Excerpt: Fluidus Rising. Chapter 2. Part 2

“We don’t have to talk about everything right away,” Gran stated, getting back on the highway that led to New York.

Sierra wanted to fight this, to say there was nothing to talk about. Yet, the image of the diploma floating into her hands replayed in her mind. Maybe it hadn’t been stress after all. Maybe she hadn’t imagined it. She flipped open the mirror above her head. “I don’t see a glow or an aura.”

A ghost of a smile flittered across Gran’s face. “We can’t see our own auras. Yours is gold. It’s pale now. The color will grow stronger over time as your powers develop.”

Sierra’s head spun with the information overload. She needed to take it one step at a time. Just like in math, she had to understand the basics before she could move to more complex equations. Right now, she needed to understand where they were going. “Is Dad’s body in New York? Are we going there?”

Gran moved her hand back and forth on the steering wheel, her bangles clanking. She always did this when she was about to deliver bad news. “No, we’re going somewhere else. Somewhere safe.”

“But…how can we be sure? Maybe it’s not even Dad. There could’ve been a mistake.” Her father was a businessman, not a criminal or a politician. The chances of him being murdered were slim to none. He was kind, everyone liked him, and he had no enemies.

“Sierra, I know this is hard to accept, but your father is dead. Pretending he isn’t and lying to yourself won’t do you any good. And we can’t identify him or arrange a funeral. Supernatural bodies disintegrate.”

Cusses she had never uttered before sprang to Sierra’s mouth. She shoved them down and sucked in a deep breath. “Like vampires?” Sarcasm bled from her lips.

Gran shook her head. “No, not like in the movies. It takes several minutes to several hours, depending on the strength of the supernatural.”

“Dad is strong.”

Gran’s throat worked up and down. “Yes, he was.”

“Why would anyone…?” Sierra trailed off, unable to say the word.

“I believe the murder was planned. After he returned from Europe, Heath checked into a hotel in New York. The next day, he was supposed to report for duty in Connecticut. He never made it out of the hotel. He was killed in his room. The regency notified me once they realized what had happened.”

Vivid images assaulted Sierra. Blood splattered against cream-colored walls. Carpet soaked with red liquid. The scents of iron and copper permeating the space. Her father’s lifeless form crumpled on the ground. A bullet entrenched in his chest.

“Don’t do this to yourself.” Gran shook Sierra gently.

“Was he in pain?” He must have been terrified.

Gran sighed heavily, as if the weight of a mountain pressed down on her lungs. “I don’t think so. I believe whoever killed your father wanted to remove him quickly to make it easier to get to you and kidnap you.”

“Because I’m a supernatural?” The word felt foreign and icky in her mouth.

Before Gran could reply, a vibration came from Sierra’s black tote.

Tammy: Everything okay? Your Gran was extra scary today. I thought she’d be happy you graduated…

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