Here's PART 1 of this 2017's FREE WINGS IN THE NIGHT SERIAL. PART 9 goes out this month (September.) There will be 12 total. To get all existing episodes and receive future ones as they are released (one a month) click the sign up button below.

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The FIONA FILES

Copyright Maggie Shayne Lewis 2017 All rights reserved. Copying of any kind expressly forbidden.

Episode 1

“We’re not yer real parents, lass.”

My mother said those words to me, her brogue heavy, her voice weak, as she lay dying on the floor of our cottage along the shores of Loch Ness. My father was already dead, lying a few feet away, a pair of puncture wounds in his throat. Ma had found him that way, she’d said, and her heart just could’na take it.

I’d thought the stories they’d told me, of vampires and werewolves and mutants with super powers, and of Nessie, the beastie who swum in the loch just beyond our front door, had been fairytales spun to amuse me.

But they were real. They’d risen up from the mists of make believe, and murdered my beloved parents.

“I’ve called 999,” I told her. “Just hold on, Ma, help’s on the way.”

But she shook her head against the cradle of my arm. “Listen to me, Fiona. We were in the States back then. There was a fire in a towerin’ buildin’, burnt to the ground, it did.”

“Save yer strength, Ma.”

She pressed her lips, shook her head of faded red curls. “Listen!”

“All right, I’m listenin’.” My own accent had never been as heavy as hers. I loved to listen to my mother talk. Loved it more than any music I’d yet to hear.

“We were drivin, yer father and I, saw the glow of flames up ahead, and then yer father hit the brakes all of a sudden. An’ there you were, just toddlin’ up the yellow line in the middle of the road all alone, yer face covered in soot. You wore a hospital gown and a diaper, had a plastic bracelet, and that tattoo on the back o’ yer neck.”

She paused there, took a few shallow breaths. Her cornflower blue eyes were dull, their shine all but gone.

“ ‘Subject 92751,’ it said.”

I frowned, but doin’ so only squeezed more tears out of my eyes and onto my cheeks.

“ ’Twas a research facility, the buildin’ that burned, or so the news reports said. But we knew, we knew you’d come from there. Somehow you got out an’ came to us on that rainy, dark stretch of road. I’d been prayin’ for a child. God entrusted you to me, Fiona. I vowed I would’na let Him down. We returned to Scotland the very next day. Took you as far from that place as we could.”

She closed her eyes, rested her head on my arms. Her story had shaken me, but not as much as finding my parents, the only family I’d ever known, lying broken and dying on the floor of our home. A home that had known only love and laughter for my entire life.

I heard sirens in the distance. “They’re comin’, Ma. Hold on.”

“There’s a box in the attic, child. Everything we know about yer past is inside. We’ve protected you. Now I fear you’ll have to protect yourself.”

The medics were at the door. I shouted “Come!” before they even knocked. More men than I'd expected crowded inside, two of them coming to my mother. I moved aside, reluctantly surrendered her care to them.

“Please do’nna let her die. I need her.”

Two other fellows had gone further to check on my father. I looked that way, knowing what they'd find.

“He’s already gone,” one whispered.

“Aye, but did ye see the marks on his neck?”

The two men locked eyes, and and I saw fear in them.

Death, blood, murder, fear. These things were strangers in my home. Secrets too, or so I’d always believed. But there'd been a very big secret here, one my parents had kept from me for my entire life.

They picked my mother up on a stretcher, carried her outside to the ambulance, and told me to follow behind in the car.

When they took her out again at the hospital, she looked different. I sat in my car, right behind them, and I saw her and I knew. That was not my mother, not any longer. She had gone, and I knew it.

I turned sideways in the seat, hugged my knees to my chest, and covered my face while I cried.

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