Waiting for Rebirth

It’s Me Me Me Monday! A day to strut your stuff and celebrate your me-ness! I’ve been sharing, segment by segment, a Tale of Navel, ‘Waiting for Rebirth’. I’m hoping reading it will interest you in the other Shadow Forest novels I’m revising for publication.

Christopher picks up in this story right where he left off on Saturday. He was ready to giggle at Gabrielle’s chicken hat, when he saw Damian’s face.

She was still Damian’s boss, someone he bowed his head to, no matter how silly her attire was.

The lady turned to me and winked. With that single gesture, she eased the tension in the air. Duessa was no longer scary. Gabrielle nodded at the shelves. I followed the direction of her gaze to see a metal statue of a traditional god of masculinity, only it had a chicken’s head. Not a rooster, but a chicken. Beak half open, lunging forward, ready to throw itself at a customer. Or cluck a popular tune.

The lady raised a hand to gesture to the chicken on top of her own head, while she grinned at me.

I smiled, before I could stop myself. If this lady was Gabrielle, she had a wacky sense of humor. I was starting to like it, just a little. It’s good to like your mother, even if you’ve just met her. The thought made my grin widen.

“There, smiles are far better than terror,” the lady said, making Duessa, Damian, and myself a slight bow. “Hence, the hat.”

“We can’t all be clowns,” Duessa quipped. If she was offended, she didn’t show it. In fact, she softened her predatory smile. The resemblance between Damian and herself increased. “I’m much better at terror than humor, I’m afraid. If I overstepped myself, I apologize.” She spread her hands in a placating gesture. There were only two of them. “I do get possessive of my nephew. Nor was I aware of his involvement with your son.” She closed three pairs of eyes, eyelids disappearing into delicate whorls on her face, before vanishing completely. “In fact, I wasn’t even aware that you had a son. Where have you been hiding him?”

“Oh, he has always had a tendency to hide in the shadows,” Gabrielle said, with a grin, as if it was a joke, instead of the literal truth. “My son has only just decided to help out in the Navel. Damian, as you know, can be quite persuasive.” The glance Gabrielle shot Damian was filled with double meaning.

He smiled back, with a gleam in his eye. It was clear he appreciated the double meaning. “Which is why Christopher lets me speak for him.”

“Indeed,” Duessa said, sounding less than pleased with any of the double meanings. “What exactly is this boy to you?”

“My artistic inspiration.” Damian looked straight into his aunt’s eyes, not bothering to hide the challenge within his own. “I’m going to paint a picture to hang in the store. I’m hoping Christopher will model for me.”


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