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Injera: The Gift

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Injera, Book 1: The Gift
Deborah L. Rhodes

The fictional community of people in this novel are vegetarians and they espouse a philosophy of vegetarianism and animal rights throughout the story.

"Their sentiale connection was powerful and hungry, pulling him on and through this strange new land. He could close his eyes and she would come to him, bringing him his own tenderness. At times he would chastise himself for needing her-- for needing only this one woman who could share her spirit through the ether of time but never, it seemed, in the physical reality of one day."

Dreams and enlightened states of awareness inspire a secluded island of people to fulfill their injera (life's purpose), as two solitary dreamers, Taijaur and Shona, form a connection across the distance of their mysterious Ocan island. They are led to one another by the sentiale pathways that flow through all living beings and through these pathways they discover a source of power that is greater than any other on Earth. Together, Taijaur and Shona must seek this primary source of healing energy, in order to stop predatory forces from gaining dominance in the world. While Taijaur stands guard, Shona must overcome her fears, as she risks her life and her sanity by entering an opening between worlds, in search of an ancient source of power that will ultimately transform all humanity.

ISBN-13 978-1439206652
$23.99 Trade Paperback

Injera, Book 1: The Gift is now available on  (and listings will also soon appear in  and ).

Excerpts are provided below.

Excerpt 1 of 2 (from Chap.3) Injera, Book 1: The Gift

Cool moist blackness stroked the earth, emitting a low long sigh that calmed the fluttering leaves and danced with the fairies of light. The man and woman, moving as one with the night, were ushered by the wind into a hollow cavernous side of the mountain where the soft ground welcomed their presence and bade them rest. Completely depleted of energy, the woman's spirit at once complied and altered her reality to allow the abeyance of surface sensation.

Mala stirred and moaned quietly as Kalal gently unwrapped the cloth that held the baby to her sleeping body and then transferred the infant to the comfort of his own sturdy frame. Feeling the thick solid strength of his touch, the child absorbed his scent and determined for all time to come how contentment would be defined. Her quiet wide eyes followed the old man's weary expression as he searched through bags and bundles by the light of the cloud-obscured moon for the herbs and poultices to administer to Mala and the child. He tended to the child first, adeptly cleaning and changing her and then swaddled her tightly. She watched as he made a small fire and then heated a poultice before applying it to the sleeping woman's body. He rubbed a warm fragrant oil first all over the child's round head, before massaging it into Mala's lower abdomen, chanting a lyrical verse in a low deep voice. Covering Mala with special herbs to subdue her scent, Kalal shifted her body closer into the mountain's shelter and away from the impetuous winds of the night. The infant stared with wide intense eyes as he silently prayed, invoking the spirits that ride the night air to envelop them in the universe's healing saba-energy.

The man laid the child with her mother, and the infant watched as he took nourishment for himself, and then subsequently rested in an upright position next to the two females. When the moon unexpectedly escaped, the entire mountainside was illuminated and the light betrayed the baby girl's intense scrutiny. Kalal returned her gaze, at first smiling and cooing before realizing that these were not the eyes of an infant. He looked over his shoulder, searching the moon for whatever evidence of strange influence to which this lifeless orb may have subjected his vision. Finding no sign of anomaly, he reluctantly conceded to his original impression and turned once again to face his inquisitor, struggling to subdue his rising fear. He studied the message in those ancient eyes, never reaching their depths, until a shudder seized his body as the clouds captured the moon once again, then released a brief soothing rain upon the mountain top. Weariness conquered the man's best intentions and defeated his ability to sustain surface awareness. As he surrendered his consciousness, the rain slowly ceased, the night continued to stand guard, and the newly born female--she watched the night.

Excerpt 2 of 2�(Chap. 5) Injera, Book 1: The Gift

Exasperated, Shona sighed saying to her mother "Why does it seem like everything with you is a riddle?"

Mala: "I don't create the riddles Shona. The mysteries of this world were here long before I was born."

Shona: "Mala, what is injera?"

Mala: "I don't know how to express it fully, Shona. It is a belief of the Ocan that every living thing in existence--every atom, molecule, person, chemical-- every particle of this creation possesses its own inherent cycle of need. And we live our lives, realize our destinies through the desire to fulfill this need or these needs. Does that make sense to you?"

Shona: "Somewhat. But why have you never spoken of this before?"

Mala: "I guess it just never came up. Besides I'm not sure that I understand it entirely myself. It just seems that your desire to heal may be related to an internal need that must be fulfilled. And that need, in turn, feeds the purpose of your existence."

Shona: "So, injera must be the life-path that we each feel called to embark upon. Is that right?"

Mala: "Partially. You can look at it like that. Except that injera is more that which pulls you along the path as opposed to the path itself. It is both the need and the fulfillment of the need; which, in the process of fulfillment, is transformed into purpose. Injera, in the sense of 'spiritual need-fulfilled'--or in other words 'purpose'--is realized ultimately by our ability and willingness to accept and manifest the ultimate Gift of this life. With the acceptance of the Gift, we are then able to give expression to our own individual gifts--those talents, skills, attributes with which we seek to give life meaning and touch the lives of others; thus achieving self-fulfillment and a sense of wholeness and power. The expression of our individual gifts---our power--also feeds back into the Gift of this life by contributing to the ongoing evolution of the universe and its creative energy, which is one aspect of the nature of God."

Shona was pensive as she listened and then asked, "Is there more to this Ocan belief in injera?"

Mala: "There are three principles of injera; three fundamental aspects of need and need-fulfillment. And these principles form the basis from which all actions in life can be understood. Simply stated, the three most primary needs of all living entities are to give, to survive and to trans'"

There was a sound in the distance that made Mala pause and Shona got up and crept silently to the entrance of the cave. Through the blanket of fog and heavy rain, she saw the unbelievable sight of a vessel--a mid-size fishing sailboat, listing heavily to one side, rammed into the rocks of the bay, its tattered sail hanging from the mast, blowing in the wind.

They had come with the storm, without warning or intent, floating on masses of gulfweed into the reef's sharp carnivorous jaws. For centuries, any intrepid or ill-advised vessel that came anywhere within a hundred mile radius of the island had disappeared mysteriously. A few old seafarers of years gone by, in their journeys to discover new worlds, had instinctively kept a wide distance between themselves and the Ocan island. Some of them, at the end of their lives--when all fear had lifted--would begin to speak of a place outside of time, a strange shrouded island with violent unceasing eruptions from the center of the earth. Others told of a forgotten lonely region of the sea where engines failed, radio waves jammed and radar was not possible. No matter what belief prevailed, for years, no one, no thing had come near. Navigational routes were plotted far off course of the island and the turbulent seas that surrounded it. However, ever so often on either side of the island, an occasional lone craft would stray toward the large deserted land mass. Invariably, before the waiting reef consumed its prey, the dark waters would pull the vessel down into its depths, with no survivors, no witnesses; no evidence of a journey of any kind.

The curtain of rain lifted slightly to reveal a darkly-clad small group of people huddled on the starboard side of the vessel. Shona, with an excited whisper-shout, motioned to her mother, "Come Mala!! Look they�re here.

They're here!! They've come!! They've finally come!"

Mala moved cautiously toward the cave opening. "Who Shona? Who has come?"

Shona: "The people of my dreams. I knew that they would come. I prayed for them. I've been waiting for them, looking for them. Oh please, come now, quickly. You must see them."

Mala peered out to watch the strange people disembark slowly and delicately from their craft as if trying not to push it any further in its downward slant into the shore. They crept through the rocks to the small patches of sand closer to the trees. She counted four adults--two men, and two women--.

Mala was perplexed, this was unheard of. In all of Ocan history, no other people had ever been able to penetrate the protective barriers of land, climate and sea that surrounded the island. With Shona watching excitedly by her side, Mala wondered aloud, whispering to herself, "How could they have come through'?

How did they survive? This has never happened. I don't understand."

Without taking her eyes from the scene before her, feeding on it like a feast laid out for her pleasure alone, Shona replied in a casual matter-of-fact tone, "I brought them here Mala. They were lost for a long time and I saw them in my dreams. I guided them away from the places that would have pulled them under and then through the rocks and hard places."

Mala stared at Shona for a moment and then glanced back at the people who had made a small fire and were beginning to construct a make-shift tent on one of the few small patches of clear sand amidst the rocks.

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