Mirror, Mirror (Multi-Author Series)
by B.J. McCall
eBook ISBN: 978-1-60521-617-1
Adam Calder’s act of courage and selflessness has saved him from the forever darkness, but he’s a Nightwing, a human with black wings, trapped in a dark, starry place called the Void.
He has one window to Earth, a view through the mirror of an elevator car, and one chance to leave the Void and find the Light.
Eva Evans was saved by a stranger, a winged man she now sees in her dreams. While on vacation in Fiji, Eva steps into an elevator and sees her savior, the sexy man of her dreams. Is he a dream or is he real?
Adam Calder moved down the busy sidewalk, picking out his next mark. Midday was the perfect time to lift wallets in the financial district. Traffic was thick and the sidewalks were crowded with men and women hustling to meet clients for lunch or grab a bite before getting back to their hectic jobs. Bankers, stockbrokers, and management types too busy speaking, texting, or checking the latest stock market numbers to notice the young, clean shaven accountant type in the off-the-rack suit.
“So sorry,” Adam said, bumping into a man in a pinstripe suit and a red power tie.
The gray-haired man glared at Adam, but never missed a beat in his cell phone conversation. It was likely he wouldn’t miss his wallet until the dinner hour. By that time, Adam would be kicking back with a beer watching television and waiting for the city’s hot spots to go into full swing. Then Adam would spike his blond hair and dress in his hippest jeans. He hit the clubs on a regular basis, relieving the drunk and the high of their cash and credit cards.
Adam picked up his stride, wanting to put a couple of blocks between himself and the executive in the red power tie. He scanned the sidewalk for his next victim.
His gaze settled on a heavy guy with his wallet sticking out of his left-rear pants’ pocket. Adam kept his eyes on the mark, closing the distance between them. Then the guy stepped to his right, making way for an attractive woman in a green outfit.
His target forgotten, Adam stared at the woman walking toward him. Her hair was dark brown, her breasts high, her waist narrow and her legs were long and shapely. When she was within a few feet of him, Adam noticed her brows were slightly arched over brown eyes and her lips were totally kissable.
Then she looked straight at him and smiled.
Her face lit up, her smile reaching her eyes. They weren’t brown, but hazel, an unusual mix of brown and green. She seemed to glow from within, bright and good. During his life, Adam hadn’t much experience with goodness.
Entranced, he smiled back.
The woman passed and the glow surrounding her slid through Adam. An odd warmth filled his chest, like a light had been switched on somewhere deep inside of him. The sensation was unfamiliar, utterly euphoric and heart stopping.
For a moment, he didn’t move, he didn’t breathe. Then like a shot, his heart thumped hard against his chest wall. He jerked and came alert as if he’d been shocked.
He looked around. He’d lost his mark, but Adam didn’t care. He spun on his heel, saw the woman walking away and rushed after her. He wanted to feel the rapture again.
She glanced over her shoulder as she approached the street corner. Was she looking for him?
Adam almost caught up with her. She was just a couple feet away.
The light changed to red, but the woman stepped off the curb and into the crosswalk. A vehicle accelerated through the intersection. Fear shot through Adam. Compelled by a force he didn’t fully comprehend, he launched into the crosswalk. He pushed the woman forward, propelling her out of the path of the oncoming car.
A wall of metal hit him, hurtling him into the air. He hit the pavement, hard. Pain radiated from his head and down his spine. Then he saw stars, brilliant points of light against an inky blackness that stretched into infinity.
* * *
Stunned, Eva Evans picked herself off up the pavement. Her right knee throbbed and her wrists were scraped and bleeding.
A woman wearing designer glasses kneeled beside Eva. “Are you all right?”
Eva recalled the squealing of brakes, then she’d been shoved forward and had fallen hard. “What happened?”
“You were almost hit by a car,” the woman said. “A man pushed you out of the way, but he wasn’t so lucky.”
She recalled being pushed. “Who?”
Eva spun around. Her head swimming, she swayed on unsteady legs. Strangers caught her before she fell. “Thank you.”
“You should sit down,” a woman said.
Eva heard sirens.
“The ambulance is here,” a man said.
Eva pushed through the gathered crowd. “I’ve got to see him.”
She looked at the young man lying crumpled in the street. He was looking up, his head slightly tilted to the side. Blue eyes stared straight ahead. Despite the trickle of blood on his cheek, he looked serene and familiar. She’d seen him just moments before. She’d passed him on the sidewalk.
“Who is he?” Eva asked.
“Look at the wallets,” a woman said.
Eva noticed three men’s wallets scattered close to the fallen man.
“I need to know his name,” Eva said.
Then a uniformed EMT stepped in front of her, blocking her view of those beautiful blue eyes. Within minutes Eva was loaded into an ambulance and headed for the hospital.
* * *
Adam tried to process the feeling of weightlessness. He was floating, adrift. His eyes were heavy, his mind thick with cobwebs. It was like the old days coming down from a high. Not a good high.
What the hell!
It didn’t make sense. He’d given up drugs years ago. He reached out, touched nothing.
He concentrated, digging into his memory. A woman’s face came to mind. Light surrounded her. Who was she? He tried to remember her name. His mind was blank.
Who am I?
He couldn’t remember. Fear rose, hard and fast. His heart pounded in an adrenaline rush. He opened his eyes and looked around.
Darkness, broken by tiny scattered lights, enveloped him. There was no up or down. Nothing to grasp or hold onto.
He realized he was naked, no clothes or shoes. He wasn’t cold or hot. He touched his chest, his skin was warm. He pushed his fingers against his neck and felt the steady pulsing of his blood.
Not dead. A sense of relief flooded his chest.
Adam. My name is Adam. Adam Calder. Yeah! That’s who I am.
Recollections filled his consciousness. He knew his age, date of birth, even his weight.
Okay. Where am I?
Nothing came, no memory, no reality. He had to find out.
Adam tried to move, but his arms and legs flailed. Something flapped behind him, a whishing like wings. Suddenly, he had balance. He spun around, felt an odd weight on his back. Adam shifted his shoulders.
The wing like things billowed, then he was soaring into the darkness, flying blind.
His heart raced and fear clawed at his brain. He folded his arms across his chest and tucked his knees to his chest. Feathers brushed his back and butt.
Then he began to tumble, end-over-end, rolling faster and faster. His vision blurred, the points of light turned to spinning streaks.
Terrorized, Adam threw his head back and spread his arms and legs wide. Dark wings snapped open behind him. Fear gripped his heart.
Wings. I’ve got wings.
He craned his neck and gasped in disbelief at the long black feathers. Even if he did believe in heaven, which he didn’t, God wouldn’t make him an angel. Adam began to laugh, but felt no joy. He swore, spewing his pain.
“That’s not allowed here.”
Adam spun around looking for the source of the deep male voice. He lost his balance, flailed and had to flap his wings to right himself. A naked man with shiny black eyes, long black hair and huge black wings hovered before him.
“Where am I?”
“Welcome to the Void, Mr. Calder.”
A shiver slid down Adam’s spine. “You know my name?”
“I know everything about you. Every thought you’ve ever had. Every experience of your meaningless life. It’s my burden.”
The winged man’s word stung, but Adam couldn’t defend the life he’d led. His parents had deserted him in the fog of addiction. His grandmother had called him worthless. He’d grown up in the streets, stealing to feed and clothe himself.
As an adult he’d honed his skills, doing what he did best. He loved no one and no one loved him. He gave nothing of himself and received nothing in return. He had no friends, just acquaintances that he used when necessary. He’d lived by the cards he’d been dealt. Meaningless was an apt description for a pickpocket with the moniker of ‘Fingers’.
He cocked his chin. He’d survived the streets, he’d survive the Void. Whatever the Void was. “What is the Void and who are you?”
“It’s the timeless space between reality and the hereafter. I am Purces, the overseer of the Nightwings.”
“What’s a Nightwing?”
“You have lived a dishonest life, Mr. Calder. But your last act on Earth was selfless.”
An image filled Adam’s mind, a beautiful woman with hazel eyes. He recalled the feeling of euphoria he’d felt. His chest filled with warmth. Then the image vanished.
“You saved a life, Mr. Calder and your solitary contribution to mankind was noted. Instead of going to the forever darkness, you’re a Nightwing. Not condemned, but definitely not worthy of the light.”
“I’m not dead?”
Purces sighed. “Not yet. You’re a Nightwing.”
What the fuck?
“You will show respect.”
Okay. You can read my mind.
“I thought we’d settled that.”
“Where are the other Nightwings?”
“They’re searching for their mirror.”
“Mirror?” Adam asked, looking around. “I don’t see any mirrors.”
Purces raised his arm and pointed a long finger at the distant stars. “Those lights are mirrors. You must search the Void and find the one mirror that lets you see the world and not your own reflection.”
An odd tingle ran down Adam’s spine. There was a way out of the Void. “I find my mirror and get to go back to the real world?”
“You must find a conduit to the light.”
Adam grinned. “Get help from the other side?”
Purces flapped his wings, receding into the darkness. “Someone has to believe in your heart, not your glib tongue. Souls have no pockets, Mr. Calder. You cannot steal the light.”
Before Purces faded from view, Adam called out. “How long do I have to find this mirror?”
As the overseer was swallowed by the darkness, he uttered a single word. “Eternity.”
Eternity. Adam turned, making a full circle and saw nothing but darkness and tiny pinpoints of light. For the first time, Adam truly understood the meaning of the word. Flapping his wings, he flew toward the distant mirrors.