Eva of Biloxi, Ch 2

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Watcher’s Worst Nightmare

Chapter 2

Gulfport, Mississippi

            “One o’clock.”

            “One o’clock.”

            “Barnes and Noble, one o’clock.”

            “Get up, girl!” The words echoed in my head. The thought brief and light flitted away like the seagulls high in the sky above only to be replaced with the same place and time again.

Barnes & Noble: One o’clock.

Pulling myself to a sitting position, I spotted several magnolia trees in front of me, and above that clear blue sky. There was overgrowth everywhere. I was in Gulfport. Mississippi.

What happened to me? Had I passed out?

The sun was almost directly above my head telling me it was noon. Get it together, girl! “Move your tail,” my brain screamed. Pushing myself to my feet I ignored the lightheadedness. Nausea came and went. Again, I thought: Barnes & Noble: one o’clock.

It was the only thing I knew for sure. It was the time and place of my mission. It had to be! I latched onto it, even though I kept feeling there was a piece missing. They called me the Pattern Master at Central, but for once I couldn’t see it. Patterning was my superpower. I could damn near predict what was about to happen before it happened, once I figured out the pattern. However, something was missing this time. That missing piece was messing with the pattern, and a messed-up pattern was a Watcher’s worst nightmare.

Something was definitely off, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was. This wasn’t like me. I didn’t like this feeling, the feeling that made me feel weak and slow. I was better than this, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it right now. I had to make it to my mission location by one. I’d figure out the rest later.

Walking to the edge of the road, through the tall pine trees I saw a line of buildings that stretched off into the distance. They extended for at least a mile. High above them, a billboard flashed: The Crossroads. Underneath that the names of several stores were listed. At the very bottom were the words: Barnes & Noble. Taking a deep breath, I felt a surge of adrenaline. Bet!

 “Every piece is part of the plan every plan requires each piece,” that was the Watcher’s credo. How everything was supposed to click together only He knew. The Architect knew everything. Outsmarting the Architect was my high. I craved the feeling of figuring out the pattern, the sooner the better. That moment when it all made sense, what I had to do, where I was supposed to be. When it all came together, every piece of the puzzle fitting perfectly in place, there was no high like it. I craved that moment. The Architect knew it too, which was why he sometimes added an extra mini-obstacle just to make me work for it a little harder. It made the rush at the end all the sweeter. So, just like all the times before, this time I had to trust that the rest of my mission would be revealed in good time. Calling the Architect before the mission was complete was never done.

From the parking lot I could see the bookstore was busy with customers coming and going. Good, if I needed to get away quickly it would make it easier. I quickened my pace to make the one o’clock meet time.

Sometimes, being in the middle of everything was the best cover. I’d facilitated a contract hit for Central in the middle of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. I was landing in Toronto before anyone even knew what happened. In and out, and I always obeyed the rules. It was how I’d risen so fast through the ranks. Central had evolved since its inception, but the secret intelligence agency thrived on the allegiance of their Watchers. Ever since the cabal of wealthy founders created the organization to monopolize the Industrial Revolution, the requirement for every Watcher has always been blind obedience. 

An electronic marquee flashed red and green above the store’s glass windows showing the time: 12:45 pm. I still had fifteen minutes. Walking closer, I caught my image in the storefront window. The black outfit I wore was expensive and fashionable. A little too gaudy for my tastes, but whatever. It was a part of the look for my cover, I supposed. It looked good, sexy even. Wait a second! Why didn’t I remember putting the clothes on?

Leaning closer, I looked at myself more closely. From head to toe. It took a second but when I finally saw it, my brain stalled. Blinking several times, I prayed my eyes were playing tricks on me, but each time I opened them the image remained the same. This, was bad. This, was beyond bad. When I looked at the image in the glass, I saw a very familiar woman staring back at me. That woman was me- Yara.

The woman in the mirror looked exactly like me. I braced my hand against the wall as a wave of dizziness came over me. The pain at the back of my head intensified.   

I was supposed to see a stranger when I went out on missions. The mirror was supposed to be a stranger. I usually wore some type of padding to change my shape. Give me more where I had less or less where I had more. I always wore contacts, but there was none of that this time. My golden-brown eyes were usually hid because they were so unusual and therefore memorable, but right now they stared back at me, uncovered.

At 5’8 my height could make me stand out, but there wasn’t much I could do about that. Nor had I done anything to change my smooth dark brown skin which shined back at me from the window’s reflection. I was all me except for one thing-my hair. In my everyday life I preferred to wear my hair in a short natural, but I now had long auburn hair. Parted in the middle it feathered around my face to hang in voluminous waves to my back. It was a wig, I was sure, but like my outfit I didn’t remember putting it on.

I unbuttoned the black trench coat I wore. I looked down to see skinny jeans that hugged my toned thighs and legs ending in black boots. My shirt was bejeweled with rhinestones and more glitter than I would ever feel comfortable wearing. A heavy black velvet designer purse with fringe hung across my body resting on my right hip. It matched the outfit perfectly, but the entire getup wasn’t something I’d ever pick for myself. Fashion choices aside I knew the bigger problem was that I didn’t remember putting any of it on this morning. Concussion? It had to be a concussion, or worse. Yet, the time and place of the mission I still remembered.

Waking up on in the woods was bad enough, but seeing myself like this confirmed something had gone horribly wrong. What else had I missed?

Dread filled my body as my memory attempted to piece itself back together and couldn’t. It was like there was a wall I couldn’t get over, and on the other side of the wall was the answer, I could not remember. I should call this in. That was protocol. If it were happening to anyone else, I would tell them they had to call Central and inform them of what was happening. If it were anyone else that’s what I would say, but I already knew I wasn’t calling anybody.

There was a lot I did remember. I knew my name: Yara Waters. I remembered Central. I knew I was in Gulfport, Mississippi. I knew contact names, numbers. I also knew I couldn’t call any of them. If I told anyone what was happening, I would be immediately taken off field duty or worse labeled compromised. For a Watcher that was a fate worse than death. I would never be trusted again in the field. No, I had to push forward, I had no choice.

 “Sweet Jesus!” I gasped when the words on the digital marquee sign changed suddenly. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse. This couldn’t be freaking real! I waited for the marquee to roll around again. If the sign was true, the likelihood of me disappearing deep into the bowels of Central forever just greatly increased.

On the marquee it showed December first as the date, but I knew that couldn’t be right. It had to be a glitch, a trick. Then the message went by a third time. Still my mind fought against what my eyes were seeing.

The last assignment I finished was on June twelfth. Until a moment ago, I was absolutely sure that was yesterday. There was no way today could be December first. If it were true, it meant I’d lost not just this morning, but the last six months of my life.

 “Breathe, just breathe,” I whispered, noticing for the first time as my breath plumed into white puffs of air. How had I missed that? The temperature had to at least be in the forties, and I hadn’t even noticed. Whatever head injury I had was worse than I initially thought, as I realized it was affecting more than just my memory. My chest and the need to breathe fought my brain. Desperately I tried to get more air in my lungs, but it just wasn’t happening.

“It can’t be right. It can’t,” I gasped as I held onto the window. I turned from the concerned faces I saw as customers passed me on their way into the store. I was making a spectacle of myself! I had to pull it together. This wasn’t like me. Watchers were not supposed to be noticed, and I was failing on all fronts. Just thinking about what the other Watchers would say if they saw me now filled me with shame. I was second in command, for God’s sake! Injury or not, I was supposed to be better than this!

“Emotions are the enemy,” the Architect’s decades of training rang in my head. A robotic voice that I’d heard in my dreams and nightmares since I was six years old. “Direct your thoughts. You are the one in control!”

Resolve coursed through my veins, as the calm from my training kicked in pushing the doubt away. All those years of drills came back full force. I’d never had to rely on it this much, but it enveloped me and carried me forward. I reached for the door letting the words from my training run through my mind, prop me up, propel me forward.

There was a job to complete. Even though deep down I knew this was very different, I let my body do what it had been programmed to do. I had to keep moving. The mission had to be completed.

To waste time thinking, was nothing more than a distraction. Besides it was Gulfport, Mississippi for God’s sake. How high level of a mission could I be on in Mississippi? This had to be something simple, a drop off or pick up. Easy peasy. I pulled open the door, and walking inside pushed everything else to the back of my mind. I had to focus. There was a brief second that I thought of running, taking cover, but I knew I couldn’t. Watchers always followed through. I always followed through. It would all make sense- eventually. I would do the job. Then I could figure out what happened.

Christmas music played over the store’s speaker. The smell of gingerbread and coffee filled the air. I tuned it all out making my way through the aisles. My survival instinct had kicked in.

It was the same on every mission. Like synchronicity there would be something that suddenly swarmed in my mind like bees to honey leading me to my next step. This I knew. I just had to find the pattern then wait for the familiar face, noise, smell, whatever to appear and guide me to my mark. I sighed with relief as something sifted through the fog in my brain.

It implanted in my mind and took form until suddenly the floor plan started to make sense. I walked up the main aisle which I knew would take me to the children’s section. I followed it until I got there, then I turned right and headed to the farthest wall. I knew this space. I hadn’t been here before, at least I think I hadn’t, but I knew this floorplan. Probably my surveillance prep kicking in. Suddenly I knew I was where I needed to be.  

I was okay. Everything was okay, I told myself over and over again. All is well.

Backing into the corner of the Cooking section I knew. The aisle was empty, but it felt right. I looked at my watch. It was time. I just had to wait for my mark to show.

Movement at the end of the aisle caught my eye. I jerked my head sharply to the left to see. A wave of nausea hit me hard, followed by a sharp painful explosion behind my eyes. When I opened them, I saw a pretty young woman staring back at me.

She looked no more than eighteen and she wore a black Purple Rain t-shirt with black pants. A mask of shock covered her young face. Her heavily pink glossed mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water until a loud voice called out from the next aisle over.

“Well, is that the bitch or what?” A man yelled; his voice obnoxiously loud.

The girl bit her lip, her cheeks reddening. She frowned in the direction of the voice then back at me. Her blond curls swirling around her face, her eyes apologetic.

“Sorry,” she mouthed. “I love your outfit,” she whispered backing away. “I think you rock,” she said before darting back into the main aisle.

I was still a little woozy, but that was strange, I thought. Obviously, the girl wasn’t my mark; therefore, she didn’t matter, or the rude guy she was with. I let it slide. The last thing I needed was to let my mission get diverted by an unnecessary altercation when so much had already gone wrong. Besides if she were my mark, she wouldn’t have left. They never left. So, I stayed put. Then I remembered, the purse. Could there be something inside I’m supposed to deliver? I reached for the purse’s zipper, and at the same time I saw movement from the corner of my eye.

Another woman short and round barreled around the corner. I didn’t recognize her either, but a wariness came over me forcing all of my attention on her.  

Could this be my mark?

The woman’s thighs rubbed together with each step making a loud swishing noise as she came down the aisle towards me. The only thing louder than her thighs was the woman’s breathing. She stopped a few feet away from me.

“You know where them Paula Deen books at?” she asked loudly.

“Try the D’s,” I said automatically, keeping my distance as I watched the beads of sweat roll down the woman’s shiny pale face.

“Where that at?” she said. Frowning, I took another step back.

“Somewhere between the C’s and E’s,” I said watching the woman closely. The woman’s green eyes were intensely focused on my face save one brief second when they shifted to the right to stare over my shoulder. It was only for a moment but it was long enough to make me look just in time to see a dark figure run around the corner. He had long black dreads that hung free around his narrow face, and there was recognition in his dark brown eyes. That was the first thing I noticed, the next was the gun he held in his right hand. Instinctively, I reached my hand out, but I was too far away. In the same moment I felt a push from behind so hard it slammed me into the book rack.

At the same time, my purse was yanked hard from behind. Reflex made me hold onto the bag tightly as we tussled. With both hands I spun around wrapping the purse around my body until I could see who my attacker was.

It was the ‘Paula Deen’ woman now standing between me and the man holding the gun. She kept yanking on the purse but I wouldn’t let go. Pushing into her, I forced her into the man wedging him between the wall and the woman’s much larger body.

“Let go, you stupid bitch,” the woman said grunting as she continued to pull at the bag.

“You’d have the damn thing in a second if you’d move your ass,” the woman’s accomplice yelled as he attempted to raise his gun to point it around her at me but she wouldn’t let go or get out of the way. My head was throbbing, but I held on with all of my strength as pain rushed through my body with the effort.

“Give it up woman,” the man said his wild eyes staring back at me as I felt myself slipping away. I knew then I was injured more badly than I thought, and help wasn’t coming. My mind and my body went on autopilot. I felt the woman between us hesitate, but she didn’t let go. I saw the gun raise. I heard a scream and then there was nothing- only darkness.


When I opened my eyes. I was alone. The sound of “Jingle Bells” playing on the speakers overhead. The cheery music barely drowning out my gasps for air. The bookshelves around me were empty, a couple were toppled over on their sides. Books continued to drop onto the floor their covers spread open like the wings of birds in flight.

What the hell happened?

Suddenly there were people everywhere, swarming into the aisle from both sides. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t move. My feet felt cemented to the floor and wobbly all at the same time. The cacophony of noise was overwhelming and it just kept coming in waves each one bigger than the one before. People gawked at me some pointing and whispering. Their faces bloated with questions I couldn’t answer.

Not yet. Stay on your feet. Stay on your feet!

I had to get away, but I didn’t have the energy. Then I saw someone point behind me. I turned to look. The woman and the man who’d attacked me were lying unconscious at the end of the aisle, and I had no idea how they’d gotten there. For the first time since becoming a Watcher, I felt true fear.  

I’d broken Central’s cardinal rule. I’d been seen. I knew the ramifications of that could put the entire organization in jeopardy. My cover was blown. They were all staring, assessing me, memorizing my face. I was used to blending in, not being the center of attention. However, the curious faces staring back at me were different. They were looking at me as if they knew me.

 “It’s her,” a voice from the crowd said. I stared back at the young man not understanding who he was talking about.

“Oh my God, it is. Eva!” The swirling faces began to slowly move closer, but I recognized no one- nothing. Eva? Who’s Eva?

Stay awake! I tried to obey, but the darkness was coming. I was completely vulnerable. What if someone came for me again?

I heard someone yell for an ambulance but I couldn’t stop myself. I dropped to one knee on the thin rough carpet.

“Get on your feet!” the voice screamed again, but this time I knew I was unable to follow the command.

If the Architect finds out, it was all over. What was I thinking? There was no if with the Architect. It was just a matter of when.

I should have called Central.

Tell me who I am.



Spy Loses Memory #EvaofBiloxi #youtube Ch1, Pt 2

Her husband didn’t know it, but he screwed her over. Yara is in danger somewhere in Biloxi 💀💀💀

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New Novel- Eva of Biloxi

Eva of Biloxi is a suspense thriller that begins with the arrival of a mysterious woman in Biloxi, a city known as a playground for big personalities with big pockets, and even bigger secrets.

Eva Waters is a Watcher who works for Central, a counterintelligence agency. As second in command at Central, Eva is under intense pressure to maintain her status as the best Watcher in Central’s history. Her status is put at risk when her latest mission goes horribly wrong.

When Eva awakens on a dirt road in Mississippi with no memory of how or why she is there. Eva begins a journey of self-discovery to uncover who she really is in order to fulfill her high stakes mission that could lead to destiny or death.

Get your copy Aug 9th! Preorder opens soon on Amazon and B&N.

It’s Just Me…

I finally admit it- I’m a writer. I enjoy writing- A LOT! That’s why I keep doing it. Unfortunately, I am incredibly bad at marketing. Anyway, thought I’d make a post showing a few of my finished stories I’ve self pub’d on Amazon and B&N. Intention was never to get rich from my writing, but I do like to entertain folks. I particularly like to write stories set in my hometown, which I don’t think gets written about enough in any positive way. I’m talking about Mississippi- that’s where I grew up. For most of my life I lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Between the folks, the culture and the weather, lol, there is enough material to write a million stories. I don’t have a million but the few I do have I hope you’ll check out and tell me what you think. If you do and feel inclined- please leave a review here or the site where you got it from.

Thanks for reading 🙂 —–>

Lesson Not Learned~ short story


[Born pale and black, a young girl learns a harsh lesson she can’t forget.]

May 1957- Lumberton, Mississippi

“Shut up, gal,” Mama shouted whipping my bare backside with her switch. It was long and skinny, the worse kind. It felt like hundreds of tiny razorblades dragging with each strike against my naked, pale skin.

There would be marks this time, I thought as I clung to the thin mattress praying for it to end.

When I’d come home from school earlier, the house had been empty and dark as it was every day. I’d hurried to the bathroom to clean up before Mama got home. I never knew when she’d show up, and I didn’t want her to see me. I knew she’d be mad, so I tried to hide what had happened.

I pulled off my torn and dirty clothes stuffing the white shirt and blue pleated skirt deep into the bottom of the dirty hamper. I wet my hair so I could comb the grass and dirt out of it and put it back into the same smooth ponytail I’d left with this morning.   

Today wasn’t laundry day, but it was my week to do the washing so I planned to take care of the clothes later. There’d been another fight on the way home- my second this week. Mama couldn’t know.  I knew she’d be upset if she found out. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t my fault because in her eyes it was always my fault. The same two girls had jumped me again today. Mama didn’t want to hear any of it. She never did. So I had to lie- I had no choice.

It started at school. Today Jessie, who sat behind me in class, had cut curls from my long, brown hair during an art lesson today. It hadn’t been the first time, but this time I told like Theresa told me to do. In front of the whole class Mrs. Branson our teacher told me to plait my hair from now on, and then she took Jessie’s plastic red scissors away.  I knew then I would be in trouble. Jessie and her friend Bess caught me three blocks from school.

Jessie wanted payback, and she was bigger and stronger so she could get it. There was no way I could outrun her. When she caught up to me her smooth brown face was tight with anger, lips twisted. She said nothing as she knocked my books out of my hands. Her best friend Bess came right behind her pushing me so hard I fell face first in the mud and cut my knee.

“Look,” Bess said, “now she got some color,” the two best friends howled with laughter as they circled me the thick black mud clinging to my skin.

“Get up girl,” Jessie said kicking at me with her scuffed Mary Jane’s when I wouldn’t move, “I’ll give you something to tattle on.”

I didn’t want to fight, but I knew if I got up it would happen, but I couldn’t. I’d made a promise to my big sister Theresa and Mama I wouldn’t get in trouble again.

My heart leaped in my chest when I looked up and spotted Theresa walking by with a group of her friends.

“Theresa,” I yelled to get her attention. My sister glanced my way but didn’t stop. She just kept walking. I heard Jessie and Bess laughing, their harsh cackles echoing in the autumn air.

“See even her own sister don’t want nothing to do with the mutt,” Jessie said kicking another pile of dirt at me. When that got no response she pulled on my pony tail tugging hard until I felt a quick release. She walked away swinging three inches of my hair before tossing it in the wind for the strands to fall to the dirt. 

“Come on girl,” Jessie said to her friend laughing as they both ran to catch up with Theresa’s group. My face burned with shame as the group of girls turned the corner going in the opposite direction of the little grey house Mama, Theresa and I had lived in for the past two months.

Holding back tears I refused to cry, as I dragged myself to my feet, and limped the remaining four blocks, alone. Once home I scrubbed myself clean at the sink and hid my dirty clothes in the bottom of the hamper. I didn’t want to think about the fights or the betrayal.

We’re sisters and we’re supposed to watch out for each other. That’s what Grand used to say. Theresa used to say it to.

I waited on the porch for her to come home, dividing my time between doing homework and napping once I’d finished. When dusk settled I awakened to the sounds of Mama and Theresa’s voices drifting from the back of our shotgun house. It was dark outside, but I stayed on the porch not wanting to go inside. 

“Stop skulking around, girl,” Mama yelled out to me after my feet squeaked on the wooden floorboards one too many times. Unable to avoid it any longer I walked to the small kitchen at the back of the house. Both Mama and Theresa were at the kitchen table ironing clothes. I sat opposite the two of them. Their conversation as usual never stopped.

At thirteen Theresa was a miniature version of Mama. They were so much alike. Both Mama and Theresa were the same height and had the same dark brown skin and shoulder length pressed hair.  Looking at the two of them there was no question they were mother and daughter.  With me there was always a question.  Pale, petite, with a curly mane of auburn curls, I looked like no one in our family.

I learned early on though not to ask about my father. The first and only time I did Mama smacked me so hard my cheek stung for the rest of the day.

Although Mama never talked about it, I’d overheard Grand once late at night whispering on the phone. Who she was talking to, I didn’t know, but I heard enough.

My father was one of several white men that attacked my mother a couple of months after she’d lost her husband, Theresa’s father, in a car accident. It happened one night Mama had been walking home from work having missed the bus from the house she worked at as a maid. She didn’t know her attackers and the crime was never reported. Instead she, Theresa and Grand moved a couple of towns away to start over. Eight months later, I was delivered- the lightest skinned baby in the Negro nursery.

There were questions and funny looks from neighbors, but Grand always told those who dared to ask I was albino. I didn’t know what that was so once I asked Grand if I really was an albino. Grand said, “Naw, child, but if they stupid enough to ask a rude question, then they deserve a stupid answer. It ain’t none of their business.” Grand was right, of course. Everyone knew it wasn’t the truth, but no one questioned Grand’s answer- ever, but now she was gone too.

She was a tough woman, my Grand. She scared me sometimes, but she was fair. I didn’t realize how much I’d miss that until she was gone.

Dread filled my stomach when I saw Mama digging through the dirty laundry. When she pulled out my school clothes from earlier today I felt my stomach drop.

“What happened now,” Mama asked looking at me, and then Theresa when I remained frozen too scared to speak. Holding up the dirty torn clothes, in one swollen fist Mama glared at both of us with piercing eyes.

“She started another fight,” Theresa said quickly. “Some of the girls told me she sassed the teacher at school too.”  Shaking my head, I denied it but Mama wasn’t listening. “Go to your bed!”  

I knew better than to argue once Mama made her decision as to which of us were at fault. Once she decided who to believe, which was always Theresa, Mama never changed her mind. Mama was angry and someone had to be punished.

 Sitting on my bed I waited. My heart pounded in my chest as I listened to the screen door bang shut.  A few minutes later, I heard the door again. Theresa had returned with the switch.

Mama’s heavy footsteps grew louder and louder in the hall as she got closer. I kept my head down as the pink paint-chipped door of our bedroom squeaked opened.

“Lay down,” Mama said. I did as she said pushing my thoughts away willing myself to think of anyplace else, anything else. Shaking, I lay with the left side of my face pressed against my pillow facing the wall. This wasn’t the first time Theresa told on me, but this time I hadn’t done anything wrong. In fact I’d done just what she’d said to do.

“You can’t let them get to you,” Theresa said last week after a group of kids followed me home again. Once again it was Jessie as ring leader taunting me, calling me ugly names. “Mama said we ain’t moving no more. You got to try harder to fit in.” Theresa looked away from my pursed lips both of us knowing it was easier said than done.

“Can’t you talk to them,” I’d asked my sister. “They like you.”

“Next time,” Theresa said, “the next time one of them says something to you I’ll tell them to lay off, okay?” I shook my head thankfully as we both sat at the kitchen table waiting for the girls outside to leave. “You just have to learn to ignore them, okay?”  I nodded to Theresa. “I can’t keep fighting your battles, Bug,” she’d said calling me by my nickname.

“Thanks Reesie,” I said, “I love you.”

“Love you too,” Theresa said rolling her eyes, a small smile on her full lips. That was last week. Then the fight happened two days ago. Theresa had stopped it then, just like she said she would, but today she’d walked past me. She’d warned me she would, but I hadn’t believed her. That was my mistake.

 I watched Mama’s shadow on the wall as she raised the switch. With each crack against my bare skin my body shook with pain. My thoughts grew darker and darker as the pain expanded exploding into tiny sharp pieces I knew I’d never be able to piece back together.

Gasping for air a flash of rage like I’d never felt before took over me as my screams crawled out of my chest. Soon I was on my feet grabbing for the switch in Mama’s hand. I grunted and gurgled on my own spit as we fought for control.  The sour smell of sweat slicked bodies and fear filled the tiny bedroom as I fought for my life.  

My thought screamed for me to “run!” and a split second later I was moving. In my mind I saw myself running down the street in nothing but my sky blue t-shirt and white underwear, but I didn’t make it out the bedroom door.  Hands held me back; pulled me down, back down on the tiny bed with Theresa’s knee firmly planted in my back.

“Hold her down,” Mama yelled, as more hits came. “Shut up gal,” crack, “shut up gal,” crack. “Shut up before I give you something to yell about.” I screamed louder and louder. I screamed until my voice gave out and only rasps and panting would come my eyes bugging as I gasped for air.  “When I tell you to mind,” Mama said breathing hard, “you gonna learn to mind.”  The hits had stopped, but I was still shaking. I felt Theresa move off of the bed, the weight lifted off my back making me feel I might float away.  “Theresa’s fighting days for you are over, girl you hear me?”

“Ain’t nobody got time for you and your uppity ways, gal,” Mama huffed her heels clopping on the wood floor. “You going to learn how to fit in, cause you ain’t no better than the rest of us,” Mama said from the doorway breathing hard, “and it’s time you realized that.  You hear me Valetta?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said facing the wall.  

Mama closed the door behind her.  Seconds later I felt the softness of Theresa’s afghan on my bruised skin. The afghan had been Theresa’s birthday present from Grand before she died. I listened to Theresa walk back across the room to lie down on her bed. The weight of the pink and purple afghan scratched my skin, but that wasn’t why I pushed it off and onto the floor.

I pushed it off because I wanted my half-sister to see what she’d done. I wanted her to see the angry red welts rising on my skin. Eventually they would turn black and then blue and I would make sure she saw those as well. 

I’d learned a valuable lesson.

Theresa said she loved me, but what she done wasn’t love. Love didn’t hurt, love didn’t humiliate, and love didn’t walk by you when you were lying scared in the dirt. Love didn’t hold you down with a knee in your back and beat you. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I did. Or at least I thought I had.

Years later after the memories had been dulled enough to claim forgetfulness, I thought I’d move on. I hadn’t.

“Hurt people hurt,” Grand used to say. A smart lady she was, because I’d been hurt a whole, whole lot.

So years later after I married, had my only child- a girl, I knew I was supposed to know better. I was supposed to do better, but I didn’t. Trapped by the stinking foulness of my past, it tainted everything. 

Every time I looked at her all I could think was, “Why should she get more than I’d gotten?”

Empath: Part 2

The first time it happened I didn’t even know it was happening. Even after I looked in a mirror and the face I’d come to finally accept was gone it took some time before I really believed it. Like three bodies later. That was when I finally accepted it. It was real.

I felt something different each time I jumped, but the strongest feeling which wasn’t something I could control. It never changed. The feeling, I couldn’t describe, I just knew it had always been there. I thought everyone felt the same thing until one day I realized they didn’t. I realized I was different.

The first body I jumped into was an old man. The reason: he wouldn’t leave me alone. I’d go to the store and he’d be there. I’d go to school he’d be across the street. At first I thought nothing of it- of him. I figured it was a coincidence at first.

I was ten, the same age as my daughter. I didn’t know evil existed then.

I finally took notice when I saw the old man standing outside my house. Then he was on my porch, and then he was inside my house. Before he touched me I already knew what his intentions were.

It was like his thoughts were my own. That was my first time jumping. I knew instantly what he planned to do to me, and what he would say if he was caught. I was terrified, I remember that. I was scared paralyzed by it then suddenly I wasn’t.

My fear evaporated and in its place I felt only excitement. My insides tingled with it. I know now it was him I felt. They were his feelings, but at the time I thought it was me.

Instinctively, I latched onto the feelings of excitement. It felt weird but good. I just knew it was much better than my fear so I ignored what I felt and followed the good feelings. It didn’t take long for me to make the transfer.

What I remember most was the heat. It felt like I was sweating from the inside out. My face, my eyes, my skin, my bones, my entire body was on fire. I know now that feeling was me taking over. It was me killing him.

Matter is funny that way. No two souls, I learned can ever exist together. One has to leave in order for the other to live. That’s how I did it. It was how I took someone’s body over. There was never a fight, just a shock then acquiescence as I took control melted into what was them and eased them out. I locked in on their emotion whatever it was then I squeezed in and that’s when the burn began. I burned them with my heat. Sometimes I thought I could hear them scream as they left their body like toothpaste from its tube. Then just like that they were gone, and it was just me. Where they went I didn’t know, but their body was mine afterwards for as long as I wanted or needed it.

Afterwards I remember looking down at the girl on the ground. The little girl was me, or what was left of me. The old man’s hands were still wrapped around the throat of my ten year old body.

I remember thinking it was all a dream. A really weird and wild dream that I couldn’t wake from no matter how badly I wanted to.

I didn’t know what to do, so I ran. I ran and ran until I couldn’t run anymore.

The old man wasn’t the only kill I made that day. Initially I thought I was still sleeping and having some trippy dream. So I figured if it was a dream I might as well see what else I could do. I’d taken two more bodies before I admitted it wasn’t a dream, but it took me years before I figured it all out- what I could do.

My mind played tricks on me for a while. I drifted. I had no one to talk to, nothing to live for other than my work. There was no one until Caitlynn. 

My life had been an unwanted battle against evil before her. I saved many lives, but I killed many more to do it. I died more times than I cared to remember, but when Caitlynn came along it all changed. I gave birth to a living metronome. Caitlynn kept me in sync with the world around me.

She was my anchor, my rock. I could no longer be pulled into the lives of people without leaving her behind, and that I wouldn’t do. I couldn’t leave her behind like I’d been left behind.

I’d created a life for her, and I didn’t want to lose it. I wouldn’t lose it.

I had to get her back, but first I had to find her.


I saw the flashing lights ahead, the car at the bottom of the embankment off the highway its hood hidden by the trees as if it had been run off the road. Traffic was at a crawl but I pulled next to the first responder cars.

As soon as the black and white cruiser came to a stop I was out and running. I knew it was Caitlynn. She was close. I could feel her. I ran hard and fast but before I could make it to the car I was tackled to the ground.

“Miss,” I heard a man yelling as I clawed at the gravel. “Miss stop it’s over, she’s gone,” he yelled, but I wouldn’t stop I couldn’t. My Caitlynn wasn’t dead. She couldn’t be. I elbowed the officer in the face stunning him and once again I was on my feet running towards the car and its trunk which was gaping wide open.