vibrating. Well, to be honest, it was the cell phone in my pocket but you know what I mean. For a moment, I considered ignoring the call. I knew from the ringtone it wasn’t my mother or any of the rest of the family. As far as work and most of my friends knew, Ali and I had already left town. Even so, years of conditioning hand my hand digging into my jeans pocket before I realized it.
“Mama, we have to go!” Ali tugged at my free hand, pulling me toward the door.
“Hang on, sweetheart.” I glanced at the display, not recognizing the number. “Go make sure you didn’t leave anything you want to take with you. This won’t take long. I promise.” I waited until she raced toward her bedroom before answering the call. “Hello?”
“Moira Quinn O’Donnell?” a man asked.
“Yes.” A hint of concern fluttered in my stomach. He might have been calling to sell me siding or solar panels or the like but I doubted it. Something about his voice not only sounded serious but official. Besides, he had used my full name, something very few had access to.
“Ms. O’Donnell, my name’s Peter Sanderson. I work with Julianne Grissom.”
My brows knitted into a frown. “What can I do for you, Mr. Sanderson?”
“Ms. O’Donnell, I don’t want to worry you but have you spoken with your mother recently.”
That flutter of concern spiked and I swallowed hard. Whenever someone starts a statement with “I don’t want to worry you,” it usually means there is something to be worried about. If that wasn’t enough, Julianna Grissom and I were friends going back to childhood. If trouble wasn’t brewing, the call would have bene from Annie Caldwell. Julianna Grissom was her very professional, all attorney persona. I swallowed hard and looked toward the hallway, making sure Ali was still safely in her room. Whatever was going on, I most definitely did not want her involved.
“I spoke with her two days ago. Why?”
“Ma’am, Ms. Grissom asked me to check with you. We don’t know any of the particulars, only that the Sheriff’s Department attempted to do a welfare check on your mother after she failed to meet friends yesterday. While there is no evidence of foul play or, to be perfectly honest, of anything being wrong, they haven’t been able to make entry into the house to be sure.”
I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I had a pretty good idea why the deputies hadn’t been able to enter the house. Unless I was badly mistaken, they hadn’t even been able to enter the yard. The explanation was just one of the reasons why I had moved to Montana more than ten years ago. In Mossy Creek, when someone said you lived on the wrong side of the tracks, they weren’t talking about your financial status or social standing. Far from it, in fact. Life in Mossy Creek had been different from the day the town was founded. Mundane mixed with supernatural and, well, my mother might not be Serena Beauchamp but she had been known to cast more than a spell or two.
Then there was the house. If it did not want to let someone in, nothing, not even a battering ram, would get the doors open. The only thing keeping me from panicking was the belief the house would not keep help out if my mother needed it. Me, it never hesitated to try to lock me out. But Mama belonged there and it would protect her. At least I hoped it would.
“What can I do?” I asked.
“Ms. Grissom said you were coming to town today. Is that still your plan?” Sanderson asked.
“It is.” I glanced at my watch. Ali and I were going to have to hurry if we wanted to make our flight. “Assuming no problems with our connecting flight, my daughter and I should be in town by five.”
“With your permission, I will let the sheriff know. Ms. Grissom would like you to stop by the office when you get here. Hopefully, we will know more by then.”
“All right.” She thought for a moment. “Have you checked with either my sister or my brother to see if they have heard from our mother?”
“They are my next calls, ma’am.”
“All right. Tell Ms. Grissom I will give her a head’s up when I reach Dallas.” I did not wait for him to respond. Instead, I ended the call and stuffed the cellphone back into my pocket. I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach but there was nothing I could do about it, at least not until I reached Mossy Creek. But it did necessitate a slight change in what I packed and in my plans not to check a suitcase.
“Ali, you about ready?” I called from my bedroom as I knelt just inside my closet. There, bolted to the floor was a safe. Inside were my service weapon, several other handguns and my badge and ID. Blowing out a breath, I retrieved an HK .45, pancake holster, ammo and my badge and ID. “Ali?” I repeated as I secured everything in a small, hard-sided case and then dropped it inside my bag that now would have to be checked.
“Mama, can I take Ruffles?” She stood in the doorway, a battered teddy bear almost as big as her in her arms.
“No, baby. Not this time. Why don’t you take Freckles with you?” I asked, referring to a smaller but equally loved teddy bear.
“Okay.” She grinned and raced back to her room.
Five minutes later, we pulled out of the driveway and I did my best to put Sanderson’s call out of my mind. This was Ali’s first plane ride and I knew she was excited. The last thing I wanted was to worry her. After all, as far as she knew, this was a fun trip to see her grandma. She did not need to know that grandma had apparently gone missing and we might not be able to get into the house because it didn’t like me.
Heaven help me, how was I going to explain the house, not to mention everything else, to a five-year-old?
As I have said before, my muse is an evil creature. Trust me. Thinks get strange from this point on.
Thanks for the look ahead.