Happy Black History Month, y'all! Make the most of it.... eat, read, be happy, repeat....
Happy Black History Month!
February 2, 2018
Excerpt from the upcoming The Shelf 2....
June 4, 2016
3 months after THE ordeal….
It was amazing how different the world seemed when someone hadn’t seen it for a while. Things that she would have previously found exciting and engaging, she now found loud and over-the-top. Stylish clothes were either too restrictive and stifling, or too thin and revealing. Even her friends’ jokes (when she did see her friends) weren’t funny; they were sad and edged with double meanings.
Shifting uncomfortably once more in her seat, Bri Brewley tried to avoid the gaze of the guy sitting across from her on the bus. He had been pointedly staring at her from the instant she’d gotten on at the stop in front of her high school. And even though the guy wasn’t bad-looking, the problem was (of course, she could be totally wrong here), it wasn’t an ‘I’m attracted to you’ stare.
It was more of an ‘I’m a serial killer, and you’re on the list’ stare. Twisting so that she could see the bus driver’s reassuring profile, but still keeping weirdo guy in her peripheral view, Bri bit her lip. The sooner she got off this bus, the better.
As if she didn’t have enough problems as it was. Almost on cue, the large patch of newly healed flesh on her forearm tingled. Though the ancient magic no longer pulsated from the spot, occasionally the spot still tingled. Especially recently.
But surprisingly, that wasn’t her biggest problem at the moment. Currently, there was one thing that was even worse than the memory of having been a demon’s plaything a few months before. It was the after-effects of being the plaything. Which, in Bri’s case, was a missing heart. Literally.
Because the demon had taken it.
And now, in Bri’s shaking fingers, was a letter from her doctor, scheduling her for an MRI. Which was extremely bad.
After the battle with the demon months before, Bri had been left battered and with a broken leg. Which, of course, resulted in her parents taking her to the hospital, and a problem popped up right away. They couldn’t read her vital signs. At all. Heart rate, blood pressure, nada….
A big mystery for the doctors who had no clue about the huge, demonic creature that was roaming Dead-End Avenue, murdering teens and such. Rikgso had taken Bri’s heart as collateral initially, but since they had battled him and won, Bri had expected that her heart would be returned by default.
‘Apparently, not freaking likely,’ she thought miserably, watching as the buildings of downtown came into view.
Her lack of vital signs had puzzled the doctors constantly, so much so that now she had been scheduled for an MRI, where they would create a 3-D scan of her body, in order to see what was going on. It was scheduled two weeks from today, at which point, of course, they would see that she actually had no heart. And her parents would completely lose their sh**t.
Bri’s parents were absolutely the most overbearing people in the world. They had tried their best to control and ruin her life from day one. Now at seventeen, Bri was counting the days until she could leave their house. Her plan had always included getting into a top-notch dancing school as soon as she graduated high school and going far, far away, and she had worked hard to make it happen.
Her recent broken leg had completely crushed that dream. She only had a few months before her graduation, and she still limped from her injury. Her dreams of dancing were over.
But her plan to escape her parents at all costs wasn’t, and she still intended to leave right after graduation, only…… if her parents saw the result of the upcoming MRI, she’d be stuck.
Her parents would never let her leave after finding out that she was disabled in some way. By hook or by crook, she needed to get her heart back in her chest before that MRI rolled around.
A sudden movement in the corner of her vision made her swing her gaze back to the guy. Then she felt foolish as she realized that he had only lifted his hand to rub his eyes. As if he knew what she’d been thinking, he cocked one brow at her quizzically, before letting his gaze rove painstakingly slow over her.
Bri grew warm. The guy couldn’t be coming on to her; everything about him just felt dangerous. And it wasn’t that she didn’t think she was somewhat attractive. What with her petite frame, round face and nose, she knew that at least a few guys found her to be cute. Her tiny hazel eyes helped, set in sweet, cinnamon brown skin, though without careful makeup, made her appear to be closer to thirteen than the seventeen she actually was.
But this guy didn’t seem to be focused on her looks. He, whoever he was, seemed to be looking right into her. Knowing that she was absolutely suicidal for it, Bri lifted her chin and pinned him with a steely gaze of her own. Cold blue eyes stared back at her, never once leaving her face. The face around the eyes was handsome, the skin smooth, though somehow hardened. His hair was pulled up under a bandana, hiding any distinctive color that Bri might need to give to the police in the event that he tried something.
And try as she might, Bri couldn’t bring herself to look away from his oddly-alluring face. He was kind-of cute-
He spoke, his voice a low stream directed at her. “I like pretty girls, and you’re not.”
A couple of tween girls sitting behind him giggled, hands clutched to their mouths as they shot quick glances at Bri. Heat spread from Bri’s neck and settled up on her cheeks. A quick disappointment that she was very surprised to discover existed, flashed through her brain. ‘What a self-centered jerk!’ she fumed silently, fixing him with an evil glare.
A joyless smile spread across his face suddenly, and Bri jerked her gaze away quickly, focusing out the windows. ‘He’s about my age,’ she noted with surprise. ‘But that doesn’t make him any less creepy. And I’ve really had my share of jerks. Enough to last a lifetime.’
Completely humiliated and still a lot apprehensive, Bri kept her eyes glued to the scenery outside.
Outside the confines of the bus, the varied buildings of downtown zipped by in a blur of painted cement and gaudy, overdone signage. It wasn’t the typical downtown scene that she was accustomed to; this was a more iffy section of town. Buildings were closer together, and several shops seemed to be selling more than questionable merchandise. Spying the store she was looking for, Bri yanked the pull gratefully, and quickly stood as the bus glided to a stop.
Without another glance over to the creep with the blue eyes, she hurriedly left the bus. That was the problem with public transportation: too many weirdos. But for what she needed to do downtown, there was no way she could ask anyone she knew for a ride.
She needed to do it all by herself.
“Leticia’s House of the Occult,” Bri read aloud, staring up at the garish store in front of her. A man passing on the sidewalk gave her an irritated glare as if she took up too much of the pavement, before continuing to chat on his cell. Rolling her eyes at his retreating figure, Bri smirked.
“Bet I don’t need a fortune-teller to see that you’re a jerk.”
That might be true, but she did need the services of the fortune-teller inside this occultist shop. Normally, Bri would have cringed to even enter a place like this, but she was desperate. At this point, she would take any help she could get. Except for Korey’s.
It was his fault that she was in this mess to begin with.
Stay posted for more of the second book in the Dead-End Ave series, The Shelf 2......