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Past Indiscretions

Past Indiscretions by Knight Susanne Marie
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Can Savannah save herself and the man she loves from the horrors awaiting them on the lost continent of Atlantis?
Awe-Struck Publishing; January 2004
117 pages; ISBN 9781587493836
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Title: Past Indiscretions
Author: Knight Susanne Marie
Many people found shelter in the night. Wrapped in the cloak of darkness, they hid from the slings and arrows of the day. Not Savannah--she couldn't. Tonight, she was having that dream again; the same dream that had haunted her ever since she could remember. Only this time it was worse--much worse.

She couldn't move. Rooted in the bed, every part of her body weighed a million pounds. No matter how hard she concentrated, her eyelids refused to open. Held like a virtual prisoner, she was forced to relive this afternoon's humiliation. And it had been humiliating. Every time at bat, she struck out. In the outfield, she missed the ball. Jacko had laughed and laughed until his ugly face turned blue. Now, in the dream, he grew in size and strength until he seemed to fill the sky.

"You cannot escape, Selena. I will get what I want until there is nothing left of you. Do you hear me? Until there is nothing left of you!"

Savannah couldn't help but hear. His voice roared through her ears, blasting down into her soul. Her heart positively quaked. And still she was powerless to move--to wake up. He'd called her Selena, but he was talking to her. Now came the familiar part of the dream. The helplessness...the panic...the spreading horror that something unspeakable was about to happen. Maybe once a month, she'd have this nightmare. She'd wake up frozen with fear. But it had never been this vivid. Never this...close.

She had to get away. If only she could scream to call Mom and Dad. Or Grandma. Anybody! If only she could break free from this...this spell.

Wishing must've made it so, for suddenly Savannah was able to open her eyes. For a second she took stock of her surroundings. Still the same worn flowered wallpaper covering the guest bedroom walls; still the same cracked pitcher and bowl on the bureau waiting for someone to wash hands; still the same sweet picture of baby Jesus in his mother's lap, hanging over the cedar hope chest. Nothing had moved. Nothing had changed.

Except Savannah could have sworn she'd been someplace else. The urgent need to flee remained, however. Not caring she was barefoot, she jumped out of bed and, avoiding the creakier floorboards, left her room and opened the front screen door. She made her escape out into the starry night. Not looking back, she ran. Fast, faster, fastest. Away. Away. Had to get away.

The hot, humid air clung to her, trying to slow her down. Mosquitoes buzzed around her, glad for the chance to have a midnight snack. A symphony of sounds enveloped her--country noises. Humming, moaning, hissing. The singing cicadas were the worse. Some kind of bug, Dad had said. But Savannah kept going, disregarding the rocks, twigs, and slimy feel of muddy ooze beneath her feet.

"Ouch." In the dark, she missed the sharp, jagged stone in front of her. Falling on hands and knees, she cradled her wounded left leg in her arms. Blood seeped out from a two-inch gash while tears flowed freely from her eyes. A fine mess she'd made of things. How could she explain her muddied, bloodied babydoll pj's to Mom?

"What am I gonna do?" she sobbed softly.

A light bounced across the vacant lot next to Grandma's. The flashlight's beam zigzagged across the field, looking for someone, looking for her. More sooner than later it would find its mark. "Who's there?" a harsh voice whispered.

Savannah turned to stone. How could she have forgotten? The boys had constructed a tent house made of blankets and were all sleeping outside tonight. What if...what if she ran into Jacko?

The light exposed her crumpled form, coldly illuminating the mishap. "Savannah! What happened? Why are you out this late?"

It was Tommy, in frayed jean shorts and a white undershirt. His dark hair, indistinguishable from the night, ruffled up in an endearing way. He was, in a word, gorgeous.

She stopped sniveling to wipe the tears on her puffed up sleeve. If only she were thirteen.

"Savannah? You okay, kitten?" He bent down and examined her injury.

"I, um, I had a bad dream, that's all."

Tommy held her lower leg and scraped off some dirt and grass. Peculiar shivers vibrated up and down Savannah's insides. She felt so weird. Not bad, but not good...exactly. She stared at him, not knowing what else to do.

But she did have a question. "Why do you call me 'kitten'?"

He grinned. "'Cause you're so small and helpless." To her embarrassment, he got really close to her leg--peering at it from only an inch away.

"There, all the foreign stuff's out. We'll have t'wash it, though, or it'll get infected. Your granny's got a pump out back, right?"

Grandma's water pump was a throw-back to the old days. She even had an outhouse, but thankfully, that was no longer in use. Imagine sitting on a hole--

"C'mon." Tommy helped her up. "Your ma's probably missing you."

"Thanks, Tommy. I--"

He put his finger to her lips. "Shh. Jacko's sleeping right over there. We don't want t'wake him, do we?"

She trembled. "No."

Tommy curved his arm around her and walked her over to Grandma's backyard. She'd never felt and protected in all her life.

"I didn't think so, Savannah. I bet anything he's the one who gave you the nightmare in the first place."

Never fond of her own name, she drank it in when Tommy used it. A giggle bubbled up and refused to be held back. "You're right! How'd you guess?"

"Hey, he gives me nightmares, too!" Tommy primed the hand pump a few times, and then water began to flow. "Here, stick your leg in."

The sensation of him running his hand up and down her lower leg in no way could compare with Mom's touch...or Dad's. For some reason, Savannah wanted to jump out of her skin from the sheer pleasure of it.

"Okay, it's clean." He glanced at her dirty pajamas, then down at his undershirt. Without saying a word, he whipped the shirt off and started drying her leg.

The only time Savannah had seen the unclothed upper part of a boy was at the beach back home, or at the pool near Grandma's house. To be truthful, she'd never really paid much attention. But Tommy's body. Well, he was beautiful.

Something unusual coursed through her veins. Something that hadn't been there before. Something grown-up.

" should be a doctor," she offered timidly.

"Me? Nah. I'll be lucky if I graduate high school." He handed her the shirt. "Keep this in case it bleeds some more--so you don't dirty your granny's sheets."

Their hands met and he looked at her, eye to eye. She wanted that moment to last forever.

"Er, you'd best get back t'bed, Savannah. And no more bad dreams."

He couldn't go! Not just yet. "I, um, I'll get your shirt washed and give it back to you, Tommy."

"Nah, throw it away." He turned and headed toward the blanket house. "See you tomorrow, kitten."

It sounded like a promise. Hugging the shirt to her chest, Savannah skipped back into her bedroom. Slipping under the cotton bedsheet, she sank into the mattress and sighed. It really was a miracle that everyone still slept.

Tomorrow. She was going to see him tomorrow.

As it turned out, Savannah never saw Tommy again. Until...