Wednesday, December 7, 2011

“Emotionally Charged” by Selina Fenech (Novella)

Genre:  Paranormal Romance

Type of Short Story:  Novella

Summary:  Livvy always dreamed of the day when a rich, handsome hero would appear and whisk her away from her mundane life. She never thought she would have to become the hero.

Reading the emotions of people around her is easy for Livvy. When an earthquake strikes her city, a supernaturally attractive group of rescuers show her that her power goes beyond that. She’s now one of them. Special. But the dream life she’s been swept into seems too easy, and soon turns into a nightmare.

I stared at the crack that ran up our living room wall. To my parents, it said insurance claims and dodgy contractors doing repairs. To me it said excitement. The crack gave me shivers like it was carved up my spine.

We’ve always known our town was near a major fault, but it’s one of those sleepy fault lines that doesn’t do anything for decades, centuries even. Then just when everyone in our middle-class paradise had achieved a false sense of security it decided to give a big heave. Like it was screwing with us on purpose, to spice up this suburban daydream, give us a slap and wake us up. There had been a small tremor that I can’t remember when I was a baby. This latest, just after my seventeenth birthday, was a magnitude 6.8. It woke me up.

Dad was on the phone to his cop buddy getting all the updates. Tilting my head to his conversation, I kept my eyes on the crack, worried that if I looked away it would disappear and life would return to normal. Boring. Dad repeated the main points of interest for Mom to hear as she cleaned the wreckage in our home. Power was out everywhere and likely to stay that way a while. Mom had already insisted on lighting candles even though it wasn’t dark yet. The whole room smelled of struck matches. With power out, there also came the warning of people taking the opportunity to loot while the city was still in chaos. I raised an eyebrow in consideration. No. Wrong team.

Dad’s news report continued. A few buildings had collapsed completely, lots of injured and a few deaths. They were setting up shelters in town for people who lost homes. One was being run at my high school.

I bet they needed volunteers. Not as exciting as looting, but that was where I had to be. My life had so little excitement even handing out blankets had my mind brewing up romantic dreams of adventure.

I peeled my eyes from the crack. “I want to go and help.”

Mom looked up at me from the floor where she worked at brushing up shattered ornaments that had shaken from our shelves. Her collection of ceramic owls would never be the same. Lines around her mouth and forehead told me she was going to give me the worried mother talk. But I could tell she wasn’t really thinking about me. She was just sad about her well put together home being ruined, and worried about her shop downtown. I could read the emotions all over her. With each emotion there’s an energy that shines from a person that I can almost see. Not like an aura or anything; that sounds so new age crazy. I’m just good at telling how people feel. Always have been. It’s nothing special but it does come in handy. When you know how someone is feeling, you can give just the right response to get what you want.

I pre-empted Mom’s speech with soothing words. “I’ll just be helping out in a shelter, under the watchful eye of other aid workers, responsible adults and doctors. Probably the safest place at the moment, right?”

Mom tightened her lips. She looked at the dustpan and brush in her hands as though that was all she could focus on right now. Her startling blue eyes turned back toward me. Why couldn’t I have gotten those? I got brown instead, to match my hair which she won’t even let me dye. Her eyes were still telling me no. She opened her mouth but I beat her to it.

“Just think how appealing it will look on my college application as an extracurricular activity. And I can swing past your shop and make sure it’s okay.”

Mom’s expression brightened. Score to me. “I hope there’s not too much damage. I just had that porcelain shipment in. I’d go check myself but there’s so much to do here. Could you go there first thing? Just, if you’re late back I don’t want you out on dark streets if there’s no power still.”

She stood up, gave me a kiss, then went to empty her dustpan, sighing as shattered owls tumbled into the trash. I saw a pink one roll in and knew it was her favorite. Dad gave her a hug as though they were standing by the grave of a beloved relative. All just a fake display. No real emotion came from either of them other than slight worry and irritation. How do people ever get so stodgy? How could they not be humming from excitement at all of this? I knew I was, but to crave romance and danger to the point of bursting was my natural state.

Dad told Mom he was going to start calling around for repair quotes now, get in before the rush. I had been out for Sunday shopping with the girls earlier and the mirror confirmed I was still presentable. They were my best jeans, but I didn’t care if they got dirty. I threw my red trench on, phone, keys and wallet already in the pockets, and headed for the door.

“Buses are still running, Livvy,” Dad called over. “There’s a pretty clear route to your high school. Just a couple of hours, okay? Be safe!”

Buy this novella on Amazon and stop by Selina's website.

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