Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday...

Sometimes, words complicate things. At times, it's best to let pictures or images speak for themselves as seen below. Feel free to share your thoughts! Images can be a great resource for writers block. Look at the images. How do they make you feel? What do you think when you see them? How would you describe them?

 Hope to hear some thoughts!
Cheers, Lisa ;-)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dream a little dream....

Sometimes I wish I could listen to my own advice. I think it's human nature that we are our own worst critics. I quickly realized that as a new author I had so much to learn. I loved spelling as a kid but never really understood the importance of proper English. Having French as my first language, I think, put me at somewhat of a disadvantage in that respect. I have always played word games and loved the language. I had never really thought about writing until being urged by some fellow bloggers. I wrote a story that had weekly installments. It was just for fun, and the story was actually quite good. However, now when I read that story I cringe! My grammar was horrid! My sentence structure awful! And my use of punctuation left little to be desired. But, I knew in my heart that the story line itself was unique. Week after week until roughly 60K words, I told that story and my fellow bloggers loved it. Despite all the grammatical gibberish, and lack of sentence structure. They saw beyond the weaknesses and enjoyed the weekly surprises. It was at that moment I seriously considered writing a novel and having it published. Oracle is the first in The Atlantean Line Trilogy. The project itself took roughly 5 years. The editing that had to be done was outrageous! But, if not for my editor Gerald at IUniverse seeing past all the flaws, Oracle may have never been published. He saw the merit in the storyline. He saw the work and research that went into this book, but more importantly he saw the uniqueness of the story. To have someone in the industry tell you that your first novel meets not only the editor's choice award but also the Rising Star award was truly magic! Suddenly, 5 years didn't seem that bad. I know I still have plenty to learn, and I am up for the challenge! Upward and onward! Never give up on your dreams. Some day they may actually come true!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Just discovered a great site for authors! If you are looking to get your book or name out there consider listing on AuthorsdB!

What an awesome idea! Check it out and see what you think!

Cheers, Lisa

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Release!!!

It's finally released!!
It has been a long ride getting this first book out.
In total it's been 5 years.
Blood, sweat and tears went into this and I was about to give it all up.
Then finally the right editor came along.
The editor that changed my destiny with the book.
Prior to publishing the book, it has already won Editor's Choice and Rising Star Awards.
The rest as they say is history!
The book is available in hard and soft copies.
The e-book will be out within the next few weeks!

Hoping this goes as far as I've always dreamed it would!
Cheers, Lisa

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Writer's Block You Say? Here's a Trick to stimulate your mind...

Jacob's story...I have written it exactly as he did, spelling, punctuation and all...and if I may, for just a minute, brag about him; Jacob at a very early age was a stutterer. He ended up having to take speech classes in school and, at times, even his teachers really gave him a hard time. Only 3 of his six teachers "got him" if you know what I mean. We've always said we thought he had an "old soul". He's so much wiser than a child his age should so many ways! Well, just last month we were told he didn't need speech classes anymore (thank goodness!) I think being in those classes toyed with his self esteem and abilities. Finally, at the end of the school year they did some testing and, lo' and behold, we got a call last week asking if they could test him for the AGP program (gifted program). We said "yes", of course, because we always thought the child was far too bright and that's what his problems were in school.( but they wouldn't listen to us)! So last week we got a call; telling us he's being moved into the "gifted" program, and he tested in the 97th percentile for the state! Now if those who I will leave nameless ever tell me again that my child is disruptive, and needs help I say this !! "

"He was friggin' bored you dumb-asses"
Sorry I got carried away there!

So here's Jacob's story.......Here's an old blog post I wanted to share. I gave the exercise to my 10 year old son, told him to choose a picture, showed him the words and let him pick out the ones he wanted, and said write whatever you want, and make it a short story. He's now 15 years old, and I wanted to reflect back to a time when he was that sweet little boy. So please indulge me! It's never too early to teach your children to write!

Bleeding Love
"Look out" everyone said. We all kept on running, they were Some were caught by the Griffins and were taken as hostages. Each gleaming shine of daylight forced us into the dark by the blizzard that was crushing our hope of living....and love. I could never find my true love, if I'm going to run I said to myself each day, but it never gave me the courage though. Each day I would go hunting for food and my true love, if I found food I would take a single lick and stuff it all in mouth. If I found love she'd be lying there......dead. One day when I was trying to find food again, I was in a deep and long alley. I heard laughter in a room. It sounded like a woman and a boy, I opened the door and there was my true love....standing there laughing with her son. "hello" I said. "Hello" she said back. "Can I sit down?" I asked. "Yes" she said back. And suddenly we kissed. "Ewwww" said the boy. "What's your name" I asked. "Calina" she said. "What's yours?"......"I don't know....I never had a name" I said. She looked surprised then she had a thinking face on. "How about hmmmm Zackary" "that's my name!" said the boy. "Zackary it is" I said. We gave each other another little kiss and then I knew this was my true love....
The End

Proof positive that we can all write if we set our minds to it. Getting writer's block? Try this little exercise as noted above ;-) Take 10 or 15 words that relate to your story and write from those!

Cheers, Lisa aka frenchkilt

Monday, July 15, 2013

Staying Humble

Monday was a momentous day for me. My first novel received an award and is up for another. Although I was very excited, I had to stop and reflect on everything that’s happened to my “book” since I started writing. I’ve been working on Oracle for five years now. To say it’s been a long, arduous process would be a gross understatement. The manuscript was originally 196,000 words and now sits complete at around 138,000.

The reason for the reduction in word count is editing. I’ve had numerous editors edit the work and I’ve worked diligently to make the needed changes to make it commercially viable. It wasn’t easy. My first editor provided feedback that I wasn't entirely willing to accept at first. It was hard to hear that my writing wasn’t perfect. I was angry. I was confused. I was disillusioned. Fortunately, I came to the realization that my ultimate goal was to sell copies of the book. Since that was the goal, I needed to be able to accept criticism. I’ve been through numerous revisions since the first editorial evaluation and I’ve developed thick skin regarding editorial comments. Sometimes the suggestions were difficult to hear and difficult to make, but I listened and made them. Not only did the changes make the book better, but the suggested changes made me think more deeply about the plot and characters. That thinking led to epiphanies in the storyline and I began to look for holes and inconsistencies on my own. I realized that, as a new author, I didn’t have all of the tools I needed to complete the work to industry standards.

I have those tools now. I’ve been shown the tools and how to use them by my editors. I took them and dedicated my free time to using them to make my book better and the results speak for themselves. I now have a manuscript that I’m proud of and industry professionals are taking note. When I started writing, I felt that I was a good writer. I’m glad that I humbled myself enough to see that I wasn’t, but my editors wanted to help me become a great writer. I don’t know if I am yet, but I know that I’ll do what’s needed to make sure I become the woman and author I see in my mind’s eye.  If you find yourself possibly skipping editing due to the expense or fear of criticism, I know how you feel. But…..don’t skip this crucial step. It’s worth it in the end and you’ll soon see that you begin to look at your own “book” with an editor’s eyes. When you do, you’ll begin to catch your mistakes such as unnecessary filtering and point of view shifts. It will make your writing time more enjoyable and will make your skin a little tougher. And tough skin is something every author needs.
Lisa aka Frenchkilt

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Atlantean Line Oracle Chapter 2

“Who are you? Do you even know anymore?”
The thought echoed in Cole’s head like the sound of his razor, clinking on the porcelain sink, echoing in the bathroom. He knew who he was and no matter how hard he tried to forget, he’d always remember. The countless names and titles were all there at his instant recall. You see, that’s the problem with being an immortal. You always remember. Cole thought about the locket, which he’d given to Bridget two days before, and his mind drifted away.
“Foolish pride leads to foolish endeavors,” Cole ruminated.
The soft slapping of a red maple branch against the window jolted Cole back to the present. Today was a busy day, an important day. The slapping of the red maple grew louder against the window as the wind picked up. A few more scrapes of the razor, an umbrella, a jelly doughnut, and out the door.
Rain was falling now and Cole was walking to campus. Autumn in Ohio was a wonderful time of year. The maple, shag bark hickory, and buckeye trees were just beginning to change colors. It was a pleasant walk to the university. The light rain made it less pleasant, but the short trip down College Way, past Browne Hall, was a quick one and he enjoyed it nonetheless.
It was amazing how the campus was growing, but managed to maintain its small college appeal. Freshmen wandered back and forth with their noses stuck in maps trying to find Oak Hall, or the Moore Math and Science Center. It always struck Cole as funny that someone would need a map to get across a campus that a strong boy could heft a football across. Well, in reality, it was slightly larger than that, but not by much. Cole slowly ambled past Barclay and Bailey Halls and turned toward The Swedenborg Library. Just past the library was Oak Hall.
After bounding up two flights of stairs to the third floor, he was finally in his office. There was no mail in his mailbox so he headed back down stairs and over to The Hub. It was a small café the students often gathered in. The Hub attracted less student and teacher traffic now that the new student center had been built. It was quiet. And he knew that Bridget would often relax here between classes. He figured that if he was going to catch her before classes, this would be the place.
He walked in, adjusted his tweed vest, and made his way toward her. Today was a new beginning and he was used to new beginnings. Cole smiled as he approached Bridget’s booth. He noticed that she was reading The Odyssey.
“Can I join you?” he asked. Slight surprise flickered over her face before she nodded. “Interesting read there, Bridget.”
“Dr. George wanted us to get a head start on his classics class, and this isn’t the easiest story to follow.”
“You know, it might help if you took my Greek Mythology course this semester. Having a historical perspective may help you with your literature. Do you have a class in the three o’clock hour?”
“Yeah, I do. Sorry. I’m already booked with Western Civ II, and I need the humanities credit.”
“Well, my course would meet that requirement too and would help you kill two birds with one stone, at least for part of the semester,” Cole laughed. “I could tutor you on the rest if you meet me here for lunch. Say on Wednesdays?”
“Are you really serious, Dr. Weber – I mean Cole?” Bridget replied inquisitively.
“Well, Greek history is more interesting than you may realize.”
Bridget took this opportunity to change the subject to one that has been plaguing her mind. “So when were you planning on enlightening me about all of my mom’s mysteries?” She raised her eyebrow challenging him to laugh it off and tell her he was just joking about the whole thing. “Mom mostly hid stuff from me. But she did tell me that I dream things. And that these dreams were not really dreams, but I didn’t believe her. Well, I didn’t put any stock in them until you gave me the locket after her funeral. Something…happened.” It was a moment before she continued. “Something happened to me when I opened it. I had a vision.” That word sounded weird coming out of her mouth. “And you were in it. I also noticed that you were in the picture with my mom and my grandma. What did you do – have a graphic design major tweak the photo? It just doesn’t make sense otherwise.”
Cole didn’t say anything, so Bridget continued to talk - more to herself than to him. “You were an adult, Cole. You looked the same then as you do now. How’s that possible? I mean, that picture is close to 40 years old. I figured you to be about my mom’s age, but, that picture – what am I supposed to take from that. Why did you alter it?”
“Bridget, this is going to be hard for you to comprehend, so I’m not going to tell you everything at one time. It’ll take time, but, if you trust me, you’ll have answers to all of your questions.”
“Okkaayy. So, tell me, then. I’m a big girl. I can handle the truth.”
“I know you can. I just don’t know how to begin. This would all be much easier if Janice had let me be a part of your life.” He took a cleansing breath. “Okay, here it goes. That is me in that picture – unaltered - and I’m much older than your mother…or your grandmother.”
“So, how old are you?” she asked unable to stop herself before the words left her mouth. She almost kicked herself for acting like a gullible kid.
“I’m about 20,000 years old, at least.”
“Bull shit!” Bridget snapped. “Look, if you aren’t gonna tell me the truth, well then we oughta just forget about all this. I don’t need someone new, hiding things from me or making crap up to win me over.”
“I’m not lying, Bridget. Let’s leave that alone for a minute, though. Tell me what you saw in the vision. It may help clear things up. If it doesn’t, then I’ll fill in the details.”
“I saw a meeting. I saw you standing at a podium. I saw you arguing with a huge man with long white hair. And I saw Coach Sarah,” she answered quickly, a little frustrated with herself. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
“That’s not as strange as you might think. Sarah’s as much a part of this as I am.”
“So, what, she’s 20,000 years old too?” Bridget gave Cole the “you’re crazy” look.
“No, she’s a little over 12,000 years old. But trust me and don’t get hung up on the age thing. Take my hand and I’ll tell you about that meeting. If a locket was enough to cause that vision, then actually holding my hand should do the same, only in more detail.”
She stared at Cole for a moment wondering how any of this could actually be happening. Then she pointedly took his hand.
As Cole began to speak, Bridget watched the meeting unfold before her eyes. His voice seemed to fade and the café, the booths, the waitress, they all just blurred out of her vision as she became lost in the picture unfolding around her. It didn’t take her long to figure out that she wasn’t just a bystander. She was a participant in this vision. She was seeing everything from Cole’s point of view, just as if she was him, feeling his emotions and hearing his thoughts. Bridget had ceased to exist, she was Cole.
Aphrodite’s voice was calling Eros, reminding him of the upcoming council meeting. The sound of her voice droned in his ears like an unwelcomed mantra. The memory was so tenacious it could not be ignored. He felt himself slipping away, away to a moment when everything in his life had changed. It was this meeting that had sent him into hiding, the meeting that had sent him searching for a woman he knew nothing about. 
“Eros, where are you?” Eros heard a woman call from across the courtyard of his villa.
“I’m here, in my laboratory.”
He had been hard at work studying the genetic makeup of the human mitochondrial DNA and he was close to a breakthrough. Years of hard work seemed near completion and the answers he had sought were finally within his grasp.
“Zeus has called for a meeting of the council and he is especially interested in your research,” Aphrodite stated as she wound her way around the last Doric column before reaching the door of the lab. “We have a problem, and it’s finally come to the precipice action. Zeus is calling for war with the humans. He no longer believes that they can be enslaved.”
“What? He does realize that this issue has been our doing. How can he expect to go to war when we’re so greatly outnumbered anyway?” Eros questioned.
“The humans are losing their respect for the gods, Eros. Something must be done.”
“Mother, I wish that you would stop using that word. We are not gods. We are frauds! This whole religion that you and the others have tried so hard to maintain cannot last. It’s inevitable. The humans will progress and their progress will, eventually, expose us for who we really are.”
“My dear child, you of all people should appreciate what we’ve done for you. You made the journey to this world. But it was us who built a kingdom for you, where you could live forever, and live in leisure. Do not forget that! If I were you, I would watch how you speak to Zeus. He will not tolerate your self-righteous ramblings as I do!” Aphrodite retorted. “He expects us to assemble at noon. Do not be late!”
Aphrodite turned and headed out of the lab, the train of her sheer white gown trailing behind her. Eros heard the slapping of her leather sandals grow fainter as she crossed the courtyard. He was disgusted by the arrogance of Zeus and his siblings. His increased contact with the humans had made him envious of their resourcefulness. They were mastering their world despite the Atlanteans’ best efforts to hold back their development. The world he knew as a child was changing and he was ready for change. He was tired of being worshipped. He was tired of being a god. He wanted to be loved by humans, not feared. He wanted to help them. His research into the humans’ genetic structure had opened his eyes dramatically. They would surpass the Atlanteans in time. Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon were philanderers and their escapades had created this very problem. Eros knew that Zeus would want to know about his research, but Eros didn’t want Zeus to know everything he had learned.
“I’ll tell him what he wants to hear. His arrogance will be his downfall,” thought Eros.
Zeus had ordered Eros to begin the research when the first demigods were born. Zeus wanted to know what kind of a threat his children posed him. Zeus was not the wisest of the Atlanteans, but what he lacked in wisdom, he more than made up for in bravado. He ruled the Atlanteans and the humans with an iron fist. He depended on his strength and ruthlessness to be enough to keep the other Atlanteans in line. It had worked until now. But, even as Zeus’ power over the Atlanteans grew, his power over the humans dwindled. Yes, he would tell Zeus the truth, but he would not tell him the whole truth.
Eros packed up his notes and headed for the Atlantean capital. The sun was shining brightly, just as it had the day before. The archipelago of Greece had the most perfect weather. Warm, sunny days and cool evenings were the norm. Eros felt blessed to live here.
He had to admit that the Atlantean Council had found the perfect escape from their dying world. Earth was rich in oxygen, much richer than the atmosphere of Atlantea had been. This was the secret to the Atlanteans’ long life. There was no destruction of the Atlantean cells. Earth was a hyperbaric environment for them. It was not without its drawbacks though, at least for Zeus’ generation. The high oxygen content would cause that generation to become almost intoxicated if they spent too much time away from the higher altitudes. This is why Mount Olympus was chosen as their home. The lower oxygen levels on Olympus did not have the intoxicating effect on Zeus and his kin. The times that Atlanteans mated with the humans always occurred during times that Zeus and his brothers tarried too long at sea level.
Zeus was normally always in control of himself, but the oxygen intoxication made him act irrationally. His brothers were no different. Olympus was created to protect the Atlanteans from themselves as much as it was to protect them from the humans. Eros did not have these problems. His DNA had somehow adapted enough to counteract this effect. This allowed Eros the opportunity to spend more time among the humans, to learn to love them. He wished to dwell among them and never return to Olympus, but Zeus and Poseidon would have none of it. They needed to maintain their mystique. Spending too much time among men offered the opportunity for the Atlanteans to make mistakes, to be found out. Eros continued his trek to the Temple of Kleito. At last, Eros made it to the Pillars of Heracles. There, Athena was waiting on him.
“Hurry, Eros, or we will be late! Get in and take hold,” Athena cried.
Eros climbed inside Athena’s chariot and the gentle hum of its motor increased to a muted roar. In an instant they were airborne. Eros did enjoy the view of the countryside from the air, but he did not like flying. Athena, however, was in her element. She was the most skilled pilot of all the Atlanteans and she never tired of proving it to Eros. Athena’s chariot was not enclosed and this made some of her aerobatics even more distressing to him.
Hephaestus had made the chariot to resemble a Greek chariot pulled by horses. The orichalcum drive was housed in the front of the vehicle and encased by housing, also made of orichalcum, formed to look like six horses pulling the chariot styled passenger compartment. The passenger compartment was made of titanium and orichalcum and had ivory and gold inlayed scroll work. Its functional interior was more comfortable than a Spartan chariot, but not by much. It was a sight to behold in flight. The glistening orichalcum looked like a bright orange flame when reflecting the sunlight, and gave the horse shaped fuselage the appearance of being on fire. Orichalcum was a metal brought to Earth by the Atlanteans and it was the basis of their technology. It was a light, extremely strong metal that resembled gold in appearance and was capable of generating a powerful electromagnetic field. It was much more durable than other metals, but was easily worked. Hephaestus, a master metal worker and engineer, fashioned it into a real masterpiece for Athena.
“Isn’t this fun?” Athena squealed as she made a right banking maneuver, which caused Eros to feel a tad bit nauseous. “Eros, you do not seem to be enjoying the ride!” She giggled.
“It’s faster than walking,” Eros muttered. He actually was enjoying the ride, other than the occasional instances when his stomach would be turned by Athena’s adept maneuvers. He would not give her the satisfaction of knowing that though. “Hephaestus should have never made this thing for you! You have too much power over him.”
“He loves me, Eros, and I didn’t even need your elixir to make him fall in love!”
“Yes, but you do not love him. It’s not fair.”
“He knows that I don’t, but he does not care,” Athena responded.
“I know. And, I know that you use that to your advantage. If he didn’t waste so much time on your personal projects, then just imagine what he could build.” Eros replied sarcastically.
Hephaestus could make anything, and if asked to do so by Athena, often would. Hephaestus was one of the few Atlanteans Eros could really talk to. He was a burly man with a mane of coal black, curly hair and eyes with a beard to match. His deep voice resonated with a wisdom that even Athena was impressed by, and his laugh was even more melodic than that of Dionysus. He was crippled and Eros had worked many years to correct the condition to no avail. Despite his condition, Hephaestus was kind and nearly always in good spirits. He was an immensely strong individual and could easily have challenged Atlas in strength if he were not infirm. He was of the same generation as Athena, but he was much older than she was.
Eros was thought to be a third generation Atlantean on Earth, but he wasn’t. He was Protogenos. He was one of the original Atlanteans who made the voyage from Atlantea to Earth many thousands of years before. Hephaestus however, still treated him like a son. Of course, Eros had a father, or rather an adopted father, Ares, but in reality he wished that Hephaestus had taken on the role.
Athena and Eros, in his second life, were nearly the same age even though they were from different generations. They had grown up together and acted like siblings. Athena was wild and fearless, but at the same time she had an uncanny wisdom in all decisions she made. What was folly for others was merely a calculated risk for her. She would often tease Eros for being too timid. She saw greatness in him that the others did not. Eros was not worshipped by the humans for anything other than his love inducing abilities, and this was almost always in conjunction with Aphrodite. Eros was always under her thumb. Athena loved Eros, but she never spoke of her love to anyone. She had hoped that Eros would just be mindful of her subtle advances. Ironically, the “god” of love and sexual desire was oblivious to her affections. Eros was a scientist and could chemically induce sexual desire, but his understanding of a woman’s heart and feelings was sorely lacking. Still, she loved him and awaited the day that he would gain a little of her wisdom in this area. She vowed herself to virginity until that day, and her vow was iron strong.
Athena elbowed Eros on the shoulder, laughed in delight, and shouted, “Hold on Eros!”
Another sweeping turn, another bout of nausea, and Atlantis was within Eros’ sight.
Atlantis was a beautiful city. The Great Canal leading into the city was a marvel of engineering. Eros was always amazed by the work of the humans. The Great Canal was nearly 20 miles in length and was wide enough to sail an armada of triremes, side by side, down its entire length. It led from the Atlantic Ocean, near the Pillars of Heracles, to the city of Atlantis itself. The canal ended at an enormous gate that could completely wall off the city and act as a loch. The city itself was just as described by Plato. There were three concentric, circular canals at the end of the Great Canal. Each canal surrounded a corresponding ring of land. Around each ring of land was a high wall approximately 100 feet in height.
The first ring of land was the residential and farming area of the city. It was the largest ring and was fully capable of feeding the entire city in the event that the city was besieged. The wall of the outer ring was sheathed in bronze. The second ring was the city proper. It contained all of the administrative buildings, sporting arenas, amphitheaters, and market places. The wall of this ring was sheathed in tin. The most inner ring was the temple area. In its center was a mountain that had been carved into a temple to Kleito by Poseidon himself. It was a beautiful area, rich in lush, green gardens and white marble stonework. The wall surrounding the temple area was sheathed in orichalcum.
Each canal surrounding each ring was as wide and deep as the Great Canal. A road led from the Southern area of the island directly to the Temple of Kleito. Each city ring that the road passed through was secured by a large, bronze gate.
Athena circled the city once and then made her approach to the temple. The site of Athena’s flying chariot must have truly inspired awe in the humans who saw it. Rarely, were humans allowed into the temple circle and never were they allowed into the temple itself. Offerings to Kleito were typically left at the gate of the temple on an elaborate altar. Eros wondered how the humans would react if they knew that Kleito had died a millennia before.
Kleito was not an Atlantean, but a human of incredible beauty. She was Poseidon’s first human lover and his favorite. She was however, all too human, and humans die. Poseidon carved the mountain in the center of Atlantis into a temple for her and she developed a small cult following within the city. Kleito bore Poseidon five sets of twin sons.
Atlas and Gaderius were the oldest, followed by Ampheres and Evaemon. Mneeus and Autochthon, which were the middle pair of twins, followed by Elasippus and Mestor. Azaes and Diaprepes were the youngest of the 10. The 10 twins were all demigods and were immortal as well, but they did not have all of the traits of full-blooded Atlanteans.
Atlas was given reign over the city of Atlantis and the remainder of the island of Atlantis was divided up into fiefdoms for the remaining nine. Eros was friends with each of the twins and they were keenly interested in Eros’ research. The twins knew that Zeus did not care for demigods and they were correct in their suspicions of his deceptive acceptance of them.
The chariot came to rest in a small landing area of the temple mount. The orichalcum powered engine, which sounded like a herd of galloping horses, slowed to a gentle rumble. Eros hopped off the chariot as Athena disengaged the drive.
“Wait up, Eros! We’re doing fine on our time. There’s no need to worry about being tardy,” Athena shouted as the engines died.
“I’m not worried about the time. Zeus cannot do anything without hearing what I have to say.”
“You always worry, Eros. I know you better than you know yourself,” Athena laughed.
Just then, Dionysus bounded down the temple’s grand stairs at its entrance. He was a garish man and always seemed to be intoxicated. Eros did not believe it was possible that he was constantly inebriated and suspected that it was a ploy to keep the others from knowing his true intentions. Dionysus proclaimed himself to be the god of wine, drunkenness, and debauchery. He lived up to his reputation and was known to engage in orgies with the humans on a regular basis. He loved the fact that humans were easily impressed with him, and eager to give themselves to his carnal desires. Dionysus made no differentiation between men and women. He would take what he could get, whenever he could get it. Eros found him to be entirely loathsome. Dionysus had no love for Eros either. He hated Eros for, among other things, refusing his requests to make the humans fall in love with him.
“Well, well, well….look who’s decided to grace us with his presence. It is none other than the weakest god!” Dionysus snorted.
“Keep your remarks to yourself or your head will adorn the altar in my temple!” Athena growled. This was a threat that Dionysus knew to take seriously.
 “I don’t need you to defend me, Athena. I can take care of myself. Just because I do not like to fight, does not mean that I don’t know how.” Eros blurted out.
“I’m sure you are a lion in battle, Eros, but you need to, more voraciously, defend yourself against the others. They view you as weak,” Athena replied gingerly.
“If you say so, but I doubt that any defense I make will change their opinion of me.”
“Well, boy, you had better move a little more quickly. Zeus has been looking for you,” Dionysus cackled. “Actually, take your time. It’ll be fun to watch Zeus punish you for your tardiness.”
“We’re not late. It’s not yet midday!” Athena retorted.
Athena and Eros moved quickly, but deliberately up the temple steps. The giant, Doric columns lining the vestibule were carved from the solid limestone of the mountain itself. In fact, the entire temple structure was one solid piece of limestone. The enormous bronze doors into the temple were difficult for Athena to open and even posed a small nuisance to Eros. Beyond the doors was a large hall with a statue of Kleito, which was three times her size in real life. It was entirely made of gold and was encrusted with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds along her crown. Just past the statue was another set of bronze doors, but these were more manageable. Athena opened the doors and entered the courtyard amphitheater, followed by Eros. The entire council was already there. Zeus sat in the center of the stage with Poseidon on his right and Hades on Poseidon’s right. Hestia, Hera, and Demeter sat to Zeus’ left in order. Aphrodite, Apollo, Hermes, Ares, Artemis and Hephaestus sat in the theater seating area.
“It’s nice to see that you could make it Eros,” Zeus bellowed. “It is always good to see you, Athena. Where’s Dionysus?”  Dionysus stumbled into the theater before Zeus had even completed his question.
“I am here, mighty Zeus. I wouldn’t miss this for all of the orichalcum on Atlantea!”  Dionysus snickered.
Dionysus was not lying. He eagerly awaited the day that the arrogant Eros was put in his place. Dionysus had only known two loves, Ariadne and Athena. Ariadne had long since passed away, but Athena was there every day. Her beauty vexed him. Her voice bewitched him, but he never spoke of it. Athena loved Eros, but Eros was a foolish boy and couldn’t see it. Dionysus longed to be the holder of her affections. He fought against Eros on every front, trying to prove himself worthy in her eyes. But Athena was unimpressed. Dionysus was flawed, but everyone is flawed. He couldn’t help himself no matter how hard he tried. He was as promiscuous as Athena was chaste. She hated that about him and he knew it. Eros on the other hand had only known Psyche. His sexual fidelity captivated her, but Dionysus could see through him. Eros had only one true love in Dionysus’ estimation, science. Every day, all day, Eros poured over his research, neglecting the love that was so freely offered to him by Athena. It was this love that Dionysus longed for. He believed that her love could change him, that she would change him into the man that he desired to be. He tried, and often succeeded at, being benevolent, being caring, but his sexual urges would always get the best of him in the end. No matter what he did, it was never enough for her. And no matter how Eros rebuffed her, she continued to throw herself at him. Dionysus hated Eros for this.
“Well, Eros, what has your research exposed about the problem?”
“What problem, Zeus?” Eros responded.
“Do not toy with me, boy! You know what I mean. Tell me what I want to know!” thundered Zeus.
“Everything, good and bad?” Eros questioned.
“Yes, everything. Do not test my patience!”
Eros was, perhaps, the most intellectual of the Atlanteans, but he was also the most sarcastic. He had not developed as much respect for Zeus as he should during his childhood. Zeus was gigantic. He stood almost 7 feet tall and carried nearly 350 pounds of muscle on his vast frame. His white hair and beard were deceptive. There was no age to his body. He was the strongest and most dangerous of all the Atlanteans. He found Eros’ sarcasm amusing when Eros was a child, but after 5,000 years he had grown tired of it.
“All right, I will skip the more mundane details, but feel free to ask questions, if you do not understand what I am saying,” Eros quipped.
“Boy!!!” Zeus shouted, his patience running low.
“Come now, Eros, we have been waiting on your report all morning,” Aphrodite interjected.
“Well, as you all know, particularly Demeter, Zeus’ and Poseidon’s extramarital affairs have created Atlantean/human hybrids. In order to understand the consequences of their births, you must first understand how DNA works and how genetic traits are passed on. Zeus and Poseidon have had, almost exclusively, fathered males.
Males pass on the Y chromosome, father to son. Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades have inherited the exact same DNA from Cronus, which Cronus inherited from Uranus. The Y chromosome never changes. The only reason that Zeus and Cronus are not identical in every respect is, because of the DNA inherited by Rhea. Rhea’s X chromosome creates the differentiation. This is why the hybrid males can shape-shift into animal forms.”
“Yes, yes, but they cannot assume the shapes of other humans as Poseidon and I have done. Why is this?” Zeus interrupted.
“I was getting to that point. Zeus. If you don’t mind, then I will continue my explanation,” Eros responded.
“Continue!” thundered, the increasingly angered, Zeus.
“As I was saying, the only differentiation between father and sons is the X chromosome provided by the mother.
Female DNA prevents the Atlantean DNA from, wholly, expressing in the hybrids. The human females’ DNA suppresses some Atlantean traits. The Atlantean trait that seems to be consistently repressed is the trait that allows for shape-shifting into human forms.”
“Why is that, Eros? We can all take other humanoid forms. Why can’t the demigods?” Hera asked.
“You asked the question and you are the answer, Hera,” Eros answered.
“What do you mean, boy!” Poseidon shouted.
“Poseidon, inside of all cells, there are organisms called mitochondria. Mitochondria were, initially, independent creatures, but they developed symbiotic relationships with more complex cellular based life forms throughout the ages. They were able to pass on their traits as the creatures they inhabited procreated. In sexual reproduction, the mitochondrial DNA passed on by the female destroyed the mitochondrial DNA passed on by the male. The trait which allows us to shape-shift into human forms is entirely mitochondrial. When Zeus or Poseidon sired a child, the mother’s mitochondrial DNA destroyed the mitochondrial DNA of Uranus. This is why Atlas can take the shape of a bull, but not that of another man. This ends today’s lesson in genetics,” Eros stated.
“No it does not! What are you not telling us, Eros? What about the female children sired by Zeus and Poseidon. Is this a problem?” Demeter questioned.
“None of this is a problem, except for the problem that it has created in your own minds!” Eros argued fervently.
“Do not trifle with me, paidon!” Zeus bellowed, his face reddening. “I want the whole truth!”
“Here is the truth. The female children of these liaisons will not pass the trait to shape shift into other human or Atlantean forms, due to the mother’s mitochondrial DNA destroying the father’s. The only threat that could be posed to your reign could only occur if Hestia, Demeter, or any of the other female Atlanteans were to have children. In that case, any female children born to them would also pass on their mitochondrial DNA. However, the males who fathered the children would pass on the human Y chromosome, so it is still not an issue.”
“What would happen if the offspring of Zeus and Poseidon were to mate with the offspring of a goddess?” Demeter asked.
“Well, first of all, we are not gods. We are simply immortal. Our technological and chronological advantages will not last forever. Eventually, the humans will surpass us in technology and knowledge. We cannot hope to continue the ruse of being gods for perpetuity. There are only 15 of us left. We are outnumbered by millions to one. And, at their current rate of reproduction, it will be close to a billion to one in the next 3,000 years. Now, to answer your question, if the hybrid offspring of a male Atlantean and the hybrid offspring of a female Atlantean were to conceive a child, then that child would have all of our abilities and the abilities of humans as well,” Eros replied.
“What do you mean by ‘human abilities’ Eros?” Hestia questioned demanding detailed information.
“Humans have a sixth sense, one of perception, Hestia. Take the oracles at Delphi for an example. The oracles are human, correct?”
“Yes, we all know that. Explain what you mean!” Zeus shouted.
“Well, the oracles can see the future. Some other humans can see the future and read the thoughts of others. I am not talking about intuition. I am talking about a biological trait.
It’s a rare trait, but it is a dominant trait and will eventually be passed on to all humans after about 10,000 more years of time passes. None of us can see the future, except for Apollo. It is a human trait. I have not had time to study why Apollo has the gift of prophecy, but I hope to in the future. Even Athena, as wise as she is, is limited in this respect. It is inevitable. The humans will surpass us.”
“That settles it. The human race must be destroyed. If we cannot enslave them, then I will not allow them to enslave us!” Zeus’ rage burst forth.
“Why don’t we just tell them the truth? Why are you so afraid of our children being greater than we are? Is it because of the history of your family, Zeus? Just because Cronus overthrew Uranus and you overthrew Cronus does not mean that they will do the same,” Demeter said.
“No!” Zeus thundered. “I will not take that chance. We must reduce their numbers to a level we can manage. We must go to war and we must destroy the hybrids.”
“I will not be a part of this Zeus!” Eros shouted defiantly.
“Then you should stay out of my way, paidon! Now, who is with me on this? I will destroy the demigods and I will control the humans before I am done! Now who is with me?”
Slowly, Hades and his siblings, except for Hera, agreed to Zeus’s demands. Dionysus was quick to join with Zeus. Aphrodite and Ares joined with him as well. Eros was sickened.
“I can’t believe this, not both of you, Mother and Father? How can you agree to this?” Eros cried.
“We must stand for our race in this matter, Eros,” Ares replied.
“Then, I am no longer your son!” he bellowed.
“Truth be known, you never were my son. You are too much like your mother, but she, at least, understands where her loyalties lie,” Ares responded.
“As do I, father, but my loyalty is to what is right, not what is of ease or convenience.”
“I am not with you, Zeus. I cannot agree to this madness,” Demeter said. “This is not right.”
“Do not cross me, Demeter!” Zeus warned her.
“You may be my lover, but you are also my little brother, Zeus. I am not afraid of you,” Demeter’s voice hardened. “You killed my one human lover, but you expect me to accept all of your conquests? No more! I will not acquiesce to your demands any further.”
“And just how, exactly, do you plan to accomplish this genocide Zeus?” Hephaestus asked.
“Atlantis will go to war with Athens. The seedlings of democracy are taking hold in that polis. We will wipe them out. Sparta and the others are still monarchies. If we control their kings, then we control the people. Our technology will provide us with the advantage we need to swiftly defeat the Athenians. We will meet their army on the plains of Marathon and crush them at once, in one great battle. After Athens, we will determine who will live to serve us and who must be eliminated.”
“I cannot believe I am hearing this! I cannot believe that we have come to this!” Eros was beside himself.
“Eros, I’m done with you. Leave my sight, before I make an example of you. In time, boy, you will come to see that I am right. The strong survive, the weak destroyed. This is the way of things. You have given us a glimpse of a future that we cannot allow to come to pass. For this, I am grateful, but not grateful enough to listen to your whining. Now leave,” Zeus frowned.
Eros turned to leave, unable to believe what had just happened. He had explained that there was no threat. The female Atlanteans had no female children. He could not believe that so many would refuse to listen to reason. Now, he had made himself into more than a nuisance to Zeus. He had become Zeus’ enemy and that was not a desirable title to hold. An hour later, Athena came to Eros as he sat under the shadow of Kleito’s likeness.
“Are you ready to go home, Eros, or should I let you worry about what you cannot stop?”
“I am ready, I suppose. Nothing I say will change their minds. Look at her, Athena. Kleito wasn’t Atlantean, but Poseidon loved her anyways. I would wager all the gold in Atlantis that he loved her more than he loves Amphitrite. How can he side with Zeus while standing in her home?”
“I would not assume that Poseidon is on Zeus’ side of this issue, Eros,” Athena replied. “There are more who stand with you than you know, but they are not willing to make Zeus their enemy in public view. You are brilliant. I love that in you, but you are foolish and rash. You speak your mind with no thought of the consequences. The world is not as black and white as you would wish, Eros. There are complexities that require a little more discretion to navigate. You would be wise to let me speak for you in the future. As it is now, Zeus believes that I am with him and I want him to think this way until I can talk to the Spartans. After Athens, Zeus will most assuredly turn his attention to the greatest of the human warriors. You have a price on your head, Eros. Zeus did not mark you for death, but rest assured there is a price. You must go into hiding. I will meet with you from time to time, but, for now, you must disappear. Come, I will take you home. Get all that you need from your lab and then, go to Athens and find the home of Mnestra. Mnestra is a human consort of Poseidon’s and she is with child. Only I and Poseidon, of course, know of this. Poseidon told Zeus that she did not become with child when he bedded her. Poseidon wishes to meet you there. Now, hurry, we must move quickly.”
After Cole stopped talking, Bridget snapped back into present day.
She released his hand. A few moments felt like a full day. The blonde girl that was leaving the café as Bridget had made the choice to touch Cole, was just now walking through the door. She took a few deep breaths and made her decision.
“So you’re Eros and Sarah is Athena,” she said. It wasn’t a question.
“Yes, Bridget - in another life at least, I was called a god. But we’re not really gods or goddesses. We’re actually from another planet,” Cole smiled.
“So, you crashed here or something? And what does any of this have to do with me. Like how am I involved in all this?”
“Essentially, you’re my descendant. That’s the crux of it.”
“You’re what – my great, great, great, great, grandpa? I just don’t understand. I feel normal, not alien or whatever you are.”
Cole laughed, “Bridget, you feel normal for you. You’re anything but normal. But it’s a good thing. It’s definitely not a bad thing.”
“I really don’t know how to respond to that.” She should have felt freaked out, but instead she felt a kind of peace. It was good to have some sort of answers, even the impossible kind. “Well, I guess I’ll go switch my classes up, so that I can take your Greek mythology class.”
“Trust me. You’ll find it enlightening, to say the least.”
“I have a sneaky suspicion that I’m going to learn more about Greek mythology than I ever wanted to know. I want to know more about you and Sarah. My mom would tell me to beware of the others – including you. Are you a part of these others? Who are they?”
 “They’re called the Plouton Covenant. It’s essentially headed by Aphrodite, Hades, and Dionysus. I’m not getting into all of that now, though. You need to get your class changed. We can continue to meet like this, but I’d rather not do it here. Maybe we could meet at my house. I’ll continue to work through your visions, and I’ll explain what I can.”
Cole helped Bridget collect her things. Outside The Hub, he popped open the umbrella and offered to carry her book bag. Bridget was relieved. The weight of the unknown was slowly being lifted, as if the veil, that had covered her eyes since childhood, could now just slip away, blowing carelessly in the breeze.
Bridget, curious as always, asked Cole why he had chosen to teach at Urbana, when other universities paid substantially better. Cole explained that money was not a driving factor in his life. He’d spent enough time accumulating wealth and, now, he wanted to enjoy life in peace, as best he could. Urbana afforded him the opportunity to do just that. The Urbana community and the one-on-one time with his students more than made up for the lower pay. Bridget seemed pleased with the answer and smiled her approval. While talking with Bridget, Cole was happier than he had been in years. It was like Mnestra was with him again. Cole couldn’t help but chuckle to himself when he realized that Bridget was closer to being Mnestra’s granddaughter 100 times removed, than she was to being Mnestra herself. Regardless of the age difference, he was happy to finally be a part of her life and was glad that he had survived to protect her.
Cole was, by all standards, an extremely attractive man and had all the physical attributes you would expect of a Grecian god. He stood a little more than six feet tall. His features and build were both strong and rigid. His hair was dark brown with natural curls, the type of curls that most envied. His eyes were an azure blue that often left women mesmerized. He had the look of a man who could handle himself in any fight, yet, his demeanor was the polar opposite of his appearance. He was soft spoken, extremely intelligent, and very modest. Cole didn’t realize how truly attractive he was to the opposite sex. The girls at college often talked about how they wanted to take his classes just to be able to watch him. There was something different about Cole, now Bridget knew what. 
He was always impeccably dressed and he had an affinity for button up vests. Many of the other professors dressed casually, but Cole felt that it was important to dress professionally. The way he addressed his students, his vocabulary, and everything about him seemed more polished than most of the other professors. The material he taught seemed effortless in its dissemination. Students wanted to learn Greek Mythology, simply because of the way he lectured. He was completely convinced in his beliefs. How could they be myths? His students felt as though they had been transported through time to another world, Cole’s world.
The process of changing classes was uncomplicated and only took a few minutes. Bridget asked Cole what books she would need and he provided her with the list of required reading. After a short period of small talk, they said their goodbyes.
“I’ll see you on Monday.” Bridget ran toward the parking lot.
“Three o’clock sharp!”
“Okay!” She yelled back then disappeared around the corner of the Moore Center. Cole was, simultaneously, elated and heartbroken.
Why would any Atlantean in their right mind choose to love a human being? His question was the answer. He knew that love was not a choice. It just happened. He didn’t have sexual designs on Bridget, but he was in love with her spirit. He saw Mnestra in her eyes and she was his one chance to feel alive again. Perhaps the humans were the blessed species. The gift of immortality seemed more like a curse when you had lost the love of your life. Five thousand years was a long time to miss someone and Cole was ready for his misery to end. He wasn’t going to kill himself, but he was ready, if not anxious, for the day that death would come. Cole realized that a man, such as himself, who had lost everything, was capable of anything.  
Now here is chapter 2 and the rest you get when the book comes out ;-) 
Cheers and so many thanks to my wonderful followers and twitter friends who have made this journey and wonderful experience!  Lisa aka Frenchkilt

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Atlantean Line Book 1 Oracle==>> Chapter One

“Run, Bridget!”
“What? Why?”
“Just go! You’re not safe.”
She didn’t know why, but her feet started off as fast as they would carry her, just like every time before. They were supposed to be safe here. They were supposed to be able to stop running. But they weren’t safe. Nowhere was safe. Bridget could hear the sound of her mom’s footsteps behind her. She looked back to see only her mom trailing behind her in the mist. No one was chasing them.
Bridget stopped, out of breath and out of patience. “Mom, there’s no one there,” she gestured to the empty boardwalk behind her, most of it swallowed by the rising steam. “Can’t you, please, just stop it? I’m tired of this bullshit! No one’s here, no one’s chasing us.”
“God damn it, Bridget, just run!” Janice replied, catching up to her daughter’s position on the boardwalk that wound its way through the hot springs. She grabbed Bridget’s arm, trying to pull her further up the path, but she wouldn’t move. Janice’s eyes pleaded with her daughter, but Bridget still remained fixed in place, the stubborn expression on her face unwavering.
“Stop it, Mom! This needs to end. I’m tired of running from shit that isn’t there. I’m just…tired!” Bridget cried, collapsing on the wooden planks that separated her from the boiling water below.
Janice knelt down and hugged her daughter as tightly as she could. Bridget began to cry as her mom’s grip tightened. This was supposed to be a vacation. It was supposed to be a time of fun and relaxation with her mom, but it was turning out to be like every other day. She’d been running with her mom her entire life and she didn’t know why. Her mom was always looking over her shoulder. She was suspicious of everyone and everything. Bridget wasn’t allowed to make friends. She wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone about anything, more than just superficial crap. No one could know who they were, because everyone was a threat, at least in her mom’s mind.
Bridget knew that she was special and she never doubted that, but she didn’t believe that every creak in the floor board or every person that looked in her direction was dangerous. However, everyone was one of the others as far as her mom was concerned - that included her father. She never spoke his name and would change the conversation, forcefully, any time Bridget broached the subject.
Her mom slowly loosened her grip on Bridget’s shoulder and made her look into her eyes. “Bridget. Baby. We have to go. Please, don’t cry, just trust me, okay. We need to go now.”
“No.” Bridget pushed her mom’s hands away. “I can’t go any further. There’s no one here except us. Why do you have to keep doing this to me? Look – I understand the need to be cautious. I understand your need to move. I don’t understand running when there’s, obviously, no one chasing us.”
“Stop it. We don’t have time for this.”
“You haven’t told me anything. I don’t know why we’re running and I don’t know who the others are! I don’t know who my father is. Hell, I don’t even know who I am. All I know is that you keep saying I’m in danger. But nothing happens, Mom. Nothing ever happens, except that we move to a new town, in a new state, and I have to start all over. I’m tired of starting over. You know, I thought that I’d get to lead a normal life at UU.”
“Bridget, stop, honey,” she said, but she was no longer pushing Bridget to run. Now she was trying to calm her.
Bridget kept talking over the top of her mom’s pleadings. “My life is good in Ohio, but now you’re even screwing that up. Why did you have to move up there?”
“You know why, now stop acting like a child.”
“No, Mom, I won’t stop, because you won’t stop. Talk to me. Tell me the truth for once.”
“I’ve never lied to you,” Janice replied. “I’ve always told you the truth.”
“You haven’t given me any real answers, just half truths. I want to know the whole truth, for once, and I’m not moving until I get it. I’m not running anywhere until I understand.”
The steam rising from the springs and mud pots enveloped them. Janice looked up and down the boardwalk, but visibility was almost non-existent. She listened carefully, but heard nothing, other than the splishes and splashes of the boiling water and the burping sounds emitted by the mud pots. She sat down next to Bridget and thought a while before answering.
“I can’t tell you everything, but I can tell you more than you know now.”
“Okay. Who’s my father?”
“Not that, honey, not now.”
Bridget groaned. This was going to be no different than any other talk. She would ask questions and her mom would refuse to answer.
“Alright then, why did you tell me to stay away from Dr. Weber? I remember him, you know. Not well, but I remember. And now I see him all the time around campus. He was always nice to me my first two years and then you told me to stay away from him. Why?”
“You just have to trust me, Bridget. He’s a dangerous man. Well, he’s not dangerous, but danger follows him. Your abilities are beginning to manifest themselves and that will make him want to be closer to you, but you can’t let him.”
Abilities,” Bridget laughed. “I know what I can and can’t do. I’m not seeing anything new so can you explain these abilities you’re talking about, Mom? Oh and don’t talk about my dreams, they’re just dreams. I have daydreams and nightmares like any normal person. That’s not the definition of a special ability.”
“I wish you’d stop saying that. They are abilities. I have them too. You get them from me…and your father. You’ve been seeing the past, but it won’t stop there. Soon,” Janice took a breath and peered into the steam, intently. “Soon you’ll be able to see the future too, just like I do.”
“That’s why we’re always running, because you think you can see the future? Christ, Mom.”
“I’ve kept you safe. I’ve kept you alive, but I won’t be able to do it forever. Humans die, Bridget.”
“What the Hell is that supposed to mean? Of course, everyone dies.” Bridget narrowed her gaze to a questioning squint. “Are you dying? Is that what you’re saying?”
“I’ve been dying for a while now, honey, but I’ve made sure that you’ve been taken care of.”
“What? Are you being serious right now? You’re dying, right. I know that every day is one day closer to death, but what you said right now isn’t funny mom, it’s really dark.”
“Breast cancer,” Janice whispered. Bridget stopped breathing, stopped moving.
“I have stage four breast cancer. I’ve got, maybe, three more months, but I took care of you. I have a life insurance policy in your name that’ll give you enough money to start a new life. When I’m gone, I want you to take it and leave. Don’t tell anyone where you’re going. You won’t have to work, so you can use a different name. Just go somewhere new and start a new life.”
They sat staring at the ever-thickening steam for what seemed like forever. Bridget let the rollercoaster of emotions ride out inside her, holding them in, keeping them from playing out like a Broadway musical on her face. When she knew her voice wouldn’t crack, she broke the silence managing to keep the emotion out of her tone.
“I’m going to finish college, Mom. I’ve never finished anything. I’ve never had the chance, but I am going to finish college.”
“Baby, trust me on this one. You’ll be better off if you start over.”
“No.” Bridget’s gaze didn’t falter. “No. I’m not starting over again, not this time. For the first time in my life, I feel normal, or at least stable. These dreams I keep having are just that, dreams and nothing more,” Bridget replied forcefully. But before she could continue, they both felt the wooden boards under them tremble.
Janice’s head whipped around suddenly. Her eyes strained to peer through the mist and her mind tried to filter out all the ambient noise in the caldera. Then, she heard it, the soft thumping sound of an animal’s feet slapping down upon the walkway. Janice leaped to her feet and pulled Bridget up by the arm.
“Run.” Her voice was barely above a whisper.
This time, Bridget heard the sound as well and this time she didn’t argue. She wasn’t convinced that it was the sound of certain death, but it was the sound of an animal. And in Yellowstone Park, that sound couldn’t be good. Whatever it was, she decided to take her mom’s advice.
Bridget scrambled off in the direction of the trail that led to the parking area. It seemed as though every board on the walkway intentionally tripped her along the path. She stumbled, nearly falling from the wooden surface into a brilliant, blue-green hot spring. The smell of sulphur burned her lungs as she struggled back to her feet. The morning was cool and the steam was dense because of it, so dense that she could barely see more than 10 feet in front of her. Bridget lost sight of her mom in the mist, but she could hear her moving in the opposite direction. She stopped and called to her, but the only reply was a deep growl that seemed to come from just beyond her field of vision. Then, a second growl rumbled through the thickening mist. It was different than the first growl, more feline.
Bridget was scared - truly scared - for the first time in a long time.
She called to her mom again and still there was no response. Terror gripped her as she turned and ran for the safety of the car. Bridget’s heart raced as her small, but powerful legs carried her up the trail at a neck breaking pace. What seemed like hours were, in reality, only a few minutes of running.
After reaching the parking lot, Bridget fumbled with the car keys, dropping them while trying to unlock the door. Her shaking hands scooped them from the gravel and forced the key into the lock. She quickly climbed in, slammed the door, and locked it. Every sound startled her and caused her to nervously look in every direction, expecting something to jump out at her. She desperately wanted to find her mom, but fear consumed her. It paralyzed her and her inability to act angered her.
Bridget sat, gripping the steering wheel and peering at the end of the trail. One minute passed and then another and then another. The wait was agonizing. The thought of losing her mom terrified her. Despite all the years of running and hiding, and all the frustration she aimed in her mom’s direction, Bridget loved her deeply. Now she faced the prospect of losing her – the only constant in her life.
Fifteen minutes later, Janice appeared at the end of the trail, bleeding and nearly completely naked. Bridge knew what this meant. She knew that this time there was trouble. She watched as her mom looked, hesitantly, to the left and then the right. Bridget unlocked the passenger side door and fired up the engine.
“Mom, come on!” She yelled through the crack of her barely rolled down the window. Bridget pulled to a stop at the trail’s edge and Janice climbed in.
“Where’s the back pack?” Janice questioned.
“It’s in the back seat,” Bridget replied. She hadn’t seen her mom naked before, she’s practically clothed head to foot when they go to the beach. “Mom, where did all the blood come from?”
“It’s okay Bridget. It’s not mine. It was just a black bear, not what I’d thought.” Janice started unzipping the backpack.
“Just a black bear. Are you telling me that you just fought a bear?”
“Bridget, relax and drive. I’m fine and, yes, I just fought off a bear. It wasn’t expecting me. I took it by surprise and pushed it off the walkway. It’s dead now.”
Bridget looked at her mom incredulously, as she wheeled the car around in the lot. Janice used every single wet wipe in the small package buried in the back pack, trying to clean enough blood from her face, so as not to draw too much attention at the lodge.
Bridget watched her from the rearview mirror. The more blood she wiped off, the more her skin was exposed. Not that you would call it skin.
Bridget watched in muted horror as she saw the searing red puckered scars peak out from under the blood. They were everywhere, some more faded than others, but all of them pointed to the fact that Bridget knew nothing, absolutely nothing, of the painful sacrifices her mom had been making over the years. A new long tear in Janice’s right arm appeared to be ripped over a few existing scars. She watched as Janice cleaned it quickly and concealed it.
Bridget made it to the road and the Monte Carlo fish-tailed as she turned to the right, distracted from the horror show in the backseat.
“Slow down!” Janice scolded, not realizing that she’d been watched.
Bridget’s eye’s returned to the road, she let her foot off of the accelerator, and the back end of the car slid back into the appropriate lane.
“You know, you scared the shit out of me back there, Mom. I’m still scared. I’m still shaking. I don’t think I can drive like this.” Bridget pulled onto the shoulder trying to contain the adrenaline from the run that was mixing with her fresh anger.
“Okay, I can drive. Just give me a minute to finish dressing.”
“What did you mean when you said it wasn’t what you’d thought?”
Janice looked at Bridget, solemnly. “I thought it may have been one of the others. Thank God it was just a bear.”
“Sure, right, it was just a bear.” Bridget shrugged sarcastically. “No one knows we’re even here. How would someone have found us?” Her past convictions won out over the discovery of her mom’s marred flesh. “Ugh. I don’t wanna live like this anymore. I mean it. I’m done. I’m going back to school. I’m going to graduate and get a job. Maybe I’ll even get married. But whatever I do, it won’t be this. My kids aren’t gonna grow up like this. I’m not like you, Mom. No matter how badly you wanna believe that I am, I’m just not. I thought that this vacation would be good for us. I thought you’d relax and we could just enjoy our time together. I was wrong. And you’ve been wrong too. You’ve always thought you were protecting me, but you’ve been killing me a little, each day of my life. You say I can’t have a boyfriend, that I can’t have any friends. You’ve made it so my whole life revolves around you and now you’re telling me that I can’t have you for much longer,” Bridget’s voice hitched and she started to sob as the gravity of her mom’s revelation hit home. “I know that I have these special powers, but I don’t understand why and you say that my dreams mean something. You never tell me what. Every time I ask you always say that I don’t need to know yet or that I’m not old enough. And the only person, besides you, who has the answers, is off limits to me. I need answers, Mom. I deserve them.”
“Bridget, trust me when I tell you, that I’ll explain everything to you when the time is right. But for now, let’s try to have the vacation you wanted. I’ll work on having fun. I promise.”
Bridget knew that the conversation was over with that remark. There was going to be no explanation now or in the future. Whatever the big secret was, her mom intended to keep it, to probably die with it.
The rest of the week passed and Bridget had to admit that her mom had, indeed, kept her promise. They were even able to enjoy a meal in a restaurant for once. Normally, her mom would insist on eating in the hotel room, and would rarely agree to a picnic, but restaurants were forbidden. There were too many eyes. You never knew who the others were, if they were watching. That was Bridget’s biggest issue.
Her mom didn’t even know who they were. She had said as much. You could never know. The others could be anyone or, apparently, anything. The only thing that Bridget knew for sure was that she had been marked. She could be spotted. The small, “M” tattoo on her hip was a brand, an identifier. Her mom had told her that it identified her as special. She was a member of a special family, of which, she was the last in line. She was Mnestrean, as her mom would say in hushed tones. Bridget had no idea what it meant, but, she knew that it was very important and very secret. She’d also known that she was special since she was little, that she could do things other little girls couldn’t. She just didn’t like all of the cloak and dagger escapades that went with the moniker, but she respected her mom enough to live within her rules.
After the vacation ended, life went back to normal. Or at least, it was as normal as she could have hoped for. Bridget was staying with her mom at the Shawnee reservation until it was time to move back into her dorm. She was excited that this was her senior year. She had contemplated going to graduate school, but hadn’t really made up her mind. She had time to take the GRE or MCAT. And she figured that by the time the testing dates came around, she would have a clearer idea of what she really wanted to do.
As expected, Bridget’s only real friend, Abbey, had made sure that they were assigned to the same dorm suite and the same dorm room. Abbey was a breath of fresh air and she had been the wedge that forced Bridget from the shell she’d been living in during her freshman year. Abbey just understood her and her peculiarities. She didn’t even seem to mind. The best thing was that even Bridget’s mom seemed to like Abbey. She never quashed the budding friendship and by the end of their junior year, it would’ve been impossible to do so.
Bridget started spending each weeknight at the dorm preparing for the fall semester, but her weekends were spent at the reservation. Her mom’s cancer progressed quickly and she was there to watch it rob them both of a little more life each day. She tried to engage her mom in conversations about the others and about her gift, but Janice either refused or was too weak to talk.
And then it happened. On August 3rd, 2010, Janice Davis passed away. Bridget cried, of course she cried. She was human after all. But behind all of the emotion, a part of her was also relieved. Her running was finally over. She could live her life cautiously without going to extremes. As much as Bridget was like her mom, she was equally the opposite of her. And now, after 21 years, she was able to finally make her own decisions.
Jimmy Red Fox gave Janice her last rites and arranged the funeral. He also kept the news of her death a secret. Her mom was secretive to the very end, protecting Bridget even after death.
Naturally, it had to rain that day. She stood in the cemetery watching her mom’s casket being lowered into the ground while a ceremonial chant was sung by the tribe’s members. It was eerie, but her mom had wanted a traditional Shawnee Indian ceremony. The mixture of rain and burning tears made it difficult to distinguish faces amid the handful of elders gathered there. She didn’t know many of them at all, other than a few first names. 
Bridget had tried to prepare for this day, but the death of her mom came so quickly, how could she? It wasn’t something you could truly prepare for, especially when she died within a month of telling Bridget about her cancer. Bridget watched her mom suffer almost every day during that month. She opened herself up a little and showed some of her pain. The month of watching her going through chemotherapy - the violent fits of nausea and vomiting, the pain, and the loss of her hair - was almost more than Bridget could bear. Now it was over.
Jimmy said a short prayer and the mourners disbanded. That was it. As Bridget turned to leave, the emptiness and finality of it all left an aching pit in her stomach. After 40 plus years, that was it, a prayer in the rain and then nothing.   
Bridget looked up through the rain, which was falling harder now, and noticed a man standing beside a truck in the distance. She couldn’t make out his facial features, but the truck was unmistakable. It was Dr. Weber. Bridget wasn’t really surprised to see him standing there. She knew that he knew her mom and, although Janice wouldn’t have wanted him in attendance, there was nothing she could do about it now. Her mom had forced him out of her life and Bridget had no idea why.
He was a part of her few happy, care-free memories. He was there in the background, talking with her mom, while she tried to stack all of her colorful blocks in one big tower. She must have been very little. For some reason, stacking these blocks was a very important thing to her. She would giggle uncontrollably whenever they would tumble to the floor, and he would laugh with her.
What stake did he have in all of this?
She glanced down once more and looked at the headstone; Janice Davis, born January 1966 died August 2010. Bridget started the long walk from the tribal cemetery to her mom’s cottage, obscured in a wooded area near the back of the property. She always found it funny that it was called a reservation. No one lived there, save for them. Actually, she couldn’t really remember seeing any activity on the grounds at all. It was obvious that the Shawnee either didn’t care enough or didn’t have the money to maintain the place. The cottage and out buildings were run down and the gravel road desperately needed more gravel to justify the name.
The puddles of water on the road had become miniature lakes by the end of the service. Bridget navigated through the maze of water hazards as best she could, but sometimes there was just no way to avoid getting her feet wet. Bridget heard Dr. Weber walking up behind her long before he spoke, but she didn’t turn around.
“You know, you don’t have to walk alone.”
“I suppose not, but my mom’s not here anymore and I don’t feel like company. She didn’t want you around me, if you remember.” Old habits die hard, Bridget thought, while still following her mom’s rules. “What are you doing here anyway? Are you a member of the tribe or something?”
“Well, it’s not like they have ultra-tight security,” Dr. Weber smiled. “Jimmy has been a friend of mine for many years. He and the other tribe members agreed to provide your mother with not only a home, but also with the protection she needed in my absence.”
Bridget stopped walking and faced him. “Are you saying that you got her this place here? Why would she do that, go through you I mean?”
“Believe it or not, I’m not a bad man. I’m not dangerous.”
“I never said you were and neither did my mom. All she said was that danger follows you. Is that true?” Bridget started toward her house and Dr. Weber followed her.
“In a manner of speaking it is, but I haven’t been in any danger for a very long time. The truth is your mom had some trust issues. They were manageable at first, but once she became pregnant with you, those issues got the best of her and unfortunately you went along for the ride. I’d tried to stay close to you and her. I tried to help, but she chose to cut me off. She just disappeared. I found you both about a year later, but instead of interfering, I thought it would be best if I kept my distance.”
“Why are you interfering now, then?” she asked in an abrasive tone.
“I just want you to know that I’m here for you. And that I’ll protect you, just like I protected her until she made me leave.”
“That’s sweet, but I don’t really know you. And I’m pretty sure I’m done with being protected for a while.”
 “If your mom had allowed me to be around, then you wouldn’t have had to move every six months. I would’ve been able to teach you about yourself and then you’d already know everything.”
Bridget was speechless. What did Dr. Weber know? Who was he?
“I know that you have questions,” he said, “and I’ll answer them all, but it will take time, time that I don’t have right now. You know you’re a very special girl, right?”
Bridget mentally rolled her eyes. “Sure, that’s the one thing mom was always willing to remind me of, you know, Mnestrean and all.” She almost tried to stuff the words back in her mouth. She knew better than to talk about her past, most of all her connection to being Mnestrean. How did she know that he wouldn’t use this against her?
Dr. Weber laughed, “Yes, you’re definitely Mnestrean, but that’s a very good thing and you’ll come to see that if you let yourself trust me.” He smiled. “I think it would be good if we could meet again before classes actually start. I’ve got a lot to tell you, and there’s a lot that you should know.”
He looked around like he was missing something. “Do you have everything you need?”
“Um. Yes, Mom...planned well.”
“Janice had more friends than you know and you have more friends than just me. She didn’t view everyone as negatively as she appeared to.”
“She never mentioned any friends and I’m sure that she wished I didn’t remember you. Don’t you find that strange? If she trusted them, and trusted you, then why not tell me about them? And why would she tell me to stay away from you?” Bridget questioned him, with her brow furrowing.
“Because they would, eventually, lead you back to me.” He smiled. “Your mother knew that. I wish I could explain more now, but I think it’s best to wait. Here’s my card,” he said handing her a plain business card. “I’ve written my cell number on the back, just in case you need anything. I have something for you,” he said reaching into the watch pocket of his vest.
“This belonged to your mother at one time. I believe that she would have wanted you to have it.” Dr. Weber handed Bridget a small silver locket which had the Greek letter Omega on the front casing.
“Thanks.” Bridget said, stuffing the locket in her pocket without giving it a second look.
Dr. Weber patted Bridget on the shoulder then turned to leave. He was making his way back through the massive puddles on the road, when she stopped him. “Dr. Weber? I do have one question you can answer. Are you my father?”
He smiled and shook his head. “No, Bridget, but I wish I was. You’re a remarkable young lady and I’d be proud to have you as my daughter. I’m sorry that I wasn’t more involved in your life. Please call me Cole though. Dr. Weber makes me feel like I should be in class,” he said, his smile growing bigger.
Bridget smiled in return and then stepped back inside and closed the door.
He wishes he was, she thought as she smiled again briefly. Bridget pulled the locket from her pocket and rubbed the engraving. It was obviously an antique. The engraving appeared to have been carved by hand. She flipped it over to examine the back. The engraving on the back said “Happy 5th Birthday”. It was engraved by a machine. It was too precise to have been done by hand. Bridget opened the locket and stared at a picture of her mom. She was a child and was standing with her grandmother.
Cole was also in the picture.
She caught a gasp of breath as her legs turned to jelly. Cole was not a child in the picture. If she hadn’t known better, she would have thought that the picture was taken yesterday. Cole looked exactly the same. Bridget’s mind reeled. She snapped the locket shut and barely made it to the couch before she passed out.
Bridget was looking down at her own crumpled body sprawled out on the couch. Was that even possible? Everything was so tranquil. She could feel herself floating effortlessly. The light grew dim in her mind and she found herself standing at, what appeared to be, a palace. There was a meeting taking place, but it wasn’t occurring in this era. All of the people in attendance wore gowns and togas. Their feet were shod with sandals. It was hot.  Bridget could feel the scorching heat beating off the ground. Everything was white - their clothes, the columns, the seating. They sat in a large room that was open to the outside, there were no windows. It seemed to be akin to an amphitheater. They all sat in a semi-circle and there was a man standing at a podium, or at least that’s what it looked like to her. The others sat and stared at him as he spoke aggressively.
Bridget moved around the room slowly looking at each of their faces. This didn’t feel like any of her feathery daydreams she’d had before. This felt real.
As she flitted about the room, her presence seemed to go unnoticed. After realizing this, she moved in a little closer, still feeling the need to maintain some space between her and these people.
The looks on their faces told her that she had interrupted a heated debate, but the sound was muted. One man had a seat in the middle of the stage. His was more like a throne and was larger than anyone else’s. When he spoke, she could tell that he roared. And when he roared, all of their eyes drifted toward the floor. She could sense their fear. It was permeating the room as if they were sweating it. All were affected except one man. The man was at the podium and was arguing with the leader sitting on his throne. Waves of anger poured off the large man on the throne. Unknowingly, Bridget shifted her weight and started to move in toward the man standing at the podium.
The closer she got the more positive she became - it was Dr. Weber! Why was he in this dream? He was dressed to match the others, fitting in perfectly. She almost expected him to recognize her, but instead he continued arguing never once looking in her direction.
Instinctively, her eyes scanned the others again and she was shocked again. Mixed in with the unknown faces was Abbey’s soccer coach, Sarah. Why were they both in this dream? What was this? Had she completely lost her mind? Bridget moved back and forth, shifting her weight to move in the direction she wanted to go. She looked at all of the faces again. None of the others were familiar, but there was no mistaking Dr. Weber and Sarah’s faces.
Soon the meeting was over and Dr. Weber was quickly walking outside. Sarah followed not far behind him. They were talking, but she couldn’t hear what they were saying. The voices all sounded as though they were underwater. She could tell they were engrossed in the conversation, but it was muffled. As hard as she tried, she couldn’t hear anything clearly. Bridget moved in close enough that she could have reached out and touched them, hoping she might be able to read their lips and get an idea of what was being said, but it didn’t work. Instead, everything blurred and then went black.
Bridget opened her eyes and stared at the textured ceiling. She was disoriented and confused. It took her a moment to realize that she was lying on her mom’s couch. The dim light peeking through the curtains was her first indication of the amount of time that passed. It was dusk now. She glanced at her watch and realized that she had been out of it for more than two hours.
If she had been sleeping, then she didn’t feel rested. Bridget sat up gingerly and moved to stand. Her legs felt weak. She’d been getting used to having daydreams, but this one bothered her. This one was different. It had literally knocked her out. She didn’t remember making a conscious decision to lie on the couch.
All of her other dreams involved random people she didn’t recognize. Now, she was dreaming of Dr. Weber and Coach Sarah. She felt it even more peculiar that Dr. Weber had just given her a locket with a Greek letter on it. And then there was that picture. She felt a shiver run up her spine.
Anyone could Photoshop it to look like that, she thought, not really convincing herself this was the case.
She was tempted to open it again, but resisted. Maybe she was afraid of the consequence. She just wanted to go to bed, and not see another vision. She would definitely have more questions for her old family friend than she had previously anticipated. She looked around the room and groaned. The packing would have to wait until morning.
Hope you enjoyed it!  Just a peek ;-)
Cheers, Lisa aka Frenchkilt