Light Bringer is Pat Bertram’s latest novel, scheduled for release by Second Wind Publishing in March, 2011.
Description of Light Bringer:
Becka Johnson had been abandoned on the doorstep of a remote cabin in Chalcedony, Colorado when she was a baby. Now, thirty-seven years later, she has returned to Chalcedony to discover her identity, but she only finds more questions. Who has been looking for her all those years? Why are those same people interested in fellow newcomer Philip Hansen? Who is Philip, and why does her body sing in harmony with his? And what do either of them have to do with a shadow corporation that once operated a secret underground installation in the area?
Helen Jenks gripped the steering wheel and squinted into the darkness beyond the beam of the Volkswagen’s headlights. Nothing looked familiar. Was she almost home? The snow had stopped falling, but in these hills so far from town, the county didn’t bother to plow. She didn’t know if she drove on the right road, or any road at all. There were no other cars, no tire tracks.
Where was everyone?
She sighed. Home in bed, probably, where she would be if she hadn’t pulled a double shift at the hospital.
Hearing an odd drone, she cupped a hand behind an ear and tried to isolate the sound from the rumble of the Volkswagen engine. Was something wrong with the bug? Oh, please, no.
All at once the sky lit up. She leaned forward for a better view and caught sight of a brilliant star that seemed to throb in time with her heartbeat, growing brighter with each pulsation.
She sat back and rotated her head around her stiff neck. Maybe it was Venus. Hadn’t she read that at certain times of the year, under certain conditions, Venus could be as big and as bright as the moon?
Leaning forward again, she saw the star pulse one last time, then wink out. As she became used to the darkness it left behind, it reappeared, darted toward the horizon, and vanished. So, not Venus. Perhaps a meteor or two.
She listened for the drone, but no longer heard it. Good.
Ten minutes later, she noticed a pin prick of light in the distance: her porch light. Her car slid to the side, and she gripped the steering wheel harder. Be careful, she cautioned herself. You’re not safe at home yet.
When at last she parked in front of her old frame house, she pried her fingers off the steering wheel and stumbled out of the car. Except for the dings and pops of the cooling engine, the world was silent, appearing so new and un-touched, she hesitated to mar the opalescent expanse with her footprints. Then her eyebrows drew together. The snow wasn’t untrodden after all. Tracks led to the house where a small gray creature huddled against the door.
She clapped her hands. “Shoo. Shoo.”
The creature did not stir.
“Go on. Get,” she shouted.
The creature still didn’t move. Was it dead? This wouldn’t be the first time a dying animal had been attracted to the warmth seeping from beneath the front door.
She approached gingerly, relaxing when she saw what appeared to be an old gray blanket that had somehow ended up on the stoop. She bent over to collect the wad of fabric, then straightened. Bad idea. Who knew what vermin had taken refuge in the folds.
Before she could figure out what to do, the blanket moved. She jumped back and stared at it. The blanket moved again, giving her a glimpse of a coppery curl.
She lifted the bundle, cradled it in her arms, and drew back the blanket. Two dark eyes, shining with intelligence, gazed at her.
She sucked in a breath. An infant, no more than nine months old.
As the infant continued to gaze at her, its eyes brightened to gleaming amber. Then it beamed at her—a welcoming smile, both joyous and knowing, as if it had recognized a dear friend.
Helen’s face felt tight. “Who are you?”
The baby chortled in response.
“And who left you here?” She glanced at the tracks. They led in only one direction—toward the house.
Feeling dizzy, she crouched to examine the tracks more closely.
They were footprints. Tiny footprints in the snow.
She staggered to her feet and followed the impressions to see where they had originated, but there were no footprints beyond her driveway. No tire tracks, either, other than her own. It seemed as though the baby had appeared out of nowhere and headed straight for her front door. All by itself.