Exclusive Excerpt “At The Edge”

25 Mar

ID-10030140

At last! On the Edge, originally published by Club Lighthouse Publishing in May 2010 has been completely revised. Now titled “AT THE EDGE.”

This week I posted an exclusive excerpt for my readers to get glimpse of the magic realism, paranormal book. I’m excited to search for a book publisher to discover the best home for the new and improved story.

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About the Book “AT THE EDGE” – Real people developing relationships; while Carm is struggling to pick up the pieces after the death of her husband.

Quick Question and answer –

1. How important is it to you to create likeable characters?

I portray the characters inner characteristics and emotions as they struggle with issues of their own. The characters are realistic that the readers will believe. Tough and practical Paige takes command; Roxy under a watchful eye intimidates; always helpful Lizzy goes with the flow and Carm is consumed with sorrow and mental anguish. Gretchen, a witch is a welcome relief from life’s pressures. To add support and conflict to the story are Thomas a friend everyone wants to deserve and Philip is certainly not safe to trust.

In this book I provide a unique insight into the drug world and mysticism – addiction and the belief that direct knowledge of ultimate reality is attainable through intuition and the unseen world.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:

In the lobby Carm’s shoes sank into lavish red carpet. She caught a glimpse of her pale face reflected in the mirrored pillars, walking to the elevators. She looked like hell. The two entered the fourth floor foyer. The floor-to-ceiling windows offered a panoramic view of the dingy city. They walked through an open doorway. The room, illuminated by lights set in the walls. She saw opposite the doorway booths lined across the vast room. Some merchants wore the most outlandish colored hair and clothes, all displayed their pentacles with pride, and burned smudge sticks. Some offered Tarot readings, others beautiful handmade crafts. Artistically-minded people mixed and mingled. A buzz of conversation could be heard from the crowd.

Gretchen’s voice was vibrant with emotion. “Wonderful, orientation is just beginning. Come, join me.”

Carm gave her a sharp look. She made no reply as her eyes followed hers. A few people were already sitting, some walking towards the empty wooden chairs at the back of the hall.

Gretchen watched her brooding, waiting for an answer.

Carm looked at one person than another. She quickly moved her eyes over the fabulous selection of dragons, fairies, symbolic jewelry, witchy clothing, Pagan art, and altar tools. There was a lot for her to take in. “This isn’t for me,” she said taking a step back.

Gretchen stopped her with a hand lightly on her arm. “Don’t leave, come and keep me company.”

There was silence between them. And then, Gretchen turned to her, and said with a serious expression, “I would like to share with you both the magical arts and the faith aspects of Witchcraft. I promise it will not disappoint”

Carm glanced at her, and then at the group sitting at the back of the hall. “I guess I can hang around a bit,” she said miserably, unzipping her sweat jacket.

In a few minutes, Gretchen was leading the way. After a quick zigzag through the crowd Carm sat down beside her, folded her arms across her chest, annoyed having to be there. She surveyed the people of all ages surround the tables where works of art, flowers, herbs in different size bottles, and candles of every description were displayed. She began to talk, “Why do some call themselves wiccan and others a witch?”

Gretchen quickly perked up, and said, “Religion appeared in history at the same time as Empires did. Religion divides people. The lunar nature of Witchcraft, the use of spells, potions, charms, and herbs, are all part of the magic of the ancient Pagans. Witchcraft is a nature-oriented way of life the pagans lived. The Tools of the craft are elemental spirits, ritual circles, presence of a goddess associated with the moon, a horned god figure, and a god pair, the cauldron, the wand, magic, the Sabbat gathering, cakes and wine celebrations.” Gretchen shifted in her seat, and said, “There are many traditions. Witchcraft has been a controversial path, so the term wicca-modern magic reconstruction of pagan rituals, has emerged as a more mainstream. Wicca or witch we have a common belief regarding magic, life and spirits. I just prefer my identity be known as either a witch or pagan. These terms are more connected to the ancient practice.”

Gretchen turned her attention on the speaker’s arrival.

An aged woman, her gray hair hung loose, wearing a pitch-black dress to the floor with a cashmere shawl around her shoulders, a cane in her withered, boney hand stood out front. When she spoke, Carm hadn’t expected what came.

“The universe consists of planets, stars, and galaxies. Gravity sculpted our universe, and the matter in the universe is the seeds of life. Early earth, when the planets formed, the stars contained the chemistry and supernovas the minerals. Stars exploded and were reborn with more heavy elements till there was enough material to create life on earth.”

The speaker glanced around her audience saying, “The five elements are in ascending order of power, Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and the Void.”

Carm had a shift of interest. The aged woman words sent a ripple of puzzlement through her. She focused her attention on Gretchen and asked, “What in the world is this all about?”

Gretchen turned her head to look at her, and then back at the speaker, and said, “Listen, you will learn something new.”

The aged woman stood out front leaning on her cane for support, and said, “Long ago a small planet revolving around a shinning star gave birth to itself, creating land masses, oceans, flora, grasses, animals, humans. The Elemental Tools, the Pentacle – Earth, the Cup – Water, Wand – Fire, and Sword – Wind are the never-ending flow between space and earth, spirit and matter, animal and human, instincts and logic. Earth represents the hard, solid objects of the world. Water represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world. Fire represents the energetic, forceful, moving things of the world. Wind represents things that grow, expand and enjoy freedom moment, and the Void represents those things beyond our every day experiences, particularly those things composed of pure energy; represents spirit, thought, and creative energy. The Void is a link between the human and the otherworld. Aether is described as having no qualities, and is described as subtler than light, and has no contrary or unnatural motion.

“We are all composed of similar chemistry of the stars, the minerals from earth, water, oxygen moving with the wind, and the void, the ability to sense the surroundings, act without thinking, and without using our physical sense, and the essence of ether. All living things are composed of similar chemistry, need the partnership of the Moon and Sun, water, air and we are spiritually immortal by design.”

A girl stood up in the front row, and then walked over to a small alter. She wore a pink cotton robe, and twigs and budding wild flowers entwined to create a crown upon her head. Her face was painted as a flower.

The speaker spoke, “Witchcraft is spirit and earth based ancient cultural way of life. When practicing witchcraft, you want elemental tools that are dependable and durable season after season, and you must know the meaning behind the symbolism of the vast network holding us together in a giant embrace.”

The aged woman looked over at the young girl, and then back toward the audience. Her assistant picked up a gold chalice, and then raised it high toward the ceiling.

The speaker said, “Studying the chalice, water, you will discover you need to look within your own heart to find high qualities of generosity, to apply intuition to your daily routine, and balance of your emotions.”

The girl placed the chalice back in position, and then raised a spirally, willow wood wand.

The speaker looked over at her assistant, and then back at her audience, and said, “Exploring the wand-fire, you will find your actions affect others in which, in turn, affects the whole of society, the planet earth and the universe. Personal intent must be for the good of all.”

The speaker’s assistant sat down on the alter the wand, and then placed a sword in the palm of her hands for all to see.

“The sword-wind represents mental disposition. The subconscious mind is where all experiences are noted and become memories, the waking conscious thoughts are synthesized and super conscious thought is aligned with the Divine Light.”

Carm looked over at Gretchen, and then swiveled her head back to look at the young girl carefully placed the sword down, and then raised a pentagram embedded on a gold saucer.

“The Pentacle and Pentagram are the most important symbols in witchcraft. They are the symbols of the magical craft. A written Pentacle is known as a pentagram, it is used to apply protection, positive power when the single point is upright and to control the elemental powers. Through this connection we come to understand every thing is connected, and it brings everything to you. Energy flows where your intentions goes, is the premise of magic. What you send out will return to you three times three, so mote it be. Practicing the ways of the craft you will come to respect our planet and all life residing on earth, air and the water. Magic is the limitless potential of the universe. You are born from the stars. The energy inside you is magical. You are capable of anything; you are capable of it all.”

The speaker looked over at her assistant. “Thank you,” she said.

The young girl placed the pentacle down on the altar, and then returned to her seat.

“I welcome one, I welcome all to the Witches Fair! All the tools of the trade can be found in this room. All for your rituals and magical healing needs. Research what I say, discover what witches already know. ”

When the speaker finished, others were endlessly questioning her.

Carm worn-out and spent tried to cover with her hands a crackling yawn. Gretchen didn’t appear to notice her tiredness. She stood up in one smooth movement. Carm came to her feet, and walked behind her.

She traveled from booth to booth. Snorting a line dominated her thoughts. She listened to Gretchen explaining the witchcraft paintings, sculptures, music and literature; each nourished a person’s mind, body, heart and spirit.

“Dressed bees wax candles, Spell-in-a-bottle, do these really work?

Gretchen looked at Carm. “Candle magic has been practiced almost as long as mankind has been in existence. Candle burning is the magic of the people, the magic of Witchcraft.” Gretchen picked up a pink candle in a jar, examined it, and then placed the candle back on the shelf, and said, “Candle makers specialize in high-quality, natural products made the traditional way. Candles are a favorite tool of witches everywhere.”

Gretchen came close and took position beside Carm. “Candle magic is one of the oldest forms of magic as well as one of the simplest.” She reached up to take an orange candle off the shelf. “I want you to have this,” she said pleasantly.

“What’s this?”

“This is an offertory candle and was made for a special purpose.”

“I don’t have the money to pay for a candle.”

“Please take this. It’s a gift.”

“No it’s okay.”

Gretchen held in her hand the orange candle. “This is a special purpose candle. You burn the candle continuously, and it will constantly attract what you need.”

Carm stared at the offering Gretchen held. She noticed the label wrapped around the center. Her eyes moved up and down at the symbols carefully carved into the wax. “How does it work?”

“This candle is magically empowered. It has been dressed with anointing oil with the intention of furthering the candle’s purpose. The symbols inscribed are to access the power beyond you.” Gretchen held out the orange candle for Carm to take and said, “When you are by yourself remove the label. After you light the wick, speak the words on the back of the label, breathe deeply and look into the flame. Try to keep your mind blank, so whatever will come and appear to you comes of its own free will. Don’t try to rationalize what appears. Your first impression will be all you need.”

Carm focused on the orange candle Gretchen held and bit her lip. She thought about it for a few moments, and then reached out to accept the offer. She stared at the handcrafted candle in her hands feeling a tiny jolt of energy penetrated her skin. “You really believe this can work?”

“Candle burning is effective. All it takes is a lit candle to focus the mind and a few words to express the desire to connect with the ebb and flow of the universe. You might say the power used is your energies, the candle’s and Spirit’s to generate energy to bring about a result.”

Carm raised the candle to her nostrils. “It smells real good. Thank you.” Heaving a huge sigh, she put the candle in her sweat jacket pocket.

Carm plodded along examining the shiny crystals, bright stones and colored candles with images of nature, flowers and the human form carved into the wax and books. She read a few book covers. She swiveled her head to look at a middle-aged woman in a loose dark blue cotton dress under a spring jacket talking to the merchant with the brilliant red colored hair, hazel eyes and a delightful smile behind books displayed on the table. Carm glanced at the antique black leather bound book with three interlocked gold spirals embedded in the cover, and then back at the middle-aged woman.

“Would you tell me more about this book,” she asked with interest.

Carm looked intrigued. She heard the merchant say to her potential buyer, “Merry We Meet, welcome to the Witches Fair. The triple spiral on the front cover, composed of three interlocked spirals is an ancient Celtic symbol related to the sun, afterlife and reincarnation. The Book of the Dead known as The Book of Coming or Going Forth By Day, explains how to deal with entering the Otherworld and the transition from death to rebirth. The text is intended to be read by the deceased during their journey into the Underworld. It enabled the deceased to overcome obstacles and not lose their way. It does this by teaching passwords, giving clues, and revealing routes that would allow the deceased to answer questions and navigate around hazards. The book would grant the help and protection of the gods while proclaiming the deceased’s identity with the gods.”

The middle ages woman grabbed the leather bound book. Clutching it in her hands, she stared at the cover.

Then curiously the merchant asked, “What’s worrying you?”

The potential buyer didn’t look up at her, and said mournfully, “Nothing.”

“Please, tell me what is it?”

“I hope this book can help him get through this,” she said trying not to be overcome with emotion. “My husband,” she said in a state of remembrance, “I can’t figure out what happened. I don’t understand why?” She took a long pause. “He’s dying?”

The words she spoke made Carm feel hopeless as her own loss went through her mind.

The merchant went quiet for a moment, and then said, “It is always sad to lose people we love in the physical world. Grieve the loss of his physical life but you can still communicate when he leaves his body. After the soul has left the body, they can travel through time-past, present, and future, and can be called into being. There is no distance between you two. Everything is connected in life and death. Life evolves over and over”

The middle-aged woman with a sad smile looked at the merchant. “Why would anyone choose to come back to this world? It is such a messed up place,” she said grieving for her loss.

Carm shuddered. Her words struck a cord.

“There are many reasons souls decide to come forth from the dead. Some have come to earth to finish Karmic relationships. Some are on the planet to discover that there is beauty in ugliness, while other experience ugliness in beauty. Some would like to explore abundance, some poverty and what it means.”

Gretchen walking up the isle and said, “I see you’re finding your way around.”

Carm looked over at her approaching. Gretchen greeted women, men, young and old. Conversation about spiritual, metaphysical, and astrological matters circled. People gathered around the booths and waited for some sort of reading.

“These people all believe in this stuff Gretchen?” Carm asked, looking at her.

“The thing to keep in mind is people have a lot of unanswered questions. The people here are all trying to figure out who they are and what is their purpose. Everyone has potential. Living has purpose – it does have meaning. A reading will provide direction to help improve their lives.”

“Oh,” she said with a yawn, shrugging her shoulders.

Gretchen took a break from Carm to talk to an aged woman, her grey hair tied in a bun, who sat and read for clients. After the two chatted, the woman rose from the table and stepped closer to Carm. “Merry meet,” she said win a grin, reaching out her hand. “My name is Joan.”

“Hi,” Carm said, shaking hands.

Gretchen stepped closer. “Why don’t you ask Joan for a reading,” she said.

‘No, I don’t think so.”

“Go ahead, sit,” Gretchen urged.

Carm was visibly annoyed that Gretchen made such a fuss about having her cards read. “I don’t have the money to spare to pay.”

“Oh, there’s no reason for that. Joan is a witch. She will read for you if you ask. That’s what witches do. We support one another.”

Carm dead tired sat listlessly in the chair, biting her lip. Joan knocked on the Tarot deck that lay face down on the table. She closed her eyes and whispered a short prayer, requesting assistance. “Shuffle the cards eleven times or more, and then drop them in three piles onto the table face down,” she said.

Carm her arms heavy to lift did as she had been asked.

Joan picked up the deck, re-stacked, and, starting with the top card, she laid them ready to be read. She pushed play on the recording machine, and then folded her hands in front of her. Carm growing weary in mind and body chewed on her bottom lip, listening.

My hope is you are intrigued to read more of “AT THE EDGE,” reading the exclusive excerpt!

Smile and the world smiles with you 🙂

copyright 2013 Angie Skelhorn

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