HAVEN: REVENGE OF THE VIPER – CHAPTER 1

Written by dcakers@dc-akers.com on February 7th, 2014. Posted in Haven News, Haven Shorts Series

HAVEN Wattpad Chapter 1Read Haven: Revenge of the Viper CHAPTER 1 exclusively on Wattpad today!

Revenge of the Viper is (Book #2) in the Bestselling series HAVEN, following A Stranger Magic (BOOK #1) which is available for FREE at Amazon.comBarnes and NobleKobo BooksIBooks/Itunes, and Smashwords. Make sure to LIKE/SHARE with your friends!

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Haven Shorts – Chapter 12 – Episode 17 – A Stranger Magic

Written by dcakers@dc-akers.com on November 1st, 2013. Posted in Haven Shorts Series

Haven: A Stranger Magic

Chapter 12 – Episode 17

The night sky was filled with silver clouds and a radiant cream-colored moon that seemed to follow the boys as they walked briskly back through their development.

Sam’s ribs were throbbing now; the cuts and scrapes were starting to sting. His mind kept flashing back to the mirror. Had the stranger come through a mirror like the spiders did, he wondered.

Travis was walking very stiffly, trying not to cause any additional pain. Trickles of blood from small scrapes cascaded down his arms like road maps to nowhere. His muscles were taut and his legs ached as if he had run a small marathon.

“Sam, I’ve never seen anything like that in my life! The mirror was floating above the water! Just freaking floating!”

Sam looked over at Travis. He had no idea just how bizarre things really were.

“I mean, how in the world did it do that? Where did it come from?” he continued. “And who or what made the new tunnel?”

Sam thought for a moment before he spoke. What would be the best way to tell Travis that yes, he had seen something just as crazy before and it happened just the other night? What if he went on to tell Travis about the stranger that might be stalking him and that he can vanish into thin air? Surely he would believe him now! Surely after tonight he would know it was in the realm of possibility, surely.

Sam knew if he told Travis the truth it would place him on the same path as Sam. But what was that path? Where was it headed? Perhaps Travis had been on the same road all along without knowing it. After all, it was Travis’s idea to come to the caves. Didn’t he owe it to Travis to tell him the truth? What if the stranger came after Travis? That was a chance Sam couldn’t take, Sam concluded. Travis had to know.

“Well, to tell you the truth Trav, there have been some very strange things happening around the Dalcome house lately.”

Travis looked over at Sam with his dark brown eyes squinted and eyebrows flexed, preparing himself for more of the bizarre.

Sam began to explain in detail the events of the last several days. He told Travis about the dreams he had and the mysterious stranger outside his house. He told him about the chocolate wrappers and how the stranger had disappeared into thin air.

Travis listened intently, never interrupting to ask questions. By the time Sam had finished Travis’s face had gone sallow. The realization of what Sam had said was slowly sinking in. The moment had come and gone, the words had escaped Sam’s mouth and seeped into the air, changing everything they knew around them. Things were different now; more real, and more alive. Magic had fused unimaginable possibilities together with imminent danger bringing forth a world they never knew existed, but that had always been there. Magic had slumbered in the shadows until now. Now it was awake and nothing would ever be the same. Sam shivered at the thought.

They rounded the corner to Giddyup Lane. Their neighborhood in the past had felt like an old friend—familiar and comfortable, but most of all safe. But tonight it felt foreign and eerie. Things they took for granted, such as next door neighbors, stray animals, and insects, for that matter, could no longer be looked at in the same way. Not anymore, not with magic out there. Not with the stranger out there.

Sam and Travis continued to walk in silence. The soft breeze grazed against treetops of maples, elms, and oaks that perfectly lined both sides of the street, rooted in small, overpriced lots. Sam’s house was the fifth from the end on the left.

As the boys approached his house, Sam could see that the light in his mother’s bedroom was still on. His heart sank just a little, remembering that he still owed her an apology. With all that had happened he had simply forgotten about it. It was just one more thing that would have to be done before the night was through.

As they stopped in front of his house Sam turned to Travis with a sardonic grin.

“Well, we made it.”

“Yeah, I’m not sure that’s a good thing,” Travis said.

He quickly surveyed Sam’s appearance and shook his head as a smile crept to the corners of his mouth.

“You look like crap,” Travis said.

Sam could not help but laugh; it was the first time he’d laughed in days, as far as he could remember, and it felt good.

“We smell like it, too!” he added.

They both continued to laugh as they tried half-heartedly to straighten and dust themselves off. But it was no use. Their shirts and shorts were stained and torn, their hair matted to their faces, and Travis was even missing a shoe.

“Hey, what are you going to tell your mother?” Travis asked.

“Nothing, I mean, do you really think she, or anyone else, would believe me?”

“No, probably not. Heck, I wouldn’t believe you if I hadn’t been there.”

But Travis had been there and he had seen the magic with his own eyes. Sam was glad Travis had gone to the cave because now he was no longer alone.

“Okay then, well, I’ll talk to you tomorrow, right?” Travis asked.

“Yeah, I’ll talk to you tomorrow. You okay walking home?”

“I’m okay. The stranger’s after you, not me, right?” Travis said smiling.

“Well, for now.” Sam grinned back.

Travis’s smile faded. “Yeah, not funny Sam.”

“I’m kidding.”

Travis turned, and with only one shoe on he headed home.

Sam opened the front door to his house. It was dark inside except for the dim light coming from the kitchen. He had been out much later than he expected, so late that he had missed dinner, and both Sarah and his mother were either in bed or asleep by now.

The smell of homemade meatloaf from dinner lingered in the air, which made his stomach growl. For a brief moment his body wasn’t hurting, he wasn’t scared, he was just hungry. Really hungry. It felt good to be home.

Sam slowly closed the front door and quietly walked into the living room. His mother’s self-help book Stretching a Dollar by Reginald Blum was lying on the couch, and a mug of decaffeinated green tea sat atop a silver coaster on the wooden coffee table.

His mother had finished her nightly routine, which consisted of light reading followed by a hot cup of tea and bed. Sam looked up to the top of the stairs; her light was turned off now. He had missed her once again, and his apology would have to wait till tomorrow.

Sam sighed and walked into the kitchen. On the counter top in all its edible glory was his favorite meal in the entire world—his mother’s meatloaf.

The meatloaf was piled high and surround by fresh green beans and homemade mashed potatoes. A rich yummy tomato sauce covered the succulent meat. Sam thought it was almost too beautiful to eat.

He opened the counter drawer, pulled out a fork, and began to eat. The meatloaf was still warm and moist. He shoveled his food in so fast that for a brief moment he forgot to breathe.

Before Sam knew it, he had eaten the entire meal and his belly was full. He washed his plate and placed it in the dishwasher. Normally he would just leave it in the sink because dishes were Sarah’s chore, but for some reason he didn’t. Why was he feeling especially nice? Maybe it was the fact that he had triumphantly escaped the spiders in the cave, and now he was home, and had just eaten the best meal of his entire life. Despite all this comfort, Sam still felt uneasy about the events of the past few days. Then he remembered the spiders.

“Spiders, oh no!” he said to himself.

The spiders that were in the rosebushes were the same kind spiders that had attacked him tonight. Were they still out there? Were there more of them?

He quickly rounded the kitchen counter and headed to the front door. He turned on the front porch light and made his way down the steps to the rosebushes.

His eyes scanned every leaf, stem, and thorn on the twisted clump of bush, but he found nothing. There was not a single spider or trace of a web. Part of the bush was still mangled from where he had fallen in the day before. It was a sad-looking bush; there wasn’t even a single rose on it.

After closely scanning the surrounding area he finally felt satisfied that the spiders were gone. He made his way back into the house, locked up, and went upstairs. Sarah’s light was off too. Apparently they both had gone to bed early.

Sam was tired; the only thing he had on his mind now was a hot shower and a comfortable bed. His body was sore and it was getting worse. The smell of bat crap from his clothes was really starting to get to him now.

He quietly walked into his room where the Mountain Mist air freshener scent still lingered. His room was so clean that it felt odd, almost like he was in someone else’s bedroom.

Sam carefully took off his shirt and shorts, trying not to move any muscle faster than needed. He walked into his bathroom with his hand on his lower back, feeling as if he were a hundred years old. Gradually, Sam leaned over, turned on the shower and waited a few minutes before stepping in. Hot water stung his cuts and scrapes, making his muscles twitch as if they were being electrocuted. The water at the bottom of the tub drained steadily with a constant flow of dirt, blood, and bat feces. Warm jets of water streamed down from the shower head and massaged Sam’s body into a slow, peaceful trance. He felt himself sway just a bit as he began to doze off.

The shower lasted a full thirty minutes, if not more. Still drained, Sam brushed his teeth, turned off the light, and crawled into his bed. The bed seemed to wrap around him in a gentle embrace. It was extremely soft and felt good on his aching muscles.

The ceiling fan whirled above him, casting down a gentle breeze. His thin sheets smelled of fabric softener as he pulled them tight. He rolled onto his side and slid his arm under his pillow. His eyelids were heavy as he gazed up at the moonlight that shined through his bedroom window. There was no flashing street light tonight; it was the perfect atmosphere for sleep. The adrenaline he’d felt earlier was gone, leaving Sam completely fatigued.

He lay there, knowing the stranger was still out there somewhere. He knew there was magic in the world now, and that the stranger could use it. But how the stranger, the mirror, and the spiders all fit together he didn’t know. Not yet, anyway, but he promised himself he would find out, and soon.

Sam took in a deep breath and sighed. He felt every muscle in his body relax before closing his eyes and drifting off to sleep.

Good news! We are ramping up for  BOOK 2 in the Haven Series: Revenge of the Viper. So in celebration and to say thank you for all your support we are giving away Book 1  A Stranger Magic for FREE!

Amazon’s Top 100 Best Selling Fantasy Fiction Novella is now available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books, IBooks/Itunes, and Smashwords.

If you already have a copy, get a new one! Each version (PRINT and DIGITAL) have been reformatted. You will love the new look. Also when you buy the PRINT copy of Haven: A Stranger Magic at Amazon.com you still get the DIGITAL copy in a bundle package for FREE.

Make sure to LIKE/SHARE with your friends!

Enjoy the journey!

DCA

Haven Shorts – Chapter 11 – Episode 16 – A Stranger Magic

Written by dcakers@dc-akers.com on October 25th, 2013. Posted in Haven Shorts Series

Haven: A Stranger Magic

Chapter 11 – Episode 16

Sam slipped again, falling back into the water with one arm raised, suspending the candle lantern only inches away from being snuffed out.

Travis stopped and circled back, grabbing Sam by the arm. His foot slipped and he fell back into the freezing water again.

The enormous wave of splashing spiders moved closer, like a school of piranhas advancing on its prey. Bats screamed and shrieked around their heads, colliding with the two boys. Sam and Travis frantically waved them off and scrambled to their feet. Hurriedly, they sloshed through the water, moving as fast as they could. Their feet felt ten pounds heavier wading through the pond. As they drew close to the water’s edge, they grabbed the nearby stalagmites to better balance themselves.

Travis had taken the lantern, and was doing his best to keep the last candle from going out completely.

They moved as quickly as they could back over the rocks and around the stalagmites, but the trekking was slower and more cumbersome this time around. There were bats to deal with now and wet shoes that continued to slip on the rocky terrain. Sam was the first to reach the tunnel they had come through. He looked back at Travis and saw a large black and green mass on the ground behind him, gaining on him. The spiders were only a few feet away from them now.

Their speed was impressive, jumping into the air and squealing as they swarmed over the rocky landscape. They moved as a unit, a combined arachnid force chasing their prey.

Sam ran as fast as his legs could go. Travis was not far behind. Their gangly shadows stretched across the tunnel walls, disappearing and reappearing as the candle lantern bounced in Travis’s hand.

“Come on, Travis, we’re almost there!” Sam yelled.

The first ledge was right in front of them. Sam leaped up onto it as darkness engulfed the tunnel. A loud crash of breaking glass rang out, followed by an ominous thud. Travis had run straight into the wall of the first ledge and had broken the lantern.

“Travis, are you okay?” Sam yelled.

He stood on the ledge and looked back down into the sea of darkness, frantically searching. All Sam could hear were crunching sounds as Travis’s shoes moved back and forth over the glass and gravel.

“Ugh … I’m okay!” Travis yelled as he stood up, reaching for the first ledge.

Sam felt Travis’s hand brush his own, and he quickly moved to the right, giving Travis room to get up. The bats had fallen back now, and were only flying past them every now and again, but the eerie insect sound of the spiders was growing closer.

“Faster, Travis, they’re almost on us!”

Travis’s body was still hanging halfway off the ledge. He swung his knee as high as he could, trying desperately to reach the edge. Sam grabbed the back of Travis’s shirt and pulled him up next to him.

Sam could hear the loud hissing and squealing of the spiders below, and it sent cold chills up his spine. Every hair on his neck was standing at attention; his body quivered in disgust at the thought of a hundred hairy spider legs climbing over his body.

Sam looked up through the round hole of the entrance to the caves, just as the moonlight broke through the silver clouds. It cast a faint silhouette of oak trees on the preceding level. Hundreds of bats burst from the tunnel behind them and flew out of the cave. They scattered into the night, causing the moonlight to flicker.

Both Sam and Travis reached for the top of the entrance, but Travis looked back down. The spiders were quickly scaling over the edge behind them.

Illuminated by the moonlight, Travis could now see the group of spiders making their way forward and gathering around Sam’s feet. In seconds they had swarmed his ankles, and were moving up his legs.

“Sam they’re on you!” Travis cried out.

Sam felt them moving up his calves. The light pads of the spiders’ feet tapped sporadically as they made their way toward his knees. He jumped as high as he could, hurling himself upward toward the entrance of the cave, but he fell short, hitting the edge of the rock with his ribs. He dangled there for a brief moment with his body halfway out of the entrance. The impact had left him breathless, as if all the air in his lungs had been sucked out by a giant vacuum cleaner. A sharp pain was shooting across his rib cage. With nothing to hold on to he slowly began to slide back into the hole. He reached for the tall tufts of weeds in front of him, and grabbed two large fistfuls, and pulled with all his might, slowing his descent. Gasping, he hoisted his right leg over the edge and heaved his body onto the soft ground. He rolled through the grass as fast as he could, sending spiders flying in every direction.

Travis followed close behind him, but he also got stuck halfway out and could not get his leg over the edge of the opening. His hands began to slip; he reached for the surrounding weeds, but they tore from the ground as he grasped them. Spiders were crawling up his legs and up the back of his shirt now. Stuck in the same spot as Sam had been, Travis slipped back into cave entrance.

“Sam! Help me!” he cried out.

Sam shot his hand over the edge and grabbed the back of Travis’s shirt, pulling him upward and sending spiders flying into the air. The two boys both fell back on the ground. Travis’s legs were covered with spiders. He landed on the ground with a loud thud and began to shake himself frantically.

Sam and Travis rolled on the ground for what seemed like forever, until every spider was either gone or smashed to death by the violent thrashing.

Sam and Travis lay on their backs, breathing hard and staring up into the dense canopy of tree branches.

They could smell the familiar mixture of bark and weeds in the moist air around them. The blackbirds nesting above them crowed erratically, and the moonlight that had once seeped through the treetops had vanished behind the clouds. The screeching sound from the spiders and bats had stopped, and nothing seemed to be following them out of the cave entrance.

“You alright?” Sam asked, trying to straighten himself out.

“Yeah, I’m okay. You?” Travis replied between deep gulps of air.

“I’m okay, but let’s get out of here before the rest of them make it up here,” Sam said.

“I’m right with you!”

Sam stood quickly, holding his ribs. His arms and elbows were scraped and cut. Travis didn’t look much better. Both boys were still soaking wet and covered in grass, dirt, spider guts, and bat droppings. Sam helped Travis to his feet and they both turned and ran as fast as they could past the oak trees, tall weeds, and into the open area of the quarry, all the while constantly checking behind them for spiders and bats.

Good news! We are ramping up for  BOOK 2 in the Haven Series: Revenge of the Viper. So in celebration and to say thank you for all your support we are giving away Book 1  A Stranger Magic for FREE!

Amazon’s Top 100 Best Selling Fantasy Fiction Novella is now available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books, IBooks/Itunes, and Smashwords.

If you already have a copy, get a new one! Each version (PRINT and DIGITAL) have been reformatted. You will love the new look. Also when you buy the PRINT copy of Haven: A Stranger Magic at Amazon.com you still get the DIGITAL copy in a bundle package for FREE.

Make sure to LIKE/SHARE with your friends!

Enjoy the journey!

DCA

Haven Shorts – Chapter 10 – Episode 15 – A Stranger Magic

Written by dcakers@dc-akers.com on October 18th, 2013. Posted in Haven Shorts Series

Haven: A Stranger Magic

Chapter 10 – Episode 15

Travis turned toward the mirror. Sam was right; the mirror was floating above the water.

“You have got to be kidding me,” Travis said, his voice barely audible.

Sam stood, taking in every detail. This was the most extraordinary moment of his entire life. It was unbelievable, incredible, and frightening all at the same time. His mind was racing; I’m no longer crazy, he thought. This proved it. Travis was here; he was a witness now. Did this have something to do with the dark stranger outside his home, he wondered. Sam didn’t know whether to stay or flee, but he had to find out. He had to know if there was a connection between the two.

He stepped forward into the cold water, inching his way little by little toward the ornate mirror.

“Ummm Sam, where you going …?” Travis asked. His eyes widened as he watched Sam move past him as if he were in some kind of trance.

Sam didn’t utter a word as he anxiously inched his way forward through the emerald water.

The water was freezing. It felt like a thousand needles were stabbing his feet as it seeped into his shoes and socks. But that didn’t matter to Sam. He had to know what was going on.

Travis stood resolute near the edge of the pool, reluctant to follow his friend.

“Sam, what are you doing? Come back here!” he said through gritted teeth.

But Sam continued to move forward, wading through the water that was up to his knees now.

Disinclined, Travis put his foot in the water, then quickly snatched it back out.

“Crap, that’s cold!” he said, his voice ringing out.

A small squeal echoed above them from something they could not see. Travis whirled around, swinging the lantern in all directions. Sam, who was several feet ahead of him now, stopped, turned back, and glared at Travis. “What in the world are you doing?”

“Sorry,” Travis sighed, looking at Sam remorsefully. He placed his foot back into the water followed by the other and waded through the water quickly trying to catch up to Sam.

“This is not a good idea, Sam. I have very bad feeling about this!”

Sam turned back toward the mirror.

“I mean, I am not sure if you are seeing what I’m seeing, but that’s a mirror, and it’s floating in mid-air!” Travis said.

Sam didn’t respond; he kept walking toward the unbelievable sight.

“Mirrors don’t do that, ever! Not to mention we’re a few hundred feet down in a cavern. That’s not a good sign in any movie! Oh, and we are standing in freezing cold water up to our knees. Now, I don’t mean to dampen your spirit buddy, but we need to get out of here!”

Sam finally stopped. He stood quietly, analyzing the mirror, deep in thought.

“Sam, are you listening to me?” Travis asked, his voice quivering from the cold water.

“Hold the lantern still,” Sam finally said.

“Fine!” Travis replied hastily. “But if my grandmother wants to know how their only grandson died you can tell them—Noo, wait, you can’t tell them anything! Want to know why Sam? BECAUSE YOU WILL BE DEAD WITH ME!”

As Travis approached, Sam turned and grabbed the lantern and held it closer to the mirror.

The mirror was gigantic, at least eight feet tall and trimmed in gold. It hovered about a foot above the water, as if it were hanging by invisible strings. The top was pointed and cambered down on each side to the base, much like a teardrop. The gold trim was heavily etched with the same twelve symbols on either side. An elaborate pattern of scrollwork and vines had been scored in silver between the ciphers.

“I’ve seen these symbols before,” Sam said, and lifted the candle lantern high into the air.

“What? Where?” Travis asked, scrutinizing the bizarre mirror.

“Here along the edges.” Sam pointed to one of the symbols that looked like the letters M and P written together in cursive. “I’ve seen this one for sure.”

“Hey, that’s the sign of Cancer,” Travis exclaimed, pointing to a symbol that looked like the numbers six and nine turned sideways.

“That’s it!” Sam said, his eyes wide with enthusiasm. “They’re Zodiac signs!”

“But what about this?” Travis asked, pointing to a different set of symbols. These symbols were a bit larger than the Zodiac signs. There were four in all, set in a silver inlay near the outer edge of the mirror, just beyond the gold and silver trim of the Zodiac signs. The positioning of these larger symbols reminded Sam of the four cardinal points on a map, one at the top, one at the bottom, and one to each side.

They stared at the strange design. Travis was still shivering, but Sam stood entranced. He was cold too, but it was like white noise to him now, just something in the background. His mind was focused on the bizarre floating mirror.

The first symbol looked like a pyramid with the top of a question mark inside it. The second resembled waves or water. The third looked like three separate coils in the shape of the number nine, and last was most definitely fire.

“Wait, water, fire … ELEMENTS!”

“Yes!” Travis bellowed, “The pyramid is Earth and the other must be Air!”

Suddenly, without warning, a mechanical grinding noise reverberated from the mirror, as if large gears were turning somewhere inside of it. Each Zodiac sign began to glow a brilliant gold. The grinding sound picked up speed. The two boys stepped back in alarm. Travis gasped and Sam’s mouth fell open.

“Sam! What … what’s happening?” Travis asked, but his voice was drowned out by the grinding sound that echoed through the chamber.

The Fire sign at the top of the tear was the first element to illuminate. The scarlet glow was blinding. Each symbol radiated its own individual color; Earth with a brilliant jade, Air, a stunning amethyst; and Water, a spectacular sapphire.

Both Sam and Travis covered their eyes. Sam almost dropped the lantern.

“Sam, what’s happening?” Travis repeated.

Sam removed his hands from his eyes just in time to see his reflection disappear from the surface of the mirror. Next to go were the glimmering cavern walls, followed by the emerald water. It was all vanishing, like a portrait being torn away piece by piece.

“Travis, our reflections—they’re gone!” Sam shouted, trying to speak loud enough so Travis could hear him over the grinding noise.

The mirror was blank for a moment, but then quickly revealed an unfamiliar image. Moonlight appeared, then tall trees, and all the makings of a forest from somewhere else beyond the cavern. The sound resonating from the mirror was getting louder, like that of a car engine being revved to top speed.

Squeals and shrieks rang out from above, as thousands of bats flew from the ceiling, flooding the cavern with a swarm of black fluttering wings.

Sam and Travis looked up in shock, stumbled backward, and fell into the icy water. Two of the small votives in the candle lantern went out from the sudden movement as they struggled to reach their feet. A barrage of colors bursting from the mirror streaked across the cavern in every direction. Shards of light reflected off the water in rapid flashing succession. It was like they were trapped in the center of a rainbow. Every corner of the cavern was illuminated now.

“Sam, the mirror!” Travis cried.

The glass on the mirror was quivering and rippling like water. Suddenly, hundreds of small black and green spiders fell from the mirror, splashing into the shallow water.

With their bodies soaked and freezing, the two boys scrambled backward, their feet sliding on the smooth rock beneath them. Sam and Travis watched in horror as the splashing wave of spiders moved toward them.

“Run, Travis. RUN!”

Good news! We are ramping up for  BOOK 2 in the Haven Series: Revenge of the Viper. So in celebration and to say thank you for all your support we are giving away Book 1  A Stranger Magic for FREE!

Amazon’s Top 100 Best Selling Fantasy Fiction Novella is now available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books, IBooks/Itunes, and Smashwords.

If you already have a copy, get a new one! Each version (PRINT and DIGITAL) have been reformatted. You will love the new look. Also when you buy the PRINT copy of Haven: A Stranger Magic at Amazon.com you still get the DIGITAL copy in a bundle package for FREE.

Make sure to LIKE/SHARE with your friends!

Enjoy the journey!

DCA

Haven Shorts – Chapter 9 – Episode 14 – A Stranger Magic

Written by dcakers@dc-akers.com on October 15th, 2013. Posted in Haven Shorts Series

Haven: A Stranger Magic

Chapter 9 – Episode 14

The breeze felt good on Sam’s face; the rain had cooled things off so it actually felt quite nice now. The sky was clear and the birds chirped as they flew by. It was a great day to go to the caves.

They talked about several things on their way, first was about a guy named Kane who had joined Travis’s online Halo team.

“Sam, this guy lives in the Hamptons and is crazy good with a sniper rifle. He can run, jump, and shoot with that thing. I’m telling you, he gets a bull’s-eye every time. He’s gonna be a great addition to the team.”

Then Travis talked about his grandparents. Travis had lived with his grandparents for about nine years now. His parents had died in a car wreck when he was four, so he had been staying with his grandparents ever since.

“It’s like they forget things all the time, Sam. Grandma is worse than Grandpa. I’m constantly reminding her to take her medication. She has one of those little pill boxes with the days of the week on it. But that doesn’t help because she can’t remember where she put the box.”

Sam nodded, not sure what to say exactly. You couldn’t tell by the tone of Travis’s voice, but the gloom in his eyes betrayed him. He was worried.

“Sometimes it’s so bad I have to remind her what day of the week it is. My grandfather, on the other hand—well, his back is getting worse. He barely gets around now.”

Sam nodded.

Sam and Travis had an unspoken, common bond between them. They had both lost parents that they missed dearly. But at least Travis could vaguely remember his. Sam never knew his father; he didn’t even have a picture. He didn’t know which was worse—knowing your parents and losing them, or never knowing them at all.

Since they had both lost their parents at such a young age, Sam and Travis had not suffered through the normal stages of grief. There was no period of accepting the loss, or working through the physical and emotional pain associated with grief. There was no adjusting to living in a world without their parents. They just simply moved on with their lives.

But it was that very notion of “moving on” that bothered Sam the most. He felt cheated, deprived of what could have been. Sam didn’t want to just move on. He wanted his father. He wanted all the memories children are supposed to have growing up. He wanted to share a peanut butter sandwich with his dad, and to hear stories at bedtime. He wanted to build the perfect snowman, and take summer trips into town for a snow cone. He wanted that life, not the one he had now.

Sam and Travis crossed the main street from Giddyup Lane onto Roundtree Drive, which was a much newer subdivision. The street had a nice slope to it, perfect for skateboarding. Roundtree Drive ended in a huge cul-de-sac where many kickball tournaments had been played when the boys were younger. Even though they were always picked last—Sam because he couldn’t kick the ball that far, and Travis, well, because he was Travis—they always had fun. The cross street in front of the cul-de-sac was Quail Creek Drive, which dead-ended into a large field and the Saginaw Quarry, better known as The Caves.

Sam and Travis made their way beyond the beautiful, manicured lawns and overgrown gardens to the open fields behind the development to the quarry.

The mounds of rock looked like pyramids from a distance. Most of the caves were formed by dynamite years ago. Explosives had been used to loosen the ground and harvest rocks. The caves were off-limits to everyone due to cave-ins, but that did not bother Travis or Sam. They had been coming here for years now, and had never seen any kind of cave-in. They figured it was just something the city said to warn off curious and unsupervised adolescents.

They maneuvered around the organized heaps of rock until they reached the back of the quarry. The cave entrance was nestled behind nine large oak trees and camouflaged by overgrown weeds and wild juniper.

Sam and Travis loved the caves. It was their sanctuary, their Fortress of Solitude. Travis called it his Yavin, which was a planet from Star Wars, of course. Sam liked it because it was a place of refuge, a retreat from the daily stressful surroundings, like the stranger in black, Sarah, and Daniel Harris. There were no rules in the cave. It was a place where other people’s standards of cleanliness were not observed. Sam could spill a coke in the cave or leave a sandwich overnight, and no one cared. It was their way of creating some space and freedom that they so badly needed. Sam often thought it must be similar to living in a frat house or a college dorm room, where they could come and go as if they owned the place. Where you didn’t have to be on your best behavior, and there were no evil older sisters to make fun of you, or make you feel like pond scum. It was a place where you could just be yourself, and it was perfectly acceptable.

The opening to the caves was located at the back end of the quarry. It was surrounded by large trees with fluted trunks that leaned to one side. Sam followed Travis around the attractive, miniature shrubs that were gathered at the base of the trees. Clusters of colorful, berry-like drupes clung to the bushes. The entrance to the cave was nothing more than a hole in the ground that stretched at least five feet across. There were flat pieces of tan limestone placed in a circle around the hole. The opening resembled a large sunflower with faded petals.

Travis was the first to hop down into the cave and disappear from sight; Sam quickly followed. They were standing on the first ledge. Together they looked down into the ominous void; it was a vast sea of darkness. The canopy of tree branches let in very little light. Sam thought this would scare most people who had never been here before. It had scared him at first. Years ago, when they had discovered the opening, they debated and dared one another for hours as to who would go down first. Finally, Sam had agreed to go. Travis had followed shortly after, and they had been coming back every month since then.

Inside the cave the light was dim; they could barely see one another now. Travis sat down on the ground next to Sam, who was still standing, and shuffled himself to the edge of the next drop-off which was about four feet down. He dangled his feet into the darkness, then rolled down on his side and stomach, sliding his body over the edge.

Sam watched and then did the same. By the time Sam had reached the ground, Travis had grabbed an old candle lantern and opened the top to light the three candles inside. Travis had borrowed the lantern from his grandfather long ago, and it had stayed in the caves ever since.

Travis removed a box of matches from his pocket, took out a match and struck it on the cave wall. The match burst into flame, casting shadows that danced around the cave. He lit each candle, shut the lid, and handed the lantern to Sam. Sam breathed in the familiar smell of dank cave air. It was rich with earthy sediments from the rock and dirt around them. The temperature was much cooler, and the air was more damp than outside.

He held up the lantern to survey their surroundings. The narrow vein serving as the main pathway stretched on in front of the two boys before it curved off to the right and gradually disappeared into the darkness. The cave walls were made of jagged gray and tan stone with thick limestone layers that traveled vertically the length of the tunnel. With the candle light flickering causing numerous shadows to move around the cave walls Sam almost missed it. To his surprise there was an additional passageway on the right—one he had never seen before.

“I don’t remember that before, do you?” Sam whispered.

“No, that was never here before,” Travis replied in hushed tones.

Sam walked toward the entrance of the new tunnel and lifted the lantern into the opening. The light stretched down the dark tunnel; the jagged rocks cast their own shadows making it difficult to see anything.

“What do you think?” Travis whispered as he surveyed the entrance.

“Well, we’re here. Might as well see what’s in there,” Sam said.

Travis looked at Sam with a childish grin. “That’s the spirit, Dalcome!” he said, and took the lantern from Sam.

Sam smiled back at Travis. Travis stepped forward with the lantern dangling in front of him and Sam stayed close behind him. Their footsteps echoed and the gravel beneath them crackled as they made their way down the long corridor.

It was becoming colder and more and more damp the farther they descended. The tunnel twisted and curved until it finally opened into a large cavern.

Travis held the lantern high and moved it slowly from side to side. Sam’s mouth fell open and Travis’s breath caught in his throat. They stood in astonishment; it was simply magnificent. It was as if they had stepped into another world. The cavern walls sparkled like diamonds when the light struck them. Enormous stalactites covered the slanted ceiling, suspended like huge stone daggers ready to fall. The cavern was vast, with a large emerald pool in the center surrounded by massive stalagmites protruding from the ground.

“Wow, what is this place?” Travis whispered, his voice echoing through large chamber.

“A cavern. A really old one from the size of the stalactites,” Sam said with bated breath. “The water from the lake must feed into here somehow.” They were amazed by the sheer size of the cavern, and by the beauty of its stone landscape. Tans, pinks, and greens were fused together in the rock, coloring the cavern walls.

“It’s fantastic. I mean really beautiful, don’t you think?” Travis marveled.

“I’ll say. Hey, what’s that?” Sam grabbed Travis’s arm, guiding the lantern toward the center of the cavern.

There was something shining in the middle of the pool, something large and round.

“I’m not sure what that is,” Travis said leaning over to whisper more quietly than before.

“Me either. Let’s have a look.”

“You think that’s a good idea?” Travis asked with hesitation.

Sam looked over to Travis with a devious smirk. “Come on, where’s your spirit?”

The rocks where jagged and extremely uneven; each step was carefully planned so they didn’t fall on one of the many stalagmites that surrounded them. The lantern swayed back and forth as they pushed forward. The light shimmered on the walls of the cavern and reflected off the calm body of water in front of them.

It took them several minutes to get to the body of water, but at last the ground finally smoothed out near the water’s edge. It was a murky, luminescent green and still, like a solid sheet of glass.

Both Sam and Travis stood at the edge, staring at the object in the center of the pool.

From a distance it looked like a very large mirror perched on something they could not see. The lantern light was clearly visible in its reflection.

“How in the world did that get down here?” Travis asked, his voice crackling just a bit.

There was no sound; it was deathly quiet. Travis realized that Sam hadn’t replied, and turned to look at him.

Sam stood frozen, his gaze fixed and full of fear. Whatever Sam was staring at had rendered him momentarily speechless.

“Sam … what’s wrong?” Travis asked. There was no hiding the fear in his voice now.

Sam swallowed hard, then slowly lifted his hand and pointed.

“The mirror … it’s floating …”

Good news! We are ramping up for  BOOK 2 in the Haven Series: Revenge of the Viper. So in celebration and to say thank you for all your support we are giving away Book 1  A Stranger Magic for FREE!

Amazon’s Top 100 Best Selling Fantasy Fiction Novella is now available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books, IBooks/Itunes, and Smashwords.

If you already have a copy, get a new one! Each version (PRINT and DIGITAL) have been reformatted. You will love the new look. Also when you buy the PRINT copy of Haven: A Stranger Magic at Amazon.com you still get the DIGITAL copy in a bundle package for FREE.

Make sure to LIKE/SHARE with your friends!

Enjoy the journey!

DCA

Haven Shorts – Chapter 8 – Episode 13 – A Stranger Magic

Written by dcakers@dc-akers.com on October 4th, 2013. Posted in Haven Shorts Series

Haven: A Stranger Magic

Chapter 8 – Episode 13

The sound of rumbling lawn mowers and weed eaters started early Saturday mornings on Giddyup Lane. Most of the neighbors tried to get their lawn work out of the way before the heat and humidity set in, which occurred about mid-day. This Saturday was no different. Sam listened as he lay motionless in his comfortable bed, staring up at his dragon posters. He was tired; he had stayed up until three o’clock in the morning, riddled with guilt for making his mom cry. He had spent the time cleaning his room. He felt that was the least he could do.

His clothes sat in eight neat piles on the floor. His shoes, video games, controllers, books, and magazines were all painstakingly organized in his closet. His computer sat neatly on its desk with the words UPDATES AVAILABLE flashing in the lower right corner. He had removed mugs and drinking glasses from the top of his dresser. Only the family Christmas picture that they had taken when he was five remained. Sarah and his mother had the same short haircut, and Sam was wearing that ridiculous blue and white snowman sweater.

Sam glanced up at his alarm clock. It was ten o’clock, and the smell of bacon was wafting through the air from the vents above. He could hear the sounds of pots and pans banging around down below. If Mom’s fixing breakfast maybe she wasn’t that upset after all, Sam thought.

He rustled out of bed and grabbed a pair of tan shorts and a blue t-shirt from the organized pile of clothes. He opened his door, turned back, and grabbed the largest pile of laundry he could carry. The robust smell of bacon quickly turned into the smell of something burning as he made his way downstairs. The bottom floor was one big cloud of smoke. Through the smoke Sam could see Sarah running around frantically, trying to open the kitchen windows.

“What are you doing?” Sam asked with a puzzled look as he held his large pile of clothes with both arms.

Sarah stopped in her tracks, awestruck by the sight of Sam attempting to do laundry.

“What are you doing?” she asked with a chuckle.

“I’m doing laundry, but I could help you burn the house down instead.”

“Funny. I was trying to cook you something,” she said through gritted teeth while trying to pry open the stuck kitchen window.

Sam placed the large pile of clothes on the floor in front of the washing machine. He walked over to the stove, turned it off, and moved the pan with the burnt bacon to another burner. Then, without missing a step, he went to the stuck window that Sarah had been working on and gave it a hard yank. The window flew open and Barron jumped inside.

“Out, Barron!” Sarah commanded.

Barron stood there staring at Sarah as if she were crazy, like most cats do when humans talk to them. Sam went back over to the stove and grabbed the pan with the charred bacon. He walked back to the window and threw it out. Barron followed, jumping back out the window to pounce on her crispy treat.

“Hey, that was ours!” Sarah said, looking out the window.

“Really? Were you going to eat that, ‘cause I wasn’t,” Sam replied in a matter-of-fact way.

“See if I ever make you breakfast again!”

“Yeah, what’s with that? Where’s Mom?” Sam asked, heading back over to the large pile of clothes.

“This was her Saturday to work. She took another double at the diner, I guess.”

Sam felt worse now; he had really wanted to tell her he was sorry first thing this morning.

“She looked like she was kind of worried or upset maybe. Did you guys fight?”

Of course Sarah would naturally blame Sam for Mom’s mood, even if it was true.

“Um, no. Why does it always have to be my fault?” he snapped back.

“I didn’t say it was your fault, big hair! I was simply asking! Wow, grouchy much? By the way, when did you start doing laundry? Do I need to call CNN?”

Sam didn’t say a word as he angrily shoved his clothes into the washer. He kept telling himself to calm down and not to say a word.

“By the way, that dork Travis called three times already—once while I was sleeping, and two other times to see if you were awake yet. He said you didn’t answer your cell phone. Really Sam, why have a cell phone if you never turn it on? Anyway, in the future, can you tell your boyfriend not to call before twelve o’clock? I would appreciate it! I mean can’t that guy take a hint? Oh, I can’t get a hold of Sam, so let’s blow up every single phone in his house!”

Sam felt his blood starting to boil, and his scratches from the rosebush were starting to itch. He was in a bad mood already. He hadn’t gotten much sleep, he had hurt his mother’s feelings, and he hadn’t gotten a chance to apologize before she left for work. And now, Sarah wanted to chastise him about Travis. She never stops, he thought to himself. She just goes on and on and on.

“I mean some of us need our beauty sleep,” she continued. “Not that either of you would know anything about that. But I need it!”

That was the last straw. Sam couldn’t take it anymore. Mom was wrong; this she-devil was incapable of loving anyone other than herself, and he was going to let her know!

“Shut up, will you!” Sam said, turning around to face her. “Why do you always have to go on and on? You’re so mean to everyone! Travis has never done a thing to you but like you! But you’re horrible to him, you’re horrible to me, you’re horrible to everyone you come in contact with! So please, just for one day … just one … SHUT UP!”

Silence filled the room, snuffing out even the most infinitesimal pocket of sound. You could hear a pin drop from three blocks over. Barron poked his head up from the porch, eyes wide, and then quickly ducked back down to safety. The air became so thick with tension that it would take a chainsaw to cut through it.

But it was worth it, Sam thought. He had carried that around for so long. It felt like a fifty-pound boulder had just rolled off his back.

Sarah stood there in shock. Her mouth was open, and for the first time in her life she was speechless. The first sound Sam heard again was the birds chirping in the background, followed by lawn mowers humming in the distance.

Sam stood there staring at her. He was breathing hard; his ears were red, his nostrils flared, and his crazy bed head hair was standing at attention.

Finally, Sarah gathered her composure. Tears welled in her eyes. She brushed a single strand of hair around her ear and said softly, “I made you breakfast …” She wiped the tear from her cheek and walked slowly from the kitchen.

Sam didn’t say a word as he watched her walk away. She had never walked away before. She had always fought back. Sarah never got her feelings hurt, never. But he couldn’t be blamed; he didn’t know she had any feelings. Sam could feel something growing in the pit of his stomach. Was that remorse? Did he feel bad for saying what his sister had coming to her? But that wasn’t fair; he shouldn’t be the one to feel bad. No, it should be Sarah; she had it coming. Didn’t she? All of a sudden the lines were blurred. Things were not as clear as they once were.

Sam walked to the table and sat down. He stared at the plate she had set out for him and the glass of water that had a long crack in it from top to bottom. Sam was bemused; he had never been in this position with Sarah before.

He had single-handedly managed to make another women cry in the Dalcome household, and he hadn’t even been awake for thirty minutes. Surely that must be some kind of record, he thought sadly. Deep down he was starting to think that this day may not turn out any better than yesterday.

By that afternoon Sam had officially finished five loads of laundry, folded, and hung them all. His room was clean and dusted. It didn’t smell bad either, because he had doused the room in one of his mother’s air fresheners, something called Mountain Mist.

Travis had called four times while Sam was doing laundry, and he had finally convinced Sam to go to the caves with him later that evening.

It was six o’clock when Travis arrived, knocking on the door. You could tell it was him because of his annoying Twentieth Century Fox drum roll knock. It was similar to the one at the beginning of Star Wars.

Sarah answered it before Sam could reach the door. Sam waited behind her, expecting some snide remark to come flying out of her mouth. But what she said instead left him speechless.

“Oh, hi Trav, how are you?” She backed away, and opened the door to invite him in.

Travis stood there, dumfounded. He didn’t say a word. His mouth hung open like he wanted to say something, but he was evidently in shock.

In the all the years that Sam and Travis had known each other, Sarah had never once spoken to Travis that kindly. Never. It was almost like he mattered to her, almost.

Sarah turned and casually strolled from the doorway, as if nothing extraordinary had just happened. Sam and Travis both watched her walk off around the corner into the living room.

There was no way this was the same girl from this morning, Sam thought. Was she acting hurt? She was up to something; Sam’s spider senses were doing more than just tingling. They were screaming RED ALERT!

Sam looked at Travis. His mouth was still open. “Um, so are you coming in?” he asked.

“What? Oh yeah, I uh … what just happened?” Travis asked with his head tilted a little to the left, like dogs do when they’re trying to figure something out. “I mean, you saw that, right? I didn’t imagine that, did I?”

Sam turned and looked back into the house, then back at Travis. Did she mean what she had said, or was she simply trying to prove that she could be nice if she wanted to?

She was evil that way. Sarah always had a reason for doing something, and it was usually at Sam’s expense. Whatever, it had happened; regardless of what it was, it had happened. Sam waved Travis in, and the two made their way through the living room and into the kitchen.

“So, what did you end up doing last night?” Travis asked, as he sifted through the refrigerator.

“Nothing, really. I cleaned my room and went to bed early,” Sam replied, not wanting to relive the whole “I can’t find the words, wish dad was here” disaster.

Travis grabbed a water bottle from the fridge, twisted off the cap, and took a large gulping drink. After three more gulps he put the bottle down. With water dripping from his chin he suddenly realized what Sam had said.

“What, you cleaned your room?” he asked. Travis thought for a moment—you could see the wheels turning in his head. “Yeah right, here pull the other one,” he said, sticking out his leg.

“I’m serious, I did,” Sam said.

“Really, wow, well, that I didn’t see coming. Did you get in trouble or something?”

“No, I just felt like cleaning it. What’s the big deal?” Sam said defensively.

“Well it’s just that I’ve never seen your room clean since … well since … never.”

“Well whatever, it’s clean now,” Sam said sharply.

“Can I see it?”

“Um, no, you said you wanted to go to the caves, so let’s go.”

“Okay, okay, let’s go!”

Travis finished the rest of his water with three giant gulps and slammed the bottle down on the counter top.

Sam, who had already turned to walk off, quickly turned back around, annoyed.

“What are you doing?”

“You got spiders!” Travis said holding the bottle firmly on top of a splattered bug.

Sam walked back to take a look at the spider and saw the same green marks on it that the previous spiders had. He made a mental note to tell his mom about it, not to mention he still owed her a huge apology for last night.

Sam cleaned off the bug guts from the counter and headed for the front door. Before they left he called up the stairs to Sarah.

“Sarah, we’re going to the caves. Tell Mom we’ll be back later.”

Seconds later, Sarah’s voice answered back in a surreal, yet oddly friendly voice.

“Okay, have fun! Bye, Travis.”

Travis looked at Sam with the same “What is going on?” look from earlier.

Sam shrugged and gave him a look as if to say she was crazy. She’s evil and diabolical, he thought. If she thought for a moment that he was dumb enough to believe this bizarre and somewhat childish act, she had another thing coming.

“Let’s go,” he said gruffly.

“Uh, bye Sarah … See you later!” Travis hollered back.

**I will post one EPISODE each week, but there are 50 EPISODE, so this may take a while. If you just can’t wait, you can buy (Just .99) the complete book and the rest of the HAVEN series (More Coming Soon) at Amazon.

You can sign up for my newsletter, follow me on Twitter, or like my Facebook page. For more information, see my website dc-akers.com. Your support is appreciated. Thanks for reading!

Haven Shorts – Chapter 7 – Episode 12 – A Stranger Magic

Written by dcakers@dc-akers.com on September 27th, 2013. Posted in Haven Shorts Series

Haven: A Stranger Magic

Chapter 7 – Episode 12

Rain began to fall in earnest at about eight o’clock that night. The tiny raindrops beaded up on Sam’s bedroom window and shimmered in the moonlight before streaking down like silver ribbons onto the wooden ledge. The street light down below flickered on and off as it always did.

Sam lay on his bed with the lights off staring at the ceiling, and contemplating revenge on his stupid sister. He also thought of adding Daniel Harris to his mental list of paybacks for ruining his favorite t-shirt and leaving him with that loser of a garment he had to wear home.

Sam sat up in his bed and stared at the small puddle that was starting to form on his window sill. The lightning cracked and thunder rumbled, followed by another bright flash that streaked across the sky. It was a good thing he didn’t go to the caves, he thought. He could see himself getting trapped there with Travis until the whole storm had passed.

Sam forced himself to stand up and grab the bath towel that was draped over his desk chair. The leak from his window was now dripping onto the floor. He carefully folded the towel and placed it snugly under the edge of the window sill.

Lightning struck again. The street light below popped; sparks of electricity flew into the air like fireworks, then slowly fell to the ground.

In that moment, Sam thought he saw someone standing next to the light post. He waited, but it was too dark. His eyes were still trying to adjust from the sudden flash of light. Was it the stranger from before? He couldn’t be sure.

Suddenly, lightning flashed again and Sam saw him. The dark figure stood next to the street light in his long coat and holding his staff, looking up at Sam.

Thunder roared and it was dark once more. Sam quickly rubbed his eyes, trying hard to focus as the lightning struck again, blinding him momentarily. He searched frantically through the spots of green and blue floating in front of him, but the stranger was gone, vanished into thin air.

Then a small click echoed from behind him, and the light in his bedroom switched on. Sam whirled around to see his mother standing in his doorway.

She had her long brown hair pulled in a tight pony tail that draped across her right shoulder. Her light blue eyes were trapped behind a pair of thin reading glasses. She was wearing a light pink robe and house-shoes.

“Mom, turn off the light!” Sam whispered, worried that the stranger could see him now. Alisa Dalcome turned off the light and stood there in the doorway. Her silhouette stretched across the wooden floor.

“Shut the door, something’s out there!” Sam whispered.

“What? What on earth are you talking about?” Mrs. Dalcome asked as she closed the door to his room. The lightning flickered again. Mrs. Dalcome scuffled across the cluttered floor, trying to reach Sam.

“Mom, I swear there’s someone out there!”

“Don’t swear. You know I hate that! Now see there, you made me say hate! I don’t like that word either!” His mother could be a bit old-fashioned at times, Sam thought. Words such as swear, hate, and liar were off-limits in the Dalcome household. Mrs. Dalcome thought there were better ways, nicer ways, to get your point across.

“Why are you whispering?” she asked.

“Mom, shhhhhhh!” Sam said, trying desperately to see any sign of the man outside.

“Sam, you need to clean this room. You can’t even walk in here!” she said, not bothering at all to whisper.

Sam wasn’t listening to a word she said; the stranger was out there, he was sure of it. He may have vanished from sight but that didn’t mean he was gone.

Mrs. Dalcome finally made it to the window; she grasped one corner of the window sill and placed her other hand on Sam, trying to keep her footing amidst the piles of clothes. She reluctantly leaned toward the window, scanning the front yard and the street below.

“Oh, Sam, I don’t see a thing.”

“I’m telling you. I saw something!”

“Well, if you did, it’s gone now.”

Sam was starting to get frustrated with her. “It wasn’t an it, it was a man!” he said in a bitter voice.

“Don’t talk to me that way, Samuel!” she snapped back.

Sam didn’t say anything for a moment. He continued to stare out the bedroom window. It wasn’t worth it, he thought to himself. The stranger was gone, again.

The whole day had gone horribly wrong, as far as he was concerned, and now he had no patience left to tell his mother the entire story, even if he wanted to. He was mad, frustrated, and too tired to argue.

“I’m sorry,” Sam said, defeated. He hadn’t meant to take it out on her; she was the only one in the room.

Mrs. Dalcome looked down at Sam. His eyebrows furrowed as he stared solemnly at a star in the distance. There was clearly something bothering him. Something more than whatever he had, or hadn’t, seen outside. She reached over to his desk, pushing aside the magazines that covered the switch on the base of the lamp, and turned it on.

The light was dim, but it seemed bright after the two of them had stood in the dark for so long. Mrs. Dalcome grabbed Sam’s hand and sat on his bed, pulling him down with her. Sam sat next to her, holding her hand and staring at the floor.

“What is it Sam, what’s wrong with you?”

Sam didn’t say anything at first. How could he make her understand that there was nothing she could do? He couldn’t say anything more about the stranger without sounding like a nut case. As for Sarah, there was no way his mother was going to trade her in for a really cool brother, or even give her a good smack upside the head. Which she deserves, Sam thought. No, today started out bad, and had just gotten worse, and it wasn’t his mother’s fault. He was smart enough to know that.

“I can’t help you if you won’t talk to me, Sam,” she said, patting him on the hand.

“I don’t know, Mom. It’s everything,” Sam said, looking down at the cluttered floor.

She wrapped her arm around him and gave him a gentle squeeze. “What’s everything?”

“I don’t know … like everything … like I hate Sarah …”

“Saaam,” she said in that tone she used when hate came up.

“Okay, I don’t hate her, but I really, really, really dislike her!” Mrs. Dalcome tried her best not to smile.

“Sam, she loves you.”

Sam couldn’t believe she was going to take Sarah’s side on this. Sarah was the meanest person he knew, except for Daniel Harris, and he did hate Daniel Harris. “No she doesn’t, Mom. She’s mean and it’s not just her. It’s school, it’s here, it’s my whole life!”

Mrs. Dalcome removed her hand from his shoulder and gently clutched his chin, forcing him to look into her eyes.

“Sam, look at me. I know it’s hard being thirteen. It’s not an easy age for anyone; it wasn’t for me, your Dad, not even for Sarah. But it will pass and things will get better. I know that’s hard to hear now, but it’s true.”

It was hard to hear now because it didn’t fix anything. Sam was still empty on the inside, ordinary, and well, let’s face it, heading nowhere.

“I just feel alone sometimes. It’s hard to explain.” He could feel himself getting irritated. He didn’t want to talk about this anymore.

“Well, you’re not alone. I’m here. I have always been here, and I don’t think that’s going to change, do you?” she said with a soft smile. She released his chin and placed her hand on his back again.

“That’s not what I’m talking about, not alone … alone. I mean like …” He paused for a moment; he could not find the words. Where were the words? Why were the words not there to explain the emptiness he was feeling? Now he just sounded like a bumbling idiot.

“Oh, never mind …” he said, discouraged. Why did he even bother to speak? The words never came out right anyway.

“Is it something at school? Did you and Sarah have a fight? Was it—”

“It’s all of those things, Mom, and more! I hate school, I hate Sarah, and I hate where we live! It’s just all wrong, it just feels all wrong! I just wish Dad was here!”

Sam heard the words come out, but it was too late to stop them. He didn’t mean it but there they were, out there where he could never take them back.

He looked in his mother’s eyes; he could tell he had hurt her feelings. She let her arm slide down across his back and slowly stood up. She stepped over the piles of clothes, books and video games until she reached the doorway. Sam’s eyes followed her every inch of the way. She opened the door, walked out into the hallway and turned back, reaching back to grab the door knob. Sam saw her eyes were full of tears as she cleared her throat.

“I’m sorry you feel that way Samuel, but I am trying, and for the record we all love you.” She turned away as tears started to roll down her cheek and gently closed the door behind her.

Sam sat on the edge of his bed staring at the back of the door in silence. The rain had stopped, and the storm had passed, but the frustration lingered.

In one day he had managed to hurt his mother’s feelings and make Travis mad for not going to the caves with him. Not to mention that Sarah hated him, he was cut from head to toe from the attack of the rosebushes, and there was a vanishing stranger stalking him.

No matter how you looked at it, this was a bad ending to a very bad day.

**I will post one EPISODE each week, but there are 50 EPISODE, so this may take a while. If you just can’t wait, you can buy (Just .99) the complete book and the rest of the HAVEN series (More Coming Soon) at Amazon.

You can sign up for my newsletter, follow me on Twitter, or like my Facebook page. For more information, see my website dc-akers.com. Your support is appreciated. Thanks for reading!

Haven Shorts – Chapter 6 – Episode 11 – A Stranger Magic

Written by dcakers@dc-akers.com on September 20th, 2013. Posted in Haven Shorts Series

Haven: A Stranger Magic

Chapter 6 – Episode 11

It began to sprinkle as they finally arrived at Sam’s house. Travis was still rambling as Sam headed for the rosebushes, like always. Every day the paper guy would throw the newspaper into the rosebush, so it was a real chore to try to get it out. Sam was pretty sure the paper guy did it on purpose to get back at Sam’s mother for turning him down when he offered to take her out on a date.

The bushes were full of small thorns that looked like tiny shark fins protruding from the branches. Some of the areas were covered with spider webs, which was unusual since the roses were supposed to be insect-free. It was the reason his mother had planted them to begin with.

Sam grabbed a broken branch from the ground below and tore a hole in the spider web, big enough to reach through and grab the paper. As he brought the stick back through the hole he noticed a large black and green spider attached to the end of it.

It was the same type of spider Travis had been playing with this morning. Upon closer inspection, Sam could see six red eyes arranged into three pairs that formed a semicircle on the front of its pea-size head. Its segmented body was branded with three green stripes and a small circle near its head.

Sam quickly threw the stick out onto the road, then scanned himself and the rosebush to make sure there were no other spiders hiding anywhere.

He stared into the prickly bush. It would take his complete concentration if he was going to stick his arm into the rosebush and pull the newspaper out with any skin left on his arm. One false move meant pain, and lots of it. Sam knelt down in front of the bushes and slowly placed his hand through the destroyed web, and into the tangled array of stems and thorns toward the rolled up paper.

“So what do you think?” Travis said with a hint of enthusiasm.

“Think about what?” Sam was half-listening as he weaved his hand up and down through the maze of stems.

“About going to the caves tonight. It’s Friday night, we’re out of school and we have nothing else to do.”

“Um, I don’t know Trav, OUCH!” Sam nicked himself on the top part of his hand. “That’s one,” he mumbled to himself. If he could get out of the bushes with less than three cuts he would break his own record.

“What, like you got some big plans or something?”

“No, it’s just been a long … OUCH … week, that’s all, and I’m kind of tired … GOT YOU!” Sam had the paper in his hand. He had done it, now he was ready to make his exit.

“What are you like eighty? You sound like my grandpa!”

“Whatever Trav, it’s just been one thing after another, and now I’m digging in a rosebush wearing a t-shirt that says ‘I See Ninjas.’ I mean, do I need to really push my luck?”

Sarah was rounding the corner of Giddyup Lane when she noticed her brother and Travis by the rosebushes. The day had gone by so fast that she barely had enough time to dwell on what had happened this morning with Marcus Snider. But she was dwelling on it now.

Had she caused all of that to happen this morning? Did her anger cause the pipes to break and the water to burst from the ground? Sarah sighed; there was no point in denying it any longer. If she did, she would only be lying to herself. When she got mad, bad things happened, and when they did it usually involved—

Sarah stopped in her tracks. She felt her skin crawl with sudden awareness. It usually involved water. Her mind raced back to the glass on the kitchen counter—it was filled with water. The pipes in the walls of the building were filled with water. The manhole cover had flown into the air because of the water underneath the ground.

Every single time within the last month that there had been a strange event, two things had always been present—her anger and water. Was it just a coincidence or were the two related?

Sarah started to walk again in a daze, her mind quickly sifting through the details of the events. This was so incomprehensible that she could barely wrap her mind around it.

Before she realized it, she was standing just a few feet away from Travis and her brother. Sarah straightened her back. She could not show that anything unusual had happened. It was a good thing that she had run into the gymnasium locker room this morning where she dried her clothes and put herself back together.

She would need to keep this a secret until she figured it all out. She would need to act as if nothing bizarre had happened today. She wouldn’t say a word about almost destroying the corner bakery and sporting goods store, almost killing Marcus and herself with a manhole cover, or the fight with loser Barry. No, she would keep it all inside like she always did. No one could be trusted with this.

Sarah took a deep breath and pulled herself together. Act like you always do, she told herself. She watched as Travis and Sam continued their conversation, unaware of her presence. Sarah began to grin as a thought entered her mind. Act like you always do.

The boys were so caught up in their own conversation that they never saw Sarah sneak up behind them. She moved closer, creeping up to Travis until she was only inches away.

His mouth was still moving ninety to nothing. His bad aftershave was almost unbearable but she stayed focused. She stood there calmly and took another deep breath and as loud as she could screamed out,

“MORONS!”

Travis jumped forward, screaming at the top of his lungs like a frightened school girl, and knocked Sam, who had almost gotten the paper out, face-first into the rosebushes. He let out a scream of his own as the thorns slashed across his forearms and face.

“What in the world?” he cried, whipping his head around to see what was going on.

Sarah stood in front of them, red-faced with her hands over her mouth.

“Have you lost your freaking mind?” Sam screamed back at her!

Sarah tried to apologize between sudden bursts of laughter.

“Oh my god, that was so funny! Sam, I promise I had no idea Travis was going to scream like that and kick you into the roses!”

Sam was not amused in the least; he was mad. He was hurt, and today had been, without question, one of the worst days of his life.

He stood up slowly. His arms and face were bleeding from the scratches and tiny thorns that had lodged in his skin. He felt defeated. He stared down at the newspaper that he had dropped. It looked seemingly untouched in the middle of the twisted chaos they called a rosebush.

Sarah tried to conceal her laughter with her hands, but she still snickered under her breath as she tried to keep her composure. Travis stood with his hand on his chest as if he were about to pass out.

“I said I was sorry,” Sarah said still laughing.

“Shut up Sarah, and leave me alone!” Sam shouted and turned toward the house.

“Hey where are you going?” Travis panted, “Are we not going to the caves?”

Sam slowly climbed the stairs of the front porch with his head hung low. He turned and looked back at Travis.

“Not tonight Travis. Go home.”

**I will post one EPISODE each week, but there are 50 EPISODE, so this may take a while. If you just can’t wait, you can buy (Just .99) the complete book and the rest of the HAVEN series (More Coming Soon) at Amazon.

You can sign up for my newsletter, follow me on Twitter, or like my Facebook page. For more information, see my website dc-akers.com. Your support is appreciated. Thanks for reading!

Haven Shorts – Chapter 5 – Episode 10 – A Stranger Magic

Written by dcakers@dc-akers.com on September 13th, 2013. Posted in Haven Shorts Series

Haven: A Stranger Magic

Chapter 5 – Episode 10

When first period rolled around Sam was beginning to feel a little optimistic about the last day of eighth grade. But before long the optimism vanished. His first class was gym, a class that he did not excel in at all.
Coach Pillars was a tall, rather portly, balding man. He had the brilliant idea of playing dodgeball for the last day of the year. Sam hated the idea. Having balls thrown at his head at light speed did not sound like fun to him.
Like always, Sam was chosen last, next to David Johnson who had broken his leg about six months ago and still had a limp. And, like always, he was the first person to get out. This time it was Mark Preston, ex-football player, who threw the ball from the opposite end of the gym and smacked Sam in the chest. The sheer force of the impact took Sam off his feet. Next to get out was David; he took a ball to the face.
When class ended Sam made his way into the locker room to find his locker door wide open. His deodorant, towel, pants, and shower gel were all on the floor. But there was no shirt. His vintage 1976 KISS Destroyer t-shirt was gone. Sam began to panic. He got that shirt for Christmas last year from his mother, and there was no telling how much she spent on it. It was his favorite t-shirt!
Sam looked to the two remaining people in the locker room, David Johnson and Steve Allen.
“Hey, did either of you see who did this? My shirt is gone!”
David, who had been hit in the head eight times out of the nine games they played, was sitting on one of the locker room benches with his face in his hands.
“I can’t see my hands Sam, much less anything else,” he said.
Steve shut his locker and said as he walked by, “Just so you know—it wasn’t me, but if I were you, I would start with the toilet stalls.” Then he smiled and left the room.
“What? Noooo!” Sam cried in disbelief. He ran to the first stall and kicked the door open. There was no shirt. Sam continued to kick open each door one after another until he came to last stall. There he saw his vintage KISS t-shirt on the edge of the toilet. To his relief it was not in the water. But as he stepped closer it became all too clear. The vintage t-shirt had been torn into three separate pieces, two of which were floating in the used toiled bowel.
Sam’s heart sank. He loved that shirt and now it was gone forever. How in the world was he going to explain this to his mother?
After putting on his pants he threw the remains of his locker in the garbage. Sam was not taking any chances; there was no telling what the perpetrator had done to those things. He quickly made his way to the school office. He felt ridiculous walking through the hallway wearing his sweaty gray t-shirt from gym class. But that was far better than the t-shirt he found in the lost-and-found. Since it was the last day of school there were only two shirts left—one red, one pink. Sam chose the red. As fate would have it the t-shirt had white letters that said, “I See Ninjas!” in bold across the front.
He tried to talk the principal into letting him go home early or wearing his gym shirt the rest of the day. Both ideas were shot down. The gym shirt was school-issued and needed to be turned in that day. Leaving early was not an option, not without written permission or a phone call from a parent, or having his mother pick him up at school. All of which were never going to happen. The last thing Sam wanted to do was tell his mother about his KISS t-shirt lying in several pieces at the bottom of a toilet.
Unfortunately, gym would be the highlight of his day. School seemed to drag on. Thank God it’s the last day, Sam thought.
He made it through the rest of the morning unscathed. By lunch time he was starving. As he approached his locker with his stomach growling, Sam recalled the first thing Travis had said to him that morning: “Hey, your mom said pack a lunch”. He never had.
Sam slowly stopped walking, took in a deep breath and told himself, Just breathe, Sam, just breathe. He turned and grudgingly walked back in the direction of the lunch room.
He only had fifty cents to his name so he got a carton of milk for lunch. It would have to hold him over till he got home, if he made it that long without starving to death. He spent the entire lunch hour waiting for Travis, but Travis never showed up. He had gym right before lunch. Travis was always late, but never missed lunch. Sam knew that was not a good sign.
When the school bell finally rang at the end of last period Sam had to contain himself from bolting through the doors and screaming out FREEDOM AT LAST!
Kids ran from all corners of the building. They looked like ants leaving their hill. Sam, who was feeling extremely self-conscious in his new adopted wardrobe, waited pa-tiently for Travis in front of the school. Like always, Travis was late. Finally, after about twenty minutes or so, he sur-faced. At first, Sam did not recognize him. His head was hanging low, and he was wearing a different shirt too.
As Travis came closer what had happened became all too clear. Sam could feel his blood pressure starting to skyrocket as he stared at Travis, appalled. The sheer humility Travis wore on his face spoke volumes as he weaved through the crowd of kids who were laughing at him.
“You have got to be kidding me!” Sam said through grit-ted teeth.
The shirt Travis wore was bright pink with large, bold black letters that said, “I Don’t Skinny Dip, I Chunky Dip.”
“What happened to your shirt?” Sam asked quietly, try-ing desperately not to draw any more attention to them than necessary.
“Someone stole it in gym!” Travis replied, defeated and embarrassed. “Hey, what happened to yours?”
“Don’t ask!” Sam replied. “Let’s go and find a rock to crawl under.”
They both turned in time to see Daniel Harris, the school prankster, walk by with his group of knuckle-draggers.
“Aw, look at the twins! Did you fish that out of the toilet too?” he yelled pointing at Travis. They all laughed and pointed in Sam’s and Travis’s direction while climbing into Daniel’s SUV.
Suddenly it all made sense. Daniel was in Travis’s gym class and Billy, Bobby, Timmy, and Todd were in Sam’s. Sam’s and Travis’s numbers had finally come up. Daniel and his group of idiots had been the ones to take their shirts. They had pulled one last prank before school ended and Sam and Travis had been the victims.
“Can this day get any worse?” Sam moaned as he turned and walked toward home.
“Hey, I kind of like your shirt,” Travis said.
“Figures,” Sam replied.
The walk home was less than thrilling. Travis rambled on about Star Wars.
“You know I love the movie but come on! First you try to save the princess, then you kiss her, then you find out she’s your sister! I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking I would have shot myself in the face with a blaster!”
Sam paid no attention to Travis’s ramblings, except for the part about Travis sucking Jell-O off Paul Axtell’s plate. Apparently Travis took a late lunch after acquiring a new shirt. He went with the detention group. They always took the late lunch to keep them separated from the rest of the student body as part of their punishment.
“So, I ask him, ‘Can I have your Jell-O?’ He says, ‘No.’ So I put my finger in it. He said, ‘I don’t care what you do to it, Travis, I’m going to eat my Jell-O.’ So I look around to make sure there were no teachers standing by. Then I leaned over and sucked it right off his plate!” Travis laughed, “You should have seen his face!”
Sam laughed too. He found that entertaining in a strange kind of way, mostly because Paul deserved it. Paul was always putting his finger in people’s food at lunch.
It was starting to get cloudy. Things cooled off as a light breeze blew in from the north. The weatherman had talked about rain for days, and it looked like he was going to be right for a change. They needed the rain.
Sam had waited all day to ask Travis about the chocolate wrapper he had found last night. He was sure it wasn’t from around here. But, one more opinion wouldn’t hurt, he thought.
“Hey, Trav, you ever heard of Becker’s Famous Choco-lates?” he asked in his best nonchalant voice.
“Becker’s?”
“Yeah, take a look at this.” Sam dug into his pocket, pulled out the now crumpled piece of white and red paper and gave it Travis.
Travis took the wrapper and smoothed it out with his fingers, then brought it to his nose and inhaled, as if to smell the bouquet of a fine wine.
“Hmmm, it’s a dark chocolate … maybe extra-dark.” Travis took the wrapper away from his nose and repeated the process.
“It’s expensive cocoa butter too, not that stuff flavored with cheap sugar, vegetable fat, or powdered milk.”
Sam was amazed. Travis may be a social outcast in eighth grade, but he was definitely the man when it came to chocolate.
“Becker’s huh? No, never heard of it. Where’s it made?” he asked, as a look of curiosity set in.
He turned the wrapper over and read aloud the fine print on its back.
Becker’s Famous Chocolates
Hatter’s Cove Rd., Swan’s Cove
Ingredients: Family Secret
Sam hadn’t thought about the back of the wrapper. He had been too caught up with who it belonged to that he simply hadn’t thought of it.
“Um, I don’t think it’s from around here. I mean, you can’t get away with just saying “Family Secret” for the in-gredients. Maybe it’s from overseas or something,” Travis said as he twisted the paper back and forth, examining it more closely.
Sam was more puzzled than before. “Yeah, but where is Swan’s Cove and why isn’t there a state or country listed?”
“You got me. I don’t have a clue,” Travis said, handing the wrapper back to Sam.
Sam was bursting at the seams to tell him everything, but that wasn’t going to happen. How could he tell Travis something he wasn’t sure he understood himself? No, it was best to wait until he could think it over and figure it out on his own.
It wasn’t long before Travis had changed the subject and began to ramble on about something Sam had no interest in. Sam, however, was still too focused on the stranger and the chocolate from nowhere to think about anything else.

**I will post one EPISODE each week, but there are 50 EPISODE, so this may take a while. If you just can’t wait, you can buy (Just .99) the complete book and the rest of the HAVEN series (More Coming Soon) at Amazon.

You can sign up for my newsletter, follow me on Twitter, or like my Facebook page. For more information, see my website dc-akers.com. Your support is appreciated. Thanks for reading!

Haven Shorts – Chapter 4 – Episode 9 – A Stranger Magic

Written by dcakers@dc-akers.com on September 6th, 2013. Posted in Haven Shorts Series

Haven: A Stranger Magic

Chapter 4 – Episode 9

The light changed. Sarah crossed her arms and turned toward Angelo’s Bakery. Maybe she should just get Sam something there. After all, lunch at the school cafeteria was always bad. There was no telling what leftovers they would be serving on the last day of school.

Sam was still her brother, even if he was a giant pain most of the time. He annoyed her, but not for the reasons most people thought he did. Sam had it easy; life just rolled off him. He blended in, he was under the radar, and no one ever noticed him. It was like he was invisible. And because of that, people were not always expecting things from him like they did from her. He could be himself and not what everyone expected him to be. Sam didn’t need to put walls up for protection like she did. He had everything—a great life, a best friend, and things were probably only going to get better from here.

Sarah, on the other hand, had none of that. Her friends could not be trusted; they were only her friends because she was popular, and she was only popular because of the way she looked. She could never call one of them up and confide in them, like Sam could Travis, without the whole school finding out. They were all superficial wannabes, pretending to care as long as she stayed popular. She hated who she had become, hated that she had to be so mean to everyone, including her own brother, but that’s what was expected—that was the price of popularity. She couldn’t even be normal in her own house anymore; she couldn’t remember how. She walked around so frustrated and angry all the time. The only restraint she could show was to her mother, because she was all they had left.

Every day she felt like she was getting closer and closer to the edge. She was scared of what might happen if she reached a breaking point. It was hard keeping it all bottled up inside. But what choice did she have? Who could she really tell? She knew the answer to that question—no one. She couldn’t tell her friends that there was more to life than being popular. That there was socializing for the simple purpose of getting to know someone and enjoying their company instead of how they could help you climb the social ladder. Going to the mall with your hair up, no makeup, and eating a big fat pizza without worrying about the carbs. She knew they would never go for that. They would just say that’s what ugly people do. Which was fitting, she thought, because she felt ugly inside, even though people thought she was so pretty. She wanted to tell them she was lonely for a real boyfriend; one that she could trust, not one that liked her for her looks and then cheated on her. She wanted someone to care about her and to like her for who she was as a person.

But again, what chance did she really have? She knew she would never let anyone inside the emotional walls she had built. The risk of being hurt was far too great. Her past choices in friends and boyfriends had taught her one thing—no one could be trusted. Perhaps she couldn’t be trusted to make the right choices either. After all, she was responsible for choosing her friends and Barry. Sarah walked toward the bakery and glanced over to see someone lurking in the alleyway. It was Marcus. He had a roguish smirk of his face.

“Well, well, it looks like the queen might have lost her king, and all because of her jester brother,” he said, laughing.

Sarah was not laughing. She loathed Marcus Snider. He was a bully and a pig. It made her angry just to look at him. For four years students had endured his rude and crude comments and for four years she had done nothing.

The jocks stayed away from him because he was rumored to have stabbed someone in a fight once. Whether it was true or not, Sarah didn’t know. But people had seen him fight on campus many times and he always won.

Sarah was not scared of him; she was more disgusted than anything. Someone needed to teach Marcus a lesson, and maybe the last day of his senior year was a good place to start.

“Keep your mouth shut, Marcus!” she said, her fist clenched at her side.

“Or what?” he shouted back. “Are you gonna call Daddy? Oh, no, wait,” he said putting his hand to his mouth like he was surprised. “You haven’t got a daddy, do you? Maybe your mommy is a little too prissy like her daughter, and no one wants a Dalcome woman!” he said, laughing.

Sarah began to walk toward Marcus, her ice blue eyes narrowing on the filthy, long-haired boy. To talk about her and her friends was one thing. To talk about her mother and father, that was something totally different.

“You had better shut your mouth, you creep!” she said, advancing on Marcus. She wasn’t sure what she was doing; she was no longer thinking straight.

Marcus laughed louder, and backed up into the alleyway.

“Come make me, pretty thing. We can talk about your daddy issues in here. I can be your daddy,” he said with a wink.

Sarah could feel the anger welling inside of her. It was the same anger her mother was always telling her to suppress.

Strange things happened when Sarah got angry. She didn’t know why or how, but sometimes things would break around her. It started about a month ago when she cut her finger on a kitchen knife while unloading the dishwasher. She winced in pain, mad at herself for not paying attention. Sarah became angry. It was at that point the glass of water sitting on the kitchen counter began to rattle. Then, suddenly the glass exploded, sending shards of glass in every direction. She had screamed and ran out of the kitchen. Another time, while she was in the garage looking for a school yearbook she had accidentally backed up into the yard tools hanging on the wall. They came crashing down. She shrieked and clenched her body tight as they fell to the ground around her. That’s when it happened—all eight sprinkler heads on the side of the house burst. Thin jets of water shot into the air nearly ten feet high. Prior to that the sprinkler system had not worked in years.

At first Sarah lied about what happened. She did not want to tell her mother—it just sounded too crazy. In the end, the truth came out, but to her surprise all that her mother said was “Suppression keeps you calm; calm places you in control.” But she said it as if she was thinking out loud, reciting it from memory or something. When Sarah asked if she believed her story, her mother replied, “The pipes are old; the whole house is falling apart, Dear.”

Sarah didn’t press the issue. Her mother had to be right. There was no way Sarah had anything to do with that.

Too much had happened this week with finals, finding out that Barry cheated on her, and worst of all, her so-called friends knowing what Barry had done and never saying a single word. Apparently, getting sick the day of a party was unacceptable girlfriend behavior punishable by cheating. If she had not overheard Blake Miller talking about it to one of the cheerleaders in the hallway, she would have never known. As it was, it took her a week to find out. Her girlfriends hadn’t said anything; they probably enjoyed humiliating her, and they couldn’t wait for the fall-out between her and Barry to happen.

So now, on top of all this, she had to deal with Marcus too. This creep, this low-life who was going to insult her family! Insult her dead father and the only parent she had left? No. Not today. Today she would not be calm. Today she wanted to be angry. Her anger was like a caged lion—beautiful, powerful, and dying to be set free.

Sarah walked between the two buildings with her hands clenched and knuckles white. She was determined to make Marcus suffer for every innocent kid he had ever picked on. For every girl he had ever humiliated. For every loathing comment that had slithered out of his mouth.

Marcus continued to laugh and motioned for her to come closer. Sarah kept walking until she was consumed in the shadows between the two buildings. She stopped to face Marcus.

“Take it back, Marcus!” she said. She was so angry that her hands were shaking. She let her backpack slide off her shoulder onto the ground.

Marcus was still grinning, as if he were a cat and she was a small, pathetic mouse.

Her anger was fueled by his vile remarks about the father she had never known, and her mother who tried so hard to take care of her and her brother. He had no right to cheapen that. She wanted to wipe that pathetic grin off his face.

Sarah reached down and picked up a rock the size of a baseball.

“You’re joking, right princess?” he said, looking at the rock.

“Shut up, Marcus, I told you to shut your mouth!”

“Or what? You’re going to throw a rock at me? Sweetheart, you’re gonna have to do a lot more than that to shut me up!”

Sarah reared back, and with all her might threw the rock as hard as she could. The rock soared through the air, but fell far from its intended target. It landed several feet to the left of Marcus.

He bellowed with laugher. It was a deep, gravelly, smoker’s laugh. To Sarah it was like nails on a chalkboard. It made her skin crawl.

Marcus bent over and picked up a rock of his own from near his feet. He had stopped laughing; his wicked grin faded into a taut thin line across his sallow face.

“Guess whose turn it is now, princess?” His stare narrowed and his eyes met Sarah’s. She could see the malice in his eyes. He hated her as much as she hated him.

Sarah stood her ground. She was breathing heavily and she could feel her pulse pounding in her head. She clenched her fists until her fingernails dug into her palms. She could feel her arms tremble.

Suddenly, there was loud rumble and several things happened at once. Deep cracks began to spread from the edges around a manhole that was between Sarah and Marcus. The cracks spread across the ground and up the sides of both buildings in the alleyway. Water burst from the manhole sending its enormous cover twenty feet into the air. The heavy steel lid came crashing down near Marcus. The cracks in the walls sprayed water through the crevices, and the sounds of pipes bursting and buckling behind the walls rang out.

Marcus fell to the ground, his eyes wide and face pale. “Earthquake!” he cried out. He got up and began to run.

Sarah could barely see him as he ran farther down the alleyway. She could feel the ground shake beneath her. She stumbled and fell to the ground, landing on her side. Water rained down on her and bricks fell from the sides of both buildings onto the street. She let out a loud scream.

Quickly, she got to her feet, turned, and began running as fast as she could toward school. She didn’t stop for her backpack or the traffic light at the end of the alleyway. Latecomers who were gathering across the street parted as a drenched girl ran past them, terrified. Sarah ran to the back of the campus toward the gymnasium. She didn’t stop running until she reached the back door. Quickly, she opened the door and closed it behind her. She looked down the hallway. No one was there. Everyone was in class. Sarah turned around, looking through the two small windows of the door. Fire trucks had pulled up next to the alleyway.

She leaned her dripping head against the door and tried to catch her breath. Her body was still trembling.

What in the world did I just do?

**I will post one EPISODE each week, but there are 50 EPISODE, so this may take a while. If you just can’t wait, you can buy (Just .99) the complete book and the rest of the HAVEN series (More Coming Soon) at Amazon.

You can sign up for my newsletter, follow me on Twitter, or like my Facebook page. For more information, see my website dc-akers.com. Your support is appreciated. Thanks for reading!

Concept Art

Concept Art

Gallery quality print on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks. Custom trimmed with 1" border for framing.