Read Arianna's awakening (arianna rose part 1 & the awakening part 2) Online

Authors: Jennifer Martucci, Christopher Martucci

Arianna's awakening (arianna rose part 1 & the awakening part 2)

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Arianna’s Awakening

(Arianna Rose Part 1 & The Awakening Part2)

 

 

A novel

By Jennifer and Christopher Martucci

ARIANNA’S AWAKENING (Part 1&2)

Published by Jennifer and Christopher Martucci

Copyright © 2012

All rights reserved.

First edition: January 2014

Cover design byPhatpuppy Arthttp://www.phatpuppy.com

 

 

 

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

Chapter 1

 

The sound of tires screeching on pavement sliced through the silence of Lily Andrew’s house like a high-pitched scream wailing in the wind.  Piercing and shrill, the shriek cautioned from beyond her room.  Seconds earlier she’d slept, nestled comfortably in her bed, dreaming peacefully.  Now, however, she stirred, and concern crawled within her, rousing her from sleep.  She lifted her head, rubbed her eyes groggily then opened them briefly.  The world appeared fuzzy,as did her thoughts.  Slumber summoned her and her eyelids closed several times.  Returning to the dream she’d been having seemed like a far more inviting prospect than getting out of bed and inspecting what was likely a neighbor returning from a night of too much partying. 

She was about to let her head fall back against her pillow and ignore the skidding sound she’d heard, as well as the faint worry that whispered through her body, when she realized her room was bathed in light.  She glanced at her alarm clock.  It read 3:30 a.m., too early for the sun to have risen.  Yet, white light poured through her curtains like molten steel and blanched everything around her.  She sat up immediately, alarmed, and jumped out of bed.  The preternatural glow disoriented her, but she managed to cross her room on unsteady legs to her window.  Once there and concealed by her curtains, she peeked out beyond the pane into the blinding light.  She squinted against it and her eyes watered, but she was able to make out an image.  Her breath caught in her chest when she saw that three large black SUVs blocked her driveway and faced her house with their headlights left on.  Her mind began to swirl, exhaustion and confusion conspiring against any form of reasoning.  What she was seeing did not make any sense.  But something prickled inside her, a feeling or sense warned her to get her parents and leave.  She did not know what the vehicles were there for, but did not hesitate a second longer to consider it.  She ran out of her bedroom down a long, narrow hallway to her parents’ bedroom and pounded on their door twice before rushing in.

“Mom, Dad! Wake up,” she said but they did not move.  “Mom, Dad! Come on!” she tried again and tapped their feet.

“What, what is it honey?” her father asked, his voice thick with sleep.

“Are you sick?” her mother asked drowsily.

“There are people here!” she said with urgency.  “Get up,now!  Three black SUVs are blocking the driveway with the lights on.”

Just as she finished her sentence, the sound of glass shattering was followed by thunderous pounding and wood splintering.  It sounded as though the front door had exploded.   Both of her parents sat upright.  Lily’s body jerked as though she’d been struck by a bolt of lightning, and deep within her, intuition cried out for her to flee.

“What the hell?” her father said and sprang out of bed.

“Call the police!” her mother said and moved to stand beside her.

Her father stood and gripped the phone in his hand.  He began to dial and she watched his features transform from worried, to horrified.  His complexion paled and his mouth formed a hard line.  Her stomach churned and he didn’t need to tell her the line had been cut.  His face had said it first.  “Damn it! There’s no dial tone!”

Lily felt as though her legs would give way beneath her.  The feeling inside her that warned seconds ago screamed now, and demanded that she heed it.  Her body began to tremble.

“No dial tone?” she asked and felt tears begin to well.

“No!  It’s dead! And my cell phone is downstairs!  Shit!”

“Mine’s in my room.  I can get it,” she said but did not trust her legs or courage to carry her there.

“There’s no time!” her father said.

“We need to stay together!” her mother ordered and clasped Lily’s hand between her own.  She felt calmed by her mother’s touch, but only briefly.

Heavy footsteps stomped decisively through the downstairs hallway and began ascending the staircase.

“Oh my God! What’re we going to do?” she panicked.

“The window!” her father said.  “Out the window!  It’s our only hope.”

Lily felt a tug at her hand, and her mother pulled her toward the window.  She looked out.  Her parent’s bedroom overlooked the backyard.  The landscape was usually a picturesque scene of lush greenery, of serenity.  Normally, she would see a meticulously mowed lawn sprawling and stretching to a verdant tree line that marked what looked like an endless forest beyond.   But she did not see any of that now.  The rich, vibrant hues of green that usually colored her yard had been paled, faded to a sickly silver-gray shade.   Stony moonlight cast a ghostly pallor and allowed her to see that her backyard was not as it had been left hours earlier.  And there were people milling about.  Her heart thundered in her chest as she saw nearly a half-dozen men moving by the scant ashen light of the Moon, as well as the headlamps of the SUVs, piling branches and brushwood around a tall wooden stake.  They moved somberly, but with purpose, in the dusky dimness and lent the perplexing scene gravity and darkness.  Lily felt her mother’s hands release hers and watched as they shot up to her mouth.  Her mother gasped.

“Oh my God,” her mother breathed.  “Jim, in the yard; look what they’ve done in the yard!”

But her father never had the opportunity to see what she and her mother had seen.  A torrent of black swept into the room, a flurry of blurred shapes that moved in a coordinated but hurried manner.  Lily heard the scream escape her lips as she saw them enter.  Her father did not have time to turn toward the window or react.  They moved too quickly.  Men, all large and dressed in dark clothing, descended on them like a tide of blackened ocean.  They surged into the room with ski masks pulled over their faces and advanced without breaking stride.  The men grabbed both of her parents. 

“Mom! Dad!” she cried and felt hands yank at her wrists.  She lurched backward and nearly fell.

The world began to spin.  Her mind filled with disjointed incomplete thoughts, whirling and revolving faster and faster.  She desperately wanted,needed, to anchor herself to a coherent thought, something concrete; something that made sense.  But nothing made sense.  She heard her parent’s voices shouting.  They sounded as if they were calling from the end of a long tunnel.

“Take your hands off my daughter!” her mother shrieked.

“Who are you?” her father demanded. “What do you want from us?”

“Just let our daughter go!” her mother pleaded.

None of the dark figures answered.

“We don’t have any money or valuables!” her father argued.

“We’re not here for either,” a calm voice said from the doorway and sounded far closer and clearer than any other.  The spinning in Lily’s mind slowed considerably, albeit inexplicably.  But her heart pounded more rapidly, speeding dangerously at the sound of the man’s voice.  His voice flowed smoothly in a deep, rich baritone, the cadence as soothing and lulling as floating on a gently rolling river. Yet, it did not make her feel at ease in the least.  To the contrary, the feeling inside that warned when she had awoken and continued to warn, though blindsided seconds earlier, began to rage against it, presaging of imminent danger.  She and her parents were being held against their will, and something about the man in the doorway, something about his demeanor, terrified her more than the men holding them. 

With her mind no longer spinning and her thoughts sharpened, she looked to the entryway, curiosity mingling with terror, to see the person whose serene voice had set off a firestorm of fear and aversion deep within her core.  A tall sinewy shape filled the frame.  He wore dark clothing like the others, but instead of a mask, a large hood covered his head and obscured his features. 

“Is this her?” one of the men that held her asked.

The man with the hood approached her slowly, his gait deliberate.  She could not see his eyes, but felt them on her, burning her skin like acid.

“Don’t you fucking touch her!” her father yelled, but the man remained unfazed.  He kept walking until there were only inches between them.  Lily’s heart knocked dangerously fast against her ribcage and tears streamed from her eyes.  Each breath she took was short and shallow; she had never been so afraid in all of her sixteen years.  The man did not speak right away.  He loomed over her with his body so close to hers she could feel the heat radiating from it.  He smelled of pine and musk, and she felt sickened by the scent.  He raised his hands and she flinched, certain he was about to strike her.  Only he did not.  Instead, he lifted his hands to his head and pulled back his hood.  She inhaled sharply, involuntarily, at the sight before her.  Beneath the hood, he was monstrously disfigured.  Deeply pitted flesh in shades of brown, pink, gray and angry red spread out in a horrific network and covered his entire face.  His skin was puckered and charred, his features consumed completely by what looked like burns.  His lipless mouth remained in a perpetual snarl and his ears seemed to have melted to his skull.  He stooped to look at her and she recoiled in fear.  He glowered at her with sunken, slate-colored eyes that had neither eyelashes nor eyebrows, yet managed to convey intensity with their stare.  The hatred he radiated for her was palpable.  But the reason for his hatred of her remained a mystery; she did not know why.  She had never seen him before, would have surely remembered his face.  And if she survived this encounter with him, she was positive his features would be indelibly etched into her memory, for it was the content of nightmares.  With him so close, she struggled to move, to breathe even.  Every part of her, including her lungs, had frozen.  He looked like a demon, a beast that had risen from the depths of hell.

“Yes, yes,” the demon man hissed and ran his tongue over his bared teeth.  “She is one of them,” he said then he reached a hand into his jacket.  Before she knew what was happening, a deafening blast rang out.  She saw the muzzle flash, but did not realize a gun had been fired until she saw her father fall to the floor.  Her mother opened her mouth to cry out, but the words never formed.  She was silenced by bullets to her head.  Lily collapsed to the floor, every part of her trembling and teeming with emotion. 

“No!” she screamed; her voice shrill and foreign to her own ears as she looked at the image before her.  Her parents lay in an expanding pool of blood on their bedroom floor.  Her mind began to spiral, plunging headlong deeper and deeper into a blackened abyss from which there was no escape.  Dark, velvety oblivion beckoned her with welcoming arms and numbness.  She heard a flurry of voices and fought the seductive swell of shock.

“Why did you kill her parents?” a voice questioned.  “Was that really necessary?”

She watched blearily as the demon man unsheathed a knife from his belt and slashed at the air with astounding speed.  The man whom she presumed had spoken dropped to the floor beside her, his throat slit in a long arc below his jaw.

“Does anyone else wish to question God’s will?” the demon man asked.  “He who harbors the devil’s minions will suffer God’s wrath.”

He waited for someone to respond and Lily felt herself fall to the darkness until the man’s voice rang out again.  “Grab her and follow me!”

She felt both of her arms being tugged by two separate people.  Her eyes scanned the room and landed on her parents.  She began to scream and thrash, but the men who held her did not react.  They dragged her down the stairs, through the hallway and out the sliding glass door to her backyard.  She fought and kicked, but was powerless against them.  They were simply too strong.  Her mind no longer tried to succumb to the void though.  Something else entirely began to happen; something primal and inexplicable began to rise within her.  What she saw beyond the glass of the doors sent it coursing through her veins like electricity.  She saw a group of men clad in hooded cloaks.  They held crudely fashioned crosses made of branches and chanted verses that were unintelligible.  They stood and had formed a circle around a tall, wooden rod with brushwood piled beneath it.  She recognized what it was immediately and cried out, “No! Please, no! No!” But no one responded to her pleas.  They hoisted her up atop the twigs and began tying her to the pole.  The circle opened and the chanting silenced briefly as the tall man with the burnt face entered and approached her.  The circle closed around him.  He held a torch in his hand.

“Please,” she begged.  “Please don’t!” 

She watched in horror as he pulled a lighter from his pants pocket and lit the combustible end of it.  He held it close to the kindling and said, “Where is she? Where is the One, the Sola?”

“Sola?” she managed in a shaky voice.

“Do not play dumb with me, witch!  The only one; the one who walks alone!”

“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she cried.

“Liar!  You know exactly who I’m talking about.  She is the sole prophet, the darkest one amongyourpeople, witch,” he spat.  “She has been here; I canfeelher.”

Lily had no idea what he was talking about, why he rambled on about such nonsense.  All she knew was that he was a murderer, an insane murderer who had killer her parents, tied her to a stake and intended to burn her alive.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.  I-I’m not a witch! And I don’t know anyone named Sola!”

“Very well, then.  Have it your way!” he said and threw the torch at the brushwood.

The dried branches caught fire immediately.  She felt her bare feet begin to burn as flames licked at them, writhing and blistering, reaching up her ankles and calves searing her flesh.  She heard herself whimper in pain, blinding white-hot pain.  The man watched her face and seemed to relish in her agony.  She saw her own face reflected in his cold, pale eyes.  And rage began to fill her, rage unlike any she had ever felt.  A strange sensation crept up the length of her spine and spread out from her core to her extremities.  She knew the flames had engulfed her thighs; that the fire had reached her waist, but she no longer felt its heat, or the pain.  The unfamiliar sensation had etched away at it.  She looked up into the eyes of the demonic looking man, and a glow of red in her irises was mirrored in his.  Crimson light blazed from her eyes. 

“We all see it now, witch.  Evil has shown its true face to us,” he said and attempted a cruel smile. 

Lily let his words fall to the flames with her body.  The fire engulfed her fully, yet she felt a sense peace overtake her.  Death embraced her.  Consciousness slipped away, escaped slowly.  The sadness and anger she’d felt earlier dissolved into obscurity along with the ethereal scarlet glow of her eyes.  Her body had been reduced to ashes, but her spirit had been released.  Fear, pain, misery and rage dispersed like cinders into the night sky.

Chapter 2

 

Arianna Rose looked around the cramped mobile home she and her mom stood in and groaned.

“You can’t be serious, Mom,” she said.

“It’s fine baby.  We’ll be fine here.  It just needs a little sprucing up is all,” her mother replied.

“If bysprucing upyou mean set on fire than yes, sprucing up is exactly what this place needs.”

“Don’t be so negative, baby.  We’ll make this place a home in no time.”

She knew that making the dumpy trailer “a home” was her mother’s code for picking up a man at the nearest bar and making him a regular fixture in their living room.  The thought of yet another scotch-soaked suitor setting up camp with them made her stomach turn.

“Yeah Mom, I know what you need to make this place a home.  And I’m sure you’ll find Prince Charming at the dive we passed on the way here.”

Her mother raised her brows and feigned insult.  “Don’t you talk to me that way, girl,” she began.

“Oh save it, Mom,” Arianna said and effectively ended her mother’s halfhearted attempt to reprimand her.

“Give me a smoke, will ya?” her mom asked.

Arianna reached a hand into her black canvas bag and dug out a pack of Camel Lights and a lighter.  She took one out for herself and one for her mother.  She watched as her mother lit her cigarette with impossibly long, hot-pink nails.  Arianna often wondered how her mother managed to do anything with her artificial claws, much less ignite a lighter.  But she did, and with surprising dexterity. 

Arianna smiled and cocked her head to one side.  Her mom loved to smoke, so much so she closed her eyes and tipped her head back as she puckered her lips and inhaled.  Each crease around her mouth deepened as she did so, yet her expression remained one of sheer bliss.  She left her eyes closed while she blew out ribbons of opaque smoke.  Once the ritual had been completed and the first drag had been taken, she opened her eyes and raked her hand through her dry, dyed blonde hair.  Her hair remained back where she’d pushed it, positioned in place like hay with styling product added to it. The metal bangle bracelets on her wrist clanged together softly as she dropped her hand to her side.

“Yeah, we’re gonna be just fine here, baby,” her mother crooned.  “You’ll see.”

“Oh I’m sure we will,” she replied and lit her own cigarette.  She did not indulge in the same dramatic routine as her mother, but the infusion of nicotine into her bloodstream did improve her mood a bit.

“You have everything you need for school tomorrow?” her mom asked.

“I guess so,” Arianna answered.  “I really wish I could have finished out my senior year back in Rockdale, though.  At least I knew a few people there, had a few friends.”

“Oh don’t start in on me about that now, okay?  Haven’t I been through enough with the whole Carl thing?  Haven’t I hurt enough without you giving me shit too?  I wasshamedout of Rockdale.  Do you know what that was like?”

She saw her mother’s eyes begin to well with tears.  She did not want to risk making the blue mascara and eyeliner that rimmed her tear-filled eyes run, so she decided to let her mother off the hook on the subject of relocating during her final year of high school for the moment.  She shifted the conversation, instead, to a more pressing matter at hand.  Namely, the run-down trailer that reeked of mold and a sour stench she could not quite place.

“Speaking of shit, this place is a shithole.”

“Shithole or not, we would be on the streets if it weren’t for your Uncle Eddie.  No thanks to Carl, of course.” 

Her mother ran her hand through her hair again and instigated the bracelets a second time.  Arianna found her good mood souring along with whatever had rotted in their new home.  She’d had enough of her mother’s self-pity for one day and decided to remind her that Carl’s decision to evict them had not been on a whim. 

“Mom, he found you screwing his cousin on a lawn chair.  What did you think he’d do?”

“Well, I don’t know what I thought he’d do.  But I didn’t think he’d kick us out, that’s for sure.”

Ordinarily, she would never have let anyone else get away with saying something so ignorant, but she genuinely believed her mother lacked the ability to think any situation through.  It was as if her mother has stopped developing mentally somewhere around her sixteenth birthday, that adulthood had eluded her entirely.  Arianna’s mother, Cathy Rose, never considered consequences, especially where relationships were concerned.  She acted on impulse, was self-indulgent, and prone to fits similar to a two year-old baby’s tantrum.  She loved attention – preferably of the male variety – and drank too much, but she was the only mother Arianna would ever have.  And for that reason, she let a lot of stuff go.

“We passed a Safeway on the way here with aHelp Wantedsign in the window.  I’m gonna drive by there and pick up some hair dye for my roots and some stuff to clean this place, and maybe see if a manager is around so I can see about the job.  You can start unpacking your stuff.  I’ll help you unload it first.”

Her mother disappeared out of the trailer to their car. Arianna stubbed her cigarette out on the sole of her boot and looked around.  She dreaded unpacking.  Time and experience had taught her that no home was permanent.  Just as she’d get settled in a new town, her mother would decide that the relationship she had been in had to end.  And they would have to leave.  The same story played out each time.  The only thing that changed was the zip code.  Now, she was in a new town called Herald Falls in New York and she could almost hear a timer initiating the countdown until they left for another town, and yet another miserable trailer.  Until then, though, she would have to deal with the current one.  Reluctantly, she turned from the dismal display before her and walked to her mother’s car.  Two boxes waited for her stacked neatly.  Her mother had passed her and brought one to the trailer.  Three egg boxes they’d gotten from a supermarket held every belonging Arianna owned.  Her life had been condensed into three egg boxes.  The thought made her chest ache, but only briefly.  She never allowed herself to wallow more than a moment. 

“Ya got those, baby?” her mother called out as she opened the driver’s side door ofher ancient and decrepit Toyota Camry.

“I’m fine, Mom.  Go get your hair dye,” she called back.  But her mother couldn’t have possibly heard.  She had already closed the door and waved absently as she preened in the rearview mirror.  Arianna rolled her eyes and made her way through the small living room and even smaller kitchen to a narrow hallway that ended with her room.  She dropped the boxes she was carrying and opened the one on top.  After moving a few leather-bound albums, her hand felt a plastic scented-oil warmer.  She pulled it out and searched for an electrical outlet to plug it into.  When finally she found one, she shoved the prongs of the warmer into it.  The vanilla oils began to heat immediately and contend with the odor of mildew.  She breathed in the warm scent and began removing her possessions.

She took folded clothes and placed them in the squat dresser that had been left behind by her Uncle Eddie’s previous tenants.  The dresser had water ring stains on the surface and more splintering chips in it than she could count.  But the drawers slid in and out smoothly, a feature she was grateful for.  Her last one would fall off its track half the time and fell out of the dresser completely the other half the time. Any dresser, or no dresser, was an improvement from the last she’d had. 

Unpacking her clothes did not take long, and what little she had fit nicely in the small bureau.  With that done, she turned her attention to the bed, if it could even be called that.  The sleeper more closely resembled an oversized window seat, and she wondered whether it would be long enough for her to stretch out and sleep comfortably in.  She sat on it and crinkled her nose as the smell of sweat and feet rose from it.  Before she would attempt to lay in it, she would need to borrow one of her mother’s old comforters to cover it and stifle the stench.  She stood and slid the last two boxes in the far corner of the cramped room and set about inspecting the rest of the trailer.  Overall, it wasn’t dramatically different from her last.  The trailer her uncle owned and allowed them to stay in for the time being, the one she now lived in, was much smaller and smellier than the last, but the layout was nearly identical.  Of course, one major selling point of their current trailer was that it lacked Carl and his many friends and family members who visited at all hours of the night in varying states of inebriation.  But she was confident her mother would remedy his absence with a new string of frequenters.  She was sure that in no time she would stumble home after a work shift and several cocktails at the local dive bar with someone new.  All she could hope for was that the new clown was a mellow drunk as opposed to some of the angrier, more aggressive types she’d encountered along the way.  Angry, aggressive drunks who sought to enjoy both her motherandher had taught her at a young age that she needed to arm herself when she slept.  She remembered her knife and quickly returned to her room and took it out of the bottom box.  The hilt was slender and the blade lightweight.  It fit perfectly in her hand, familiar and comforting like an old friend.  It, like a friend everyone should have, had saved her many times.  She removed it from its sheath and stared at the silvery blade. 

In it, she saw an image of herself, distorted, but her, nevertheless.  She looked different from most girls her age, harder.  She did not opt to bleach her hair as her mother did.  And she did not have her mother’s fair skin and blue eyes either.  In fact, she did not resemble her mother in the least and guessed she looked like her father, whoever he was.  Her deep brown hair fell in pin-straight panels around her face to her shoulders and was all the same length.  Her eyes were nearly the same color as her hair and her complexion was olive rather than peaches and cream.  She lined her eyes with charcoal-colored makeup and preferred to wear black as opposed to the candy-colored rainbow her mother favored. 

Arianna was nothing like her mother.  She promised herself years ago that she would never allow herself to be vulnerable and at the mercy of a man.  And if she ever decided to have a child, she would wait until she was older and more settled, and certain she could provide for it. 

Settling down and having children were distant, obscure possibilities.  School, however, was definite.  In less than twenty-four hours, she would enroll at yet another school.  Her eighteenth birthday had passed three days earlier and she wassure she would be one of the oldest students in her grade, and likely the newest to the school.  But the months would fly by as they always had, and before long she would do something else her mother had never done: graduate from high school.  After high school, she wasn’t sure what she would do.  She quickly sheathed her knife again and tucked it safely in her boot.  She would place it under her pillow as she had every night for the last eight years, and it would accompany her to school the next day. 

The sound of tires kicking up gravel in front of the trailer distracted her from her brooding.  She looked up and realized the room had darkened considerably, that the sun had set some time ago.  A rumbling engine outside meant that her mother had returned.  Her mother had been gone for several hours and had likely found her way to the local watering hole.  Arianna paused a moment in her room and considered going out to greet her and share a smoke with her, but the sound of a male voice followed by her mother’s laughter changed her mind.  She froze where she was.  Her mother did not like to be alone, and Arianna never liked the people she kept company with. 

“Baby, come out and meet a new friend I made in town,” her mother called in a slightly slurred voice.  “We got fried chicken!”

More giggling ensued, both her mother’s and the mystery man’s, and Arianna decided to ignore her mother and forgo dinner.  Hunger would be a welcome alternative to sharing a meal and part of an evening with another of her mother’s loser suitors.  Instead, she shut the door to her tiny room, and the world beyond it, and prepared for her first day in a new school.

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