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Terminal Event Chapter 1

Chapter One

 

 “One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi,” I whispered, and then shuddered when the familiar crash of thunder boomed in the distance. The hairs on my arms stood at attention as the midsummer electrical storm continued to approach. I felt a cold trickle of sweat trace down my spine as it dropped to the waistband of my jeans and disappeared. Another blinding flash lit the front yard, and I continued to count. “One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi,” and boom, the sound rattled the windows in my bedroom as I sat huddled on my bed, my arms wrapped protectively around my knees. There were no sirens going off in town to announce the presence of tornado storm cells in the area, but that could also change rapidly as the summer heat dimmed minutely after nightfall in north Georgia.

 

I was born out of wedlock to a single mother, Shelby Rainwater, a full-blooded Cherokee woman. She named me Tallulah, after nearby Tallulah Falls. She had fallen for the blue-eyed, silver-tongued salesman who had repeatedly shown interest in her at the diner on his numerous trips through our little town. One night of steamy passion in the backseat of his car had left her smitten, until he never stopped in the diner again, and nine months later, she became a mother at barely nineteen.

 

In addition to being a bastard child, I was born with one blue eye and one brown eye. I remember mothers pulling their children behind them for protection as my mama and I walked past on the sidewalk, hearing the faint whisperings of “Demon Eyes,” as we passed.

 

So, even at the ripe old age of four, I remember being “different.” Mama would glare at the other women for their absurd behavior and clutch my hand a little tighter as we raced to our destination. She explained to me later, when I was almost ten, that my eyes would hold a special gift for me. Native American beliefs told of children born with eyes of different colors having a special gift of sight, but she could not tell me exactly what the gift would entail.

 

As a young child, I can remember closing my left eye, the brown one, and being able to see the world differently through my right eye, the blue one, which I later began to think of as my smart eye. At first, I thought my vision was just blurry, but as I aged, I learned to focus the vision in that eye and the objects that appeared as misty shadows began to take human shape. I never shared this fact with anyone other than Mama, as the town already feared me for my Demon Eyes. They would certainly ship me off to the nearest loony bin, if they knew what my smart eye could see.

 

“Your gift is emerging,” was all Mama would say when I told her of the visions I had.

 

I yearned for more knowledge, but Mama, not having the gift, could not give me more information, further frustrating me. Even my own mama did not possess the knowledge to guide me toward my special gift. I grew up feeling odd, and so different from others.

 

And, I grew up alone.

 

I had one friend growing up. Her name was Amy Groves, and we were inseparable from kindergarten until the end of our sixth grade year when her grandmother in Michigan took ill, and her family had to move to care for her. The loss of my only true friend left me devastated the summer of my twelfth year, the season that my life really changed.

 

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