We are so close! The first proof is in and the editor is doing her magic. The second proof will be done by early next week, then the last stage, the clean up, and finally to the layout and we will be live. Can you believe it?
A few weeks ago, I introduced you to Mike Stone, our hero character, but in this second intro, I thought I would present the women of Kracken; Mary Stone, Mike's wife; and Iona Bowers, their nemesis.
Mary is a young mother of three, two boys 7 and about 5 and a baby girl under two years old. Here's a clip showing Mary and Iona together, just another day in the world of Kracken. Enjoy.
Excerpt from Kracken by Ray Ellis:
“As you were, lieutenant.” A stern voice came from just outside the front door. The blow stopped mere inches from Mary’s face.
“I said, as you were. Besides, I really don’t want to see you get beat up in front of your men by a woman holding a baby.” Iona Bowers walked slowly into the room. Just inside the door, she stood, feet spread shoulder width apart, and her hands hanging relaxed by her side. She looked coolly into the face of the officer. He trembled with rage at the perceived offense to his authority.
With great effort, the man brought himself under control. “Yes, ma’am.”
Taking his obedience for granted, Iona said dismissively “Wait outside,” and walked past him without so much as a second glance in his direction. Finally turning her attention to Mary, she said, “So this is what you’ve come to.” She looked around the small home, a sneer turning the corners of her lips. Iona smiled; it was not pleasant.
Mary looked down at her children. The baby had gone from fussy to crying, twisting and pulling in her arms. Travist stood hugging her leg, his tear-streaked face pressed against her thigh. And M2, how he reminded her of Mike, stood heaving angrily, his small hands fisted, stared after the uniformed men.
Mary watched helplessly as the officers first violated the privacy of her home, opening and checking cabinets; even pulling clothing from the closets. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, they left.
Feeling violated and very much alone, Mary turned to face Iona. “So, Waters sent you to do his dirty work again?” Then shifting the crying baby in her arms, she stooped until she was face level with her sons. “You guys were great. Now be a big help to Mommy, go to your room and start cleaning up the mess those bad men made. Mommy has to talk to the lady.” She kissed each of their cheeks and foreheads before dismissing them.
“Well, Mary, is this really the best you could do?” Iona said, indicating the modest home. She drew a manicured finger along the wall, checking her hand for dust. She rubbed it clean on the back of the sofa. “Doesn’t seem like much for the once best and brightest The Company had to offer.” Her words dripped with sarcasm and were intended to cause pain.
Mary did not respond.
Iona walked around Mary, appraising her. “I can't believe just how much you’ve let yourself go.” Iona’s voice was silky, her tone condescending. As she moved, her hair poured over her shoulders like fountains of liquid fire, green eyes sparkled with barely contained energy. Wearing a black body suit beneath a short emerald jacket, she stood in stark contrast to Mary, who in sweats and one of Mike’s old shirts had been relaxing with her children just before being broken in on.
They were friends once. They had shared a deep and rich history, once. Now all that existed between the two women was jealousy, hatred, fear, and pity.
Iona stared at Mary, loving her position of dominance. “You thought you’d beaten me, didn’t you?” She laughed.
Mary still said nothing.
“Everything you worked for, I have. I have your living quarters. Of course, I had to have it redecorated. I even have your old office.” She sighed. “What? You got nothing to say? Oh, I’ve dreamt of this day. The day when little Miss Mary Perfect, with everything just so, would have to come begging to me.” Laughter erupted from her. “Everything you ever worked for, I have; it’s all mine.”
“I have his children,” Mary said snidely and regretted it the moment she did. “I’m sorry,” she said reaching out toward Iona.
Anger swelled in Iona. “How dare you?” She stepped menacingly toward Mary. “How…dare…you!” She slapped Mary, the blow catching her full across the face. “Don’t you dare pity me.”
Mary turned with the blow, positioning her shoulder between her daughter and Iona. “Iona, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.” She adjusted the baby in her arms, nuzzling her neck, and she spoke around the agitated child. “You and I were friends once, closer even…” She hesitated, kissed the baby’s face and looked back to Iona. “Mike chose me. It doesn’t mean that we—”
Iona stepped toward Mary. “Sorry? Oh, you will be sorry. Before I’m done, Mary Stone, you will be very sorry.” She spun and stalked out of the house.
“Oh, God,” Mary cried, sinking into the chair behind her. “Oh, God, I keep saying the wrong things.” Her emotions broke on her like waves crashing onto shore. Curling her legs beneath herself, she rocked absentmindedly, hugging her daughter to her breast and silently wishing her husband was with her to comfort her. The baby, quieted, rested her face against her mother’s. Looking upward, Mary cried softly, “Lord, Jesus help me. I can’t do this by myself. I’m not strong, Lord. I’m just not.”
Looking out the opened door, Mary watched the small parade of vehicles float away. She spoke again, “I’m scared, Lord. Help me not to hate her.” Turning, she saw her sons who had come upon hearing her cry. Then with silent tears, they embraced and sat quietly, staring at the russet sky.
I hope you enjoyed this and are anticipating the release as much as I am.
Next week I'll introduce you to our true antagonist, Ted Waters.