I wanted to switch gears a bit this week. I’ve invested so much time and energy into breathing life into my ‘New Author’ dreams that I’m suddenly all out of air. I’m still happily typing my nimble little fingers to the bone, working on book 2 (and a few other works in progress), but my blogging juices are running dry. I thought it might be fun, instead, to give you a little taste of the work I’ve already done, while I recharge my dwindling creativity. For your reading pleasure, I present Chapter 1 of my new release, Incalculable; The Rousing Of Mia. I hope you enjoy!
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
INCALCULABLE; THE ROUSING OF MIA
First edition. April 1, 2019.
Copyright © 2019 Whovina Munroe.
Written by Whovina Munroe.
A Fresh Start
“Stay away from me!” Mia’s scream echoed through the damp, dark alley. Her legs ached wildly, but she didn’t dare slow down to rest, for fear that the shadowy figure chasing her would soon catch up. Mia could barely tell what was ahead of her. She hadn’t seen a light post, for what felt like an eternity now, and as fast as she was running, it was hard to tell where the next turn would be.
“You can’t get far,” the sinister voice hissed from somewhere in the darkness surrounding her, “I will find you! You are mine now!” She could hear him drawing closer and the panic was bubbling up within her.
I need to get away… where the hell am I? Mia’s mind raced desperately for an answer. She was sure, the more she thought it through, she could better her chance of escape. In an instant, Mia saw her chance. Just a few feet ahead sat a narrow opening between the outlying buildings. An opening partially hidden by an overflowing dumpster, and barely wide enough for her to push through. She had to climb through the mounds of damp cardboard and rotten smelling scraps. She squeezed in between the rough brick walls. It was narrower than she’d expected, but there was still an inch or two to spare. This has to work. It may slow me down, but he’ll never think to look in here. There was a faint glow of street lights up ahead. It’ll be okay. I just need to get to the street. Out in the light where people can see me. I’ll be safe once I’m out of this alley. Just a little further.
Crackle… crack… The sound was behind her now, rustling. Someone, or something was in there with her. Mia held her breath, stopping dead in her tracks. Footsteps? No, he couldn’t have found me in here. She sat still, waiting. Listening. Determining herself to move on, she slowly inched her way further. Each footfall carefully calculated. Intentional. Each step as silent as the last. It’s okay. It was nothing. Probably just a rat. She had seen rats in the alley ways before. They liked to scavenge for food in places like this. Such a filthy creature scurrying underfoot as she inched blindly toward freedom, thinking about it sent a chill rushing through her spine. Mia hated rats.
It was getting harder to breathe. The thought of getting trapped in such a tight space made her head spin. Just breathe… She tried to ignore the feeling, but it grew stronger. Just focus… focus on the lights ahead. Her chest was tightening, and it felt like she was breathing through a straw. Not now… no, keep calm.
“Hello Mia.” the silky-smooth voice hummed in her ear. Mia jerked away, but he took hold of her, snatching up a large cluster of hair and slung her into the hard brick wall.”No! Please, no!” she screamed. She fought to pull away from him, but the tight space gave little room to fight back. The brick that surrounded them cut into her with every blow. She was quickly loosing control. Her body shaking violently, gave out under the weight of her attacker. Pinned beneath him now, she could feel the damp rag press over her face. She fought desperately to catch a breath. The muffled smell of ether stung her nose, and she tried not to breathe it in. She knew it was all for naught when the sickeningly sweet taste filled her mouth.
Mia lunged forward, gasping for air. Frantically scanning her surroundings. She braced herself, ready to fight back against her attacker. She was drenched with sweat. Bright sunlight poured over her body, jolting her into realizing she was in her own bed. Her sheets were a tangled mess, and she sat stunned in the aftermath of her nightmare. It wasn’t the first time she’d had that dream. It was becoming all too common now, but it still shook her to the core.
Determined not to let the terrors of her dream define her day, Mia dragged herself out of bed and headed to the shower. Her tense muscles softened as she smoothed the creamy lavender-vanilla soap across her skin and worked it into a lather. Lavender always made her feel better. Lavender was Mamma’s scent. Recently, her nightmares had returned, and Mia wasn’t sure why. She found it difficult to think about them, sometimes going into a panic attack after trying. The only thing she’d found that seemed to help was a good hot shower, and the sweet scent that always took her back to memories of better times. Times when her parents were still alive. Mia leaned her head back and let the hot water rush over her face. If only she could shake the memory of that awful dream.
A thick layer of steam covered the bathroom mirror by the time Mia emerged from the shower. She wiped her hand across the watery mess and stared at the woman looking back at her. Mia touched her hand to her face and ran a finger along her high cheekbone. She had always loved how her mother’s cheeks looked perfectly sculpted. Mia’s always seemed so chubby as a child, earning her the cruel nickname of ‘chipmunk cheeks’ in grade school. Now, as an adult, she could see her face taking on the same shape as her mother’s. Mia’s deep brown eyes searched the reflection, seeking her parent’s features. Mamma’s eyes, Daddy’s nose. Her lips, however, were all her own. Both of her parents had thin lips. Mia was the anomaly. Her father used to tease her, saying she was a natural when it came to pouting. It was true. As a child, her full lips afforded her the perfect advantage when she was upset. All she had to do was curl out that lower lip the tiniest bit, and somehow she’d get her way. A sad smile washed across Mia’s face. It’s hard not to miss someone you love so much, when you see them every time you look in the mirror. She blinked hard to fight back the dampness that threatened to invade her eyes. Shake it off. Mia snatched the towel off of herself and pulled on a pair of leggings and an over-sized hoodie. No time for sniffles! I’ll pull a thirty minute workout and get breakfast at Krecek’s. Yeah, that’ll be good, and then I have to get back to work on that darn Bowman add. If I keep myself on track today, I should have it ready for submission by tonight.
Small drops of water danced in a shimmering polychromatic pool, splintering off along small cracks in the old Main-street sidewalk. Mia, still full of energy after her early morning workout, strode leisurely, admiring the outmoded buildings surrounding her. A gentle drizzle fell on the quiet shops in downtown Gordonsville. The moisture in the air had already given new life to her chestnut- brown locks, coaxing the soft waves to bounce about her shoulders. Mia smiled as the dewy drops touched her face. Their cooling kiss were soothing after pushing herself the extra mile. She was getting closer to her destination and already feeling anxious, longing to enjoy the delicious aroma of fresh-baked goodies awaiting her at Kreceks. Rich notes of specially blended house roast coffee, mixed with the pungent-sweet goodness of fresh-baked lemon rosemary pound cake, her favorite morning indulgence. Kreceks had become the driving force she counted on each day to make it through her vigorous exercise routine. The quaint, small-town bakery had become her favorite place to recharge and unwind after her recent move. It was one of the first places she had wandered into.
Mia moved to the small town a few weeks before, but only recently ventured out of the confines of her quiet little neighborhood. Her home was only a short walking distance from Main street. Wandering along, she drank in the sights and smells around her. She had nearly made it to the wrought-iron fence that outlines the little coffee shop when without warning, the light drizzle transformed into a raging downpour. Mia held her large shoulder bag over her head to shield herself from the rain and sprinted toward her destination.
“Oh crap, I’m so sorry!” Mia stammered. She felt herself collide with something, or rather someone. Upon impact, Mia’s bag fell to the ground, its contents spilling out over a nearby flower pot. “You can knock me off my feet anytime you like!” Smiled a tall, muscular man, “Here, let me help you.” He knelt in front of her, retrieving everything from where it had fallen among the yellow mums, now decorated with several small papers and a tube of red cherry Chapstick.
Mia watched him as the rain continued to trickle down her face, carrying with it small streaks of ebony. Her mascara washing away. She couldn’t help but notice how much his auburn locks emphasized the slight bronze of his skin. Wow Mia, if you’re going to plow into someone like a fool, you sure found one worth the fall! He rose, handing her the drenched bag. Her mouth slack, Mia watched the golden flecks dance in his mossy green eyes. She wasn’t the type who paid attention to a person’s eyes. In fact, whenever she tried to describe anyone (aside from her own parents) she’d always fallen short. Never able to remember the color of their eyes. This was different. This man had the kind of eyes you couldn’t help but notice. So mesmerizing. The shock of his nervous chuckle broke her trance. Crap. How long have I been staring at him? She blushed, dropping her eyes from his gaze. “Um, thank you,” She reached out and took hold of the bag. Her words shook as she spoke, “I guess it’s time to clean this thing out.” Mia clutched the bag tightly. Her mouth curved into a crooked smile and she laughed self-consciously.
The man gave her a little nudge, “We should get out of this rain. Here, come on.” He led her into the shop, making sure she was safe from the rain before introducing himself, “My name is Christopher- um Chris.”
Mia smiled sheepishly, “Nice to meet you, Chris. I’m Mia.” She shivered, the cool air raising goosebumps along her wet skin. Well, this is awkward. What do I say? Glancing around, she scanned the room for refuge. She could feel his eyes piercing her. The last thing she wanted was to look up. She fiddled with the strap on her purse, trying to think of something to break the tension. Anything.
“I’d like to buy you a coffee. It’s the least I can do after our little tumble outside,” he offered with a smile. Mia looked up. Those eyes. She’d done it again. One quick glimpse and he’d entranced her. “They have the best donuts around,” He continued.
Mia tried to think of a reason she shouldn’t sit with this absolute stranger, but he seemed harmless. Better than harmless, he seemed interesting. “Well then,” she smiled, “I guess it couldn’t hurt.” She tried fruitlessly to squeeze out the water that had drenched her hair and clothing, before stepping off of the entrance mat, and then followed his lead to a nearby table.
Even the wet, smudged makeup couldn’t hide her natural beauty. Chris watched Mia dab away the last remnants of mascara with the corner of her napkin. “How’s your coffee?” he asked, gesturing toward the cup in front of her. “Delicious.” She smiled, folding the spoiled napkin and laying it on the table in front of her. Mia wondered what she should talk about. Talking to people wasn’t really her thing, especially people she didn’t know. The silence was awkward, and she felt like she needed to fill in the gaps with conversation, hoping he couldn’t sense how uncomfortable she was. “They have the best coffee.” she said, picking up the cup and taking a sip. She watched him over her cup, wondering what he was thinking.
“It is pretty good.” He agreed. “I’ve been coming here for years now, and I have to admit, it’s mostly because of their coffee. Their food is good too, don’t get me wrong, but their coffee… lets just say, I’m addicted.” He took a large swallow and holding it, spread his mouth into a wide grin before swallowing. Mia laughed, mid swallow, quickly covering her mouth to avoid spitting it on him.
“So, how long have you lived here in Gordonsville?” Mia asked, rolling the edge of her napkin between her fingertips. She tried not to stare into his eyes for too long, but she found it hard not to slip back into their mesmerizing brilliance. Stop that! He’s going to think you’re weird, staring at him like a mindless idiot. Her gaze trailed down to his lips. She noticed the dimple hovering over the corner of his mouth twitch into a subtle smile. Suddenly feeling embarrassed, she lurched back to reality. Why do I keep doing that?
“All my life, really.” He said, smiling back at her, “When I was a kid, I used to daydream about moving to the city. I planned to move to New York after high school. Life doesn’t always go the way you expect it to, I guess.” He shrugged his shoulders and took a sip of coffee. “Anyhow, after I got out of college, I was offered a great job out here with Computech, and I jumped on it. It all seemed to fall into place after that, and next thing I know, a few years have already gone by. Gordonsville just kinda grew on me. Maybe I slowed down enough to appreciate small town life.”
Mia let out a laugh and Chris smiled, watching her. She had a laugh that made you want to be near her. There was a softness about it that sent you floating on air. But then again, he thought, it was probably the same spell her voice cast over him. The soothing tone lulled him in, clinging to her every word. It fascinated him. He wanted more. “What about you?” he finally said, “how long have you lived here?”
“Only a few weeks now.” She admitted through her grin, “I moved here from the city. Looking for a small-town life too, I guess.” Mia didn’t want to think about her reasons for the move. She wasn’t the type to share her emotional baggage. A chill shot through her. She wrapped her arms around her stomach, “I just needed to get a fresh start.” Push through it Mia. This guy doesn’t want to hear your whole life story. Chris noticed a hint of sadness wash over Mia’s eyes for just a moment before it disappeared. Just like that, the vibrancy that glowed within her had returned.
“Well,” he said jovially, “I’m glad you moved to our little town. Maybe I can show you around sometime. A few weeks don’t allow much roaming around, do they?”
“No, I guess not.” Mia agreed. She felt awkward at his request. She always felt safer by herself. That was why she worked from home. Letting someone into her life like that wasn’t an easy choice, even if he did look hot as hell. “I’m pretty busy,” she trailed off in thought. Do I really want to just cut him off completely? It might be nice getting to know him? Maybe? She bit her lip, “Well, maybe sometime.”
Chris’ smile widened. “Here,” he said, scribbling something on his napkin, “when you have a little free time, give me a call.” He slid the napkin to her. Mia looked down at the phone number in front of her. The ball was in her court, and she hadn’t a clue what to do with it. Should I give him my number too? What if he never calls? Worse yet, what if he does? She picked up the napkin. He was watching her now, waiting for a response. Damn. I’ll never know if I don’t take a chance. She took a deep breath and tore off a flap. Chris raised an eyebrow, watching as she wrote her phone number down and slid it back to him. “That could be fun. I’m not the best with phone calls, though. You may end up having to call me first,” she laughed nervously.
“I can do that.” He smiled, tucking the paper into his pocket.
By the time Mia left the restaurant, she felt a new sensation overtake her. Intrigue. This man she’d just met, Chris, was so pleasant to talk to. He was easy on the eyes too. She could see herself falling for him, but that couldn’t happen. No, Mia thought. I’m not going to invite more heartbreak into my life. Everyone leaves. He will too. Better to keep things simple. It’s safer alone. Still, she couldn’t forget those piercing green eyes.
Chris watched her as she left the shop, wishing he could have spent more time with her. He had work to attend to, so when she had to rush off, he wasn’t in the best position to convince her to stay longer. If only the rain hadn’t stopped so soon.
I hope you enjoyed this little taste of my book. If you’d like to read more, you can purchase it on Amazon, or read the rest for free today on Kindle Unlimited!