About the book
A chance encounter with a stranger traps Tessa within the mind of a madman.
Tessa was born with a gift. Through a simple touch she picks up pieces of others. A “flash” of color devours her, the only indication that she’s gained something new from another person. Red equals pain; purple, a talent; yellow, a premonition; orange, a painful memory; and blue, a pleasant one. Each flash blurs the lines between her inherent traits and those she’s acquired from others. Whenever she gains bits of something new, she loses more pieces of herself.
While assisting in search efforts for a local missing college student, Tessa is paralyzed by a flash that rips through her like a lightning bolt, slicing apart her soul. A blinding light takes away her vision. A buzzing louder than any noise she’s ever heard overwhelms her, penetrates her mind. As the bolt works its way through her body, images and feelings take over. Women’s dead eyes stare at her as her hands encircle their throats. Their screams consume her mind. Memories invade her of the brutal murders of five women.
Will she be able to find the killer and help save the next victim? Can she do so without completely losing herself?
Bits & Pieces is a fast-paced, riveting Psychological Suspense with supernatural elements that leaves the reader guessing until the end.
Cyle is the only person in the world that I trust completely. He’s the one that I can confide in about all the things I’ve seen and who I’ve become. He’s seen the way the flashes have changed me throughout the years. He actually believes me and always tries to help me make sense of it all. He’s helped me fill in the blanks in my early childhood, objectively, without applying labels to me like my parents and other brothers.
Two days before Christmas, the year I was twelve, Cyle came to my room to have a real heart to heart talk about what was going on with me. I, as usual, was trying to exclude myself from the festivities going on below—some over the top Christmas party my parents were throwing for their closest hundred friends and associates. The whole ordeal was torture. I stayed long enough to show my face, always making sure my hands were full of appetizers and a drink so that I didn’t have to shake anyone’s hand or hug them. As soon as my parents were fully occupied in their roles as entertainers, I slipped to my room. Cyle, of course, was the only one who noticed I was gone.
He came into my room and sat down on the bed next to me. I was lying there reading The Giver and relating so deeply that I had tears in my eyes.
“Hey sis. Why are you hiding up here?” Cyle was so handsome with his thick dark brown hair, his deep brown eyes, muscular build and eyelashes from out of this world. He’s definitely the brother that got the looks.
“You know I hate these things. Plus, I’m really into this book and just wanted to be alone.”
“You shouldn’t be sitting up here all by yourself during the annual Christmas party. You’re twelve. You should be downstairs sneaking handfuls of cookies and candy, or sips of cocktails, and waiting for the yearly visit from Santa that Mom and Dad always plan for this shindig. He always brings good presents, at least.” He paused and cleared his throat. “C’mon. What’s going on with you? I’ve heard Mom and Dad’s interpretation of it all and Cory and Chris’ opinions, but I want to hear it from you. What’s up?”
Tears spilled down my cheeks and the words got stuck in my throat before I could spit them out. “I hate talking about it. Nobody understands. Everybody thinks I’m a freak.”
“Well, I’m not everyone else. Try me. You know I love you no matter what!” As he spoke, my mind flooded with the memory of the blue flash. I could remember him holding me with such tenderness and amazement in his eyes, when I first came home as a newborn. A blue flash imprinted that memory on my brain along with feelings of absolute love and security. This was Cyle. I could talk to him.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve heard what Mom and Dad say, what the doctors think, but none of them are listening to me,” I sobbed. “They don’t believe me. They think I’m crazy or sick.”
With some coaxing, I spilled it all out. The flashes and what I’ve determined each color means. Red is pain. Purple gives me a skill or talent. Blue is a pleasant memory from someone. Orange is a painful memory. Yellow is what I presume to be a glimpse of the future. I explained that they only come when I touch someone, and then it’s only sometimes. I can go months without having a flash or I can have ten in a day. I have no control over it. Once I’ve had the flash though, whatever I got from it, stays with me, becomes me, changes who I am. I explained that with each flash, I am redefined. I become parts of whoever I’ve touched. I am still me but with bits and pieces of them woven into my soul.
I told him of my memory with the blue flash and him holding me. I described his outfit to a tee, my blanket, my clothing. The love I felt from him.
Cyle was fascinated by my stories. It was such a relief to be able to talk to someone who wasn’t looking at me like I was crazy or trying to fix me. His only desire was to understand. I told him about Polly, my former best friend, and how I had the orange flash with her. The one that showed me her step-father was molesting her. I could feel the pain in my own body, as he penetrated hers. I felt his hands groping me. His hot breath smothered my neck and the smell of alcohol seeping from his pores nauseated me. I felt my heart breaking as hers did the same. I no longer felt like a virgin at the age of ten because of what had happened to my friend. I wanted to help Polly but didn’t have any idea how to do it. I told my mother that her step-father was hurting her. Mom simply looked at me and said it was another one of my crazy, made-up stories and there was no way in the world that was happening. That he was a respectable member of the community, a good man. I don’t know which was worse, feeling the pain of the abuse or my mother’s dismissal of my reality.
I was able to keep my friendship with Polly for a while. Until I got the yellow flash. I saw her lifeless teenage body lying on the floor in her bedroom, her mother screaming in agony next to her. I knew she would end up taking her life, her burden too much to bear. The easiest thing to do was not hang around Polly anymore. It hurt too badly to feel her pain, to know her ending, and not be able to do anything to stop it. The whole thing had traumatized me so much that I decided being alone was much easier. Polly was my last real friend.
Cyle held me in his arms while I cried about Polly, my fear, my pain. To cheer me up, he shared some of his early memories with me, ones from when I was too young to recall. Once, when I was three, the family was sitting at the table eating dinner. I threw my spoon across the room and when Christopher handed it back to me, I grabbed his hand. I started giggling and blurted out “Chris has books with naked girls in it. Oooh, gross.”
Chris’ cheeks flamed red and my parents were speechless. “Shut up, you little freak,” he said and stormed away from the table. Cyle said that Mom later found his stash of nudie magazines underneath his mattress.
No wonder Chris hated me.
Cyle started laughing, barely able to get his words out. “There was also the time… you would’ve been about four. Cory came home from school for winter break and he was on this big vegetarian, health-food kick. In all seriousness, you looked at him, square in the face, and said you’re still gonna be big and fat so you should just go ahead and eat candy.”
Cyle and I both cracked up. Cory started gaining weight when he was about twenty-three and never stopped. By age twenty-eight, he weighed close to three hundred pounds.
“Guess you got a yellow flash with that one, huh?” Cyle said.
“It sounds like I’ve had these things my whole life. But why? What caused it? What do I do about it? Why me?” I put my hands over my face wishing I could squeeze the answers out of my brain that I so desperately wanted.
Again, Cyle wrapped his arm around me and pulled me close. “Listen, sis. I don’t know what caused it, or why this is happening to you, or what you can do about it. But, I do believe God gave you this gift for a reason. He knows why He made you this way.”
“Well, it doesn’t feel like a gift…more like a curse. I wish God would explain what to do with it. I mean, some of it’s okay. The good stuff that comes with the purple, blue and sometimes the yellow flashes. But the orange and red are bad. It all changes me.”
“I can’t imagine. I know Mom and Dad have put you through so much with the counselors, psychiatrists, doctors and medicines. They do love you…they just don’t know how to help.”
“It would help if they’d listen and stop trying to fix me.”
“Well, you got me for that. I’m always just a phone call away, you know? Now, you’re coming back to the party with me to see what surprises Santa has for everyone this year.” He pulled me to my feet. “And don’t worry, I’ll stay with you and make sure no one touches you.”
I trusted him to keep me safe, so I went along. On Christmas morning, Cyle handed me a present that only he and I understood the meaning of. It was a decorative box, with a lock. Inside there was a note saying For the Bad Memories – lock them in here until you are strong enough to face them.
(Reprinted with Permission)
I am a lifelong resident of Ohio. My husband, Steve, and I have been married for 18 years and we have 4 children, although 3 of them are now adults. I have spent my career in social work and have a passion for helping others.
I was diagnosed with Crohns disease 15 years ago which has been both a blessing and a curse. My illness has prevented me from continuing to work (the curse) which allows me to pursue my passion for writing with many less time-restrictions and focus my energy on being a wife and mother (the blessing).
My writing is often sparked by a true story which creates a cast of fictional characters/situations in my mind. In addition, I sprinkle pieces of people’s true -life stories they’ve shared with me throughout the years into my fiction as a way to honor many of the tragedies and joys that people live through.
In addition to God, my family and writing, I love coffee, traveling, reading, HGTV and naps. I believe that a story lives in all of us and that it’s important to share ours with others, never knowing who will benefit from what each of us has to say. Sharing our stories not only helps others, it changes us as well ~ Dawn Hosmer
Bits & Pieces was published by Ant Colony Press and is available for purchase in Paperback at https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bits+and+pieces+by+dawn+hosmer