Authors: Alexia Purdy
A Serial Novella
The Fall of Sky
Copyright © 2013, 2014 Alexia Purdy
All rights reserved
Lyrical Lit. Publishing
Cover Design by Alexia Purdy
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, duplicated, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious and are products of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual events, or locales or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.
Sisters Audrey and Liv Westing find that living on the edge turns out to be a bit different than what they thought. This singing duo hoped to be discovered as the next big thing while fumbling through their turbulent existences. Each one is struggling to come to terms with their addictive personalities, a trail of destructive relationships, and the consequences of every misstep they unknowingly take.
When they attract the eye of a deadly but powerful Cartel family, Liv’s flighty decisions send the sisters spiraling into a world of sketchy music deals, sexy assassins, and unfathomable demands from those who want nothing more than to own every piece of them. In a place where love will kill, it demands a steep price which may be too high to keep Audrey and Liv’s fragile world from a swift crash and burn…
Table of Contents
FUCKING SPLINTERS! I HATED
them, and now, they stuck into my flesh as I sprung over an old, rotting wooden fence and landed hard on the balls of my feet, sending pins and needles shooting up my legs. I didn’t have time to pull the slivers out. I had to keep going or
would catch up, and that would be the end of the line for me. It would all be over. All the crap that I’d been working toward for half a year would be for nothing—nothing but ashes in the wind. If I didn’t lose my pursuer, I would be in a heap of trouble, more than I already had in my hot little hands.
Which brought me to the reason I was running away from the damn bastard in the first place; it wasn’t that he didn’t deserve the wreck of the wrath I’d left behind me. If anyone deserved to get their digs torched to the ground, it was Ruben. No one would ever make me, Liv Westing, do their bidding ever again. Never. And no one would ever hurt me or my sister Audrey ever again— that, I promised myself with every living atom of my being.
I spotted our rusted, ancient station wagon down the street as I emerged from behind an old one story stucco, two bedroom shack which matched the entire block in its tired crumbling state. The poor construction was evident throughout the neighborhood and left it looking like the epitome of ghetto America, forgotten and left to the rats, human and rodent alike. I could feel eyeballs peeking from behind the dirt stained windows and stares from people sitting in their dollar store plastic lawn chairs with their paint-spotted jeans as they pointed toward me racing down the cracked asphalt of the decaying urban street. They didn’t concern me one bit. All of them were what I swore I would never become. For this, I ran. I would run from this kind of life, trapped in a rotting suburbia, until I collapsed, if I had to.
My muscles burned, and my chest felt like it was swelling up into an asthmatic fit, but I kept on. The station wagon was getting closer and closer, and I prayed Audrey had the engine already running. Relieved to spot the vapor puffing from the tailpipe, dirtying the air behind the car, I huffed in a deeper breath and booked it. Audrey was waiting and would slam the gas to get the hell out of Dodge, if needed. Thank God. I waved her down madly, gripping the wrapped canvas bag I had tucked under my left arm. I couldn’t glance behind me. I just couldn’t let myself realize the dread I could feel crawling inside if I saw Ruben closing in on me, right on my heels. Nope, couldn’t turn around now.
“Open the door!” I hollered toward Audrey, hoping she could hear me over the obnoxious humming of the engine of our vehicle. It may have been old, and it may have been worn out like an old shoe and sputter coughed like the best of the old clunkers, but it had been our home many times over and held our entire world within its belly. Now, it would be our rescuer once more, our knight in shiny armor of metal and rust.
Audrey leaned over and opened the door, giving it a good heave to send the heavy door swinging outward just in time for me to lunge inside, grip the door with my free hand, and yank it with all my strength to pull it shut.
“Go, go, go!”
The screech of tires and the smell of rubber permeated the air as the station wagon lurched forward, the belts screaming in protest but catching enough to send us on our way. My heart was racing, but I finally let myself chance a peek behind us. I could now actually hope that we had, maybe, just maybe, gotten away by the skin of our teeth.
Ruben was hollering, cursing and throwing the bat he had in his hand toward the car. He was too far behind us to catch up, and it hit with a gentle thump on the street before it went rolling away into the muck lined gutter. He was furious, his face an unhealthy scarlet, while he was drenched with sweat dripping down his light blue button up shirt from the chase he’d given.
Not bad for an out of shape swindler. The sweat stains down the front and on the sides of the blue material made me smirk at him as he slowed down, his hands on his knees as he desperately tried to catch his breath, retching out his lunch instead. His slight potbelly was in the way, the one too many Philly-steak sandwiches he loved so much were doing a number on him right now. I laughed and turned back to the road, giggling to myself as his yells faded and his robust figure disappeared in the kicked up dust cloud swirling around behind us.
“Yeah!” I couldn’t contain my glee. Damn bastard could eat our dust.
“Did you get it?” Audrey’s voice brought me back to the car, shushing my laugh as I watched her face, steady and still. Her hazel eyes focused on the street as she slowed just enough to make the turn onto the highway. The sunset made her eyes glow, like embers flickering against the sun’s last rays. Her face hid the concern that had probably eaten at her while she had waited for me as I conned Ruben out of his money stash. It was now smoothing over with relief, though caution still etched itself across her pretty, youthful face, making her look even younger than she was.
“Yep, got the whole darn thing. Ruben’s shitting bricks now!” I let out my breath, sucking in a deep slow one, still trying to catch my breath from the sprint for my life I had just done.
She nodded. “Good.”
I was the younger one. At nineteen, I’d lived my life recklessly, yet Audrey, at twenty, was decades more mature than I was. She was the well versed one, the one that was always praised by teachers and got the good grades. Me−I was the letdown, the one that never got it right. I was okay with that though. I loved her with every fiber of my being, and I looked up to her, hoping one day my wild streak would fade down and I’d become more like her. She was the good girl. I was the bad one. We balanced each other like a yin and yang. That was the way I liked it. I had hoped it was enough for her too, at least for now.
“Oh, I accidentally set his place on fire too,” I mumbled.
“You what?” Audrey chanced a wide-eyed glance toward me before shifting her shocked face back to the road. The wagon bounced on its worn-down shocks as we jumped over the incline onto the highway, headed toward San Diego. Arizona’s arid desert had shriveled us up, and it was high time we headed to the humidity of the west coast beaches.
“Hey, I ran into his stupid candle set up. He had them all lit up. You know how much he just loves his potpourri and incense. The place smelled like some apple pie convention. Any man who likes candles that much has got to have something wrong with him,” I snickered. Pulling the worn canvas bag onto my lap from the floor where I had dropped it. I yanked at the strings that held the opening shut. Reaching in, I plucked out one of the many thick rolls of bills, squealing from excitement. I’d hit the jackpot. Discovering the safe Ruben kept haphazardly hidden in his apartment was unsecured, he’d made it too easy to rob him blind. The lock was broken from a previous robbery, and he’d neglected to get it fixed but still kept on using the darn thing. Not too smart there, if you ask me. His loss.
“How much do you think was in there?” Audrey asked. Her knuckles were white from gripping the steering wheel. I was sure she was having a small heart attack even now, being so used to my crazy antics. It wasn’t until we hit the city limits of Flagstaff that she even began to relax. However, the tension in her jaw was still there, making her grind her teeth back and forth, a habit I repeatedly reminded her not to do.
“I don’t know…looks like mostly hundreds and twenties. I think there has to be at least ten…maybe fifteen thousand here.” I smiled, stuffing the bills back into the bag and tucking it under my seat. I slipped down into the soft, worn half-leather, half-weaved canvas seat, which felt more like home to me than any other place had for a long time. It sighed under my weight as I brought my legs up onto the dashboard.
“That’s a chunk of cash you managed to snatch.” Audrey didn’t look my way, but I knew that secretly, she was happy it was a good wad of money. We needed it, badly. Life as a singing duo didn’t always pay the bills on time.
The dusty windows let the last bit of the day’s light through, sending the colors turning into orange and red. The part desert, part forest around us was sparse and filled the horizon with a vastness of endless canyon road and desert land. I loved it with every fiber of my being. Travelling was an acquired taste, and we’d done our fair share and then some of that lately.
I wouldn’t trade any minute of this away for anything else.
I COULDN’T SLEEP
, but what else was new?
Liv drove the second half of the night. We didn’t want to stop, not until we reached the coast, just in case that idiot Ruben was in pursuit. Still, I couldn’t ease my nerves. They were strung up tight, and I shifted in my seat restlessly. Why my sister had bothered with that sleazebag was beyond me. He gave me the creeps. The way he raked his eyes up and down her body like he was undressing her every time we stopped by his bar was disgusting. Even now, a shudder ran through me as the chill of his malice made my blood run cold.
The old soft leather of the seat sighed under my weight, creaking as I turned to stare out into the inky vastness of night. The restless energy lingering in my bones made me want to jump out of my seat. Times like these I wished I was more like Liv. She could relax anywhere. She had fallen asleep without difficulty earlier, slumped in the seat, oblivious to all.
I envied her in some ways. Yet she frustrated me to no end.
“Mmm,” Liv let out a howling yawn as she stretched. “Audrey, hey, you awake?”
“I’m dead tired, can’t drive anymore. I’m pulling into that motel up ahead.” She waved toward the dulled lights glowing in the distance. The motel was one of dozens we’d seen along the road. This one seemed to be in no better shape than the previous ones. Its exterior was fortified with peeling paint and weeds crawling up the sides of the masonry. It made me wonder how well-kept the inside was. The faint street lamps made it look more foreboding than comforting. I gulped as I stared at it, my skin crawling at the thought of sleeping there for the night, but from the looks of my dead-tired sister, and my own overwhelming fatigue aching in my bones, we were done driving.
“Okay, just park in the back after we check in. We don’t want the car to be seen from the road.”
” Liv rolled her eyes, smacking her gum endlessly as she maneuvered the car into the drive near the office. Putting it into park, she leaned back and glanced at me as I unraveled several twenties from one of the bundles of money. “Guess Ruben wasn’t all that bad for me, huh? This was the least he could’ve given us.” She winked and opened her door, spitting the wad of gum onto the gritty ground.
“I wouldn’t really say he
us anything.” I stuffed the bag back under the seat and jumped out of the wagon, grabbing my well-worn purse. It was my favorite. The patchwork pattern was frayed, and the muted colors even more faded, but I still loved it and would adore it until it fell apart.
The office looked empty, save for the old radio playing its static-filled techno music in the corner behind the desk. I glanced around, studying the old wall paper that used to have small yellow daisies on it, but had long ago faded and rubbed away to almost nothing. The counter was clean but nicked in so many places I wondered how old this building was.
When no one approached us, I hit the lone bell that sat atop the counter, letting its smooth ring resonate across the room, hoping someone would show up soon. I needed to lie down in a bad way or I’d fall over any minute now.
“Hello?” Nothing but space and static responded. I made my way around the counter to peek into the back office door that stood partly cracked, exposing a small room with a couch and TV. I slipped in through the gap to get a better view of the back. A pair of cowboy boots perched on a stool was connected to a pair of jean clad legs. The man wore a plain white T-shirt and laid slumped back with his baseball hat covering part of his face. His thin frame and the lack of facial hair on his smooth jawline told me he was definitely not legal. His soft breathing told me he was out for the count.
“Get back here, Audrey!” Liv hissed at me. “You’re going to get us kicked out before we even get a room. I’m beat and I don’t want to find another motel or sleep in the car.” I could almost feel her arms waving frantically behind me, but I refused to budge. I shushed her while pushing the door open a bit more, taking in the small tidy space before me. Besides the sleeping man, the place was void of anything personal—just the worn leather armchair he snoozed in and the stool he had kicked his boots up on. The TV hummed softly on an old sitcom I vaguely remembered.
My eyes met with his golden brown tanned skin, telling of time well spent in the sun. Maybe he was the owner’s son and did odd jobs around the motel to pay his keep. His blonde hair hung out in wisps under the cap, messy but clean. The guy was bony, but not a total skeleton either. I wondered if he was the only one on tonight. He seemed far too young to be the boss here.
“Hello?” I knocked on the door, but the sleeping attendant didn’t rouse. Sighing, I pondered if I wanted to shake him awake or kick him. Both seemed like good options, especially since I was exhausted and felt like I was about to fall over any second now. Bending over him, I snatched his cap off his head and dropped it onto his lap. His long bangs fanned over his face but failed to elicit any response, so I sat it back on top of his messy hair. He was dead to the world, obviously not expecting any business this late into the early hours of morning.
Stepping back, I kicked the chair from under his feet, sending his legs slamming into the floor.
“Hey!” He stumbled up, wide eyed, hair wild as his baseball cap flopped to the floor. He looked like a drowned cat, which I would have laughed at but crossed my arms at him instead.
“We need a room.”
He frowned, groaning as he reached down to pick up his fallen cap, brushing the wild mess of hair from his youthful face. “Yeah, okay. Sure. One night only, right?” He cleared his throat and pushed past me to the counter, still straightening his rumpled shirt.
“Two beds?” He glanced up through his eyelashes toward my sister, his eyes lingering over her face and sliding down over her chest for a moment too long. Liv shifted in her shoes, pretending to be interested in the old Thomas Kinkade prints framed on the walls.
.” I slammed the money onto the counter, loud enough to make him jump. He avoided my glare and started typing madly into the computer, which sat idling. His two finger typing was getting annoying, taking too long, and was keeping us from some rest. I wanted to shove him aside and type in our info ourselves, but I remained planted, determined not to let my impatience get the best of me, or my temper. A five year old could type faster than him. I resorted to drumming my fingers on the worn, chipping veneer of the counter.
He printed out our receipt, flicking his eyes at my fingers as they tapped away. His annoyance seemed to evaporate, more amused now than anything now. “Where are you ladies headed?” He slapped the paper in front of me and dropped a pen for me to sign.
“None of your concern,” I muttered, scratching my signature onto the carbon copy paper and sliding it back to him.
“Hey, let’s not be harsh now.”
Liv leaned on the counter and batted her eyelashes at him, making me roll my eyes at her. There she goes, flirting with scum again. “Of course not. How ‘bout you forget we were even here for a little bonus?” Gum smacking, she sweet-talked the poor kid. “What do you say there, boss?” I jerked my gaze back to her, surprised and ready to drag her out of there the moment he handed me our room key.
“Uh, yeah, sure. What kind of um…bonus?”
I hope she isn’t thinking about…
My eyes shifted to the attendant, his lovesick, gooey eyed face oblivious to me now.
Liv giggled, blowing a bubble that grew in proportion as she slowly exhaled into it, at the same time twirling her wavy hair in her slender, black nail polished fingers. The gum snapped, and she tongued it back into her little mouth, staring at the clerk the entire time. I was going to be sick.
“Liv.” I motioned her out of the office as he clumsily placed the key in front of her. He was smiling widely, turning a brilliant shade of red as he stuttered to speak.
“Oh, you know…” Liv slapped a hundred dollar bill in front of him, bringing it up to wave it in his face as she continued, “the kind that makes you
you ever even saw or heard about us.” She smiled, the brilliance of it diminishing the bruised colored circles under her eyes. Her fatigue was apparent to me, but definitely not to the drooling young man who was all enthralled with her. “What do you say?” She gave him another lash-batting wink.
“Uh−yeah, okay.” He took the bill from her and smiled, still entranced with Liv’s beauty. I had to admit, she had a way with the opposite sex. She held them entranced with some spell she casted, turning them into spineless, sputtering idiots at any attention from her. She knew how to work it, and she used it well to get whatever she wanted. Only I seemed to notice the emptiness it caused her. Like the Band-Aids wrapped around her slender fingers, hiding the scabs from the splinters she had picked out of her hands, she hid the resonating hollow that was her heart. It wasn’t her fault. In fact, I blamed myself every day for it. I owed it to her to never let anyone hurt her ever again.
We slipped out of the office without any further probing from the creep and jumped back into the station wagon, easing it around the back of the motel building to an inconspicuous spot behind a row of pitifully starved trees. There was even an emptied, cracked plaster pool here, sitting unused and filthy. Despite that, I didn’t care anymore. If the place had a mat on the floor, I was ready to take it and crash.
I pulled my bag from the back seat before turning to stare at the run down state of this motel. It was painted a baby blue that required frequent touch ups, which didn’t seem to have been kept up. I let a breath out, scratched my head, and proceeded to the room, which luckily wasn’t too far from where we had parked. Liv followed behind, her own bag and the money pack in tow. Sliding the key card into the lock, it flashed green, and I shoved the heavy door open.
To my surprise, the interior was clean and simple. Smooth sheets lay on the beds, and an ample amount of pillows were strewn across the heads of the beds. I shut the door behind us, making sure to latch the lock, and breathed a sigh of relief as I leaned against the wood. Only then could I relax the tension that endlessly sat in my shoulders. Liv had already dived onto the bed nearest the window, pulling three of the pillows under her head and chest, hugging them fiercely.
I grinned—I had to agree with her for once. I stepped over to the second bed and dropped my bag to my feet. Pulling off my sneakers, I slid back onto the cool crisp sheets, which smelled like bleach and detergent with a faint floral scent mixed in. How about that—a clean motel that looked like crap outside? Go figure.
I was out before I could turn off any of the lights, but not before I’d heard Liv’s soft, even breaths from her side of the room.