Wednesday Sampler: The Other Inheritance by Rebecca Jaycox


In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Wednesday’s Sampler is an excerpt from The Other Inheritance, Young Adult science fiction and fantasy from Rebecca Jaycox.

As one reviewer said: Fast-paced and highly imaginative, The Other Inheritance sweeps you into a parallel universe and sends you on a journey of illusion and adventure.

The Story

She touched the frog. Just once. It leaped into the air and hopped away, disappearing under the classroom desks. It had been awaiting its fate as a science experiment, fully dead, the stench of formaldehyde permeating the room . . .

Seventeen-year-old Reggie has been having a tougher time than usual. As if dealing with her alcoholic mother and fighting school bullies isn’t enough, dead things keep coming back to life and this biker dude shows up in her dreams, babbling about magic and a world called the Other.

Reggie’s life is changing, and she has no idea why. Or whether she should believe Rhys, the man in her dreams, who claims she’s in danger and that someone is coming to take her to a safer reality.

And when Asher shows up, things really get crazy.

The Sampler

Rebecca Jaycox
Rebecca Jaycox

“Did anyone ever tell you that you’re a cliché?” seventeen-year-old Reggie Lang asked. She was hunched in an antique, high-backed chair. Her chestnut hair spilled over her shoulders, her splattering of freckles barely visible in the firelight.

“Am I?” he said.

The man on the other side of the hearth stretched his long legs out toward the fire. A scar puckered his right cheekbone, slanting down to the sharp blade of his nose.

Reggie took in his tough leather boots and duster. “The Hell’s Angels called. They want their motorcycle back.” His rough exterior stood at odds with the delicate furniture and pink-veined marble fireplace.

He laughed. “Hell’s Angels? Never heard that before.”

“Really? The leather look of doom isn’t deliberate?”

He tugged at his coat, designed for function, not fashion. The light from the fire picked out grooves and scrapes that pitted the hide. “It’s for protection.”

“From what? Don’t tell me you’re a rebel with a cause.”

His amusement faded. “I have a very important cause. And you’re a key part of it.”

Reggie wrapped her arms around her knees. Wariness shone in her large brown eyes. 1

Rebecca Jaycox

“I’m a key part of your cause? Does this mean you’re finally going to tell me what I’m doing here? These little chitchats are getting on my nerves. Tell me what you want from me or leave me alone.” Three nights now, they’d been meeting, and he refused to give his name or any answers.

“I’m here to help with the changes you’re going through. To help you understand your place.”

“My place? Who are you to tell me about my place? For all I know, you’re just some pervert who gets off by harassing teenage girls,” Reggie said, pushing herself to her feet.

“I’m not a pervert. Never accuse me of such things again.” His anger surprised her.

Reggie’s eyes narrowed as she searched his, but she found no signs of a lie. She sank back down into the chair. “Sorry, I have to watch out for myself.”

“Understood. Now, would you like to know what changes I’m talking about?”

“Stop jerking my chain and tell me already.”

“Yes, let’s start with the incident in class,” the man said.

Reggie’s stomach clenched. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Really, Reggie, surely you remember?” He leaned forward. “How’d you feel when your touch brought that dead frog back to life?”

Sucking in air, Reggie woke from the dream and frantically untangled herself from her sheets. Her thin t-shirt was soaked, and smelled like smoke. Her hands shook as she hugged herself. She didn’t want to think about what had happened in biology class. Reggie hadn’t told anyone, had ignored her teacher’s questioning glance, her classmates’ curiosity. Her lab partner Mark Millan had looked at her with wide eyes, his pimpled cheeks unusually pale. The frog had reeked of 2

The Other Inheritance

formaldehyde. There was no way it could’ve been alive, yet the moment she’d poked its body with her finger, it had leapt off the table.

Her right arm began to tingle again, remembering the strange burst of energy that had shot through her into the frog. First the butterfly she’d found caught in a spider’s web and now the frog. Her lack of knowledge, of control over the situation terrified her.

“Whatever you’re selling, I’m not buying,” Reggie whispered into the darkness, extending her middle finger toward the ceiling and flipping off the man.

Her feet hit the cold wooden floor, and she padded out of her room past her mother’s bedroom. Her mother had taken a few sleeping pills around nine, and Reggie had smelled whiskey on her breath when she’d kissed her goodnight. Shivering, she walked to the bathroom. Maybe there were a few pills left.

“No!” she said. No way was she starting down that path. She turned to stare at her mother’s door and shook her head. She didn’t need pills; she needed to talk to someone. Walking past the bathroom, Reggie went downstairs and grabbed the phone. She’d call John. He’d be angry, but she didn’t care.

Pale moonlight filled the large kitchen. Reggie ignored the light switch and settled into a seat. The chrome table and chairs, a retro set from the 1950s, would have been fashionably hip if the red cushions hadn’t faded and the chrome didn’t wear rust spots. Reggie was debating getting a slice of cold pizza for comfort before she called John, when she noticed the sheet of paper stuck to the refrigerator by a magnet. Her mother had an appointment with her psychiatrist tomorrow. What was he doing to help? As far as Reggie could tell, he just loaded her mother with more antidepressants and continued to ignore her increasing drinking problem. 3

Rebecca Jaycox

Shaking her head at another aspect of her life she couldn’t control, Reggie punched in John’s cell number. He answered on the sixth ring.

“Reggie, it’s freaking two a.m.!” John grumbled, his voice rough with sleep.

“I’m impressed you can read your caller ID,” Reggie said. Her fingers played with one of the cracks in the vinyl seat cover. “Sorry to wake you up, man. I couldn’t sleep.”

“Now I can’t either,” John said. “Is your mom okay?”

She stared at her hands. They had stopped shaking. “Yeah, she’s as okay as she ever is, I guess. I just had a—I just had a really bad dream.”

“You woke me up because of a dream? Don’t you have a teddy bear or something you can hug?”

“John, I think there’s something wrong with me,” she confessed.

“Nothing’s wrong. You’re letting a stupid dream get to you.” She heard him yawn.

“Maybe.” Reggie hesitated. “Can you come by my house before school? I want to show you something.”

“Sure, whatever, can I go back to sleep now?”

“Just promise me you’ll be here early. Okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll be there early,” his voice became fainter.

“Seven-thirty,” she said loudly.

“Dammit. Yeah, seven-thirty.” The phone went dead.

Reggie turned off her phone and went to look at the appointment for her mother. Damn. It was for nine a.m. She’d have to get her mother up early. Reggie put water and coffee into the coffee pot and set the automatic timer. She trudged back to bed, hoping for dreamless sleep.


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