The OtherWorld / Lynette Ferreira

When eighteen-year-old Jenny O'Brien falls down a manhole and dies, her family and friends mourn her untimely death. However, Jenny wakes up in a small haven called Strangely and it is as if she has always been here. 
In Strangely, she and three other girls, Emily, Abby and Zara live in a crooked little house on a slight hill, with a view of clouds in every direction they look. Everything is normal until they read the Book of Eudemon. When the four girls use their combined powers to escape Strangely, they arrive in The OtherWorld, the upside-down of New York where they meet Gorgon and the others.
Gorgon leads a band of angels who had been murdered, whose bones are hidden beneath a house in an affluent suburb, and before they are dragged to Hell, their bones must be found and properly buried but time is running out very quickly. 
Before being banished from Strangely, Gorgon foretold of four girls who will have powers to rid the world of demons but sometimes demons are only human. 

Chapter One (draft)

In a suburb of New York, the residential street is empty, quiet of the noises people make. Houses stand dark and silent on either side of the road, all washed in the eerie, yellow glow of the streetlights.
In one of the houses on this affluent street, there are five doors leading to five separate rooms. The entrance hall to the house is large and bare of any furniture except for a small desk pushed against the far wall on which photographs and candles are laid out. 
The young people who appear in the photographs smile happily. They all have an expression of optimism. 
There are still traces of the holes in the corners of the photographs where they were stapled to individual job applications.
Five young people.
One in each of the rooms of this dark, chilling house. Lured here with promises of lucrative jobs, they now lay shackled to a metal bed, and when they die of starvation or worse, there are always another to take their place.
Once they die, they are moved to another room.
A room below this room.
A room filled with bones.


Two days ago, in a town in the North of Ireland, Jenny was standing in a corner of her local pub. Her elbow rested on the bar counter to her side and she held the purple slash pink slash green drink in her other hand. She had not yet taken a sip, feeling nervous tasting alcohol for the first time. She was here with her friend, Veronica and Veronica’s boyfriend, Karl.
Jenny wished with all her heart it could have been just her and Veronica, seeing it was the first time she had stepped over the threshold of a pub. It was a week past her eighteenth birthday and even though her parents knew where she was, she still had a strict curfew of ten o’clock so she wanted to make the best of the time she had. Her parents were firm believers that running the streets until god knows what hour only bred more people depended on benefits. They wanted Jenny to use her God-given talents to become so much more and Jenny shared their dreams.
Now, she was standing here listening to Karl going on and on to Veronica about his shelf-packing job at the local supermarket. Veronica looked interested. They had only been going together for two months, so it was still young love and everything was new and exciting.
Then, across the room, Jenny saw him and for a second, maybe two, she had a feeling that the fabric of her life was rippling. She had had a crush on him since primary school, then she was accepted at Grammar and their paths never crossed again. His hair was auburn brown, the glint of the dull lights in the pub on his hair emphasised the red hues, and it was still cut in the same style. From all the way over here she could see his amazing blue eyes and it looked like while he was away, living his life, he had been going to the gym regularly.
As Veronica and Karl continued to talk, Jenny studied him across the room, his face, his body, and when she imagined him naked, just for a second, she felt her cheeks warm up. Once the image flashed in her mind, she could not stop herself, though. She imagined his hands touching her...
Then, his eyes caught hers and all of a sudden, the chatter and noise in the pub faded away and it was just the two of them.
Jenny felt an intense excitement when she saw him move away from the crowd of people he was standing with. He edged past the crowd which separated them, but she did not want to get her hopes up. Surely he was not crossing the room to get to her. Was he?
When he reached them in the corner of the pub, he smiled a brilliant smile, and Jenny smiled in return.
“Hey,” he said.
Jenny replied, “Hey.”
“Karl,” Sebastian said, turning to face him. “Why don’t you ask Veronica to dance?”
Veronica eyed Jenny concerned. “Would you mind?”
“Not at all,” Jenny replied.
Karl smiled and he took Veronica’s hand, pulling her with him to the small dance floor on the far side of the bar counter.
“Veronica and Karl look happy together,” Sebastian said, watching them walk away.
Jenny nodded her head a little. “It looks that way.”
“You don’t think so?” With a questioning look on his face, he turned to look at Jenny.
“I think two months isn’t long enough to know if you’re happy in a relationship or not.”
He raised his eyebrows a little as he looked her over, and then he smiled a crooked smile. “You’re all grown up. The last time I saw you, you were… What? Ten or eleven and now you’re standing here in my local as if you belong.”
“Time stands still for no man,” she said, feeling indignant.
“I saw you checking me out,” he joked.
Jenny felt mortified. She stood up a little straighter. “You saw that?”
“How could I not, Jenny?”
Jenny looked down embarrassed.
“But only because I was checking you out from the moment you walked in with Veronica and Karl.”
Jenny did not know what to say, so she brought the glass up to her lips to take a sip but then let her arm go back to the position it had been in all night.
He asked, “So, Jenny, what do you like to do for fun?”
“I’m having fun.”
“No, you’re clearly not.”
“What gave it away?” She dared a glance up at him.
“Since you’ve come in and got yourself that monstrosity of a drink, you’ve barely said two words, twirled that glass around in your hand so many times you’ve probably messed up the perfect balance it was supposed to be when it was created.”
Jenny sighed. “I just thought it would be different. More exciting.”
“Being in a pub?” He chuckled. “Having a drink?”
“People always make it look like so much fun,” she sulked.
“Seen enough yet?”
“I’ll stay a bit longer, see if it gets better.”
“Can I tell you a secret?” He asked, leaning closer to her. The whisper of his breath brushed against her cheek.
Frozen in place, feeling like her stomach just imploded, her legs threatening to run a mile, even if this was the only place she ever wanted to be, she said with a tiny hitch in her voice, “Okay.”
There was a pause.
“I like you, Jenny. Since a long time.”
Jenny took a small step away from him. Years and years of her parent’s words of advice and counsel were swirling in her head accompanied by a bright, red light which also spun in continuous warning circles. “I’m not looking for a romantic relationship,” she apologised.
He looked puzzled. “How come?”
“School has to come first.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Well, then let me ask you something.” He leaned even closer to her. “Do you find me attractive?”
“Seriously?” Jenny laughed nervously.
“Do you?” He asked with a serious look on his face.
“I suppose,” Jenny replied, feeling her cheeks heat up again.
He lifted his hand and let his finger graze her lip.
Jenny closed her eyes.
“I’m glad to hear that,” he whispered as he dropped his finger away from her lips.
Jenny opened her eyes.
“Would you like to get to know me, Jenny?” He smiled a seductive smile.
Jenny rolled her eyes. “Don’t I already know you? From when we were at Primary together and then from all the gossip I hear about you, I think I know you pretty well.”
He smirked. “I meant to say would you like to get to know me better? The real me?”
Jenny laughed amused. “Is the real you any different?”
His hand came up to clasp his chest. “That hurt.”
“From what I heard, you do all the hurting.” Jenny frowned.
He held his hand to her cheek. “I’m not that guy. Not anymore.”
Jenny shrugged her shoulders as if she did not care whether he was or not. She could not help it, though. She liked him, always have and him telling her he liked her since a long time ago, made her not want to think of her future, her parents, what other people say about him. Although she knew it was against her better judgement, she wanted to get to know him better. Even if, deep down, she knew the truth. She knew he would hurt her.
She turned to the counter and put her glass down. “I think I have to go to the Ladies.”
“And now you’re running.”
“No, I really do need to go.”
He sighed. “Tell me what you’re thinking right now.”
Jenny shook her head. “I can’t.”
“You can’t or you won’t?”
Jenny remained quiet. How could she tell him she was afraid to lose all her dreams, all her goals for a fling which most probably would leave her with a shattered heart.
“I have a feeling when you leave to go to the toilet you’ll be slipping out the side door and I really want to see you again.”
Jenny still gave him no answer.
He smirked. “I’m going to make this really simple for you, Jenny. I want you.”
His words shocked her. He was so forthcoming with what he wanted. He was so self-assured of himself, it made her even more nervous to tell him she felt the same about him. “I’m really sorry, but it just won’t work.”
He scoffed. “I don’t believe you. You don’t know how to get off your pedestal long enough to realise you want me too.” He surprised her when he cupped her face in his hands and gave her a long, passionate kiss.
Her breath quickened and her back arched as his hand caressed it. When he broke the kiss, he smiled. “One date.”
“What?” Jenny croaked.
“One date is all I want and if I can’t change your mind about me… Then our paths won’t cross again, ever.”
“Yes. Really.”
“That’s it? One date?”
He smiled and looked deep into her eyes. “So quick to never, ever see me again. I must admit it stings a little.”
“I really have to go to the toilet now,” she said as she pushed herself away from the counter determinedly.
Sebastian watched her as she walked away.
When Jenny got back to the corner in the pub, Sebastian was nowhere to be seen.
Veronica smiled when she saw Jenny approach them. “Ready to get out of here?” She asked.
“Am I ever,” Jenny agreed.
Sitting in the back seat of Karl’s Peugeot, Jenny clasped her hand around her phone when her ring tone announced she had a notification.
She swiped the lock screen and saw she had a few message notification.
Sebastian: Get ready to have your mind blown, Jenny.
Jenny: You seem overconfident.
Sebastian: Oh, but I am.
Jenny: Why the friend request on Facebook?
Sebastian: It would be easier when we go public.
Jenny: Public with what?
Sebastian: You know. In, single or it’s complicated.
Jenny laughed.
Sebastian: Veronica said you have to be home at ten. It’s now, exactly, 8:45. Are you keen?
Jenny: Keen for what?
Sebastian: Our date?
Jenny: Now?
Sebastian: I’ll be at your front door at 9. Be ready.
Jenny: No!
He did not send a reply message.
By the time they reached her house, Jenny could see Sebastian waiting for her where he was leaning against the low wall in front of her parents’ semi-detached house.
Jenny almost forgot to say goodbye to Veronica and Karl, when she quickly pulled the door open and rushed across the pavement to reach him.
“This is crazy,” she hissed.
“You can lie to me all you want, Jenny, but your face… your body… They tell me everything I need to know.”
“And what exactly are they telling you, Sebastian?” Jenny asked with a sarcastic tone in her voice.
He gave her a sexy smile but said nothing as he turned to wave goodbye to Karl and Veronica.
After they left, he turned back to Jenny. “Would you like to go for a drive?”
“Where to?”
“This place I know.”
He walked over to his car and held the passenger door open for her.
Reluctantly Jenny stepped forward and sat down on the seat before he closed the door again.
After he got in the car and started driving, he did not seem so assured of himself anymore and there was a nervous silence in the car. He drove them to a quiet picnic area on the side of the river.
“The water looks pretty.”
“Isn’t it?” He asked, glancing in her direction.
Jenny turned to look at him. “It’s not often the moon is out, so it looks especially nice with it reflecting on the surface like that.”
His eyes were already locked on her. “Come.”
They got out of the car and met in the front. She copied him when he leant back, half-sitting on the front of the car. He stretched his legs in front of him and crossed them at the ankles.
“It’s a nice night,” he said looking up at the clear night sky.
Jenny looked up as well. “Not even a chill.”
“Perfect?” He asked softly.
“Well, as far as dates go, no.” She laughed amused.
He straightened and took a step in her direction. He pulled her up against his body, looking into her eyes and then he kissed her.
Jenny broke away from his lips. “What are you doing?”
“Fulfilling a fantasy I have about you.”
He said, “Maybe positive thinking actually works because I have thought of you and me together so often, even though I never believed it could ever happen. Would it be weird, if I said, I think I actually love you?”
“You did not just say it without even knowing if I feel the same way about you? Why would you do that?” Jenny asked.
He looked puzzled. “I have nothing to lose. If you loved me, would you be too afraid to tell me?”
“I would never, ever say it without being a hundred percent sure I’m not going to humiliate myself.”
“I guess that’s where we differ. I don’t care. My love for you does not depend on whether you feel the same or not. It just is.”
In a desperate attempt to get even closer to her, Sebastian moved his hand to the back of her neck. He kissed Jenny as he pushed against her to move backwards. When their mouths met, she was as eager to kiss him as he was to kiss her. Her lips were perfect the way they moulded and meshed with his. Her mouth tasted sweet, her tongue was teasing his, and the more he got, the more he wanted. He knew he would not go any further than just kissing – for now. His body paid him no interest, though. His body was not one to ponder consequences. He shifted his hips away from her so she would not think the words he spoke were lies, that he did not really love her, that all he was interested in was to shag her, to fulfil the fantasies he so casually admitted having.
With his one hand on her hip and the other behind her head, he gently prodded her backwards until the back of her legs were pushed against the front of his car, their lips staying attached.
Jenny whimpered. He was making every rational thought in her head scamper like frightened rabbits when faced with a hungry fox.
His hands went to her waist, caressing her skin under her jumper just above the top of her jeans. 
As they kissed, her hands moved from his neck and smoothed down his shoulders, her fingers burned his skin even though he was wearing a thermal T-shirt. He shuddered under her light touch. “It feels good when you touch me,” he murmured against her lips.
She chuckled. “I guess I like touching you.”
He rested his forehead on her shoulder. “Why now?” He said softly. “All these years, and now...”
Jenny looked at the way the moonlight glimmered off the ripples the wind was creating on the river.  She asked, “Don’t you think it’s strange how we’ve lived in the same town, and never ever saw each other after we finished Primary until tonight.”
“What are the odds of randomly meeting someone you know?” He asked, lifting his head from her shoulder and looking at her.
“Some might say it’s just coincidence that in seven years we were never in the same place at the same time, and there are an unexplained order and structure to reality, something that connects everything and everyone. Maybe we weren’t meant to see each other until tonight.”
“So why now? Why tonight and not a month ago?”
Jenny looked at him confused.
“Seven years, Jenny. It’s been seven years since I last saw you, and tomorrow I am leaving to go to New York. That’s why I could not wait until tomorrow or next week to take you on a proper date. It had to be tonight.”
“When will you be back?” She did not want to sound desperate.
“I’m not. Well, not for a while.”
She smiled, trying not to look sad. What did she expect anyway? She said, “Wow. New York. What are you going to do there?”
“I applied for this job on a fishing boat in Alaska. I’ve always wanted to go on a big adventure, and this adventure pays well. I’d be set up when I get back.”
“That sounds so exciting. Why New York, and not straight to Alaska?”
“I found this company online and there’s a group of us, so we’re meeting there first. The company will be paying for our accommodation and our flights from New York to Alaska. I only have to pay to get from here to New York.”
He looked so excited, Jenny could not help feeling happy for him. “It sounds almost too good to be true.”
He laughed. “Now you sound just like my mum and dad. It’s all legit, they emailed me the tickets and I searched the hotel on-line. Everything will be okay. Enough about me, though. You’re probably off to Uni soon, so, what’s the odds of seeing you ever again.”
“We’re friends on Facebook now so we can keep in touch wherever you have a Wi-Fi signal.” She laughed to disguise how she really felt.
His hands reached up to her face and then his one hand tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear gently as he brought his lips closer to hers.
Jenny did not allow herself to think about why she was kissing him when he would be gone tomorrow. Maybe that was exactly the reason why she was kissing him. For more than seven years she had nurtured the feelings she had for him like a precious little kitten abandoned by its mother even before it had a chance to open its eyes. All she wanted to do was focus on the way he pressed his body against hers. Commit it to memory. The slow, sensual way her tongue followed his, and the way he felt when she slid her hands over his broad shoulders.
His hands gripped the back of her thighs and he lifted her up.
Her legs wrapped around his waist automatically.
Burying her hands in his hair, she pulled him down with her as she lay down on the bonnet of his car.
He said, while the corner of his mouth pulled up into an endearing crooked smile, “It’s almost ten, I promised I wouldn’t get you into trouble.”

This book is currently not available in any format because it has not yet been released—available 2018-04-10

    © The OtherWorld by Lynette Ferreira