Scents and Senses: Supernatural Friends. What the fairy tales didn’t tell you
Playing the role of a knight in shining armor is more complicated than it seems in the storybooks, as sixteen-year-old Joy discovers when she repeatedly comes to the rescue of a fifteen-year-old human. But when she meddles in the girl’s social life, Starra sends her packing.
Starra is determined to completely dissociate herself from the subterranean creature that has manipulated her life and cast her into the limelight. However, her resolve is soon tested when she becomes involved in a critical situation where supernatural assistance can enable her to carry out a daring plot.
Eventually, Starra’s involvement with her new other-wordly friends extracts a heavy price when she is beset by challenges that range from the down- to-earth struggles of a typical teenage student, to the realm of the fantastic. Nothing prepares her, however, for the ultimate challenge.
Loren Secretts was raised in a book-filled home, in a sleepy east coast suburb of the US. These factors are undoubtedly responsible for her early design of a number of exciting imaginary worlds that she could escape to from time to time during her childhood.
In her teen years, between schoolwork and lending an ear to her friends, Loren had less opportunity to go AWOL. Instead, her experience as a confidant to others inspired her to major in psychology in college and earn her M.A. in the field on the west coast.
As an adult, Loren has found fulfillment in her work with children and families for more than a decade. Her passion for writing was revived when she discovered that she enjoyed delving into the human psyche to write psychological reports.
But clients' reports are safe with Loren, who guards secrets fastidiously. Indeed, one of her aspirations is to work as a psychotherapist for the CIA, but since she now lives with her family in Canada, that dream will have to await its turn…
Here are some Excerpts!
Ever since I’ve been old enough to kick off on a condor with my own two chicken feet, I’ve been drilled to mind my own business.
Mind your own business, the first of the American Ten Commandments.
It’s not one I subscribe to, even though in our community, not minding my own business means more than social suicide; it’s a crime when we ascend above ground.
For thousands of years we deeems have kept away from the creatures running over our heads with their five-toed feet. So if anyone in my community gets wind of the risky job I’m on these days, I’m practically a goner. But that doesn’t stop me from shadowing a certain teenage fivetoe.
There’s also a totally different occupational hazard involved in this position I’ve created for myself, one I’m suffering from right now: this job occasionally makes school seem relatively stimulating. Yawn. I’ve played too many Angry Condor games to count since Starra got involved in some fantasy book a couple of hours ago and lost contact with the real world. Even if I knew how to become visible to the fivetoe eye and suddenly revealed myself, I bet she wouldn’t notice me, the cute teen perched on her windowsill.
Time simply refuses to advance, and I have to resort to counting the spider eggs cocooned in their nest on a nearby tree branch. A sudden sigh interrupts my lame occupation. There’s a starry look in the big eyes, and I notice the novel is slipping out of Starra’s dreamy grip. This is my window of opportunity! I finger the starchy edge of the book jacket and coax the book forward.
Thud. The book falls to the floor, and the movement seems to bring Starra back to her senses. At last she grabs a hoodie and sets out, probably for one of her night excursions on the Vista Del Mar Path. Are we running or biking tonight?
Running it is. I jog behind her, finding the excursion by the shoreline an improvement to watching her read. At least we aremoving.
She runs for half an hour, at a speed faster than the sea turtle pace usual for fivetoes. Then she slows to a stop at a jagged rock, half-submerged in the ocean. I groan quietly and contemplate leaving. From experience, I know she’ll climb to the top ofher rock and dream away. I start backing off, but when I’m some fifty feet away, I look back. Starra makes a pretty picture there, her silhouette perched high on the rock. Her long legs are tucked under her, and her head hangs back as she keeps her gaze on the stars above. If only she would let loose the heavy dark mane of hair she always twists up at the back of her neck, she would truly look like a mermaid risen from the sea.
Something pulls me back to her. I can’t explain it, but I have a feeling trouble is lurking nearby, waiting to snatch her in its net.
My chicken feet make an about face and follow Starra home as she takes the shorter route through town.
Last night, in Senior Elder’s weekly address, he said it had come to his attention that many of our teens were planning to pop in to the fivetoe gala event. While he admitted there was nothing wrong, per se, in hanging around, he advised staying away from the action, as we might be tempted to join in.
He reminded us that ever since a deviant group of our ancestors wreaked too much mischief two thousand years ago, we’ve been banned from communicating or associating with fivetoes.
Tag kicked me under the table. But I don’t carry a speck of guilt. If I hadn’t sidestepped some bans, my sister would be lonesome, and a fivetoe girl would have been shamed on the playing field, knocked senseless by an attacker, and fallen off a cliff.
The same fivetoe high school freshman wouldn’t have landed the lead role in our island’s biggest production of the decade if not for my intervention.
In approximately ninety minutes I know Starra will receive a standing ovation from the audience now filling every available seat. The bleachers are packed, and latecomers are taking the seats set up on the high school’s athletics' field. It looks like the majority of the islanders are here, and then there all the hundreds of mainlanders who came in to support this fundraising event tonight. Starra’s talent will be publicly acknowledged at last. I see fame in her future. All thanks to me.
Not that I expect any thanks from her.
No, the star of the show wouldn’t even want me here tonight, but tough luck. I’m not about to miss out on the vicarious pleasure of basking in her spotlight.
I’ve squeezed myself into a spot suited for a VIP. I’ll be almost right under Starra’s nose — whoops, that’s a problem; she’ll pick up my scent and know I’m here. The girl is a bloodhound. She’s the only fivetoe that can sense my presence. What the faulty
fivetoe sense of sight can’t do, her uncanny sense of smell makes up for.
Okay, the trick is to get a seat close enough to the stage to sense the emotions of those on stage, but not close enough for her to smell me. That spot a couple rows down will do it. As I settle in between two fighting brothers, I catch sight of some of my schoolmates hanging around. It’s already dark out, but still it’s early for our community to be up and around. Looks like the island’s teenagers from down below are willing to forego some snooze time just to see for themselves what the big fuss above us these past few months has been all about.
There’s still time till the curtain goes up. Meanwhile, the school band entertains the audience as they get settled. I catch some of the girls in my high school clamping their hands to their ears. Yeah, I get it. Even our kindergarteners banging on rocks produce finer music than fivetoe amateur musicians. But it doesn’t bother me as much as them since lately I’ve spent so much time hanging around fivetoe teens.
Two seniors to my far left are communicating in sign language, which is the safest way to talk around fivetoes. I’m eavesdropping on their gossip, and they’ve just reached a juicy climax, when out of nowhere a particularly tall fivetoe blocks my view. He turns around and takes his seat. My view is not obstructed anymore, but I lose interest in the gossip as soon as I catch sight of the intruder’s face. What’s Luc doing here? True, he’s a native islander, but he hardly has shown his face around here since he started college. And the last time we saw him, he was trouble. Then again, I have him to thank for getting me addicted to playing fairy godmother. His face is a trigger to my memory, and my mind replays my history with Starra.
Yeah, we’ve had our rough spots, but tonight makes up for it all. I’m positive in a few minutes she’s going to knock the socks off her fellow islanders fivetoed feet.
The curtains are going up.
This is it, people. Meet the real Starra Hart.
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