Today, I’m hosting a stop on the blog tour for Perfection by J.L. Spelbring. Read on for an excerpt from the book!
The personification of Aryan purity, Ellyssa’s spent her whole life under her creator’s strict training and guidance; her purpose is to eradicate inferior beings. She was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier: strong, intelligent, unemotional, and telepathic.
Only Ellyssa isn’t perfect.
Ellyssa feels emotions-a fact she’s spent her life concealing. Until she encounters the epitome of inferiority: a dark-haired boy raised among renegades hiding since the Nazis won the war a century ago. He speaks to her telepathically, pushing thoughts into her mind, despite the impossibility of such a substandard person having psychic abilities.
But he does.
His unspoken words and visions of a place she’s never visited make Ellyssa question her creator. Confused and afraid her secret will be discovered, Ellyssa runs away, embarking on a journey where she discovers there is more to her than perfection.
Ellyssa faltered on the steps of the train station. The pictures she’d seen didn’t compare to the actual beauty. So much she had missed in her prison-style home.
Union Station had been completed in May 1925, way before The War. The Beaux-Arts style of architecture shouted the neoclassical movement of the era. The exterior constructed from Indian limestone and featured Tuscan columns and arches.
Wishing she had time to appreciate the fine details on her first visit to the city, she remained stone-face and continued moving before she attracted unwanted attention. She walked past the grand columns and entered the building.
The interior was even more beautiful than the outside. Ellyssa descended the steps into the Grand Hall. Pink Tennessee marble lined the floors, Corinthian columns reached the ceiling, and pilasters decorated the terracotta walls. Lifting her chin, she gazed at the vaulted skylight that rose over a thirty meters above her head,
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” said a male wearing a yellow smock. His dirty-blond bangs were gelled, exposing a broad forehead.
She stepped back. Her hand tensed around the strap of her bag as she quickly swept his bind before the barrage of imaged from the station patrons attacked her. The stranger was harmless.
He smiled. “Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you. Can I help you?”
Ellyssa returned his gesture of friendliness. “Yes, this is my first day,” she lied. “Can you point me in the direction of the janitorial closet?”
The male turned and pointed toward a set of signs. “If you turn right there and head down the stairs, directly to your left there will be a sign that says, ‘Employees Only’.”
“Thank you.” She began to walk away.
Ellyssa’s shoulders clenched. Anger bubbled at her response. She had spent her life training, keeping her emotions in check, her physical response unreadable, and now she was going to let some ordinary citizen get the best of her? She forced herself to relax while plastering another smile across her lips and facing him. “Yes.”
“Did you check in with the shift supervisor?”
“No, not yet.”
“I can walk with you and show you the office.”
The tension reached her jaw-line. “That would be fine” she managed without clenching her teeth, “but do you think I can visit the facilities first, please?”
“They are on the way.” He extended a hand to the opposite set of stairs. “First day jitters?” he asked as she passed him.
A tentative grin pulled the corners of her mouth. “It shows?”
“Not too bad. You’ll do fine.” He turned and walked next to her. “Where were you assigned?”
Ellyssa wished he would just shut up, or than an opportunity would arise where she could make him. She knew he wouldn’t be any match for her. Her expertise in the martial arts along with her extensive weapons training put regular citizens at a great disadvantage against her. She shrugged and offered him another smile. He seemed pleased.
“I understand. Don’t want to talk about it. Well, I promise you will love working here. The people you meet passing through are very interesting.”
“I’m not sure if my present position will offer such pleasantries.”
He glanced at her coveralls and didn’t say anything else. They continued the rest of the way in silence.
When they reached the restroom, he said, “I have to get back to work. Follow this hall to the end and the office is on the right. You can’t miss it.” He stood there.
‘Oh, yes. Thank you. It was very nice to meet you.”
He beamed. “It was nice to meet you, too.” He held out his hand. “My name is Peter.”
She grasped his hand with false enthusiasm.
“Maybe we will run into each other soon?”
“Maybe.” She turned and escaped through the door marked, FEMALES.
Disinfectant hovered in the air of the immaculate restroom. Shining white tile gleamed under the fluorescent lights. Eggshell sinks hung on the right, and beige stalls stood to the left.
Ellyssa moved to the last stall and locked the door behind her. She placed her shoulder bag on the floor and shrugged out of the coveralls. She withdrew a plastic bag with hair accessories and makeup.
The door opened with the soft whisper of the hydraulics. She froze. Shoes clicked on the tile as the person went into the first stall. Picking her bag off the floor, Ellyssa sat on the porcelain seat and waited. After a few minutes, the toilet flushed, and the stranger exited after washing her hands.
She peeked out the door to make sure the bathroom was empty, then went to the mirror to straighten her crumpled white blouse the best she could. Wrinkles still gathering at the bottom, but the collar looked fine.
She twisted her bangs into small braids and pinned them back with two grey barrettes, then applied a soft, rose-colored lipstick and added some length to her eyelashes,
Satisfied with her appearance, she threw everything back into her bag and went to the door. She paused and listened with her ears. Mumblings from hundreds of people whispered. She swung open the bathroom door and made her way to the ticket counter.
A man with black-peppered hair stood behind the glass barrier. Like all workers within the travel industry, he wore a crisp white short-sleeved shirt with a blue cap.
She glanced around. Nobody stood directly next to her, but several patrons sat on benches or milled around nearby. Too many actually, but she chanced it anyway. She lowered her shield just enough to take a quick peek inside the director’s head and saw the notes of some old tune. From what she could tell, he hadn’t been alerted. If she was lucky, maybe none of the normal citizens had been warned. Her father, Dr. Hirch, must have been confident that she would be captured.
Shoulders back, she walked to the counter and handed him the forged papers. He glances at the credentials, took her false credits, and handed her a ticket with a polite smile.
“Thank you,” she said.
She sat on a wooden bench in the Great Hall with all the other passengers, most wearing the same clothes as she, and waited for the eight o’clock train. It was seven-forty, now. Except for the run-in with the detective, the morning had gone relatively smooth. Everyone would board in another ten minutes, and she’d be on her way.
Unfortunately, her ability didn’t include precognition.
About J.L. Spelbring:
J.L. Spelbring lives in Texas, where she wanders out in the middle of the night to look at the big and bright stars. Besides knocking imaginary bad guys in the head with a keyboard, she enjoys being swept away between the pages of a book, running amuck inside in her own head, pretending she is into running, and hanging out with her kids, who are way too cool for her.