Marcia Mickelson has written four novels, including “The Huaca,” which was released earlier this month. Her previously published novels include “Pickup Games,” “Reasonable Doubt” and “Star Shining Brightly.”
Each of these novels is available on BooksAndThings.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and Amazon.com.
Keep reading for the last free preview of “The Huaca,” then go buy your own copy!
I followed him to the desk. He placed his hand on a wooden box. It looked hand-carved of light wood that had been sanded to a smooth finish. It was bare of stain or paint. Gabe slid his hand across it. “My father gave this to me. It’s been handed down from my Incan ancestors for hundreds of years.”
“It’s beautiful,” I said. It had fine carvings on the lid, some kind of tribal design. There were three wooden knobs that seemed to open very thin drawers. “Is it a jewelry box?”
He stayed silent for a minute before looking up at me. “No. It’s not a jewelry box. It’s a huaca.”
“It’s a sacred object. That’s what huaca means. The Incas believe in performing worshipping ceremonies. They give sacrifices to the gods through a huaca.”
“That’s amazing. And you have one? Did your dad believe in all that stuff?”
“Yeah. It’s not a belief, though. It’s what we know—who we are.” He bent down and picked up a cardboard box from the ground. He placed it on the desk next to the wooden box. “The Incas care deeply for their dead. They believe they could see them.”
“Like a ghost?” I asked, remembering the rumors that the house was haunted.
“No, not like a ghost. The righteous ones who’ve passed on stay in Hanan Pacha. That’s the upper world.”
“Like heaven or something?”
He nodded. “Something like that. It’s the sacrifice through the huaca that helps you see them.”
“Wow, you could bring this to class. Zetlin would give you a ton of extra credit.” I took a step back, hoping he was done showing me the thing. I was starting to get creeped out.
“I would never bring it to school. I want to show you something.” He opened the UPS box and pulled out a long rubber band. He wrapped it around his bicep and put one end in his mouth as he tied and pulled it tight.
“What are you doing?” I asked, taking another step back.
“Please wait, Ellie.” He inched closer to me. “Trust me, okay.” He waited for me to answer, but I didn’t respond. I wanted to trust him, but I wasn’t sure I could. He reached back into the box and pulled out some kind of needle and tube.