Ascension – An Excerpt


This excerpt comes from Chapter Six.  It takes place shortly after Kharma visits her mother at Rosewood, a hospital for the criminally insane.  Even though this is Lydia’s only POV in the whole book and she proves to be a minor character, I’ve always liked this scene.  It’s a turning point for the story, the first time the reader gets a real taste of what Rex is capable of and, coupled with Chance’s limited POV in the front half of the chapter, the first time we’re taken out of Kharma’s head for a bit.

Lydia wasn’t sure what time it was. From what little she could gather from listening in on the doctors’ conversation, she’d come around shortly after Kharma’s departure. All these years she’d waited for her daughter to come and now she was here and gone and Lydia was alone once more. Or rather, she would be if she didn’t know Dr. Thieme was watching her.

Since the day she arrived at Rosewood, Jacob Thieme had kept close tabs on her. There wasn’t a single day in eighteen years she hadn’t received a visit from him, asking how she was feeling, if she
was experiencing anything strange, what she’d dreamt the night before. It was his job, she supposed, but she suspected none of the other patients were privy to such special care.

He wasn’t with her now, but she knew he could see her. She had gone over her room numerous times, and though she had yet to find a camera, but she convinced he was out there, watching her.
Somehow.

Particularly now that Kharma had visited.  She came up often in her talks with Dr. Thieme, as if he were trying to keep her from forgetting her own daughter. Or maybe he was worried about Kharma’s
well-being. She was, after all, her mother’s daughter, and very likely prone to the same mental instability.

Realizing she was still in bed, Lydia slid a leg over the side, then another. Cautiously, she stretched out, putting just a little pressure on her limbs. For the first time in as long as her clouded
mind could recall, they didn’t sag under her weight.

She stood, testing the limits of her legs. They held just fine.

Shaking her head, she made her way to a small plastic lamp on a writing table against the far wall. She eased herself into the seat and let out a deep breath.

Glancing around the darkness, she wished, as she always did, for a room with a view. Of course, her outbursts had lost her that privilege many times. Now, she lived in a box, dark and dreary and
shut away from the rest of the world.

“I suppose it’s becoming of you,” she said with a chuckle.

In the dim light provided, she set crayon to paper — she couldn’t hurt herself or others with a crayon, the nurse had once told her — and started taking notes from what she could remember about her
conversation with her daughter. Surely, after her episode, Dr. Thieme would be anxious to fill her with drugs once more.

Then it would be back to normalcy for her.  She shuddered.

Only things weren’t normal. Somehow, when she’d taken Kharma’s hand in her own, she’d revisited the past and come out feeling different, changed. She felt decades younger and now, gazing at the
small mirror hanging out of reach above the writing table, she could only stare at the stranger gazing back. She had Lydia’s face, the Lydia of old, but not entirely. She not only looked younger, but some of her features had become softer. Her nose was less pronounced than it’d ever been, even in her youth.  Her eyes, once almond shaped, seemed rounder. Her lips were fuller.

“Now I know they’ve been screwing with my head,” she said with a morose chuckle that was swallowed by the enclosing gloom.

“Lydia.”

She turned to see who whispered her name, but no one was there. The meager light cast shadows that danced on the walls, mocking her sense of isolation.

She returned to writing, ignoring the sensation she was being watched. She was always being watched. That’s what he did.

“Lydia.”

Placing her crayon down on the table, she looked at what she had written. Veritas Aeturnus. What did it mean? She could vaguely recall having said those words to her daughter. When was that? Oh
yes, she was talking about Rex.

Rex!

“Lydia.”

This time, the voice came from all directions at once and she knew he was there with her.

“What do you want?”

The shadows continued to dance around her, and soon she realized they were moving in unison, coming together to create a form. The form crawled up the wall and joined together at the ceiling, where a shape oozed from the blackness, like a drop of water still connected to its source, unsure if it wanted to make the plunge.

“What do you want?” she repeated, forcefully.

The shape shifted and moved, unfolded, and soon she could make out his eyes, then every facial detail, despite the darkness they were carved from.

“It’s been a long time, Lydia.” His smile showed the dazzling brightness of his teeth.

“Not long enough. Why are you after my daughter?”

“No need to concern yourself with that. Kharma has her place, as do you. I’m afraid this is as awake as you’ll ever be, Lydia.”

Hands emerged from the blackness, seemingly made of smoke, but as real as any she’d ever felt. Tentacles wrapped around her waist, holding her in place. His hands gripped her wrists and turned her hands over, palms up.

“What are you doing?” she asked, struggling in vain.

“Freeing you.”

She felt a sharp jarring pain and looked down to find a thin red slit on each of her wrists.

He let go of her with his hands, but his tentacles wound around her arms and kept them in front of her. She watched as blood trickled from the wounds. Soon, there was a steady stream sliding from
her wrists to splatter on the floor.

“Why?”she asked, a sob caught in her throat. “I thought you were here to save me.”

He didn’t answer, but instead held out his own hand. Her blood stopped spilling onto the floor, and instead spiraled through the air. It touched his fingers and spread over his outstretched palms,
to his right wrist, where a gaping hole sucked it up like a hungry infant at its mother’s breast.

Lydia tried to scream or run for help, but she was paralyzed. She struggled to catch her breath, but he seemed to draw that into himself, as well. Helpless, she watched as the man in black drained
her of life.

She was only barely conscious when the blood gave way to a blue glowing light. It was bright, so bright, but not nearly as bright as Kharma’s.

Unconsciousness took hold of her long before Rex finished. Once he had drawn in the last of her, Lydia Michaels faded from the earth, another loose string plucked free from the fabric of reality.

 

Ascension: available at Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/71161, Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Ascension-ebook/dp/B0058ZWH3U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313161235&sr=8-1 and now at Barnes & Noble  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ascension-sl-madden/1104716407?ean=2940013169753&itm=1&usri=s%2bl%2bmadden

 

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