Authors: J. D. Glass
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Thrillers, #Contemporary, #General, #Gothic, #Lesbians, #Goth Culture (Subculture), #Lesbian, #Love Stories
To Walk Through Fire… At two Samantha Cray lost her mother. By fifteen her father was gone. At eighteen she lost the only woman she'd ever truly love. Trapped by an unsuspected inheritance - the gift of her father’s blood, guided only by the guardian who holds the secret to her future, Samantha must enter an arcane new world where why she fights is sometimes more important than what…And she must walk the path of Light alone. But the darkness within parallels the darkness without… and the hunger she is charged to control in others echoes through her as well. Constantly questioning what is duty, what is selfishness, what is self...Boy. Girl. Gay. Straight. All of them, none of them…or something just a little…different, and all intertwined with a destiny only she can fulfill. The purest steel goes through the hottest flame. Let those who should beware: the only power to rival love is righteous fury -- and a new Wielder has been sworn.
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© 2008 By JD Glass. All Rights Reserved.
ISBN 13: 978-1-60282-464-5
This Electronic Book is published by
Bold Strokes Books, Inc.
P.O. Box 249
Valley Falls, New York 12185
First Edition: January 2008
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
Editors: Ruth Sternglantz and Stacia Seaman
Production Design: Stacia Seaman
Cover Design By Sheri([email protected])
Punk Like Me
Punk and Zen
To the beta readers who rock the world (and one of you who rules it): Paula Tighe, Eva, Jeanine Hoffman, Jan Carr, K. Dellacroix, Cait Cody, Cheryl Craig. Your patience, questions, and encouragement made the story I’ve always wanted to tell finally get told.
Kathi Isserman for valuable input at a very critical point.
Shelley Thrasher, you’ve taught me so much about so many things—I’m so glad we’ve worked together and become friends.
Ruth Sternglantz for holding my hand through the process of making this story a real book—and for being so kind about it.
Radclyffe (aka Len Barot) for once more taking the leap of faith with me. Your continued confidence and support lead me to think that yes, I can, and so, I do. Once more, into the breach.
A deep, and very heartfelt thank you to Arnie Kantrowitz for everything, from the very beginning of this novel-writing adventure.
And Shane? Nothing would happen without you.
For Marge White: teacher, mentor, guide. Your steady, wry wisdom is missed and I know that wherever you may be now, you go in Light. There is no real way to thank you for shaping and training me. I can only hope to one day live up to the standard you set by example.
Brian, even though you may never read this, once upon a time we spent long, hard nights where we crawled through the muck and slew dragons, all the while knowing the sun would never rise again. We were wrong—it did, buddy, it did. This is what grew from it.
To Smitty, my brother, with all the love I can possibly give, and gratitude to Susan Smith, who guided me to my voice.
Shane, you’ve lived with Samantha almost as long as I have. Thank you. For believing in both of us.
Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
As above, so below; as below, so above.
I know nothing of the ways of magic, still less of the ways of love except to say this: it leaves. All that loves, leaves. Death, though—death I know, as the face of my father when he told me my mother had gone while I slept the sleep of the very young child; I know it as a visitor, as an unwelcome friend, a friend who rings the doorbell at two a.m. to tell me that my life is gone and I have been again bereft. I know death as a voice on the phone, a sullen, angry voice from over a thousand miles away that hisses into my ear to tell me the last of the light has finally died.
Now, though, death wears my face and uses my hands as I slip the ties that bind me to this earth, to this breath, to this flesh as at last the red ropes fall from my wrists where I’ve been chained, an endless length and endless flow, the chain of red that falls.
I know how to do this right; I’ve etched the lines that spell the word to set me free.
I lean back against the wall and close my eyes with a sigh, for at last it ends, and this time I’m the unexpected guest, the sudden voice. The door is open to me and I walk through.
She walked on land,
a rolling green field under a late twilight sky. Behind her were the woods, stretched endlessly across the rear horizon, while before her, perhaps two hundred yards away, flowed a river. The ground rolled gently down and, intrigued by the white sheen of the water, she walked toward it.
Indigo sky that faded to a star-studded black spread across its far bank.
“Where am I?” But the question was flat, muted, because she was certain that she knew.
“You know this place,” her uncle’s voice sounded behind her.
“The Astral,” she answered. She wondered with strangely curious detachment at the name that had slipped out, previously unknown, and at her lack of surprise at her guardian’s presence.
“Do you remember what’s behind you?” he asked, his voice oddly muffled, as if the air were thick and humid though it was neither. In fact, the air smelled fresh, of early spring.
“The Tanglewoods,” Samantha answered. She pushed forward, inexorably drawn to the winking shore, and Cort followed behind, his pace unhurried.
As she reached the slope that gave way to the river, she saw it. “Star Bridge!” she gasped in recognition.
Ancient and monolithic, it spanned the widest part of the river and ended under an arch on a shore hazed in indigo light that stretched on forever.
She stopped a moment to stare at the river, the waters that flickered and flashed, a flow of opalescent white that gave the Astral its perpetual haze.
“I can’t follow you, Samantha,” her uncle’s voice said behind her as she stepped onto the first ancient red clay flagstone.
For the first time that she could remember, Samantha felt something—something akin to excitement, an almost delighted anticipation. She knew they waited on the other side, and she hastened forward.
“Samantha—you’ll be stopped—it’s not your time,” Cort called out to her back.
The stone railing was comforting, cool but neither cold nor damp and, oddly restored by the feel of the stone beneath her fingertips, she left the safety of the railing for the center of the broad walkway, her steps quick, certain. She’d walked this path before, crossed the bridge a hundred, perhaps a thousand, times before.
Halfway across, she could walk no farther.
There was no force, no gate, no…anything that she could see or feel. She simply could not move forward.
A figure stood another third of the way across, a figure made of light and shadow, male and female. The gauzy form eddied and billowed, and bits of cloudlike light flowed from it as it spoke, spoke in a voice she instantly recognized and could not name.
“What you seek it is not yet your time to find. This is not your path to the bridge—you must walk a different way.”
“But…but it’s not—”
“All things in their time, lovey, you’ll see,” the voice said gently, a voice she longed to hear, and Samantha couldn’t help but lean toward it. “You’ve made a promise—one you must keep.”
Right. She knew that, she remembered it, she just couldn’t remember why, and as she groped for the memory, a wind came up and tore at her. She tried to protest and she reached toward the figure, the voice. She could anchor herself against the wind, she could wait on the bridge for however long it took to—
“Samantha Cray, choose! Return, or remain stuck between—choose—
!” Her uncle called to her and she turned to face him, where he stood in the center of the maelstrom, pulled at by the forces that swirled around him.
She could stay, she could choose to do that, but she knew who she was, who she’d always been—a soul that kept its word—and she stopped resisting and let the wind catch her.
It pulled her backward and she swirled, caught up in a storm of light and shadow and laughter and songs that played in snatches while fear and lust tore through her veins and always, always
those eyes that looked deep within her
The lips of Wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding.
I could feel the sun. Its brightness cut through my lids, its warmth pierced my skin. And before I opened my eyes, I could feel the tears build in them. I had failed. For the first time in my life, I had failed—failed at ending it.
Ah dammit. It wasn’t so much that I’d wanted to die as I wanted…to question, to protest, to understand
“Don’t open your eyes just yet,” Uncle Cort’s voice cautioned softly from somewhere to my left, “you’ve been out a while—they’ll sting.”
Resigned to living for the moment, I sat up and opened them anyway, only to shut them again against the white glare that greeted me.
My arm…my left forearm burned and throbbed, and I felt the scratch of linen wrapped firmly along its length as I heard my uncle draw the curtains.
“That should be much better,” he said, and I opened my eyes again, carefully this time. I blinked and found his large form seated in a chair by my bed, his dark eyes somber as they rested on me. He handed me a glass of water. “Here. Do you know where you are?”