Copyright © 2020 Christopher Hiedeman. All Rights Reserved.

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It had been a long, cold winter. The sun had begun to rise over the horizon. Spring was just starting to blossom with hints of green across the countryside. Beatrix gazed out across the plains as they drove down a long highway. Rows of trees raced by every so often. She watched as farmers tended to their fields; large equipment turned the soil, getting it ready to plant. Beatrix glanced over at Arthur. He saw her looking at him in his peripheral vision and smiled.

They pulled up to a small café in a little town. Beatrix and Arthur walked into the café and sat down. Beatrix looked around; they were the only ones in there. She smiled, grateful to have some time alone with Arthur. A woman came bouncing through the café toward them and set two menus on the table. “Hi!” she said eagerly. “My name is Olive, and I will be your server this fine morning!” Olive stood there and smiled at them. “Can I get you two anything to drink?”

Arthur stared at the menu. He had spent a little time in this world, but had not really eaten much of their food. Beatrix looked over at him and saw the stumped look on his face. She smiled and said, “Two french-vanilla cappuccinos, please.”

“All right,” the waitress said. “I’ll be back to take your order in a moment.”

Arthur looked at Beatrix. “What is cap—” He paused for a moment, trying to remember how to pronounce it.

Beatrix looked at him and giggled. “Capp-u-ccino,” she enunciated, smiling. “It is a warm, creamy beverage. You’ll like it.”

They sat there for a moment and looked at their menus. The waitress strolled back to their table, wielding a tray. “Here you go!” she said excitedly.

Arthur looked at the mocha-colored beverage that sat before him. He looked through the clear glass and saw cream slowly swirling in it. The beverage was topped with a mountain of whipped cream.

“So what can I get started for you?” the waitress asked them.

Arthur looked at Beatrix and said, “Why don’t you order for us?” as he looked at the menu—not sure what to order.

Beatrix looked up from the menu and said to the waitress, “Could we get two orders of the country breakfast? Oh…and with extra bacon, please.”

“You sure can!” said the waitress as she jotted their order down on her notepad. Olive then bounced off toward the kitchen with her tray.

Arthur took a sip of his cappuccino and glanced up at Beatrix, who was watching him contentedly. “What?” Arthur said, with a smirk on his face.

“Nothing,” replied Beatrix with a grin.

A few minutes later, Olive came back with their breakfast plates and set them on the table. Beatrix and Arthur sat there enjoying their breakfast. The sun gleamed through the windows in the little café, washing everything in sight in a warm amber glow. Beatrix and Arthur finished their meals.

Olive came bouncing back and set the check on the table. Beatrix took the check and started walking over to the front of the café to pay the bill. She looked back to see Arthur setting a pile of poqines on the tabletop. Beatrix stopped in her tracks and rushed back to the table, smiling. Olive looked over at them as Beatrix picked up the mysterious-looking coins and replaced them with dollar bills. Beatrix walked back up to the cash register where Olive stood. Beatrix set the bill on the counter and handed her the cash. “So,” said Olive, “where are you two from?”

Beatrix looked at Olive. Olive smiled at her with eagerness. “Um…” said Beatrix. Olive cast a funny glance at her. All of a sudden, a tray full of glasses fell off the counter. Ice water and glass spread across the ground.

“Oh my,” said Olive. She ran to a small closet and brought back a few towels, a broom, and a dustpan.

Arthur walked up to Beatrix, and she heard him say in her mind, “You’re welcome.”

They started walking toward the door, and Beatrix paused. She saw her reflection in a little mirror that hung by the door. Her makeup was smudged. “I’m just going to run to the restroom before we leave,” she said.

“OK,” said Arthur. “I’ll be in the car.”

Arthur walked out the café doors and across the large parking lot toward their car—a vintage blood-red Chevy. He opened the door and hopped in. He sat there for fifteen minutes and then began to worry. He stared out the car window at the café’s doors, waiting for Beatrix to come walking out. Five more minutes went by. Worried, Arthur got out of the car and started walking toward the café. He heard a small sizzle sound, and with a blast, the building exploded. He was knocked to the ground by the blast as fixtures and debris were thrown into the air all around him.

“Beatrix!” Arthur cried out. He got up and started running toward what was left of the building. “Beatrix! Beatrix!”

He stopped running closer, for the heat from the blaze began to burn his skin. He fell to the ground and sobbed. The fire crackled and burned fiercely.

Suddenly, he began to hear someone calling his name. “Arthur!”

He looked up as Beatrix stumbled toward him. His eyes lit up. He ran to her and kissed her. She embraced him, and the two of them stood there for a moment.

Beatrix looked back at the blaze, shaking, and said to him, “We need to leave. Now.”

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Beatrix  Percival  2


Genre: Supernatural Romance/Drama

The journey continues as Beatrix and Arthur set out to find the portal to the world of shadows. Beatrix discovers new unsettling revelations, shattering the past and narrowing the possibility of a happily ever after. Filled with uneasy uncertainty, this second book in the series will have you on the edge of your seat!