QSFer Sara Codair has a new queer fantasy/paranormal book out, the prequel to the Evanstar Chronicles: “Life Minus Me.”
Mel is half-Angel, but despite her ability to heal and read minds, she feels powerless to help anyone. When a prophecy shows a local pet supply store owner driving their car off a bridge, Mel sets out to stop it.
Baily, owner of Barks and Bits, is barely holding it together. Things keep going wrong, and their depression spirals out of control. Just as they start wondering if they’d be better off dead, a new friend provides a glimmer of hope. But is that enough to keep living?
Mel never thought saving Baily would be easy, but she can’t figure out when, where, or why Baily’s suicide will happen. As her confidence fades away, she wonders how she can help anyone when she needs so much help herself.
This excerpt begins halfway through chapter 1:
Content Warning: Discussion of suicide.
Mel stared at her hands, short fingers, and scarred knuckles. They were hands that healed lacerations and broken ribs, but right now, they felt useless. “I hope the food comes out quick.”
“Me too,” said Erin.
Awkward silence slithered between Mel and Erin. They looked at everything but each other. Eventually, Erin pointed at the table where the man who had bumped into Mel sat arguing with the younger person. “Is it really weird that I dreamed about that person three times this week?”
Weird was not the word Mel used to describe Erin’s dreams. Prophetic, terrifying, and random were far more accurate adjectives for the visions that plagued Erin’s sleep, which became more frequent every time they stopped taking stimulants. Prophecy was something that ran in the family, on the Elf side. Mel suspected it was the reason she’d been tricked into vowing to never tell Erin the truth about their family unless Erin discovered it for themself. It didn’t change how wrong she thought it was.
“The one at the computer. Baily. They work across the street at Barks and Bits. I remember because their name tag had their pronouns on it,” said Erin.
Baily jumped up, spilling a glass of ice and juice all over the table.
“Baily, calm down,” said Cooper.
“Fuck.” They took a deep breath and started clearing up the ice while half the diner stopped talking and stared. “No more business at breakfast. Ever.”
Mel turned away from the argument. Erin’s forehead was crinkled in concentration. “What did you dream about them?”
Erin looked at Mel with their eyebrows arched. “They drove their car off a bridge in a snowstorm.”
The server swooped in and put two cups of steaming tea in front of Mel and Erin.
Mel clutched hers, slowly breathing in the steam. “How’d you know it was them?”
Erin stared into their tea like a mystic looking for signs in the steam. “The first time I just saw the car go off with a flash of the face, but the next two times, I watched them slam on the gas, spin the wheel, and stomp on the break.”
“Was that it?” asked Mel. If they weren’t in a crowded diner, Mel would’ve dropped her walls and watched the memory in Erin’s mind.
Erin shrugged. “Driving off a bridge isn’t an efficient way to kill yourself.”
Mel took a deep breath. “Erin.”
“It was a nightmare. They didn’t die right away. The car filled up with water while they were unconscious. Then they woke up, smiled for a few minutes, shivered, and their face contorted like they realized something. Then they started screaming and trying to get out of the car, but they drowned anyway.”
“You remember all that?”
“Every damned detail. I woke feeling like I was drowning, but Bessie barged in the room and sat on me until I felt better.”
“I’m sorry,” said Mel.
“Two Hungry Person specials?” asked a server carrying two big plates of food.
“That’s us,” said Mel.
Erin snatched a piece of bacon as soon as the plate was on the table and shoved the whole thing in their mouth.
Mel devoured home fries without looking away from Erin.
“I know what you’re thinking,” said Erin through a mouthful of eggs.
I wish you did, thought Mel. She wasn’t allowed to tell Erin about their supernatural nature, but if Erin one day learned how to read minds, well, then Mel couldn’t stop them from learning the truth. If Erin discovered it for themself, then Mel was no longer bound by that stupid oath.
Erin sipped their tea. “I’m not going to kill myself. I don’t want to die anymore. Trust me.”
Then why are you still bitter about me saving your life? Mel stuffed more food in her mouth to stop from saying something she would regret. She wouldn’t meddle in any way Erin would know about, but she could send Pixies to spy on Erin. The little winged creatures had a long-standing alliance with Demon hunters and Elves. They were always looking for work that would allow them to stay in the human world and give them a taste of human foods, like pizza and chocolate. Erin couldn’t see Pixies, most of the time, and when they did, they didn’t really believe what they were seeing. They’d never know Mel was spying on them. She could also assign some to watch Baily. Maybe with enough information, she could make sure Erin’s vision never came to pass.
Sara Codair is an author of speculative short stories and novels. They partially owe their success to their faithful feline writing partner, Goose the Meowditor-In-Chief, who likes to “edit” their work by deleting entire pages. Find Sara online at saracodair.com or @shatteredsmooth.
|Amazon Buy Link||https://amzn.to/2W5ko6B|
|Publisher Buy Link||https://ninestarpress.com/product/life-minus-me/|
|B&N Buy Link||https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/life-minus-me-sara-codair/1135902193|
|Kobo Buy Link||https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/life-minus-me|
|Other Buy Link||https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/998225|