Thursday, November 28, 2013

Promises in the Dark
Book One of
 The Secrets of the Mystic series
Princess Racena McConnell
Co-Edited by Paul McConnell
Copyright © 2013 Princess Racena McConnell
All Rights Reserved





The dark waters flowed with a rhythm that reminded her of the way the ocean waves had brushed the sides of her father's boat long ago. However, there was no calmness in these waters. Instead of the clear blue of the deep sea, there was only blackness. The surrounding water appeared heavy—as if it were laden with oil.

In the distance, a boat came into view and in it was someone she didn't recognize. The vessel was a small one, enough so that the currents were almost too strong for it to stay its course.

The man in the boat was tall—well over six feet. His frame was large but lean. His very presence made Rachel feel safe in some familiar way. It also made her feel a flutter deep inside that she had long forgotten. As she looked down at her own body, she noticed that she was floating as if she were weightless above the dark water.

Suddenly, the calm feeling vanished, and she was filled with the terrifying thought of plunging into the swirling abyss no more than three feet below. She could see the boat approaching the entrance to the cavern. Strangely, she had been facing the cavern's entrance all along. Her back had been turned to the approaching vessel but she could see it just the same. It was as if the void that she was floating in front of was actually a mirror. As the boat and its occupant came closer, she turned to him to say something; however, she couldn't actually hear her own voice. Her lips were moving, but it was if the disembodied voice was coming from someplace else.

She was pointing into the cavern and could hear the voice saying something about the universe. She tried with everything in her to understand the words, but everything she heard was foreign to her. The man was closer and could be seen in better detail now, but his ever-changing face was still indistinguishable. Despite her lack of focus, she could feel his fear—as if it were her own.

Suddenly, the cavern started to pulsate behind her—as if it were a living thing. As Rachel turned to look into the blackness of the entrance, she saw her own reflection. The places where her eyes should have been were just two black holes. She stared in horror at the sight, but then a comical thought came to her.

How the hell am I seeing any of this if I have no eyes? She initially laughed at the thought of this, but as it sunk in, she knew that the terror she had felt was a more appropriate response.

When she opened her mouth to scream, millions of tiny shards of what appeared to be glass started pouring out of the darkness where her green eyes usually resided. With Rachel now panicking at this sight, the water beneath her started to swirl violently—as if it were responding.

She turned to see with her non-existent eyes that the boat and the stranger were now gone—a huge, dark shape had taken their place. At first sight, she interpreted the monolithic shadow to be some kind of prehistoric sea creature.

Now face-to-face with it, her mind tried in vain to convince her body to leave, but some force was holding her there. It wanted her in this other world for a little while longer—just long enough to make her see what it was capable of.

The thing in front of her was well over ten feet tall. Its eyes were an icy blue color that made her think of the Caribbean. They glowed with so much brilliance that it was like trying to stare at the sun. There was something in those eyes that she couldn't name—at least not then. The face of it was beyond beautiful—it was so terrifyingly magnificent that it made her want to cry. Its body was somehow human-like, but also something that Rachel's brain couldn't quite process.

The creature moved in slowly, and suddenly Rachel felt a wave of terror flow through her. Now that her absent eyes were seeing it more clearly, she could tell that it was not what she had initially thought at all. It was, in fact, something far worse.

As it drew closer, the air thickened. It had changed to something that her lungs could not take in, her airway felt as if it were trying to breathe in the thick water below her. She was overwhelmed with the feeling of drowning now, and the closer the leviathan came, the more the feeling intensified. As she struggled to take in air, she started to feel herself slipping away. Just as the monster moved in even closer to steal her last breath, Rachel woke up.

Screaming and thrashing back to reality, Rachel clutched her throat. She was fighting to free herself from some invisible thing's death grip. Finally realizing it was her own hand that was seized on her throat, she literally had to throw her half-conscious body onto the floor to loosen her own grip.

Now fully awake and staring up at her ceiling, she drew in quick gasps of air that barely filled her aching chest. It felt like an elephant had lounged on her chest all night. If she had been a better candidate for one, she would definitely have feared she was having a heart attack now.

She sat up and leaned against the four poster king-sized bed that she occupied completely alone—even though Jasper, her four-year-old boxer had often tried to convince her to share. Standing up, she realized how hard she must have hit the floor—every bone in her body was hurting. After making a slow trip to the kitchen to start a strong Colombian blend in the coffee maker, she went back upstairs and started the shower.

The water had heated up to what seemed like a low boil as Rachel stood in front of the bathroom mirror putting toothpaste on her toothbrush. As she wiped away the fog that now covered the mirror and looked at her reflection, she noticed two things. On her left cheek beneath her eye was a tiny scratch, as if something very small had scratched her there. The other thing she saw, were the three fading red marks on her neck left by her own fingers.

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