Elicia Clegg’s suspenseful novel “Running with Chaos“ delivers an unsettling rendition of a pivotal moment when three characters stand at the crossroads of destiny and freewill.The following excerpt features one of the three main characters. Sam is at a crossroads of epic ramifications. She has been warned. She either allows eight-year-old Raven Clayton to die, or allows for a stranger to take her place. As you will read, Sam will go against everything she has been taught to break the chain fate has already forged.
. . . . .
Sam stood outside of Animus’s house for nearly five hours. She warned her several times of the ramification of what was to happen, yet Sam’s mind was made up. Sam finally started walking toward the elementary school, wishing it would hail in order for the Earth to suffer as she now did. Each step she took brought her further and further from her circle of friends. She felt trapped in this new reality, no longer rational, running off pure emotion. Something wasn’t right, but this didn’t matter. She loved Raven, she couldn’t explain why, but when she heard her laugh it was the first time she had felt alive. She liked this sensation. To her, killing him equated saving her. Even if time had to stop, she would complete this.
The night air was not cold, yet it chilled her all the same. Unaware of what her heart demanded, Sam walked on with raw intent. She paused as she reached the school. Time had frozen and somehow shifted backwards. She didn’t know how, but her group and Erin were suspended during this shift. She half surmised they were all shifted to another dimension, but this, this could not be, so her mind accepted time was bent, and a handful of people were the only ones to know.
A life for a life.
The words Animus had said; her intent not an evil one, although the outcome would remain the same. They could not create a paradox. A child was killed. It changed the community, and it changed the life of the murderer. Too many had been touched; another child would have to take Raven’s place. his was equality, this was Sam’s job.
“This is not right, it couldn’t be right.”
“You are not the judge of right or wrong,” Animus’s words stung and endured in her mind.
“Then who is?”
She stepped on the same curb she would be stepping on in approximately eleven hours. She would shield herself from the pain, walk away, and let an unknown person take Raven’s place. The morning wind picked up; the smell of death swirled all around. She had to close her eyes. Concentration built in her mind; she could see and feel everything as though time did not exist. And then she heard the new mother’s tears mixed with the fathers; their shallow breathing, a pain so agonizingly real that even now Sam could feel it.
No, no, no. Her mind screamed. She clutched at her chest. She couldn’t do this; something had forever changed inside of her. She could no longer live like this, she was no longer levelheaded, and no longer did she understand the delicate balance she herself had pledged to keep.
She waited, catching his murderous scent. The vengeance which had seared through her soul the day she killed Chuck now boiled up again, frothing and foaming out, covering her with the hatred of wickedness. She was the hunter and her prey’s disgusting lust lingered in the air making his location easy to find. She walked quickly, never hesitated as she navigated down the streets. At first walking until he was closer and then she ran. Her speed that of a trained sprinter. He was so near, she wanted to weep from the strong emotions flowing in and out of her.
“You are not the judge of right or wrong,” Animus’s words stung again.
“I am this morning!” Sam yelled into the vast emptiness of the morning hour as though someone, anyone could hear.
Her body stopped. She didn’t need to catch her breath, just take hold of her wild thoughts and keep them in check. She felt him, her body turning toward a small house. The trim was neat, painted yellow, baiting salesmen to come. The front door was red, commanding power. Even if he lacked it, he would not let the world know he was nothing more than a poltroon. The yard, green and cut to an enviable length, dawned tiny yellow flowers, most appropriate for a man who envied all those around him.
She wanted to vomit, perfection, order, no chaos, just order. She could not put the scale in check, for inside, in his mind, chaos ran free, equality, order, utter disorder… she could not go against her nature, against her job, but then again, she hadn’t been feeling like herself lately, and she felt, maybe she could twist herself inside enough to change everything. Her dramatic mood of disgust was conspicuous to her, clearing out her mind, clearing out the ability to follow orders blindly. She would and could do this.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elicia Clegg, who was born in the small town of Spanish Fork, Utah, affectionately known as happy-valley, moved at age four to Ogden, Utah; a town riddled with a dark past of opium dens, brothels and businesses with underground tunnels constructed for criminals’ and prostitutes to escape police raids. Not only was Elicia’s environment surrounded in historical intrigue, her family has long whispered about a Curse as many have died in strange events. To name but a few: her grandfather was thrown off a building in New York City, her great-grandfather “fell” off the historic Radisson in Ogden, her father was shot in the head, her brother died in a work explosion, her great-uncle had a truck load of lumber crush him to death, her maternal great-grandfather was hit by car and died, a cousin who served two tours in Vietnam died on route home from his heart bursting, her maternal great-great-grandfather disappeared without a trace, and her grandmother, while volunteering, was stabbed to death at the State Mental Health Institute.
It is no wonder she grew up with an overactive imagination and soon began to write many psychologically-thrilling suspense novels including Vexation, Castigate My Sins, and Running with Chaos.