Vison by Beth Elisa Harris has all of my favorite things. It’s historical, set in Scotland, and is full of paranormal elements. And it’s a trilogy. I love trilogies.
Here’s a little summary of Vision, along with excerpts from the novel:
The “Vision” trilogy spans centuries, a Scottish tragedy beginning in 1731 where two lovers, Sarah and Jonathan are brutally murdered by a rival clan leader. Sarah had predicted her death and wrote down her vision in a letter to her descendant, Layla Stone who will be born in 1994. But that isn’t all she predicts.
Layla begins an exciting study program in Cambridge and meets Stuart, who seems to have of his own. Layla finds herself caught up in the mystery of her psychic ancestor, Sarah, and discovers her own inherited gifts of Vision.
Sarah and Jonathan MacPhie collapse on the goose down mattress, a wedding gift from Jonathan’s father seven years ago. Sweat beads gather on her upper lip as she traces random patterns on Jonathan’s chest, her mouth smiling, her eyes full of woe.
She knows this is their last night together on earth. Jonathan does not know this as he laid peacefully stroking Sarah’s long amber curls, smiling over his good fortune. Her thoughts are blocked.
When Jonathan surrenders to deep slumber, she softly slides out of bed, slipping a gown over her moist body. Sitting at the small table in the kitchen, the vision channels through a letter, her last words left for anyone to read. She walks over by the fireplace where her mother’s marble urn sat in the corner – its contents emptied earlier that day.
Carefully rolling up the letter and tying the circumference with string, she slips it inside the empty urn. Outside by the peach tree she buries the urn with the letter in a shallow hole, knowing it will be found in time and read by the intended recipient. This vision is the clearest of all.
In the distance the men gather to plan her death.
Further away a woman wails with grief.
There is nothing to do but wait.
We return to the coffee house, not exactly private but empty for the moment. Words like ‘clairvoyant’ and ‘psychic’ hover in the air. I detest the limited vernacular available to explain myself – it sounds fake and ostentatious. Stuart just smiles, as if expecting the confession. This all knowing, all seeing trait of his is slightly annoying. Sienna, on the other hand, won’t stay low key enough for my comfort. “This is by far the coolest thing ever!” A light bulb flickers in her eyes. “Oh! The day we met, you said, ‘who’s Stuart’ just after I thought about him. You heard me.
“What about me?” He teases.
Sienna doesn’t miss a beat. “I was thinking how you would drool over Layla, and right when I did, she said, ‘who’s Stuart?’ I freaked and she pretended like she didn’t say it but
I’ve noticed all sorts of things since then. You’re super observant, like you whip your head around when we pass people, and the dreams…”
I shrug. “Sounds right.”
“Drooling is messy,” Stuart continues to play and we ignore him, mostly. I can’t help glancing over while nudging his shoe under the table.
There is relief found from confiding in my friends, cathartic really, and I don’t feel alone. Sienna’s observation about how I appear to others is eye opening. Having visions for so long I forget how I must look, and my behavior must seem a little odd sometimes. That would explain my stellar popularity in high school – not.
I explain what happened the night Andre may have read me, and why the note is concerning. “And sorry for not sharing sooner. This isn’t the type of thing you blurt out to people you just meet, and I was worried you both would freak and run. No one else knows of my strangeness by the way, so no babbling.”
“No one?” Sienna is surprised.
“No one, not even my parents. Like I said, it’s a big deal being the only two who know, so keep it close. If anyone else finds out, I’ll know the source. By the way, I don’t, you know, intrude on either of your, you know, thoughts, not usually anyway.” I laugh. “I can’t seem to read Mr. Fairchild at all.”
He’s not listening; instead he stares out the window holding his cup, miles away.
Jasper stands over my bed, his stealth presence waking me with violent energy and a sour, copper smell. He controls his heartbeats, the unmistakable image of Andre in twenty-five years. The man from the island now points a gun at my head.
Our eyes meet, his gleaming with evil deeds and plans for my future. He is blocked solid, making him colder than ever, without a soul. And my Guardian is missing, although I suspected he will pick up on the nemesis in my room any moment.
If not, this will be the end.
His sinister grin speaks volumes of chaos and doom. This I know without reading a thought in his head.
Having a gun pointed at you, knowing in a fraction of a second your life could end is nothing like the movies. The best actors can’t act well enough to convey what happens to you inside, the paralysis, the terror, the transformative view of life.
“Layla. Nice to see you.” The aristocratic Shakespearean theatrical inflexions drip with subtle sarcasm in every syllable. “Sorry about the close-call on the island. No harm, no foul?” He isn’t waiting for a response, just pausing for drama’s sake. “I promise I only want to chat. Misunderstandings can be so inconvenient.”
In order to stop my voice from trembling, I push words out as forcefully as possible, hissing through my teeth. “Get out now.” I jump to my feet, determined to assume a defensive posture before the slaughter. The promise of war in his eyes advises me to stay calm. My toes grip the hardwood floor to hold steady. The gun stays casually aimed at my skull.
“Layla, I’m not here to play games. If I wanted you dead, I would have killed you on Colonsay.” His eyebrows rise to a diabolical arch. “On the contrary, it was there I determined you would be a dynamic asset to our organization and no one
will be harmed if you obey my instructions. Now, telegraph something sweet to him so doesn’t return because if he does I’ll kill him.” He waves the gun to remind me he’s armed. Totally
Mom was right. They wanted to use me. I wonder if she’s picking up on this.
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