Wings of Rapture: Chapter One
Taryn paused. It wasn't her editor. Or her publisher.
“Who is it?”
“Shhh.” She waved away the tiny ghost like thing hovering over her shoulder. “Who is this?”
“Is this Miss Bowyd?”
“Depends on who this is.” Taryn countered. This cell was a private number. She’d only given it to a select few and none of them belonged to this voice. With an accent. She frowned leaning against the wall next to the front door.
“My name is Paul Vorrick. I’m calling from a good distance to speak with Miss Bowyd.”
“And what do you want Mr. Vorrick?”
“I wish to hire your services, Miss-”
“Taryn is fine. I don’t-”
“I’m hosting a large gathering for a Charity auction in a few weeks. I’d very much like you to come and give a reading. And perhaps hold an question and answer session at a tea.”
Ah. Work. She pushed away from the wall scowling at the blue orb flying erratically around the room. It was as if she was excited to go someplace.
“Oh, yes, I’m here. What sort of Charity auction? What is it for?”
“A new hospital wing for children. The building is old and needs massive amount of repairs. One of the downside of being in the countryside.”
Taryn frowned. “If your in the country-”
Mr. Vorrick laughed. The little blue glowing ball of energy she’d named Tiny, flittered in and out as if laughing as well.
“This is a high society event. People all over the world come to mingle and donate.”
“My schedule is kinda tight at the moment.” She glared at the laptop screen blinking at her in
“Your travel expenses will be paid for.”
“Again, I’m on deadline.”
“You’re a writer, you can write anywhere. Please.”
Taryn bit her lip to keep from growling at the man. Why did people always assume that because she was a writer that meant she could just up and move whenever it suited them? She had her rituals, her music, her incense… Her gaze flit to Tiny. And her abilities that made it almost impossible to write anywhere. She wished she could be so lucky.
“I've been trying to get ahold of you for months. A lot of my guests are huge fans of yours. I’m even thinking of putting together a small Steampunk event.”
She covered the phone with her hand and groaned. He really did his research. But, she couldn't. She couldn't afford to take time from her novel. The blasted, blasted novel.
“All travel expenses paid plus five thousand. In your account tonight.”
Taryn bit her lip sinking down into the overstuffed love seat. Five thousand was a lot of money at the moment. Her eyes burned with tears. Five thousand would see her sister well cared for. Five thousand, free travel to… wherever this event was held and a Steampunk event with fans. Whoever this man was he clearly knew her weaknesses. She sighed.
“When and where?”
Mr. Vorrick sighed. “Thank you. You won’t regret this. I’ll have everything sent over this evening.”
“Through my publisher. How long have you been trying to reach me?”
“You won’t regret this.”
The line went dead. Tiny burst from her little ball her energy practically zapping Taryn with electricity. She grimaced but didn't have the heart to scold the ghost.
“Oh Taryn! We’re going on a trip!”
She closed her eyes and shook her head. “You can’t go. You know that right?”
“I am bound to you. Your guardian. Of course I’m going.”
“And what do you think people will think when they see me talking to thin air? You've seen how they treated me in high school.”
Tiny snorted shooting out sparks of blue energy. In her excitement she wasn't concerned with what she was expending. Which meant trouble for Taryn.
“The living can be so dense. Anyone could see and hear me if they only wished.”
“Tiny.” She breathed out in sudden exhaustion. The room seemed to close in on her and blacken around the edges. Great! Another one.
A woman sobbing quickly filled the room. Slowly the huddled form of a woman hunched over rocking back and forth emerged into the physical world. Her bright blond hair had dulled with death though the colors of her drenched summer dress was as bright as Taryn’s own lime green sweats. Taryn closed her eyes gathering her emotions. She really didn't want to deal with this now. She opened her eyes with determination. Whether she wanted it or not she had a job to do. The woman slowly raised her head as if only then realizing she wasn't alone.
“You know you’re dead right?”
The woman hiccuped confirming her knowledge. Well, this one would be easy. Should be. She corrected herself. Nothing was ever easy. Look at her sister. Taryn waved to Tiny who smiled gently at the woman. Taryn held out her hand bracing herself for the pain, anguish and fear.
They always felt the same. Even Tiny had felt that way when she’d attached herself to Taryn as a babe. Tiny inched the woman to Taryn’s hand. Taryn smiled with all the love she held in her heart. The sobbing stopped.
“It’ll be alright. Your loved ones are just beyond the light waiting for you. It will not hurt you. There is nothing to fear.”
The woman looked at Tiny who nodded her acceptance and with that tiny little nudge the woman grew bright. So bright that Taryn had to close her eyes or be blinded for days after. Roses wafted through the room and Taryn slouched against the cushions her entire energy now spent. So much for that walk. Tiny curled into her little blue ball conserving her energy as well.
“You know you could move on as well. I know you have ones waiting for you.”
“When you are safe.”
Taryn snorted. She’d never understood Tiny’s insistence that she wasn't safe. She was just as safe as any other person living in this world. More than most, at any rate. She closed her eyes and drifted in the haze between wakefulness and sleep.
“So now you've got-”
Paul sighed and slumped his shoulders. He glared at Alarik. “This is your fault.”
“My fault? How is this my fault?”
“You and those stupid wings.”
Alarik jumped from the wing back chair he’d watch the conversation in and glided over to the window that looked out over the deteriorated garden.
“It is just as much your problem as it is mine. Has being here addled your memory so much?”
Paul glared at him but kept silent. Alarik twitched his shoulders trying to itch something that was no longer there. At least not physically. At the moment. He sighed.
All this doubt was giving him a headache. This house, this town, had been the home of their ancestors for centuries. It had thrived for just as many until World War Two when the fabled wings had disappeared. There were some in the town who felt that the wings had been buried deep under the church to protect them from Hitler and his fanatical need for paranormal objects. Alarik had a different idea of what happened. In his research he’d heard rumors of an American author researching the fabled wings for a new novel. He’d scoured the Internet looking for her and had almost given up. Until three days ago.
“You might as well let them out. You’re twitching all over.” Paul’s words pulled Alarick’s attention back to the present. Paul chuckled.
Alarik grimaced but shook his head. They were supposed to be human. He would stay in character until otherwise notified.
“When will she arrive?”
“Her publisher will be giving her the tickets and such in a couple of hours. Her flight is two days away. And it’s a fourteen hour flight without missing connections to the little airport just outside of town.”
“Which means four days.” Alarik sighed. What would he do for four days? As if reading his mind, Paula picked up a paperback book and threw it at him. Alarik caught it nimbly as he always did.
“Research. And help me figure out how the hell to put together a Steampunk event.”
Alarik snorted. “What made you think of that anyways. What is Steampunk?”
Paul slammed his head against the back of the chair. “The hell if I know. This is all your fault actually. If you hadn't traced her down I wouldn't have to host this stupid event out here in the middle of nowhere.”
“This nowhere is our home. Do not forget where we come from brother.” Alarik snapped clenching the flimsy novel in his hand. Paul shook his head.
“I didn't mean it the way it came out Al. I do love this town, but this land… this house… there’s something here not right. It’s always bothered me.”
Alarik turned to look out over the garden. Despite their ancestry the brothers, twins, weren't the same. Paul was normal - mostly - Alerik wasn't. Far from it. His shoulder itched again and with a growl he used the corner of the book to scratch. Paul laughed breaking the tension as only he could. Once the itch was satisfied for the moment he flipped the book over. The cover was tastefully done.
“She’s actually pretty good.”
“It’s a bunch of drivel.”
“Everything is drivel to you.” Paul eased up out of the chair. “Are you going to help?”
“Oh no! This is your mess. We could have just invited her for research with the legend of the wings.”
Paul paused frowning. Alarik bit his cheek to keep from grinning. His twin hadn't thought of that. One of Paul’s many faults, one he didn't usually recognize until too late, was his inability to think simple. Or plan simple.
“Oh you’re helping. Just as soon as I figure out what the hell Steampunk is.” Paul stomped out of the parlor more than likely in search of his laptop. Alarik laughed so hard he had to clutch his sides.
Alarik dropped the novel bending over trying to catch his breath. Tension left him for the first time in decades. This was going to be fun. Maybe.
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