The Shift: Book 1-The Anomaly Prologue
Bolting across the grass with my heart pounding, I feel the blood splatter drying on my face. I can hear Grace and Emma yelling my name, begging me to stop and wait for them. Nothing can stop me now. Knowing what I am capable of — how powerful I can be — I am now terrified of myself. I need guidance, I need my dad. The fear of revelation doesn't sway me from my decision, even though Grace put up a convincing argument. The soft grass crunching beneath me as each foot hits the ground, I glide across the field toward the humble street lights that glow in the night sky. I search the area looking for the quickest route to my house, my two best friends in tow.
The air on the way home is cold and heavy. The sound of our feet pounding the hard pavement is the only thing my ears pick up, aside from our heavy breathing. Panting hard, I continue to run as fast as my two spindle-like legs can carry me. My house is three more blocks away, the thought races through my mind as I cross another lane, I have to get there before anyone discovers the scene I just left. A flickering street light adds just enough illumination to see the shadows between the houses, leading to an alleyway — a shortcut to my house. I dodge the parked cars that obstruct my way to the black space. As the distance between my house and myself shorten with each stride I take, fear starts to creep back into my bones. My two friends bringing up my rear start pleading for me to take a quick break. I keep running even though I can hear their tired breaths behind me.
Relief settles in as the familiar small brick home with the white picket fence draws nearer. "Dad!" I scream as I fling open the front door and run inside my two bedroom house that is enveloped in darkness. The emptiness is subsided by my two best friends that huddle behind me. The moonlight glows through the large bay window that peaks into the living space. The subtle highlights of the simple furniture arrangement display a love seat that is placed under the bay window and a coffee table that lays in front of the love seat. "Daddy! I need to talk to you!" I'm shivering while my trembling hands struggle to clutch the shreds of clothing close to my body. How am I going to tell him about what just happened? How am I going to explain that moments ago I was involved in something so horrible it belongs in a science fiction movie...like "The Terminator"...but me in place of Arnold Schwartzenegger. What am I? The questions haunt me non-stop. Grace tried like hell to keep me from saying anything to anyone, for fear of being grounded. We weren't supposed to be at that party, but what am I supposed to do? My father would understand, he would know what to do. I could hardly believe it myself...but...what if he doesn't believe me. Everything feels like a dream. With tears streaming down my cheeks, my heart races, mind spins and adrenalin pumps through my veins. The sticky-metallic taste of blood continues to contaminate my mouth, foul aroma of body fluids invade my nostrils, dried blood flakes off of my chin.
"Ari..." Grace startles me, drawing closer while placing a gentle hand on my shoulder. "What if they're not home?" She whispers as she looks around in the dark, hoping her observation would be sustained.
"Dad! Mom!" I yell again, advancing toward their bedroom, maneuvering with ease between the coffee table and love seat. A light surrounding my parents' bedroom door interrupts the darkness of the hallway.
"Ariella..." Comes the deep, gruff voice of my father. His tall frame fills the doorway blocking the light that comes through. He combs through his wavy black hair with his thick fingers. "What time is it...?"He mumbles, his powerful hand moving to his forehead and rubbing it. "What the hell are you doing up at this late hour?" His sapphire blue eyes burn right through me when he realizes that it's after midnight.
"Ari...honey, what's going on? Why are you yelling?" My sweet mother flicks on the light switch in the hallway. Her fragile voice sooths the terror my father's harsh tone leaves behind. "Oh shit!" Her beautiful face contorts with fear when she sees me. "Leo...I think it's time you have a heart to heart with our daughter..." She grabs his hand and turns to him.
"Girls. Go home. NOW!" Dad roars at my two friends. He points to the door. "And don't you dare say a single WORD to anyone, I'll know if you do." Grace and Emma nod their heads in frantic agreement and grab each other's hands then turn to me speaking in unison...
"Ari, don't you worry, we got your back...always. We love you. Tell us EVERYTHING tomorrow...K? If you survive that long..." Then they both hug me, and run out the door, leaving me to face the wrath of my father alone. My mother traces the twins' steps closing the door behind them.
"Start talking." Dad barks, glaring at me with his arms crossed as if I were forcing him to rob a bank or something. I'm shaking feeling like I am standing in the middle of an ice chest, holding on to the scraps of material that used to be my clothing, trying to keep them on to hide my bare body. I'm at a complete loss, where am I to begin. "Well...?" Unmoving, he waits for an answer.
With tears pouring from my eyes, I look at him. He knows, I can see it in his dark glare. We share the same look...the same hair, same skin, and same eyes. I look just like him, only, I'm a scrawny teenage girl and he's a handsome muscular 30 something year old man who drinks a lot. My father sets his strong jaw, reading me with his all-knowing eyes. My mother is tiny in comparison. Her heart-shaped face softens with compassion as she watches me. She hugs on her husband's powerful arm, looking at me with concern and fear. She knows too, I can tell. Her soft blue eyes say so.
"Leo," she says as she turns to my father, "Maybe we should let Ari-Belle clean up and change first. I'll make us some tea. Maybe you should start, it's obvious she is scared out of her mind." My mother is so gentle and kind. She looks at me and says with sympathy, "Why don't you go clean up? Okay?" She drifts to me, grabs my face and plants a soft kiss on my forehead. Then she works her way into the kitchen.
Dad huffs a quick, "Fine, go." He gestures to me. As I try to brush past my father into the hallway, he grabs my arm and asks, " How many?"
I look up at him with shock, "Excuse me?"
He clears his throat and repeats a little louder, "How many?"
"You clean up, and I'll take care of everything. When I get back, we'll talk. Where did you leave them?"
"Alright. I won't be long" With that, I knew he would believe me.
Read Chapter 1 here.
- The Shift: Book 1- The Anomaly Ch 1
Ariella is an amazing detective. She is strong and effective. But she is about to face her greatest foe. Keep reading to find out who or what it is.