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Echo’s Journal Entry #4

If this is your first time reading Echo’s Journal, please read the previous entries so you understand what’s happening in the story. I hope you enjoy it and leave a comment or suggestion when you’re finished. Thanks for stopping by and reading.

ECHO'S JOURNAL COVER

Journal Entry #4

Blood pulsed through my ears in angry bursts. My eyelids struggled to lift, but remained immobile. Voices carried through the air in hushed whispers.

“Rowan will be furious if he learns you sent her in here. We have to be careful or we’ll have our own war to deal with,” a soft feminine voice said.

“He speaks of breaking rules, but he is the most heinous rule breaking of us all. I apologize for my moment of weakness. It won’t happen again,” a husky mumble answered.

The voices were familiar, but the swishing in my ears prevented me from identifying the sources. Pain shot through my skull when I attempted to turn my head towards them.

“See that it doesn’t,” the woman said. “I can’t chastise you too much. I had a bit of a slip myself. The man is infuriating, but we must maintain control. I think he grows suspicious. We can’t have that, not yet. Now go check on our new companion. She may wake at any moment. It’s better if I deal with her alone.”

My mind struggled to remember what happened. The lack of control I had over my body was disturbing. I concentrated on one task, opening my eyes. Then I would have the answer to who was speaking. It sounded as if they were up to something, but their words became jumbled and I couldn’t remember most of what they said. It was weeks later that the memory of that conversation would return vividly at the most inopportune time.

Coolness pressed against my forehead. The skin where a few droplets tricked down my temple tingled. My lids finally lifted. Sarah’s face came into focus through the haze.

“What happened?” I asked.

“You got too close. The guards at the door were able to pull you out of his reach before any true damage was done.”

I pushed my elbows against the dirt floor, trying to rise up. The room spun. My body collapsed back down.

“You probably should stay put for a bit. You took quite a nasty bump to the head. That’s my fault actually. I had to knock you out, slow your heartbeat.”

I couldn’t believe Sarah hit me. She explained it was for my own good. The stranger had completed his transmutation and needed to feed. It didn’t matter to him who or what he fed from, just that he needed the blood. The men took him to the forest to feed on animals. It would hold him for a bit, take the edge off the lust temporarily.

Sarah’s words before I blacked out came back to me. My coterie didn’t explain to me what happened when you track someone. Why was I obsessed with that man, to the point where I would have killed to get to him?

“There’s a reason you pick up on certain scents and others aren’t as strong. Your first time is the most intense. Your body distinguishes the scent of one who will most satisfy your needs at the time. Once you acquire it, your body will stop at nothing to obtain what you seek. You lose all control. That’s what I saw in your eyes when you tracked him and came into the room.”

“Will it go away?”

“I don’t know. We usually get what we want. You couldn’t. He was too close to the end of his transmutation to feed. The problem is, now he’s latched to your scent. That might be a problem.”

Rowan was enraged when he learned what happened. He forbade all interactions with members from the other coterie unless I had a chaperone. Aaron, my father’s next in command, usually volunteered. He wanted to be my consort and my father agreed. I, however, had no desire to be with him. The tension among us grew each day.

I watched from afar as Sarah spent her days with the new arrival. His name was Gregory. Heat coursed through my veins each time I witnessed them interacting. My heart hurt for him and was happy she was helping him through the adjustment to this life. The rest of me desired to be the one close to him. It was disturbing how possessed I became.

As Sarah gave him instructions, his eyes remained on me if I was in sight, which was always. We were connected by an invisible force. My body sensed when he was awake or sleeping, hungry or hurt, saddened or frustrated. I never sensed happiness in him.

As days turned into months, I longed to spend time with Sarah. I missed our walks in the woods and the lessons she taught me. Our group became divided within our settlement. We still lived together, but there was little interaction among members of the groups. War broke out and food was in abundant supply. My body was weakened because I refused to take food my coterie offered. Sarah was right. I needed to learn for myself.

One day, I followed Sarah and Gregory when they left camp. They had disappeared early each day and didn’t return until nightfall. My curiosity peaked. I worked on controlling my urges to rip my friend to shreds each time I saw them together. I felt I could handle this excursion on my own.

I waited for Aaron to be called away by one of the other men. He saw Sarah and Gregory walk into the forest and knew my daily routines. I’m sure he thought it was safe to leave me for a bit. He’d pay for that mistake.

Gregory’s scent allowed me to follow from a distance, but Sarah most likely knew I was behind them all the while. After walking through thick brush and fields of long brown grass, the scent vanished. Moments later, it invaded my nostrils momentarily then dissipated just as quickly. I turned, looking through the spaces in the trees for them. A few leaves blew through the air as I smelled him again.

Laughter filled the air. Sarah came out from behind a bush, giggling at me.

“He may be faster than me.”

I walked closer to her. Gregory appeared as if from thin air in front of her.

“Close enough,” he said.

She leaned around his shoulder. “Oh calm down, she couldn’t hurt me if she wanted to, at least I don’t think she can. Has it faded?” Her hand rested on his arm. My fists clenched. “I’ll take that as a no,” she said.  “Maybe you should go back. I’m sure you left without Rowan’s permission and I wouldn’t want him getting angry with you,” Sarah said.

Gregory’s golden eyes remained on me. His nostrils flared when Sarah said my father’s name.  The restrictions of the past months was my prison sentence for existing. I was tired of him controlling me. His anger no longer drove my choices.  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Everything shifted in that moment. Inner strength took over my body and mind, transforming me.

“I don’t care how my father feels about me being here. I’m taking control of what I do. I need you to teach me how to hunt.”

Gregory’s white teeth peeked out from behind his curved lips. He walked towards me. My pulse quickened, but I remained in my spot even though my body screamed from within to run to him, or maybe away.

Sarah grabbed his wrist to stop him. My eyes darted to her hand, but I fought the urge to react. I lifted my gaze back to her face.

“Excellent, I think there’s hope for you yet.”

I didn’t know then that this was all part of their plan.

free_6631226[1]

I hope you’re enjoying Echo’s story. Please leave a comment or suggestion of where you would like to see the story go from here. I have a few ideas of my own, but they usually change as the week goes on. I’m open to any suggestions my readers may have and look forward to continuing Echo’s story. Thank you for reading!

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Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Echo’s Journal Entry #3

If this is your first time reading Echo’s Journal, please go back and read the previous entries to help you better understand the story. Thank you for dropping by and please leave your suggestions in the comments.

ECHO'S JOURNAL COVER

Journal Entry #3

The veins in my father’s neck resembled a bumpy map of intersecting roads when he was angry. I had never seen it this bad.

“What were you thinking taking her out this late at night? And who the hell was stupid enough to change him? Was it you?” he shouted, pointing at Sarah.

She had the nerve to look bored at his outburst. My insides quivered just breathing the same air as him. As we approached camp only moments before, all members of both coteries met us with wide eyes and grimaces. They smelled him in the air.

I shrunk into the corner as Rowan and Drake, the leader of the other group argued.

“Sarah was doing you a favor. That daughter of yours needs to learn how to find food for herself. You and your group have done nothing to help her with this life,” Drake argued.

“My daughter and what I do or do not teach her is none of your business. Was it your idea she take her out in the night that far from camp on their own? She’s not ready for that.”

Sarah’s head snapped towards him. “You have no idea what Echo is ready for, what she can do. You haven’t given her a chance. She did great out there tonight. She was a natural tracker, once she got started.”

Rowan pointed his finger into her face. “I’m not speaking to you woman. Sit down.”
Sarah shook her head and rolled her eyes. “No one orders me to sit. Our coterie doesn’t work that way. You’d best remember that in the future.”

My jaw dropped as she stomped away towards the makeshift hut where they kept the stranger we found. Two men stood at the doorway keeping guard. Sarah crossed between them and disappeared inside.

Fire danced in Rowan’s eyes, and it wasn’t a reflection of the one that burned before him. I feared for my friend in that moment, but admired her at the same time. Drake cleared his throat.

“She has a point. Our women are as valuable a part of our group as our men. If that’s something you can’t deal with, tell me now. We’ll be on our way if it’s going to be a problem.”

My heart raced. I couldn’t lose Sarah. She was the only friend I had. The other members of her group were nice too. There was a lot of fighting amongst our men before they came, mostly about me. Their coterie brought a calmness to the group. It was interesting to witness. There was no predicting what would happen if we split.

“Could it have been someone from your group who changed him?” Rowan asked.

“Could it have been someone from yours?” Drake responded.

The men stared at each other, still as statues. Rowan pulled in a deep breath. “We’ll stay together for now. But if you discover it was one of your group that changed him, I suggest you move on before I get a hold of him, or her.”

Drake folded his hands in front of him. “May I suggest dealing with the matter at hand? There’s nothing we can do to alter the fact that this man is changing. We must focus on helping him adjust to the change,” Drake said.

“We wouldn’t have to deal with it if it never happened. There are rules for a reason. This puts all of us at risk,” my father replied.

“Yes, but…”

“But nothing, this discussion is over,” Rowan said before marching off towards the woods.

I jumped as loud crashes and banging carried through the cool night air from the forest. Leaves rustled against each other as a tree toppled to the ground. His strength was unsurpassed when rage flowed through him.

“That man is going to implode one of these days,” Drake whispered.

I waited every day for that type of anger to rise inside me. Rowan often told me how much I favored my mother. There must be something, besides my need for blood, I inherited from him. I hoped his temperament wasn’t it. I’d later find out I did have this part of him. It took time to develop and a reason to fight for it to surface.

“Why don’t you go check on our new addition?” Drake asked.

The excitement of our arrival and everyone’s reaction made me forget about his scent. As soon as Drake mentioned him, my senses refocused. The smell was different now, more potent, but just as delicious as before. My mind knew it was a bad idea to go near him, but my body didn’t care as it rose and walked to where he was kept.

The millions of stars that lit up the sky helped cast a subtle glow across the room. My eyes adjusted quickly and the area came into sharp focus, too sharp. Colors popped like never before. The vividness was indescribable. It was as if I had been looking through frosted glasses until that moment.

Sarah’s long blond hair veiled her face as she bent over wiping the stranger’s bare chest with a wet cloth. Red water trickled through her fingers when she wrung out the fabric over a basin next to him on the floor. The scabs from the healing wounds vanished. She continued to clean him until his perfect tan skin emerged. Ridges of muscle in his arms and torso pulsed with each breath he took.

Sarah turned to me. “He’s kind of cute. You sure know how to pick them.”

“What are you talking about?”

He wasn’t cute, he was gorgeous. But I didn’t pick him, I just smelled him.

She ran her hands through his thick dark hair, brushing it away from his forehead. Heat rushed through my body. My fingers clenched into fists at my sides. Sarah looked back at me and smirked.

“What’s the matter Echo? Feeling a little territorial?”

Every muscle in my body contracted. Thoughts of ripping my friend apart if she touched him one more time ran through my brain.

“They didn’t even explain this part to you, did they?” She shook her head.

“Explain what?” I asked through clenched teeth.

“They didn’t tell you what happens when you track someone. It’s a little scary the first time. I should have known they didn’t tell you. They haven’t helped you at all,” Sarah said.

Sweat rolled down my forehead. His tempting aroma engulfed me. I inched closer. Sarah stood with her hands raised in front of her.

“Stop! You need to know how this works. I know how you’re feeling right now, but it’s dangerous if you don’t understand what’s happening.”

My eyes remained on him. Her words meant nothing. She wouldn’t stop me from getting closer to him, to his smell, to his skin. I’d kill her if it came to that, though the human part of me hoped it didn’t. The other part that needed him would do anything to make it happen.

“Echo, don’t do this. Please don’t make me hurt you.”

His eyes shot open. Pools of indigo stared at me as he rose from the floor. Voices swam through my ears, but were muffled as if I was under water. He lunged at me and everything went black.

free_2298086[1]  It’s time for the readers to take an active part in this experiment. I’d love to hear any comments or suggestions at this point. I have some definite ideas that I want to work into the story, but want to know where you see this going. I may not incorporate suggestions immediately, but may find what the readers come up with is even better than what I have in mind. I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts and continuing with Echo’s story. As always, thank you for reading!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Echo’s Journal Entry #2

If this is your first time visiting, please go back and read the previous posts of Echo’s Journal. Thank you for dropping by.

ECHO'S JOURNAL COVER

Journal Entry #2

It took seventeen weeks to reach my full maturity, that of a seventeen year old. If you’ve done the math, you figured out that’s one week for each year. No one knew why I stopped aging at this point. The theory was that my mother was seventeen when she had me, therefore that’s the age I’d be frozen at for eternity.

Because I’m not a full breed of either my father or my mother, I was able to eat food or consume blood. My choice was, and still is, food. But it didn’t provide me with everything my body needs. If I went too long without blood, I felt weak, as if I was fading out. I despise this part of me.

Just thinking about piercing someone’s skin and sucking out the warm red fluid made my stomach turn. For a long time, my meals were provided for me. I often refused the blood, unless I got to the point where I couldn’t function. Then I’d only take the smallest amount to build up my strength again.

The coterie took special precautions and kept me under constant watch for a long time. Our group was all men. I don’t know if the reaction was overprotectiveness or distrust, but they were suffocating. I was a risk, an unpredictable variable. I wasn’t one of them. Not only was I half human, but I had the hormones of a teenage girl constantly running through me.

Then one day another coterie that had also come from England joined our group. It was easier to track the feeding in the new world and control those who were tempted to endanger our existence if we were together. The other coterie had some women. Things were about to get better, or so I thought.

I quickly made friends with Sarah who was changed at the age of nineteen. That was over two hundred years ago. Her golden hair and glowing pale skin made her look like a magical fairy. But the girl was fierce. She could fight better than half the men in our group and was wicked fast. To be honest, she scared me, a lot! I figured I better make friends because I sure didn’t want her as an enemy.

“I’ve got your back,” she would say. “As long as you don’t stab me in mine. Then all bets are off and you better hope I never find you.”

The men eased up on me a bit. But the one thing they insisted upon was that I practice finding my own food, with a chaperone of course. Sarah volunteered. She taught me how to find food I could eat in the forests. Despite her constant attempts to teach me how to track and hunt for blood sources, I continued to resist.

“I get that this is hard for you. It was hard for me at the beginning. Even after all these years, it still sometimes feels like my body wants food. Then I eat something and remember the hell I go through every time I forget. It happens every fifty years or so,” she said as we walked through the forest gathering berries.

Eating food for her is like drinking poison, only it doesn’t kill you. I’ve heard stories of those that wished they were dead the entire time the food worked through their system. The pain is excruciating.

“You’re lucky you have the option,” Sarah said.

I could hunt every day for a thousand years and not be as good as she was. Her speed and agility were astounding. But the most shocking part to me was that she never killed or changed anyone.

“If I kill, a food source dies. If I change, same problem. It’s self-preservation.”

There’s was something more to it, but I never pushed for obvious reasons, my self-preservation.

I finally relented and agreed to try hunting. For our first few lessons, Sarah showed me how to track and what to do when I found a palatable source. My senses were weakened because of the dilution of my heritage. It took me a long time to distinguish the scent of my group from human scent. The mixture of both in me threw me off.

One night, she decided to try a different strategy. The fog was dense and hovered over the forest floor among the trees. There would be a heavy concentration of humans in one area because they were all in their settlement for the night. They rarely wandered off alone in the dark. The heavy moisture in the air would hold the scent of the movements they made throughout the day and lead me right to them. This was a training exercise, not an actual hunt.

We set off into the forest after I quickly picked up on a familiar smell. A large yellow moon peeked through the branches of the trees, creating an eerie glow through the mist. The scent became stronger and my pace quickened. Sarah’s footsteps crunched the leaves as she followed me, but all I could think about was the mouth-watering odor flowing through the air.

A breeze brushed against my heated cheeks and carried a concentration of the aroma into my nose. Musk entwined with sweet fruit mixed with soothing lavender and undertones of an irresistible fragrance I couldn’t identify. My muscles tensed. It was inches from me now. A few more steps and I would find whatever drew me.

A strong hand grabbed my arm and halted me before I could step around the bush that concealed my obsession. I pull to escape from Sarah’s grip, not caring if my arm ripped from my body. She whipped me around to face her.

“That’s not for you. It’s almost finished.”

“What are you talking about? Can’t you smell that? It’s the most wonderful…”

“Echo, you can’t go any closer. I don’t know what’ll happen.”

“I just want to see what’s making that smell. It’s fantastic, don’t you think? I can’t believe I finally tracked a human.”

My body twisted quickly out of her reach and I stepped around the shrub. I gasped at what I saw in the clearing. Laying on a bed of dried pine needles was a naked man smeared with blood. Wounds on his neck and arms were scarred over. A few dark curls stuck to the sweat on his forehead. He groaned and rolled onto his side, curling up into a ball.

I stepped back, but couldn’t tear my eyes from him.

“What’s wrong with him? Was he attacked by an animal? Is he sick? He doesn’t smell sick. At least I don’t think he does,” I said.

“He’s not sick. He’s transmuting,” Sarah said.

My eyes widen. It wasn’t a human I was tracking after all, well not exactly. It was a human who was changing into one of them.

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In just a few weeks, I will be opening up the story for reader input. In the meantime, all comments and suggestions are appreciated. Thank you for joining me on this journey.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Echo’s Journal Entry #1

Image

I’m nothing if not a perfectionist, human flaw side of me I suppose, so I’ll start at the beginning of my story. A couple hundred years ago I was conceived, yes conceived, under not the most ideal or romantic of circumstances. Back then people didn’t know we were any different from them. It was easier to hide our existence, if we were careful.

My kind are usually created, but I was one of the few lucky ones, if you want to call it that. I have a mother and a father, not a creator. My mother was the seventeen-year old daughter of a British settler in America. My father’s coterie traveled with that group because they knew it was just a matter of time before there would be a war. Great Britain was not going to just give power away and the Revolutionary War became inevitable.

As a species, we are opportunists. We thrive on war, free and easy meals without the messy cover-up. Yes our meals are a little unorthodox, but we often paid for them like everyone else. It amazed me what some would do for a few coins or a trade of cloth or services. Of course, they got something more out of it as well. To be fed from is a feeling of nirvana for most, or so I’m told.

My father Rowan is a strong leader. But shortly after he arrived in America, he became obsessed with Elizabeth Gowan. She was young and beautiful and my father wanted to change her. The clan objected knowing the settlement was young and war was coming. There weren’t enough humans to cover tracks if Elizabeth disappeared, which was necessary at the beginning of a change. No human contact was allowed until you had control of the pull, the lust for what lures our kind. Not to mention, the secret of our existence could be exposed. They couldn’t take the risk.

Rowan’s feelings for Elizabeth grew each day. He watched her from afar, hidden from view. She quickly became a weakness for him.

His mud-colored eyes glossed over one day when I asked about my mother. “She moved like a graceful swan gliding across a rippling pond. You have her long dark hair and her clear blue eyes. That’s why I can’t stand to look at you,” he said.

Rowan and Elizabeth became friends. She would meet him and they would take long walks along the country side where no one could see them. He often helped her with the washing and gathering water by the creek, always staying out of sight of the other settlers. My mother had an adventurous spirit and loved the secrecy of their relationship.

One day, Rowan crouched behind a tree among the tall grass staring at Elizabeth while she washed clothes in a creek. The other settlers were back near their camp. She was alone again, expecting him to join her. That was the day he was going to ask her to leave her settlement to be with him.

“I repeated the words in my mind over and over as I studied her movements. Her delicate hands grasping the cloth and running it through the flowing water. The beautiful smile that I imagined came from remembering times we spent together. Her gorgeous waves tied up in a loose knot resting at the back of her neck, exposing the perfect porcelain skin below it. Those images are etched in my brain forever,” Rowan said one night while reminiscing about the last day he saw her with her eyes open. I’d never seen the muscles in his arm so tensed as he pushed some dark strands from his forehead.

He was sure she was going to agree to be with him forever. Elizabeth was in love too. Unfortunately it was not with Rowan. There was a man back in England that was to be on the next ship of settlers. She was waiting for him to join her and they were going to be married.

Rowan lost control. He attacked Elizabeth. I’ll spare you the details, but that was the day I was conceived. Rowan knew the moment it happened. He said he heard my heart beat echo in his ears, hence my name.

Elizabeth never regained consciousness from the attack. That was probably for the best because a human woman could never survive a pregnancy of this kind. Rowan used his gift of persuasion, otherwise known as threatening everyone, to get the coterie to agree to keep my mother alive until I was born. He refused to lose his love and his child. He’s probably not so thrilled with that decision right now.

The pregnancy lasted nine days. My birth was as violent as my conception. My father never spoke of it. I overheard other members of our group describe the bloody mess that was left behind. It was a great solution to the problem of Elizabeth’s disappearance. It looked as if an animal tore her apart. All they had to do was dump the body in the woods near the settlement.

That was how I came into this world. A child who was a perfect mix of a human mother and a villainous father. These two sides battle for control within me every day. I’m in this situation now because one of those sides finally won.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
As an avid reader, I sometimes wish a story would take a different direction than the author has taken. Of course, that’s the writer’s choice. I’m a writer who outlines my story events as well. Recently, I met with my critique partner/beta reader who suggested I take some of the events in my latest manuscript in a different direction. At first, I was frustrated. I’d completed many edits on this project already and was looking forward to moving on to something else. But after thinking about it for a few days, I realized he was right. The changes he suggested would most likely improve my story. This made me wonder what might emerge if the reader had a say in the story’s development. For all of you who wish you could do this, here’s your chance.
Here’s how it works:
*I will post material of a current work in progress.
*Once the story and background have been built, I will open it up to reader input. Sometimes I will offer choices for readers to vote on. Other times I will ask for reader suggestions.
*My challenge will be to write the story using the reader choices, which may be completely different from my ideas.
* I will post the next chapter and continue the process until the story is complete.
This exciting journey begins September 30th. The cover of the first story is below. I welcome all suggestions and comments as the story develops. Hope you’ll join me!
ECHO'S JOURNAL COVER

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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