Demons reach, p.1
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       Demon's Reach, p.1

           Kevin Singer
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Demon's Reach
Demon's Reach

  by Kevin Singer

  Copyright 2014 by Kevin Singer

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real.

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For more information contact the author at [email protected]

  Table of Contents


  Also by Kevin Singer









  About the Author

  The story continues...


  Thanks to Michele Dagle and Stacey Flanagan for their feedback, and Leigh Ann Cobb for her editorial review. Finally, thanks to Matthew Piwowarski for his cover design.

  Also by Kevin Singer

  Road to Magdalena

  The Last Conquistador

  Left Among the Mutants

  Always Mine


  The coffee—hazelnut, skim—sat ignored. The drone of the lunchtime rush hour swirled around Vickie but she took no notice. She brushed her fingers through her black curls and stared at the letter she struggled to write.

  Not enough words, not the right words. They weren't her; they were just words.

  Two weeks earlier, her life was not perfect but it was good enough. She'd paid off the last of her law school loans, and she was content at the firm. After five years together, she and Gavin had found their rhythm. They enjoyed their lives – the duplex condo, weekend trips to Tahoe, evenings sampling the latest fusion restaurant. They were good.

  Until the pregnancy. Only it wasn't a pregnancy, the doctor told her. Nothing was there. Not only that, but nothing ever would be. At the age of 35 she discovered she would never carry a child. It left her wrecked.

  And then there was Gavin. Vickie recalled his face when she told him she was pregnant. Subtle happiness in his too-cool British way. Happiness wasted. It wasn't fair.

  In her heart she didn't want to do this. Not to him. Not to herself. There could still be a way. Maybe we could go on as before, she thought. Or maybe we could adopt.

  "I don't want to frighten you."

  Vickie dropped the pen and looked up. Before her stood a gazelle of a girl, maybe 19. She was striking: a runway model, the angles of her face a jagged cliff, dark with glossy hair that twined down in a ponytail over a cashmere sweater. "What?"

  She pointed to the empty chair angled out from the table. "I wanted to ask if I could join you, but you look so lost. I didn't want to frighten you. Sorry, I must have been talking out loud."

  Looking back, Vickie wondered how her days would have changed if she'd said no. "Yes, please, sit."

  The girl seemed to float down into the chair. She gave Vickie a pursed smile, craned her neck toward the door, and grimaced as she checked her slim gold watch.

  "You're waiting for someone?"

  The girl sighed. “Forever it seems. I just wish he'd finally show up.”

  "If he keeps making you wait, maybe he's not the one you should be waiting for."

  "No, it's him. Only him." She looked at the watch again. Tiny diamonds encircled its face.

  "That's beautiful."

  "Cartier." She put a hand over her face. "Oh, I must sound so conceited. I'm sorry."

  "Don't be. I'm Vickie, by the way."

  "Yani," the girl said. Vickie expected her to reach out her hand but she didn't, and the moment died. "I'm not from here, just so you know."

  Her defensiveness struck Vickie as odd. "Well neither am I, originally, but this city grows on you."

  Yani flitted the comment away with her hand. "I'm only here for a short time."

  "Are you a student?"

  Yani nodded, though she didn't say what or where. She just sat and stared at Vickie with a serene smile.

  This girl, this striking girl, enchanted Vickie. She wanted to know more about her. “Where is it that you come from?”

  "South. South of here." She paused. "New Mexico, they call it now. I miss it so much. It's not all this..." She swooped her hand through the air. "...horrible glass and steel." Her hand settled on her throat. She gazed off beyond the streetscape. "There's a bend in the river where I would play with my sister so long ago. We would hide in the bushes, splash in the cool water."

  "That sounds beautiful."

  She turned back to Vickie. Her smile was gone. Her angled face was even more jagged. "It was."

  "I've always wanted to visit there. My ancestors, many, many generations back, lived in New Mexico."

  Yani stretched her arm across the table. Her hand was barely an inch from Vickie's. She was sure the girl would grab it but she didn't. "You should go. I promise you, once you do, you'll never leave."

  "Oh, I could never move away." Vickie dropped her voice. "I have a life here."

  "What is it?" Yani cooed.

  Vickie touched her stomach. There should have been a baby in there. "Nothing."

  "Sometimes it's best to share yourself with a stranger, someone you'll likely never see again. Tell me."

  Vickie stared at the girl, and the sharp edges of her face softened as if by magic. Just her overactive mind, she told herself. She exhaled and the words flowed freely.

  "I've done everything right all my life. Worked hard, followed the rules. I finished college in three years, then on to Stanford law."

  Her mind drifted to her first Christmas party at her firm. Just one other lawyer then was a woman. Her name: Melinda. Hired two years earlier, she was blonde and razor sharp. Melinda must have had one too many cocktails at the party. Diversity hire, Melinda said of Vickie, just loud enough for her to hear. After that, Vickie spent her savings on tailored suits, only drank soda at the happy hours, surrendered her weekends, and leaped over Melinda to make partner. Whatever she set her mind to she achieved.

  Until now. The doctor had said maybe if she'd tried to get pregnant even a couple of years earlier, there might have been a chance. They could have caught the condition in its treatable stage. But it was too late. "What was it all for?"

  "You did your best." Yani reached across the table, closer, but not quite touching. “There's no shame in that." Vickie was overwhelmed by this girl's caring. It was angelic. "But sometimes it's best just to move on."

  A rush of failure flooded Vickie's brain, horrible, sickening failure. She bowed her head and thought of her traitorous body. Gavin was still young. He deserved more. It cracked her heart.

  "I'm so sorry. I've got to leave now,” Yani's voice was velvet. “But I'm so glad we had the chance to meet. You have no idea how much this time together has meant to me."

  Vickie felt calmer again. "Me too."

  Yani glided up from her chair. Her eyes fixed on no one person for more than a second. "You should go to New Mexico, just visit at least. You'll realize it's where you belong. Not here, not among these people."

  As she left she nearly collided with a blue-suited man. Vickie saw a chunk of Yani's shoulder slide right through him. Impossible, she told herself. Trick of the light. A shadow.

  The scribbled paper lay before her. She'd written 'no future' in uneven letters, again and again. When did she write that? It didn't matter; she knew it was true. It all seemed inevitable now, predestined. She sipped the cold coffee. The seed was planted and could not be uprooted. She would leave, alone, for the land of her ancestors.


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