“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” ~Mahatma Ghandi
Is it hard for you to tell the truth sometimes?
Telling the truth is not always easy. In my fourth segment of Gifted Ones: Scarcely Human (the book I’m blogging), Axel knows many truths about Jess that she’s unaware of. He’s tormented as he looks for an opportunity to tell her, but he feels she has the right to know. Hope you take a look at the fourth segment of my Friday reads. Thanks for stopping by!
If you’d like to read this from the beginning, part one starts here Gifted Ones: Scarcely Human
Part Four Below (rough draft):
Jess’s thoughts whirled mini tornadoes. “Um…yeah, thanks, but it’s not funny. When I go back to school I’ll be in more trouble. Mr. Magique will probably make me clean the entire school grounds. Then he’ll call my mom. Then she’ll punish me…” She hated it when her words took control of her and she babbled. She did her best to seal her mouth shut instead of continuing.
Axel shot her a fleeting glimpse of compassion. “That’s not going to happen, Jess. Mr. Magique saw you outside and decided his punishment was too mean. He asked me to help you.”
Jess still felt uneasy about this little adventure away from school. “You’re lying!” she said. “He wouldn’t ask you to help me and bring me here.” She thrust an agitated fist against her leg. Her face grew hot with defiance.
Indignation flickered across Axel’s face. He clasped his hands together on the back of his neck and paused for a moment. He kept his voice calm and placid. “I don’t lie, and he didn’t ask me to take you here. He asked me to drive you home. I brought you here because I wanted to. He told me to get you out of the rain. He could see how upset you were, and felt bad. He’s actually pretty nice.”
Jess took a deep breath and tried to collect her thoughts. She strutted across to one of the dirty windows and smudged the grit with the tips of her fingers. Outside the rain flowed relentlessly, and the visibility was still scarce. A dark shadow among the mist moved to the right. When she looked, nothing was there.
She faced Axel. He was gazing at her, expressionless now. His eyes grew dark and then a lighter shade of brown. Jess blinked. Goosebumps formed on her arms, but not from the cold. She thought she was seeing things. More post traumatic stress?
“Yeah.” He moved a step closer to her and put his hands inside the pockets of his hoodie.
“Why did you bring me here?” She lowered her head and kept her eyes fixed on his face. She arched her brows. “Normal people don’t drive off to a desolate place with someone, without their permission.”
“I’m sorry,” Jess said, feeling remorse, though she knew she was right. This was weird.
He clenched his jaw. “If you only knew.”
Something about the expression and dark frown that shrouded his face made Jess feel ill at ease, yet in a random way, she felt safe as well. She found her ambiguous feelings beyond her control. She didn’t think he’d harm her, but she felt something strange, like she knew him already, like there was this unique attachment between them, like her feelings were not entirely her own. What was it about this guy she had never spoken to before today?
Axel’s stare burrowed a hole into her soul. Their eyes were fixed on each other like gravity. She didn’t know why, but she couldn’t move her body, like he had a poisonous sting that left her paralyzed.
Her thoughts trickled back to Michael. She knew he’d be angry when he found out Axel had brought her to a desolate cabin in the woods. She knew he’d find out. The school was too small and gossip reigned in every corner.
Could this day get any worse?
Axel dug his hands deep into his jean pockets. His expression transformed into a smile, a sweet and sheepish grin. “Look…you’re right…I probably shouldn’t have brought you here. I think you’re pretty cool, actually,” he whispered. “I know I shouldn’t say that…and…Michael’s your boyfriend. You have no idea.” He walked slowly to the window and stopped. He stood tall and erect like a statue. His shoulders were broad, making his thin build look more muscular. The seconds dragged as he gazed out the window, leaving Jess to stare after him with complete perplexity. Keeping his back turned toward her, he said, “It’s not my place to tell you the truth. I don’t have permission—yet, but you have the right to know. It’s unfair you haven’t already been told.”
Jess’s eyes grew in surprise. She didn’t know what to say. What did he mean? She felt a sense of panic. “Axel? What are you talking about? What truth? What do you need permission for?” she was afraid to ask. Was it about Michael?
He opened his mouth to respond but then stopped. They both heard a shattering sound on the far side of the cabin, the area furthest away from the front door. A luminescent, ivory light the size of a human being whisked through the room. Jess could barely make out its shape. It appeared as though the light became one with Axel and then sat hovering near the ceiling above him.
Axel grabbed her arm. “Let’s go. We have to get out of here. Now!”
Jess bounded to the door, close behind Axel. Once they were outside, the white light descended upon Axel again, then departed. The last thing Jess remembered was the pouring rain and Axel–taking her gently into his arms, brushing a few soaked strands of her hair behind her ear with the back of his fingers, and saying, “It’s okay, he can’t hurt you. It’s me he wants.” He breathed on her lips, a syrupy sugary scent she had never smelled before. Then her body went limp and unconscious.
***If you read to the end, thank you! Have a wonderful weekend! Hope to see you Friday, January 8th for my next #fridayreads segment. I hope you have a beautiful holiday season! Make sure to come back on December 20th for the Christmas Story Hop!