Below is a short excerpt from one of my current projects. Where the Angels Dream (working title). Set in a time similar to the late 1800s, it is a story about Devon and Sara Amaris. A brother and sister to whom the dead speak and unknown powers take notice. It is still very much a work in progress.
Devon sat on a garden bench beneath the red cedar tree. He leaned back, one leg crossed over the opposite knee as he drew softly on a small pipe. Tobacco was a luxury he rarely indulged, but tonight seemed a good night for it.
The courtyard was quiet, save for the watery trickle of the fountain and the soft sighing of the night breeze. The air was cool and the seat beneath him, damp with the chill. He could still see the glow of Sara’s bedroom light reflected in the branches above him, then a few minutes later they went out. Just as he expected, it was not long after that he felt a furred body lean against his leg. A tail curled around his calf for a moment before disappearing, to be replaced by small paws pressing against his shin. Whiskers brushed across the back of his hand where it rested on the ankle of his crossed leg.
Of course, he could not see the cat. Of all those in his family, only Sara could see the spirits. Though if she were to hold his hand, palm to palm, then he too could see them through the virtue of her gift. No for him, the spirits were not something to be seen, but he could touch them, just as easily as he could anything made of flesh and blood.
“Is our angel finally asleep, then?” he asked and was answered with a deep contented purr. He felt a weight settle into his lap and two paws come to rest on his chest. Whiskers tickled across his jaw before the cat settled in. Stretching out on his chest, its head on his shoulder so that its nose rested just below his ear, where it continued to purr softly. In the darkness he had no need to worry if any saw, so his fingers came up to absently stroke the phantom fur.
“I worry,” he admitted to his companion. “It is harder for her, being able to see all of you. Other people notice more. She tries so hard to not be seen, and she has gotten better at hiding it. But, she can’t bring herself to ignore someone who speaks to her because she has a kind heart, and she doesn’t want to offend the dead.”
The cat gave a little trill as it continued to purr.
“Do you know she hasn’t even mentioned you to me. Though I’ve no doubt that she has seen you,” he confided to unseen companion, worry deepening his voice. “And that, my little cat, concerns me more than I care to admit. I believe it would be a good idea to have a look at this headmaster.”
Eventually, he tapped his pipe out on the side of his boot heel and stood up slowly. The cat transitioning from his chest to his shoulder where it perched as he slipped his pipe into he trouser pocket and headed up the front steps into the dark house. He walked softly through the silent kitchen, the fragrant ghosts of dinners past twining with the scent of resting dough for the breakfast yet to come. His boots made no noise on the back stairs that spiraled up from the kitchen to floors above. He went to their very end, a short hall in the attic with two doors facing each other across it. He glanced at one, before opening the other and going in. He resolved to walk into school with his sister the next morning.
Changing into his nightclothes, he stretched out on the bed. He could feel his visitor’s whiskers brush his cheek as it settled onto the pillow next to him. The purring in his ear resolving into a gentle rhythm, rising and falling like the rolling waves on an unseen shore. He let himself drift with the sound; knowing that when he closed his eyes, the now familiar figure of a dark haired woman would be waiting for him, down at the edge of the sea.
* * * * *