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The Verge: Special Edition!
Convergence- Book One: Incarnation is out on AUGUST 31st!
Welcome back to The Verge!
We are a mere TWO WEEKS AWAY from our book release date on 8/31! We are feeling equal parts
about the whole thing, but more than anything, we are so excited for you to finally have our book in your hands! We will have more information on where and when you can buy your own copy on our Instagram and in our release day newsletter on 8/31.
But why wait until 8/31? Today we’re happy to share with you, our beautiful, smart, dedicated newsletter readers an exclusive SNEAK PEAK at chapters 2 AND 3!
When we last left Mera at the end of chapter 1, she had just been unceremoniously dumped on the doorstep of her estranged Grandmother in the tiny coastal village of Convergence, Maine. What awaits her in her mother’s looming Victorian childhood home?
Well, let’s find out!
As soon as Mera shut the front door behind her, she wished she hadn’t. Inside, the curtains were drawn, making the house so dark, she couldn’t see which way to go. She was going to call out when a light from a chandelier flickered on far above her, illuminating the cavernous foyer.
An older woman stood with her hand on the light switch. Graceful and imposing, she had long silver hair cascading in loose ringlets down her shoulders. She wore a silken, steel-colored blouse tucked into pleated trousers and an impatient look on her face.
“Uh, hello,” Mera attempted after an uncomfortable beat. Her voice echoed to the high ceiling. “Guess you’re my grandmother?”
“Ida,” her grandmother replied, before she turned on her heel and strode down the hallway. Mera hurried to follow, only having a second to glimpse an ornate, curved stairway and four sets of French doors leading off the hall.
Portraits of women in varying shades of blue lined the walls in wooden frames, their faces soft and blurred as Mera passed them. But one stopped her–a woman with intense, metal gray eyes. A delicate strand of white hair framing her striking face.
“That’s impossible,” Mera whispered to herself.
Mera was in a lush clearing, a place she had never been but felt familiar. She turned to see her mother standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean, her dark hair loose in the ocean breeze. As Mera walked toward her mother, a pain gripped her center, doubling her over.
“Mom,” Mera cried out. “Help me.”
As Mera looked up at the woman before her, she realized it wasn’t her mother. The woman’s dark hair was streaked with white and her silver eyes danced in their metallic luminance.
Mera’s core lurched, and a rising tide began pushing its way up through her chest and into her throat, moving to meet the ocean in the woman’s gaze.
“Don’t,” Mera had begged.
The woman smiled, as Mera was lifted from the ground and into the air.
“It’s time to wake up, dear,” the woman whispered.
The woman waved her hand, and Mera flew off the edge of the cliff.
This plummeting sensation had jolted her awake in Vince’s car, shocking him into almost steering them off the road.
The woman stared at Mera through the canvas. Her stomach lurched once more, pulling at her center like water being dragged back to sea. It had been a dream… right?
As Mera stepped closer, drawn by the pull of the woman’s swimming eyes, Ida cleared her throat.
“No touching,” she scolded.
“Who’s this?” Mera asked, breaking from her reverie, but Ida swept from the spot and crossed into the kitchen. Mera hurried to keep up, casting one backwards glance at the mysterious woman in blue. She entered the kitchen and observed the room was bigger than the apartment she shared with her mother in Phoenix.
Exposed wood beams traveled up the walls and onto the ceiling. The dark marble counters gleamed as bright as the stone-tiled floors. Even the antique appliances looked new, having been well-preserved.
“This kitchen is to stay as clean as you see it. I will cook, so I can’t imagine you’ll need the kitchen often. Let’s move along,” Ida said, and Mera followed her into another hallway.
They stopped outside a room with a locked door.
“This room is my private study and off limits. Do you understand?” Ida rasped her knuckles on the door to punctuate her question.
Mera nodded, confident she could begrudge the irritable old recluse her secret room.
And so they continued. They raced through a conservatory made up of glass walls and wild-looking plants. Next, they breezed through the library with wall-to-ceiling shelves of faded books, followed by a peek at the music room with a grand piano, and a glimpse of an elaborate dining room.
Then came a drawing room, a sitting room, a morning room, and a family room, each with furniture arranged around marble fireplaces. Ida deemed them all to be less relevant to Mera than the one before it.
As they moved to the second floor, the doors opened to reveal made-up guest bedrooms and closets filled with expensive-looking linens.
Mera had the sense that she was touring an immaculate dollhouse.
On the third floor, Ida stopped in front of the only room she imagined Mera might find useful.
“And this will be your bedroom. Please make a list of any personal items you need. Dinner is in one hour in the dining room,” Ida stated, turning to walk away.
“Wait!” Mera exclaimed.
Ida revolved on the spot to face her again.
“I was hoping we could…” Mera began, then paused, unsure what to say next.
Discuss my mother’s disappearance? Or my dream about portrait lady? Mera thought to herself.
“Nevermind,” Mera finished.
“See you at dinner then.” Ida disappeared downstairs.
Mera walked into her new room and closed the door behind her. She took in the mahogany furniture, the vase with real flowers on the bedside table, and the tall windows set into the wall with plush window seats. The silver threads in the sea-foam wallpaper caught the afternoon light and danced across the walls like glittering waves. Mera crossed to the windows and saw her room looked over the cliffs and ocean.
She threw herself onto the window seat bench with a sigh. She was with the family she always hoped she had, but was more alone than ever. Instead of the warmth and belonging she had longed for, she found herself trapped in the museum of her mother’s childhood, thousands of miles away from her last known whereabouts.
She pressed her forehead against the cool glass window, closed her eyes, and let the distance and the worry rock against her like the waves below her.
Mera wasn’t sure how long she stayed curled up on the window seat, watching the late afternoon sky cycle through its watercolor palette. Though Mera’s body yearned for sleep, her mind would not rest. It hadn’t slowed its racing for one moment since the night of her mother’s disappearance.
She began the recitation of facts as she always did with what she knew. Her mom left for work that Thursday morning three weeks ago, as Mera got up for school. They shouted goodbye at one another as Mera shuffled from her bedroom into the narrow shotgun apartment hallway. Her last glimpse of her mother was her dark hair billowing behind her as she hurried out the front door.
But Mera’s mother never came home. An hour past her typical arrival time, Mera picked up the phone to call the bank where her mother worked and saw a new voice message. Mera pressed play and her stomach dropped–it was her mother’s work hours earlier. Genevieve had never even arrived.
The police conducted their so-called investigation. Mera lost count of how many times she insisted her mother didn’t have a boyfriend to skeptical police officers. Detectives turned up no leads.
“And you’re sure she never told you anything about this alleged absent father of yours?” the detective assigned to her mother’s case had pressed during their last meeting, disbelief etched on his features.
“I’m sure,” Mera repeated, her cheeks burning.
The case was closed. Their official theory? She had run away—vanishing without a trace.
In the darkening light of the bedroom, familiar panic rose in Mera’s chest again. Her mother was out there somewhere, in danger. Ida might help, but their first meeting wasn’t convincing. But maybe dinner would go better. What other choice was there?
Mera’s stomach stirred, but it had nothing to do with hunger. It was the same feeling she had ever since she arrived in Convergence and was thrown off the cliff in her dream by the woman with the white streak of hair. It was impossible to dream of this woman and then find her portrait hanging downstairs.
Unless it wasn’t a dream, a voice in her mind prodded.
Mera stood up and shook her head to clear the thought. She took one last bracing breath, and then she made her way downstairs for dinner.
After a few wrong turns, Mera found the dining room. As she pushed the large oak doors open, she stopped, frozen in the entryway, unprepared for the grandeur that greeted her on the other side.
Each wall hosted a different panel, stretching to the high ceilings of the first floor. Opposite the doorway, floor to ceiling windows lined the wall. There were delicate designs etched in the windowpanes–an hourglass, a leaf in the wind, wingless people flying through the sky. The etchings twinkled in the warm light of the chandelier, set across the glass in shimmering motion.
To her right, a massive fireplace of sturdy red brick sat beneath a charcoal drawing of the sun, its rays extending like vines and reaching to the ground. People climbed on each vine, their free hands outstretched toward the sun.
On the wall to the left were several stone panels featuring an intricate tree carving, the roots protruding in braided ropes. The tree was made up of tiny people, intertwined as one.
Mera turned to the last wall, an elaborate fountain installation with water cascading from the top. Embedded into the fountain was a circle of blown-glass figurines. Made of blue and green sea glass, the figures resembled elongated droplets of water, with long arms reaching out to the figurines on either side of them. The water flowed between the figurine’s outstretched arms, making it appear to pass between them in an unbroken chain.
With a surge of familiarity, Mera recognized the figurines in the fountain. Her mother had the same delicate trinkets on her bedside table. Mera drew closer to the figurines, watching the water pass between them as though in a trance.
“The food is getting cold,” Ida’s voice cut into Mera’s thoughts.
Mera staggered backwards, turning to look at Ida. She sat with her back to Mera, eating her dinner. It struck Mera how strange it was for Ida to surround herself with these depictions of community, when she seemed so solitary. She saw a plate laid out for her across the table.
“Thank you,” Mera said.
Ida nodded before cutting into her chicken.
The two ate in silence.
So much for sparkling conversation, Mera thought. Mera set down her fork, preparing herself to break the silence. When she looked up at Ida, she had her grandmother’s full attention.
“Yes?” Ida asked expectantly.
“My mom never talked about you,” Mera blurted out. “Why is that?”
Ida froze and looked at her plate again.
“You would have to ask your mother,” Ida said after a moment.
“Well, that’s tough, what with her vanishing and all.”
Ida looked up at Mera, her expression stony. “I’m afraid I don’t have any answers for you. I haven’t spoken to your mother since the last time she vanished.”
Mera stared hard across the table at her grandmother. Her mind raced, trying to piece together the fragments her mother had let slip of her estrangement from Ida. All she knew was her mother left home and cut ties.
“Something is wrong,” Mera said. “She would never just leave me. Is there anyone else she might contact? Someone in our family?”
Ida stood from her chair, gathering her dishes. “There is no one else.”
Mera had hoped that if she hadn’t known about Ida, there could be more family she might not know. Someone who could be a haven for her mother. But now, she knew… There was no one else.
“You would do well to go to sleep early tonight. You have school in the morning,” Ida stated. “We’ll leave at 7:15.”
Mera just nodded as Ida walked out of the room, but then Ida stopped.
Without turning to look at Mera, she asked, “Your mother told you nothing, then? About… anything?”
Mera looked up at her grandmother. The word anything rang in her ears.
“No,” Mera replied.
Ida swept from the room, the dishes rattling in her hands.
The fuzzy numbers on the clock next to her bedside said 3:00 AM. She had another three hours to sleep, but Mera’s eyes swept around the dark bedroom, heart pounding in her chest. Something had startled her awake. She strained to listen, but the house was silent.
She stood up and crept to the door, easing it open. As she crossed the threshold into the hallway, the air grew heavier. It enveloped her in a blanket of heat as she moved toward the staircase. Her heartbeat quickened as she descended the staircase with an unknown purpose.
Mera found herself outside of Ida’s study, the forbidden room on the first floor. Light spilled out from the crack under the closed door. She heard Ida speaking in hushed tones.
“A danger to everyone,” Mera thought Ida said.
She moved through the heavy air and pressed her face closer to the door, listening. A second person responded. Was that a man’s voice?
Mera pressed against the door to listen and realized the hot air filling the house was escaping from under the study door. It was pouring out of the crack and rolling over her feet in waves of heat. The hot air moved up her body, licking at her neck and warming her cheeks, filling her nostrils. It reminded Mera of being outside right before a storm.
Mera had to see beyond the door. She needed to understand this feeling in the air.
Before she reached for the doorknob, it turned on its own, the door opening, a blast of warm air billowing out. She peered inside the room.
There was Ida, her long silver hair flowing around her in the breeze. She was bent low over something on the table, her hands moving over the object, obscured by a shimmering heat.
Ida whipped around to face Mera, and their eyes met. Ida’s eyes blazed an otherworldly blue, swirling like waves in a hurricane.
Mera sat upright in bed, gasping.
Her room was freezing, the cool ocean air pouring in from her open bedroom window. Her eyes darted around, but everything was calm in the early morning air.
A dream, she thought, closing her eyes and drawing in a deep breath as she lay back against the pillow. Just a dream.
What she had seen was impossible. Mera shivered, unable to shake the memory of the intensity of her grandmother’s eyes, the intoxicating heat, the mystery man’s voice.
She rolled out of bed and closed the open window. Even if the dream was a product of her tired mind, she wasn’t eager to lock eyes with her grandmother again.
The clock clicked over to 6:30am, and the alarm blared. It was time to get ready for her next trial. High school.
“You should have breakfast,” Ida said, her face buried in a newspaper, as Mera entered the kitchen. “We’ll leave in a half hour.”
Mera nodded, then opened the refrigerator, grabbing an apple and leaving the room. The eyes of the women in the paintings followed her as she hurried to the front door.
Get a grip, she scolded herself, walking outside onto the porch. The morning was cooler compared to those in Arizona, but the Maine air was heavy with humidity. The breeze from the ocean was a pleasant relief, slicing underneath the heaviness in swift, cool currents.
Salt water and grass mingled in the air. She noticed that sensation in the pit of her stomach again. That stirring in her core never stopped, she realized, but had drifted to the back of her consciousness.
As Mera moved further away from the house, the yard became overgrown and untended, so unlike the interior of Ida’s home. Mera marveled at the vibrant colors of the uncut grass, the wildflowers, the vines, and the heavy limbed trees where the forest met the edge of the lawn, breathing it all in as she walked. She took a worn path leading from the manicured lawn in front of the porch into the tall grass. It meandered along a slight curve out to the face of the cliff. Mera wondered with a sudden pang if her mother’s feet had helped to carve the path on which she now walked.
At the end of the path, overlooking the cliff, Mera found a scene from a storybook: two willow trees, their branches forming a wispy green curtain that framed a stone bench sitting between them. Mera took a seat, leaning forward to see where the water met the cliffs. The waves were lapping against the rocks, dark green and slimy with moss and seaweed. She leaned back and closed her eyes, taking deep breaths of the clean salt air.
Mera had never seen the ocean before. Her mother had always been peculiar about the topic. Mera remembered a few years earlier when she was hanging out on the couch with her mother. They were each absorbed in their own novel, while listening to one of her mom’s records, a punk band’s song about hitching a ride to the beach.
“We should take a trip to the beach someday,” Mera thought out loud.
“No,” her mom snapped, looking up from her book.
Mera laughed at first, but her mother’s expression was serious.
“What do you mean, no?”
“Just what I said. No,” her mother repeated.
They argued, and Mera stomped off to her bedroom, thinking even as she slammed the door how weird the argument was. But that was her mother–immovable about the strangest things. She never played that record again.
Listening to the waves splash against the rocks below, Mera wondered how many of her mother’s curiosities she might discover the root of here.
The stirring in Mera’s core jerked, and she dropped her apple. She gripped the edge of the stone bench with white knuckles, leaning forward to brace herself. Her gaze moved to the sea below where a dark patch was forming, as though ink had spilled and was now spreading. As the shape grew bigger and darkened to a jet black, a heaviness tightened around Mera’s heart. She clutched the bench even harder and tried to draw breath.
The wind picked up around her now, blowing hot and cold at once. Her eyes watered, and she struggled to stand. Mera could see the darkness in the water expanding, the outer edges snaking ever closer to the rocks below her.
The heaviness in her chest spread to her limbs. She took an involuntary step toward the edge of the cliff. She could see only the dark spot, its black surface glittering in the morning sun. It was right below her now.
Enough! a voice commanded, crystal clear in her mind, and the heaviness lifted. Mera turned away from the edge of the cliff and fell to her knees, drawing in rattling breaths. She blinked through her tears and looked again at the ocean. The dark patch in the water had disappeared. The waves had returned to normal.
“What are you doing out here?” Ida demanded, snapping Mera back to reality.
Mera jumped and turned. Ida was standing just behind the stone bench, those intense blue eyes boring into Mera’s.
“I was just...” Mera started and then faltered under Ida’s glare. She thought how to best explain the evil ocean inkblot to her grandmother. “I was, uh, just sitting.”
“You do not come out here to sit or otherwise,” Ida balked. “Is that understood?”
Mera bristled. “You’re telling me I can’t go outside?”
Ida gave her a withering glare. “You shouldn’t be this close to the cliffs. It isn’t safe.”
For a brief second, Mera could see hints of her mother’s face in Ida’s. When she saw Mera studying her, Ida spun and stalked back up the path toward the house.
Mera didn’t know what she had seen in the waves below, but it made her want to stay away from this spot from now on. On that point, at least, she and Ida agreed.
“Let’s go!” Ida called through the overgrowth.
With gritted teeth, Mera walked the path back to the house and found her grandmother standing on the porch steps, waiting for her.
“Here,” Ida said, thrusting something toward Mera.
Ida held out a glimmering silver chain with a small sea glass charm in the shape of a droplet of water. Mera held out her hand, and Ida placed the necklace in it. As soon as it hit her palm, a warmth emanated from the charm, tickling her fingertips and spreading over her hands. She loved it immediately–it felt like hers.
“It was Genevieve’s,” Ida explained. “Your mother’s, I mean. I thought you’d want to have it.”
Mera looked up at her grandmother and a shudder went through her. She remembered her dream–Ida’s hands, working over something she couldn’t make out through the glow. It was a dream, she reminded herself for the millionth time that morning. She slipped the necklace into her pocket.
“Thank you,” Mera said.
Ida opened her mouth as if to say something but stopped. She rocked back on her heels and said, “We leave for school in 5 minutes. Meet me at the car.” She disappeared back into the house.
Mera didn’t know much about cars, but she knew Ida’s was ancient. It was an antique SUV that smelled of motor oil. It had faded paint on the outside and frayed seats. Mera assumed it had sentimental value to her grandmother (why else hold on to such a hunk of junk, when Ida seemed to have the means to upgrade?). But as Ida shifted into gear, she muttered a steady stream of curse words under her breath until the car lurched forward, and they started down the long drive to the road.
At the middle of the driveway, Ida got out, unlocked, and opened the gate. She got back in, drove through the posts, stopped, got back out, dragged it closed, and relocked it. The level of security seemed a little much to Mera. Had Ida forced Mera’s mom to grow up like a member of the witness protection program, too?
They turned out of the driveway and passed through a stretch of dense forest before the greenery thinned and the ocean appeared through the trees on their left. Ida turned right, and they ascended a large hill, with a cluster of homes built closely together appearing at the crest. Mera realized it was the first set of houses she had seen since they left Ida’s isolated driveway. On the other side of the hill, they passed more streets with houses built in proximity, then drove several miles before coming upon another set of streets and collection of houses. Mera wondered how many people lived here.
“Convergence is a village, in terms of population,” Ida answered the question Mera had only thought. “We share the high school with Billings, our larger neighbor.”
They reached what Mera assumed to be the village square. The streets narrowed but were more populated, filled with people bustling about their morning routines. They passed a laundromat, a diner, a meeting house with a plaque affixed next to its door that read “1774,” and a few small shops.
Mera noticed Ida gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles. They stopped before a crosswalk where a woman pushing a baby carriage stepped out to cross. When she spotted the car, she squinted into it, staring at Ida and Mera until her baby let out a cry. She hurried away, pulling the carriage top over the baby.
Moments later, they slowed to a stop at a red light. An old couple on the corner gawked at them, before leaning toward the passenger window so that their noses almost touched the glass. Mera looked at Ida, but she was staring straight ahead. Mera dropped lower in her seat as the light turned green.
Either the people in Convergence were nosy, or her grandmother was noteworthy.
On the next block, they pulled up across the street from Billings High School and parked. Mera saw hordes of teenagers streaming toward the entrance. The school was massive, taking up the entire block, and made of bright red brick with a white stone entryway that peaked in a series of three pointed arches. Mera watched a few students get swallowed up in the entrance's shadow as they passed through, before she realized Ida was staring at her hands.
“You don’t have to wear it. But it’s valuable, so don’t lose it.”
Mera wasn’t sure when she had pulled the necklace out of her pocket, but she grasped it in her clenched fist. The corners of the droplet charm pressed hard into her skin, and she relaxed her hand. She shoved the necklace back into her pocket and reached for her backpack.
“Go straight to the office, they’re expecting you,” Ida instructed, the steel edge back in her voice. “As soon as school is over, I will wait here to pick you up. Come right out.”
Mera nodded. She got out of the car, then leaned back in. “Uh, bye,” she said.
Ida was gripping the steering wheel and staring straight ahead, avoiding Mera like she had the people in the town. “Yes. Goodbye.”
Mera closed the door. As she began walking toward the school entrance, the necklace was warm against her leg through her pocket’s thin cotton, warmer than it should be from regular friction. Mera shook off the thought. A heat retaining family heirloom was the least of her concerns. Heads turned after her as she hurried up the steps to the main entrance.
She tried her best to keep her head down before disappearing through the door.
Find out what happens on Mera’s first day of school, what the HECK is going on with Ida and MUCH more on August 31st. As always, we can’t thank you enough for reading and for your continued support of our book!
Keep an eye on our Instagram and your inboxes for more information on the upcoming release!