All his life, Reyes Alexander Farrow has suffered the torments of the damned. Only one thing has given him hope: the woman who radiates a light that no mortals can see; a light that only the departed can see…
Told from his point of view, BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN chronicles the first time Reyes ever encountered Charley, and how their relationship has been the one thing that can either save him or doom him.
I’m curled in a corner of the basement, shivering like a little bitch and licking my wounds from the latest encounter, when I hear my sister crying at the door. I try to assure her I’m okay, but the edges of my vision darken and a beckoning light appears in the distance. I collapse and drift toward it. Weightless. Ethereal.
I always drift toward it.
Not literally. I’ve been locked in the basement by a psychopath. I don’t get out much. But mentally.
You should probably know that even though I’m twelve, the circumstances of my existence are not normal. The things that happen to me are not normal. The things in my head are not normal. And the light that I’m drifting toward, the warmth I feel from it, the . . . forgiveness for all my abnormalities, is as abnormal as I am.
I’m three the first time I see it, and in a very similar state. I follow it. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and drift toward the white-hot pinprick of light burning the back of my eyes. The closer I get, the brighter it becomes until, just when I think I’ll never see again . . .
. . . she appears.
This tiny being peeking out from between a lady’s legs. I don’t know what to think at first, besides I shouldn’t be looking between a lady’s legs. But she is dying, the lady, so I figure it’s okay. I wouldn’t look at her bad anyway. My head doesn’t always work right, but even at three, it knows not to look at a lady bad.
Anyway, she’s shaking. The lady. Not shivers like if she’s cold, but deep shakes like if something’s wrong. Her head is thrown back and her body is stiff. The nurses hold her down as a doctor pulls at the light. At the thing. The tiny being that was in the lady’s belly, and suddenly it all makes sense.
Not the light, but that whole “Where do babies come from?” thing.
It’s disturbing, but not so disturbing as the lady. One of the reasons my head doesn’t work right is because I feel what others feel. Could ever since I was a kid. A littler kid. I can feel other people when they’re mad or pissed or in pain. That’s how I know when to stay away from Earl. When to run and hide. It doesn’t always work, but it’s damned sure worth a shot.
But right now, I feel the lady’s pain and it hurts and I almost leave if not for the light. I try to catch my breath once more. To be near it. Near her. Just a little longer.
She comes out in a whoosh of baby and liquid and a light so bright, I can hardly see—and I’m mesmerized. Then the pain stops and I can breathe normally again. The lady is still. A solid, constant note sounds in the room, and people gather around her and the baby. Everyone except the man holding the lady’s hand. He is doubled over. His shoulders shake, and I realize the people around the baby—most of them, anyway—are dead. They’re people from the past come to see the light. Ghosts. Whispers.
Their faces are full of wonder, but they are blocking my view, so I push them aside and drift closer. She is wailing like babies do. Then she sees the lady. Her mother. The woman standing beside the doctor, looking down at her. I’d never seen anything like the emotion in the mom’s expression, and I think how it must be love, because it’s soft and caring and tender.
I’m glad for the baby and sad at the same time. The mother touches her face. The baby’s. Tells her to be strong. Stronger than she was. Then she kisses the man’s bowed head, and I think about how I didn’t know ghosts could cry. Then she does the impossible: She steps into the baby’s light and is gone.
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Meet Darynda Jones:
NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com.
January 6, 2016
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