Shades loss, p.1
Written By: Christina Worrell
Cover Art Designed By: Jason Cooper
Published by Midnight Hour Publishing
This book is dedicated to my husband Joseph Worrell who has stood by me for over a decade. Every day that I wake and know we are together is another day I’m smiling.
Shade’s Loss is also based on and dedicated to my older brother Michael Edward Dugdale who was adopted before I was born. I have been searching for him since I found out about him and hope someday to find him. He is out there somewhere. I will not give up searching for him.
Special thanks to those who helped me achieve my dream but mainly to Ashley Lane for her help and support throughout the book. Her time was greatly appreciated, and to Jason Cooper for his hard work on the cover. No matter what he says I think I was picky but he got it right. Thanks to both your contributions in with this book.
Copyright Christina Worrell 2012
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the author. This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations and events are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously."
Edited by: Ashley Lane
Cover design by Jason Cooper https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651206937
Cover illustration by Jason Cooper
Published by Midnight Hour Publishing https://www.midnighthourpublishing.com
Chapter One – Page 6
Chapter Two – Page 28
Chapter Three – Page 42
Chapter Four – Page 50
Chapter Five – Page 71
Chapter Six – Page 82
Chapter Seven – Page 96
Chapter Eight – Page 109
Chapter Nine – Page 121
Chapter Ten – Page 137
Chapter Eleven – Page 158
Chapter Twelve – Page 174
Chapter Thirteen – Page 195
Chapter Fourteen – Page 219
Chapter Fifteen – Page 238
Chapter Sixteen – Page 252
Chapter Seventeen – Page 270
Mikhail Trinity walked hurriedly along the icy empty street passing by quiet brick building apartments with darkened windows on his way home after a long night at work. He took his black biker jacket from over his shoulder and slid it on.
Not one car was in sight in either direction for which he was grateful. The noise at work every night was too much so the peaceful walks home were always a pleasant respite. The moon cast random patterns on the sidewalk as he passed under the weeping willow trees and blood red maples.
He wondered if his sister Shade was home, in her bed asleep and warm. Lately she stayed over at her friend’s house and played video games making him worry while he was working at the bar. He got home between one A.M. and three, and always immediately checked on her. She might be seventeen, nearly an adult, but she would always be his responsibility and his baby sister. Nothing would ever change that. He would die for Shade. She was all he had left.
The bartender tonight had asked him to help serve instead of his usual job of cleaning or being the only bouncer. He was a decently built for a man in his twenties, medium framed and standing at almost six foot. Judging by his looks Mikhail was not considered much of a threat. He was however hot according to the ladies. He had more trouble each night from them then he did the men.
Mikhail had the same features as his father who was half Cherokee Indian. He personally thought his long black hair was a nuisance but the ladies seemed to think it was sexy, or so they claimed. When he looked in the mirror and saw his high ‘chiseled’ cheek bones and deep ‘haunting’ eyes he thought he was average in looks. His sister would argue all day and night that he was blind but he said the same thing to her. He was single and had been for some time. That was proof enough they were all blind.
He in his opinion the place needed at least three bouncers but Ed was too cheap to hire more. He spent his money on hiring waitresses that looked like cheer leaders for a football team.
Mikhail was thankful his dad had insisted he take taking self-defense lessons when he was thirteen. Well he had gotten more than just self-defense. His trainer had shown him how to take a man down in three steps, permanently. Now that his father was no longer alive he would never know how dangerous his son had turned out. His father, a teacher, did not believe in violence only protecting what was important like family.
He was just around the corner from his trailer park and was passing by the condemned house that had burned down last year. Shade and he lived in a rundown brown and white two bedroom trailer minus the underpinning. Their trailer was the second one from the main road which meant at first glance it was a poor neighborhood which was far from true. His was the worst of the lot but also the cheapest.
Mikhail thought back to his short conversation with the new girl Miranda. She was a blue eyed, black haired Russian with a sparky attitude. She seemed like she didn’t want to be there, always being sarcastic or scowling at the customers. She was a beauty but high maintenance, obvious after one night. His life was hard enough supporting him and his sister. He didn’t have the time or money for a woman, especially one as classy as her. Nor did he want the attitude baggage. He had plenty of that when Shade got into a prickly mood. Attitude was not necessarily a bad trait to have when used the right way but combined with rudeness… well she was so not his type even if she did have legs longer than his own.
Miranda had been off to one side with a customer talking about how she was just here for the tips. Bar hands were trash and she was not staying in this sink hole. He had walked nearby and overheard. He of course had to respond and with as much a snarky attitude as her own. Mikhail had said that he did not mind working here because he got to meet cheap tricks like her. The customer nearly fell to his knees laughing as he walked away. Miranda gave him a piece of her mind and he only smiled.
Mikhail let himself in soundlessly, hoping not to wake Shade. He locked it quickly behind him so the cold air outside didn’t freeze their small rooms. Pittsburgh was really cold this time of the year and he’d learned his lesson well when Shade got pneumonia last month. She had refused to wear a heavier jacket, preferring her worn black hoodie. He figured she would either learn or grow used to it in time.
Brash heavy metal music answered his question. Shade was home alright and extremely heated. Her choice of music usually forewarned him of her moods. A door opened down the hall with a loud boom where it bounced off a wall a moment before she trudged into the kitchen, eyes blazing fury and fists clenched. As elfin as she was her antics only made her seem as dangerous as a newborn kitten. Until you took into account her vibrantly metallic purple shade of hair which only enhanced her features but made her downright scary when she got rolling.
On most girls it was too gaudy leaving their punk look a major fail. On Shade it made her appear witchy and nearly ethereal. The color only enhanced her silver violet eyes, outlined in black, to the point she looked like a little anime doll. When you added in her full round lips which were always painted a matching shiny plum shade she appeared as a delicate Goth faerie. Her choice in style stemmed from her years in group homes.
“I take it your day didn’t go so well?” he asked, wary to avoid her in case she got violent. She might attempt to hurt him and only hurt herself instead.
“Does it ever, Mikhail?” she responded viciously. She was generally not so hostile. She was sweet natured and accommodating. Just like their mom had been before she had died in the acci
Both their parents had been in a ten car pileup on the way home one afternoon. A chemical carrying semi-truck not only disintegrated their vehicle and several others but also exploded taking many others nearby as well. No one had even a slight chance.
“What happened this time?” He asked her helping himself to an icy cold soda from the fridge and taking a seat at the two chair table, waiting for her to share. She would say it wasn’t important or she didn’t want to talk about it then get all riled up again. She always blew up talking a mile a minute until she ran out of steam. He knew from past experience that this would last nearly thirty minutes even without the dramatic arm flailing gestures.
He sighed and leaned back in the chair waiting for her answer.
“I don’t want to talk about it.” She didn’t disappoint. He hid a smirk before she could turn and see him.
Shade grabbed an apple from the basket on the table and headed back towards her room, stopping at the corner before entering the hall. She hesitated only a moment before noisily biting into the crisp apple and turning back towards him, full of indignant ire.
“It’s just… err… do they have to… and I mean why… does it got be so cold… and argh… why can’t we… or why do men… just… whatever!” She cried hastily getting louder until the ‘whatever’ was nearly a scream, or rather a shrieking and harsh growl. She would have made a decent female heavy metal vocalist if she chose to.
Shade threw her hands up and stared at him. Honestly? Like he really knew what she meant and how to fix whatever had set her on this particular tirade. He would either have to ask which was dangerous, or go out on a limb and assume what she was failing to convey.
“I’m going to say that was English and that you do want to talk about it.” He waved towards the only other empty seat at the table.
Shade pulled the chair out and sat. After their parents had passed Shade had to move in with her brother because he could not afford his parents rent. They had managed to keep some of the furniture like the table but only two chairs would fit in his kitchen. Dishes, jars, appliances and other smaller items were either packed or crammed onto the counters.
“I’m sorry it’s not your fault. It’s these guys at school. They have been bothering me for a few weeks now and I didn’t want to get you involved. I know how you handle these things, all too violently. I can’t lose you too. They said one more time and they would take you away from me.” Shade had large tears building.
Mikhail sighed and hung his head, now was one of those moments he missed their parents the most. She was right, his freedom hung by a weak thread. As did her remaining with him, she would be eighteen in a few months but that was long enough to the courts. He refused to let her go back to the orphanage or a group home. Her experience there was terrifying and almost cost him life in prison. One of her coaches had been caught trying to force Shade into sexual activities.
Something he still had nightmares about. He was always too late to save her in them and would hold a broken Shade in his arms. Mikhail shivered at the thought and tried to push the images to the back of his mind so he could focus on a distraught Shade.
Mikhail, when he had drug the truth from a hysterical Shade, had thrown the man into a wall, shattered three ribs, split his bottom lip, broke his nose, and cracked the man’s eye socket from consistent and repetitive left and right tightly balled fists.
“I’m not going anywhere this time, I promise. We’ll figure this out without violence, I hope.”
Shade merely shrugged. She was so frailly thin and beautiful. One of the prettiest women he had ever known, next to their mother. She seemed childlike until you met her temper. She was so clever she was taking college courses in business management and bookkeeping. They planned to start their own business when she graduated, in just six more months. If it had not been for the scholarships she would be like him working the rest of her life in a minimum wage job. He gave up his hope of being anything so she could do whatever she wanted to.
Her dark and metallic shade of purple hair was straight all the way down her back. Every time he looked at her his heart hurt, she reminded him so much of their mother.
He had sworn to take care of her three years ago when they left to go out. His mother had pulled him aside and quietly told him he was nearly a man, and as a man it was his responsibility to be a protective and loving brother, not childish and greedy. She wanted his oath that his sister would always come first. If they took care of each other than that would be enough and they would never be alone.
He wondered so many times if she had known. It always came back to the fact that if she had then why had she left them? Lately Shade had been predicting little things, casually, and so far he assumed she had not noticed. She was always right. She knew when it would rain for instance. Just the other day she had predicted their great aunt would be calling from Ireland, whom had called earlier this morning before he had left for work. She had not spoken to them since the funeral several years ago.
Mikhail worried now if she might have felt or foreseen something happening and that was why she was so upset. He pulled her into his arms and held her as she cried herself out. It wasn’t just his leaving that bothered her it was all of it he knew. How people took advantage of her size and inability to protect herself. She took so much crap socially because she was such a delicate creature both physically and emotionally. She might get angry but she was also going to cry immediately after, like now.
Even when their parents were alive Shade had always dealt with others abusing her. Their parents considered home schooling. They knew, as he did, it was her reaction to the bullies that made it worse.
“Look I’m going to teach you some self-defense lessons alright. Starting in the morning, I don’t work and you don’t have school. Go get some rest and we’ll fix this tomorrow. It’s late and I’m tired.”
“I love you Mikhail.”
“I love you too little sister,” he replied smiling. He easily dodged her rottenly aimed slap.
Shade kissed his cheek and smiled before she wiped the last of her tears and left. This wouldn’t be easy, he was sure. If he knew he could get away with it he would hunt them all down. It had not gone well last time and he was not leaving Shade all on her own anymore. He had considered emancipation in her case but she was so close to eighteen by the time they got to court she would already have had her birthday.
Mikhail turned out the lights one by one and made his own way to bed. It didn’t take him long to fall asleep once he hit his mattress.
When Mikhail woke suddenly in the morning he thought the house was on fire. Smoke was everywhere and the fire alarm was deafening. He threw his pants on and ran out the room coughing, cracking his toe into the door jamb and nearly going headfirst into the other wall. He cursed and instantly forgot about it when he heard Shade muttering to herself. Her constant coughing had him nearly enraged.
“What are you doing?” he asked stupefied, the emphasis on the ‘are’.
“I was trying to cook it’s not my fault you never taught me!” She was kind of jumping around in circles and waving the air in front of her face.
Mikhail rescued the pan and whatever mess was inside before he turned the eye off. He threw it in the sink and fanned the door. If he didn’t buy prepared meals or microwavable stuff Shade would have starved. It was true that it was his fault, he should have taught her a long time ago. He groaned and pushed an unwilling Shade towards the hall.
“Go take a shower, I’ll clean this up then we’ll go out to eat,” he told her as she began to cough and choke erratically. Her lungs being smaller than his he was afraid she would suffer from smoke inhalation and the fact she had been breathing it longer.
Forty minutes later they both climbed into their old and nearly unreliable car, a Nissan. His job was walking distance so Shade used the car to go to her classes.
He cursed under his breath at how far the seat was pushed forward. His dad was six foot five and he
“I’m sorry about the mess, I should’ve waited. I really wish I was tall enough to reach everything. The pot holder was over the sink and I couldn’t find a spatula thingy so I tried blowing on it and turning it down…”
Mikhail burst out laughing and barely caught the black look he was given.
“Sorry, it’s just well it’s kind of cute that’s all. I’m always saving you from various things. I don’t have time to teach you much.” Mikhail laughed as he turned onto another street and fought morning traffic.