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the Cloven rose
By Kelsey Odom
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Kelsey Odom
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE BEGINNING OF THE END
My name is Bianca. It was 2009 and Grandma Rose was on her deathbed. Mom and dad were at the hospital all the time and they never left her side. I was constantly at school or hanging out with my friends only to pass the time, to try to keep me from thinking too much about what was really going on. It's amazing how little time we have, even for humans the so-called superior race. I went to the hospital to bring my mother something to eat, which she rarely did any more, I figured the stress was to blame for that.
"She's gone!" My mom yelled after the loud buzzing noise on the machine had started. Through all this chaos, Grandma Rose looked completely peaceful. As if she weren't expecting her death, as if she weren't expecting anything at all. The nurses soon rushed in, I'm sure the alarm triggered their response. The nurses began CPR, and calling out the names of drugs, and then a doctor made his entrance to the room as if he were some kind of a god. What a dark place, and filled with weird people I thought. The medical staff did all they could to revive her, so I don't blame them for her death. When it's your time, it's your time. You can't fight with your own fate, or with other people's. It's just simply not our decision to make.
After a few days of grandma's passing, mom soon fell into a deep depression. Grandma and she were so close. You could even say they were best friends. Mom didn't want to go out of the house, she didn't feel like putting her make up on, and I was stuck doing the cooking and chores while she withered away.
"Enough. I'm tired of watching you suffer like this. We're going out," I said and grabbed her by her hand, giving her no choice but to pry herself off the couch.
"I don't feel like it today, maybe tomorrow." She said reluctantly, trying to detach herself from my grip.
"Mom, I can't stand to watch you like this any longer, if you don't do something I'm going to leave," I said with stern eyes, and I was never more serious in my life. My mind was made up, I wasn't just going to sit around this house and watch her decline further. I was banking on my threat to help motivate her to do something, anything for that matter.
"Fine, go ahead. Leave me too, just like your grandma did." She was always very stubborn, and quick to blame others. It was always easier to do so than to accept reality for her. "Fine, if you don't go out, then I'm bringing it to you." I grabbed my purse, which had ten dollars in it, and walked out the door. I was so mad I was almost in tears. How could she be so selfish? Wasn't I supposed to be the one reacting like a child, and not the adult? I feel like I have to constantly play the adult role around the house these days. Making sure dad writes the bills, I go buy all the groceries, and do the laundry, the dishes, and the cooking ... you name it, I do it. The video store was close by. All we had was a small town pop-and-go video store, which that was fine. I liked the local stuff better than the big city video stores. At least there was still a good selection of movies to pick from due to the population being so small. I entered the store, and there were two people in there. A guy who looked about 17 and a female who looked about that same age as well, maybe a year younger. I looked over the selection, there wasn't much left. After all it was Friday night, and everybody picked through the movies on Thursdays. I found a comedy. I figured anything with Jim Carey was good enough to hopefully lighten her mood at least a little bit. I paid, and left the store.
Around the corner I noticed a women standing behind a tree. What a peculiar thing to do in the broad daylight or any time really, it was as if she was waiting on somebody to leave this store. And who knows, maybe she was. I decided to ignore her and continue my way home, but it seemed like every time I passed a dark corner, or looked behind a house or bush, there she was. She was tiny. She was maybe five foot tall, and maybe ninety pounds. Her hair was golden, and her eyes an almost lime green. Her skin was pale, but most people's skin here was. She was beautiful but frightening all at the same time. After all it was wintertime. I stopped dead in my tracks. I had this feeling that something bad was about to go down. I decided to walk fast, maybe avoiding the sudden nightmare that was about to happen, but I didn't walk nearly fast enough.
"Hello Bianca. My name is Zoë," The beautiful tiny women said. I didn't know what to do. I had always been leery about talking to strangers. I guess it's all those years of my parents enforcing that rule.
"Hi ..." was all I could manager to say. She almost was glowing, her beauty so radiant.
"I have a blessing for you Bianca." She spoke as she put her hands on my shoulders. Her words were a silky almost intoxicating sound the way she spoke them. How did she know my name? I was pretty sure I didn't tell her.
"I don't want a blessing. I just want to get back home. Thanks though." Go figure, she's either some goody—goody thinking she's from a higher power, or some lunatic waiting to strike their next victim. Anybody that gorgeous is either crazy, or insane. When she laid her hands on me, I felt a sudden rush of energy spike in my body. It was like nothing else I'd ever felt before.
"What are you doing?" I panicked and shrugged her hands off of me and ran. I took off as fast as I could. How could somebody inflict their own emotions just by touching somebody? As I was running, I noticed that the sidewalks suddenly had words appearing in the concrete. Have I officially lost my mind I thought?
"You're Safe ... Don't Worry ... We'll meet again ... Soon ..."
Words that randomly appeared and then disappeared. I heard laughter in the background. Apparently somebody is playing a joke and they are a good illusionist as well. I figured it was my friend Sam, she always has a trick up her sleeve, but it wasn't. It was nobody I even knew.
I made it back home, without any more words appearing. Maybe I'm just sleep deprived and my brain was playing tricks on me. I decided not to tell mom about my sightings and weird encounter with the unknown woman. She had enough on her plate, and I figured one more strange thing to happen would surely send her over the mental edge. Sending her only daughter to a psych ward would probably be the last straw for an already fragile mother. Mom and I watched the funny movie, and I heard her laugh a few silent laughs during the movie. I was happy just to get a response from her since she became so dead to the world after grandma's passing. The only thing that seemed to bring life and lift her spirits was the strange articles of jewelry grandma had left behind. She gave me a necklace that she wore all the time when she was alive. I think it made mom jealous so I tried not to wear it too often. It's a silver necklace with a green tear-shaped gem in the center. It's very antique and classy. It's a bit too formal for everyday wear, or at least I think so anyway. It never stopped grams from wearing it. It wasn't too long before mom began to look alive. A few months later, mom started coming out of her shell. She started shopping for groceries again. I was still stuck doing everything else, but at least there was one burden lifted from my shoulder. It's not that I didn't mind doing all of it, but I am young and deserve to have a fun life, at least temporarily.
Several more months passed, she talked more often, and resumed her responsibilities one by one. It's not easy being an adult I've come to find out. Finally the only chore I had to worry about was laundry and cleaning my room. I could handle that. I hadn't seen any more words written in the concrete lately either. Maybe things are starting to look up for me. It had been 4 months since my last encounter. I walked to school every day, except for when it snowed or rained; my friend Sam's mom always gave me a ride. Today it was snowing, so I figured I'd get around a little earlier so that Sam and her mom wouldn't be waiting on me, but they never showed. Mom and dad had already left for work, which left me walking in the freezing cold, in the ice and snow two miles to school. Not exactly the highlight of my day. I made a mental note to get my car fixed, and soon. I finally made it, just before the last bell rang. Sam wasn't at school today, which I thought was kind of weird since how she never missed any school whatsoever no matter what was going on with her because she's a class 'A' dork.
Classes were dull, and there was nothing new to learn. My patience was growing thinner and thinner by the minute. I had to stop staring at the clock and try and focus on something else. I laid my head on the desk, and decided to take a nap. I know, it's not exactly appropriate, but this teacher didn't pay any attention. I stared at the white and black speckled concrete, waiting for a piece of lint or a bug to move across it but nothing did. It was nice staring into nothingness for a change.
"Bianca I haven't forgot you." I saw the words appear suddenly. The wind was stolen from my lungs, and left me in a panic with everybody staring at me. I hit the papers on my desk, which went flying out of control, and I stumbled to get away from my desk thus knocking it over. Great, I'm a freak of nature and the whole school just witnessed it. I thought silently to myself, surely I was in fact hallucinating. This is not real. My mind is playing tricks on me. I have been stressed lately, haven't I? Maybe that was triggering the attacks. I just want to come to school, unnoticed, and go home. This was not what I had planned, a true embarrassing moment one that people will talk about for weeks.
"No ... Bianca you're not hallucinating. I will see you in a week ..."
The cursive writing scrolled across the ground as if somebody carved the words there. I shivered in panic and in fear. I tried to mask my frantic look, but it was too late. Everybody was still watching me.
"Bianca. How about you go to the school nurse, you don't look like you're feeling too well." Mr. Hudson said in a voice that was almost unfriendly.
"Ok." Is all I could say, even though I secretly wanted to confess my craziness to somebody, but it wouldn't be him and it sure as hell wouldn't be the school nurse. I made it to her office. She was an older lady, maybe mid 60's. You could tell she was closely approaching her retirement years. "Bianca. You should lie down for a minute." Nurse Lulu said in such a soft voice that the words felt like they would melt inside my brain. As I was lying there, perfectly still I began to think. What if I am going insane? What if this is all just my imagination? I had to talk to mom about it, whether it would freak her out or not, something bad was coming, and it was coming fast.
I went home, but nobody was there. I went to my room and started pacing back and forth frantically, thinking about my options. I could A: Run away and hope to God she wouldn't find me, or B: Tell my mom like a little child and let her worry about it. Either option didn't sound all that great. I couldn't concentrate enough to do my homework. I kept watching the clock, waiting for five-thirty. That was when they came home. I had dinner cooked and the kitchen cleaned. I figured I'd give mom a night off for a change. I made chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, and sweet carrots. Not exactly heart healthy, but what the hell, we all need a little fat in our lives! I heard the door open; mom was on her cell I could tell because of the tone in her voice, very serious business casual sort of voice.
"Hi mom," I greeted her as I was coming down the stairs. "Hi Bianca. How was your day at school?" She spoke as she was putting away her purse. A normal conversation took place as we waited for dad to come home. We were both sitting at the table, mom with her glass of red wine, me with my iced tea. No matter how adult I seemed, she still didn't share her wine. That's ok. Sam and I drink wine all the time ... she gets it from her mom because her mom doesn't care. "Mom, I need to talk to you about something." My voice was unsteady, I felt like there was a frog sitting in my throat.
"Yes dear ..." She sounded annoyed. As if it could wait. Which I wasn't really sure if it could, but at the same time I'm not even sure I'm going to sound sane telling her.
"There's somebody after me." The words flew out of my mouth and stumbled on my tongue.
"What are you talking about Bianca? Is this another one of your jokes? Because I don't have time for this ..." Her words were harsh, piercing through a layer of my protective shield that I kept invisible.
"Mom I'm serious ... I don't know who she is, or what she wants, but she follows me." I figured I'd tell her the sane parts first, and then get to the Bianca is crazy as hell part last.
"Well, I will let your father know, he is a Lieutenant. I'm sure he will notify his shift and they'll make sure you get safely to and from school." She made it sound more like a threat than a promise. I decided not to inform her of the 'crazy' part of the story. I just don't think she'd believe me anyway. I just had to accept my fate, and know that whatever happens next I have to somehow figure out a way to prepare to face it. Dad finally came home, but mom never mentioned my stalker, so that left me with the chore of telling him. I gave up quickly on the idea. Just the thought of approaching my dad made me squirm. I love my dad. But he's too serious sometimes, which can be scary. We haven't been that close until recently.
It wasn't up until my last few years of teenage-hood that we actually began to talk to each other, like really talk to each other. Mom and I just recently began to get close. You could say we all lived our own lives and just crossed each other's paths occasionally. This was fine because that gives me my privacy. I decided to walk to Sam's house, and see if her mom had anymore wine. I needed something to help me relax tonight.
The dark has started to approach, but the sun was still visible from a long shot. Clouds began rushing in, as if a storm was approaching. I hurried to Sam's house. It was only about eight houses down from mine. It was then words began to form in the concrete in front of me. I stopped, and studied them carefully as I held my breath. At any moment the monster was sure to approach, or worse the witch. I was beginning to get pissed. I'm tired of being toyed with as if I'm some puppet.
"Where are you?" I shouted into nothingness. Nothing happened. Nobody came. I looked like a true psycho. The words said Fear not child, your blessing is coming. I took that as a threat. "I will accept no blessing from you! You witch!" I stomped angrily to Sam's. Unsure of my next actions, I began running into the woods.
Twilight was upon us, the thick bush and tree's made it difficult to see in a forest of green and brown. I ran until I couldn't run anymore. I didn't care if I got lost. I knew I just wanted to find this chick and kill her. Of course, I probably couldn't. I couldn't live with something like that on my conscious, so maybe I was secretly hoping I could just end it, whether that risked my life or not. I was fed up. "Where are you?" I began to yell again, into the nothingness that haunted my life. I sat down on a tree that was laid over and waited. A figure began to appear in the dark, the moon wasn't quite out yet, but it was close. The stars were barely visible from the heavens, and the animals and insects began to sing their lovely annoying tunes. "I don't want your blessings!" I yelled at the figure that was quickly coming towards me. I ran deeper into the woods. Thick brush filled my senses, the air was thick and humid, but I didn't let it slow me down.
Excerpted from the Cloven rose by Kelsey Odom Copyright © 2011 by Kelsey Odom. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Contents1: The beginning of the end....................1
2: A new beginning....................19
5: Strangers are not all that strange....................62
6: The setting sun no longer sets, but burns brightly in the sky....................65
10: The after life....................94
11: Deathful bliss....................96
12: Crystal gems and handsome grins....................101
13: Army of spirits....................110
14: Innocence is bliss ... Sometimes....................113
15: Not all angels are good....................115
18: The colder side of truth....................132
19: Sun drops and blood pops, oh my....................135
20: The plan....................138
22: Blood washing....................147
23: Butter me up a human and spread some bloody jam....................155
24: The moonspire ball....................161
25: Vampian blood....................171
27: The after party....................179
28: Renewed life....................181
29: New blood....................185
32: Human warfare....................199
33: The meadow....................202
36: Bleeding and teasing....................218
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Excellent reading. It held my interest clear to the end. I would recommend this book for family and friends. Can't wait for the next book.