This is a very short story cobbled from the excerpts from my current WIP, The Pirate Episode, the third book in my Witching Well series. It's going to be included the the Indies on the Go Anthology, and it can't exceed a 1000 words. So, feel free to tell me what you think, but please don't ask me to make it longer.
Monday, June 1, 2015
Anyone Want a Quick Read?
The Water From the Witching Well
A Young Adult Time Travel Romance
By Kristy Tate
The first time their eyes had met and held, Cami had stood on the corner, waiting for her turn to cross, and Joel had stepped out into the street—breathtakingly handsome—in his uniform.
Cami’s foot caught in a muddy pothole. Water seeped in her red plastic boot, and trickled down her neck and back like small icy rivers. As the streetlight turned from red to yellow, Cami’s panic swelled. Just when she thought she’d be plowed over by the angry mob of cars waiting their turn to cross the busy intersection, Joel, handsome even when wet, dropped his crossing guard sign, scooped her up and carried her to safety. When he deposited her on the school side of the street, she batted her eyelashes, looked up at him, and said, “I love you.”
All around her, the other students snickered and laughed, but Joel didn’t even smile. He gazed down at her while a pink flush started up his neck and colored his cheeks.
“I love you,” Cami said again. “Someday I’m going to marry you, so I think you should tell me your last name to see if I like it.”
A kid Cami didn’t know elbowed Joel. Another slapped him on the back and congratulated him on his upcoming nuptials.
But Joel blinked at her, grinned, and said, “My name is Harry Butts.”
“I thought your name was Joel?”
He shook his head, and water sprayed her. “That’s my middle name.”
“So, your name is Harry Joel Butts?” Cami thought him beautiful—even if his name was decidedly not. From kindergarten through ninth grade, Cami believed she was destined to be Mrs. Cami Butts.
But then in ninth grade, an amazing thing happened. Joel, recently graduated from the University of Connecticut, joined the faculty staff of Norfolk Comprehension, and Cami learned his real last name. She didn’t blame Joel for lying to her. After all, at the time, they’d both been only children—she five, and he twelve. And she didn’t blame him for not recognizing her when she’d finally been admitted into his senior class.
But she absolutely blamed him for the day she disappeared.
Joel sat at his desk, his chin propped up in his hands. Marriage, he thought, should be less about hormones and more about compatibility. It was like software. In a marriage, two partners should be capable of getting together without requiring anyone to change. They should be able to share their lives without making any changes. No one should require special modification or conversion.
That’s how he foresaw his future with Becca Martin. They were both scientists, dedicated, and involved in meaningful work. He had always planned on telling her how he felt when the timing was right. But then that disastrous kiss at the Witching Well happened. What was that about? And then she went to Colorado, met some cowboy, and got married in less than week.
“I guess I dodged a bullet,” he muttered, pushing away from his desk.
“What’s that, Dr. Fleur?”
Joel spun around.
Cami Brandt stood in the doorway holding her tennis racquet, smiling at him in that knowing way that he found so frustrating on a seventeen-year-old girl. She always looked at him as if she could read his thoughts, which would be disastrous for his position at the school if she really could.
“Ah, Cambria, I hadn’t heard you come in.”
“I think I left my book in here.” She looked past him and pointed to her fifth period chair. “There it is.”
Smiling, she moved past him, smelling earthy and sweet. The air around her moved. He could practically feel the molecules rearranging themselves, welcoming her into his space. Typically he didn’t notice what women—girls, he corrected himself—wore, but he found Cami’s tennis skirt and tank top hard to ignore.
Because he couldn’t indulge in thoughts about Cami—or any of his students—Joel strode to his microscope. The bottle of water from the Witching Well sat on the counter. He had forgotten about that. He picked it up, intending to throw it away.
“I heard Dr. Martin is getting married,” Cami said, pausing beside him.
Joel cleared his throat. “Yes.”
“Is your sister designing her dress?”
“Yes,” he repeated, adjusting his glasses so that he could see her better. Damn. Why did she have to look like that? Long blond curly hair, damp with sweat. Flushed pink skin. Shining eyes.
“I think it’s so cool. All the girls love Delia’s Dress shop. I can’t wait to see Dr. Martin’s wedding dress.”
Joel nodded, cursing himself for social ineptitude, and his inappropriate thoughts. _She’s a kid,_ he berated himself. _Get a grip._
Waving her hand in front of her flushed face, she nodded at the water bottle in his hand. “Can I have a drink? Do you mind?” She reached for it and her fingers brushed his. Tingles shot up his arm.
Cami unscrewed the lid. “The water fountain on the courts is still broken.”
“Um, that’s not—” Joel began.
But Cami didn’t stop to listen. “Don’t worry. I won’t put my lips on it,” she said. Tipping her head back, she poured the water from the Witching Well into her mouth.
The tennis racquet, water bottle and book fell with a clatter as Cami vanished.
Joel started to rethink his position on love. Could it really make someone disappear? He believed in love more than he believed in the Witching Well legend. Or did he? Joel retrieved the spinning bottle off the floor and considered it.
If he drank it, what would happen? What would he be forced to believe then?
Posted by Kristy at 2:51 PM