Book 5 in the series Trek Mi Q'an
Mousy, modern day librarian Brynda Mitchell doesn't lead a very exciting life... yet.
Book 5 of the Trek Mi Q'an Series: No Fear, tells us the story of Jek Q'an Ri and the capture of his Sacred Mate.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from No Fear by Jaid Black
The United States of America, First Dimension
September 19, 1986 A.D. (Anno Domini)
Brynda Mitchell's eyebrows shot up as her curious gaze strayed toward the old man standing at the opposite side of her desk. His head was thrust back, his eyes closed in bliss as if he'd just reached nirvana, while he thrust open his trench coat and gave her a close-up view of his naked, and extremely wrinkled, seventy-year-old body.
Exhibitionism, she absently thought, letting the Psychology term mentally roll around on her tongue. She had just studied the section on sexual disorders in her Psychology textbook and could spot all sorts of wicked mental problems from twenty paces. Not that this one was particularly challenging. The trench coat and the nudity more or less gave it away, she conceded on a sigh.
Brynda shook her head slightly, suppressing the urge to sigh a bit more dramatically. Having worked in a library since she was old enough to hold down a job, she'd seen it all. Flashers. Junkies. Prostitutes. Once she'd even had to call the cops on an annoying pantomime artist who'd become irate when she couldn't figure out what in the hell his hand gestures had meant. She had calmly informed the pantomime of the fact that he was a failure at his craft, which had enraged him enough to break the cardinal rule of pantomiming--he had spoken to her. Bellowed actually. And none too prettily at that, she recalled.
The public in general tended to think of libraries as sedate places where little to nothing in the way of odd might transpire, but on the contrary, the odd was so commonplace that it seemed rather normal to her. From couples that wanted to spice up their sex life by carrying on in a library aisle to hookers seeking a safe haven from pursuing pimps, Brynda had seen it all. She supposed all the weirdness helped to shake up the monotony of her otherwise staid existence, so she didn't exactly mind any of it. Not even this seventy-year-old man and his naked, if a bit disgusting, body.
"That's nice George," she said distractedly, her gaze flicking back down to the textbook she was reading from. She had an exam in her graduate level Psychology course at the university later this evening and wanted to make certain she aced it. "Did you have a book you wanted to check out or do I need to call your daughter to come pick you up again?"
George closed his trench coat with a huff, nirvana forgotten as quickly as it had been found. "No, I don't want you callin' Emmy," he snapped in an amusingly irritated voice only old southern men can perfect. He wagged a skinny finger at her. "I ain't gettin' sent to my room again, Miss Brynda, and that's a fact."
Brynda blinked at him over the rims of her large-framed spectacles. "Then I highly suggest you keep Mr. Wiggly under wraps. And I do mean that literally." Her gaze flicked back down to the book. This particular chapter was actually quite interesting as it not only dealt with various sexual disorders and their remedies, but it had accompanying photographs as well. "There's a new series of books on UFOs that came in today," she said absently. "You might find them interesting."
He hesitated. "Do they got pictures?" George asked begrudgingly, his interest snagged.
She glanced up and smiled. "Artistic renderings. I don't believe anybody's actually photographed an alien yet. Aisle D5, George."
He grunted, curious despite himself. "Oh all right dammit, I'll go have me a look." His bushy eyebrows narrowed, forming one long caterpillar looking creature. "And no tattlin' on me to Emmy while I'm thumbin' through the alien books, y'hear?"
"Loud and clear," she said indulgently as she turned the page in her textbook.
An hour later, when the library was getting ready to close down for the evening, Brynda stood up and headed for the women's washroom to make herself presentable for class tonight. She wished she had time to run home and change into more comfortable clothing, but the visits to the doctor's office directly after work made her free time between the library and the college nonexistent.
When she arrived at the women's washroom, she made a direct beeline for the mirror, wanting to tidy herself up as much as possible. She studied the sensible, dependable image she presented as she straightened her neat little bowtie. Made out of red ribbon, she had read in a women's magazine that a spiffy little ribbon bowtie was part and parcel of the proper image a modern businesswoman of the eighties should present. Accompanied by a pinstriped cotton shirt, a pair of matronly black pumps, and a no-nonsense skirt that ended just below the knees, she felt ready to take on the world. Or if not the world at large, she conceded, she at least felt ready to take on the Psychology exam at the university tonight.
Sometimes, especially during moments like this when she was tired and not feeling particularly well, she wondered if it was all worth it. Why bother going to class at night when she knew she'd never live to see graduation day? But in the end she always pulled herself together and carried on with life, for she wanted to keep hers as close to normal as possible for as long as possible.
Only thirty-six-years old, Brynda realized she would never marry and bear children. A small part of her grieved the loss of what could have been if only Harry hadn't died, but he was gone, and she had her reasons for not wanting to entangle another man in her life.
Harry had been a good man, if not a particularly fascinating one. He had cared for Brynda wholeheartedly, and while she might have wished for him to be a tad more on the inventive, entertaining side, he had been a dear friend and a thoughtful lover. Unimaginative, even complacent perhaps, but thoughtful regardless.
Not that Brynda herself was particularly fascinating and entertaining. On the contrary, she knew she was a wallflower, knew too that people tended to think of her as a dull little mouse. She was interested in her work at the library, pursued her advanced degree in Psychology at night at the local university, and that, unfortunate as it might sound to others, summed up the whole of her existence.
But Brynda was happy. She might occasionally grow bored with the status quo, might every once in a blue moon wish she led a wilder, more exciting life, but all in all she was quite content with the life she had. Brynda preferred predictability. She sought out stability and normalcy, and she didn't much care for anyone or anything that shook up her ordered, sensible life.
Harry had been good that way. He had been as mousy and sensible as she was, which had made for a smart, if a bit boring match.
Only forty, it had been a shock when Harry had died of a heart attack. It had taken Brynda nearly two years to recover from the loss of him, but eventually the grieving period had ended and now when she thought back on his memory it was more with a small nostalgic smile as she remembered the good times, rather than with tears as she recalled the pain and abject loneliness of losing him.
But it had been difficult. She had always expected it would be her that would go first and not Harry. Now that she understood what it felt like to lose someone you love, she knew that she would never put anybody else through such a horrific event as what she'd gone through herself.
And so the status quo would remain. She would continue on with her life, lead it in the way she knew how to, and she would have no regrets, no wishes that she hadn't dragged somebody else into her life only to leave and break their heart.
Brynda drew in a deep breath as she studied her image in the mirror. She was an average looking woman, she supposed. Neither ugly nor gorgeous. She possessed long blonde hair, clear blue eyes reminiscent of a wolf's, but was otherwise rather ordinary looking. Still, she was fairly certain that if she wanted to she could find another man to date.
But, she reminded herself, she didn't want to. She might be lonely--terribly lonely even--but she would not do to an innocent man what Harry had done to her. She would not allow a man to grow to care for her, only to have her die on him in less than a year's time.
Brynda finished arranging the ribbon bowtie around her neck, shoved the pair of spectacles back onto her face, and reached for her briefcase. She wanted to get an early start before rush hour traffic hit, realizing as she did that traffic on a Friday was terrible. There was only two hours left before the exam tonight and the doctor's office was clear across town.
The doctor, she thought, as she took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. She wondered why she was even wasting her time by driving across town. She knew what he was going to say, knew too what the test results were liable to be--they were going to confirm what her body was already telling her:
The cancer had come back.
What had began as a small tumor in her stomach had spread throughout the rest of her body, slowly eating away at her internal organs until they were rotted. She had gone into remission for a short while--twice in fact--but every time her body began the process of healing itself, the cancer had come back within months, stronger and deadlier than before. She realized that her time on earth was very limited, understood and accepted the fact that she would never live to see her thirty-seventh birthday.
Brynda closed her eyes and took a steadying breath. She had lived a full life and had been a good person. She had given her love freely to others and had expected nothing in return. She would die with no regrets.
Her eyes opened slowly. She gazed at herself in the mirror.
Except one regret, she quietly admitted.
No matter how much she tried to convince herself otherwise, no matter how many times she tried to deny the desire buried deep within her heart, she knew the truth:
She grieved the fact that she would never live long enough to fall in love.
She grieved too the loss of the child that would never be.
Brynda straightened her shoulders and held her head high as she gathered herself together. She needed courage and strength to get through the next few months, not a sense of grief and regret from having lost things she'd never really had to begin with.
There was no such thing as a miracle. There would be no last minute advances in technology to save her from her impending fate.
There was no such thing as a faerie tale. There would be no magical kisses bestowed by Prince Charming that would awaken her from within the glass coffin.
There was no glass coffin. Just a cold steel cage she'd already bought and paid for, patiently awaiting her arrival at the cemetery.
She was going to die.
Brynda left the women's washroom with her dependable briefcase in hand, sensibly determined to carry on with life as best as she could. And if she secretly dreamed of the impossible, if she secretly prayed for a miracle, she would never admit it to anyone. Not even to herself.
Especially not to herself...