On Fridays I’m going to share a chapter a week from one of my books. The first book is Souls Lost. If you wish to purchase it to read faster, you can find it at your favorite retailer. Find chapter 1 here.
Chapter 6: BEFORE
Summer sun beating down on her now-lithe body, beginning to curve in the places girls wanted it to curve and luckily staying slender in those that shouldn’t, Dixie stretched. She enjoyed the sun in her backyard. Her friend, Helen, was off on vacation, her family taking the annual trek to Myrtle Beach where they could play in the ocean and enjoy the cooling breezes off the water. That meant Dixie was sunning on her own rather than down at Helen’s near the pool that Helen’s family had put in a few years before. It wasn’t a great, grand thing, just a round four-foot deep pool, but it had been sunk halfway down into the ground which gave it a permanence that other pools didn’t have.
Dixie wiped the sweat from her forehead, took a drink of her lemonade which her momma made so sweet the flies were buzzing around it, forcing Dixie to wave a hand over the cup before she could drink. The lemon scent reached her nose before the sugar reached her taste buds, not that she cared much about how the drink tasted. She liked how it felt in her body, cooling her against the hot sun from inside to outside.
A breeze came up, making the leaves in the nearby trees rustle. Dixie didn’t know if she liked the trees there because soon enough they’d put her in the shade and then how would she get a tan? Her momma was always on her about not getting too dark of a tan and ruining her skin, but Dixie loved the sun, loved watching the shows that took place in Southern California. She dreamed of being in a place like that someday.
Except if she left, then she wouldn’t see Emrys again and she didn’t want that. Besides, Lorne Pugh was starting to look at her like he might think of her as more than just another girl in her class, something that made Helen giggle quietly every time they talked about it. To be honest, Dixie wasn’t at all sure she minded even if her momma thought that the boys here were all a little too “in-bred” to be good husband material and kept telling her to get a job as a secretary or something down in Hickory or maybe even Raleigh because she’d have a better chance of catching someone with a future.
But if Dixie was going anywhere, she was going to California.
Closing her eyes, Dixie laid back on the extra-large towel with the unicorn—something her momma had ordered from a catalog for her birthday back in May—and closed her eyes. She thought about Emrys, wondering what he would say about her moving to California.
“Absolutely not!” Emrys said. He always had a sort of pinched-off face and too long nose. He was knotted and thin like an old tree and his skin was rough like the bark of that tree. He didn’t look like the pictures of pixies that Dixie had found in the library, and she often wondered why her momma called him one, or at least said that she’d seen pixies in the garden when she was a child. Dixie knew it was Emrys she’d seen because he’d confirmed that he had known her momma long ago.
“Why?” Dixie asked, feeling frustrated. She’d always gone to Emrys with her hopes and dreams, and he usually found a way to make them come true. There were times when Dixie considered asking him to make Darius Hammett, three years ahead of her and a star on the football team who was expected to go play for the Tar Heels when he graduated, notice her, but she was slightly afraid of how that would work, or not.
“Can’t leave,” Emrys said. “You, Child of the Blood, are the only one keeping me safe.”
“Why is that?” Dixie asked, a thrill tingling down her spine at the thought that she had the power to keep Emrys safe when no one else did. It was one thing to be called Child of the Blood, the suggestion that she was special and could have Emrys grant her wishes, but it was another thing altogether to think that she held power over him, even the uncertain power of how she kept him safe.
“You are a Child of the Blood, the youngest Child of the Blood. Your uncle and your momma are also Children of the Blood as are your cousins and second cousins, but they do not have the same connection to the land. You will outlive your uncle and your momma which means you must stay here. So long as you are here with me, I have the power to keep the others from overrunning the land with their wishes and dreams, and you would not like their wishes and dreams,” Emrys said. “Nor would anyone else.”
Dixie chewed on that thought. Emrys waited on her for a few minutes, watching her, or at least she imagined he watched her. There were so many things she’d never really questioned about Emrys, pieces of story that she’d made up in her mind not having anyone else to ask, that she wasn’t sure what exactly what she knew to be true and what was made up. And now, although he could grant her wishes, Emrys was telling her she was trapped in Corbin Meadow, trapped because she needed to be there to keep him safe and in a roundabout way, keep the town safe. She wasn’t sure she liked that.
Chapter 6 will be coming next Friday. Don’t want to wait? Find the book here.