God is not pleased

Have you ever gone to bed to have a dream that makes no sense? Then you wake up, and before your eyes are fully open, you know what the dream means?

That happened to me last night. I can almost hear him say speak to me, prophetess. I thought those days in my life were over. But Jesus, I replied, because yes, I start sentences with but. It’s not like I can call my good friend Donald Trump in the Whitehouse to tell him you’re displeased.

He didn’t care. So I sit here with a burden that is not mine and one that I can do nothing about. Instead, I feel like a prophet of old yelling into the wind or the void, but I chose to yell.

Don’t ask me how the world is supposed to be opened; you need to talk to someone who knows more than I do. This is what I know. That the Lord says, he is displeased with the way we are opening. Before you try to persecute me, he did not say he was upset that we were opening but how we were opening. Look to your government I have nothing to do with it.

So why me? Because I have no connections. Yes, I start sentences with because. I have no horse in this race besides the same one you have. I want to live, work, and eat. I want my family to be safe. There is no big money sponsoring me. I have no stock market that I have to protect. And let’s not forget I care. Every death makes me want to cry. So maybe it’s because I feel what the Lord feels to some small degree. It could simply be I’m his prophet, so I do what he says!

Why you? Why are you reading this? Why am I telling you this? Only you can make a difference. I don’t know what the difference is. Maybe it’s to decide that you won’t go outside without a mask. Then when you decide, your spouse, child, parent, or friend decides to do the same. It could be not eating in a restaurant or only going in if you can guarantee you won’t walk out sick. I don’t know, but each of you has an idea that can help our country and our world. So if we all work together, we can help our leaders help us.

The Lord is displeased, not with us, but with how we are opening our country.

The Demigod's Mate

Dedication: This book is dedicated to women like my mother who make living look easy.

Kali looked back at the couch, checking on Skyler to make sure she wasn’t close to the edge before looking back at Darryl. The thought of her baby rolling off the sofa twisted her insides. She couldn’t roll, but that didn’t stop the dread.

“I can get you some dinner,” she hated the fear that tinged her voice.

“Damn straight, you can,” he threw several heavy books on the couch, making the cushions move enough for the baby to shift closer to the edge.

Kali drew a deep breath and started for the couch.

“Touch that bitch, and I’ll and break its neck.”

Kali stopped moving, her muscles turning to stone as she waited, knowing that Darryl was drunk, and drunk meant mean and evil.

“Dinner,” his voice came out low and slithering, reminding her of a snake.

Bile tried to come up, but she held it down. She knew it was bile since she hadn’t been allowed to eat anything for the last two days. Nodding her head and giving a fake smile, she limped into the kitchen. Her leg was dragging behind her, she was grateful it wasn’t broken, or she’d be crawling. Skyler would take the brunt of her punishment if she had to crawl.

She pulled out a thick steak, stuck a potato in the microwave and started a vegetable while the steak cooked. She licked her lips, wishing she could have a bite if Darryl even smelled a hint of food on her breath Skyler would die.

How could she have brought her precious girl home to a house like this? She didn’t have a choice, that’s how. The government said they would help her, but those same people didn’t want to get involved with someone like her. Evil stalked her.

Carefully she picked up the plate she made and carried it out of the kitchen to the dining room that connected to the living room. Darryl was sitting on the edge of the couch, his knife roaming over Skyler’s tender skin. Her hands trembled so severely that she almost dropped the plate.

“I got your dinner,” it took everything in her to pretend that she didn’t see what was happening. The plate was set down on the table as she stood there with her head respectfully bowed.

He came and sat, eating while her stomach was making noises; they both could hear.

“Get naked,” he told her between bites.

She walked into the living room, taking off all her clothes, then she folded them neatly before lying down on the floor.

When he finished eating, he came in and began fondling himself before he kicked her in her ribs. Nothing seemed to get him in the mood, like making her hurt. When hardened, he jerked her legs apart and took care of business.

When he was close, he gave her that look.

“Oh yes, harder, babe, it feels so good.” She channeled her best when Harry met Sally until he finally spilled.

“Clean this up, bitch,” he got up stretching and scratching at his groin.

God, how she prayed he didn’t have anything she could get. Skyler started to cry.

“She’s hungry. I need to feed her.”

“Did you spend my money on that worthless brat’s food?”

“No! I mean I got help, remember I told you about that government program.”

“I got a friend,” he walked past her, kicking her as he stood over the couch. “He said babies give good head. He’ll pay us for letting him shove his dick down her throat. Not only that, but he’s willing to line up some of his friends that like to touch little girls, get that pussy nice and open before she knows what happened.”

He turned to look at her.

“Don’t you think that’s nice of him and think of the money we can make?”

“That’s real nice.”

“Feed it, and we’ll talk about it in the morning.”

She nodded and moved around him, picking up Skyler before she limped into the kitchen.

“It’s going to be okay, baby girl,” she sang in a soft voice feeding her daughter.

Tears flooded her eyes as she cleaned the kitchen, then the dining room and the living room. When she was sure that Darryl was asleep, she dressed Skyler and herself. She filled her diaper bag with as much as she could carry before prying up the floorboard where she kept her hoard of money. Then she crept out of the house.

Her mama sold her to Darryl, and she knew that she couldn’t leave because she wasn’t free. She was a slave the way they used to be a hundred or so years ago. He could do anything with her he liked. He liked to see her get beaten and raped for money. Sometimes he gave her away for free, especially if they hurt her in front of him. It was America.

She was walking, not sure where they could go to find safety. She knew she needed to leave this community and the city. This was America, land of the free, but everyone who lived in this community owned at least one slave. The only reason she still had Skyler was that they came to the notice of some government employees who wanted to make her life better. They came around to check on them for the first six months after birth.

She ducked behind a tree when she thought she saw a headlight behind her.

“I’m telling you I saw someone walking the road. Who would be here if it wasn’t one of our slaves trying to make a run for freedom?” A male voice cut through the place she was hiding.

She shivered and looked down at Skyler, who was trying to screw her face up at the noise. She started rocking her, praying frantically to any deity that may hear that her baby wouldn’t start crying.

“The punishment for running away is the death of a child. Do you think they would try that? After we killed the last baby, no one wants to challenge us anymore.”

They gave the baby to a wild animal that tore him apart.

“You’re right, who would be that stupid?”

She waited as the car began to drift down the street. Skyler took in a deep breath, her mouth opening wide. It was the excessive barking that started close by that drowned out the sound of her crying. The car’s engine turned over, and it was gone. Kali stopped her crying and hurried in the other direction. They didn’t have time to waste. When they were away, she would fall, but not while her precious child depended on her.

She knew where she was going now. The walk was long, several hours, but when they entered the bus station, she plastered a smile on her face. If her leg wasn’t dragging behind her, she would have been here much sooner. There were three windows operated by two women and a man. She waited until the man was free before walking up to him.

She didn’t think he would notice her. Most men looked for the women they found attractive and ignored the others unless they had a buddy with them. Then they felt free to talk about the woman loudly.

“Silver Springs.” It seemed far enough away.

He stopped, his eyes scanning her. It was a look that started at the crown of her head and traveled down to her feet. Then he raised his eyes and looked at the small bundle in her arms. She almost went to the bathroom on herself, wondering if he were part of the community, and she didn’t know it.

“You don’t want to go there.” He lowered his head before punching in something on the screen that she couldn’t see. “You’re in luck. This bus should have left an hour ago, but it got a flat. There’s one seat left; it belongs to you and your gorgeous baby. She’s going to be one talented young woman when she gets older.”

He looked at her, and his eyes sparkled. She shook her head and rubbed her eyes. She was so tired she was seeing things.

“Hurry, you don’t want to miss your bus. Also, there is a table of food by the loading platform, make sure you grab something to eat, it’s for anyone taking that particular bus.” He handed her the ticket then rushed her along before she realized it. She found herself doing a limp-run to make the bus in time.

When she got there, they were doing their last call for boarding. She gave the attendant her ticket.

“Wait, you can’t board.”

The bile that was tearing up inside came back in full force.

“Where’s your food?”

“What?”

“Food,” the woman pointed to the table. “We’ll be making up time; the first rest stop won’t be happening. Hurry!”

Kali made her way to the table, picking up as much as possible only to find they had some insulated bags. She stopped when she realized there was food there for Skylar. She had to be dreaming; one quick look showed the attendant was pointing to her watch. So be it. If they died, they died together. She took all she could and climbed the steps to the bus. The empty seat appeared to be a two-seater. She sat, placing the food by her side before slumping down and curling up around her baby.

She watched as they pulled out of the loading area. Her face was plastered to the window, scared that Darryl or someone else from the community would stop the bus and pull her off. A soft sigh left her when the bus was away from the station. Still, she held herself stiffly until they hit the highway. When she saw the sign, you are now leaving Devonshire, Pa. Her body relaxed.

Had she done it? Was she free? More importantly, was her child free? One step at a time. Maybe she could give Skyler to someone that would love and keep her safe. She hugged her little body closer. The thought of giving her up ripped her in two. It was better than seeing her child raped.

Skyler gave a real cry, and she opened one of those ready-made bottles that were the correct proportions that you got in the hospital. Her daughter sucked it up like it was manna from heaven. When she was fed and changed, a woman stood over Kali.

“Hi,” the woman smiled at her with a twinkle in her eyes that Kali remembered seeing, but where. “I noticed you forget your carrier. I usually don’t have a spare, but this is your lucky day.”

“I couldn’t,” she tripped over her words. No one had ever given her anything.

“Sure, you can. We’re the same, well almost the same. There was a time I needed help. Do you know how to put this on?”

Kali nodded, no. She had no idea. What’s worse, she couldn’t think straight with the woman towering over her.

“Let me help you.” She showed her how to put in on, so Skyler would be snug, and she would have her hands for simple things like carrying packages or eating. “There you go. Now that beautiful baby can sleep in peace, and you can sleep without worrying about dropping her.” The woman gave her a smile and a small wave before disappearing down the aisle of the bus.

“Oh,” she called back. “Make sure you eat.”

Food? She was almost afraid to eat. It felt like if she did, Darryl would somehow pop up on the bus to beat her. With more trepidation than food called for, she took out a thermos with soup. The thought of eating eat something in a thermos packed by someone she didn’t know. Unfortunately, she didn’t think her stomach would accept anything else. She took the first sip of soup, waiting for a horrible death. Instead, a tasty broth with a sliver of vegetables and meat in it soothed her hunger. The heat settled in her stomach. Soon she was done, and her eyes closed. It was the first time she slept without fear since she been a child.

Raphael & Effie – First meeting

She looked up into a pair of purple eyes rimmed in silver. If eyes could make you lose your heart, she lost hers.

“Fine, thank you. There’s something about that song that calls to me.”

“I agree. I don’t usually find myself on the dance floor. I’m Raphael. I should have introduced myself after I caught you.”

“My name’s Effie.”

“Beautiful.”

“Thanks, it’s coming back in style I think.”

“I was talking about more than the name.”

She flushed feeling hot. “I’m in the VIP section with a friend.” They walked back to her empty table. Her phone rang.

“Mercy, where are you?”

“I’m already in the car, the bouncer walked me. I’ll text you when I’m home with the door locked behind me. Effie three’s a crowd. Give him a chance. I don’t know anymore this was all I saw. Love you, best friend and sister.” Mercy hung up leaving Effie floundering.

“Is everything alright?”

“That was Mercy my best friend. She went home.”

“Do you want to leave or go check up on her?”

Yes, I do, but she asked me to give you a chance.  Somehow, I know if I walk out of here now, I’ll never see you again. I either trust my friend or I don’t.

“She told me she would text when she got home to let me know she’s safe.”

He nodded. “Then we’ll keep an eye out for the text and go check on her if it doesn’t come.”

She grinned wide at him before pulling him up. “Let’s dance.” Naked by Ellie Mai is what the band was playing. She dragged him to the floor to dance. She danced around him, then with him forgetting her doubts. She shook what her mama gave her. Raphael’s eyes were on her going more than once to her rear. They segue into another song and she forgot about sitting down.

They played a slow song by Sam Smith. Raphael took her in his arms before she could leave the dance floor. He pulled her close as ‘How do you sleep when you lie to me’ was crooned by someone with a super smooth soft voice. He smelled good. She stepped close enough to allow her head to lie on his chest. The hand on the small of her back trembled. They segued into Sam Smith’s and Normani’s ‘Dancing with a stranger’.   She was in heaven in Raphael’s arms dancing with a stranger.

It’s teaser Tuesday!

Shh I might have missed Tuesday and now it’s Thursday, but it’s the thought that counts. Right?

This little snippet is from Julian. It’s one of my favorite of the earliest scenes.

He turned his head to see the concern in her eyes.

“You’re serious. No one except my family has ever cared whether I live or die.”

“I care now.” She balled up her fist and tried to keep her face from showing her anger. “You’re good and there aren’t enough people like you in the world. We should all care.”

“I’m not all that good.”

“Is that what they tell you to keep you from feeling good about yourself?”

He opened his mouth to disagree, but she could see the thoughts firing behind his eyes.

“It is. It’s been years though.”

“Doesn’t matter, negativity sticks around like glue you can’t get rid of.”

“I can’t wait for you to meet my sisters they are going to love you.”

“I thought you only had brothers.”

“They are my brother’s mates.”

She gave a deep sigh that ended with a smile. “I always wished I had sisters or brothers. I would take care of them.”

“You will make the perfect sister.”

“Do you think they’ll want to watch movies?”

“Yeah, they love those chick flicks.”

“Chick flicks?”

“Yeah, like the one about that RBG person.”

“Are you talking about the Notorious R. B. G.?”

“I think so?”

“That’s no chick flick.”

Aliya lifted her hands and balled them into a fist. She started bouncing in the seat.

“He comes in with his big meaty fist ready to take out the Notorious R.B.G. She moves around on her tiny feet dodging every swing of his fists. He thinks he has her. The crowd is screaming, he goes low and does a twist that takes her to the floor. She’s down they yell!

“She comes back up, lifting her tiny fist to punch him in the chest. He stops to gloat; he wants the arena to know he’s not harmed. She knees him in his junk. That doubles him over. She comes up with an uppercut directly to his jaw. His eyes get big, he stumbles back trying to stay on his feet.

“She jumps up in the air and nails him with a foot to his chest. The crowd goes wild. He stumbles back and finally falls. It’s a TKO! The announcers are silent, the men are silent. The women are screaming their heads off. She walks up to him and places her foot on his chest. Everyone gets quiet you can hear a pin drop.

“She raises her hands and in a loud voice, she says hashtag it’s my body. Hashtag me too. She walks away with her head held high to fight the next person oppressing women’s rights. Does that sound like a chick movie to you?”

Her hands were still up in the air and she was screaming in victory. This animated woman was Aliya when she wasn’t running and trying to be someone else to stay alive.

“We’ll watch the movie together.”

“Yes!”

Julian – chapter one

 

Aliya walked into the diner and immediately tripped. Why were there so many people standing in line to place an order? Sparks flicked on the end of her fingers and she clenched her hand trying to keep that to herself. And yep, she tripped again over some biker’s legs.

She peaked up he wasn’t a happy biker. His big beefy hands reached for her making her flinch.

“Leave the lady alone.” A man with the voice of a god stepped from behind the counter and caught her when she tripped a third time.

Well, that was different. Someone coming to her rescue. The smell of food distracted from the male for a minute. Then his scent brought her eyes back to focus on him. She licked her bottom lip nervous about being so close to food she couldn’t afford and a male that was making her dizzy with his intoxicating scent.

“Hi, I’m Julian.” The whole line of hungry patrons groaned.

“You’re supposed to be cooking not flirting with chicks who can’t even stand on their own two feet.” One angry customer yelled from the back.

She could stand on her feet it was just that she was starving. All right she might be a tad clumsy on top of that but there was no need for them to yell about it.

Maybe she should say something. What did you say when the male holding you had thick black hair that brushed his collar and green eyes that were more beautiful than the vast ocean waves of a sea of untouched new grass? Nothing, you just stared and enjoyed it while it lasted.

“What’s your name nymph?”

Aliya looked down she was a solid fourteen. No one confused her with a nymph. It was too bad he was going blind since he was so hot.

“My name is Aliya.”

“Have you eaten Aliya?”

“Not today.” Or the day before or the day before that, but she’d keep that to herself.

“Then we’ll have to rectify that.”

“She can go to the end of the line like everyone else.” The biker called out shooting visual daggers at her.

The others behind him were agreeing, and some were calling out things that made her feel like a lump of coal.

She needed to get out of here before things got out of control.

“I can shut this line down and Aliya will be the only one eating.”

Everyone got silent and watched her instead. Julian made sure she was steady and then escorted her to a seat at the bar. The person sitting there graciously allowed her to sit.

She smiled a thank you and sat because her head was woozy, and she was about to fall on someone again.

This place was truly a hole in the wall. So why did it have so many people waiting for food? The tables were all filled, the ones standing would have to eat outside or in their cars. In the biker’s case, he’d have to eat on his bike.

“Who wants fries?” Julian’s deep voice rang out. Every hand there went up in the air.

She glanced at the menu there only seemed to be a few things on it.

“How many of you want chicken sandwiches. Six hands shot up in the air.

“The rest of you want burgers?” They nodded, and Julian went to work. “What do you want little Aliya?”

He could be good for her ego if only he had been around years ago.

“How much is a hamburger?”

“Ah, come on man. The chick doesn’t even have money.” She looked back at the same biker. If he was ever in trouble, he could forget about her helping him.

“One more comment and there won’t be any food for you for the rest of the week.”

The biker bit his bottom lip looking contrite. How could such a big man look like a child?

“Julian, you know I didn’t mean anything. I’m just hungry.”

He gave a grunt and then started making sandwiches and packing up fries.

“Chickens up.” He handed the food over to the female at the register who started ringing them up.

He turned, dropped more fries and started on the burgers. It took him forty-five minutes to clear the place, but he did it. Finally, he set a plate of fries and a burger before her.

“Eat before you pass out.”

She really couldn’t afford the meal, but she was too smart to tell him. She picked up the burger and groaned it tasted so good. No wonder there was a line out the door. It could be that she was so hungry that the burger tasted like the food of the gods. She didn’t think so. Full or hungry she’d drool over how this tasted. Looking around she pulled the plate closer to her and hunched down over it.

“No one will take your food.”

She nodded but couldn’t stop herself from protecting what little she had.

She picked up a French fry and had to fight the urge to stuff them all in her mouth.  When her plate was empty, she looked up and into Julian’s green eyes.

“Thank you. I can wash dishes or sweep the floor. Whatever you need done.”

“It’s paid for.” The woman at the cash register called over to her.

“You didn’t have to do that.”

“Don’t worry about it. I don’t like seeing you hungry.”

She gave him a slow smile and slid to the edge of the stool she was sitting on. The last time she had taken something was how she ended up in this mess. The heat of her hands made her self-conscious. She curled her hands into a ball hoping he wouldn’t see the current playing around her fingertips.

“Hang on, I’ll walk out with you. We’re done for the day. Hattie, I’m going to be gone for a while.”

“Thanks, Julian for all you’ve done. I’ll be happy if you decide to come back. It was nice meeting you Aliya,” she walked away to turn off the lights.

“Hattie owns this place. I help her cook sometimes.”

“Be thankful you have a job.” She bit her tongue not meaning to say that.

“Where’s your job?”

“Gone, like smoke leaving through a window.”

“Sounds like an interesting story. You can stop doing that.”

“What?”

“Trying to hide the current dancing around your fingertips.”

She got off the stool and made her way to the door. “Thanks for dinner.” She opened the door and walked out.

There was still electricity playing around her fingertips. She stopped so she could concentrate. The current put itself out. This way she might be able to flag down a ride. She had no idea of where she was going. The desire to get away, to run as far and fast as possible is what drove her.

Pictures of her own cabin in the woods made her smile. Someplace safe where she could live out the rest of her life.

Darkness had fallen completely before she saw a pair of headlights coming toward her. She stuck out her thumb, hoping that was how it was still done.

An eighteen-wheeler pulled up next to her. The door opened, and a friendly face looked out.

“Hi, you need a ride?”

“I do.” She gave him a large friendly smile before patting her back pocket. “Darn, I left my wallet at the diner back a-ways. I’m going to have to go get it.”

“I’ll turn around and take you.”

“That’s too much to ask of you.”

“I insist, climb up here.”

The loud purr of a bike engine caught her attention. It stopped on the other side of her trapping her between the two vehicles.

“I know you’re mad at me, but did you really have to run out?”

She turned to see Julian’s green eyes and his drop-dead smile. She cast a nervous look at the man in the cab of the truck.

“Sorry, my guy and I got into a bit of a shouting match. I got pissed and started walking. Thanks for the offer of a ride.”

“A pretty little thing like you shouldn’t be on your own.”

“Aww, that’s what my guy says. You’re right.” She dropped a kiss on the side of Julian’s mouth and hoped she didn’t explode from need. He handed her an extra helmet and a leather jacket. When she was hugging him tightly, he pulled off turning in the opposite direction.

She didn’t know where they were going, but anywhere away from the man in the truck would be an improvement. There was something about his friendly face that sent chills down her back.

Her eyes wanted to drift close while her grip tried to loosen. She needed to lay down soon.

“Stay awake Aliya. We’re almost there.” Julian’s voice echoed in the helmet. She tightened her grip and tried to focus on the road. When a small cabin came into view. He parked the bike and helped her off.

“You need sleep and then we will talk.”

She wanted to argue, but she was running on fumes. The first meal she had eaten in days was sapping the little strength she had left to digest it. He had already seen the current. What more did she have to hide?

He took her into the cabin leading her to a bedroom. Aliya did the one thing she knew not to do. She trusted someone. Kicking off her shoes she climbed in bed hoping it was all a horrible dream.