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Fiction Relay – Part 40

24 August, 2013

Those who follow me on Twitter will probably call me a liar. I said I would post this tomorrow but I have managed to polish it sooner than I expected so here I am and here it is.  As is traditional I was nervous about following the last few awesome chapters and wasn’t sure if I could match them – I hope I have. And as is also traditional, I am amazed at how much we have written of this story. FORTY chapters, 33k words and still going. If you are new to the Relay, you can find out more about it – who takes part and what they have written – by clicking on the Homepage. Or you can study-cram on what has gone before by reading the Summary. And once you have done that, you can read the latest events in Suzi’s Saga…

 

PART FORTY

 

Melissa swiped her passkey and the door to her room clicked open. She placed her palm on its oak-effect plastic covering and was about to push it open when she remembered Raj was sitting in the chair, subdued and not looking his best. She turned instead and leant her back on the door, eased it open just a few inches. “I’ll take it from here,” she said, holding out her arms. The porter shrugged inwardly and handed her the bundle. She took a couple more paces backwards, opening the door just wide enough to pass through, and without another word, turned again and slipped inside. The porter, expectantly waiting for his tip, watched as the door swung closed, its weight and its mechanism assisted by a swift kick from inside.

 

The bundle was lighter than she had expected and she carried it easily the two steps to the bed. She placed it carefully on top of the unmade, unwashed sheets and thrust her hands pensively into her jeans pockets.

It was some eighteen inches long, about a third as round, and the leather belts buckled around it secured the dark woollen blanket, worn thin with age. How this had come into her hands, how the driver had known to give it to her, was a mystery. That persistent half-recollection, that knowledge that this roughly wrapped package was unknown to her but still familiar, nagged at her.

With an eager curiosity she tugged at the metal buckles and pulled the belts away. The blanket kept its shape, kept the indentations of the belts after so much time constrained, and Melissa, more careful now, unwrapped the bundle. As she removed each layered fold, a little more of the shape of the contents was defined, and a little more of that distant familiarity sparked deep in her. Connections were being made in her memory, breadcrumbs of déjà vu teasing her along a long-forgotten path to a recollection still infuriatingly out of view. She pulled back the last of the blanket to reveal one final protective layer of blood-red satin which clicked with static electricity as Melissa opened it to reveal the animal form of the object within.

She lifted it and placed it on the bed, free from its protective layers for the first time in years. Or decades. Or centuries. A wooden carving of a coyote, lying restful but with eyes that showed alertness, knowledge, wisdom. A coyote she knew she recognised but still could not place.

Why had this been given to her? Was it left by Blue? By Meagan? By Sanderson? She sat on the bed next to it, studied its face, searched for answers that stubbornly eluded her.

 

And those elusive answers were not just concerning the coyote. Melissa still could not make sense of way Blue had summoned her mother. Had that been porting? Projecting? Perception manipulation? And how had the girl recovered her powers so quickly? Melissa knew that she had (literally) overpowered her – she had sensed her intoxication and taken advantage. She supposed it was possible that she had been faking this physically, but faking spiritually was impossible. Or at least it was unheard of. Maybe this kid was something special after all, maybe it wasn’t all teenage bravado. Not that she would ever admit that to Blue.

 

Her thoughts were interrupted by the projections of another power. A power which was different to any she had encountered before. She could feel its strength, its invincible awesome strength which would make even an ability such as Blue’s seem infinitely tiny and weak. She laid back, allowed the waves to flow into her as she studied their constituency in the same way that a normal human would study another’s face. And most prominent was a coldness she had never experienced. Not emotionally cold, but physically, like stone, like snow, like ice. She breathed deep, opened her mind to it further, and for the briefest moment, the tiniest fraction of a second, she glimpsed time. Unending, ancient, primeval time. The enormity forced her to recoil, to open her eyes, and as she returned to the room, to the bed, she realised she had been feeling its age. Whatever this power, this entity, this presence, it had existed for more time than she can comprehend. And it exists only here. In New Mexico. Close to the Club.

 

And then as quickly as it had reached her, the coldness, the power faded, and in its place was a vision of a coyote. THE coyote. The coyote that she now realised was the model for the carving next to her. The memory she had been searching for, grasping for, came into focus, the last few breadcrumbs completed the path to her distant past and she remembered. She had experienced a vision of this coyote once before, just once before, when it came to her and she knew – she wasn’t told, but she then knew – to move away, open the Diner and wait. She hadn’t known what she was waiting for, but the certainty of the vision had been compelling, and as she served coffees and cakes and waffles and icecreams and sodas and the incredible chicken that she would never share the recipe for, she waited. Until the first day Meagan had walked in, and everything became clear.

The vision of the coyote left her as quickly as it had appeared, but as it vanished she saw, just for an instant, for one flash of one frame of this bizarre cerebral cinema, the face of Sanderson. She sat upright as thoughts, realisations, sparked across her synapses. This must be why the Club was formed here in Albuquerque. The cold, ancient power must be where Sanderson derived his strength from. The reason why he never travelled, never left the club. And Sanderson and this immense power must be source of the girl’s unexpected recovery in the cab. The girl, her mother, her pathetic father, their idiot friend; Sanderson was protecting and assisting them all. Melissa knew now that if she was to overcome them all, to repay them for the suffering they had caused her over the years, she would need to lure them away from Sanderson, and lure Sanderson away from the Club.

 

 

Cara is sitting out this round, so next up is my shiny friend Joanne

8 Comments
  1. Stunningly, frightenly perfect! How in the world I’ll follow this is a mystery to me but I can’t wait! More cohesive words will follow here soon, first I must pick myself off the floor after reading this 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on joannebest and commented:
    In the off chance you’ve missed this, here’s your chance to catch up, I’m next my lovelies, make sure you’re up to speed! You won’t be sorry!

  3. Oooh! Nice! First off, this: “The blanket kept its shape, kept the indentations of the belts after so much time constrained” is rich writing. Yummy!

    I like how you really took the time to slow the pace and insert some depth and texture into the New Mexico theme and the coyote mythology we’re creating here. In addition to the above quoted passage, that richness was prevalent throughout this chapter. Beautifully written, TRG. 🙂

    • Thanks Dawn. i think i’m still in novel-writing mode from my wip so tend to write slower-paced and more descriptive at the moment. plus i wanted to address some of the questions that Melissa must have been considering since we saw her last.

  4. *hugs* That was awesome and a half, boss! Way shiny! (In case you couldn’t tell, I liked it. ;p) Mmm, more Coyote goodness. My trickster side keeps giggling. 😉

    And of course, as we love to do, it added more mysteries than it answered. *eg*

    Can’t wait till my turn again…got people clamoring in my headspace already!

    KC

    • Why thank you! The coyote/supernatural trickery thing isn’t really my genre but that’s the challenge of the relay – to build on what has gone before and lay more foundations.
      i love that the ideas are already pinging for you 🙂

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