NaNoWriMo had started again! This year I got a little bit of late start. Not because I didn’t start writing on November 1, but because the story I started just didn’t feel right to me. I’ve been brain storming on Rebirth since mid-October and I knew exactly how I wanted to start. I have everything planned out and I was ready to go.
Then November 1st rolled around, and I started writing. But the story just didn’t feel right. I was writing the scenes I had envisioned for weeks now but it just wasn’t coming out right. Every word was a struggle and the new characters I was introducing just didn’t feel right. They weren’t the characters I wanted them to be.
So after four days and 7,000+ words, I decided to stop. The story wasn’t going anywhere and pushing myself to continue on with it was pointless. It wasn’t the story I wanted and I didn’t want to waste anymore time on it. So on Day 5, I started all over again.
As soon as I stopped trying to force the story into the ideas I had set for it, the words started flowing. The characters started writing their own stories.
As hard as it was to just throw away four days of work and start all over again, I’m much happier with where the story is going. And I’m glad I stopped at four days, instead of forcing myself to keep going with a story I wasn’t passionate about. There’s no point in doing something you’re not passionate about.
So here’s a little bit of what I’ve been working on:
The crash of thunder and the flash of lightning had Emma nearly jumping out of her skin. She darted a quick glance out the small window across the room. Rain still pounded against the window. It hadn’t let up since the clouds had opened up just after lunch. Emma glanced at the clock and saw it was only three in the afternoon but outside, it was as dark as night. The heavy black clouds blocked out the sun.
Pulling her gray knit cardigan tighter around her shoulder she turned away from the window and she grabbed another armful of bandages from the cardboard box at her feet. She stuffed as many as she could fit in the door beside the examination table.
Because of the weather, the clinic was unusually slow. Their last patient has left an hour ago. Usually they had foot traffic that kept them busy Friday afternoon. Usually tourists with scraps and bruises, or every now and then a twisted ankle. The pier overlooking the Atlantic ocean was the picture perfect for young couples and families. Usually they were too busy watching the ocean to look where they were walking and stumbled over uneven boards or bits of dropped food. Emma was used to cleaning wounds and bandaging them up before sending them off.
She had actually expected more food traffic due to the weather. But maybe the tourists had been smart today and decided to stay indoor where it was nice and warm. Once the drawer was full, the closer it and grabbed the bandage box and moved on to the next room.
“Hey, Em?” A voice called down the hallway from waiting room. Becky, the other assistant on duty today stuck her head around the corner. “I’m going to go grab some coffee next door. Did you want anything?”
Emma tried hard to keep the smirk off her face. A new barista had started at the cafe next door a couple of weeks ago. She hadn’t seen him yet, but all the other girls swore he was the yummiest thing they had seen in years. They had been making excuses to run next door since he started working. Rachel, the cafe owner was ecstatic. Her long time boyfriend and business partner Kurt, not so much. Sure he loved the hike is business, but he wasn’t sure how he felt about his girlfriend spending so much time with the other. At least that was what he had told Emma when she had run in to him yesterday as she was leaving work.
Seeing as Emma had yet to seen the man, she could offer no opinion. But since Rachel had been in love with Kurt since they were in elementary school, Emma reassured him that she had nothing to worry about. Rachel was her older sister’s best friend and she had been forced to listen to many conversations about just how hot the little computer nerd was. And that was before he went through a very impressive growth spurt in high school and filled out from working as a life guard during the summers. Rachel had to practically beat off the other girls with a broom. For Rachel, Kurt was it and Emma had informed him as much. She also hinted that if he was really worried, he could always put a ring on her finger.
The idea seemed to surprise him, but she has seen him running across the street to the jewelers during lunch, so maybe he thought there was some merit to the idea. She would have to remember to tell Regan when she got home after work. Usually they worked the same shifts at the clinic but Becky had to take tomorrow to go to a friend’s wedding and Regan had traded shifts with her.
“You do remember you hate coffee right?” Emma reminded her friend.
“They serve other things besides coffee. Besides, the taste is starting to grow on me,” Becky jutted her chin out stubbornly.
“I’ve see what you call coffee. It’s chocolate milk with a shot of espresso. It’s not coffee,” Emma teased.
“It’s called a mocha,” Becky pouted.
“Not, when you put extra cream and a chocolate syrup in it,” Emma laughed. Not like Emma should be talking though since she wasn’t much of a coffee fan either. Her caffeine usually came in the form of can of diet coke. “You know they do serve more than coffee right? Why don’t you try one of their fruit infused teas or a their new flavored milks?”
“Because Jack looks so hot operating the espresso machine. You have no idea how hot it is to watch that man froth milk,” Becky practically drooled. Emma just shook her head.
“I’m good, but thanks for asking.”
“Okay then, I’ll be back in bit. Dr. Brennan still hasn’t come back yet. She had to make an emergency stop on the way back out to the old Webster place. Katie called and said her grandmother slipped and fell and her whole side was bruised. Mrs. Webster didn’t want to come on in for an x-ray so Dr. Brennan went out to go take a look.”
“Okay, I’ll hold down the fort until you get back,” Emma waved off her friend before ducking in the next examination room. She heard the doors chime and Becky left. She probably wouldn’t be back for another ten minutes. The lines at the cafe had gotten longer, and she was sure that Becky wasn’t the only one infatuated enough to brave this weather to watch Jack work.
Emma had just begun filling the bandage drawer when she heard the front door chime. It had barely been minute since Becky had left. Had she forgotten her wallet again. Becky was constantly forgetting things. Her wallet, her keys, her phone. Emma had come across the woman’s cell in the fridge one day, right next to her car keys.
“What did you forget this time?” Emma called up to the front, expecting her friends bubbly reply. But when she got none, she set the bandages in her hand down on the examine table and ducked her head out of the open doorway. “Becky?”
Still no reply. With a frown, Emma headed up to the front of the small clinic. It was quiet except for the New Age music Dr. Brennan liked to play over the speaker system when she was on duty. She claimed it helped to keep the patients clam. Emma personally thought it put them to sleep, but the doctor on duty got to choose what to play and that was what Dr. Brennan preferred.
“Becky?” She called out as she entered the waiting room. Becky wasn’t behind the receptionist desk, nor was she in the lobby from what she could see. But the glass doors were slightly ajar letting in wind and rain. Maybe it had just been the wind.
Emma was just walking over to the front doors when she saw the prone figure lying on the white tile floor right in front of the receptionist desk. She could only stare at the still figure for a moment, too shocked by his sudden appearance to move. Then she noticed the puddle of blood that was beginning to form about person.
“Oh god,” she ran over, sliding to her knees as she carefully placed her hands on the man’s shoulders. His black hair matted to his head from the rain. His clothes were soaking wet, and his skin was ice cold were her fingers brushed against his arm.
“Sir? Sir?” She called out as she tried to ease the man over on to his back so she could figure out where the blood was coming from. There was too much blood. If she wasn’t able to stop it, there was a good chance he would bleed out.
“Em…” The man groaned. Emma’s hands stilled as suddenly recognized the man.
“Oh God,” She cursed as she quickly flipped the man over. He blinked up at her, his fluorescent blue eyes dull behind his long thick lashes. His face was waxy and nearly the same color as the white tiles beneath him. She watched in horror as he eyes rolled back in to his eyes and head lolled to the side.
“William? William?” She called, patting his cheek gently. “William, I need you to wake up and tell me what happened? William! Damn it!”
Rolling him on to his back, she yanked up his shirt to expose a deep gushing wound in the middle of chest. Luckily whoever had attacked him has missed his heart, but she couldn’t tell how bad his injury was. Had a lung been punctured? Did he have any other internal injuries? She wasn’t a doctor. She didn’t know these things. She was just an assistant. She wasn’t even a CNA. Her sister was but Regan wasn’t here. Emma had no idea what to do.
“Damn it William! Why did you have to go an get yourself injured now when it’s just me.” She growled as she jumped to her feet and ran to the first examination room. She opened one of the drawers beside the examination table and pulled out fresh sheets. She ran back to the lobby, placing the clean sheets over the wound and pressing down on it, hoping to at least stop the bleeding.
“Damn it Aiden. Where are you? Why weren’t you with him?” She barked. Where the hell was her good for nothing brother? First he runs away with one of the most feared blood magic users in the world leaving his two sisters to fend for themselves after the death of their parents. Then he comes back with a shit load of money telling them he was big man now and he had enough money to take care of them for the rest of their lives. Where was the man now that his boss was dying on the clinic floor?
“Damn it William. Don’t make me do this,” She groan as the sharp coppery scent of blood hit her. She thought she had gotten used to the smell. Thought she had gotten over her addiction. It had been ten years, ten long years since her parents death and the last time she had used the magic gifted to her from her mother’s side of the family. She thought she had finally broken the hold the magic had over her. Turned out she was wrong.
“Shit!” She slammed her fist on the hard on the tiled ground. If she waited any longer, William would die. It wasn’t like he didn’t deserve it. The man was a selfish egomaniac who didn’t care who he hurt in his pursuit of power. He had felt no guilt in stealing away her brother when they needed him most. He had wrecked havoc to their little family her entire life. But he was also Aiden’s father. Her brother would never forgive her if she had the power to save his father and she let him die anyway. As much as she disagreed with her brother’s life style, she could never be cruel enough to deprive him of his father after he already lost the two parents who had raised him and loved him.
“You are going to owe me big, William Gregor,” Emma muttered as she did the one thing she swore she would never do again. She used her blood magic.
The puddle of blood under William turned to ash as the power in his blood filled her veins. She bit back a curse as the magic flooded her body. She had almost forgotten just how good it felt. The near orgasmic high that fueled blood magic.
How could something that felt so good be bad? That’s what she used to ask her mother when her mother first forbid her from using blood magic. It wasn’t like she was hurting anyone. She only ever used her own blood. She wasn’t like William. She didn’t hurt others. She only used her ow n blood for the blood price. If anything, she only hurt herself.
“And that is why you have to stop using it,” Her mother had pleaded as she pushed up Emma’s sleeve to expose the cut marks that lined her arms, “Can’t you see what your doing to yourself?”
There had been tears in her mother’s eyes as she had dragged Emma to the bathroom and pushed her in front of the mirror. “Look at yourself. You’re killing yourself and you don’t even realize it. I left my world to bring all of you up in a safe environment. I wanted you to have a normal life. I never wanted this for you.”
Emma had looked at the dark bags under her eyes. The hallow cheeks and swallow skin. She has seen it, but she had been so blinded by the blood magic that she hadn’t truly seen herself until it was too late.
After her addiction had kept her from saving her parents’ life, Emma has sworn off blood magic. She swore she would never use it again. She would never let it take her over like it had before. But now she was being forced to use it save the life of the man that had brought nothing but trouble to her family.
Shit, she gritted her teeth, as the magic became only too much for her to handle. She had only ever used her own blood to power her magic. She had never used another person’s blood. Especially another person as strong as William. She was beginning to fear she had overestimated herself. To heal William’s wounds, it would take a lot of magic. More magic that she had ever tried to channel. Maybe it would be too much magic for her to handle.
When her the ends of her fingers and toes began to tingle she began to worry. The euphoria was quickly was away by fear. The edges of her vision began to darken and the room began to spin. It had been too long since she has used blood magic. She should have realized William’s blood would be too much for her. Her only hope now was that she didn’t die with him.
When her chest began to ache, and her heart beat so hard she was afraid it would explode, the flow of magic finally stopped. She would have let out a breath of relief, but she knew it wasn’t time to celebrate yet. She still had to get rid of the magic contained in her body before it burned her up.
Removing the bloody sheets from William’s chest, she placed her open palm flat over the wound that was still bleeding. More sluggishly now, but that was probably because there wasn’t enough blood left in his body for it to come gushing out.
Her mother hadn’t supported her interest in blood magic and had only taught her reluctantly. So there wasn’t really much that Emma knew about blood magic. But she knew enough to know that blood magic was more of a mental magic. Meaning, the user had to shape and guide the magic to the desired form. Emma had always been good at that part. She hadn’t known many blood magic spells, but she had been an adept at weaving the magic to her wishes. She prayed that that was still true.
Using her arm as a conduit, Emma began to feed her magic in to William’s body. A drip at a time at first. She directed to magic to clot the blood and seal the wound. The skin under her hand began to warm and until its was nearly fever hot. Only when the heat subsided did she raise her hand to check on the wound. Where there had been a gaping wound a moment ago, there was now warm pink skin.
Now that she had taken care of the most pressing problem, it was time to take care of the rest. She placed her hand back over William’s chest and began to feed the magic to him in a steady stream. In her mind she imagined the magic flowing in to William’s veins and through out his body, repairing the damage, healing the unseen wounds. She kept feeding him the magic, until his body was once again warm and his heart beat steadily under her palm. Only when she was sure, he would live to see another day did she open her eyes.
He seemed to be in a deep sleep. Even emitting little snores every now and then, which would have been cute if he were anyone but William. At least he was out of danger, but Emma wasn’t. She looked around at the blood splattered on the floor and receptionist desk, and the bloody blanket in her hand. There was no way she could explain this to Becky and the woman would probably be back in a couple of minutes. She didn’t have time to clean everything up and get rid of the evidence.
Damn it, there was still enough magic in her system to clean up the place but she really hated to use blood magic anymore then she needed to, especially when she wasn’t sure what affect it would have on her. But she didn’t have another other choice.
With a mutter curse she sent out a flash of power, which turned what remained of Willam’s blood to ash. The blanket it her hand, also burnt away to ash in a blink of the eye. There was still a mess in the lobby, but at least nobody would be asking why there was blood all over the place.
With one last look at William’s still figure, Emma got to her feet and hurried to the supply cabinet to grab the broom and dustpan. If she was lucky she could get everything cleaned up before Becky returned. She had no idea what she was going to do with William, but she figured she would have to deal with one problem at a time. She’d figure out what to do with him later.
She made quick work of sweeping up the ash and throwing the remains out the back door, letting the wind and rain wash it away. She then stopped at the employee lounge to grab her cellphone. They usually weren’t permitted on shift but this was an emergency.
She quick led scrolled through her call log until she found the number she was looking for, then hit send. She brought the phone to her ear as she grabbed another clean sheet from exam room 1. She would have to remember to refill the drawer after she was done.
With the phone pressed between her cheek and shoulder, she listened to it ring as she lay the blanket on the floor besides William.
“Hello?” Her sister’s cheerful voice answered. Emma could hear the sounds of laughter and bells ringing in the background which meant her sister was probably down at the pier.
“We have a problem,” Emma grunted as she lifted William by his shoulder and tried to turn him over. But the man was like 200 hundreds pounds of muscle and right now it was all dead weight.
“Em? What’s wrong?”
“William. He’s here,” Emma groaned as she lifted with all her strength until she had William on his side.
“Oh God. Why?” The background noise got softer, so Emma figured Regan had gone somewhere more private.
“I don’t know. He didn’t say. He stumbled in to the clinic and passed out. When I found him, he was laying in a puddle of his own blood. I was able to stop the bleeding the heal the damage, but now he’s passed out and I need to get him out of here before anyone notices and starts asking questions.”
“Shit, I’ll be right there. Andrew’s with me. I’ll have him drive his truck to the back door. Can you get William back there or should I have him just pull up to the front?”
“Back door is good. Becky went to get coffee and I don’t know when she’ll be back. I’m trying to have him out of sight before she does.” With one hard push, William rolled over and mostly on to the blanket. Emma figured that was good enough, an arm and a foot stuck off, but it should be okay.
“Okay, give us five minutes and we’ll be right there.”
Emma just grunted that she heard before disconnecting the call and shoved the phone in to the front pocket of her scrubs. Grabbing on the two front ends of the blanket, she pulled William’s body through the lobby and towards the back hall. She was just out of side when she heard the front door chime.
“Man, that storm is awful!” Becky called out from the front as Emma hurriedly pulled William’s body towards the exam room 5. It was the furtherest from the lobby and the closest to the back door. “Uh, even with an umbrella, I got soaked.”
Emma listened to her friend and she pulled William in to the room and out of side. She bent over real quick to make sure he was still deep asleep. Once she was sure he was out, she stood back up and hurried out of the room, making sure to close the door enough that anyone walking down the lobby wouldn’t see William lying on the floor. She then quickly darted across the hallway to the employee lounge and grabbed one of the fresh towels they had washed this morning but hadn’t had time to put away yet. With towel in hand she headed back to the lobby.
“Wow, you really are soaked.” Becky was soaked from head to foot. There wasn’t a single dry spot on her. She quickly handed over the towel so that Becky at least dry her hair.
“I didn’t realize just how bad it was until I stepped out there and was immediately drenched. The wind blew the umbrella backwards and now its broken,” She gestured to the piece of bent metal and torn fabric.
“I hope it was worth the trip over at least,” Emma offered. Becky scowled at her from under the towel as she rubbed her hair dry.
“That was the worst part. Jack wasn’t even there,” She pouted, “Kurt was working the counter. He said something about Jack’s car breaking down so he wasn’t able to come in.”
“Well, at least I got a chance to try the fruit infused teas,” She gestured to a clear plastic cup filled with pale colored tea and slices of strawberries, blackberries and mint, “There was no point in ordering a mocha if Jack wasn’t there to make it for me.”
Hanging the towel around her shoulders, Becky picked up her drink and took a sip from the straw before setting it back down again, “This really isn’t that bad. Maybe I’ll order it the next time Jack’s not working.”
“So was there any excitement while I was gone? Sorry, it took so long, but that place was backed. It looked like every tourist in town was packed in there. I guess when it storms, you just crave something warm to drink,” Becky chattered on without giving Emma a chance to reply.
“Oh, and the trip over wasn’t totally wasted. There were these two really hot guys sitting at one of the tables by the window. They looked like government types, but damn did they look good in their suits. I swear every single woman in there had their eyes on them.”
“Hot government types?” Emma laughed.
“Don’t laugh until you see them,” Becky scolded as she shook her finger at Emma, “You would understand if you saw them.”
Emma just shook her head, “Highly unlikely.”
“Oh yeah, I keep forgetting that your brother was like one of the hottest things to ever come out of this little town. I swear, if I grew up with someone like that as a brother, I’d be jaded as well.”
“I’m not jaded and Aiden wasn’t hot.”
“Not to you, of course. But to all the other girls in town besides you and Regan, he was a major hottie. Too bad he went off and joined the Guild. It might have been nice to some eye candy around.”
“Yeah,” Emma agreed absently, remembering that they had used Aiden joining the Guild as a cover story for his sudden disappearance the reason he never came home to visit. He was always to busy with work to come home. Of course, Aiden had been in the Guild, but he had been a double agent for William. His allegiance has always been to his self absorbed biological father, no matter how much it has gone against the morals their parents had raised them with.
Just then the front door opened with an electronic chime. Emma turned with a greeting on lips that died the moment she saw who entered their small clinic. Her blood suddenly ran cold as she suddenly realized what had happened, or she should say, who had happened to William.
The beautiful woman spared her only the barest of glances as her eyes roamed the small waiting room. She took in everything, from the sterile white tile floors, to the vinyl chairs and battered coffee table covered in old magazines. She didn’t even spare a glance for Becky who was staring at the woman awestruck.
Emma could understand the feeling, she had felt much the same way when she had first met her mother’s half-sister. Ophelia Rosengard was a stunning woman. That was the only way to describe her. She was beyond beautiful, with soft cream skin, sleek umber waves, and cold ice blue eyes, she was mesmerizing and terrifying at the same time.
“I have a message for that rat you have stowed away,” Ophelia’s gaze swung back to her, her voice crisp, her eyes frigid, “Tell him that his mother expects him to answer her summons if he ever wishes to seen his son again.”
Everything in Emma went cold. Aiden, she was talking about Aiden. What happened to her brother? What had she done to her brother? She should have known something was wrong. William never traveled without Aiden. Aiden was his greatest weapon and his most loyal follower. He would have laid his life down for his father. And now something was wrong.
A chilling smile spread across Ophelia perfect red lips as she saw the turmoil she was causing. She felt no love or loyalty towards her half-sister or her half-sisters children. They were mongrels after all. Her sister had turned her back on their world and then has dared to marry out of the blood. And to make it worse, she had spawned to half-blood mongrels.
Emma had always suspected Ophelia has something to do with her parents’ death but had no way to prove it. They had died out at sea, where Ophelia had no power. Their boat had been capsized during a fierce summer storm, much like the one day. Her father’s body was never found, but her mother’s body had washed ashore a week after she had gone missing.
Ophelia had made no claim regarding their death, but Emma had spotted her in town the day after her parents’ boat was reported missing. Regan hadn’t believed her, but Aiden must have called William, because the man arrived by nightfall.
Emma had no allusions as to exactly what kind of woman her aunt was. She was a cold-blood killer, her father’s assassin. When Emma was five, she had watched Ophelia grab a man walking pass them and break his neck without even blinking an eye. The only thing the man had done was be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He didn’t even have time to be scared. He was there one minute, gone the next. And Ophelia hadn’t even needed his blood or his death. She had just done it on a whim.
Emma remembered being so scared she was shaking. Her mother and pulled her behind her as she told her sister to leave. Ophelia had just laughed, she told Emma’s mother that one day she would be back to clean up her mess and it would be that quick. One moment they would be there, the next they would be gone. She should be thankful that she wouldn’t bleed them first. She would give them a quick death since they were blood after all.
Ophelia had left that day without another word, but for years after, Emma would wake up screaming in the middle of the night from nightmares where Ophelia hunted down, her and her siblings. Well, it looks like, this time she might have gotten one of them.
With her message delivered, Ophelia turned around and strolled right out the door she had entered a moment ago. Emma watched her leave, her hands clenched in fists. She wasn’t a fool. She stood no chance against Ophelia. Ophelia had at least five hundred years on her, and all of that was killing experience. Emma wouldn’t even last a second. Yet it killed her to be able to do nothing when she had just threatened her brother.
“Wow,” was the first thing that Becky said after Ophelia left. She looked at Emma, her eyes big and round, “She wasn’t even wet. She didn’t have an umbrella but she was completely dry.”
Emma didn’t bother telling her friend that her aunt, besides being an A-Level blood magic user, she was also an A-Level Air magic user, which means that not even the rain could touch her. She was the perfect weapon.
Just then, Emma heard the back door opening, and her sister’s voice calling out, “Hey guys, it’s just me. I forgot something in my locker and I needed to grab it. Don’t mind me.”
“While your back there, could you do me a favor? I think I forgot to turn off the lights in Exam Room 5, could you grab that for me?” Emma called out to her sister, her voice a little shaky but she was sure neither Regan nor Becky noticed.
“No problem, I’ll grab it on my way out. I’ll be out of here in a minute. See you guys later.”
“See you!” Becky called out cheerfully as she picked up her tea and took another sip. Emma watched her friend enviously. How she wished she could be that oblivious. She probably hadn’t thought anything strange about Ophelia’s visit or her cryptic message. Becky was one of those good natured people that never saw the bad in others. It would probably get her hurt in the future, but at least it kept her from asking questions right now. Asking too many questions about Ophelia usually ended up with people suddenly disappearing. The only reason she and Regan were probably still around was because William had made it very clear, that the two of them were under his protection. Family or not, William was a very powerful and very resourceful magic user. People he didn’t like, disappeared just as quickly. Now they just needed him to wake up so he could tell them exactly what happened to her brother and who the hell was his mother.