from Book One Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call by award winning, best-selling visionary fiction author Jodine Turner
The dayroom was full of idle chatter, some nonsensical, along with the monotonous blare of a morning television talk show. Cigarette smoke wafted upward, trapped by the closed and barred windows, as much prisoner as all the patients committed to the psychiatric hospital against their will.
Sharay looked up and feigned a casual glance around the room. Her gaze rested on the old man. His knobby hands scratched his scrubby gray beard, then, index finger curled, he motioned for her to join him at his table. Sharay hesitated. The old man pointed to the spread of cards before him and chuckled. He held one up for her to see, and furtively laid it back down again. Curious, Sharay stood and scuffled across the room, the closest she could come to walking while on her medicine. She sat in a worn wooden chair across from the old man, the table and mysterious cards between them.
“Dillon.” He proffered his weather beaten hand in welcome. “Dillon Emrys. Born in the North of Wales, high in the mountains in a town no one has ever heard of. Born and raised there.” His voice was deep and carried the musical lilt of a heavy Welsh accent.
Sharay extended her hand and watched it tremor. Another side-effect of her medicine. She quickly withdrew it, embarrassed.
“The shaking is nothing to be ashamed of. Easy to remedy. Here, try again.” Dillon’s hand hung over the cards, waiting for hers.
Timidly, Sharay offered her hand again. She was surprised at the strength of the old man’s grip. He pressed his thumb against the top of her index finger and held on as if he awaited a return gesture.
“Ah, I thought perhaps you remembered the greeting of the ancients, but sadly not.”
Sharay leaned her head to the side, wiped the drool from her mouth against her shoulder, leaving a wet stain on her sweater. The old man must be crazy, she thought.
“Sure, some call me crazy. Others call me wise.” Dillon smiled, a full grin this time. Two dimples appeared in his deeply creviced face.
Sharay pulled her hand away, her eyes opened wide. How did he know what she was thinking?
“Nothing to be afraid of. Anyone can learn to read another’s thoughts. You’ve done it sometimes, too.”
Sharay didn’t answer. She wondered if she could get away from Dillon without creating a scene.
“All right, I’ll give you this piece of advice, and then maybe you’ll trust me.” Dillon leaned in close to Sharay. “Cheek your medicine,” he whispered.
“Cheek it. Take the medicine in your mouth, roll it with your tongue to the back of your cheek, near to your gums. Nurse will check your mouth but won’t see it. Then spit it out when she leaves.” Dillon leaned back, obviously pleased with himself.
“Nurse won’t see it?”
“No. Just do it. It will stop that silly drooling of yours.”
Sharay giggled nervously. Of course. It was so simple. “How did you learn to do that?”
Dillon shrugged and stroked his beard. “I know many things. Take this card for example.” He held up the card he had tried to show her before.
“Tarot cards,” Sharay said, recognizing the trump from a similar deck her mother had allowed her to play with as a child.
The cards were divinatory. When shuffled and laid out in a pattern, they could be interpreted, often giving readings that made accurate and profound pronouncements about one’s life situation.
Sharay took the card he offered her. Its edges were worn, the colors faded. It showed the picture of a young man and woman facing each other with hands clasped, standing under a rose trellis and being blessed by a hooded figure of a Goddess. The word LOVERS was printed across the bottom of the card. Sharay felt a fluttering in her womb, as if the card fanned the flames of the burnt out embers of her inner strength there. She had almost forgotten about this power spot in her body, hadn’t felt its heat since the day she met her psychiatrist, Dr. Deluth, a full six months ago.
“Yes, Tarot. But this is a very old deck, a special deck. That card is for you. Keep it with you. Sleep with it under your pillow.” Dillon lowered his voice. “Don’t show it to anyone else.”
Sharay touched the outline of the figures with her fingers, inexplicably intrigued by the faded picture.
Dillon coughed. Sharay looked up to see Dr. Deluth walk toward her, clip board in hand, two interns following obediently behind. She shoved the card under her sweater and tucked it inside her bra. Dillon laid a magazine across the top of his card spread, his movements betraying none of the anxiety Sharay felt whenever she saw Dr. Deluth.
Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call and Carry on the Flame: Ultimate Magic
Born into a lineage of priestesses in modern day Glastonbury, England, Sharay is chosen by the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea to help humankind move through the fear and dark times of today’s world. To do so, she must prove herself worthy by confronting her own darkness. Her way is blocked by her jealous Aunt Phoebe, who uses black magic against Sharay to steal her fortune and her magical powers. When Phoebe accuses her of insanity and murder, it’s the elder, eccentric wizard Dillon who sets Sharay on the Celtic ‘Imram,’ a quest designed to awaken her magical abilities as a priestess. And it’s Dillon’s grandson Guethyn who shows Sharay how to open her heart in the Beltaine Ritual, the ancient Celtic ceremony of sacred union. Hunted by the police, stalked by a demonic Tracker conjured by her aunt, and torn from everyone she loves, Sharay struggles with the temptation to fight Phoebe’s dark powers with her own. She must transform her fear and hatred for her aunt in order to uncover the mystery held deep within her cells that will allow her to fulfill her destiny – a secret only she can discover. When separated from Guethyn’s protection, Sharay continues on her Imram alone, in the spellbinding conclusion to Carry on the Flame.
Praise for Carry on the Flame – “FANtastic fiction! There are many magical stories out there in the publishing industry, but this is one author who has created a “new” fresh mythical tale that readers will love.” ~Amy Lignor, reviewer for the Feathered Quill