Laura Davis Hays
Perfect bound, 388 pages, 5-1/2" x 8-1/2"
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About the Book
Kelsey Dupuis knows more is going on at BioVenture Enterprises, where she spends her days staring through powerful microscopes, than meets the eye. And there’s more going on within her as well, as Kelsey’s mind and soul are gripped by recurring visions of the life and people of Atlantis. Together, the two threads grow, wrapping her tighter and tighter in a knot she can only escape through ordeal, courage, and deep karmic understanding.
In the early morning light, running along the dirt streets of Santa Fe, Kelsey Dupuis just kept going through the warren of tight lanes lined with mud houses, some with growling dogs chained in the yards, others with Mercedes SUVs guarding their remodeled exteriors. She was not running away this morning, rather she ran toward something, seeking, in the rhythmic movement, the breathing-induced meditation, an understanding of the mystery that lay coiled inside her.
Yesterday, catapulted out of bed by the nightmare, she’d driven halfway to Clines Corners, found a pullout, ducked under the barbed wire, and bolted into the desert. The ground felt soft and pliable under her feet, and there was sound in her ears, a gentle water sound, like hushing or sighing. Behind it, she could hear the eerie mix of distant highway noises, calls of waking birds, a coyote howling. And then the voice came through, speaking so clearly she stopped and turned, though she knew she was alone. You will be my brother, sister, lover, friend. Together we will not do, not do, not do again. As we once did, twice did, thrice, couldn’t help but be the same.
Suddenly a hallucination, straight out of the nightmare world, bloomed before her eyes. Standing in a narrow wash where water had funneled for millennia, scooping away the sandstone walls until they were cupped like two ears, she’d first imagined, then heard, then seen. She would not think of it now. Not today. Today she was just a person who dreamed, a person alone in a new city with a new job. A person with a plan to find normal again.
“You have a destiny, Young Master.”
“Why do you call me that, Gracious Mother?”
“Because that is what you will become.”
I remember a day sitting with Muamdi in her garden cleaning goatsfoot. It was before all this, before the moment I told Gewil “no,” before I was sent away for my penance that has lasted now for a year. I have been called in to speak with Gracious Mother for the last time.
“Do you know what your destiny is?” she asks.
Muamdi had told me, as we sat plucking and flattening those hoof-shaped leaves, that in big things, fate governs our lives. We are born to it; we must only discover it.
“I do not,” I say. I think only that I have avoided the one fate—I am not a wife.
Gracious Mother has wavy white hair that floats to her knees, and a face so lined it looks like sand after a rain. But her youthful beauty still shines through. It is as though a smooth-faced girl sits with the wrinkled one and trades moments with her. One moment you see the beautiful clear face, the taut cheeks, the night-black hair; the next, the web of lines, the drooping jowls. I think the old face may be the more beautiful one. “Have they not spoken of the prophecy, Iriel?”
One evening, Quiri and my grandmother walked on the beach, thinking they were alone. Their talk was free, though I overheard them, hiding behind the dunes….
“Yes, Gracious Mother. “I have heard of the Expected One.”
“Do you know who it is they await?”
“Master Quiri?” I ask, for that was what I thought as I followed the old lovers in the night. Quiri was preparing for his role. He was begging Muamdi to accompany him.
“And do you believe he is The One?”
I know Quiri’s powers. He has disappeared before my eyes. He’s shown great physical strength and agility. He reads the old scrolls, possesses long-forgotten knowledge. Still .…
“You doubt it,” she says, and the youthful face flashes a conspiratorial smile.
“Muamdi did not think . . . .” I remember her resistance. She said he was foolish and proud: You are not she, no matter how much you wish it. I note now the feminine usage. Hidden behind the dune, I’d thought it only her way of teasing, asserting herself against his pride.
When Muamdi and I sat in her garden, the fuzzy goatsfoot green-smearing our hands, I asked her about destiny. “Fate is like the channel of a river, and you are the water,” she’d said. “You both cut the channel and are confined by it. You can splash free, you can meander where the banks are soft. But you are still the river.” This answer puzzled me, as I was then thinking how to escape the banks my parents and Gewil’s had constructed: the forced marriage.
“I have thought of fate while I was here,” I say to Gracious Mother. “I have prayed upon it. I know you choose it in a way, and then you are caught by it. But sometimes, sometimes . . . .” and here my thoughts form on my tongue and come out fresh, “sometimes you are connected to something big you must do, something you must follow. One-God decrees it.”
“Yes,” she says simply. And so ends our interview.
About the Author
Laura Davis Hays is a California native, the only child of a theoretical physicist and a librarian. Her prize-winning body of work includes a forthcoming fantasy series, the Atlantis Material, and a collection of linked stories set in Denmark, her ancestral homeland, in the early twentieth century. Hays is also an accounting consultant, a performing pianist, a composer, and a skier. She and her husband live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with their two cats, Rufus and Dexter.
Praise for Incarnation
Foreword Reviews, spring 2016:
"For Kelsey Dupuis, a refined scientist from New Mexico with a fear of water, past and present are about to collide. Incarnation is a metaphysical thriller in which Kelsey’s dreams turn into nightmares. She experiences life through the eyes of Iriel, a daughter of Atlantis with an affinity for dolphins and sea creatures, all while attempting to thwart an international environmental disaster, escape an enraged lover, and decipher a message from 10,000 years in the past.
"Thought provoking and visceral, Kelsey’s journey from the dry BioVenture labs of Santa Fe to the troubled waters of Belize is fraught with visions and answers just out of reach as Iriel’s own trials and choices are mirrored from beyond. Karma and reincarnation are explored alongside science and logic in a magical, mystical fusion as two enigmatic women, born worlds apart, face startlingly similar ordeals and temptations both professional and romantic. Cerebral and introspective but spiced with action, danger, and passion, Kelsey and Iriel are sure to captivate preternatural believers and skeptics alike."
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