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Authors: Jennifer Abrahams

The Den

BOOK: The Den
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THE DEN

 

Book #1 in

The Vampire’s Witch Saga

 

 

Jennifer Abrahams

Books by Jennifer Abrahams

 

 

 

THE VAMPIRE’S WITCH SAGA
 
THE DEN (Book #1)

IN THE BLOOD (Book #2)
THE SEVENTH DAY (Book #3)

 

 

 

Copyright © 2012 by Jennifer Abrahams

 

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the author.

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

CONTENTS

 

 

-One-

Alone Again

-Two-

The Psychic

-Three-

Cursed

-Four-

Restless

-Five-

Southern Charm

-Six-

Predictable

-Seven-

The 13
th
Floor

-Eight-

A Stranger

-Nine-

Déjà Vu

-Ten-

A Dead End

-Eleven-

The French Quarter

-Twelve-

The Den

-Thirteen-

Closer

-Fourteen-

Blood

-Fifteen-

Above-Ground Graves

-Sixteen-

Flesh

-Seventeen-

Speechless

-Eighteen-

Fangs

-Nineteen-

Soul Mates

-Twenty-

The Shadow

-Twenty-One-

The Practice

 

 

Long Years apart – can make no

Breach a second cannot fill –

The absence of the Witch does not

Invalidate the spell –

The embers of a Thousand Years

Uncovered by the Hand

That fondled them when they were Fire

 Will stir and understand -

-Emily Dickinson

 

 

 

Inspired by Actual Events…

 

 

 

-One-

Alone Again

 

 

Skyla Jane Judge shivered again—not the kind of shiver that reminds one of the holiday season but the kind of teeth-chattering, bone-chilling, muscles-trembling shiver that causes the mind to wander toward much darker affairs. 

Skyla had been suffering this way for the past two days.  Two days: That was how long it had taken for her world to come tumbling down.  That was how long it had been since she had slept or eaten. 

Skyla looked around the crowded college cafeteria and noticed that no one else seemed to look cold.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying lunch this sunny May afternoon.  Skyla thought that the guy and girl in the booth across the way were staring at her, so she looked down.

Is it actually cold in here?
  Skyla shifted a heavy mug from hand to hand and watched the steam rise.  She breathed in the vanilla-nut aroma smothering her face.  Skyla still couldn’t shake the foggy feeling that she was functioning within a dream.  She squeezed the mug hard.  Her fingers began to feel the hot tea inside, but this warmed only the very tips of her fingers.  The heat would not travel up to the rest of her body.  Skyla shook her head back and forth and willed herself to focus.

Two days ago she had a sense of self and a boyfriend, Craig, who had spoken of wanting to marry her.   Two days ago she had never heard of Yvette, the clairvoyant who had just brought her world to an abrupt halt.  The words kept spinning in her head, regurgitating themselves into a mixture of terror and hopelessness. 

Skyla couldn’t get the tidings out of her thoughts.  They echoed over and over like a bad dream.  Only it hadn’t been a dream.  The psychic was real, and she had told Skyla only what she saw in the cards.  She used them only as a vessel.  Of course, some would never believe in those kinds of things.  They would say that the crazy lady was a fake and that tarot-card reading was for mere entertainment.  That’s what the other girls had been saying when Tamarah, from the dorm room next door, had said her mother was coming for a visit and would do a reading for anyone who was interested.  Everyone had thought it would be great fun, and since it had cost only thirty dollars, they all had done it.  Afterward, all the girls gathered in the common room at the end of the hall, joking and teasing each other about the results of the reading.  They had thought it was hysterical to know how many kids Yvette thought they would have and were shocked to hear who would be getting a divorce one day.  It was just for amusement anyway.  No one placed much stock in the predictions—no one except Skyla.

There was no way Skyla could deny the truth of the clairvoyant’s words.  In fact, Skyla had known what would be said before Yvette walked into her dorm room two days ago.  Skyla felt it with every fiber of her being.  It was as if the psychic were retelling a story Skyla had read in a book a long, long time ago.  It was all very familiar.  It had all been locked away deep down in Skyla’s soul.

Skyla suddenly remembered she was not alone in the booth: 
He
was sitting here, too.  He was looking at her.  It was obvious.  He was about to leave. 

Skyla wondered how he would do it.  She saw his mouth open and then close again: He was rethinking his strategy.  His eyes darted around the cafeteria.  Skyla bet herself that he wanted to run.  She smiled a bit as she realized no one would wager against it.   Skyla noticed that his left leg pointed out of the booth. Somehow his other leg shook impatiently at the same time.  His left arm rested on the back of the red pleather seat. He was ready to make his escape. 

It wasn’t the first time this had been played out.  Skyla had seen this scene before, and God knew it would not be the last time either.  After all, Skyla Jane Judge’s biggest problem was keeping her mouth shut, and so she had the uncanny ability to make boys run away.  She could remember three off the top of her head: Chris from junior high school, David from high school, and Keith from freshman year at the first of the three colleges she had attended.

Skyla should have known better than to share Yvette’s words with Craig, but they had really affected her.  So she shared them with him. He did ask, after all. 

Then again, they always ask, “What’s on your mind?” and yet they never really want to know. 

Craig tapped the fingertips of his right hand on the table and took a deep breath.  He looked over the top of Skyla’s head, studying the door at the far end of the cafeteria.  

“Umm, soooo, did you hear what I said?  Skyla, I have just so much going on lately.  I don’t know if I can give you what you deserve.   Anyway, I really did love you.  It’s just not the right time.  Things are crazy right now.  I will talk to you soon, though.”  He slithered out of the banquette and backed away.  “I have to go.  So, I will call
you,
okay?”

“Oh, just leave, Craig!” 

And so Skyla Jane Judge was alone again.  Scared again.  Not that Craig could protect her, but it was nice to have a distraction, someone who made her feel normal. 
Is it possible to run away from yourself? 
No.  Skyla Jane Judge should know.  She had tried.

Skyla stared out the window at the bustling campus. 
New England is such a beautifully strange place
.  It was just barely sixty degrees, but the girls were in minuscule skirts and flirting with the guys who were practically drooling at the first sight of skin shown since the leaves had turned orange six months ago.  It didn’t look like they had a care in the world, besides their obvious attractions. 

Skyla lived here, went to school here, and was immersed in the same culture as every other person here.  So why was she so utterly odd? 
I feel as if I am floating around in a bubble that only touches the ground momentarily.  Then I am off again and no one has noticed that I have all but disappeared
.  It was an epiphany. 

Well, enough of the self-pity.
And off she went to Philosophy.  It was the last week of class before finals, and the excitement on campus was palpable.  She made a silent promise to focus on being like everyone else.  She tried to notice the warmth in the air and the green leaves that had popped up on the trees.  She saw the other students sitting on the still, cool grass that lined the pathway between the cafe Craig had just escaped from and the Gothic-style buildings where classes were held.  The church’s steeple loomed in the background, standing guard over the campus. 

Skyla thought a few girls were staring at her.  She smiled to be like them.  Then she smiled because she saw a girl nearly half a foot taller than she was shaking a blond ponytail back and forth.  Skyla’s best friend and roommate waited outside the building for her.  Brooke Leigh Collins leaned against the wall, casually posing and effortlessly resembling a classic runway model. 

Brooke stared with the same determined look she wore whenever there was a problem that needed to be worked out.  Skyla knew that look well because she had seen it consistently for all her life.

“So, Skyla, it’s been forty-eight hours since you had the reading, right?” Brooke asked.  “So now what?  What are you supposed to do?”  

“Well, I just don’t know.  What else can I do?  Go to Philosophy, I guess.”

“Tell me again what the cards showed.”  Brooke was being her bossy self.

  “We can talk about it after class.  We are going to be late!”

Brooke scowled at Skyla.  Her bright blue eyes blazed a hole in the back of Skyla’s head as they walked into class.  Brooke didn’t want to wait until after the lecture, but Skyla would not engage in any conversation while the professor was talking. 

Class ended and Brooke promptly resumed the questioning as they bustled out of the room.  “So now what?  Go over it again.” Brooke tapped Skyla’s shoulder and said, “Earth to Skyla.”

 Skyla looked around to make sure that no one was listening.  “Craig broke up with me today.  He did it in the cafeteria.” 

“Well, Sky, we knew that was coming.”  Brooke tried to look adequately upset for her friend’s sake, but she’d never really cared for Craig.  She looked at Skyla and raised her eyebrows expectantly.

Skyla sighed and began going over what had happened.  “Again.  The psychic, Yvette, mentioned the lineage on my mother’s side.  We spoke about my Aunt Terry, who Yvette said was a very powerful witch. Terry had dreams about those who had passed over, and she had premonitions that always came true.  I basically knew all of that, though.  Yvette said it was obvious that I was a witch, too.  I had been a witch, in fact, for the last few lifetimes.  But I think she meant it in the nicest way.”

“Yes, I am sure.  You are Skyla the good witch.  I want to talk about that other thing.  You know, about someone coming to get you!”

“I just don’t really want to talk about that part anymore.  It really has me a bit on edge.  I keep thinking people are looking at me.”

“Come on!  Our classes are over for the day.  What else are we going to do?   We can’t just ignore that this happened.  We have the rest of the day to work it out.  Let’s just go over it one more time,” Brooke pushed.

“Seriously, we can’t possibly talk about it anymore,” Skyla said.

“Skyla Jane, we have to figure this out.  We can’t keep sleeping with the lights on.  We have to take control of this.”  Brooke stomped her designer ballet flats and stopped in place.

“Fine.  Let’s find a nice spot to talk it out.”  Skyla rolled her eyes, but Brooke purposely did not notice. 

Brooke walked toward a large oak that stood in the middle of the open lawn.  She put her leather backpack down in the shade and sat on it, tucking her short pleated skirt between her legs.  Skyla followed along and threw her own canvas backpack so that it landed with a thump next to her friend.  Skyla plopped herself down on the grass.  The blades were still thin and sparse, and the ground felt hard and chilly.  She knew there would be little dirt marks on her jeans when she stood up, but it felt good to be grounded.  It was nice to feel that she was part of this earth in some way.  Skyla looked around and saw that no one was sitting within earshot.  No one seemed to be looking at her.  She visibly relaxed and sat cross-legged, leaning back on her hands.  Brooke hugged her legs and waited. 

BOOK: The Den
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