Great Villain Novel
OldEarth Neb Encounter Excerpt
As Evil as You Wish
In this Great Villain Novel excerpt, Evil as You Wish, Leah faces the evil inside her husband, Neb. She sees not only what he is, but also, what he is not.
Leah sat on the bank of a clear, flowing stream and watched the reflected clouds billow past in the small side pools.
The rushing flow bubbled and twinkled in the failing sunlight.
Her nausea rose and fell. Only the silent, still pools calmed her. She had relived her father’s death uncountable times and heard her brother’s defiant words repeated in her mind. Should she have chosen death?
She laid her hand on her belly, caressing her skin in slow, meditative circles.
As Meshullemeth scurried in the background, Leah shook her head. Always in a hurry but never doing anything.
Neb appeared, limping toward her, and a blush crept up her cheeks. He looks like a boy, an earnest child, with his heart pulsing through his eyes. A shiver ran over her arms.
Neb stood a moment, watching her. Pain etched a furrow across his brows.
With her hand resting comfortably on her belly, Leah met his gaze. “Are you all right?”
Neb jerked his head and attempted a smile. “I’m quite well. I came to check on you.”
Leah accepted this kindness. “I’m better. The baby is moving. He’ll be very strong.”
As he gentled himself onto the creek bank beside her, Neb’s smile grew genuine. “He’ll be the strongest baby under the sun.” He winced as he adjusted his leg.
Leah glanced aside until he was comfortably settled.
Neb turned his face to the setting sun, staring at the long shadows, and shivered.
Leah felt the child inside her body and knew that when this baby found his way into the world, Neb would lose himself. She smiled sweetly, though it tasted bitter.
“My mother has not been bothering you?”
Leah faced him. “Your mother?”
A flock of birds settled in a nearby tree, arranging themselves for a night of rest.
“No, why would she? I told her that all the decisions are yours, not mine.”
Neb nodded, his gaze downcast. “I do not mean that she would be unkind. I mean, rather, she wants the baby for herself.”
Her skin crawling, Leah wrapped her arms around her middle. “What do you mean? This child is ours, flesh of our flesh.”
Neb grunted. “She failed to mold me into the serving vessel she imagined, so now she wants to try with my son.” Neb gripped Leah’s arm, staring into her eyes. “She uses dark powers, and she’d stop at nothing to gain a new tool.”
Nausea rose from Leah’s middle. She tried to stand but crumpled on her attempt.
Using each other for leverage, Neb and Leah leaned on each other and rose to their feet. Neb clasped her arms, supportive and yet supported. “I didn’t want to upset you but rather warn you. My mother is not what she seems.”
Tears sprang to Leah’s eyes. “Is anyone?”
As if he had not heard, Neb wrapped his arm around her shoulder, hugging her close, and led her home.
The quiet bustle of families settling in for their evening meal, bees returning to their hives, birds warbling their goodnight songs, and a soft pink glow on the horizon mellowed Leah’s mood and reminded her of the still pools.
Neb’s voice, gentle but insistent, broke the peace. “Do you believe in me?”
Heavy, suffocating weariness enveloped Leah. “You are neither as good as you claim nor as evil as you wish.” Letting go of his grasp, Leah hobbled ahead, one hand rubbing her aching back while the other caressed the jerking kicks of her baby.
A. K. Frailey is the author of 17 books, a teacher for 35 years, and a homeschooling mother of 8.
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