While fulfilling the final request of her departed Grandmama, Melody Bennet, a young professional raised in the genteel suburbs of North Carolina, is plunged into the clandestine world of an ancient West African religion -- via the Louisiana bayou. In unearthing a mysterious religious manuscript, Melody collides with those seeking powers believed to be contained within the text, from The Vatican to individuals claiming it as their legacy. She accepts the task of safeguarding the book and finds lives are threatened, including her own, sometimes from unexpected directions. As her knowledge grows and perceptions shift, Melody's path is fused with that of the sacred book. She risks body and soul to protect both and, unbeknownst to her, secures the future of an esoteric, divine prophecy.
sandra gives an overview of the book:
“There will come a time when powerful signs herald a crossroads for Humanity. Events affecting one part of the Earth will instantly be known to the rest of the world and shall be recognized by achosen few as the prophesied signs. Consequences of action and inaction will be apparent, cause and effect manifesting faster as this cycle draws toward conclusion. Inequities and imbalance will be painfully evident on individual, regional and global levels. Feelings of isolation, disconnection, and confusion will be widespread. Few will express these feelings, most choosing to mindlessly walk through their daily tasks, numbing themselves in countless ways. Hardships will flood the vast majority of people from every direction, creating a rising sea of anxiety. Thiswill be reflected in Mother Earth being out of balance, with cataclysmic events taking place more regularly and more intensely as She strives to attain equilibrium.A long-ago gathering of elders who revered and held sacred our connection to Mother Earth foresaw the time of this crossroads. A divinely inspired plan was conceived to counteractthis state of imbalance, to be put into place at this crucial time. Over a preordained period, four distinct, devastating conflicts among societies throughout history will be confronted—one at a time—so as to heal suffering at the core, bringing about a state ofwellness and balance. The prophetic elders knew they must protect this knowledge, for there would always be those who would seek to maintain control of the power. The elders’descendants became protectors of this ancient wisdom tradition—sometimes knowingly, sometimes not—with their lives intrinsically entwined in guardianship of the sacredprophecy. The painful disparities of the past and present must be exhumed to be honored and healed. Accountability will be imperative once a shift toward stability is initiated. The fate ofAll rests with a universal awakening…” Translation of Choctaw tribal shaman proclamation; Bayou-Lacombe, LA; Circa 1878
PROLOGUE Giselle never forgot the day she fled Louisiana. It began as a fairly normal day, with the morning sun peeking through yellow gingham curtains framing the window above her bed. They were a recent gift from her mother, who had sewn them by hand as a surprise for her thirteenth birthday.“Giselle, I’m going out for a little while,” Yvette announced from the hallway. “There’s food in the kitchen. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”Her mom was already gone by the time Giselle woke enough to reply. She didn’t know where her mother was going or what was happening, but could sense something was very wrong.Yvette had always been cheerful and affectionate but lately was withdrawn.Reluctantly, Giselle got out of bed and quickly dressed. Once again, it was left to her to take care of her little brother. She hoped eight-year-old Francois hadn’t felt the tension surrounding them lately.She was worried about her father rarely being home; even more alarming was her mother’s physical condition. Yvette seemed to worsen by the minute, with dark circles under her blue eyes, blending with an increasingly gray complexion.Throughout the day Giselle did her best to entertain Francois and distract herself at the same time. They were in the middle of a card game when Yvette burst through the front door in a frenzy, panting as she ran to her bedroom and locked the door. Francois looked at his big sister, silently pleading for answers. Giselle had no answers but knew better than to ask. Althoughmother and daughter were normally close, Yvette had grown secretive and moody in the last few days.The two children sat motionless, afraid to breathe. It wasn’t long before the bedroom door was flung open, revealing a wildly disheveled Yvette, clearly terrified, with eyes darting in all directionslooking for threats only she could see. “Mama, please tell me what’s wrong!”Giselle ran over and Yvette clutched her hands in desperation, as if the girl could somehow save her from madness. “We must leave now, child! There’s no time to lose!”Giselle looked into her mother’s frightened eyes. “What are you saying, Mama? Why do we have to leave—what about Daddy?”“There’s no time, Giselle. We have to leave now. Pack a few things for yourself, and I’ll take care of the rest.”Giselle went to Francois, huddled in a far corner, his little body shaking. She wanted to scoop him up in her arms and comfort him, shielding them both from what was happening, but knew she must do as she was told. Yvette needed her now more than ever. The children followed close behind as their mother led them through the thick vegetation of the swamp, stopping only to catch their breath.The evening shadows had just begun their dance with the waning sun when Yvette paused at the base of an ancient oak tree. Giselle and Francois watched curiously as Yvette reachedinto the hollow of the trunk. Her back was to the children, but Giselle saw her carefully place something large and square into a cloth bag. Yvette motioned for them to once again follow her through the winding paths among the trees. Eyes fixed straight ahead, she was lost in her own world, oblivious to the growing distress of her children. Giselle carried Francois several times and did her best to soothe his cries. They continued this way through the endless darkness for many hours until they reached Morgan City. They went directly to the railroad station where the childrencollapsed onto a wooden bench, and Yvette proceeded to buy tickets to take them away from the only home they had ever known.The memory of their flight from the bayou was still vivid in Giselle’s mind and continued to evoke intense feelings within her, now seventy years later. Sitting at her kitchen table, gaze fixed on a spellbound moth dancing around the ceiling light, Giselle knew time was running out.Melody must be told the truth; an explosive chain of events was about to unfold around her granddaughter. She deeply regretted the decision to harbor such a secret her entire life.Is there anyone in this world without regret when death is near? This question hovered in her mind all afternoon. Giselle dreaded the effect her passing would have on her belovedMelody, already too familiar with grief and loss. Even more she dreaded the impact of the revelations which lay ahead. The world as Melody knew it would soon crumble. Not being able to shelter the child weighed heavily on Giselle. At least I was born into this clandestine world; Melody will now be thrust into it with no warning, no preparation.It was no surprise that her granddaughter had been chosen to fulfill the prophecy. Melody had an inner strength, with a core of integrity and sound judgment. Over the years Giselle had alsoobserved Melody’s intuitive abilities. Her granddaughter scoffed at the idea of having intuition, but Giselle knew otherwise. It was troubling that Melody repressed so much of herself, buther grandmother understood why she kept the world at a distance. You can’t do that much longer, child. The walls are coming down; the veil exists and is growing more transparent with every breath. Giselle had waited years for the dream—a message—and it came to her three nights ago. The prophecy was clear, and Melody was the next link in this chain. Giselle was charged with revealing this legacy to her granddaughter but had no idea where to begin. It suddenly dawned on her how to open this door. Of course! It was the only way. Upon her death, Melody would receive a letter instructing her to go where it had all started for their family. This is where shewould be guided to discover the ancient web of mystery at the heart of the legacy.Giselle knew that, Annie, her own daughter, wouldn’t support Melody during the trials to come. But Melody would be fine; she was accustomed to her mother being emotionallyabsent. Her granddaughter would stay busy in the weeks after her death, attending to all the details without outwardly questioning anything. She would do so out of love and respect, but also to keep the pain at bay. There was no alternative.She removed a colorful pouch from the pocket of her housecoat and withdrew an unusual, exquisite string of rosary beads. As she clutched the rosary to her heart, the pale, bonyfingers of her right hand closed around the pen. She again looked up at the delicate moth, fervently praying Melody wouldn’t have to be sacrificed to the light.“Please God, protect Melody and guide her on this path. Help her stay open…help guide her to the truth.” Giselle began to write, knowing her granddaughter’s life was soon to be changed forever.
Sandra Carrington-Smith is a mother, writer, and self-titled "life observer," currently living in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband, three children, an oversized cat and a goldfish.
A native of Italy, with poetry published there as a young adult,...