Books, Daily Prompt, Fiction, Literature

Casual In Charleston – By Chance


Excerpt from By Chance, a Supernatural Thriller by E. Denise Billups

One day in class, Adam sat beside her, leaned over, and whispered, “Aren’t you tired of this?” The moment she heard his voice, she’d lost the game. For the first time in her life, her guard came down, but she didn’t relent so easily, and neither did Adam, who continued to pursue her for several days around the university campus. Once he discovered her gift, she feared he’d flee in fear. To Adam, Leanne was a mystery and perhaps the source of his attraction.

Finally, tired of his relentless pursuit, she surrendered. Adam became her best friend, and months later, although determined to maintain a platonic relationship, he became her lover. Now, she wonders why she’d pushed him away so long. Eight years later, he’d uproot his life in Chicago and move with her to Charleston. She’s often wondered if she’d put her selfish needs before his. She recalls with a smile the night she told him about his childhood—memories no one could possibly know but him. She detected his initial unease, which waned with time. His easy acceptance of her gift surprised her when he stated casually, “Well, I guess I’m an open book. It will be impossible keeping a secret from you . . . You realize that right? How will I ever surprise you?” He’d asked jokingly. But with those words, she knew he recognized the dilemma. That night, Leanne handed him a Moldavite crystal and insisted, “If you ever want to keep me out of your head just wear this.” She realizes he seldom does.

Leanne swivels her chair around, her gaze fixed on a particular spot in the far corner of the office. Her feline eyes dilate and turn a deeper shade of green—widening as shadows flit in the corner. Since her first day at AHD, she’s seen apparitions throughout the office. In such a historic home, she’s bound to encounter past lives. She recalls when she first believed she’d seen a ghost inside an old Tudor home in Oaks Park Community. The moment she stepped from her mother’s car, the home alarmed her. She held tight to her mother’s arm, never leaving her side. Inside, an overwhelming energy tugged at her senses. When her friend summoned her to play, she resisted with a frown, but her mother coaxed, “Leanne, stop being silly; go play with your friend,” and pushed her away.

With a scowl, she moved toward the strange vibes on the upper floor, while her friend stared with wonderment at her hesitancy. Inside, she watched two shadows flit about the room. Frightened, she backed away, wondering if her friend saw them as well. She stiffened when the image veered in her direction. A stifled scream escaped her mouth as the essence passed through her. A weakness ensued, then darkness. Hours later, she woke in the hospital feverish, tingling, and weak. Her parents stood over her horrified and the doctor, surprised by her quick recovery, released her the next morning.

A year later, as her gift grew stronger, Leanne realized the images weren’t ghosts, but essences of people’s past life. Months later, she found the courage to revisit the old Tudor home. Till this day, she retains an aversion to old items, especially old homes, which insult her senses daily. But with time, she’s learned to tune out images with mental chants. Living in a historical city like Charleston is challenging and near impossible to escape its history . . .


Copyright 2014 by E. Denise Billups

Daily Prompt: Casual


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