TITLE: Waking the Dragon
GENRE: Adult Fantasy
She never should have told him what happened that night just before Christmas. Rhianna's mouth was always the source of her troubles.
She only said she'd seen her mom in her room, sitting on the edge of the bed. She was alive again, and all her hair had grown back. Rhianna could feel the weight and warmth of her body on the mattress beside her, could even smell her shampoo.
“Mom?” Rhianna had tried to wrap her arms around her, but her mother was insubstantial, like fog.
“Honey, it's coming,” Gwen Chapman had said. “Be careful.” Then the lines of her face had dissolved into what looked like a thousand tiny tadpoles, wriggling away into the shadows. Only the lingering trace of jasmine proved she had been there. Rhianna could almost see it, her scent, like an afterimage hanging in the air.
Her mistake had been telling her dad. She hadn't even breathed a word about her mom's warning. The words had dried up in Rhianna's mouth when she saw the way he was looking at her. Suspicious. Afraid.
For days afterward, she'd wondered what he would do, had sensed some decision was in the works, could almost hear the weighing and measuring going on in his head. And then, The Incident at School, and the school counselor's determination that she was Officially At-Risk, had apparently been the last straw.
Today is a Saturday, the beginning of winter break, and Rhianna sits in her bedroom reading Watership Down.