We’re getting closer and closer to Silver Hollow being published. Hope you all stay tuned!
“Are you sure you’re okay? I’m coming over as soon as I get done here. Or maybe you want to stay with us at the ranch for a couple of days? The horses have missed you, especially Jellybean.” Jo’s voice was filled with concern and a twinge of fear. Death had, after all, become a very real thing with Amie’s parents’ deaths ten years before. But not even the temptation of seeing the miniature horses could turn her mind from what happened.
“Honestly, Jo, I’m fine.”
“No, you’re not!” the voice from the cell phone blared. Clearly Faye had taken over her sister’s cell.
Amie held the phone away from her now injured ear as Faye continued her sister’s tirade.
“Getting mugged outside your apartment doesn’t come close to being fine! And I thought we taught you better than that! He shouldn’t have got the jump on you!”
Her neighbors had always been big on martial arts. As long as she could remember, they had made Amie be their sparring partner. But whatever hidden mojo their parents taught them wasn’t like any karate or jujitsu she had seen on TV. Plus, she had never cared enough to be as proficient as her friends.
Amie attempted to interrupt. “Faye, I—”
“You should have stayed tonight like we asked you to. Just because you feel safe in that little town square doesn’t mean you are. We should have made you live on the ranch in the first place. I always knew something like this was going to happen. I’m coming to get you now.”
Amie stared at her full-length reflection in the face of her wardrobe. A broad white line of skin practically glowed against her already pale-skinned chest. She hadn’t told the twins everything. If she had come even close to mentioning a knife she wouldn’t be allowed to live alone again.
“Amie?” Faye’s tone was a warning when she didn’t respond.
Blinking numbly at her reflection, she let the blood-soaked shirt fall back against her skin. “I’m fine,” she said. Her words came out more forcefully than she intended. Taking a deep breath, she tried again. “Look, I promise I’ll be over tomorrow, soon as I can, to see your pictures. The whole thing has me shook up. I just need some time alone, okay?”
The long pause on the other line was undoubtedly a brief conference between the twins. At last Jo’s voice took over once more, “Okay. Faye is coming over tomorrow morning to check up on you, and to tell you about her date with Ben.” She paused. “You think you’ll be up to it?”
Amie forced a smile into her voice and answered, “Sure. Well, I’m gonna let you go. Been a long night and I need sleep if I’m making this deadline.” After they said their goodbyes, she let her cell fall on the old quilt coverlet her parents once used.
Her fingers retraced the trickle of dried blood on her button-up plaid. Had she dreamed what had happened? The rough hands squeezing the life from her chest, the sharp feel of the knife entering her heart and then the black eyes piercing hers, mending her torn flesh?
She knew a few things for certain. One, she had been mugged and stabbed through the heart by a psycho and two, somehow she was still standing with nothing to show for it but a strange scar. Getting mugged was the sort of thing that happened to people who lived in huge metropolitan cities, not historic city squares. It was the sort of thing that happened in the novels she had devoured as a teenager. This was not real.
She of all people should be attuned to the difference between reality and fantasy. After all, it was how she made her living. And yet her father had once told her stories of a surreal place and it had been home to her fantasies ever since. Silver Hollow was a place she always remembered with trepidation. For Father said the strange society he had been raised in was as terrifying as it was beautiful.
Goosebumps prickled over her arms and raised the hair at the back of her neck. Fear such as she had not known since her parents’ death consumed her so fully, she barely felt her nails digging into the skin of her palms. Her father had gone to such great lengths to flee his home. Yet she had never stopped to wonder why. Why travel as far away as possible, change his name and invent a new life with a backwoods-born wife? What if he had been running from more than simple family responsibilities? What if the dark-eyed stranger, the man who had brought her from the brink of death, hadn’t stopped her murderer?
Plenty of novels and late-night news specials had taught her the sensible thing to do. Contact the police and hole up at AJSS Ranch for the rest of her life. But even if she did move in with her friends and the security they gave her, she could never really know peace. After this night she knew she’d never be the same. No one would believe her story if she gave them the whole truth and nothing but. She had no way of describing her attacker, only the one who somehow saved her.
With his magical powers…right.