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The Beast of Stornoway

Chapter 1 - Amani

Amani sighed and closed her flimsy worn out Duke of Aberdeen novel. When she was a little girl, she’d found a picture book about the Loch Ness monster in the local library, and she’d become captivated by the colorful scenery of the Scottish Highlands. Since then, she’d read everything she could get her hands on about the folklore of Scotland, but her favorite novel had always been the tale of Ariana and Duke Aiton of Aberdeen.

The idea of a strapping highland lord in his kilt coming to rescue her from a savage pack of rebels made her melt. Not that it could ever happen in real life, or that she'd ever get a chance to go to Scotland.

But a girl can dream...

"Amani!" Her mother called, "get down here and help me clean up this house!"

And back to reality.

Her life was not as romantic as her novel. She was born and raised in the projects of Detroit. She lived in a small house on the 'Ave with her mother and two little brothers.

She’d graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor and master’s degree in psychology. She hoped her degrees would bring her the fairy tale life she’d always wanted: traveling the world and getting her family out of their rundown neighborhood.

But life isn't a fairy tale.

"Sorry, Mama." She sighed and picked up a few toys her brothers had left behind.

They were running around outside without a care in the world. She smiled and watched them from the window. She missed those days, when the project life never mattered and she didn't care about the forgotten shopping carts hanging around or broken beer bottles scattered across the streets. As a child, those things just made for a better adventure.

"You need to get your head out them books and find a J-O-B, Amani." Her mother grumbled as she shook out a blanket.

"I know, I've been applying. I just can't find anything."

"Tye said he lookin' for a night cashier. Said he wouldn't mind havin' you there."

Tye was her ex-boyfriend from high school. They were great together, minus getting caught up in his gang and almost losing her life to a shoot-out over the color of her shoes. And then there was his possessiveness. 

She shook her head.

No. Never again will I let him treat me that way.

She didn’t need Tye and she didn’t need any favors from him. He’d see this as an opportunity to trap her into living the life of a gas station/drug dealer/gang lord's wife. That was definitely not the life she wanted to live. But the way her life was set up at the moment, it seemed like that was all she had to look forward to.

Amani smirked. "Tye doesn't need a night cashier. He just needs company."

"Well, what you gonna do then? Find yourself one ah them rich foreign white men you read about to be yo suga' daddy?" her mother scoffed. "It don't happen like that, 'Mani. We don't get that white fairy tale bullshit," she huffed.

Her mother hated that she read those books. She was always making comments about her wanting to be white enough to live a glamorous life. But it wasn’t that. It wasn’t about the men, while she was attracted to them, she was more in love with the places and adventures the characters found themselves in.

There was something so freeing about the idea of jetting away to a foreign country. Where no one knew who she was or where she came from. She could be the person she’d always wanted to be.

"I figured you wouldn't wanna work for Tye so I got you a job with Karen Lackey at Wilson Manor."

Amani sighed in frustration. "Cleaning houses? At the Wilson manor? Mama, you know how much I hate Marsha Wilson, and I have to work with Miss Lackey?” She cringed. “No."

"Yes. You start in an hour."

"Mama!" she whined as her mother pushed her to the door. She handed her an apron and her car keys, “have a good day!”

Amani snatched the items out of her hands and marched to her beat-up Toyota Celica.

"This is bullshit!" she screamed at her steering wheel. Karen Lackey was the most annoying woman in the world. She never shut up!

Not only was that woman annoying, Amani would have to deal with Marsha Wilson. She used to live on the 'Ave with her mother until Mrs. Wilson married a millionaire she met at a casino.

They moved out of the projects and forgot where they came from. Now, Marsha Wilson was just another preppy white girl who stuck her nose up at the common folk.

What an awesome job.

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