Sunday, April 15, 2012

Excerpt: He Comes WIth the Dark, adult m/f

He Comes With the Dark by Deirdre O'Dare

Zeth fled Lemuria when a natural catastrophe of earthquake, volcanic eruption and tsunami swallowed his homeland. He led a boatload of survivors on a quest to seek a new home. The group struggled and splintered disastrously, leaving him one of a very few survivors. After a terrible conflict, he is condemned to remain a disembodied spirit until he can again become human and modify the tragic events in which he played a large part. Millennia later, he finds a new resident making her home in the spot he has come to consider his. She is an artist—using only the power of his intellect and energy can he seduce her into visualizing a likeness which he can take to create the new body he requires?

Stifled by her restrictive mentor and clientele in the Bay Area, artist Arabella seeks a new home in Sedona, Arizona. The ambience rejuvenates her creativity even as she encounters an earlier denizen of the region who turns her narrow life inside out! How can an invisible entity possibly awaken her deeply sensual nature and school her in the carnal pleasures she’d felt were greatly over-rated? Will she be able to channel this new energy into some incredible artistic efforts?


Northwest of Sedona, Arizona

The present day

He came with the dark...
The first night in her new home, Arabella fell asleep on the pallet she spread among the boxes in the great room downstairs. Exhaustion claimed her almost before her head touched the pillow.
By the next night, she'd set up her beloved antique sleigh bed in the strange upper room she'd claimed for her private sanctuary. And that was where he came to her the first time...
She'd heard about Sedona forever, what a Mecca it was for artists and of all the mysteries and wonders locked amidst the rosy turrets and towers, the coral battlements and castellations of Coconino sandstone. Six months earlier, she'd held an exhibit in Talaquepac, spending three weeks in the area while her paintings and photographs were on display. Now she was back to stay.
The real estate agent had seemed almost too eager, insisting she had just the house for an artist. Perhaps she had been right, although it was by far the strangest house Arabella had ever seen, much less occupied.
The structure twisted around two pillars of stone, rooms linked one after another like the cars of a freight train, some at odd angles to each other. Some rooms were higher or lower than their companions, with ramps or steps connecting them. Yet the moment she stepped through the arched front door, Arabella felt a strong sense of coming home. This was her place, the home she had always longed for, almost without knowing she longed.
He came with the dark.
The second night, she had trouble falling asleep. She'd never been uncomfortable or fearful about being alone. In fact, she was used to solitude. She'd locked all the doors before climbing up to bed, more out of city-bred habit than from any need to bar intruders. This five-acre lot sat at the end of a winding dirt track, which forked off from a maze of other gravel roads that ultimately led back to a normal paved street--actually the highway between Flagstaff and the Verde Valley communities. If a person didn't know the way, his chances of ending up here were slight indeed.
Still, as she lay staring up at the myriad stars visible through the round skylight, she had a sensation of being watched. The room's shape was irregular, odd nooks and crannies in all but one wall, as the space flowed around the larger of the stone pillars. Although the starlight provided some illumination, there were dark corners into which she could not see at all.
The shivery sensation grew stronger until her skin quivered as with a chill. Then, at last, she saw the eyes, two almond-shaped amber eyes, shining from one of the niches set in a hollow of the massive wind-carved pillar of stone.
::I come in peace, in harmony.::
The words came not to her ears but directly in her mind. Although there was no sound, she imagined a rich, deep voice, clear as the tolling of a heavy brass bell.
::I came to see who now lives here in my place only to find a lovely woman. I salute your beauty.::
Arabella bit her trembling lip; gasped in a quick, hard breath. Am I losing my mind? I'm not a person who hears voices, not one given to hallucinations. And it's been years since I used any recreational drugs.
::You worry; you fear. That is not necessary. I will never harm you; never invade beyond the barriers you set for me.::
"Who are you? What are you?"
The echo of a gentle laugh came before his words. Instinctively she labeled the entity male. How she knew, she could not say, but she sensed nothing feminine about the presence at all.
::I am one of the Ancients, one who lived in this place long ago. A part of me has stayed, awaiting the opening of a gate to come again into your world. There are things I must do, duties unfulfilled in my past and errors to be set right.::
"Why me? Why now?"
::I sense you may be the One. Others who came before were too fearful, too filled with disbelief. I sense in you an openness of spirit, a willingness to accept that which you cannot understand, and talent to visualize and to create. Last night, when I watched you sleep, I recognized you are not like the others.::
Arabella drew a deep, shuddering breath, fear and curiosity dancing a pas de deux in her heart. She felt the strange entity told the truth, that he would never harm her, nor would he invade her mind, although he had the power to do so if he wished. That mysterious power excited her, called to a wildness within she had always kept under wraps.
::Hush.:: Light as a wisp of fog, she felt a fingertip press against her lips. ::There is no hurry. We have as long as we need, even forever. For tonight, this is enough.:: A caress as soft and cool as the breath of a moist breeze brushed her cheek. Then he was gone.
She fell asleep almost at once and woke the next morning to ponder whether or not it had all been a strange dream.
* * * *
He comes with the dark.
All day the phrase repeated in her mind, reverberated in her heart, resonated in her soul. Would he come again? Did he truly see something in her that no one else had ever noted, some quality he had found in no other? He had called her lovely... No one had ever spoken of her beauty in a way she could believe. No one had ever looked at her with the joy and awe true beauty could evoke.
She had mirrors and she knew how she looked--ordinary. Mousy dark brown hair that was long, thick and wavy, but ordinary. Pale gray eyes, bright and intelligent, but still ordinary. Features even yet unremarkable, a very ordinary female body with perhaps a bit more roundness than the modern world called perfect. Strong, square hands with nimble, blunt fingers that could hold a brush and force it to produce lines and patterns pleasing to the eye, and an artist's sight to envision a scene, a design, and bring it forth in a photograph or a painting. But that was talent, not beauty.
At odd times during the day, she caught herself studying her reflection. In the bathroom mirror, in the one still pool of the little stream that tumbled over the rocks below her house, in the window once darkness fell outside. From the corner of her eyes, she could almost see a stranger, a person she did not know, but when she looked directly, only her familiar face and form appeared. She grew cross and out-of-sorts. She ruined a canvas with a dozen strokes of scarlet that did not fit her vision at all. She finally gave up any pretense of working. Today it was not to be.
Eager yet hesitant, she prepared for bed at the usual time. The ritual dragged out into a thousand steps, none of which could be abbreviated on this night of nights, but at last, she slipped between the cool, lavender-scented sheets on her bed. The soft cotton of her loose gown slid gently over her body as she moved. She reached out to turn off the light on her nightstand, then laid back to watch the stars appear as her eyes grew used to the dark.
She lay perfectly still, almost rigid. Waiting. Watching. Wanting. The glowing hands on her bedside clock crept slowly, minute by minute, until an hour had passed. He was not going to come. He had realized she was not special, not unique at all. Disappointment dimmed the very stars.
At last she let her body relax, stretching out and twisting to lie on her side, then drawing her knees up, tucking an arm under the pillow and letting her eyes fall shut. She drifted for a time in a drowsy state, neither awake nor asleep, yet a part of her still listened and probed.
::Greetings, little one. Did you think I would not come?::
She jumped at the unexpected words. Did she truly hear or still just sense them? She wasn't sure. "I'm not little," she protested. "I'm all of five feet eight inches and more pounds than I care to admit."
When he laughed, she was sure she truly heard the sound. His laugh was rich and warm, unrestrained. "To me, you are little. You are young and female. You are lovely. How can that combination not be little?"
Yes, he spoke aloud now, in a voice that wrapped around her like dark velvet. Sensuously rich, luxurious and seductive, intimate and exciting.
"You have given me a voice," he went on. "That is the first step. I can have nothing I do not obtain from you, except for a shadow of spirit and knowing. It has been so long since I was alive as you are that all my living attributes have been lost. In your thoughts, you gave me a voice, and with it, I can now speak aloud."

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