I'm taking a break from my usual seven from my work in progress. Today I have decided to share an excerpt from CONNED, the 2nd in my trilogy. CONNECTIONS. CONNED is expected to be published sometime in December 2013. A beloved child has disappeared here. ENJOY!
Valerie cut him off before he could say more. “I do not want to hear any more of your excuses. You came here to talk to me about Scotty. Where is he?” she demanded.
“That’s what I want to know,” he slung back at her. “The reason I have not seen him is because of what I know about you.”
She widened her eyes and stared at him in question. “And what is it you know about me?”
He held a finger up between them; in point of his explanation. “You’ve convinced him not to visit with me, under your delusion of my dishonesty.”
Valerie cocked her head back and raised her eyebrows. “My ’delusion’?”
Alecksander swept his hand across her desk in front of her. “Enough about our differences. I haven’t seen the boy for about a week now. That is not like him.” He quirked an eyebrow at her. “Regardless of the stories you have told him about me.”
Valerie’s vision blurred and she forgot about her troubles with Alecksander. Her heart fisted in a distinct sensation of panic. Tears from her fear threatened to overflow her eyelids. “He hasn’t been here with me - in class - for a week, either,” she replied in a quiet breath. “I thought he was with you.”
He noded. “And I, you.”
She thought back to the last time she saw Scotty. “The last time I saw him, he was on his way to the other tent you erected.”
Alecksander’s eyes opened further. “‘The ‘other tent’?”
“Yes. The one you raised on the opposite end of Copper Run from where you first set up your place of magic.”
Alecksander’s narrowed eyes shot her a negative expression. “That was not my tent,” he enunciated.
The hair on the nape of Valerie’s neck rose. “It wasn’t?” she half-whispered.
“No, ma’am.” He gripped her hands on the desk. “You must tell me all you know.”
Though the warmth of his hands kindled her fires, Valerie narrowed her eyes in renewed suspicion. “How can I be sure I can trust you on this?”
Alecksander shrugged. “Given your prejudgment of me, I guess you can’t, but would I come here looking for him if I were the one who caused his disappearance?”
His words struck a chord. They sounded logical to Valerie. She took a deep breath and her heart slowed with her admittance, she agreed, but still she disagreed, “No. I guess not.”
In spite of the conviction in his words, she still found herself unable to give him her total trust. But Scotty’s welfare came first and she would need Alecksander’s help. She swallowed back her unease and asked, “What should we do?”
Alecksander stepped away from her desk and kneaded his chin, as if deep in meditation. “Tell me about the last time you saw him,” he requested without a look toward her, while he paced the schoolroom’s floor.
As if something new came to her mind, Valerie sprang to a menacing life-form from behind her insubstantial piece of school furniture. It consisted of nothing more than a plank across two crudely constructed supports. Her gaze could have pierced holes through Alecksander’s body as it moved back and forth in front of her. “The excited child was skipping with joy in the direction of your,” her finger jabbed at him, “new tent. That’s when I ‘last saw him.’”
The magician stopped and stared back at her. “I told you, the canvassed show-room you saw did not belong to me.”
“Then whose was it?” she demanded.
Rather than argue, he gazed askance and changed the subject. “Where did you see this ‘new tent’?”
Valerie led him out onto the school’s front porch and pointed to the empty space at the end of town, which existed in opposition of Alecksander’s tent site. His awesome creation still stood where he first placed it. “It was right down there,” she informed him.
Alecksander did not take the time to listen to another word from her. He turned and vacated her presence before she had time to finish her words. His quick pace took him in the direction she pointed out to him. Curious as to his rapid departure, Valerie followed him at a slow jog. Her speedy small steps matched his swift long steps.
Alecksander came to a sudden stop and pointed to the ground at his feet. “It was here?” he asked when he reached his destination just a few footsteps ahead of her.
“Yes,” Valerie panted after him as she caught up, careful not to bump into him.
He engaged in a slow methodical walk around the site she indicated, as if he measured it with his steps. His gaze seemed to encompass everything – and nothing. In the area’s center, he stopped and closed his eyes in a silent moment of meditation she remembered from before.
The dire expression on his face, when he turned it back to Valerie, chilled her blood. “What?”
“We must find Scotty.”
Her heart raced in terror. “I know that, but why the sudden stark and serious change in your attitude?”
“The essence in the air of this place tells me I know, or have known who occupied the tent’s brief passage through our time.” His eyes bore into her in with a degree of seriousness she’d never before known. “The weight of the dominate aura here also tells me how serious our mission is.”
Valerie’s gut knotted – her throat constricted - at the sense of consequence in Alecksander’s words. “How do you know that?” she managed.
Chapter Thirty Four
His vision tightened its grip on her trembling body. “You know how I know, but you refuse to accept it. At times I know the future; at other times I know the past.”
Valerie gave him a side glance with slightly skewed eyebrows.
He went on without pause, “I possess the ability to know what is, what has been, and what is meant to be.”
As in our intended destinies. Valerie cupped her hands together in an effort to still the sudden increase in her pulse. “What do you know about this?” She had little breath for her next words, “Will this person you speak of, or has he already, hurt Scotty?”
Alecksander’s gaze released her and his expression softened in frustration. “That I do not know. But the one who has him is evil and his power is great. He intends us harm and seeks to forever be between us.”
Valerie’s face paled. “Goodness.”
His more serious nature returned. “Yes. ‘Goodness’ is what we will need, in order to overcome the evil that has sought us out.”
meanwhile, in another dimension inside the new tent -
Scotty blinked and rubbed his eyes. He turned around and around in a circle, his arms angled downward at his sides – palms opened. Nothing looked the same as he expected to see in his friend’s, the magician’s, tent. Where am I? Not a thing about this place he found himself in made any sense to him.
The walls, which encircled him warped in and out. It seemed to him they breathed. He fidgeted and pulled his clothes away from his body. They stuck to him in the sticky heat of the sudden humidity. His efforts brought him little comfort.
Every movement he attempted to make agonized him to accomplish. He found his balance difficult to maintain. Then a pair of green eyes glowed into his presence. Scotty’s blood froze at their sight. The little boy closed his eyes; he turned his head; but he could not avoid their observation. He fought his sluggishness with tiny flexed muscles, and rubbed his eyes as he tried to wake up from his nightmare.
“Do not fight it. You are where I want you.”
The little boy’s pained heart cowered at the ethereal answer to his strife, but he would not be threatened. “Who are you?” his strong, but small, voice asked.
“I am your friend, Alecksander,” the mysterious voice replied.
“You are?” Scotty called out in confusion. It doesn’t sound like Mr. Alecksander. “Are you sure?” The end of the tent exploded into a barrage of flames and smoke. “Yes!” the voice thundered.
Scotty jumped back in surprise. He held a defensive hand up in front of his face. “I didn’t mean to make you mad, Sir!”
“You haven’t,” a shadowed figure stated in a much more human voice as it emerged from within the vapors of smoke.
Scotty froze and stared wide-eyed at the figure as it approached him.
“We are going to do something new today,” the unknown man informed him.
The voice smothered the boy’s desire to escape.
outside Copper Run-
Alecksander took Valerie by the arm and drug her along as he began quick steps back toward the school house. She stumbled along beside him. “What are you doing? Where are we going?”
“I am taking you home.”
“What? Why? You can’t do that! We need to find Scotty.”
“You ‘need’ to be safe in your home. I need to find the boy.”
“But what will you do?”
“Let me help you do ‘something’,” she insisted when they reached her door.
“No. Here is the best place for you.”
Valerie opened her mouth to further protest, but he stopped her with an upheld hand. “You must remember your other students. You should also be here in case Scotty returns to school.”
An upswing of hope thrilled through Valerie’s upper chest and throat. The sensation gave her a sense of new optimism. She nodded. “You’re right. I should wait here. You will let me know your progress?”
She placed her hands on Alecksander’s breast. “Please. Be careful.”
Alecksander turned back toward the spot where Valerie last saw Scotty. That went well. Now that she has agreed to stay out of the way, I can continue with my plans . . . uninterrupted.
Romance through the mists of time and Love through the dimensions of reality