It’s getting very cold but with the scents and sounds (and sometimes crazy flashing lights) of Christmas. Em and I have gone for being big kids and created a little snowy town. It’s not complete yet but it’s a start. We have an ice rink with some ice hockey players with others sitting around enjoying the informal game. It can sing carols to us which is nice. We have a Ferb near the Christmas tree watching a little person get hoisted up to put the star on the tree. That’s in front of St. Patrick’s cathedral (which will have a choir and a reverend outside). There’s the nativity scene with a happy twinkling star overhead… some deer… some trees… a train… BUT… the little building at the back on the right doesn’t have its lights on because Aeron isn’t home… yup… it’s Nan’s cabin!
I’m not quite sure I can find figures to represent Aeron, Renee, Frei and co but it’s a start!
So, onto where I am with getting The Empath ready for publication. You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve finished polishing it off, it’s in typeset… I just need to create a cover that suits the novel and the series. I’m likely to keep the hand theme because, I don’t know about you but the hands in water ready brought Aeron to life and the actual cover picture was taken from the initial idea I had about what would represent the book. I’m not sure if the subsequent book covers (apart from perhaps Full Circle) pulled that off.
When I have the cover ready, I’ll be good to go and you can have the new and improved Aeron for Christmas… how does that sound?
Until then… there’s the matter of Chapter 5 for you to read.
This scene definitely shows how fiery Renee can get when pushed but I’m not sure she understood exactly what danger she was putting her own POI in when she decided putting Aeron in a prison yard was a good idea!
Have a peaceful, smile-filled weekend!
Copyright © 2004, 2022 Jody Klaire
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the publisher/author.
That night I’d managed to sleep for the first time since Lori had stepped into my cell ‘cause I could feel that Lori wasn’t suffering anymore and she was free from all the pain she’d suffered. It didn’t help me feel any less guilty or helpless but… I’d learned to hold on to what peace I could find.
The next morning however, Llys had decided to assert her authority and wear me down so she’d separated me and my buddies and had stuck me out in a freezing cold yard and not just alone. No, she’d stuck me in with Sheila’s fellow Fury Fiends all of which seemed to think I’d told Lori to attack her.
In Serenity, attention like that could see you in the infirmary… if you were lucky so I tried to breath in the cold air to calm my fear and wandered over to a pile of snow in order to ignore the wave of anger ebbing my way.
I knelt beside the snow, focusing on it ‘cause snow had something magical about its purity, which was still undisturbed by the boots of the inmates. It reminded me of how my childhood should have been with days spent building snowmen and riding sleighs then sitting beside a warm toasty fire and drinking sweet hot chocolate.
I’d had a snippet of that with Nan—who I guessed might have been my grandmother but she didn’t look a whole lot like my Mom or Dad so I weren’t sure—but when Nan had passed on, I’d been pushed from pillar to post as my parents worked longer and longer hours. Dad had started off making promises that he’d be home more when he got his promotion or that Mom would take time off when she won the next case but neither ever did.
No, when I’d had Nan around, I’d spent all my time with her but I hadn’t ever recalled her talking and she lived in this cabin next to the river and would fish, tend her vegetable garden, the fields next to her place or she’d sit and read. Nan had loved to read and she’d loved knitting as much.
Funny, even though I’d lost her a long time ago, thoughts of Nan still helped calm me when I felt unhappy or scared or alone. It was almost like I could feel her sometimes in the breeze.
‘Lorelei, a word,’ an angry voice snapped behind me.
I sighed. Whenever someone had on that tone or asked for a word, it usually meant they wanted to beat me.
‘Yeah?’ I asked, trying to steady myself.
I knew the second I turned, the woman belonging to the huge shadow in the snow was going to swing for me and the longer I delayed turning, the harder it would be for the guards to ignore the situation. I could feel one guard, somewhere up ahead who was itching to help.
‘You Lori’s friend?’ the woman grunted.
I shook my head. I was no one to Lori, I was even sure she’d known who she was by the time she’d been put in with me; All she’d been was a screaming shell.
‘Are too… you bunked with her,’ the woman grunted.
I rubbed the back of my neck and a flash of what the woman was intending to do shuddered through me.
‘They just put her in my cell,’ I said searching for the guard who wanted to help me. ‘I didn’t know her.’
The woman lunged—
I rolled to my left. The woman toppled into the pile of snow. I leapt to my feet and backed up but three of her friends were heading toward me.
I looked up at the guards who turned away then around the yard but there were massive walls with armed guards on top who weren’t focused on us at all and I was stuck inside an electrified chain-link fence so I focused on the guard, the one guard who wanted—no, was desperate to help—and tried to walk calmly toward her.
My heart thudded as the energies from the Fury Fiends gaining on me shot flashes and pictures of how they were planning to attack.
I needed to keep walking, slowly, calmly. I just had to get to the gate.
Heavy boots clomped through the snow behind me. My heart pounded, my breath filled my ears and I hurried toward the gate, the thoughts of the mob behind me as clear as crystal.
—Catch her, beat her, catch her, pound her—
I fixed on the guard. I could make it. She was ready to help but she was new and that would wear off.
—Catch her, beat her, catch her, pound her—
‘Please,’ I blurted as I got to the gate and the guard yanked it open and pulled me out as three bear-sized women charged into the fence and it sparked.
They yelped and I winced as the shock through them hit me as much. ‘Thanks,’ I mumbled at the guard.
She nodded and moved me away from the three women repeatedly charging and shocking themselves. ‘Why did they put you in the yard with them if they hate you?’
I met her eyes then smiled. It was her first day and she had a lot to learn. ‘They don’t hate me, they just want to crush anything that moves.’ I motioned to them turning to each other and starting to jostle and snarl. ‘They’d happily crush each other.’
‘You aren’t like them,’ she said.
‘No, but the guards will tell you I’m more trouble than them… I guess I am but they won’t like that you got me out of a beating.’ I moved her back further as the three women charged at each other and threw each other into the fence.
The guard frowned. ‘I don’t think they would ever do that intentionally.’
I smiled at her. I weren’t sure how she’d gotten recruited because she seemed a lot more intelligent than the usual guards. ‘You’ll see. Watch the rotation in the yard. My buddies will all be in with them at some point.’
She eyed the three women now thumping each other. ‘Why?’
‘I dared to answer back,’ I said with a sigh and turned back to the main prison. ‘Crazy people ain’t allowed opinions.’
The guard nodded and followed me to the door but she wasn’t convinced of my words. I could see her running through her training which would have taught her not to trust me or any other inmate and that we were slippery and sneaky. It was right they trained the guards that way because nobody in Serenity was there ‘cause they were innocent but we all had different stories and different reasons why we were inside but it weren’t always ‘cause we were the mean ones.
Still, she didn’t say a word and neither did I as she led me down the narrow winding corridors getting lost more and more until I stopped.
‘Can you trust me enough to show you where my cell is ‘cause I don’t think the men’s wing will appreciate me showing up.’ I thumbed to the doors on my right.
‘I guess that would help,’ she said with a shake of her head.
‘You just got to take this corridor here,’ I said and pushed open the door which led into solitary then shuddered. ‘Then we take a right into the canteen and then it’s straight past Val’s office and the turning on the right into the old cells and I’m the third on the left.’
‘You’ve been here a while?’ she asked as she eyed the solitary cell doors which were dented and burned and battered.
‘Yep.’ I headed toward the canteen but then paused as her worries swirled around me then I sighed. I owed her something for helping me. ‘Piece of advice: in this place, it’s us and you… outsiders and inmates… if they think you ain’t completely with them, they won’t help you when you need them… and you need them more than you need me.’ I motioned toward my cell. ‘Don’t wear anything shiny or silver at all ‘cause it makes Tiz crazy and she bites; don’t ever go into a room with Nora alone because she looks nice but… she really isn’t; Aimee isn’t as bad but she can be kinda sneaky and… I ain’t got no problem with you but I ain’t in here ‘cause I look good in orange.’
‘I appreciate your honesty,’ she said like she was taking notes in her head.
I smiled at her, hoping I hadn’t sounded like I was threatening her. ‘It’s an ear infection by the way… she needs to go to the doctors.’
The guard tilted her head. ‘Excuse me?’
‘Your daughter… she’s not ignoring you.’ I met her eyes. ‘She has hearing problems and right now it’s ‘cause she has an infection.’
The guard looked up and down the corridor like she didn’t get how I knew.
‘You don’t have to believe me but I’m returning the favor,’ I said and shrugged. ‘And stick her in front of a piano.’
The guard stared at me. ‘Maybe I will try that.’
I nodded. ‘Just remember, I’m a troublemaker who you don’t much care ‘bout. Val will like that.’
The guard chuckled. ‘Right, noted.’
We walked back to my cell then I lay there flat on my bed. My rescuer wouldn’t be in Serenity long, she was pregnant. I’d thought about telling her but then figured that she already knew and was only working in this place to make sure she had insurance for her daughter and to save enough money for when she’d given birth.
I didn’t think she was gonna cope well with working here. It was hard enough when you were locked up in here but to leave the beauty of the greenery and life outside to voluntarily step foot in the gloom of the institution… what sane person would want to do that?
Yeah, they all sure needed a session with Llys themselves but then she’d probably confirm that they were more desperate than us.