Today’s Teaser snippet is something Station fans might recognize –
it’s the end of book 2 and the prologue for book 3! 😀
“Piper?” Kerry-Anne’s voice is low, soothing, and when I look over at her, she’s staring hard at my features.
“I’m sorry, Kerry-Anne. There’s something I need to tell you.” I brace my arms against the rim, taking a deep breath while Kerry-Anne wiggles into a more comfortable position.
“Okay, anything,” she says happily, but still with a serious expression on her face.
“I’m leaving.” I said it bluntly on purpose. I can’t stand the thought of explaining it all to her. It feels sort of like ripping off a band-aide…it just needs to be done quickly.
“Leaving? You already have your next Assignment? But you just got back, didn’t you?” she asks me with large, brown eyes. They were the sort of eyes you would expect to see from a startled doe, not a girl as tiny as she was.
I turn around so that I’m facing her with my whole body, folding my legs into a pretzel shape. Slight lines crease on her forehead as I take one of her petite hands in mine. The moment we touch I feel waves of energy leave me and pass into her, like we created a bridge between us.
With a sigh, I smile my best smile and squeeze her hands gently. “No, honey. I’m leaving the Station. And I don’t know for how long, but I will be back.”
Slowly she blinks, as if processing my words a few dozen times. “Leaving?” her voice squeaks, barely above a whisper.
I nod. “Yes, but I will come back, you understand that, right?”
Her chin trembles as she whispers, “Where are you going?”
“I don’t know.” It was an honest answer, and I didn’t want to lie to her.
Her hands jerk from mine and I’m knocked slightly backwards as she launches her much smaller body into my lap, wrapping her thin arms tightly around my neck. She doesn’t cry, at least not then. But I sense the emotion bubbling up below the surface.
“It’s okay. I’ll be back before you know it, just watch.”
“You better be,” she says as she stands up abruptly and steps away from me, her chin beginning to pucker as she struggles to hold back the trembles. “You’re my best friend.” She rushes off, and I quickly lose her in the crowd.
You’re my best friend too, Kerry-Anne. I haven’t had a best friend in a long time. Not since Bree. My eyes well up at the thought of her, but it isn’t guilt I feel as I remember Bree’s soft face and always present smile…it is love. And I have the same love for Kerry-Anne. Some friends come and go, but the best never really leave the heart. I know I’ll take a piece of both of them with me, regardless of where I end up.
I stand before the closed door oddly relaxed. Sloan is beside me, holding tightly to my hand. Though I wasn’t sure how much influence I truly commanded, I insisted I would not leave without Sloan, and though obviously irritated with the idea, Rush finally agreed. He’s getting two for the price of one – that can’t be bad, right?
Niles stands on my left with his older and wrinkled hand resting comfortably on my shoulder, as if it had been there forever as an extension of myself. I reach up and grip it, feeling the roughness of his skin beneath mine. I daren’t look at him; my tear ducts can’t handle it.
Pushing carefully on the door, Niles leans forward until the heavy wood swings inward; practically blinding me with bright white light. It burns from beyond like a flame, temporarily blurring my vision. How anyone could possibly see in it, I have no clue. But soon a tall figure comes out of the light, stopping just inside the glowing room. Rush. His eyes pierce mine as he smiles warmly, extending a hand for me to take.
In a panic I half-hug Niles, afraid to let go of Sloan for just one moment. I’m almost sure that something sinister will reach out from the blinding room and drag me away. The horror-movie lover in me screams, “Don’t go into the light! Stay away from the light!”
But I will. I know I will. I’m going to walk through this doorway and leave the Station behind me because I have wanted to know more the instant I arrived. And, as Rush has ensured; I’d return after our journey the same Piper I was today, though perhaps a bit more knowledgeable and Seer-like. I still don’t quite understand what that means, but the Mentors, aside from Niles of course, were excited for me. I’m getting to do something all of them had dreamed about for decades. I was leaving…to see what lies beyond.
“Piper,” Niles says as he hugs me close, “I want you to follow your dreams – follow your heart. But please, don’t forget about us. Return if you can. Okay?” I nod against his shoulder, the worn argyle sweater vest softly scratching the underside of my chin.
“I’ll be back. I promised, remember?” We release and I step forward, reaching my left hand out to Rush’s extended one. He waits patiently, knowingly.
This is tough for me. It’s so hard to leave them.
You will return. You said so, yourself.
As I move further across the threshold, my right hand is met with resistance and I glance over my shoulder to see Sloan standing firmly in the same spot. He hasn’t moved. Not one inch.
“Sloan?” As soon as his name leaves my lips, a single tear trickles down his cheek.
“I-I can’t, Piper,” he says quietly.
I’m blocked from his mind. As I stand in the light, I see only with my eyes. His fingers begin to loosen around my own, but I clamp down on him harder still.
“No! Please, please come with me!”
“I can’t. I’ll wait for you here,” he says as Rush moves us backwards deeper into the room, further away from the door. As his arm slips around my waist, Sloan’s fingers slide off mine.
He’s gone! No!
He cannot come with us, Piper Willow. Only a true Seer can move into the beyond. If he passes through this doorway, he can never return to the Station with you. I told him this. And yes, I blocked it from you. I’m sorry. He cannot come.
“Wait!” I scream as Niles puts an arm around Sloan’s sagging shoulders, and watch in horror as they step away from the door that is now slowly closing. Just before it shuts me away from them, Sloan lifts a hand and presses it on top of his heart. It is the last thing I see before the brilliance swallows me whole.
I’m pulled apart, cell by cell and thrown together again, all with Rush’s arm firmly around my waist, holding me to him as if we are twirling around a dance floor. I feel everything inside me as it expands and then retracts, separating and then reattaching to my being. Pain does not begin to describe the feeling.
There is nothing below, nothing above…just bright, empty space and my cells spinning wildly around Rush’s as the light heaves us onward. Where it takes me, I don’t know. I don’t remember.
It’s just the two of us and the light…jettisoning us into the beyond.