Excerpt from Soul Survivor

     
     Is Skye having some kind of seizure? Zoe wondered as she watched the strange behavior of her five-year-old daughter who was sitting on the front steps of the farmhouse. Skye twitched uncontrollably from head to toe.
     Zoe felt panic flooding through her. Just a few moments earlier, Skye had been peacefully drawing in her sketchbook while Zoe read a book and relaxed on the front porch swing. But now Skye's small body was rocking back and forth. Her head was bobbing up and down like that of a randy rooster strutting around a barnyard, and her tiny hands were clinched tightly into fists. Although she had a naturally pale complexion, Skye's face was almost devoid of color, now a translucent pearly white. Despite the bright sunshine, Skye's pupils were huge. Their light-blue irises were barely visible.
     Zoe rushed to her daughter's side, and nearly tripped over the stubby pink crayon that had slipped from Skye's hand. "Skye? Are you all right?" Zoe asked. She gave Skye's shoulder a gentle shake as she crouched down beside her. She felt a fierce shudder ripple through the small child's body.
     Looking into Skye's owlish pupils, Zoe saw that the child's eyes were vacant and unblinking. Skye seemed to be looking right through her, as if she were made of glass.
     Skye gave a loud, piercing scream that almost knocked Zoe over in fright. Skye's entire torso began to tremble and quake.
     Her long blond ponytail swished back and forth across her back like a pendulum. Zoe wanted to grab the ponytail to stop the eerie swaying motion.
     "Skylar? Honey? Are you all right?" Zoe asked again, shaking her daughter in a more violent way.
     Skye's body stopped twitching and rocking. Zoe watched with deep concern as the girl blinked several times in rapid succession. After a short pause her pupils began to recede and her labored breathing eased. Skye swallowed raggedly and responded. "Uh, yeah. Uh, I'm okay."
     "You were shaking all over, punkin. What's wrong?"
     "Nothing, Mommy. Uh, I'm okay now. I'm ready to go inside though. I feel kind of hot."
     Zoe touched Skye's forehead with the palm of her hand. Skye didn't seem to have a fever. "Let's go inside then," Zoe said. "Let me hold on to you, sweetie. I think you should lie down for a little while after you have something cool to drink, just to be sure."
     As Zoe leaned down to gather Skye's sketchbook and crayons, her shoulder-length brown hair fell across her face. With trembling fingers she brushed it back and anchored her long bangs behind her ears. "Punkin, are you sure that everything is okay with you? You had Mommy really worried. What were you drawing in your sketchbook?"
     "I wasn't drawing anything. I was writing my name."
     "Writing your name?" Zoe asked, glancing down at the opened page, expecting to see an array of letters in haphazard order. She was surprised instead to see precise block lettering in vivid pink, sprawled across the entire page. RADHA it read. "Honey, that's not how you spell Skylar."
     "No, Mommy, I meant my old name," Skye explained. "When I was fifteen, they called me Radha."
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