My serial was leading up to a Kindle Scout campaign, however, the program has ended. Fortunately, I can share a little bit of this work without being worried about Kindle seeing it as “publishing,” so now that we are halfway through the serial, I am proud to present to you Chapter’s 1 & 2 of Death’s Primordial kiss.
Chapter 1: In the End
Helaine & Rose
No matter who you are, it’s coming for you. During the length of this journey, we were led to believe that when we reach our deaths, that one either succumbs to the darkness or is lifted by the light.
We accepted its claws on the heels of each step we took toward our destinies, though it would never receive a warm welcome from either of us, despite our best-kept oaths. After a year of knowing our final breath was a possibility, we were met with the chilling, irreversible truth that we weren’t invincible.
Should we have seen it coming to leave our lives in shambles or rip our souls from their fleshly homes? Yes, and perhaps we should have recognized the signs.
There were plenty of omens in the instinctive urges that made us turn to search the shadows. Though when we did turn, the projections of evil sat placidly and distracted us with reflections of ourselves.
Signs were outlined in the unexplainable moments that left gossamer hairs standing up on the napes of our necks, and in the unyielding winter ice that silenced the busiest of streets with its cool frost. Signs hung on superstition and swallowed the kindest of karma. And in all of these, one truth was waiting to be discovered: the moment of death doesn’t lead to a polarity.
There is no light. There is no dark.
There is only the sound of music.
Chapter 2: Opportunity
One year earlier
Every point in my life led up to this moment, said every eighteen-year-old ever. Ever since I was six years old, I knew that I wanted to be one of them. I desired the most dangerous job there was—protect the innocent, keep two watchful eyes over the city, and commit a decade of my young adulthood to being one of the five most influential people in London. I was lucky enough to understand what I wanted from a young age, and the voice in my head repeated my mantra consistently over the years: I had to make it into The London Coven no matter the cost.
With such a short window of time, this could very well be the only opportunity I ever got, and I’d do anything I could to grasp it firmly in my hand and call it mine. It didn’t matter what or who got in the way. As long as you were eighteen to twenty years old and there was a vacancy, you could compete for a place on the London Coven: Your place. Not only was it a way of life, being in the Coven was a rite of passage in my family, and nothing would make them prouder than me being inducted as a Coven witch.
Our ballet flats carried us quietly across the glistening, rain-ridden cobblestone. We kept to the edge of slumbering houses tucked into rows, reveling in every second of our sneaking. Despite our best efforts to travel during two-a.m. quietly, Helaine and I both knew that we weren’t going to get away with this. The best we could do was postpone getting caught until morning, and the few extra hours we’d gain from this impromptu plan would give us a short-lived advantage, but a great one at that. With such fierce competition, we could use any lead we could find. And being too curious for our own good? Yes, that had just about everything to do with it.
It was and had always been eerie to me how solemn the streets were early in the morning. It was the closest we could get to feeling like we owned the city—for now, anyway. Helaine had a harder time sneaking out and had to trudge through backyards and gardens. She lived in an area of the city that had more night owls and nocturnals. My street was positioned closer to our target destination, a place in the city that was a mix of humans and paranormals. Neither of us uttered a word during the whole walk.
The misty rain had let up, and the clouds gave way to the stars, celestial bodies waking from their rainy dreams. As I glanced upward to the twinkling sky I felt myself getting caught up in stars, which I had done ever since I had noticed they were up there watching me. Even though I valued rationality, there was nothing like the serene but endless wonder the sky instilled in me. I saw Alpha Librae, Beta Librae, Gamma Librae, and Sigma Librae, all forming into their constellation, and above them, there was my personal favorite, Methuselah, the oldest star in our entire galaxy. The Libra constellation was Helaine’s zodiac sign, but not even the stars were comforting tonight.
I mulled over the weight and force of our mission. Was a four-hour head start on the other hopefuls really worth the risk of getting caught? Were there two initiate spaces open like the rumors said? The purpose of my existence felt like it had made its own gravitational field, pressing on the front of my thoughts.
Calm down, I soothed my mind. Does anyone really know what they’re supposed to do at eighteen? No. Chill the hell out. Conversations with yourself always turned out better when there was an answer back, but if I felt any better, it was only by a hair.
We ducked down an alley and approached the employee’s entrance of the red brick building. It didn’t have any ground floor windows (a clear indication that it was the fortress it was) and was signed as Block Thirteen Press, an unassuming title for the headquarters of a supernatural newspaper. Ours was known as The Thirteenth. Helaine’s face dropped to a frown, and she fixed a stare on me, lips puckering in discontent.
“Go ahead and ask it,” she said, her English accent making the demand in her voice somehow sound more polite than mine would have. The gleaming mischief in her dark eyes, however, was unmistakable for anything else.
“Are you sure about risking your internship for this?” I loved the feeling of sneaking through the night, and the ever-present dread of knowing we could be caught any moment, but once that key turned, there was truly no going back.
“It’s not breaking in if you have a key,” she answered. “At least for the first door we’re passing through. Also, if this is the news I think it is, I won’t be in need of such a wonderful internship anymore.” She smiled resolutely, fumbling with the key to her workplace. “My last name is the only reason they kept me on after I graduated.”
“And after you worked so hard to win that internship out from under me,” I said with a sarcastic smile. That was the biggest battle we ever waged against each other if sparring in martial arts didn’t count.
“You’re busy enough as an instructor,” she said, motioning me to follow her into the paper’s headquarters as she pushed in the door. That was true.
Helaine had the small flashlight on her watch lit, a beam jetting from her wrist, but the exit signs and security lighting were bright enough to allow us to navigate through the paper. She led the way, faint security lights bouncing off of the top of her head, leaving a ghostly glow around the wayward strands of her wavy red hair.
“I can promise you it’s not a job I’d mind losing. There’s no detective work in landing advertising for the newspaper, and it’s certainly not sitting on the surface of a filled teacup.” Helaine pointed to a paper-piled desk as we passed it. “Splash of cream, teaspoon of organic sugar.”
I snorted out in a laugh.
Maybe I was still a little envious that Helaine had landed the internship last spring at Block Thirteen’s newspaper. Reporting the news was the closest we could get to making history, which we intended to do, one way or another. Her parents made her stick out the job for the summer, and her boss told her she could work there through university too. If it weren’t for our promise to go to college together, she might have applied for university in Scotland instead.
Even though classes would start in a few weeks, it could become a contingency plan. Our real intentions could very well be behind the next door we were about to break into. Our biggest hope and dream since we were six years old, raised practically as sisters, could become reality. We would make history together.
We stood at the editor’s door in our rain-soaked shoes, looking up at it as if it were an imposing effigy we intended to set fire to. The door, with a green shade pulled down over its clear window, was our point of no return, and no one had ever formed a plan like ours and carried it through before. No one possessed the combination of controlled recklessness we were capable of at two a.m. Once our unbreakable friendship made it into the Coven, we’d be unstoppable.
“I’m not going to lie,” I said famously, “I’m so excited that I might pass out if this headline is what we think it is. Our future could be revealed in a matter of minutes.”
“Less than that,” Helaine said. “I’ve been practicing.”
She slipped two pins from her jacket pocket, jammed them into the keyhole, and we heard the pop on the lock of the owner’s door. He was the only person who had access to tomorrow’s headlines—until Helaine found out the witches dropped off a story, and she and I spent the whole day coming up with wild conspiracies of what it could be. Around midnight, we started talking each other into breaking into the paper and finding out before everyone else. An hour and a half later, we snuck out of our houses.
The eerie creak of the door made my hair stand on end, and a chill shot across the base of my neck as it opened into a pitch-dark room.
“Did you see them when they dropped it off?” I asked Helaine, my words almost becoming lost to a whisper. I could feel how nervous she was, and that she was trying to extra hard to keep her emotions even so I didn’t faint like I had promised I might. I hadn’t planned on the figure of speech actually happening.
“No, they’re like ghosts. The five Coven members won’t be seen unless they want to be—well three now, hopefully. If that makes me sound horrible, I really don’t care. After you, Rose,” Helaine instructed, shutting the door behind us and flicking on the light.
The office had no windows and looked like a storage closet with filing cabinets lining the walls. We stood next to each other near the desk chair, exchanging a glance that confirmed neither of us was backing down. We were going to suffer the consequences. Stacks of paper were piled over a flat surface calendar, and sticky notes with bent edges marked the miscellaneous spaces in between the sheets. The most curious item on the desk was a dark brown file folder, hot-stamped with an insignia Helaine and I recognized right away.
“The lotus pentacle,” we said, gasping at the same time. It wasn’t a symbol the Coven liked to flash around, but all of their official documents were marked by it. My hand instinctively reached down to run my fingertips over the bumpy flesh of the thick folder. It was a five-pointed star, but its smooth edges morphed into the symbol into a flower; a reminder of where the protectors of the city drew their power from. When The Coven sent news to Block Thirteen Press’s owner, it usually meant that there was an early vacancy on its five-person team. The rumor was that this time, there were two, and though it was against the odds, sometimes rumors were born in truth.
Earth. Air. Fire. Water. Spirit.
The right elements, our ancestral ones, would have to be vacant for us to become initiates, and in the event that two places were open, we desperately needed them to be Water and Spirit. We both came from water lines, and spirit was like the wheel of fortune in Tarot, influenced by the cards around it, an element anyone could initiate under—very Helaine if you ask me. She was here tonight because she truly couldn’t believe the rumors until she saw them with her own eyes. I was all water, from my ability to feel other’s emotions, to occasional indecisiveness and being swept up in constellations, dreams and intuition. Tonight my intuition gnawed at my rationality, winning out, and convincing me that water and spirit were both up for grabs. There was no other way.
“We were right…” I trailed. “Together?” I asked, as Helaine’s hand joined mine at the cover.
Our anticipation was about to crush me, and luckily, Helaine didn’t want to prolong our excitement any longer.
“One, two, three—”
We flipped over the cover to reveal a headline that the owner set and printed without showing another soul.
The sting of our surprise and numbing amazement fed into each other, swirling up toward the ceiling of the dim room, and I could feel both emotions settle above us as reality kicked in.
Exile confirmed: Two Positions in London Coven open for Autumnal Equinox.
“This is happening exactly how it was supposed to!” I exulted, starring down our dream since we were just little girls. “It just has to be Water and Spirit who got kicked out, and our elements are up for grabs.”
“Water, both our families,” Helaine nodded, talking herself through it, “and spirit, a line in my family, but also a wild card, a power anyone with witch blood can commit to without much trouble.”
“What does it say?” I asked, leaning into the page.
Helaine’s long red hair spilled onto the page as we both squinted at the fine print of the article that was to be published in four hour’s time.
“It says Water is open… and Fire.”
The contentment I felt when I thought everything was locked into place evaporated. Our families both came from long-standing water lines, and it had been decades since someone was brave enough to attempt to initiate under an element that wasn’t in their blood. He had failed, just as the last daft witch centuries before him had. Worse, their families had been disgraced, and no one with their blood was ever chosen to serve in the Coven again.
I didn’t know whether to look at Helaine or stare blankly at the page burdened with disappointment, so I glanced to her, silently asking her how I should be feeling at the moment, dreading the auditions we were about to endure, and feeling the whirlwind of emotions in the back office collide, cutting through me like a double-edged sword. I felt her surprise morph into a morose competitive demeanor laced with guilt, trepidation, and a bit of excitement. My own thoughts turned to a place of feeling betrayed by a coven I wasn’t even a part of yet. I felt a bitter resentment toward Spirit for messing things up and leaving us with only the element of water. The adrenaline from our excitement fizzled out. Our tiredness was no longer disguised by the giddiness of rule breaking, and I fought a lump forming in my throat, hoping that two a.m. left my stomach empty.
Don’t do it, I thought, talking myself out of vomiting all over the desk. I hated throwing up more than anything, but it wasn’t unheard of for me to have physiological reactions when emotions got as jumbled and complex as they were now.
I gulped down the bitter taste creeping up my throat, swallowing hard, the realization grounding my excitement, worn weary with disappointment. This was the worst possible situation an empath could be in.
“Are you okay?” Helaine asked me. Her eyebrows creased above her large brown eyes as worry replaced her other emotions, allowing my stomach to settle.
“No, I’m not okay at all.”
Helaine and I would have to fight against each other for the destiny we always thought we’d share. Only one of us could take our place on the London Coven, and the girl who made it would be leaving the other behind for ten long years. That decade would arguably be the best years of our entire lives… said every eighteen-year-old ever.
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The Silvered Moon Diaries is a New Adult, coming of age fantasy series with dual points of view.
Book one is named Death’s Primordial Kiss.
Who needs magic school when there’s magic work study? Welcome to the London Coven—if your unpredictable powers can make it to induction.
In a world where everyone wants to see you fail, it’ll be a bloody day in hell before you give up. Helaine would gladly skip university if it meant joining the London Coven, but because of her prestigious family, no one in the city wants to watch her gain rights to protect them for ten years. A firecracker by nature, Helaine’s desire to succeed is fueled by proving others wrong. Can she stand up for herself at auditions and win the title of coven witch out from under both her sister, Rose, and her magic-wielding ex-boyfriend?
Sometimes when there’s no place for you in the world, you have to make your own.Unhuman, Rose has felt like an alien her whole life. The coven can give her a sense of identity, but when powers go awry, untamable passion can be even more dangerous than a witch hunter. Rose’s magical abilities are dependent on lust and desire, and also on the help of her mentor, whose talent intimidates her just as much as the tension between them does. However, does being a prophesied witch unlike any other mean that she doesn’t have a match and is destined to be alone to save the world?
When martial artists Helaine and Rose compete against each other for a place as aninitiate on the London Coven, they realize the dangers of conspiracy when one of their peers is murdered. Now, with someone burning through witches, the coven’s newest initiate member must put aside her guilt and perfect her powerful, yet unpredictable elemental magic to save her fellow witches, or she could lose her career, loved ones, or her mortality.
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