The Otherling


In the deep south of Doltree, Georgia, not everything is what is seems. Long accustomed to life as an outcast, the beautiful and demure Annaleah Grace has learned to stand apart from the crowd with dignity. Being the daughter of a white witch and a white witch herself, living in a town of devout Christians, has earned her more than a few raised eyebrows.

When she meets the handsome, yet snarky, Professor Bainbridge with whom she will be teaching at the local University, everything in her life abruptly changes. Something about him seems intimately familiar to her in a way she can’t totally identify. Even though he’s brusque and intimidating, Annaleah is drawn by his otherworldly eyes and foreign mannerisms.

With the help of angels, both Holy and fallen, she discovers just how unique she truly is. Dreams become a meeting place between this reality and the next, and Professor Sebastian Bainbridge’s true identity is revealed.

When her dreams begin to be more than dreams and she wakes up with Georgia red clay she walked through during a nightmare still wet on her feet, Annaleah knows something intense and powerful is going on, and that somehow, Professor Bainbridge is part of it. She is determined to embrace the profound destiny that awaits her and the Professor, even if that means taking up a sword to fight the Devil himself.


Annaleah drifted comfortably in the space between consciousness and sleep, her mind gently shifting from the significance of tomorrow’s meeting to more fanciful, whimsical things. Muted lights flickered beneath her lids, forming images that flowed from one pattern into another, a kaleidoscope of movement and color.

As her breathing slowed and deepened, she felt her focus become more internalized. Leaving the sensations of her body behind, ethereal pictures danced before her, pulling her further into unconsciousness. As the world of dreams began to take shape, she felt a peculiar awareness that she was weightless, as if she were floating through the ether towards whatever land her dreams would deliver her to. It was a calm, peaceful experience, one she let herself be transported into without effort or concern. She was no stranger to meditation, and that was what this felt the most like to her; a wonderful, serene meditation where a profound order was reached. Chaos seemed like a distant notion, discord like a rumor yet to be proven. Here, in this perfect microcosm of serenity, her impression of weightlessness increased. It deepened into a feeling of floating, an untethering from all that was not incorporeal. It felt like being released, a freedom which brought a budding elation.

The jubilation was something she fully embraced, wanting more. Seldom had she felt so liberated, so in the moment, so close to something unfathomable and paradisiacal.

Then, something cool, hard and flat pressed against her cheek. It was sudden and unexpected, and it startled her into opening her eyes. Confusion gave way to fear, as she tried to understand what was going on. Was she was pressed against…the ceiling? How could that be? She wanted to turn over to see if it was true, and as the thought was formed, she found herself turning over, without conscious effort.

She looked down and there she lay on the bed below, her long blonde hair pooled out over her azure pillow. Her creamy skin looked supple and spectral as the moonlight filtered in from the open curtains. Her lips were parted slightly as she slept, her expression placid. Emanating from her midriff was a shining silver cord, which snaked its way upwards to her astral form, connecting them both together.

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