Excerpt from THE HEALER

Ivy didn’t see it coming. With one lightning-fast movement, Joji pummeled Victor in the stomach. Victor staggered forward. His hands went to his abdomen, to the blood spreading across his shirt. Ivy hadn’t seen Joji produce the long dagger that was now lodged in Victor’s stomach. The wound had been delivered with precision, intended to be deep, debilitating, and deadly. There would be no recovery this time around.

“Time for hari-kiri, motherfucker.”

Victor, eyes desperate and locked on Ivy, fell first to his knees, then onto his back. Not so soon. Not like this. The sacks of groceries crashed to the pavement. She rushed towards him. Joji caught her around her waist. “Guess we’ll have some time together after all.” He dragged her to the Mercedes and slammed her against the car. He resisted her struggling with little effort. He ripped her summer dress, mauled her breasts, scratched her back with his manicured fingernails. All the while Ivy’s eyes remained locked on Victor’s body. “I hope you’re watching, Victor,” Joji mocked mercilessly. He pinned his defiant conquest to the Benz while his two grinning goons jumped out of the car. They were eager to catch the show. “I always regretted that you never got to see the fun we had with your mom.” He unzipped his trousers.

I am always powerless.

Ivy’s palms burned scalding hot. Street lamp after street lamp burnt out along the empty street. She ground her palms against Joji’s face. Her fingers dug into his right eye. Crackling electricity sprang from her palms. The stench of burning flesh reached her nose. Joji shrieked, tumbled backwards, and buried his scorched face in his hands.

The goons were slow to react. One caught Joji before he fell to the ground, while the other, unsure as to precisely what had transpired, but knowing Ivy responsible, pounded one fist into Ivy’s jaw, another to her abdomen. She didn’t defend herself and chose instead to collapse to the pavement. She felt no pain. This is all a waste of time. Joji yelped and screamed. “Get me out of here!” The goons poured Joji into the Benz and sped off.

Weak and winded, Ivy crawled over to Victor. He’d grown so quiet. She knelt in the expanding pool of warm blood. He was almost a ghost. His eyes fought to stay open. “I’m not… I need…” It was difficult for him to form words. Blood flowed from his wound. Ivy flashed back to the homeless man and sobbed. This can’t be how it ends. She gripped Victor’s arm with one hand, yanked the dagger out with the other and flung it to the side. The rush of blood accelerated. “Victor. Victor, I love you. Stay with me.” He raised his head slightly. Smiled with his eyes. “A lifetime in a weekend. Worth dying for.” His head slammed back against the pavement. His eyes were empty.

The world spun. Her hands burned. Ivy fell into the white light scared to the core that it was already too late.