TL Boehm - Writer

Written in my heart

Bethany round two

So far the bulk of the sequel to Bethany's Crossing resides in my head and not my hard drive. I've toyed with the idea of writing it from Davids perspective but am not sure I could carry it. Since Bethany's Crossing only sold about 85 copies (forty of which are in my closet) I'm not even sure I should pen a sequel, except for the fact that novels take up space, and I need my dendrites for other things. Peace.

TL Boehm   March 2010

Bethany's Crossing - the Sequel - Chapter one

The sun hovered on the horizon, its setting rays flickering across rippling wavelets that lapped the sandy shoreline at David’s feet. A chilly breeze sent dry cottonwood leaves scurrying along the riverbank where David walked. He stopped for a moment, pulling the collar of his black trench coat up around his ears. Anchoring his walking cane in the silty shoreline, David leaned forward as he scanned the opposite riverbank. The scrubby chamisa and underbrush seemed to freeze in position as the air grew quiet around David. In the failing light, he caught movement at the edge of the water. David tightened his grip on the tip of his walking stick as the creature returned his gaze. What is that? A coyote? The hairs at the nape of his neck stiffened as the thing stared steadily back at him. That is no coyote. David swallowed hard, blinked, then refocused on the shoreline. Whatever it was, it had vanished. The wind picked back up, carrying the scent of decaying leaves and wet earth. Ok, I’m out. Its getting a bit too Jason versus Michael out here. David glanced again at the opposite shoreline. Suddenly, two glittering eyes locked on his, this time from the center of the river. It was swimming straight for him. David spun around, tripping over a clump of rotting leaves. He let out an oath, trying to shake the smelly mess from his boot, but it clung to his leg like the claws of a cat. As he kicked again, one yellow eye peered up from the leaves. David screamed and fell backwards into the water as a set of fangs dug themselves into his leg. His body hit the water hard, knocking the air from his lungs. He flailed his arms against the current, fighting waves of nausea as fangs and claws shredded the flesh from his leg.  He rolled onto his back and gulped a mouthful of air and river water.

“Somebody, God! Help me! David struggled to remain on his back as the rapid current carried him down stream.

Be still, David. Stop struggling.

“Who said that?” David’s coat hooked on a piece of driftwood, causing him to be pulled under the surface of the water again. He struggled frantically to untangle himself from the submerged tree limbs.

I said be still.

David looked up at the surface which seemed to recede. His lungs were bursting, and his ears were ringing. I’m going to die here. David let his body go limp and closed his eyes. The chilly water grew calm and warm. He felt strong hands pulling him up toward the surface. David opened his eyes again and found himself on the shoreline, his head being cradled by two cool pale hands. I must be dead.

Not yet.

Who are you?

Be still, David. You’ll see me again. Soon. The scent of lilacs swirled around him as a warmth washed over his body. David closed his eyes and drifted off.

“David. Don’t use all the hot water!” Mrs. Abeyta cracked the bathroom door. “Honey, it’s a sauna in here.

“Mom, please. I’m shaving.” David shook the razor off and gestured toward his freshly shaven chin.

“Why? Put some milk on your chin. Let the cat take care of your whiskers. As if you need to shave. And with my razor?”

“what. It’s just a razor.”

“David, its pink and it smells like lilac. Don’t you think that’s just a bit girly?”

“Mom. Bethany told me I looked like a werewolf.”

"Oh, Bethany.” Mrs. Abeyta drug out the word and batted her eyelashes. “Shaving for a girl are we?” she fanned herself with one hand and placed the other hand on her forehead.

“Seriously?”

“Well, your little blonde love called. She asked me to tell you to meet her and Sage at Sage’s Tia’s house. Do you need a ride?”

“Mom. She’s not my little blonde love. And no. No ride. I’ll walk the tracks.”

“Just be careful. Don’t get hit by a train.”

“Thanks Mom. See ya!” David kissed his mother on the forehead and handed her the razor.

“Nice. Teen face fur in my razor.”

“Love you, Mom.” David grabbed his trench coat from the rack and bolted out of the door.

David walked along the old rail, balancing each foot along the metal track. The last leaves had blown from the old cottonwoods and the familiar amber and pumpkin tones had faded to dull browns and ashes that littered the dirt road paralleling the rails. Overhead the morning sky was a quiet gray blanket, punctuated by sooty crows that circled and cawed as he headed for the old rail station. His booted feet did not catch the subtle vibration of the oncoming train as he placed each step carefully along the rail. He didn't hear the whistle above the metal CD blaring through his small electronic player, yet something caused David to stop his balancing act on the old tracks as he looked up along the rail way it seemed the scene had shifted for a nanosecond. The sky brightened around him and he felt as though the world were falling away. He stepped off the rails to regain his focus just as the new commuter train rushed past him in a red and yellow blur. David whirled around as he yanked the ear buds from his ears. The rear of the train was already three small white lights in the distance and the arms of the track were already rising.

Be more careful David.

A familiar voice rattled around in his head. Was it that same voice from his dream? His conscience was correcting him once again. Ever since he had met Bethany it seemed that his conscience had a distinct gentle voice unlike his father or his mother or even his English teacher who responded to his poetry with that weird mix of disdain and fawning that confused him even more than the sweaty palmed feeling he got every time Bethany spoke to him without insulting him. Girls were weird no matter what age they were. David looked around again at the tracks. He bent down and put his hand on the rail. It was completely still and cold. David rose again and stepped over the tracks and down the embankment and onto the road toward Tia Inez’s small house.

“Thank you, Miha, for helping me get rid of all this stuff.” Inez heaved the last of the large cardboard boxes up into the back of the old Jeep and wiped her hands on her faded jeans. "It’s hard for an old woman to start over but I will do much better without all my old reminders."

“Hey, this is really cool.” David picked up a large wrought iron cross from the top of the jumble of boxes. "Why are you trashing this?

“I am starting completely fresh. I do not need that thing in my life anymore.” Inez waved her hand and went back into her house.

“Seems like a convert would keep a cross.” David blew cobwebs from the curling metal decoration

“Really Tia, some random wall art? Circa 1974?” Bethany responded from her table of various candle holders and glassware.  “Goes on the wall beside the big black velvet toreador. Andale, Matador! Andale.”

“Very funny, Sis. That random wall art is very special.”

“Oh wait,” David put his hands to his temples.  “Don’t tell me, it’s sacred, right”

“Who are you to laugh at my family’s icons? Oh you with the Latin surname! You’re one of us, and you know it. You can feel it in the atmosphere.” Sage flipped her sable ponytail over one shoulder and glared at David.

“Hey, I was adopted, I’m sure of it.”

“That’s right. Your real parents are Vlad and Lucretia De Muerta from Transylvania.”

“Shut up, oh blonde one!” David tossed a dust rag at Bethany who lightly stepped out of its path.  

"Oh, sorry, my bad. I meant Boris and Natasha, forgive me.”

“Both of you quit flirting. There is a story behind that cross. It was made from metal carried by Coronado’s men when they first came up the Rio Grande. Originally it was a set of leg irons that shackled Rose’s ancestors, before one of them molded it into a cross. Her great grandma put a blessing on the cross to protect the family. I’m not sure how Tia got it – or why she wants to get rid of it now, but the thing has been in my family for generations.”

“Well, after the big scare – maybe one Tia’s blessing is another Tia’s curse.” Bethany offered.

“Maybe.”

“Well, I think its very cool and gothic, mind if I take it?” David held the cross by its center holding it out at arms length. The old black metal warmed in the sun’s rays as if absorbing all the heat from the sky.

“I guess, Tia doesn’t want it. Seems a bit creepy and dark to me anyway”

“Hito, Cuidado. That cross…” Tia turned away from the trio muttering in Spanish.

“Well, seems for the inside of your bat cave, David.”

“Yeah. Right over the sacrificial altar, Beth.”

“Of course.”

“I think she's making the right decision. Who knows what that thing was used for, anyway. Better to just get rid of it. I think she may have even swiped it from the graveyard at one time." Sage hopped up into the front seat of the jeep. "You ready Davey? Let’s ride!”

“Yeah sure.” David hopped into the back of the jeep.

“Sage, your Tia would never desecrate the resting place of a poor soul. Y what you say, miha. Now, you young ones drop that at the dump and then come back for some carnitas de Inez!” Sage's aunt waved with her apron at the receding jeep as it bounced along the driveway. “Bless you, Jesus, for those young people.” Inez shut the door behind her.

“So David, if I may gently correct you.” Bethany pulled down her mirrored sunglasses and blinked at David.

“If you're talking to me it’s going to be anything but gentle.”

“Correct. Inez is not a convert, per se.”

“She was a witch and now she's a Christian. I would call that a conversion.” David folded his arms across his chest as Sage shifted gears to access the highway.

“Actually most curanderas are white witches.” sage offered.

“Don't confuse him, Sage with vagaries.  Inez always believed in Christ and she even went to church regularly. She just stepped out of her faith walk and into occultism. Cunanderas practice occultism. They commune with spirits. They use incantations and spells to augment prayer. Not only is that unnecessary but as you can surmise - dangerous.”

“So yeah when you open a door to the world of the undead you don't know what kind of gremlin will saunter through. Whatever. Like a metal cross and some candles is going to shut the door.”

“I've heard that demons can attach themselves to objects. Even objects that represent something good. If you used it in a ritual you gotta purge it.” Sage looked in her rear mirror at David who rolled his eyes at her. “Aye Sis, what is your boy friend’s problem?”

“He's not my boyfriend.” Bethany blushed and turned back around in her seat.

“Yeah - techno poet and God's girl. It would never gel.”

“Sure it would. Above all else, you are both geeks.” Sage pulled into the old dump and turned off the jeep.