Category Archives: Web Serial

The Colony Chronicles

Episode One -Part 4

Sophie had no idea what she was doing. Things had gotten so out of hand in the last few hours. Watching her friends through the car window, she tried to think of something to do other than call her grandfather. He was a senile old man who lived alone on a run down farm in the middle of nowhere. After everything her mother had told her, was she really desperate enough to ask him for help?

Emily was standing, head hung low, staring at the ground. Sophie could hear Tasha talking to her in that low, calm voice she used when she was trying keep her temper under control. The last thing they needed right now was to have a fire storm come down on their heads. Emily looked up and Sophie saw a determined expression on Emilys usually timid and fearful countenance. The youngest and the smallest of the three of them, Emily gave new meaning to the word doormat. But from the way she looked now, Sophie thought maybe that was about to change. After all, she had left her husband, something they had been trying to convince her to do for ages. Standing up to and angering Tasha was not the best way to start though. Better get out there and diffuse things.

Normally the level headed and even tempered one, Sophie had to keep her own temper in check as she observed Tasha’s body language. Emily didn’t need to be threatened by anyone else, much less a friend. Skin tight black leather showed Tasha’s well-muscled arms and legs were tight with tension. Sophie stepped between the two women and looked into Tasha’s eyes. What she saw sent a shiver of fear down her spine. Normally ice blue, the irises were now ringed with red, and her pupils were completely dilated. From experience Sophie knew she had only seconds to get the situation under control or all hell would break loose. Literally. The smell of sulphur was already strong, and the heat radiating from Tasha’s body made standing so close uncomfortable.  Sophie grabbed Emily’s arm and pulled her away several feet away.

“What did you say to her?”

“I just told her we were going to do things my way, not hers, and if she didn’t like it, that was too damn bad.” Emily said.

“You told her what? Are you crazy?” Sophie looked at Emily with shock. “Look at her eyes Em. You know better than anyone what she’s like. Why would you deliberately provoke her?”

“Things are changing Sophie, can’t you feel it?” 

The sound of something hitting the side of the car brought Sophie’s attention back to Tasha. She watched as the redhead worked out her anger on the only thing available. As she pounded the SUV with both fists and boot clad feet, Sophie wondered what else besides Emily’s rather mild defiance had brought on the attack. Finally spent, Tasha slid down the side of the car, sitting on the ground, head in bloody hands. Emily joined her, putting an arm around her shoulders, and the juxtaposition of roles made Sophie’s head swim. Yes, things were definitely changing.

As a pair of headlights slowed and pulled in behind them, Sophie could only hope it was changing for the better.

***********************************

I don’t believe this.

Claire slowed the truck. Up ahead, on the side of the road, sat a black SUV with hood up and steam pouring out. She could see two figures sitting on the ground, propped against the vehicle, and a third standing.

Should I stop?

She recalled the redhead’s last words. A thinly veiled threat, but one Claire somehow knew was real. But driving by was not really an option, her Good Samaritan streak was too strong. Looking at the GPS, she saw it was only a few miles to the next town. She could at least give them a ride, couldn’t she? Turning on her hazards, she pulled in behind them.

“You must be Sophie” Claire held out her hand to the woman standing. A disheveled brunette, dressed in an oversized sweatshirt and leggings, hair pulled back in a loose ponytail, the woman watched her warily. “My name is Claire. I met your friends back at the gas station.” Glancing at the other two, she took in the dented car and Tasha’s bloody fists, and thought better of offering a ride. “Do you need a phone to call someone?”

“I don’t know. Do we, Sophie?” Tasha said, her tone suggesting this was an old argument between the two.

“I guess we don’t have any other options now.” Sophie’s expression was one of defeat as she went to the car and retrieved her own phone.  Walking several feet away, she dialed and turned from the group.

“Thanks for stopping.” Emily stood up.

“Well, I’ve been broken down before. Least I could do, after….” Claire let the words trail off, unsure of what to say. Emily’s face was now void of any evidence of abuse, not even a faded bruise. Maybe she had imagined it all. The migraine had been pretty intense, much worse than any she had experienced before. She didn’t know if hallucinations could be a symptom, but it was the only thing she could think of at the moment. But Emily still had on the torn clothing, and there was definitely a boot print on the front of the dress.

“I owe you an explanation.” Emily said as she self- consciously covered her abdomen.

“You don’t owe her anything.” Tasha was also now standing. “We don’t need your help, so just get back in your truck, and drive on. Remember what I told you in the bathroom?”

“I think I’ll stick around until help comes.” Not only did Claire have a Good Samaritan streak, she had a stubborn one as well. For some reason, Tasha’s attitude was bringing it out, against her better judgment. Well over six feet tall, the woman could make mincemeat of her with little effort. Claire stood her ground though and after a moment she heard the redhead mutter, “Your funeral.” under her breath as she stalked off.

“Forgive Tasha. She’s been under a lot of stress lately. Unfortunately my situation has only made it worse.” Emily said.  “I wish I could say her bark is worse than her bite, but that wouldn’t be true.”

“What happened to her hands?” It wasn’t what she wanted to ask, but Claire felt it a safer subject.

“Lesser of two evils.”

Claire let it drop. Whatever was going on with these women, it was too much for her to deal with on top of her own problems. She would wait until whoever Sophie was calling showed up, then she would be back on her way to Vermont. Hopefully that would be soon. She was acutely aware of time slipping away.  Sophie started walking back towards them, the look on her face not very encouraging.

“He’s not answering.” Sophie said, concern in her voice.

“So what do we do now?” Emily looked at Claire as if she expected her to have the answer.

“Um,I could give you a lift to the next town?” Claire said. “The cab of the truck is pretty roomy, I think we could all squeeze in.”

“Is there room in the back for all our stuff?” Tasha asked.

“Stuff?” Claire asked.

“Yeah, we all have luggage, and I’m not leaving mine here.” Tasha walked over to the back of the SUV and opened it. Designer suitcases were wedged in with duffel bags and gym totes. “So, how much room is in the back?”

“Not much. So I guess this wasn’t a spur of the moment thing then.” Claire tried to imagine where she was going to put it all. She had been determined to get as much of the supplies as possible, and the truck was crammed packed.

“What it is, is none of your business. You’re giving us a lift, that’s all.” Tasha narrowed her eyes at Claire.

“Knock it off Tasha. She’s going out of her way to help us, despite her own problems. The least you can do is be civil.” Emily said.

“Are your problems bigger than us running from a crazy man with mob connections, who would gladly kill me and Sophie and make Emily’s life even more of a living hell than it was?” Tasha asked Claire.

Something in Claire snapped.  “Put that way, no. But almost everything in that truck is stolen, and in a few hours the police are going to be looking for me. So we can stand here on the side of the road and have a pissing contest, or we can load up your things and find you a motel to stay in. I need to get back on the road. So decide now. Take my help, or I’m out of here.”  Surprised at herself, she waited for Tasha’s temper to flare.

Instead, the redhead gave her an appraising look. “Well, you should have told me that to start with.” She grabbed a bag and started to the back of the truck.  “You gonna open this or what?”  

Claire undid the lock and carefully raised the roll up door. Luckily nothing fell out. She had been rushed at the end, and had just shoved things in.  “I think we can stick things up top. Getting them out again might be a problem, though.” She turned to see three faces all with the same incredulous expression.

“Who exactly did you steal from Claire?” Sophie asked.

Tasha stepped up on the back bumper and peered in. “Time to chit chat once we’re on the road. She’s right, there’s room up top. Start bringing things over and I’ll load them.” A wide grin lit her face. “Hey, Claire, I think you were suppose to take everything but the kitchen sink. I bet you have a very interesting story to tell.”

Claire couldn’t help but smile back as the other women began bringing over the luggage. Tasha hoisted them up with no trouble and soon just about everything was loaded. Emily and Sophie brought the next to last together, a large case that was obviously very heavy.

“What the fuck did you pack Em? This thing weighs a ton.”  Tasha said as she unzipped it enough to reach in and pull out a shoe. “Shoes? Shoes!!! We’re running for our lives and you fucking pack high heel shoes?”

“Designer shoes. I couldn’t pull very much money out of the bank without alerting my husband. I thought maybe we could sell them. Most of them haven’t even been worn.”

Tasha continued to grumble, but she loaded it anyway. Claire walked back to the SUV for the last case, but Emily grabbed her hand before she could get it.

“That’s Tasha’s. No one touches it but her.”

“Oh,okay. What’s in it?”

“Her sword.”

“Did you say sword?”

“Yes, she did. A very old and valuable sword. Got a problem with that?’ Tasha carefully picked up the case and Claire watched as she slid it gently into a spot between the side of the truck and one of Emily’s Louis Vuitton suitcases. Satisfied it would ride safely, she closed the door and locked it.

“No, no problem. I guess you have an interesting story to tell as well.” Claire smiled at Tasha, but it was not returned, the scowl already back in place.

“Not really. Let’s get this show on the road already. Sophie, why don’t you try to call again? His place will be a lot safer than a motel. No way the old coot will turn us away.”

“I’ve tried three times. Still no answer. Tash,I’m worried. He never leaves the farm. Why wouldn’t he be there at 3 AM?” Sophie looked imploringly at Claire. “His place is closer than going into town. Could you take us there instead?”

“I guess so, if that’s what you want.” Claire said. Anything to get moving again.

All four women managed to get into the cab, but it was a tight fit. Emily was next to Claire, and Sophie was almost sitting in Tasha’s lap, but it wasn’t too uncomfortable. They rode in silence for a few miles, before someone asked the inevitable question.

“So, what’s the deal with you? You know our story, only fair we know yours.” Tasha said.

“That’s not really true. I only know a little bit of Emily’s story, and not that many details.”

“You first. You’re the one running from the law.” Tasha said.

“Okay. Short version. My boyfriend stole all my money and used it to buy his mistress a café. They were going to have the grand opening tomorrow, but I broke in and stole everything I could load by myself, and here I am. I have no clue what I am doing or where I’m going.”

“GPS says you’re going to Vermont. Who or what’s in Vermont?” Tasha looked at her with raised eyebrows.

Claire sighed with resignation. She had hoped to drop them off and leave without them knowing where she was heading. The less they knew, the less they could tell the police. She should have known it wouldn’t be that easy. “A cousin I haven’t seen in years. As far as I know she’s my only living relative. I’m hoping she will let me stay there without turning me in.”

“Think she might let four people stay there?” Tasha grinned. “Crazy grandpa is not really a long term solution to our problems. We all need a new start, and I bet Vermont is lovely this time of year.”

“Turn here.” Sophie said before Claire could think of an answer. Taking them all the way to Vermont didn’t seem like the best thing to do, but she would bet convincing Tasha of that wouldn’t be easy. They were now traveling down twisty country roads, and everyone became quiet, allowing her to concentrate on driving. After several more turns, Claire saw an open gate with a cattle guard and an ornate sign that said “Blissful Acres”. A gravel drive lined with apple trees lead to a two story farmhouse in the distance.

“This is it.” Sophie had a worried look on her face.

“What’s wrong?” Claire asked.

“I don’t know. Something just feels wrong. Em, are you picking up on anything?”

“It doesn’t work from this distance Sophie, you know that. Let’s just wait and see okay?” Emily’s voice was doing the weird calming thing again. Claire knew it was directed towards Sophie, but because she was so close, it was affecting her too. She felt warmth spreading from the woman, whose leg was pressed tight against hers. Making her way to the house, she tried to ignore it.

“You should pull around to the back, so the truck can’t be seen from the road.” Tasha said.

“Good idea.” The head lights showed a paved drive going around the side of the house and she followed it. An older model truck was parked to the side, leaving enough room for her to pull in beside it. She didn’t kill the motor, but sat and looked around. To the left was the house, and on the right security lights illuminated a walled garden. Directly ahead another gate, open also, leading to a large barn.

“What’s that?” Claire pointed to a dull glowing coming from the woods behind the pasture.

“Don’t know. Doesn’t look like a fire. Think your grandfather is out there Sophie? Might be why he didn’t answer.” Tasha said.

“Why would he be in the woods this time of night?”

“Let’s drive out there and see. Maybe he’s doing something illegal. We catch him in the act, he’ll have to help us, now won’t he?”

“Shouldn’t we check the house first?” Sophie looked at the darkened windows.

“Nyah, if he was in here, this loud ass truck would have woken him up. Let’s go Claire. Let’s see what Grandpa is up to.” Tasha said.

Claire looked at Emily, who was frowning. A different kind of heat was radiating from her now, and it wasn’t comforting. “Emily, you okay?”

“I think Tasha’s right, you should drive out there.” Emily’s voice was strange, and Claire felt compelled to obey. Putting the truck in gear she went through the gate and across the pasture. As she rounded the barn she could see another open gate and the tail end of a wooden wagon disappearing into the woods.

“Hurry Claire, we need to hurry.” Emily’s voice was tense.

Claire sped up as much as she dared, the uneven ground making it difficult to steer. Once through the gate, the terrain smoothed out, and she followed a dirt trail, barely wide enough for the truck, into the woods. As they came into a clearing, she saw the wagon slip into a large rectangle of light. Without warning, Emily put her foot on top of hers and pressed down, sending the truck speeding after it. As they entered the light, Claire once again heard the words, “Well, this is fucking great.”

Episode One Part Three

Claire sat up, rubbing sleep from her eyes and looked at the clock on the dash. 2:47. So she hadn’t been out all that long.A vague memory of being slung over the redhead’s shoulder explained how she had gotten from the store to the truck.Scanning the parking lot, she was relieved to see the black SUV nowhere in sight. Whoever the women were, and no matter the trouble they were in, she had to concentrate on her own problems. Jerry was due to open up his brand new cafe, courtesy of her hard earned money, in less than 4 hours. Prep people would probably be getting there even sooner.

She thought back over what she had told Jerry during their late night talks. How had she been so gullible? Thinking he had simply wanted to be supportive of her dream, she had poured out all her plans. Showing him her project book, with lists of equipment she would need, and recipes she would prepare, she had missed the predatory gleam in his eye. No, not missed, ignored. No more lying to herself. She had told that little voice in the back of her mind to shut up, preferring to believe he was with her because he loved her, instead of the truth. He had seen an easy mark, and had the patience to put in the time to not only gain her trust, but let her get everything lined up, so all he had to do was connect the dots.All because she hated sleeping in that big bed all alone.

The contents of the truck didn’t match up with her carefully thought out lists though. She had wanted a simple little diner, with blue plate specials and fresh pies and cakes. Nothing fancy. Cooking was her one talent, but she was no gourmet chef. Jerry and his new girlfriend had deviated from her plans, stocking the pantry with odd food items, and adding a bar. They must have spent every penny on inventory, judging from the high end liquors she had carefully packed. Even if she hadn’t stolen everything, they would have been out of business in a week, with no money left for operating costs.

Fully awake, Claire realized her headache was still gone. Whatever Emily had done, it had a lasting effect. With any luck. it would not come back anytime soon. Going over her options, she struggled to keep the despair at bay. It was inevitable that she would be caught, sooner rather than later. Running from the law, and staying out of their grasp was not a skill she possessed. When she had hatched the plan to steal everything, she had been so consumed by anger that what happened after was not a consideration. Now, faced with the consequences of her actions, she had no idea what to do next.

She could continue to run. The only living relative she knew of lived in Vermont. Dahlia had come to her parents funeral, listened to the reading of the will, and left promptly when she did not receive anything of substance. Her parents had not been wealthy, and their bad health had eaten up the little savings they had accrued. Adopting Claire late in life, she had sometimes wondered if their only reason was to ensure they had someone to take care of them when they grew infirm. But living with them had been a thousand times better than the foster home she had been in before, and if affection had been scarce, at least there had been no abuse. Thinking of Emily, she knew how lucky she had been to escape that particular horror.

Pulling the GPS from the glove compartment, she typed in an address and was dismayed to see it was almost two thousand miles. Driving that far would take every penny she had left for fuel, and she had no idea of the reception she would receive once she arrived. Dahlia might call the police as soon as she learned of the mess she was in, or simply turn her away. In a spurt of optimism, she had the idea of offering to go into business with Dahlia, and turn the big house she lived in into a bed and breakfast.Claire knew she was grasping at straws, but anything was better than the idea of going back with her tail tucked between her legs.

Had she ever told Jerry about Dahlia? Did it matter? She needed somewhere to go, and her cousin was her only hope. Decision made, Claire fueled up and headed towards Vermont.

Episode One Part Two

Emily curled into a ball in the back seat of the SUV and tried to tune out the bickering coming from the front. Closing her eyes against the threatening tears, she cradled her stomach and focused her thoughts on the woman in the restroom. Could she be the answer? Was she the one she had seen in the dream? The exchange with Claire had left her unusually optimistic, despite the hopelessness of her situation. Somehow she felt…..empowered. A feeling she was unfamiliar with and hesitant to believe in.

“Damn it, Sophie, just call him.”

“You want to go there so damn much, you call him.”

“Give me the fucking phone and I will. We need to get Emily somewhere safe fast.”

“I’m fine.” Emily struggled to make her voice heard over the argument.

“Em…” Tasha turned towards her.

“I said I’m fine.” Emily pushed into a sitting position. “See, all healed.” Even without a mirror, she knew the bruises had faded almost completely away, the busted lip healed. Easing Claire’s pain had somehow sped her own recovery but left her exhausted. An interesting fact she would need to remember in the future.

“Em, I saw the blood.” Tasha’s face had gone soft, real sorrow replacing the usually harsh lines. “Did he know?”

“Does it matter?” She had hoped no one would notice the mess in her bathroom at home. Tasha and Sophie had come to her rescue much quicker than she had anticipated, leaving her little time to clean things up.”I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Okay, okay. We’ll let it go for now. But this conversation isn’t over. I won’t let him get away with it, even if he didn’t know.” Tasha turned back to Sophie. “ Are you going to call him or what?”

Emily lay back down, glad for the reprieve. Once Tasha got something on her radar she rarely backed down. Best friends since grade school, the only thing she and Tasha ever disagreed on was Emily’s husband. They had instantly disliked each other the first time they met. Over the last ten years, things had gotten so bad they could not be in the same room with each other. Thank God for Sophie, who’s apartment served as a safe meeting place. Jerry didn’t care too much for Sophie either, but he had not forbidden her to see her like he had Tasha.

Had Jerry known? That was the question, wasn’t it? Emily wanted to believe he would not have kicked her if he had. After all, his only reason for marrying her was so she could provide him with an heir. After all these years that fact shouldn’t still hurt, but it did. Almost as much as the fact that she couldn’t turn to her parents for help. She had seen the payments scheduled to go out when she had cleaned out the secret account Jerry thought she didn’t know about. There hadn’t been time to see how much had been paid to her parents all these years. He must have threatened to cut them off every time she had run to them. No wonder they had turned a blind eye to the obvious abuse she had suffered at his hands. She hadn’t dared to tell Tasha how bad things had gotten recently either. Because her friend would not have looked the other way, and Jerry would not have hesitated to have her killed, regardless of who Tasha’s parents were.

“Oh, no. No, no, no!” Sophie’s voice pulled Emily’s attention back to the present. Looking into the front, she saw the dash lit with red lights. Steam made seeing out the windshield almost impossible. Sophie pulled the car to the side of the road and killed the motor. Whatever repairs she had made earlier had not held.

“Just. Fucking. Great.” Tasha opened her door, got out and slammed it shut again. Both women watched as she stomped to the front of the vehicle. Sophie reached for the hood latch and popped it, obscuring the redhead from their view. Her voice could be heard though, the curses quite loud and creative.

“Emily, I am so sorry. I thought we could get to Dallas before this happened again.” Sophie rested her head on the steering wheel, refusing to look at her.

“It’s okay.” Emily touched Sophie’s shoulder. “This isn’t your fault.” She allowed a bit of energy to flow between them. “Everything’s going to be okay.” She broke the contact. Sharing with Sophie had always made her uneasy.

Joining Tasha at the front of the SUV, she looked down the road. No headlights could be seen. If they had still been on Interstate 20, the situation would be a little less serious. Three pretty women broke down?  She didn’t doubt someone would stop and help. But they were on a less travelled country road on the way to Quentin Anderson’s farm. Sophie might want to pretend they weren’t heading in that direction, but she had taken the exit without thinking. Emily had no idea if Quentin’s was the place in her dream, or why the woman at the gas station would be travelling this tiny road, but a tiny bit of optimism crept into her heart.  Unfamiliar to hope, she let a small giggle out. Tasha looked at her with astonishment.

 

Stifling the urge to laugh out loud, Emily said “I don’t know what you said to Claire after I left, but I hope she won’t hold it against you.”

 

Episode One-Part One

The bathroom light crackled and popped a few times before settling into a dull flickering glow. Claire closed her eyes, the migraine pounding, and leaned her back against the cool metal of the door. The smell of stale urine and what she hoped was a dirty diaper threatened to bring up what little was in her stomach.

What have I done?

The reality of her situation hit her full force. She had nowhere to go, no one to call for help. Her few friends would urge her to turn herself in, an idea she rebelled against. For the first time in her life, she had done something exciting, something dangerous. And it had felt good. Until now. With the adrenaline rush long gone, she had nothing but fear to drive her.

Bile rose up in her throat, and she barely made it into one of the stalls before vomiting. As she leaned over the toilet spikes of pain shot through her head, triggering another upheaval. Turning and looking up through eyes blurred with tears, she saw someone at the sink. One last stomach spasm brought her attention back to the toilet. A wet paper towel was shoved into her hands, and she gratefully took it with a mumbled thanks. Afraid moving would start the process over, Claire sank to her knees, willfully ignoring the filthy bathroom floor. A prison cell won’t be much cleaner.

 

“Are you okay?”

The words were hard to understand, sounding as if the speaker had a mouth full of marbles. Claire wiped her face and eyes and took a good look at the other woman. What she saw made her forget her own troubles. Petite, with black hair cut into an extremely short pixie she looked to be no more than a child at first glance. The garbled speech was because she had a busted mouth, to go along with an eye swollen shut. In fact, the whole left side of her face was one bruised mess. Scratches and scrapes on her arms and legs, along with torn clothing completed the picture. Looking closer, Claire modified her first impression. This was a woman. A woman who had been beaten.

“What happened to you? Is that a boot print on your dress?” Claire stood up too quickly, dizziness making her sway. The woman reached out to steady her, and when her hand touched Claire’s arm, an electric shock coursed through them both. Instead of drawing back, the woman tightened her grasp, almost to the point of pain. A strange sensation began to seep through Claire, a warmth spreading from the point of contact and ending in her head. She could feel the headache fading, nausea already gone. Locking eyes with the stranger, Claire tried to ask her what was happening, but couldn’t form the words. Vaguely aware someone else had entered the bathroom, she struggled to keep from passing out.

“What the hell is going on in here? Emily, for fuck’s sake, are you doing what I think you’re doing?” A tall redhead, dressed in black leather biker gear pulled the woman’s hand from Claire’s arm. It was as if someone had doused her with ice water.

“The tanks full, I got snacks, and Sophie is as ready as she ever will be. Let’s go before she changes her mind. Again.” The newcomer frowned at Claire.” If you know what’s good for you, you’ll forget you ever saw us.”

“Tasha, knock it off. You’re scaring her.”

Claire looked from the newcomer to Emily. Confusion set in. Not only was Emily’s voice clearer, it looked as if the swelling in her lips had already gone away, and the bruises were no longer purple and fresh looking, but almost healed. Before she could say anything, Emily touched her arm again. The soothing warmth flooded her entire body this time, but she didn’t feel woozy.

“Everything will be okay. Trust me.” Emily smiled, and Claire somehow believed her.

“Oh no, we do not have time for your little fortune teller routine. Get in the car, Emily.” Tasha pushed Emily towards the door. “I’ll be there in a sec. I just need to talk to your new friend for a minute.”

“Tasha, she’s…..” Emily stopped talking as Tasha turned and glared at her.

“We. Don’t. Have. Time.”

Emily mouthed the words “trust me” as she walked backward out the door. Tasha turned back to Claire.

“Now, I said to forget you ever saw us and I mean it. You might see something in the papers, or on tv, that will make you want to tell someone about this little chance encounter you had tonight. Emily’s husband is very rich, and will probably put up a reward for info. Just remember this, whatever that scumbag offers won’t be enough to keep you safe from me if I find out you told him about us. You understand?”

Claire didn’t , but she nodded dumbly that she did. Too much was happening too fast.The room started to spin again. She was vaguely aware of Tasha catching her falling body and lowering her to the floor. “Well, this is fucking great” was the last thing she heard as blackness took her.

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Synopsis

Four women, each with a reason to run, find a reason to stop.

Claire, Sophie, Emily, and Tasha travel through a doorway to an alternate universe and another galaxy.  With only a few minutes to decide whether to stay or return to Earth and the problems they were fleeing, all four take a chance on a new beginning.

Tellus may look a lot like Earth, but the differences, both large and small, will transform the women into heroes and legends, and their bloodlines will be the start of the powerful dynasties that shape a world with a mysterious past and an uncertain future. The planet is dying and heroes both willing and unwilling are needed.

*Claire*

Sweet, easy going good samaritan Claire is about to discover her inner strength. Adopted at a young age by a couple already in their sixties, and raised an only child, Claire’s life in a small East Texas town has been anything but exciting. Married at 18 to her best friend, and widowed at 30, passion and adventure is only something she experiences through the romance novels she reads. But when her boyfriend steals all her money and her dreams, she finds the courage to take back her life and sets out to Vermont to find her only living relative and start new. Fate has a different plan for her, however, and a chance encounter changes her life forever.

*Sophie*

Sophie’s life has never been easy. Out of work and out of money, she has no reason to not go along with Tasha’s plan to get out of town and start over somewhere new. But when things go bad, she finds herself heading straight to the crazy grandfather she swore she would never turn to for help. His actions when her mother was murdered when Sophie was 16 did little to mend their fragile relationship, but now he may be her best hope to get her and her friends out of a very dangerous situation.

*Tasha*

Tasha was born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth, and promptly spit it out. Always at war with her parents about how she lives her life, she now has to choose between crawling back to them for financial aid or getting her legs broke or worse for a gambling debt. When an opportunity to help a friend presents itself, she sees a way to avoid both. Now, if she could just figure out what to do about her temper, and the strange powers it unleashes.

*Emily*

Emily has finally had enough. Tired of being a doormat and punching bag for her mobster husband, she finally accepts Tasha’s offer of help.  With her telepathic powers growing stronger every day, Emily knows it is now or never. Getting away from Gregory is the easy part, staying alive is another question. She just has to convince Sophie and Tasha to accept the help of a stranger, the woman she has dreamed of for months.

Together, these four women will have to find their place in a magical and mysterious world, unlike anything they have ever seen.