Hey, S. M. Boyce here. Shimmer is the second book in the Fairhaven Chronicles, a series inspired by the beauty of the west coast. Enjoy the first 6 chapters on the house and ride along as Victoria Brie (yes, like the cheese) and her best friend Audrey Xavier continue their journey.
Did you miss the previous chapters? Here they are:
Chapter 1: http://oriceran.com/shimmer-snippet-1/
Chapter 2: http://oriceran.com/shimmer-snippet-2/
Chapter 3: http://oriceran.com/shimmer-snippet-3/
Here’s chapter 4:
Glow: The Revelations of Oriceran, The Fairhaven Chronicles, Book 1
By S. M. Boyce & Martha Carr
A week after she had found the alabaster figurines, Audrey lay in her bed with the door closed. On any other day Audrey would have been in the basement playing with her new gym, working out on the punching bag or practicing her sword techniques in the mirrored arena, but today she was curled up in her blanket with her chin on her pillow as she lifted a glowing white prism in her hands.
It was the latest of her finds, and by far her favorite. Though it hadn’t been carved into a fun shape, it glowed brighter than the others when she held it. This one had more power, though she didn’t understand how she knew that. Palm flat, joyful anticipation swirling in her chest, Audrey watched in awe as the crystal hovered above her skin, beautiful and glowing, filled with a magic she didn’t understand.
But she wanted to.
The other four figurines she had bought from the shopkeeper sat in the bedside table drawer beside her. Each had its own cushion, a place of prominence. She didn’t know why, but her instinct warned her to treat them with respect. They were special. Powerful.
They were hers.
True, she had used Victoria’s money to buy them, but at least she had haggled. It wasn’t like she had a job anyway. Victoria had said her money was Audrey’s, but it still felt very much like Victoria’s. In a way, buying anything for herself felt like stealing from her friend, even though Victoria had insisted Audrey quit working at Bertha’s and just enjoy herself.
And yet, every denni she spent generated a twinge of guilt.
Still in her pajamas at two in the afternoon, Audrey pushed the thought aside and stood, the crystal hovering above her palm. It was time for an experiment, one she didn’t fully want to run because she wasn’t sure if she would like what she discovered.
Time to see if these crystals only responded to her, or to any human.
She hurried down the stairs and placed her beautiful prism in the middle of the kitchen table. She hesitated, unwilling at first to let it go, but she finally forced herself to set it down. She had to know if she was special.
An irrational voice in her head told her to grab it, to hoard it, to make sure no one took it from her, but she swallowed hard and turned her back on the stone.
“Victoria!” she shouted into the house.
“What?” Victoria shouted back, her voice distant. She was in the basement. Sure enough, the smack of a fist hitting the punching bag followed Victoria’s voice, as well as the rattle of chains as the bag swung.
“Come here. Let’s talk about dinner.” Audrey slammed a cabinet door to emphasize her point.
Audrey didn’t care about dinner. It was an excuse to get her friend up here without her knowing why. To see if Victoria was drawn to the crystal too. More importantly, Audrey needed to know what happened when Victoria touched it.
The heavy thud of feet on the stairs set Audrey’s pulse racing with nerves and anticipation. To be innocuous, Audrey knelt to rifle through one of the cabinets without even remembering what was in this particular one. Pans, from the look of it, and a couple pots with lids.
The door to the basement swung open, and the kitchen floor creaked. A chair scraped along the floor and Victoria, breathing heavily, slumped into the seat. “I would kill for a potpie. Why don’t we eat out tonight? Let’s go see Bertha and ask her to cook us something delicious.”
Audrey forced a smile and stood. “Works for me.”
“Hey, what’s this?” Victoria leaned over the table, reaching for the prism.
Every fiber of Audrey’s being screamed for her to grab it from underneath Victoria’s hand. Her very soul reached for it, but Audrey forced herself to remain still. She didn’t like the effect the carvings had on her, but she couldn’t deny their power or how they made her feel. Special. Part of her didn’t want to lose that sense of uniqueness. She didn’t want to discover that just any human had an impact on them. She wanted to believe that only she could make them come to life, but it wasn’t enough to believe. She had to know.
Victoria lifted the prism into her hand, smiling as she studied it. Light refracted from its faceted edges, but it didn’t glow.
As with the elves in the marketplace, the crystal did nothing when someone else touched it.
Audrey smiled. She couldn’t help it. Gratitude and joy buzzed through her. “I found that in a new marketplace. Pretty, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it really is. Is this the new centerpiece for the table?”
Audrey shook her head. “I was playing with it when I thought about food. I’ll go put it back in my room.”
“Huh. Cool.” Victoria set it back on the table without hesitation. The crystal didn’t call to Victoria the way it called to Audrey, and a realization burned within Audrey like fire. She had her own brand of magic.
After a lifetime of playing second fiddle to her best friend, Audrey was finally special. Whatever these crystals were, they held secrets that only she could unravel.
Victoria stood and walked toward her room at the back of the townhouse’s first floor. “I need to clean up, so let’s head out in about ten or fifteen minutes. Sound good?”
“Works for me.” Once Victoria was out of sight, Audrey grabbed the crystal and trotted up the stairs to her room. The crystal hummed, glimmering at her touch. She shut the door behind her and fell with a happy sigh onto her bed, beaming as she studied it. It still glowed in her hands, ripples of light shimmering through it like waves in an ocean.
“What are you?” she asked the crystal.
It pulsed, the light within moving to a beat she couldn’t hear. The pulsing light sped up, and Audrey felt a burst of energy within her. It felt like a sugar rush, but it was far stronger. She wanted to dance, sing, holler—anything to expend this overwhelming energy rushing through her.
White light sparked where her fingertip met the crystal. There was a sizzling sound, and smoke rose from her fingers.
She gasped and dropped the crystal on the bed. The glow faded, as did the overwhelming energy. Chest heaving with surprise, Audrey set a hand on her heart in a half-assed attempt to calm herself. She stared at the crystal, bewildered.
Something deep in her core warned her to tell no one. Though she didn’t believe they were from Atlantis, she had a nagging feeling that those who did know what these stones really were would kill to take them from her. Whatever they were, they did more than just glow. They had real power. Real magic.
And they belonged to her.
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