Thursday, May 8, 2014

Excerpt: The Witches Of Snow Hollow Book One: Jenna's Story

Please excuse any formatting issues this blog has caused to the excerpt.

Chapter One

            Jenna Addison looked up at the moon and felt uneasy.  She was only six years old, but she knew things that other people didn't.  She had not yet come into her full powers.  She couldn't pinpoint exactly what would happen,   but she knew how to read the signs—the   leaves on the trees all turned upside down, and the red glowing ring around the moon.
There were other things too. Most people would walk right past not even realizing any of it, but Jenna was different. Her entire family was different.   Her sister Jamie was four and Jackie was two. Their parents wanted children close in age so they would feel close to each other as they grew.   When her parents told her that, Jenna did not quite understand, but she knew she loved her sisters very much.
            Today was Jenna's sixth birthday, and she was expecting her grandmother to show up. She had to talk to her about the signs. Her grandmother would know what to do. She always knew what to do.
             When Grandma pulled into the drive, Jenna took off running. “Grandma Elena! I'm so glad you're here. I've been waiting for you!”
             Elena Hastings—a strong woman who never seemed to age—didn't look a day older than forty.  But in fact she was sixty. “Hello, Dear. How is my big grown up granddaughter today on her birthday?” She scooped her up into a big bear hug.
            Jenna loved her grandmother dearly. “Grandma,  I need to talk to you. I saw  some signs today.”
            “I know honey. I've seen them too. It's not good. You should prepare yourself for bad news.” She pulled her granddaughter in closer.
            “But Grandma, what’s going to happen?” She knew that her grandmother knew more than she was telling.
            “I don't know sweetie, but it's something bad. I can't get a reading on it, which tells me that it's about me or somebody close to me.”
            Jenna could see the concern in her grandmother's eyes.  All the signs told her  something bad would happen that evening, but they didn't tell her what the bad thing would be.  Jenna went to bed that night knowing things would be different in the morning.
             That night, Jenna was woke to hear  her grandmother crying.  She ran downstairs, yelling, “Grandma, what is it? What's wrong?”
            Jenna stood there staring at her grandma. She saw her tears coming and felt her own  building up inside. Something bad had happened to her parents. She could feel it. The look on her grandma's face told her everything she needed to know. Silence filled the air, and Jenna wanted to go back in time somehow. She didn't know what happened, but she knew it wasn't good.
            She stood there as still as she could be and listened to her grandmother explain to her that her parents were dead. It was a car crash. A drunk driver had ran a stop light and hit them head on. The police report said they died instantly. Jenna's whole body started to shake as she stood in her living room listening to her whole world crumble in front of her. Everything was about to change. People always say change if for the good, but did those people every loose both of their parents, she wondered.
“You girls are going to be just fine. I will take care of you.”
            Jenna wiped the tears away from her face. “What do you mean, Grandma? What's going to happen to us?”
            Elena looked down at the precious child. “You will come back to Snow Hollow with me of course.”

                                                * * *
Jenna wiped her tears as she awoke in a strange bed, sobbing and calling for Mommy. But Mommy didn't answer. She called to Daddy,but no one came. The hurting in her chest was back again, and her breath came in short gasps as she sat up and looked around the room. Minutes passed before she remembered.
Then she reminded herself her parents could never come back. Never again. Grandma had said so—and Grandma always knew.
But Jenna also knew that her grandmother loved her very much and would take good care of her. And when she walked into Jamie and Jackie's room and saw them there sleeping peacefully, she was sure Grandma would take great care of them too. And a little bit of her pain went away.
            The smell of bacon filled the air as Jenna walked down the stairs. Grandma stood at the kitchen stove. 
            “Hello my dear child. How are you feeling this morning?”
            Jenna smiled up at her. “I'm okay Grandma.”
            “Jenna, Honey. I know things are different right now and you're sad, but I promise you in time things will be better. It may not seem like it now, but they will.”
            Jenna fought back tears as she sat  at the table and ate in silence. She loved her grandmother but didn't feel like talking.
            When Elena went to check on her sisters, Jenna sat alone in the kitchen and looked around with a sense that someone else was there.  The strange, new sensation made her feel comfortable and safe, and not afraid.
            Elena came back to the kitchen minutes later as Jenna placed her dish in the sink.
            “Jenna Honey. I want to talk to you for a minute. Do you ever have feelings like the one you had on your birthday? 
            “Sometimes. I feel things.” Jenna said as she glanced around the kitchen again. Still not sure what she felt in that room.
            “What kind of things?” Elena asked.
            Jenna shrugged her shoulders. “I don't know. It's hard to tell you what I mean. Like right now. I feel like somebody is in the room with us, but I can't see anyone.”
            Elena looked over at her granddaughter and smiled deep inside. She was right about her. She hadn't seen it in the other two girls, but she saw it in Jenna. The other two may be too young or they may never have the gift that Jenna does. Only time would tell.
            “Okay, sweetie. I was just wondering. You can go play now. I'll clean up the kitchen.”
            Jenna and her sisters ran and laughed and played in the fenced back yard where the little ones could not wander off. The most beautiful bluebird Jenna had ever seen rested on the birdbath. Jenna held out her hand as she walked toward it, and the bird landed on her hand.   Jenna looked up and smiled.  “I won't hurt you.”
            Seconds later, the bird flew away. But as Elena watched from the porch, she knew Jenna had a way with nature. It was going to be easier than she thought to train her.  This child had a very special gift, and it would be Elena’s job to teach Jenna how to use it.
            Jamie and Jackie sat in the sand box building sand castles, but Jenna fed the squirrels and birds. It was as if she was talking to them and they understood her. As Elena stood and watched she couldn't be sure how much power Jenna had but she knew she would grow up to be much moreso than herself.

                                                *  * *

            Elena put the younger girls to bed for an afternoon nap, then went to Jenna's room, where she sat on the floor playing with her Barbie doll. 
            She looked up. “Hi Grandma. Want to play?”
            Elena smiled . “Sure Jenna. I would love to play. I want to teach you a secret way that you can only play with me.”
            Jenna was very excited by all the secrecy. “Okay Grandma. How do you play?”
            Elena had to know if Jenna had any powers yet. “Jenna, see that car for your doll over by the door?” I want you to hold out your hand and then tell that car to come to your hand.”
            Jenna did as she said, but the car did not move.
            “Okay Jenna. Now I want you to think real hard that you want that car to come to your hand.”
            Jenna stared at the car and thought as hard as she could.  The car started moving toward her.
            “Grandma, how is this happening?”
            Elena smiled with joy. She was right. Jenna was very gifted. Her powers were starting at an early age.  But they would not fully manifest until she was twenty- six.  Elena wouldn't tell her everything until then. No need for her to worry about what lies ahead.
             Back in the kitchen, Elena planned protection potions to scatter around the house. She would have to protect those girls with everything she had. Once the underworld found out what they were there their lives would be in danger. But she would not bother them with that sooner than necessary. Their lives should be as normal as possible.
            Elena filled her tea kettle.  She loved the smell of apple cinnamon tea brewing on the stove top.
            “I have to protect the girls.”
            Jenna came running in the door for a cold drink. “Who are you talking to Grandma?”
            Elena looked up from her tea kettle. “Nobody. I was just talking to myself.”
            Jenna laughed. “You're silly Grandma. I'm going back out to play.”
            As Jenna ran out, Elena spoke to the spirit of a man who appeared in the room. “They have so much energy now. Don't they?”
             “They sure do. It is now your job to protect them with all that you have. You are not alone in this battle. Remember this.”
            “I know.” Elena said. “I only wish that they didn't have to fight this battle. At least they have time to prepare for it. I'm working on a potion now to protect them.”
            Elena knew that she had to get back into her regular life routine. She ran a very successful magic shop. Most people in town thought it was a fun place to buy candles and scents and other bric-a-brac. Elena made decent money and it gave her a reason to order supplies for her spells and potions without drawing attention to herself. She could simply say that it was for the shop. Nobody ever questioned it.
            She would be interviewing nannies in a day or two to take care of Jaimie and Jackie. Jenna would go to the shop with Elena where she could be taught more about her gift.  She needed to know how to protect herself.
            Elena went to the back door. “Girls. It's time to come in and get cleaned up for dinner.”
            The girls came running. They never argued about it, which was a nice surprise.
            “Grandma, do you need any help with dinner?” Jenna asked.
            “Of course my dear. You can always help me.”
            Elena put Jackie in the high chair and then the rest of them sat down to a nice dinner. She loved to cook.



Chapter  two

9 Years Later

Elena’s intuition told her it was time to begin Jenna’s training. She was fifteen and old enough to understand that the impossible could become possible.
            Elena dropped Jamie and Jackie off at dance class and her and Jenna drove home. Jenna never showed any interest in dance. Elena knew it was because she had a much bigger purpose in life.
            As they pulled into the drive, Elena turned to Jenna and said. “Jenna. I think it's time for us to have a long talk.”
            “Did I do something wrong Grandma?”
            “Oh, no Honey. You could never do anything wrong. I simply want to talk to you about something important.”
Elena put on some tea and got Jenna and herself both a cup. This was going to be a long discussion. She was about to explain to her granddaughter that she was a witch: that was why she knew things and could do things that most people could not. She knew her granddaughter was going to be surprised.  She had never called Jenna's gift witchcraft. She grabbed  them both some cookies from the cupboard to help ease into the conversation.

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