Dahlia had a problem: a stalker with powers that threatened not just her life but also her carefully crafted identity. Jacks had a problem, too: a magical doom that had destroyed his entire family. Only by trusting each other can they solve the problems destroying their lives.
Midwife to Divinity is an urban fantasy focused on strength, challenges and claiming what you thought you’d left behind.
Midwife to Divinity
By Meyari McFarland
1. Cold Comfort
The answering machine light blinked at Dahlia. She stared at it, heart hammering in her ears, an angry lump up in her throat. Dru had been right. Everything she said was right. Dahlia bit her lip, watching that light flicking on and off like a strobe sweeping ever closer to her.
Her apartment was cold, dark, in contrast with the beautiful colors that had tempted her into staying here originally. Dahlia had taken to leaving blankets and sweaters everywhere so that she could curl up under them. Even after she finally figured out how to deal with this problem she’d probably keep them out. The comfort and color was so enticing that Dahlia knew she’d keep doing it.
Comfortable blankets or not, it wasn’t safe to turn on the lights. Turning up the heat was a problem, too, given what she’d been able to figure out about Jacks. As nice as it would be to have warmth in here, she didn’t dare do more than keep the pipes from freezing. Better to be cold and live in the dark than risk Jacks realizing that she was still here. She’d spent too many years building this life to abandon it so suddenly.
The entire mess was Dahlia’s fault. Despite Dru’s warnings, she’d had to go out, had to take a night off and go to the bar with her oblivious coworkers. That last night of warmth and laughter had been so wonderful until it all went wrong. Dahlia’s fingers tightened around the keys clutched in her hand, squeezing until her knuckles ached and the edges threatened to break her skin, spilling out power and blood in equal measure.
At least the cold kept the garbage from smelling. Dahlia hadn’t taken the trash out for three weeks now. Pretty soon she would have to but for now the bags, stuffed to the point that the drawstrings barely held them shut, sat patiently by the front door.
More air freshener would take care of the residual stink of rotting orange peels and apple cores that Dahlia couldn’t avoid. It didn’t help the empty fridge, though. That was something that Dahlia had to take care of soon or risk going to the mall next to work. Which she wouldn’t do.
Jacks would be there, his eyes too bright and his fingers curling as if they could feel the muscles of her biceps struggling to escape already. How he got away with his stalking was the mystery. Dahlia didn’t see how anyone could miss the man’s predatory expressions, the way he cornered young women, pulling them aside and forcing them to smile, to look up at him, to slip away with him. She didn’t know how people missed that the women came back bruised, frightened, sometimes bleeding and all, all, of them with gaps in their memory that covered the hours of the time with Jacks.
Dahlia already knew that some never came back at all.
That she’d seen on her own at the bar. A trip to the bathroom had become a descent into a cheesy horror movie as she watched a beautiful blond girl slide slowly towards the sticky floor of the hallway, Jacks looming over her with blood on his face and a twisted grimace that made Dahlia turn tail and run.
The memory of the bruises covering the girl’s neck as the shadows curled around both Jacks and her made Dahlia shudder. Even now she could smell the blood, the stink of bowels and bladder cutting loose as death overcame the girl. How had anyone missed that? Blurring the mind, forcing people to look the other way usually didn’t make them miss the smell of death.
So much of her family’s business would be easier if it were.
That was the true mystery that Dahlia was unwilling to figure out. Even though the smell of death had followed her out into the bar where booze and sex filled the air, no one else even looked towards the bathroom hallway. They acted as though there was nothing wrong, as though no grunts or whines echoed. Dahlia had even thought about intervening only to dismiss the sheer idea. She had too much invested in this life, this façade, to give up for a predator in human form and his already doomed prey.
That reluctance to confront Jacks had intensified as Jacks had appeared at her side in the bar, looming and smiling so gregariously that her coworkers immediately assumed that they knew each other. His hand had wrapped around Dahlia’s bicep, discretely digging in until bruises bloomed under her long sleeved purple sweater.
“I didn’t expect to find you here,” Jacks had said, his voice purring like a lion getting ready to attack.
“Let go,” Dahlia had replied, raising her chin. “Now!”
“Don’t be like that,” Jacks had said, leaning closer, close enough that she could smell the blood. Shadows had loomed above the bar, shifting towards the both of them like cold syrup flowing across a refrigerated plate. His teeth had seemed too long as he licked his lips suggestively.
“Let go!” Dahlia had snarled, jerking her arm free from his grip.
He’d stared at her as if shocked that she could do that, as if her sudden burst of strength was incomprehensible. Andy had frowned, blinking as if he’d only just noticed that Dahlia wasn’t happy to see Jacks, as if he was fighting against a fog keeping him from seeing what was in front of him. Lily had huffed, scolding Dahlia that she shouldn’t be so touchy. Jacks was a friend, after all. They all ‘knew’ him even though Dahlia knew that she’d never seen the man before that night.
“I’m going home,” Dahlia had announced. “Goodnight.”
“Let me escort you home,” Jacks had said, standing and looming over her.
“I have a gun and I know how to use it,” Dahlia said. “And I will use it, on you, if you dare to follow me.”
Find The Rest Of This Story:
On Smashwords $2.99 ebook
On CreateSpace $5.99 5″ x 8″ TPB
On Kobo $2.99 ebook
On Barnes & Noble either $2.99 ebook or $5.99 TPB
If you can’t afford to buy the story, please consider leaving a donation. All money received goes toward keeping me writing and posting these stories. Thank you very much!