Ghost with Hope - 2021 #85K90 draft

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Summary

Life with the Eloh has never been easy, chasing the cause of the infertility and peace cost Annie her child, her Pets, and almost her life but she won't give up as long as she has the love of her Ink Giver, no matter how much she disagrees with him. Tal is struggling with an escalating war, Violations of the Travel ban, a traitor on his ship, and his guilt over not keeping Annie and their child safe, not to mention his Inked One still doesn't understand Pets aren't people. Will Annie and Tal be able to save the Eloh from extinction and civil war? Will their love endure the differences in their cultures? Maybe, maybe not... Seriously, I have three plot paths scribbled, so we'll just have to see which one the muse picks. Ghost with... won the votes across the platforms to be this year’s NaNoWriMo Project by two votes... Next was Servant of the Sun which I will start after Christmas, then E.L.M.. And so it begins 50K in 30 days!

Genre:
Scifi / Romance
Author:
PenumbraMine
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
34
Rating:
5.0 2 reviews
Age Rating:
16+

And now we NaNoWriMo...

Ghost with... won the votes across the platforms to be this year’s NaNoWriMo Project by two votes... Next was Servant of the Sun which I will start after Christmas, then E.L.M.. And so it begins 50K in 30 days!

UPDATE 2021 - well catching nCoVi19 - killed my momentum but back to do this for the 2021 #85K90.


Annie’s rules

One rule for a ghost

#1 Be as invisible as possible, as much as possible, as long as possible. When visible, disappear ASAP.

~*~*~*

Two rules for cats

#1 you don’t own cats, they own you

#2 cats will find you

~*~*~*

Rule One for daily life: Get up in the morning and breathe in and out all day long.

Rule Two for daily life: Do not dwell on the past or your pain, you did not die that week, she added, or that day.

New Rule Three for daily life: Be the person ‘they’ expect or pretend to be the person ‘they’ expect until you can BE the person you need to be.

Rule Four for Daily Life: Turn grief and pain into strength and purpose, instead of weakness.

~*~*~*

Four Rules for surviving

#1 Always have your tools.

#2 Always have a plan, another plan, and an exit strategy.

#3 Always expect the worst, prepare for the worst, and pray for the best.

#4 You are the only one who will save yourself... Never quit trying.


Prologue: Annie’s Ghost Rules

Yesterday, Cypher Keron Vexx made Annie repeat her rules as he coaxed her to get out of bed after the viper attack that killed all the Pets she knew except Orange, who cooked for her, but now could not walk because he had jumped from her third-floor balcony, nearly forty feet, with her in his arms after the viper had spit on her and dozens had swarmed into her rooms.

One rule for a ghost

#1 Be as invisible as possible, as much as possible, as long as possible. When visible, disappear ASAP.

He had made her repeat the rules for cats.

Two rules for cats

#1 you don’t own cats, they own you

#2 cats will find you

Her cat Bear had survived the attack but would be blind in one eye. He and his harem of Eloh female felines had attacked the vipers to protect their kittens and her. Silkie and Shy had died but Lady Gray and all the kittens survived. And to add to the proof of Bear’s man-whore ways, Tal’s brother Buerkrat Tovi and the farm labor pets from the Vanth farm on Ehdehn were bringing the eleven kittens with them when they evacuated ahead of the expected Jhinne attack on the fertile moon colony. Proving Rule Two for Cats true again. Wherever she went, even to another star system, the cats were still finding her.

Annie looked out at the lines of the transit tunnel and wondered how much longer it would be until they reached the gas giant of Lehvyathan. The Jhinne Swarm was already stripping the colony world of Amenthes of everything edible.

Last night, lying in bed with Tal, Annie realized she needed to change her Three Rules of Daily Life add a new one.

Rule One for daily life: Get up in the morning and breathe in and out all day long.

Rule Two for daily life: Do not dwell on the past or your pain, you did not die that week, she added, or that day.

Her heart ached for the baby they lost to the viper venom that almost claimed her.

Old Rule Three for daily life: Pretend to be the person ‘they’ expect until you can be invisible again.

This Rule needed to change, Annie realized there could be no more running away and hiding. She decided pretending would become a pathway to being.

New Rule Three for daily life: Be the person ‘they’ expect or pretend to be the person ‘they’ expect until you can BE the person you need to be.

And lastly, Annie made a new rule for dealing with her pain, beyond not dwelling on it as in Rule Two, she would choose to take all the bad things and turn them into good things, just like she had told Bries to do when they thought Matt had been killed in that bus station in Las Vegas all those years ago. She would turn her grief into strength to honor Bries and the Pets who died to save her.

Rule Four for Daily Life: Turn grief and pain into strength and purpose, instead of weakness.

Her rules for keeping herself alive and safe were still valid, even though her tools had changed.

Four Rules for surviving

#1 Always have your tools.

#2 Always have a plan, another plan, and an exit strategy.

#3 Always expect the worst, prepare for the worst, and pray for the best.

#4 You are the only one who will save yourself... Never quit trying.

Thinking about the attempt to murder her that killed her unborn child and all her Pets, she decided she needed to be more diligent. She would not let anyone else die for her. The exiled Dark One would come for her again and she would be ready.

Her ghostwriting rules didn’t apply any more, she wasn’t on Earth, she wasn’t a ghostwriter anymore. She was the Lady of Vanth, the second most powerful house in the Kingdom of Eloh and as much as she loved being Pop’s magic pencil, her life was so much bigger than that job. She would miss the Ghostwriting Rules but they had gotten her to here, to MOARA then beyond the stars to a life with a love she refused to regret. Her life was changing too fast for the old Annie, who was imprisoned by her fears, to cope with. But new Annie would find a way to adapt. She had found a purpose and a courage she forgot she had after her parents’ murders and her abduction. There would still be bad days, she knew she would still fight with Tal over the fate of Pets and struggle to figure out why the Eloh were going extinct.

The clue lay in the Kings’ Archives and the cryptic references to the mysterious deaths of the human females taken from Earth and their Eloh mates thousands of years ago...

’Some of the wives of the chosen travelers brought to Eschadel began growing ill when they carried a son. The glory of their painted flesh became putrid and swollen in the second season. Some wept tears of blood from the illness. The disease claimed mothers and sons in such a horrific manner, the King, Queen, and Reagents forbid the return least the infection be carried there and cause a plague among the tribes of Abram, Bharata, and Pachuti…”

‘… In forty cases, the disease also infected males who joined with another’s Ink Carrier…’

‘ The House of Sesotep sold their female to the House of Tentohon. The female and both the males of the House were found dead...’

She had made notes to send to Dr. Renee Lacroix, her former coworker at MOARA. She worried about the vague details of the spread of the unknown illness to the Eloh.

‘All the brothers died when the eldest of the House of Eros offered them his wife. The female had violent spasms of the muscles and bleeding from her nose and ink lines after the youngest bit and inked her. Later, the youngest died of an inability to draw breath, as did all the brothers, except the eldest, and two of the cousins who touched the female. The pregnant female later died giving birth to a son who never drew breath…’

The end of the record worried her the most. The Eloh had quit coming to Earth because a disease was affecting the females brought back to Eloh. Annie still wondered why these records were not in the Healers’ Center database, surely something like this would have been communicated between the two tiers. But instead of being digitized, they were written in elegant script in a printed tome that no one had bothered to read for fifty centuries.


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