A Peek Inside.
Given my very busy work week and slightly scattered mind wrinkles, I’ve decided to share an excerpt of the book I’m working on: Darcy Doyle and the Soul’s Dilemma.
In short, this book focuses on the energy of “good and bad” and how free will is made up of both parts. You will follow Darcy Doyle through her induction into The Odd Souls and their perpetual struggle in the Battle of Balance for society. I created this book to help me deal with the constant senseless acts of hate and violence, on every peg of the spectrum, and to build on my recent understanding that “good and bad” are consistently pushing and pulling. Both have equal leverage to win and the outcome for each side is incredibly different.
Scene: Darcy, who has not yet been inducted to the Odd Souls and has minimal knowledge of what they mean, has been beaten to a pulp but rescued by the leading members of the Souls. She is brought home to her parents as they try to make sense of what happened, The Doyle’s thrust once again into the strange in-between world of the battle for balance.
Darcy’s house was lit up like a landing strip; illuminating the group like the spotlights of a stage, the wings black as the blanket above, the lights pegging them the lead players.
“I don’t know that I can do this…” Dexter mumbled, hoping nobody would hear him even though he directed it their way.
“Come on…Let’s get this over with.” Avery said, dejected, snippy. She glanced quickly at Darcy limp in his arms but fluttered back to a center stare when Dexter caught her. He hugged her closer calming at the feel of her strong bones. Girls with bones like this, they don’t go easy.
“How do you show her parents this without an answer? Why wouldn’t-”
A figure burst from the front door cutting Dex off.
James flew down the steps with irregular stomps, his face a loose mask of horrified as he half pounded, half glided like a ghost with his billowing white button up.
“What happened?” James strained to yell but resigned to a hoarse whisper.
He approached Dexter with the grace of an angry wasp but eased his movements as he scooped his beaten daughter into his chest.
James glared at each one of them before turning and motioning them along with a terse, “Get inside.” As if he had no choice but to show some appreciation to the group that brought him a ruined kid.
The four exchanged nervous glances, the moon twinkling at the whites of their eyes, before quickly shuffling in obedience.
Inside, the house was warm with lamps glowing, the TV flashing happy people around scented candles to the point one would forget a girl, the daughter of the house, was dying in the arms of her father. Avery wondered where the other girls were, the twins. They should be bigger than when she last saw them and a picture on the mantel proved it. Still young, but smart, sharp eyes that the bodies would catch up to respectively.
James stomped to the kitchen while Cheryl rushed around frantically clearing the table so their daughter could be set down. She hadn’t even noticed the awkward group of kids standing in the small hallway separating kitchen from den. And the group couldn’t help noticing how routine this seemed, the mother frantic but focused instead of breaking down with crying questions.
James laid his daughter down carefully, like handling the fragile bones of a baby bird. He turned from her the second his hands were free.
Avery knew from their lack of interrogation that James understood the cause of this.
“Just talk.” James said, his back to everyone, fingers looping around the chipped grate of the gas stove burners.
Cheryl sat at the head of her daughter, smoothing back the sticky clumps of hair as tears trailed silently down her grim face.
“Someone knew something. We don’t know how, we’ve been really careful.” Avery said, stepping into the kitchen.
“We had just come into the auditorium when Dexter caught her… falling from the catwalk.”
A small yelp sounded from the table where Cheryl choked on a sob. It was never good to hear your daughter was seconds from irreparable damage.
“Who?” James asked.
“We don’t know, we took one guy out upon entering but in no way was he the problem. He was a decoy, found that out with the feather…Look, I don’t mean to sound rude, but she needs help. I’m not sure how bad she is but we should focus on the hows after we…”
Avery looked uneasy, her boots a constant shuffle against the kitchen tile grout. The metronome to a very uncomfortable situation.
“Adram wanted her brought here.” William piped up, shifting himself next to Avery.
James jaw twitched in tension, his mind running through the ways of a world he’d been so disconnected from since his mothers passing.
“He can heal her, right?” He waited for everyone to nod their heads. “And so can high ranks, even after moving on?” Again, four heads nodded but this time with squinted suspicious eyes. “Ok, that’s what I thought.” James took a step away from the group and turned to a wall, “MOTHER!” James yelled out hoarsely. “MOTHER! I know you hear me! MOTHER!”
Dexter twitched towards Darcy, worried his yelling might wake her up before remembering she wasn’t taking a nap while Cheryl looked on wild eyed towards a husband she thought might have actually lost it. “James, what are you-”
A tap at the back door had all heads turning to the front. James jaw snapped closed.
“I would answer that.” Dexter whispered towards Darcy’s parents.
Cheryl was closest and eased herself from the chair, reaching over to open the door.
The revealed night sky was velvet black, stars nowhere in sight thanks to an oncoming thunderstorm, its purple-black clouds gobbling up the expanse, exhaling a cool breeze that jittered the massive oak in the Doyle’s backyard.
And there, draped in night and glowing, was Ellia Doyle. Looking as alive as ever.
Her fluffy brown hair looked sprinkled in embers from the porch light above and illuminated her sharp, marble blue eyes twinkling out from papery soft skin the texture of used, wrinkled tissue.
“Hello, Cheryl, my love! I can’t seem to make it indoors anymore, hell, I ended up in Istanbul three weeks ago. I just wanted milk.”
Ellia pranced in like she’d left mere hours ago on an errand, her keds making soft kitten pats against the tile.
Ellia beamed up to her only child blinking against glossy eyes. He hugged her with a stiff, distracted back. James could never quite get used to the strange perks of his mothers life.
Her smile started strong but waned as she followed the strained eyes of her son towards the kitchen table; the blue marbles shrunk under widening lids as a gasp puffed from her partly closed mouth.
“Why is she here?” Ellia shrieked fluttering to the table but paused abruptly, unable to place her hands on her beaten granddaughter. “Who did this?” asked a darker, huskier voice than the one just chirping at her son and daughter-in-law.
“We’re not sure exactly. We’re not even sure how she was found out, but it was obvious she was to be terminated.”
“Possibly with the knowledge she hadn’t been inducted.” Dexter said, lurking in the hallway.
Ellia looked to Dexter and Avery before smiling at Peace. An emotion flashed across her eyes and
Avery looked around noticing they were one short; she glanced over to Ellia who stared straight back with hurting eyes. Avery shrugged gently, an ending to a conversation the room wasn’t privy to.
“This is not ideal…” Ellie murmured, “Why is she not at Adrams, he can heal her.”
“He sent us here.” Peace said, crossing a barefoot over her ankle to lean against the white molding, her skirt flaring out into a crooked letter A.
“Ah…interesting. Yes… that would make sense.”
“Is she going to be okay, Ell?” Cheryl asked, the same wide relaxed stare Darcy owned, standing back at her daughters head with her palms flat against Darcy’s ears, fingertips pointing towards her shoulders, as if protecting her sleeping child from this discussion.
“Of course, Cheryl. Don’t be worried.” Ellia said this with a chipper bounce on her heels, like healing Darcy was as easy as tying one’s shoe.
“What makes, Ad- his choice, so interesting, Mom?”
James was at the counter grabbing a squat glass and the whiskey, splashing a gulp in the cup and swigging it down before pouring a glass for Cheryl, walking it over to her and returning to his perch at the stove. He gave himself another splash and set the jug down with a hard thud, tossing his drink back in the same motion. The smell of whiskey permeated the small kitchen, twitching at the noses of its occupants, a subtle dose of olfactory peer pressure.
“Well, had your daughter, and we all know your daughter, awoken healed with clear eyes staring back at her from a large strange man in a blue room… I’d say we’d have some problems.”
James had no choice but to accept this, she knew her own granddaughter.
Ellia rubbed her palms together, warming them with friction, before floating them down to rest on Darcy’s chest, turning her face back to the group.
“She’s just barely, if at all, grasping that there is something strange going on behind the back curtain of human existence. After meeting this bunch, purely on accident I might add,” Ellia said with quick hands raised in surrender.
“The other night…” Cheryl whispered, a hand flitting from Darcy’s ear to her own neck.
“Yep, pure accident. And apparently, very poor timing.” Ellia clicked her tongue, her hands lowering back down, “Or something. The quickness of this knowledge, very strange.”
“It’s not strange considering the force we’ve been up against for decades.”
Ellia nodded silently focusing on the hands placed below. She closed her eyes and kept shockingly still. The room was frozen in time.
After a short flicker and flare of the lights the kitchen went pitch dark. Nobody moved.
Suddenly, Darcy was igniting with a warm glow that radiated from every pour, exposing the room and its occupants. Wounds lit up like fireworks that sizzled her to a healed state, the light like a campfire tickling the faces of those surrounding her. And as quickly as it started, Darcy’s back arched sharply from the table on a deep moan from under Ellia’s palms before slapping back against the rickety, scarred wood. She ceased to move save the sudden lifting of her rib cage, expanding under properly breathing lungs, while each inhale faded the glow around her. On a final shutter the kitchen lights flared back to life.