Unlike so many other authors, I only have three books out on the market, so sometimes I feel limited in what I can offer my readers in regards to writing samples. Lately, I’ve been delivering snippets of fight scenes, or high intensity conflicts. Today, I’m calming it down with a simple moment at the beginning of chapter two in Guardians, the second book in the Personal Demons series. I hope you enjoy.
“It’s not a big surprise, I guess. Elisa and I decided it was time to show you your new room. Your permanent residence in your new home.” His lips pulled into a half smile. “This was your parents’ room.”
“Oh.” My breath left in an audible whoosh and I froze outside the threshold.
A deep heaviness settled over my chest. As my friends waited for my response to their intended surprise, two separate emotions fought to gain advantage over me. A grim part of me felt simply angry. After all, why would I want to have a room that once belonged to my dead parents—a woman I had never known and a man that had kept me in the dark my entire life? Why would I want the constant reminder of what could have been, or what life should have held? Why would I want that pain?
But even though the hurt and betrayal cut deep, an even bigger emotion tugged at my mind, almost negating all other prior feelings. Curiosity. Curiosity won the battle from within, a growing anticipation of seeing what secrets lay inside, waiting for me to find them. My friends stayed behind as I pushed open the double doors and entered my parents’ room.
The smell of cleaning agents and fresh flora filled my senses. Bright sunlight streamed in through large open windows, highlighting dust particles as they floated throughout the space. Several yards of white linens draped from the ceiling and flowed to each corner of a four-poster bed, creating a romantic canopy over a white comforter. Simple nightstands on either side lacked any décor except for a single candle on each one, as did the additional dresser on the opposite side of the chamber. The tall bookshelf in the corner was oddly empty as well, but what caught my attention more than any piece of furniture in the room were the walls.
Sprawling gray vines painted with flowers of lavender, white, and soft pink covered the lengths of every space in the apartment. A garden of hypnotic hues soothed, filling me with a warm sense of calm, and as I moved closer to the palette of color, I could see in even greater detail the artistic skill of each remarkable brushstroke.
“She loved to paint,” Elisa stated simply from behind. I hadn’t heard them enter.
My mother had painted this? My mother?
I blinked away the raw emotion building and cleared my throat. “Apparently, she was talented,” I said, turning to the window and the bay seat that lay beneath. “But unfortunately, nothing in this room is familiar to me.”
Elisa’s voice was soothing as she placed a hand on my shoulder. “And it wouldn’t be. You were only an infant while here. But that’s not the only reason you wouldn’t recognize it. When your mother died, most of this room and its contents were destroyed. Only the painting on the wall was left unharmed.”
“Destroyed? How?” But I knew the answer the moment the question slipped from my lips. “My dad,” I whispered sadly. She only nodded.
“Elisa took you into her care,” Laith said, drawing my attention. “She watched over you while others tried to help Alexander, but your father’s grief consumed him. He locked himself in this room for almost a week straight, denying anyone access, rejecting both food and water. No one saw him exit these quarters once.”
“And no one saw when he left,” Elisa interrupted, her voice hardly more than a ghostly whisper. “He took you straight from my room.”
It was quiet for several moments before Laith continued. “Maybe we should have done more, but we thought—we thought if we gave him space, let him grieve the way he needed to grieve, he would come out of it soon enough on his own. But we were wrong. Early one morning, Elisa woke to feed you, but you were gone, as was Alexander.”
Elisa cleared her throat, her voice thick with emotion. “Your mother had very few possessions. Being immortal, we don’t put much stock into owning things. Time rots them away, making them useless or worthless anyways. But I want to give you something.” She walked over to the nightstand, pulling a small white frame from the drawer. “I wish it could be more.”
She rotated the frame, revealing the detailed sketch of a woman. At first I thought it was a drawing of myself. Long hair flowed past her chest, thick lashes framing light-colored eyes. But the modification of soft freckles on a more delicate nose momentarily confused me until I finally realized what I was looking at.
“This is my mother?”
“You look like her, don’t you think?” Elisa asked, but I couldn’t answer.
“Your mother was not the only artist in the family.” Laith smiled appreciatively at the sketch I held in my hands. “She was a beautiful woman. This is a fine likeness of her, even down to my favorite speckles on her nose.” “It’s wonderful.” I walked to the bed and set the frame on the nightstand. “It’s the most amazing gift anyone has ever given me.”
If you enjoyed this sample, you can read more of Personal Guardians on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.