When a street gang accosts Elle Carter on her way home from work, pregnant and alone, she turns toward a handsome stranger for help. She doesn’t expect him to carry her off like some ancient damsel in distress.
When the Fates tell Daffyd that Elle is his match, he jumps at the chance to save her. It is his job, after all. After rescuing her from her assailants, he rushes her to his home world, Mikkant. He must get her to a healer before complications of premature labor kills both mother and child.
Elle walked down the dark street, worn out. She wasn’t used to working anymore. Barry thought she should quit work and school as soon as they got married. It didn’t take long for her body to get used to being a housewife.
Her entire body ached from being on her feet all day. The unseasonably cool spring breeze made her shiver. The winter needed to end. She, and everyone else she knew, was damned tired of the winter’s unyielding grip.
Drawing her jacket close, she sighed, wishing she could zip it up over her growing stomach. She rubbed her rounded belly with one hand and leaned back, her other hand on her hip, hoping to work the kinks out of her lower spine.
The cool weather certainly wasn’t helping her get used to being on her feet all day. Nothing could have prepared her for this first week at her new job. If only she would have kept working and going to school. She would have gotten her degree. Instead, she’d listened to Barry. He’d wanted her to stay home and be a housewife. Though she had dreamed of becoming a lawyer, she had wanted to be his wife, too. Sometimes, things just didn’t work out as planned.
“Thank goodness I have the next two days off. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to work tomorrow,” she said as she gazed down at her growing baby bump.
It wasn’t a little bump anymore. At seven and a half months, it looked as though she had an exercise ball under her shirt. “You’re going to be a big boy like your daddy, aren’t you?” The baby kicked vigorously and she smiled down at her stomach, wondering if it really was a boy or if it was a large girl. Either way, she was gaining weight fast and her stomach just kept growing and growing.
Elle’s eyes filled with bittersweet tears as her thoughts turned to her husband and what should have been. Barry had wanted this baby so much. She thought they should wait until they had a bigger savings account, but he’d been in a hurry to start their family.
She rubbed her increasingly large belly and blinked. Maybe she should go get that ultrasound Barry had wanted her to get before he died six months ago. Tears ran down her cheeks as she thought about him. How could the powers that be take him from her when she needed him the most—when they needed him the most? Elle still didn’t know how she would get to the hospital when she went into labor. How would she get home and more importantly, how would she pay her bills while she was out of work on maternity leave?
“Why did you take him from me?” she asked no one in particular. She stared up at the clear night sky as though she might find the answer there. Elle wasn’t overly religious. She believed in a higher being, or beings, but she wasn’t sure there was one all-powerful God that oversaw everyone’s life. How could she believe that when her husband died, leaving her with no money, no insurance and no way to support herself? Wouldn’t an all-seeing God know how much they needed him?
I don’t know that I would call us gods, Elle, but we have been watching. Do not worry. Everything will work out just the way they should.
Elle spun around in a circle at the sound of a woman’s voice. It didn’t come from any one place, but all around her. She wasn’t frightened. How could she be? The voice was soft and gentle, just like her mother’s. She merely wanted to know where the voice came from.
“That’s it. Now, you’re hearing things.” It wasn’t any wonder she would hear the sound of a woman’s voice. Wasn’t it just yesterday that she had wished her mother could be here? “Not only are you widowed, pregnant and broke, now you’re going crazy and hearing voices.”
She stepped up her pace, wanting to get back to the little house she had inherited from her father before the voice in her head told her to do something crazy like knock over a convenience store by pretending the banana in her pocket was a gun.
No one is going to suggest you do anything of the sort, another woman said with a chuckle. Like the first, this voice seemed to come from everywhere, though the new voice sounded older, more like a grandmother.
“Who are you and what to you want?” Elle spun around in a circle just to make sure she was alone. She knew better than to walk home alone in the dark, but her car broke down earlier that day and she had to go to work. Like it or not, there was really nothing else to do but walk.
We are the Norns.
“The Norns?” Elle frowned and bit her lip. She’d heard something about them. If she wasn’t mistaken, the Norns were some sort of Hoodoo Norse legend. Barry had told her about them once, a long time ago, when he had written a paper on Norse mythology for one of his classes.
Yes, dear, said the grandmotherly voice. We are the weavers of fate, of destiny, and we have been watching you.”
“Why have you been watching me?” she asked as she crossed the street.
“We’ve been watching ya because we want your money.”
Elle spun around at the sound of the deep voice that sounded way too close. She brought her hand to her throat. Four young men stood around her in a semi-circle. Each one held a knife, the tips of the dirty blades pointed at her. Not one of them looked nice. In fact, every one of them had greasy hair and circles under their eyes. If she had to guess, she would say that they were drug addicts.