I walked through the open door of my house, confused for a moment that is was open instead of tightly shut and locked as it should have been. My dog was quiet, though, so I assumed my roommate must be home; if it was a stranger, Daisy would be going crazy! Except, I had the feeling there was a stranger there. I’m not sure if it was the hair rising on my neck, or the heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach, but something was certainly not right.
I walked around the corner and halted in my tracks, looking into the living room, and directly into the eyes of a powerful man. I did not know him, but I felt I should still recognize him. He sat on the corner of my couch, legs crossed at the knee, and my dog sat sleeping at his feet. Traitor! I thought at Daisy viciously. She was no kind of guard dog. The man rose slowly to his height, and I felt small in front of him. Over six feet, I was sure, which made him much taller than my 5’5”. I looked up at him, frightened but also confused. He did not look like what I had always thought an intruder would look like. He wore a three-piece black pin-striped suit over a crisp white shirt. In his front lapel, he wore a decorative purple pocket-square that exactly matched his textured purple tie. His black hair was expertly styled. In fact, he was stylish and pristine from head to black-loafered toe.
When I met his eye, I felt my heartbeat increase in what I am certain was panic. His eyes, black pits into eternity, were more intense than any eyes I had ever seen. I both wanted to stare but also wanted to look away. But I could not look away from him.
He called me by name.
“Nichole.” It may have been a greeting. It was respectful, certainly, but at the same time, I got the sense that he owned the room.
Before I could scream, or call the cops, or demand answers for his intrusion, I heard a name come to my mind. Well, a title, actually. It spilled off my lips, respectful as he had been.
His head slid sideways slightly, and he peered at me thoughtfully. He raised one brow–an expression I knew well, since I had created him.
“I’m tired of waiting,” he replied, commanding voice not one bit diminished by the fact that he was addressing his creator. He said nothing else. He did not need to say more; I knew what he wanted.
“I’m releasing Obedience next month,” I informed him, though I did have to swallow moisture back into my mouth first. “Your story is about to begin.”
He studied me in silence for a moment, and I waited nervously for what might happen. There was a strange sense of familiarity in the room; it was as if he and I had had this conversation before. When he at last gave a nod, I felt the butterflies in my stomach settle down a bit.
Leader stepped across the distance separating us, and placed my house key into my hand. I stared at it in concern, then spun around to watch him walk away. He stepped over the threshold, out into the bright light of afternoon. His black silhouette was backlit against the setting sun.
“Do not waste anymore of my time,” he said darkly, peering over his shoulder at me. And then he was descending the steps, walking away, climbing into the classic BMW that was always his favorite car.
When my dog barked, I started. I woke up. Lying in my bed, I felt a tremor of confusion for what had just happened. Daisy stood outside my bedroom door, barking for me to get up, but I could not move yet. I heard Leader’s voice reverberating in my head, as if he had just been in the room a moment before and was now gone. I sat up slowly, looking around the interior of my room, trying to understand that what I had experienced was a dream. Leader had not been in my house, because he is fictional. But yet, his words sounded loud in my brain. And when I peered outside, there were fresh tire tracks where–moments before, in the dream–Leader had just driven away through the snow.
I will get no rest until this book releases!
The Guild: Obedience by Nichole M. Willden releases on Amazon Kindle, March 9, 2018. Preorder available now.