I am a participant of Weekend Writing Warriors ~ Snippet Sunday, the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Each weekend an amazing group of authors posts an 8-10 line snippet of their work then we visit other participants on the list and read, critique, and comment on their #8sunday posts.
It’s a blast and telling you the story of Meanmna in this manner feels like an old-timey radio show. So, I’m putting them all together here, in order, and eventually will have a full CliffsNotes-ish version posted. Sounds like fun right?
(Clears throat and deepens voice)
“Stay tuned in folks for the story of Meanmna: Book One of the Daearen Realms 8 – 10 sentences at a time.”
Seventeen-year-old Sarette has always thought of her life as average, even a bit boring. She does well in school, has a loving mother and a loyal best friend, Mathew. Of course, she has her problems as well—cold Michigan winters, a long-lost father she knows nothing about, and the lack of a boyfriend. She also has the vague sensation that she is being watched by some unseen entity, but figures that means she’s average and crazy.
Nothing could be further from the truth . . .
Daearen isn’t much different than the human world.
Imagine a world where science is replaced with magic.
For my first snippet, I’m starting at the very beginning of Meanmna: Book One of the Daearen Realms. Sarette is hanging out with her best friend, Mathew and has just finished describing him, to make it short; he’s really hot.
Too bad we’ve known each other since we were in diapers. You can’t have feelings for someone you’ve known that long. It’s kind of creepy, not unlike those people who counted the days until Miley Cyrus or Selena Gomez turned eighteen.
“Earth to Sarette.” Mathew was holding my coat in his outstretched hands. “Where’d you go this time?”
“Nowhere. Just remembering when you peed in my bed.” I grabbed my coat from him and ran down the stairs from my attic bedroom.
“I was three, and that was fourteen years ago!”
Skipping just a bit ahead so you can get a little more background on Mathew and Sarette’s relationship. You missed meeting Mom, but you’ll learn more about her later. Sarette and Mathew just got into a little argument, and Mom told them to tell each other sorry, go and get coffee, then went to take a bath.
We sheepishly looked at each other and simultaneously said, “You’re sorry,” then raced toward each other yelling, “Jinx, pinch, poke! You owe me a Coke.”
I think between Mathew, Mom, Mama, and me, we owe ourselves around forty-eight kabillion or so Cokes, although my math might be off a bit.
I looked at Mathew’s stupid “I won” smirk, but I couldn’t stay mad at him and stuck my tongue out at him instead.
We’ve known each other our entire lives and my life story is woven into our shared experiences—good, bad, and indifferent— we share a bond that I suspect even real siblings don’t have together.
Our shared lives started on day one of our existence; looking into the nursery from the outside, our moms met while in the hospital on December 21, 1998.
Both were looking fondly at their newly-born babies lined up next to one another in little Plexiglas cribs—each of us wrapped in hospital-issued blue, white, and red-striped blankets.
I guess our moms bonded because they were both alone in the hospital, neither of our fathers stuck around and neither had any other family.
Both twenty-something single parents alone in every way until they found each other, instant best friends.
At the hospital, Mom invited Mama and Mathew to stay with us until they got on their feet; she had just inherited a large home from her parents in Adrian, Michigan and there was plenty of room for all of us.
We were practically raised as siblings and early on, we started calling Mathew’s mother “Mama” and my mother “Mom” to distinguish between the two.
Sarette and Mathew talked for a minute, he decided not to go with her and headed back to his house. Sarette realized she should have already started her car already and went back inside while it warmed up. When she walked in, she noticed the picture of her father was gone from the mantle, knew her mother was crying over him again and left quietly.
I was still trying to stop thinking about my dad when I pulled onto Maumee Street with one of my favorite songs, “Ain’t Life Grand” by Widespread Panic, playing on the radio.
Music always reminds me of my dad.
I say “reminds me”, but that’s wrong—you have to have actually met someone to be reminded of them.
I don’t even know him.
I think I look like him, but if I squint and tilt my head, I can see mom’s contributions, too.
I have Dad’s hair, at least from what I can tell in the only picture I have of him.
There’s only a quarter of his face and hair showing, but that’s more than I’ve seen of him in person.
He has a beer in his hand and is standing with a gaggle of folks outside some venue, waiting to see Widespread Panic.
The picture is slightly blurry and out of focus because it was blown up from the original.
That’s my dad, though, blurry and out of focus.
For your listening pleasure…
Yeah, no one can resist shaking their butts at a show… Go, Wayne!
What you missed: Sarette has described her town of Adrian, Michigan as a beautiful old two-college town with broad sidewalks, small shops, and a never-ending supply of small town gossip as she has been looking for a parking space close to the bookstore where she buys her candles. They help her feel like she’s in a protective bubble, away from whatever lately has been making her feel…
“There’s one,” I shouted as I turned onto a side street and saw a space.
“It’s official; I’m going crazy.
Talking to myself has got to be one step closer to crazy land.”
I paused, “And now I’m talking to myself about talking to myself!
Maybe there’s a magic candle to ward off the crazies.”
Muttering to myself as I pulled into the spot, I heard a slight laugh behind and to the right of me.
I threw my car into park and spun around, half expecting someone to be there.
Seeing no one, tears sprang to my eyes, “And now I’m hearing things; maybe I am going crazy.”
At least, I thought I heard something, but I definitely felt the melancholy that must precede losing one’s grip on reality.
I blinked the tears away, checked my reflection in the mirror, and got out.
I waited a few seconds, taking in the smell of sage, incense, and a mixture of other organic smells while my eyes adjusted to the crazy ambient lighting.
When I could see again, I noticed the Christmas lights hanging haphazardly from one piece of furniture or fixture to the next, giving a multi-colored glow that added to the ambiance.
Wind chimes were clinking, and ringing as the air from a small oscillating fan blew past them.
Bookcases lined all the walls; I smiled when I saw the bookcase that contained the novels about vampires, fairies, witches, werewolves, and such.
Celine, the shop’s owner, had a handwritten sign hanging over it that read “FICTION?” as if she had a question about whether or not that stuff was real.
The case to the left displayed all the candles.
I needed a new water candle.
I have no idea why mine always burned up so much faster than the others; one would think that a “water” candle would burn slower.
Nor do I understand why I shouldn’t purchase a batch of them at one time, but Celine said you get better results from a new candle that has recently had the appropriate spell cast.
Apparently spells have a short shelf life, so I come here a lot.
There was no real order of displays in the cramped little retail space at Visions; Celine felt there was no need for such accouterments.
“You’ll know when you find what you need,” she always said.
I started moving carefully around a table of crystals when giggle from near the counter startled me.
Turning quickly I lost my footing and began to fall; I could always count on my clumsiness to make most days interesting.
I grabbed the table to avoid a thunderous fall but made contact with a crystal and cut my hand on the jagged points for my efforts.
After taking a deep breath, I looked around to see who might have witnessed my escapade; no one.
“Great,” I said aloud and threw up my hands in a victory pose; that’s when I heard another giggle.
I put my hands back down and turned slowly, this time, thank goodness, I saw a child poking her head up from behind the counter.
“You’re funny,” she said with a little awe in her voice, “And your colors are so pretty; I’ve never seen them look like that.”
I wasn’t sure what she meant about colors; I was wearing earth tones.
What you missed: Sarette described the little girl as around five, strawberry-haired, big green eyes, and pink cheeks.
The little girl is wearing a silver band on her forehead that looked like a crown and was holding a clear wand with an amethyst spirit crystal on the end.
Amethyst Spirit Crystal: Sarette recognizes it because her mom is a geologist and is surprised a kid has one since they are very rare and are indigenous to the Magaliesberg Mountain region of South Africa and feels smart because she knows that. 🙂
Celine, the shop owner, joins them only a minute later.
“Paige …” Celine walked through a beaded curtain from the back room, then stopped, her eyes widening when she saw the little girl she then turned to me and said, “I see you met my . . . um . . . niece . . . Paige.”
Breaking the totally strange silence that descended, I walked to Paige with my hand out, “Hi, Paige. I’m Sarette.”
She looked at my hand like she had no idea what to do with it; that’s when I noticed the blood, “Oh, shoot! I cut my hand on the crystal.”
I grabbed a tissue from the Kleenex box when the bell on the door rang and I glanced at the mirror behind the counter; the door slowly swung open and then shut, but no one was there.
“Got anything to keep me from losing the rest of my mind,” I asked Celine.
She was staring with a frown on her face at something behind me and to my right, after a moment she smiled and gently patted me on the arm, “Oh, sweetheart that’s an old door; you’re not going crazy. So, why are you here besides the coo-coo candle?”
“Is there a coo-coo candle?”
That half-laugh—more of a snicker—sounded behind me again.
This time, I pretended I didn’t hear it; no need to alienate anyone else with my crazy weirdness.
What you missed: Nothing but to refresh your memory, Sarette pretended not to hear the laugh behind her by answering Celine’s question about why she was there… And Action!
“My water candle burned up again,” I said as Celine gave another quick look behind me.
“I’ll get it!” Paige ran around the crystal table and past me, glancing and giggling to the door as if there was something there.
That’s it; I’m leaving here and checking into a mental hospital. What the hell is going on?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the feeling of being watched. The feelings had grown increasingly intense since last spring, and for the past week, I had been hearing and seeing things. Like laughing when no one is there and doors opening without assistance. Then there was the weird buzz I felt coming from the crystal that I had just cut my hand on.
Wait a minute. I did feel something, didn’t I?
What you missed: Nothing! But to refresh your memory ~ Sarette just realized she had felt a weird buzz when she cut her hand on the crystal.
I went back to the table to take a better look at the crystal. About the size of a baseball, it had a relatively smooth bottom and several jagged edges on top; translucent dark green with little white swirls that appeared to be moving inside of it.
Clasping the crystal in my hand, I felt a little buzz or tingle again, “What kind of crystal is this? It looks like it’s moving; I’ve never seen anything like it,” I looked at Celine, who had a strange look on her face.
“I didn’t realize I had put that out; it’s not time yet,” Celine sighed and looked past me, shrugging her shoulders, “It’s an Amazonite crystal.”
“Amazonite; I didn’t realize they could be translucent.” I looked down and saw it was opaque, rather than the single shade of see-through green like before. Now there were different shades of green throughout and white swirls that looked like solid veins.
I am losing my mind; I’m going to have to go three towns over so nobody sees me check into the crazy house.
“No, you’re not,” said a firm voice that I’m sure, I had only heard in my head.
I put the amazonite down on the table and looked up, “I think I’ll wait until next time for that candle. I don’t feel very good, and well, um, I . . . you know . . . I have to go.”
“Why don’t you take the crystal,” Paige was smiling as she stood in front of me with her little arm holding it up, “It should help you see things beyond your understanding.”
She did not just say that. I didn’t want to start screaming and make a run for it, so I forced a smile and looked at Celine, “How much do I owe you?”
“On the house,” Celine said, “It found you; it’s time.”
I’m not going to ask what time it is; I’m sure it’s not time to get ill. I’m going to have to find a new magic store when I get out of the loony bin.
No, I heard in my head, a little more forcefully this time so I took the crystal ignoring the buzz I felt.
“Um, thanks. I guess I’ll see you soon,” my hands shook as I opened the door and headed to the street looking in all directions.
“I can’t wait to see you again!” shouted Paige.
I smiled and waved to her, then I turned around and started walking.
I’d love to see you again too, little girl, but it will be at least seventy-two hours before I get out of the nuthouse.
“No!” I heard the voice again—this time out loud and coming from behind me.
I sprinted toward my car.
Hitting the unlock button on the keyfob over and over, just to make sure the door would not be locked when I got there.
I was panting as I jerked the door open and got in as fast as I could.
After a moment, I looked in the rear view mirror.
Someone was sitting in my backseat staring at me.
I think I screamed before I fainted.
I have to be dreaming again, I thought as I wiggled my toes in the grass and raised my gaze to look around, Yep, the same place, the same dream.
Green rolling hills and the trees were covered in strangely colored flowers; the sun was high in the sky, and I felt its heat on my face.
Looking toward the mountain range in the distance, I felt the urge again.
There was something I was supposed to get to on the other side of the mountains, but I could never get any closer than this.
I try every time I have this dream, but something felt different this time; something sounded different too, there was water gurgling, splashing and lapping to my left.
The compulsion to try to get to the mountain left me.
I needed to see the water—it was calling me, and like a moth to a flame I ran to it, into the forest, ducking under trees, jumping over brush; the twinkling blue water called to me through the limbs and leaves ahead.
My heart was pumping, but I could hear the water, even over the erratic beating of my heart.
I ran as fast as I could in the long flowing dress I’m always wearing in these dreams and skidded to a stop when I broke through the trees.
On the shore was a man dressed in jeans and a band tee shirt, Phish maybe, I couldn’t tell from where I was standing, “Hello, Sarette.”
I glanced around, looking for a weapon; Wait, this is a dream; nobody can hurt me in a dream, I thought as I took a deep breath and asked, “Who are you?”
He smiled and crossed his arms in front of his chest.
Yep, he works out.
He chuckled and looked over at me like he could hear my thoughts.
I blushed for only a moment before I remembered this was my dream and said, “I asked you who you are.”
That sounded much more confident than I felt, God, I’m even a wuss when I’m sleeping.
“You really need to stop putting yourself down,” he said, “Also, for the record, you are not going crazy. This is all normal . . . well, mostly normal,” and then he smiled.
God, he has a great smile, I wonder how many years he had braces?
His hair looked almost black and was run through with dark red; his eyes were dark green, and his lips totally kissable; why do I keep looking at his lips?
He laughed again, “If you would like me to stop hearing what you’re thinking, you should probably wake up and talk to me; I’m the guy sitting in your back seat,” he winked and disappeared.
I started yelling to an empty space, “My backseat…what…oh wait, that’s right; there’s a telepathic axe murderer sociopath sitting in the backseat of my car, waiting to chop me into little pieces. I’d rather stay asleep for that; thank you very much! Get it over with already; I’m already crazy. Just finish me off!”
“I’m not an axe murdering sociopath, and I have already told you that you’re not crazy. Wake up, please. I’d really like to talk in person, on your plane,” it sounded like he was right next to my ear.
His voice was oddly soothing in a Barry White or grandpa sort of way, “Okay,” I closed my eyes and waited a couple of seconds before I reopened them, “Um…still here…am I supposed to be doing something to get out of here? You mentioned a plane,” I rambled while looking around but then my eyes suddenly felt very heavy, and I closed them again.
My face felt cold and wet and was pressed cockeyed against the window.
Great, yea me; I’m sure I’m looking super-hot with my face smashed against the window and drool running down my chin; can’t wait until these pictures land on Instagram.
I lifted my head off the glass then heard a deep voice from the backseat say, “I’m not going to put any pictures on Instagram or Facebook, or any videos on YouTube; I promise.”
“Please don’t kill me; take whatever you want!”
I grabbed my purse and whipped it over the seat without looking.
“Didn’t we just go over this; I do not have an axe, I am not a sociopath, you are not crazy, and we need to talk. . .Sarette, please look at me.”
I slowly opened my eyes but didn’t turn around, “Dreams are not real,” I whispered, and started repeating a mantra. “This is not real; this is not real; this is not real.”
“Sometimes dreams are real, Sarette,” he said softly, “I promise I am not going to hurt you; please turn around.”
Was he pleading; why would an axe murderer beg to see me?
I slowly turned around and gasped, “It’s you,” the man of my dreams…er… I mean, the man in; in my dreams not of.
He chuckled and looked straight at me.
“Are you still reading my mind because you need to stop; there’s a lot going on up here.”
I pointed to my head while making the crazy sign, “I don’t even know who you are and you know my thoughts; that takes a lot of nerve—I don’t remember inviting you into my head!”
I’m rambling—stop talking…why is he smiling at me?
“Sorry, I won’t read your mind anymore, now that you’re ready to see me,” he paused, “Well, you’re going to see more strange things, but for now, we need to talk about—”
“Who are you? What is going on, this is it, isn’t it—the moment I realize I am totally and completely insane. I’m a paranoid psychotic, aren’t I? You’re a figment of my imagination, here to help me understand my craziness.”
“For God’s sakes, Sarette; you are not crazy, but you are very likely to drive me crazy if you don’t stop and listen,” he took an overly dramatic deep breath, “My name is Elwin. It’s a pleasure to meet you, finally. I’ve—”
“What do you mean finally?
“I’ve been sent here by your family to help you get ready for the journey to meet them,” he put his arm across the back of the seat and nonchalantly looked at me with a half-smile, acting as if he had uttered the most normal statement in the world.
“Journey? Wait, what…my family,” I exploded. “I don’t know what kind of crazy crap this is but my family consists of; my mom who is at home crying, Mathew who is on a date with a girl whose name starts with an S, and Mama. . .I haven’t any idea where she is or what she’s doing, but she would not have sent some hunky guy to prepare me; she’s never had a dating problem and she would have kept you for herself.”
Did I really did just say that, I thought as I turned back around and started the car, “It’s time for you to get out.”
“Listen, we really need to talk; I can help you understand what’s been going on and who you really are; when you’re ready, I’ll find you,” he got out of the car.
Wow, he’s tall and he’s smirking again; he had better not be reading my mind—it’s my crazy mind.
He leaned down and looked at me through the window, “I know this is a shock, so please think about it; I’ll be seeing you around, Sarette Miller,” he shut the door and started walking away.
I watched him in my rear view mirror until his outline started to go blurry then he disappeared and I shook my head in disbelief, This is too much—much too much; I am going crazy.
No, you are not. Goodnight, Sarette, I heard in my head then headed back home with no coffee, no candle, and my last shred of sanity gone.