Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Prelude to Darkness
So, I'm off on a new blogging adventure. My last blog was just Kianna's, so now that Alexandra's come out, it was time for a change.
Anyway, my first Alexandra Kane release, Darkness Rising: PHOENIX Files Book 1, is available now. Yes, right now, in print, for Nook, and for Kindle. It's a tale taking place in Fayetteville, North Carolina, an area rarely visited by novelist. The heroine, Lalah Norris, is a black woman who can shift into a panther, and the hero, Junjie, is a Chinese-American man who can shift into...well, just about anything. Intrigued? I'd hoped so. Be sure to swing by Amazon or bn. com to pick it up.
Some curiosity was expressed to me by readers about the events leading up to the story told in Darkness Rising. And so,to answer some of those burning questions, I will present, in two parts, a short prequel called Prelude to Darkness. Part 1 is below, and part two will follow this time next week.
Until then, happy reading!
Prelude to Darkness
Lalah Norris bowed her head low, brushing away the fat teardrops falling from her eyes. Behind her, the sun was dipping low on the horizon, heralding the end of a solemn day.
Before her, her mother wept openly over the fresh earth that covered her father's casket.
The service had ended a few hours ago, and they were the only two remaining at the graveside of Cole Norris, Sr. Even her siblings, older brother Cole Jr., and younger sisters Faye and Cordelia, were gone home. Lalah remained, because she didn't want to leave her mother alone at a time like this.
As she stood a few feet behind Ruby, all she could see was the back of her long, white dress and wide brimmed hat. But she could clearly hear the echoing sobs, and each time she thought she might stop crying, her mother's anguish started the flow of tears anew.
When she thought she could bear no more sadness, she approached her mother, wrapping gentle hands around her shoulders. “It's time to go, Mama.” Her voice was as soft as her heart for the woman who'd reared her with love and wisdom.
Ruby looked up at her, eyes red rimmed and swollen from crying. For a moment, she looked as if she would protest. Then, an expression of resignation crossed her face. “Okay, baby.”
On the heels of her whispered words, she escorted her mother to the waiting sedan. Once inside the black leather interior of the car, they held each other for the duration of the ride home. When they arrived at the big house, she found her siblings there, waiting for them.
Cole took his mother's hand as soon as she stepped into the house. “Come on upstairs, Mama. The bed is freshly changed for you.”
Cordelia, holding her infant daughter against the shoulder of her own white dress, nodded in agreement. “He's right, Mama. You need your rest.”
As Cole led Ruby toward the staircase, thirteen year old Faye wiped her hands over her face, as if to hide the fact she'd been crying. “You need something, Mama? Want me to bring you some water?”
Ruby nodded. “Might replace some of the fluid I lost today.” With a light chuckle, she turned and let her only son lead her upstairs.
As soon as they were gone, Cordelia asked, “Lalah, why'd you let Mama stay by the grave so long?”
Lalah rolled her eyes. “What was I supposed to do, Delia, shoo her away? Mama's grieving the man she spent the last twenty years with, and she's got to do it her way.”
Cordelia made a face. “If you say so.” She resumed patting the baby's back, until the child responded with a resounding burp. “I'm just glad Daddy got to see his first grandchild.”
Silence settled in the room for a moment as the three young women thought back on the kind of man Cole Sr. had been.
“Well, I've got to get the baby to bed, so I'm going up to my room. With Micah out of town on business, I can stay here and help out with Mama.” Cordelia gathered the baby's supplies and made her way upstairs to the guest room she usually slept in when she visited.
Lalah looked at Faye, her youngest sister, and the baby of the family. Her brown eyes were filled with a mixture of fear and sadness. She looked so stricken, Lalah felt compelled to say something. “Everything will be alright, Faye.”
She gazed up at her. “I know, Lalah. But right now I just miss Daddy so much.” An errant tear slid down her cheek, and her hot pink painted fingertips dashed it away just as quickly.
Sitting down on the couch next to her, she held her baby sister close.
After they'd been sitting there a few moments, saying nothing, their brother's voice echoed above them. “Mom's in bed, and I'm turning in, too.”
They sat there a little longer, then the two sisters went to their own beds to rest from an emotionally trying day.