Beneath Rain and Stars
Book Three in The Hidden World of Wysteria Series
by Stella Brians
(Official Cover Art)
Snippet from Beneath Rain and Stars
Copyright, 2017 by Stella Brians
“I can smell the Earth.” Edgar whispered, as we sat together on a stone bench beneath sympathetic willows. Their once green leaves had left for dark branches that looked like spider webs against the now gray sky. Throughout the cemetery, there were serene areas in the company of an assortment of trees. Benches and white fountains graced these areas, for people to sit in silence and grieve. The only time I had truly grieved was when my father went missing, and when I lost my friends, my home.
Our hightops looked so black against the gray winter Earth, the dead leaves all crumpled beneath the snow. The fountains had not run since the hurricane, but I could recall in a moment how beautiful they looked. Fresh water that once poured over into the different tiers used to offer a calming sound that could often be heard throughout the graveyard. Cemeteries were a place of peace, and Whispering Trees Village had outdone itself in creating a sense of relief for troubled people. When the wind and flooding first came and destroyed lives, many came to the graveyard to sit, be alone, and cry. Entire trees had fallen then, and they lay across the carefully laid paths. We walked over them, and through the sea of hurricane trodden graves. I remembered how the sky changed green after thunderstorms that followed, and how we homeless huddled together in shock. The shock for me had not lasted long, and I drifted away on my own. Healing happened better that way.
Edgar and I walked slowly amongst the trees, careful to not walk over graves.
Everything looked frozen and dead, I told him, but it’s a wonder in autumn.
“Does death frighten you?”
“Not really. I mean, it happens to everyone and I know that there is something good out there. Although…I don’t think that it is what people believe. It is more loving and understanding than any mortal person…with the wisdom of the Greek God clouds in the sky.” I mused, feeling completely free to talk to him. Uninhibited.
“What do you mean, about the clouds?” He asked as the sunlight tried to poke through again. It splintered in between the branches of oaks and pines above our heads.
I smiled, and looked at my feet in embarrassment. “There is this lighthouse, by the marina. It is adjoined to this park, and the lantern room is open for public use. A narrow porch wraps around the lantern room, and from there I watch the clouds above the sea. Sometimes, the shapes they take remind me of great Greek Gods fighting a war, or having tea.”
“Do you think they might discuss philosophy, and human nature?”
“Yes, and thousands of things more.” I took his hand, and we walked further on beneath the trees that watched, listened, whispered. Always had their kind, delicate nature fascinated me.
The graveyard was silent around us, except for the wind. At times, the cold caught up to me and I shivered frightfully. Edgar offered me one of his scarves.
“Which one would you like? The fashionably patchy scarf, or the green and blue stripes?”
“The stripes I think. They’re so…pretty…the colors I mean. So vivid.”
“Here you are, then.” My owl took off his scarf and wrapped it around me.
“You look…lovely.” He kissed my cold cheeks, and I kissed him back.
“Thank you, so are you. Such a fine bloke you are as well.” I tried to do his accent the best I could.
The trees around us swayed in the wind along to the patter of rain on the ground, and they seemed at peace with the natural elements that gave us all life. We reached a clearing surrounded by different types of trees; a handful of which I knew the names. Our hightops sunk into the soft, muddy Earth, and I raised my hands above my head to feel the energy of the wind while it howled. I felt like a tree in those moments, with my feet rooted into the ground as one with the Earth and its energy, and my branches raised to the sky, the rain, the clouds.
It is truly a miracle that these trees survived, I thought to myself while seconds of the hurricane reared its ugliness in my memory. Its destruction had been a rape of southeastern Connecticut, and our quaint little village.
I had not realized that my eyes were closed, but when I opened them Edgar was standing next to me, poised as a tree. He seemed completely immersed in the quiet, intimate contact of nature. He stood on one foot, with the other leg bent and touching his thigh. His arms were raised above his head, palms met. This is a yoga pose called Vriksasana. Through the wind, words came to me in a thought form that were neither Edgar’s or mine.
I am glad you find comfort here, it said.
The Wanderings of Colin and Hazel
My debut novel about two people who do not fit in with their world.
If you like Harold and Maude, The Catcher in The Rye, or are just enjoy love stories you will love my upcoming novel.
(Official Cover Art)
Sample from First Chapter
Copyright 2017, by Stella Brians
The front desk clerk was a lump of a woman with frizzy hair and spectacles, and when I asked her in my mousy voice if she had seen my sister she shouted at me.
“Dear, please speak up. You must simply learn to SPEAK UP. Don’t they teach you that in school nowadays? Now, how can I help you?” Her voice boomed across the lobby, and several people stared and laughed behind their hands.
“This girl.” I said, taking Meredith’s photograph from my wallet. “Have you seen this girl?”
With a fat hand, the woman swiped the photograph from me and peered at it closely.
“No, can’t say I have. Feel free to look around, there isn’t a charge for the museum today.” She waved me away. My hand shaking with anger, I withdrew the photograph and put it in my pocket.
I walked out of the lobby and up the stairs, my sneakers echoing through the silent mausoleum for lesser understood art. As I passed other people, and abstract paintings nailed on walls with endless plaques describing to the human brain what the eyes were seeing, a cold fear wrapped itself around me. I even felt cold on the outside, and my stomach clenched up when I saw what was in the next exhibit that I had to pass through.
I caught sight of a metal leg, being strangled by a snake as hands grasped around its neck. Human and snake were intent on killing the other; the snake for food, and the human for survival. This exhibit seemed to be a mixed media of sculptures; some bronze, metal, marble, and stone.
“Horrors of The Far Beyond.” The sign stated, in unapologetic lettering that looked vicious.
Cautiously, I dipped my toe into the cold eerie room and as I did, all of the sculptures turned to look at me. Heart thundering in my chest, I pushed forward and stared at them with the angriest stare I could muster.
“Meredith?” I called.
An unsettling still silence filled the room, and no one answered because it was empty of living people. Something pink and white caught my eye, but it wasn’t human and so I did not take my gaze away from the sculptures. Charred pieces of flesh lay together like yesterday’s fruit in a smooth bronze basket, red nail polish on one of the hands.
I backed away into a tall African man juggling different phases of the moon. I heard his laughter. He mocked me, and said that I would never find my sister. Hair rose up on the back of my neck, and I clutched at him fruitlessly, knocking him over. A loud clamour filled the room, and I imagined demons crawling out of the wall, from the eye sockets of the lifeless creatures.
My own eyes darted around the room, finally acknowledging the pink and white tiled flooring, the enormous yet out of reach windows that let in the rain. The high ceiling, as vast and limitless as the Universe itself expanded beyond my wildest dreams and I felt like I was being sucked in. Panic rose from my bowels and up through my heart at once, and soon I was rushing through the agglomeration of demons. Now I knew what they were, I knew how fast I had to run from them. Hightops slid across the old tiles, hands grasped full force at nothing as a dark winged creature with a thick tail ran me down like an animal. Endlessly, the exhibit carried on.
Bent corridors were filled with the horrors that lay dormant in the very back of my mind, and facing them now was like walking on a lake of ice that I knew would collapse. In each hallway, the cold pricked me more intensely, and my heart and lungs felt as though they would collapse. Anxiety was what drove my legs, but terror neared me towards a heart attack. All of the hallways lead me around in a circle and to the same place, an unused staff room with a table and a window overlooking the major city green.
Throughout this nightmare, distorted music played from somewhere, and slowly it became louder and more frightening. It sounded as though elevator music and a man’s voice had been mashed together in a blender. I felt the demon’s thin fingertips claw for me, could hear its wings and hideous breathing.
There came a time when I slipped on something red and sticky in the hallway. It was blood, and when I fell there a shattering pain in my elbow and knee. I saw the black thing scuttle up to the ceiling like a giant bat, and it gave me a good look at his gnarled, toothy face.
“Your sister no longer exists.” It hissed, and as it flew from the crown molding towards my face, I lost consciousness.
While I struggled to open my eyes, a young woman was wrapping ripped cloth around my elbow. One of her eyes were gray, and the other blue. Light brown hair fell into her eyes, and as she looked at me, she smiled sadly.
“There now, I hope you feel better.” She had a sweet face, and she wore an army jacket and jeans. There was something about her that I liked immediately, even in those moments of little consciousness. What is it about her? I wondered. I felt her lips on my head, and heard the words she spoke next.
“I have to go, I promised that I would call my brother. Please take care of yourself, and get a taxi home. I will check in on you.” The girl then disappeared down the steps and into traffic.
As always, my books will be available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.