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First pages

Prologue

Upon waking that morning, she instinctively knew it would be her last day as Callie.

It was Callie Halloway’s eighty-first birthday. She stood in front of the buffet table, watching as her family fussed over the food. It was a heartwarming, if not bittersweet scene. In five hours or less, she would go to sleep and wake up someone else, with a new, twenty-five-year-old body. It was her curse. Her hex was, in fact, the only thing she consistently remembered from life to life. Being enlightened to the fact that she was living a cursed life didn’t mean she had a clue as to why.

Whatever she had done had resulted in her walking the Earth for over a hundred thousand years. Most lives were cut short by disease or accident, but even with only sketchy memories of other lives, she was sure eighty-one years was the longest she’d been able to sustain one life.

Callie’s current life was one she desperately wanted to remember. She’d had a career, a wonderful husband, children, wealth; almost anything she wanted had been at her command.

Not having had to face the drastic change for decades, she was both apprehensive and sad. Her life had been a full one. Still, she worried for the children, the grandchildren, and the great grandchildren she would leave behind. They would be soothed in thinking she and her husband would be together once more. But Callie knew better. She would never see the man again. The two had been blessed with a loving relationship but it had been ten years since they said their final goodbyes. The man had been loyal, hardworking, and loving. There wasn’t a day that went by without Callie thinking of him.

She’d enjoyed being a “kept” woman in many of her lives but Callie was different. She and her husband were equals; even their careers were on the same level. It was an interesting twist, but she still couldn’t help hoping her new body would be male.

Whether she was happy about it or not, men seemed to still be in charge. One of the reasons she had enjoyed Callie was that she was just as tough, polished, and smart as any man. In fact, she wielded more power than most CEOs, male or female.

“Granny, blow out your candles,” one of her four great-grandchildren implored.

Callie refocused her mind, smiled, and blew out the candles on the first attempt.

“You are the youngest looking eighty-year-old I have ever seen.”

The new voice was foreign to her and strangely intriguing.

She slowly turned toward the whispered declaration. For reasons she couldn’t begin to understand, whoever was addressing her was causing her old body to go all aflutter.

Callie blinked her eyes and forced the mechanic smile she’d mastered after years of learning how to hide her emotions. “Why do I feel like we’ve met before?”

She was both excited and frightened yet managed to conceal her emotions. Callie had the strangest feeling the stranger was important.

The man was exquisite. His sun-kissed hair hung in ringlets that framed his chiseled features. The breathtaking man was looking at her the way men had when she was young. Her wonderful husband had looked upon her that way far longer than any other, but no one had looked at her like that in over 20 years. The man’s enthusiastic expression was having its desired effect.

Callie grasped her chest when the first pain rolled up her arm. She tried to speak but couldn’t. When the second jolt hit her, she fell. Someone grabbed her before she hit the floor. All she wanted to do was open her eyes; to see her family one more time. It was disappointing when she realized the only person she could see was the stranger. He was cradling her in his firm, muscular arms.

“I will see you in the blink of an eye, Beauty,” he spoke in a whisper before allowing Callie’s son to displace him.

“Mama, we called the ambulance. You are going to be fine,” Martin soothed.

“No, boy, I don’t think I am.”

Chapter One

The pounding in my head made it impossible to remain in the void. Waking up wasn’t all that enticing either though. Opening my eyes meant accepting the process. Whatever the sex of my new body, everything I would need to start a new life would be in plain sight.

“Come on Beauty, wake up. It will feel wonderful to be young again.”

The voice was familiar.

I might have hoped to be a man, but it was clear I was a woman again.

“What is wrong with you? You have never been this slow to come around. Beauty, wake up.” The velvety voice was accompanied by gentle shaking.

“All right … give me a second.”

If there had been any questions about my sex, they were cleared up when I heard my new voice. It wasn’t anything like the way I’d spoken in my last life. The new tone was more sex-kitten, less Fortune-500-CEO.

Before opening my eyes, I took a leisurely stroll down my new body. It was curvier than the last time, but that wasn’t a bad thing. For centuries, I’d tried to gain enough weight to appear wealthy and well fed. Callie had been another in a long line of thin women. I found it ironic that, just when I was given the curves I craved, it came at a time when being more than a size four was too large. As Callie, I had lived long enough to begin life “out of fashion” and leave life with a much sought-after figure. In the end, she was weight appropriate but not age appropriate. I quickly decided, if I was being forced to endure womanhood once again, I was pleased to be full figured, even if the outfit was more than a little tight. While continuing my appraisal, I heard a moan. Upon hearing the pleasing noise, I ceased my investigation and slowly opened my eyes to look at my company.

The noise the man made sent a shiver down my spine. It was a feeling I hadn’t experienced in longer than I cared to admit, but it wasn’t the slightest bit unpleasant.

Callie had believed the man was handsome; I found him both breathtaking and irresistible.

I was just about to enlighten the striking man of my feelings when my brain started to misfire. The searing pain gripping my skull was not something I remembered happening before. Holding my hands to my head, I rocked back and forth in hopes the pain would dissipate.

“Don’t fight it. This time is different. This time we will end the curse.”

The man was beside me, holding me as I continued to rock. As quickly as the pain came, it was gone. My mind was clear. I pulled out of his embrace to look at him. “You are you! Does that mean I am me? Where the Hell have you been?!”

A smile crossed the man’s face. “Looking for you.”

He pulled me tight to him and kissed me deeply. When he moaned again, my toes curled.

I was Beauty and I was Awake. Temptation was with me. He was right; this time would be different. Together, we would find a way back into Hell. It was all uphill from there.

******

Being awakened meant a couple of things. First, I had no recollection of any lifetimes other than the ones pertaining to the curse, (apparently, there were a lot of them) and I now remembered exactly why I had been cursed. The new information opened my mind to a flood of emotions. None of them were the happy, proud of yourself kind. No, they were mostly anger and regret. Unless Temptation was involved. When he was with me, I felt like we could accomplish anything.

My lengthy existence began in a place called Heaven. I was an Angel and Angels did not have childhoods. We were all full grown when thought into existence.

As far back as I could remember, I was one of thousands of Angels roaming around Heaven, both bored and in a constant state of nervousness. Take my word for this: being an Angel didn’t necessarily translate into peace and happiness.

There were rules for everything. If there was one thing Himself was good at, it was making what he liked to call “commandments.” Angels viewed the directives as activities we couldn’t partake in without risking his wrath.

I’d broken all of the directives at least once. Defying the number one statute was the most worrisome. The law was ridiculous, so a lot of Angels had trouble obeying. I was one of thousands who broke the rule from time to time. Knowing I wasn’t the lone rule breaker was a small comfort. In fact, I probably would have gone undetected altogether if I had been a smidge smarter. I traveled (without permission) to Earth with the one Angel who would ensure I was noticed. It wasn’t entirely my fault; it was difficult to say no to any offer from Lucifer.

 

While we were on our walk about, I took time to admire the streams and flowers that were carbon copies of the flora and fauna in heaven; except the color of the sky seemed to make everything slightly sharper. While I was sightseeing, Lucifer did the unthinkable. Being on Earth was a huge no-no in itself (I really can’t stress that enough). Speaking to either one of the only two humans in existence was not even a desire to ponder. The pair were Himself’s new pets and everyone, including (maybe even especially) Lucifer, knew better than to interact with them.

When I noticed him engaging the woman in conversation, I nervously walked close enough to the pair to listen while the highly persuasive Archangel convinced the naked woman to share a piece of fruit with him.

When I looked at the female, I was a little disappointed. The talk in Heaven the previous day had been all about how Himself had created humans in his image. I was having difficulties with the comparison. The woman listening so intently to Lucifer was both thinner and plainer than any of the Angels. She had thin hips, stringy hair, and in my opinion, a rather bedraggled look about her. Having just recently seen my reflection in the water, I was well pleased with what I discovered. I was tall, with hair the color of the ground near the water. Loose ringlets fell to my waist. My eyes were the same hue as the cloudless sky. My body was covered in normal Angel attire (many layers, too many to count, of light airy fabric) but the flowing gown did little to hide my curviness. All that being said, the woman, Eve, was nowhere near as beautiful as anyone in Heaven.

Lucifer, on the other hand, was spectacularly handsome; most Archangels were. Lucifer had shoulder-length dark hair and a smile that could persuade an Angel (or anyone else for that matter) that whatever he was suggesting was the best idea they had ever heard. His smoldering black eyes made him that much more convincing. He might have been my brother, but I knew by the naked woman’s reaction to him that I’d been right in my evaluation of his appearance. Above and beyond his looks, the Archangel was the most persuasive being in Heaven.

I stood in silence and watched as the woman turned into putty in Lucifer’s hands. I wasn’t happy about his actions, nor was I sure why the woman reacted the way she did. While Lucifer spoke, the woman’s knees buckled. It looked to me like she needed to lie down. Soon after she swooned, she took a bite from the fruit. Lucifer was enraptured with her, until she swallowed the fruit. He instantly left the poor woman alone by the tree and located me. It was strange to watch him switch gears so quickly. He had lost all interest in anything except returning home.

 

I had my own feelings about what had transpired, so I informed him of my thoughts before questioning the woman’s response to him.

Lucifer smiled and announced proudly, “Beauty, we broke the minimal number of rules possible. Giving the pet a piece of fruit was merely my way of introducing myself. See, how much trouble can that possibly cause?”

He then explained he had merely broadened the pair’s diet before adding that he could have convinced the male just as easily but the woman. But, she didn’t smell as bad. As for enlightening me to the human’s reaction, he didn’t. He did smile before messing my hair up.

I wasn’t content about not receiving an answer and might have pushed the subject more, but after hearing Lucifer’s description of the food, I stopped in my tracks, turned around, and ran back to the tree to grab a piece of the fruit for myself.

Lucifer promised the quince was not to be missed; I took him at his word. The fruit was quite enjoyable. I was savoring it so much, I forgot all about my questions. I allowed the woman’s strange behavior to go unexplained.

I was also having trouble convincing myself that what had taken place was as trivial as my brother had promised. I’d just about managed it when the optical sensor detected my eye and the gate (that oddly enough was hard as metal but looked soft and fluffy) automatically creaked open.

Lucifer was right beside me until we saw Michael and then he was gone in an instant.

The look on Michael’s face was enough to make me drop the fruit I still held in my hand.

“What have you done?”

“Me?” I asked, looking around for Lucifer. I was pretty sure my brother had abandoned me, but you can’t blame an Angel for hoping. “Nothing. It was Lucifer …”

“You know what has to happen now, right?” he queried.

I did know the always-angry Archangel was referring to my actions causing a forced conversation with our father. But I would have done anything to stop that conversation from happening.

“It was just food,” I proclaimed, standing my ground.

I was slowly grasping the fact that my statement wasn’t exactly the whole truth. My opinion on the matter was the food had been enjoyable and I saw nothing wrong with the humans expanding their diets. The food was, in fact, the first thing I had ever tasted, so I couldn’t be sure my assumption was correct.

Angels had no need to eat or sleep. We had no need to do much. Hence, the boredom. My boredom had once again gotten me in hot water. I still wasn’t grasping why I was in trouble, but if Lucifer giving the woman the fruit was somehow a big enough deal for me to have to stand before Himself, then I was glad it had been so enjoyable. I decided the next time I was on Earth, I would find something else to eat. As soon as I made the decision to keep expanding my diet, I felt a pain in my stomach. My day was just getting better and better.

Michael was not being polite enough to pretend to listen to me or take any notice of my sudden discomfort. He was paying attention to his Angel “radio.” Archangels rarely spoke to one another any other way but with their minds.

He looked down, grabbed my arm, and pulled me until I was standing beside him. “You know I love you, sister, but you always seem to be involved when the shit hits the fan,” he said in a rare moment of tenderness.

His tone and actions were still on the aggravated side but he had expressed love for me and that wasn’t something he did often. I wasn’t sure why he wasn’t understanding my repetitive statement until I realized my discomfort could be shared with the only woman on Earth.

I looked up at him. “It was just a piece of fruit. But it wasn’t worth the pain in my gut, promise. I’m sure the woman will be fine. Please, don’t tell me Lucifer poisoned the woman.”

If Lucifer had poisoned Eve, then I fully understood what was happening. I wasn’t happy about it, and even less tickled to have been drawn into something that had very little to do with me, but I got it.

“Land mammals, unlike you, need nourishment. Eve will not experience any discomfort from consuming the fruit. Believe me, there will be repercussions, but she will not die this day. Do you think maybe the pain you are undergoing is a sign that Himself has rules for a reason? You can’t begin to understand the consequences of the interaction. I’ve never seen Dad this angry.”

“Well, that’s comforting.”

Angels weren’t above sarcasm. At least, I wasn’t.

Michael continued to pull me along. Being forced to stay instep gave me a little time to attempt to come up with a good explanation for my actions. The truth was, I hadn’t had anything to do with Lucifer’s activities, and the discomfort I was still enduring was enough for me to scratch the idea of trying any other human food, ever. I tried to calm myself by reminding myself, Himself knew everything, so he had to know I wasn’t a bad Angel at heart.

When we reached the tall, ornate, wooden door with the large eye symbol carved near the top, we stopped abruptly.

Michael looked down at me before patting me on the back. “I will miss you.”

As soon as Michael touched me, the pain disappeared. I was grateful for his healing touch, but before I had time to question his statement or thank him, he opened the entryway and pushed me through the opening.

After ensuring I stayed standing, I fidgeted with my hands, and slowly looked at my father. Himself was leaned back in his throne-like office chair, feet propped on the simple, mission-style desk.

For a split second, I allowed myself to be comforted by his posture. I even permitted myself to believe I was going to receive a mere slap on the wrist. I had hope Michael’s take on the situation was a bit exaggerated. Then … Himself opened his mouth.

“Why didn’t you try to stop him?!”

I squinted, then blinked several times when he shouted. The Archangels spoke in whispers compared to Himself when he was agitated.

I looked back down at my twiddling hands before attempting to answer him. “How could I?”

“You, daughter, have been a thorn in my side for far too long. A spirit worketh in the children of disobedience.”

I knew my father well enough to know: there was a long, drawn- out sermon on the way. I was one of the few who enjoyed Himself in smaller doses; ideally only at family gatherings, which had recently become a weekly occurrence. All angels were in attendance for two hours while Himself spoke about his new experiment, or his long-term plans. Most Angels hung on his every word; not me. When something exciting did take place, it was an extremely long time in coming.

I was overjoyed when I learned Himself had something to occupy his mind. In fact, I was part of an even smaller group who wasn’t the slightest bit jealous of the new humans. I was convinced they would consume a lot of Himself’s time. The less time he had to make more rules, the more fun Heaven would be.

“You haven’t heard a word I’ve said!”

He was right; he always was. But his new outburst got my full attention. I looked down at my feet and nodded my head but remained silent.

“You find it so difficult to enjoy paradise? You shall be cast out beside your repugnant, arrogant, disappointing, ungrateful brother.”

Fear gripped me. I had never been that afraid before. Himself was so angry, the vein in his forehead was pulsing. I knew no matter how much I begged, he had made his final decision. Wondering a little too long on where I was being cast to, instead of doing the smart thing, groveling at his feet, did little to calm his ire.

Himself was no longer in a seated position. He was making his way towards me. I stayed frozen when I saw he was practically vibrating.

“It wasn’t my fault,” I managed to squeak out before the doors opened.

Michael was once again at my side. The Archangel’s presence stopped Himself from moving closer to me. Instead, he paced in front of his massive desk.

I looked at Michael for help or maybe even a little insight to what my sentence meant.

Instead of looking at me, the Archangel kept his gaze on Himself as he attempted to calm himself.

“Father, the group has been assembled and Lucifer is waiting,” Michael’s tone was the meekest I’d ever heard it.

The dread gripping me was rapidly waning and being replaced by anger. Michael reached for my arms but I pulled out of his grip. I looked at my father and smirked.

Himself had most probably never received an expression like that before because the vein was still throbbing and looked as if it could possibly burst. No words left his mouth, but the look was one I was sure I would never forget.

Michael grabbed me and quickly dragged me out of the room. “Actions like those are exactly why you are being cast out. You are a terrible Angel.” He spoke through gritted teeth.

“I didn’t do anything! And for your information …I am not a bad Angel. We all have our quirks!” I seethed.

“No, Beauty, we don’t. Most of us think alike and enjoy following the rules. Soon, Heaven will be a peaceful place.”

I gave some thought to arguing with the Archangel but he had spoken the truth; about me, at least. I knew I was always a little different. To start with, I was one of only three female Angels. After me, Himself had moved to making new Angels androgynous. I didn’t take it personally … at the time.

Being in a minority didn’t mean we got along. Sariel was the only female Archangel and she was not what anyone would call friendly or approachable. Her job was to keep records of everything, and she took her career seriously. While others looked on her as nothing more than a notetaker, I always thought she was more important than she or Himself let on. I had only seen her lurking in the shadows when we had our weekly meetings.

And then there was Karma. She was one of the purest, most loving, forgiving souls I had ever encountered. She was so untainted, I quickly learned I had nothing in common with her. It was always nice to chat when we ran into each other, but she was usually occupied with what she called meditating. So, our running into each other was infrequent.

While most Angels fell in line, I couldn’t stop myself from questioning everything. Wanting answers didn’t mean I ever received them. On top of my inquisitiveness, I was one of the few who needed to actually see something to believe it. And last but not least, I wasn’t wired to obey rules. When I was younger, other Angels found me refreshing. It did not take long for the newness to wear thin.

It wasn’t until I noticed my ‘friend pool’ was running low that I realized I did, in fact, hang out with the fringier type.

Lucifer entered the picture not long after the group began to get chummy. His presence was like a breath of fresh air. All of the other Archangels walked around like they were entitled and, honestly, a lot like they had a stick stuck up the bums. Not Lucifer. He was always available and willing to participate in any rule breaking. On numerous occasions, he was the instigator. No one questioned his motives; we were all too busy enjoying the freedom.

Some Angels exited the group when Lucifer attempted to overtake Himself. Instead of thinking the evacuees wise, I thought of them as weak. I didn’t see the need, or understand the reasons behind what our father had demanded. Himself expected all the Archangels to bow down to his experiments. Lucifer had a hard time bowing to anyone, let alone a human. That was the beginning of the end, but no one saw it. Hindsight, huh?

In all honesty, at that very moment, I was beginning to rethink my stance on the other’s prudence.

The room I ended up in was full of my acquaintances. The knowledge probably shouldn’t have comforted me, but it did. All those gathered were in various stages of shock. Michael smiled as he sauntered into the room, pulling me behind him. The Archangel was feeling more superior than usual, but there was something else he was experiencing. It looked to me like he was excited.

I was well aware there was no way to get out of the present predicament, but I wasn’t trying to make it any easier on my escort so, I dragged my feet.

“Do not fear. In a few moments’ time, you will all have a new place to live and I believe you will enjoy your new leader,” Michael boomed to the crowd.

Besides Angel radio, Archangels were known for their vocal dexterity. They could be quite loud when they thought it was warranted and apparently, Michael did.

As the ear-shattering statement gradually saturated into those gathered, the looks of anguish only got worse. I distanced myself from my always-angry brother and walked towards the least affected by the declaration, Azazel.

Azazel was tall and thin. He had blond flowing locks and a beautiful smile. He was not as handsome or as imposing as Lucifer though. Most regular Angels were less daunting than the Archangels. Azazel may not have been an Archangel, but he was always in close proximity to Lucifer. I couldn’t help but wonder where he had been when I was on Earth. If our present situation hadn’t been impending and gloomy, I would have asked. I was sure we would have plenty of time to visit soon enough though, so I stood silently beside him.

“I know I am supposed to be worried, but so far, I am of the mind that a new place to live with all our friends can’t be such a terrible punishment.” He spoke into the top of my head quietly, while embracing me. His lighthearted take on the predicament was helpful, but not entirely reassuring.

I pulled away when I heard the doors closing. Knowing Michael had left, I once again surveyed those gathered. I was no expert on the population of Heaven, but it looked like close to half of the inhabitants were crowded into the room.

“Where are we going? Do you think maybe he will put us on Earth?” I asked, directing my attention back to Azazel.

Azazel laughed out loud. “No, sis. We are being castigated, make no mistakes about that. Wherever we end up, Lucifer will be our leader. He is much more fun than Himself. I am choosing to look on it at as a new life. You should try embracing my way of thinking.”

I wasn’t sure if he was trying to convince me or him. He generally wasn’t that talkative, didn’t talk that much, so I wondered if he wasn’t exulting a bit too much.

Instead of questioning him further, I nodded before wandering away. Every face I saw was familiar. It slowly dawned on me, I was acquainted with more Angels than I thought.

I was concerned with the punishment, but that didn’t stop me from wondering what my old home would be like when we were gone.

The Angels scheduled to leave were the free thinkers, the questioners, and of course, the rulebreakers. Strangely enough, I was the only female. I couldn’t help but wonder if I had been friendlier with Karma, whether I would still be in my present situation. I quickly decided I needed to accept my lot and get on with it. When I looked around the room, I realized something else. Heaven was going to be even more boring without us.

The door being flung open in dramatic fashion garnered my attention. The action had everyone in the room holding their respective breaths.

“Well, it would seem Father has had all he is going to take from us. We are literally being cast down, to a place called Hell.”

Lucifer’s voice was upbeat, but those gathered all shuddered when they heard the name of their new home; even me. I had no idea why my body reacted, but it did. And it wasn’t a good reaction.

“We are no longer Angels. Have no worries, my friends. I pledge to you now that my purpose in life will be to stop the humans, who are growing in numbers at a staggering rate, from believing Himself is the only way. The … what did he call them? Right … people. People should know they have choices. You, my helpers, with my help, will give them those choices.”

By the time he finished his speech, everyone, including me, was looking forward to visiting our new home. The fear and worry were dissipating and being replaced by a feeling of hope.

Chapter Two

Turned out, being cast out and being cast down were two entirely different things. Being cast down was a literal statement. One by one, the offending Angels were thrown from Heaven by Archangels who, in my opinion, were enjoying their work entirely too much. I watched in object horror as Michael snatched one particularly skinny angel by the ankle and chucked him much like a discus over the edge. The next poor angel was heftier so Michael punted him into the abyss like a football with wings.

The sensation of flying was something I’d always enjoyed immensely. For a second I was truly happy. Then my wings started to burn. As painful as the experience was, it paled in comparison to the agony I experienced when breaking through the barren ground to what appeared to be the center of the Earth.

I was overjoyed to learn the pain hadn’t lingered, nor did it have any adverse effects on me. I was the same being I had been minutes earlier. The only change was, I lost my beautiful wings. I was beginning to feel sorry for myself before realizing I was not alone. Everyone, or at least most everyone, was in the same boat as me; wingless. Then I saw Lucifer. He was the last to fall and handled it with wondrous flair, which wasn’t as difficult as it sounded. He had wings that allowed him to land softly and on his terms. I, along with a few others, landed squarely on my face. Another reason I was elated knowing there were no lingering effects.

I watched, along with everyone else, as he spread his wings and stood tall embracing his new role as leader of the fallen. A smile crossed his handsome (if not a little too overconfident for my taste) face as he moved to the front of the group.

“Himself has always had a warped sense of humor. But then … none of you would know about that side of him.” He spoke, to no one in particular.

Azazel moved beside me and took my hand in his.

It appeared the fall had had no effect on him either. He wasn’t showing off by opening them, but he most definitely still had his wings.

I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel about the new information but I was getting pretty fed up with remaining quiet, so I pushed my way to the front of the crowd and placed myself next to Lucifer who was working the area with nods and smiles. My action didn’t stop his forward movement but he did smile when he looked down at me.

“Why did you get to keep your wings?”

“Let’s see … I don’t know… Perhaps because I am the King of Hell,” he answered agonizingly slowly.

I wasn’t completely satisfied with his answer and he didn’t appear to be angry. His tone was even, so I pushed on. “Okay. Why did Azazel get to keep his?”

“Because he is my right-hand man. Beauty, you do worry about the strangest things. Once we enter our new dominion, we will have many things to do. I expect I will be able to count on your help.”

It very much felt like he was dismissing my concerns. Instead of allowing him to see my displeasure, I waited until Azazel joined us.

“So, why are you so special?” I asked.

He raised his eyebrow and smiled. “I have no idea, but I am not going to question it. Losing them sounded extremely painful.”

“I am pretty sure it was, and I am appreciative I don’t remember. I’m still not as accepting as everyone else, but that’s my issue, I guess. Lucifer says you are his right-hand man,” I divulged as we slowly moved forward with the masses.

“Yeah? That’s good of him.”

I couldn’t decide if Azazel was truly pleased or not. He had always been hard to read. It was interesting, and a tad worrisome, to watch his essence grow darker as we neared the opening to our new home.

Hell looked like modern office spaces at first glance. Cubicles began at the entrance and continued in what appeared to be endless rows. The lighting was dreary at best and some of the fixtures had a low hum or buzz emanating from them and the light they provided was dodgy, at best. I quickly glanced inside a few of the tiny work spaces only to see drab, brown stained walls which seemed to be giving off the strangest sensation of heat. There was an eerie glow, mostly around the edges, but each one seemed a little warmer than the one before.

We passed a few items here and there which just seem to fit a place like that; a leafless tree in the foyer, a life-sized statue of the human female (nude), and I swore I’d seen a picture of a quince on one of the walls. On another wall there were words with a scene behind them which depicted the area where the water and dirt came together on the surface. The words read: “Dreams are difficult to come by if you can’t fall asleep”. Which I thought was ironic because, as far as I knew, we didn’t require sleep.

In the midst of all the compact squares was a large conference room complete with an oversized table. In the center of the table was a vase with Himself’s favorite flower. Aside from the flower, it was drab but appeared functional.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

I live in a small town in Oklahoma with my loving husband and two, not so loving, cats. Writing is my escape (and a validation that I’m not mental; just creative!). My characters come to me when they choose and tell me their story. Please don’t hold their idiosyncrasies against me. Happy reading!

Q. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
A.
Not really.
Q. Why do you write?
A.
'Cause it's better than meds... I think. Maybe, maybe not. I need to make a Doctor's apppointment. :)
Q. Which writers inspire you?
A.
I adore Neil Gaiman. Terry Pratchett is pretty good, too. JK. Both are story telling GODS!

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