The Journey continues…

truth

 

Well, how was your holidays? Fulfilling? Chaotic? Maybe even remarkable? I had everything I could ever want right under one roof, my family. I adore having my kids around, cooking for them, watching movies, playing games, but there was one thing I truly wished I had… my husband.

 

I keep thinking as the days pass it’s going to get easier, but once the holidays transpired, my heart grew heavy with grief. So many memories cling to me like a ghost haunting an empty house. And, maybe my grief sprouts more because I compare my boyfriend to him. Some may say it was way too soon to jump into a new relationship.

Maybe.

But, nonetheless here I am. My youngest son, Nick, totally enjoys their time together and seeing him smile and laugh again gives me hope. Children living with autism (from my experience) are so hard to connect with sometimes. They’re usually in their own world and completely happy being fixated in that world. So, when I say I’m given hope every time I see my son laugh or joke with that twinkle in his eyes, I become so determined. Determined you may ask? What do you mean?

As of right now, I am currently reading two books Cure Your Child With Food by Kelly Dorfman and Healthy Healing by Michelle Steinke- Baumgard. I’ve researched a lot over the years and knowing certain things can trigger a slew of unwanted behaviors in our children, one of which I recently came across was artificial food dyes. Oh yes, the wonderful dyes, any color including red No. 40, red No. 3, yellow No. 5, yellow No. 6, green No. 3, and even the blue No 1, blue No. 2.  I talked with our private physician and he agreed to remove all of them out of our diet. Easy? It was a little time consuming, but once you get the hang of it, which we did, I saw such a big difference in my son.  Small steps. And that’s what this piece is about, to hear my son tell me good morning, maybe even a hug and then, he goes on about his day, makes me one happy mother! Just that, two words or one simple act of kindness. So, every day I strive to learn and focus on what’s important.

While on this journey of mine, my best friend recommended a book to me, Healthy Healing, I had mentioned it above. And as I was reading, the author tells you her story, her story about how she lost her husband. The entire time I’m reading I keep whispering to myself, don’t cry, don’t let the words I’m reading affect me, keep it together!

 

But I just couldn’t do it. Tears flooded and my heart breaks for her, I can relate to pretty much everything she’s experienced. Her story is told with a disheartening beauty, simply because you know she loses someone she loves. In a passage she states, basically, “you purchased this book because you’re looking for strength and hope.” I am and since the holidays have faded into another year without him, I have started to truly wonder what my purpose is, what is my “thing?” Which is what the author calls it in her book.

 

So, in part of the healing experience, perhaps this will help, and hopefully, I can do this in one sitting and tell you my story…

I had been working on a story titled Midnight (some of you may know what I’m talking about), my goal was to make it the second installment to a previous book I had written. I had been locked away that day, typing as fast as my fingers would allow, totally absorbed in the story when my husband had come in with dinner. He always made dinner before he went to work and just like any other evening he sat beside me and listened to what I had written for the day. And as usual, he would ask questions, offer ideas and listen to the music I would play while I wrote.

I remember him laughing at a particular scene and for a moment I felt like time stood still for us. He was so easy to talk to, it was effortless to love him. If I had become unsure about how a character or how a scene should play out, he would always talk me through it. And in doing so he built up a confidence in me that encouraged me to march onward.

Before he changed clothes, he played with our youngest son, tickling him with the scruff of his beard. The room filled with giggles and laughs and then he leaned over and kissed me goodbye, little did I know it would be our last kiss.

On August 12, 2015 Chris left for work, as usual he wrote his first email of the night to me letting me know he made it okay.

Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2015 7:03 PM
Subject: Hi Darlin
Hello Darlin,
I made it here, but if I start feeling bad I might come home early, it just depends on how I feel. So far, so good.
I sure do love your writing and you have mad skills with your story. I love every drop of it and can’t wait to read more.
I miss you
I replied back, he hadn’t felt good and it always made me anxious. He emailed me about five more times and we conversed throughout the night. At 2:45 I started receiving phone calls, Chris had left work and about a couple of blocks away he turned around and headed back to the job site. As soon as he parked the car he told one of the security guards there he was having trouble breathing. He took a few moments asking the guard to stay with him. And as they looked up Chris commented about the Perseids meteor shower, it was the last thing he saw before he passed away.
Shortly after I arrived at the hospital and I remember waiting in the emergency room alone. I held onto hope, thinking maybe now, we will know what was making him feel so bad. I sat and watched life flight leave, readying myself to soon follow, because in my heart I just knew he would be okay. He was going to be fine, I must have said those words over and over a thousand times inside my head.
But no one came to tell me that, instead the hospital security ushered me into a side room. It was small, plain and isolated. Still I carried no doubt in my mind, I anxiously waited for someone, a doctor, a nurse to tell me he was in surgery or something. But, once the room filled up with nurses and the same security guards, my heart started to beat a little faster. A tall, slender woman walked in, a stethoscope dangled around her shoulders, she knelt down beside me and that’s when I saw the tears in her eyes.
She spoke softly, and told me my husband had passed away, they did everything they possibly could. And as she delivered her words I felt so detached. Like it wasn’t me sitting there, it wasn’t me hearing what was being said. I remember a pile of tissues were handed to me, but I couldn’t feel the tears that streamed down my face.
From that point on, it felt like an out-of-body experience was happening to me, I was asked to see him and I said no. I wanted to remember him when he was getting ready for work that night. Full of life, smiling, I didn’t want to change that image of him. With numb hands I held the last of his things, his shoes, belt, his watch I had got him for Christmas that year, and his wedding ring.
When it came time, I was escorted back into the emergency waiting room, and still there wasn’t a soul in there. It was so quiet I could hear the creak of the chair as I sat down. One of the hospital security guards came over, asked if he could sit with me while I waited for the sheriff’s deputy to come pick me up. We sat in silence for a few minutes, and then he said, you’re going to be okay. My thoughts inside couldn’t imagine how I would ever be okay. He went on to tell me that he had also lost someone dear to him, his wife several years ago, he raised his children and eventually met someone new.
I tried so hard to be polite, tried to appear like I was listening to his story, but the very thought of moving on without Chris was unbearable. Unimaginable. I thought how could anyone say this to me? I clung to his things even harder and practically ran to the deputy’s truck when I saw it drive up. I watched the streets pass by not really hearing a word the deputy was saying, I felt as if my heart had been shattered into a million pieces. My mind scattered into various thoughts, all flooding me at once.
Once I arrived back home, I made sure my tears were gone and I told myself to be strong for my children. The rest of the early morning was a blinding blur of phone calls and deciding on different factors. One of which was making the decision of him being a donor, my middle son and I decided together. My husband was able to help three other lives that night.
My life, our life had been washed away by a tide I never saw coming. I learned that everyone handles grief differently, I also grew more appreciation for the little things in life. It’s been two years, five months and twenty-five days since I last saw his face, kissed his lips and felt his embrace. I have kept everything he has written, even his last emails, and this was the last thing he wrote before I received the call.
I love you and will be home shortly.

 

 

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A sneak peek into Midnight – Book 2 in the No Death for the Wicked series

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If you’re a Rush fan or have read Daylight and have been anxiously waiting for book 2 in the No Death for the Wicked series, well…  please bear with me.

As some might already know, I have recently lost my best friend, my husband. He passed away August 13th and I have been completely and utterly lost without him. I know some may say it’s too soon or take it slow, which I am. But, the one thing that has always kept me grounded is writing, my husband used to always say he loved it when I wrote simply, because it fueled me with life. Writing helps me on so many different levels and I know it’s the one thing he would want me to continue even with him gone.

With that being said, here’s the first chapter to Midnight. I’m working on it here and there, whenever I get the chance, mostly nights since sleep evades me. Also, I would like to mention before I cozy up to write, (book one) – Daylight should be out in audio very soon. I will post links as soon as I can and I hope you enjoy the beginning taste of Mattie and Graham’s next story.

© 2015 Karli Rush

Chapter One

“A stake through the heart…” I flip another page and grumble, “Exposure to the sun.” Another page. “Decapitation.” And another. “Starvation.” I roam my eyes over to Graham, annoyed.

“Where’s the good stuff in this fossilized book?”

He directs a shimmer of a glance my way, but still keeps his blue eyes on the ill-lit road. The city of Solace is a distant memory, but one I will not soon forget. Graham found a set of wheels for us, more like a war machine. A Gothic black 1965 Buick Rivera, to travel the wastelands, the barren lifeless roads. Each mile means I’m that much farther away from the Elites. The elites are hunting us, and every pit stop we make, someone’s watching us. So, whether it’s a cashier at a gas station or a hitchhiker wandering the dusty roads, Graham makes sure they have no breath to reiterate what or who they just saw.

“There’s more in the book, Mattie,” Graham reveals, and magically flicks the pages backward with a simple gesture from his finger. His unworldly succulent eyes study me. “Bleed,” he says in a deep and throaty tone.

The only way I can read the book in my lap, the Voynich’s book, is for a drop of vampire blood to touch the page. I press my nail into my hand and squeeze the ruby-red blood from my palm. The crimson fluid turns into ink and the encrypted symbols begin to form into words. Readable, fluent sentences appear, and I start to decipher what I’m seeing.

“Vampires have existed since the dawn of man, and since that time, the two races have been at war. Both fighting for their own instinctual survival. Mankind had daylight on their side, to them vampires were nothing more than a menace.

The vampires ruled the night, but were also reliant on the humans… for their blood. After centuries of bloody war the humans believed they had finally won, and fell into a state of complacency, but the vampires, concealed by shadows of night, discovered another race being hunted and persecuted by the humans… witches.

These two formed an alliance and began slowly developing a strategy to infiltrate and take over humanity, without mankind ever knowing. First, a serum was created, giving them the one thing the humans had advantage of, the sun. Now the nightwalkers walk the day, and soon all aspects of society will be within our grasp. In five hundred years, we shall rule the world.”

As soon as my last word expels from my lips the sentences fade, no words, no ancient scribbly handwriting, not even a hint that my blood had even spilt there.

“So all this time humans think that vampires are mere stories of myth and forgotten legends, but in fact they’re the ruling class of humanity. How ironic— wait a minute… how many cities are there like Solace?”

Graham hits the lights, deadening the path in front of us even more, and steers the car off the road. The town, Shadow Hills, caps the dry scenery in the distance. Graham slips out and scouts the area. He walks, no that’s not accurate, he glides toward the front of the car. His long trench coat whispers along the ground as he waits a breath before he answers me.

“There are more cities like Solace than you would like to know about, Mattie.”

“So, we’re fucked?” I quip getting out, my eyes roam around the dreary landscape. I set my hope for blood on a metaphorical shelf for now and stride toward the back of the car. I slam my fist hard against the dusty metal and watch as vials of daylight shine like the Holy Grail from the trunk. I slide one translucent bottle from its precious cushioned protection and inspect it. The entire trunk is filled with cases of daylight, and if I’m careful, it will last me a couple of years. But, if I am not, I may just end up being a flesh-skinning nightwalker and that’s not a go-to option for me.

Graham motions over at the horizon just as the sun breaks through the early morning light. I quickly slip the vial back in its snug, tight concealment and make sure the cases are securely closed before I slam the trunk shut. I might be able to go a few days without needing another dose, but a thousand or so vials of daylight won’t last me forever. In the book it mentions witches, an alliance between us and them. And how they conjured the serum, now, all I need is a witch.

“Your friend… she’s there,” Graham announces and shifts his provocative eyes toward me.

“How do you know? You have a thing for witches too?” I sass meeting his pace, his body meets mine. We’re close to touching but not. I swallow hard watching as he licks his full sinful lips. He’s been careful not to touch me since we hightailed it out of Solace, all of his energy and concentration has solely been on keeping us safe. But now, I can see his sexual frustration building, he wants to touch me, he needs to touch me.

Finally, his right hand ensnares around my waist, pressing our hips closer. His blue eyes scour over my face as if he’s deciding on how he wants to take me. “Witches? No… They couldn’t survive my ways, they’re not nearly wicked enough.”

“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.” ― Stephen King

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When I first started writing out the story for ‘Daylight’ which is the first book in the No Death for the Wicked series, it was for a Halloween anthology dedicated to a charity. It was meant to be a short story with a limited word count and a wonderful opportunity to write with so many talented writers. As most now know the story has evolved and I am currently writing book 2 Midnight. As soon as I am finished with Midnight I will announce the release date, which I’m hoping will be sometime next month.

It is the ultimate challenge, writing a book with balance. As an author, I want to write a book that is capturing, intriguing and brings you along as my characters live out their lives. But here’s the thing with my writing, I write what the characters show me, they are the ones that take me down the writing path. I follow their lead.  Do I want to be an author that is too easy? Predictable or boring? Well I certainly hope not, but do I want to give up everything to you in the first book? No, I don’t. I want you to desire for more, to have unanswered questions that stick with you and allow the secrets not yet whispered into your ear to bring you along as the full story unfolds, whether it’s one stand alone book or a series.

Daylight, my first book in the No Death for the Wicked series, is a great example of this. I understand that my readers are open minded, thought provoking, and intelligent.  So, I don’t fill my book with explanations of why a Reaper (Graham) and a young vampire (Mattie) have an instant attraction. Book two, Midnight, will bring more of this to light and book three, (Untitled) will wrap it up.

I also don’t dive into much of the backstory of Mattie or Graham because the first book is more of a discovery into who they are right now. How they handle themselves in different situations. What are their boundaries, or restrictions? What are their strengths or weaknesses?

There is so much in Daylight that can be expanded on, and that’s the fun part of a series. Why was Mattie so stuck in being young?  How did Mattie’s Mother Dearest control and use her? Why is Graham so thunderstruck with Mattie? Why can’t Mattie get enough of Graham? What’s the deal with the serum Daylight? How is the serum made? What’s the rest of the world like outside of Solace? Are there other vampires out there? How does Pandora fit into the picture going forward? Or does she? Why wasn’t Krew a truly evil bastard? Was he really meant to be the villain or just someone representing the other side?

All of these questions and much more are set into Daylight for a reason. The answers are my secrets. Secrets to be whispered to you as you read along with the rest of the series. And that’s the real trick isn’t it? In Midnight you’ll find out more about the questions above, more secrets will rise up too. The one thing you can rest assured is that I will always wrap up my books with a nice little bow at the end so that you’re not left hanging.

 

Midnight coming soon…

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Cover reveal for Midnight – book 2 in the No Death for the Wicked series

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Synopsis

I have what I came for, the serum they call Daylight, and him. Graham is a dangerously seductive Grim Reaper who shadows my every move. I wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing, necessarily. Now, a clan of unforgiving elite vampires hunting me down by night, that’s a downer.

Why? Why would another vampire, especially the ‘Elites’, care if I walk the streets by day? It’s because I have something they want.

The Voynich manuscript, a book you wouldn’t believe is real unless you’ve seen it with your own eyes. Bound in the skin of an unnamed animal, this legendary book contains the history and knowledge of all vampires that walk this earth, and I have it.

They hunt the nights searching for me. I walk in the light of day trying to keep one step ahead of them, but what happens when my Reaper’s last grains of sand run out, forcing him to return to the underworld?

What will win? Love or revenge?

Join Mattie in this unique vampire love story with a gritty Gothic twist as we find out how far she will go to keep what she has.
 Release date to be announced. 

Let Your Heart Drive – Release!

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Synopsis 

“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye.” – Jimi Hendrix

I live in the shelter of darkness.

This darkness holds a secret over me… one that I have come to protect and in return it controls and holds me back.
It’s time to start fighting against it and break free. To become the unrestricted woman I yearn to be. For this to happen it will take a sixteen hundred mile road trip to let go of all that I fear and hopefully discover that the darkness doesn’t lurk everywhere. I stand on the edge overlooking a horizon of possibilities for the first time. Will I let my heart drive… to where it needs to be?

A unique romantic tale of one girl, one road, and a chance meeting with someone that will change everything in every way.

Disclaimer – This book is intended for mature audiences only.

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Available on Amazon Now!

Deadwood Diner – part 4

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Copyright © 2015 Karli Rush

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Please note this short story is a small link in a chain, so to speak. A sequel to another short story titled – The House.

Mary Jane – part 4 

I adjust my cap back on my head and feel that eerie prickly sensation as soon as I step out into the night. Thunder shakes the ground like a Cobra Gunship. I harness my nerves and scout around for Mary Jane through the pitch-dark parking lot. I wait a beat, hoping for that millisecond bolt of lightning to briefly brighten my view. But I’m shit out of luck.

My feet trudge through the pouring down rain and my eyes roam the area. “Mary Jane!” I holler out while passing by a white 1970 Cadillac, it’s the only thing that shows any prominent color. I carry myself on over to the next vehicle and catch a glimpse of her scampering between two more cars. Her drenched form is hunched over and staggering to stand upright in the hammering steel cold rain. “Mary Jane!”

I chase after her, listening to her muffled down whimpers and cries. She’s terrified and I can’t seem to get close enough to her. The punishing rain blinds most of my sight, it doesn’t matter how much I shield my hands over my cap to help, it’s relentless. Thunder slams against the woeful dark sky making my body shake. I grasp a blotchy tall figure lurking behind a truck and I follow it, the shape is too misshapen to really tell if it’s Mary Jane. My gut twists and buckles with uncertainty, but I have to make sure she’s okay.

I slosh my rain slicked boots through a crater-like puddle and terminate my next step. Rain falls thickly along the passenger’s side window of a late-model red pickup, it looks no different from any of the other cars I’d just passed. Apart from the fact that an orange hazy glow pulsates inside, pulsating with a beat. In precise time and cadence to a song by Simon and Garfunkel, “Sail on silver girl… sail on by… your time has come… to shine…” I jerk my head to the right of me, searching for the cause. No one’s inside, the engine from the weather-beaten clunker doesn’t rattle with life, but the old-fashioned chrome radio recites the song from my past.

I slow my movements and strengthen my grip on my duffel bag. My heart pounds like someone called in an air strike, the hairs on the back of my neck stands on end and I breathe in the icy air. I let out a warm humid breath from within me and it reminds me of winter, the dead of winter. My body involuntarily shudders like I’m standing in my skivvies, aggravated and unnerved I sling my soaked cap off and swipe the rain away. Stubbornly I set my cap back on and glare over the truck. “Mary Jane… is that you?

The radio keeps warbling out but when it hits the last track from the song, it carries that unreal static noise that can only come from a record player back in the day. Each time the static is louder, more hair-raising and then the song begins to play…again. I flicker my glances back and forth tensely. I’m lost at what could be the source, how could anyone around here know that song from my childhood? The disheartening thunder drums the shade of the scenery, bleak and wrong. Regardless, I stick with my mission and force my feet to move.

I dog the footsteps of every shadow, every movement, and unnatural sound. The faded cracked pavement becomes nothing but a river of rain, and eventually I find myself on the opposite side of the diner. I cup my hand around my wet soaked mouth, and call out her name. The muttering and detached cries stop and turn into breathless words, stammering and wandering words that I can’t grasp. Words that sound like a thousand voices, crawling over each other, trying to be heard in the deranged storm.

Distant lights fray out along the slickened dark highway and I see her, the small angular shape of her. Cradling her body, with her head swaying low. It takes a breath for me to unfold the grappling iron lodged inside my throat. My boots race soundlessly across the stretch between her and I until I’m standing on the skirt of the highway. The rain showers us both as I ask, “Mary Jane?”

I raise my left hand outward, prayin’ she’ll accept it. Her long dripping wet hair screens her face and I can’t make heads or tails if she even knows where she’s standing. “…It’s not safe here, just take my hand, Mary Jane…take my hand,” I plead, but the only reaction I get is her gripping her arms closer to herself withdrawing from me. I glance up and along the unnerving long road is a curve guarded by trees.

And through the timber I see a beam of headlights quivering between them.

I drown my reserve and stride out to her, meeting her stance I grip her haggard, threadbare arms and command her to look at me. Her down-casted green grieving eyes drag upward, fear infiltrates every ounce of her blanched face. Tangled unavailing words drop from her stark lips so fast that it takes me a moment to catch her trembling chin and ask, “I… I don’t understand—”

“I’m afraid…I’m so afraid…”

I release her chin and wrap my arm around her and try to shield her from whatever she fears. I lower my head and mouth against her damp hair, “It’s okay, I’m not going to let anything harm you.” I brace myself closer, hoping she’ll have enough faith in me to get her off the highway, to get both of us to safety. “It’s too dangerous to be out here, in this rain and in the middle of the…

“But it’s too late… ”

A loud screeching sound erupts through the darkened night and all I can see a blinding light.

To be continued…

Deadwood Diner – part 3

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Copyright © 2015 Karli Rush

Mary Jane – Part 3

I offer to shake her hand but she flinches back and mouths warily, “I’m… I’m Mary Jane.” Her words aren’t broadcasted without forethought, she whispers it out like she’s exposing something highly classified. Her troubled green eyes dodge madly around the diner, watching, scouting for whatever danger that’s supposedly stalking her. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s all a made-up creation inside her mind, because either way her fear is real. Real enough that I see it as plain as a nose on a man’s face. Maybe it’s my gut instincts or it’s imbedded so deeply in me, but I just want to make sure she’s safe and unafraid for a moment.

“Well… it’s nice to meet you, Mary Jane,” I respond and motion at the waitress to hold on a second. She calmly sits my heated coffee back on its small saucer and waits patiently while I tip my head toward Mary Jane and ask, “Want some coffee or something to eat—?”

“No…” she abruptly answers wringing her hands tightly together, she’s rubbing them so tightly that the tips of her knuckles turn as white as bone and she jerks her head toward the diner door. It dawns on me that she isn’t really answering me directly but rather a silent plea for help. She coils her mud covered legs up to her chest and nearly perches herself like a wounded bird on top of the barstool, she winces once as her eyes squeeze together. Her bizarre reaction makes me think of someone huddling up and bracing themselves for a twister ready to take whatever it wants in it’s deadly path.

“No…  no… no…” she whispers over and over covering her ears and rocking her fragile paling body. I start to ramble out a line of growing, concerned questions, but then I hear a spineless tick hit the glass door. A light metallic sound and then another, a trickling rhythmic tapping slowly one after another until it sounds like the heartbeat of a furious thunderstorm. I strain my eyes harder to see, to see the proof of what my ears are hearing. I watch as angry massive drops of rain sheet and distort the diner windows. Beating and pounding so insanely I bet you couldn’t even see your own hand right in front of your face.

No one inside seems perturbed by the onslaught except for Mary Jane, unexpectedly she whirls herself from the counter and jumps off the barstool and runs out of the diner and into the hell storm outside. I throw a quick glance toward Ray but he doesn’t offer a word other than a ‘I told you she’s crazy’ kinda dubious shake from his head. The jukebox rattles out, ‘I knew Mary Lou, we’d never part, so hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart, so hello Mary Lou goodbye heart…” 

        An uncomfortable pang inside me strips my dispassion away and I can’t ignore the fact that someone, crazy or not, just ran out of here like a bat out of hell. I pull out my wallet, slap a twenty down on the counter and swing my duffel bag over my shoulder.

And hastily head for the door.