Here's an excerpt from my forthcoming novel, Shattered Shells, due to be published by Solstice Publishing soon. Click on Still Rock Water or Tidal Surge on the sidebar for the Amazon link to the first two books in the Moonstone series.
Warning: Internet gremlins scanned this excerpt and found a word with an alternate meaning. I've changed the word. You might be able to guess what I replaced. Now the page is not found. What's going on?
Once perched on a wooden bench seat, she removed the ring from her necklace and slid the solid weight onto her finger. She didn't intend to repeat the mistake of wearing it too soon after work. Time passed in daydreams of the past.
The smell of brine changed to perfume while an angel drifted by, leaving a trail of spiritual essence. A dizzy sensation alerted her to an impending vision. Her eyelids closed. How pleasant to spin away to another realm while sitting beside the sea.
* * * *
I arrive in the confines of a dark enclosed space. Pain pounds inside my contact's head. I block it out so I can think. Dim light enters from a tiny window on a bare wall opposite. What I observe doesn't make sense. Cartons cover the ceiling.
Take hold. The reason I'm here is for the person whose body I'm occupying. We turn to gaze the other way. I'm with a man, judging by the shoe size and sturdy shape. To concentrate, I override the throbbing in our left leg too.
We're [*******] suspended ... [*******] suspended? ... from one leg. Gnarled hands grip a ladder. Pressure pounds inside the veins near our eyes. The door overhead, which opposes the window, remains open. How long has he been suspended here before I joined him?
"Well, Sid. What's to be done?" He draws a breath to answer as if he's asked himself this many times. "Gotta think. Seems like I've been here forever. Slipped late yesterday. Checking the cellar for rats." We grunt. The pain in our ankle alternates between being unbearable and numbness. "Came through the war unscathed, just to perish hanging like a fox caught by its leg in a trap."
Reading his nervousness about rats, I search for a way to assist. Can't loosen our ankle because I'm not physically present. The injury to the leg is severe. He needs help.
Our dry voice mutters, "Maybe I'll get a medal to go with my father's." After a manic chuckle, we shout as if we're trying to reach someone on the other side of the world. Our throat is raw from hollering and, although tired, we won't give in to sleep.
I concentrate on his musings to find out what I can.
The postman will visit this afternoon to deliver some of those pesky advertisements. Judging by the shift in light, the man should arrive soon. My host, Sid, usually sets his clock by the time of delivery. However, the postman arrives upstairs, and won't know we're trapped below.
One gnarled, arthritic hand grips the ladder tighter to take the strain from our ankle. "It's killing me. Well, throbbing. I know it's swollen. Can't twist up enough to take a peek. Damn body. Letting me down. Who'd get old?" Our head lolls. Memories return about playing on climbing equipment.
I place reassurances into his mind. 'Remain calm. Someone will arrive to help soon'. My positive idea will sustain him a little longer. He's focused so I make a mental jump to hurry things along.
It worked. Great how I can slip between the molecules of cement, bricks and earth. I guess my form is similar to a ghost, or a spirit.
I emerge onto the street. Buildings press together, each similar to its neighbor. I take note of his house position, before soaring over slate roofs. I see a red postal van between parked cars. In this episode, I'm free to move. Perhaps I'll be able to mind-shift into another body as well.
A uniformed man hurries to a red post vehicle, climbs in, and then it takes off. After the van pulls up at one end of Sid's street, the postman emerges, holding mail bound with an elastic band. Making his way along the leafy street, he deposits junk mail and letters into each letterbox while birds twitter and swoop on passing insects.
Good. I know he'll visit Sid's house. But, I must work out how to alert him to Sid's cries. The plucky old man won't last much longer. If the postman doesn't hear the yells, Sid will die.
Rather than leave circumstances to chance, I ease into the postman's mind as he approaches Sid's door. He wants to shove the advertising brochures into the slot quickly, before the old boy collars him with another complaint.
Now what? How can I prevent him from leaving? Send in a dog to bite his ankle? Although desperate, I can't search elsewhere because the postman's gaze is focused on the letterbox.
Rather than disengaging, I call with my mind to catch a passing bird. 'Come. Come. Peck this hand for food. Nuts. You love nuts. Come. Now'.
A blackbird dives with a flurry of dark feathers and a flashing yellow beak, but flies away with nothing. The postman jerks his hand away in pain and drops the bundle.
Guilt troubles me, although my command will be justified if I achieve my aim. I urge the postman, 'Listen'.
He shakes his hand, where blood wells from the peck. "Bloody bird. What did you do that for?"
'Listen', I whisper again. 'Hear a faint voice? Someone needs you'.
He breathes in. A weak yell reaches him from inside. Must be the old man. Better get on with the postal round. Time's slipping by. He grabs a handkerchief, wraps his hand, and steps away.
'He's calling for help. You couldn't leave someone in distress, could you?'
The postman sighs and leans forward to shout inside the slot. "You all right in there?"
"Help. I'm hurt."
He hears the faint voice this time. Concern replaces annoyance. He shouts, "What's wrong?" When he gets no reply, he takes out his phone and calls the emergency number. "There's an elderly man in difficulty at this address." After giving the particulars, he lifts the post flap on the door and bends to shout again. "The ambulance will be here soon."
As I disengage, blackbirds squabble and peck at each other in a tree close by, enforcing my distress. I resist the prompt to return to my own life. I want to know if Sid will recover.
I hover until I hear siren's wailing. A police car arrives. An ambulance pulls up at the curb. After smashing a small pane of glass in the door, policemen enter, and then medics run into the house. They emerge and collect a trolley. When they return, Sid is strapped onto the stretcher. Although attached to a drip, he glances at the activity with bright eyes.
I strain to see the dimming scene below.
"Try to relax," one medic says. "You're a tough old bird, aren't you?"
Sid's chuckle fades. I barely catch his next words. "I've been through worse than this."
I lose consciousness in this reality and drift away.
* * * *
Liliha opened her eyes on a bench seat, glad she wasn't trapped in a cellar—alone. She should follow Sid's lead and keep her spirit high.
Over the two years since inheriting the ring, visions had presented snapshots of life. Each person she contacted faced a problem, some of their own making. ...