It’s Me Me Monday! A day to celebrate, strut, and revel in one’s me-ness! To promote your projects and share what you’re writing, what you’ve got planned.
One of my plans is to release and publish a series called ‘Tales of the Navel’/’The Shadow Forest’. (I’ve got two novels written, plus the rough draft of a third.) This is a prelude to this series which I’m offering in segments to potential readers, hoping it will interest you enough to pick up the rest of my series.
Christopher is discovering what being ‘me’ is all about in ‘Waiting for Rebirth’. Right now, he’s meeting Gabrielle, proprietor of the Navel and now his mother, thanks to Damian thrusting him into the role of being her son. Fortunately, ‘Brie doesn’t seem to mind, although she is going to lay down a few rules.
Mothers. That’s right. A human in the real world tends to have a mother. I had no idea if I’d ever had one.
“Don’t worry,” Gabrielle said. The kindness in her voice made my throat tight with unshed tears. “We’ll both have plenty of time to get used to the idea.” She glanced over at Damian. “Although, a little advance warning would have been nice.”
“There wasn’t much time for advance warnings,” Damian said with a slight shake of his head. “I had a chance to pull Christopher out of the shadows, so I took it.” He gave Gabrielle a sly glance. “Since you offered me your protection, I hoped you’d extend it to him.”
“You knew very well I would,” Gabrielle said with a sigh and a shrug of her own. She glanced at me. “You’re welcome to live under my roof, but you’ll need to respect my rules.”
Rules. Of course. There were always rules, when you were offered sanctuary, especially in someone else’s Place of Power. “What are your rules?”
“No need to look so terrified. They’re not unreasonable,” ‘Brie said. “I’ll need you to help out in the store, when you’re not modeling for Damian. Be nice to our customers. Try to help them find what they’re looking for, if you can.” She raised a finger and tilted it in my direction. “No stealing, or rather, feeding as a shadow does.”
I flushed a bit. Gabrielle had guessed what I truly was, what I had been. “It’s not as if I truly want to steal people’s memories, dreams, or thoughts,” I mumbled. I looked down at my feet. “I just get hungry.”
“Here in the Navel, you shouldn’t hunger for such things,” Gabrielle said. Her voice was gentle, but I could feel the stern warning in every word. “You should be able to eat regular food, like a regular human.”
“If you get hungry, I’ll feed you,” Damian offered. The generosity of that offer made me look up and stare. I wasn’t sure if I believed him. Damian’s eyes were blue with a soft earnestness as beautiful as his smile.
“Absolutely not.” Those two words were as fierce as the energy moving around Gabrielle. “You’re under my protection, Damian. I can’t let anyone, not even Christopher, do that to you within my Place of Power.”
“It’s fine, then, as long as it’s not in your Place of Power, isn’t it?” Damian’s question was mild, but there was no denying the challenge in his gaze, as he turned towards Gabrielle. “If I decide to take him back to the garden and feed him, it’s my choice.” His chin raised, as he regarded Gabrielle. “You do still respect choices, don’t you?”
“You know I have to respect them.” Gabrielle’s shoulder slumped. She looked away from Damian to fix her stern gaze upon me. “Christopher, I won’t have you feeding off my customers. However, if Damian chooses to offer you some part of himself, I have no business stopping him. Not if it’s on his own time.” It was clear that Gabrielle didn’t like it, but she was bound by some ethical code of her own to respect Damian’s decision. A frown wrinkled her face, adding sad lines around her mouth.
I didn’t like seeing Gabrielle frown any more than I liked seeing Damian upset. I made a silent promise not to feed upon Damian, no matter how badly I hungered for him.
“Don’t worry, ‘Brie,” I said, offering her a smile. It wasn’t as bright as Damian’s, or as fun as Gabrielle’s, but I meant every crinkle in my lips. “I’ll try to be a son you can be proud of.”
The lines vanished from Gabrielle’s face, softening into something more cheerful. I was very happy to see the sad wrinkles go.
“I’m sure you will,” Gabrielle said. There was a light in her eyes, a hope as fragile and childlike as Damian’s. “I have a feeling you’ll make me very proud.”
I took a moment to bask in her approval. My new mother had accepted me. It warmed my insides, spreading through every limb of my thin form, expanding it into something bigger. No, I wasn’t truly expanding like I would have in the Shadow Forest. It was just feelings. Perhaps in the real world they were all I needed.