Sat 31st

possible fantasy and SF publisher

Published by: Malcolm on Saturday 31st October 2009 09:10am
I came across this site and it would seem like a possibility as a place for newbie fantasy and SF authors to submit their work.

http://www.baen.com/FAQS.htm

I know as much about it as you can read here so use at your own discrection.



Sat 24th

Hunter becomes the hunted

Published by: Chanty on Saturday 24th October 2009 11:10am
This little story follows on from a previous blog called 'Silent Seduction' - I was recently inspired to write this by someone special. Just a little fun.. perhaps I'm a little romantic at heart... hee he

 Is the hunter now the hunted?

You stride towards me, in long purposeful steps.  Sure of yourself and of what you want.

Your dark amber eyes flicker and glow, as a predators would when catching sight of it's pray.

My pulse quickens to an alarming pace - it feels as my heart is pounding inside my head.

The heat of your gaze is penetrating, as if you can see right through me, to my inner soul.

My body trembles with anticipation as a wave of sweet passion rushes through it.

You can sense my hunger. The corners of your mouth lift ever so slightly, causing slight indentations against your cheeks - dimples? A wolfish grin plays on your lips.

You're so close now, almost on top of me.

I see you take in a breath and your eyelids drop ever so slightly, in a shimmer - like a ripple on the waters surface of a still lake. They recover - your gaze now intense, with a dangerous almost wild feral hunger. I can see myself reflected within them - those pools of gold.

I can feel the heat from your body, like stormy waves crashing on the shore.

You reach out to me, sliding a hand along the side of my body, to eventually rest against the small of my back. A fiery path remains where your fingertips traced. I feel the heat of your touch intensify in the small of my back, through the thin layer of material separating your skin from mine, threatening to explode and engulf me. As you reach out and entangle the strong fingers of your other hand in the hair, at the nap of my neck.

I feel the firmness and strength of you, as you slowly pull me up against the length of you, pulling back my head to meet your hungry gaze. Like a puppet on a string, I obey. Your lips are full and inviting - I'm drawn to them. Like a moth to an open flame.

Suddenly it's just the two of us, no one else exists in this space.

I tear my eyes from your lips and glance up into your eyes. I feel suddenly lost and intoxicated in those dark amber pools, captured within their heat. A silent invitation almost a dare sucks me in.

As you tilt your head down towards me - my eyes are drawn back to your inviting mouth - I can almost taste you in the air.

Your scent invades my senses, like the smell of a hot summer night engulfing me. My body burns, as if liquid fire is flowing through my veins.

My lips part as I suck in a breath and let out another sigh, as you whisper into my ear - your breath hot against my skin. Like a bolt of lightening, a wave of passion courses through my body, I tremble - my hunger intensifying. You know what I want. Again the tiger within me struggles for it's freedom, breaking the chains.

But will you survive? Are you strong enough?


 






































Tue 22nd

A FOOL'S ERRAND

Published by: Aonghus Fallon on Tuesday 22nd September 2009 11:09pm
Not for the first time BP, you stuck something up and took it down before I had a chance to read it. Something about reindeers and snow. Not to worry. I decided to write my own story using it as a starting point. Well I’m incorporating a couple of other things as well.
This one’s for you, BP & Ez…

A FOOL’S ERRAND.

‘Wizard,’ Brigitta Petersson said, with a calmness she did not feel, ‘I have heard enough of your nonsense for one evening. It is growing dark and there are wolves in these parts – ‘
Behind them, the reindeer snorted and pawed the snow-covered ground impatiently. Did they too, sense that danger was about?
‘Hush. All I ask is that you look.’
He let his great paw rest on her shoulder, gently but firmly, and her cheeks burned at the insolence of it. No man in her village would have dared take such liberties. For Brigitta Petersson, daughter of the village chieftain, was not just known for her quick temper, but her equally quick sword. Indeed she was the best swordsperson in her village, possibly in all of the uplands, as many a foolhardy young man had learnt to his cost. She was tall and lean, body hardened in the way of an Uplander, a fact accentuated by the reindeer skins (dyed the deepest crimson) that clad her slim body, her blonde hair hanging in a neat plait down her back. Those pale features might have been beautiful were it not for how the full lips were pursed in a constant scowl and the sullen glitter in her green, cat-like eyes. Brigitta Petersson was not a woman who suffered fools gladly and the wizard was trying her patience sorely.
He was a stout, bear-like man dressed in shabby brown robes much darned and mended, with a ruddy, friendly face, half hidden by a light beard, and it seemed that he could not look on anything without seeing a woman’s form in it. Such was the way of those who worshipped the White Goddess. What others might have seen as a weakness, the brotherhood actively encouraged through sexual abstinence, and indeed the wizard – one Ezekial Block – had been celibate for three weeks so that he might better detect the lineaments of the White Goddess in the land through which they travelled and thus find her cave.
Brigitta thought it all nonsense, although she knew many of the elders in the village believed in the White Goddess. Yet she had agreed to journey to Wolfheim and tell the city council of what was happening in the Uplands and to ask for their help, if only to humour her father. It was a month into the summer and still the snow lay thickly upon the ground, no matter how brightly the sun shone. The earth beneath the snow was colder still, and as hard as iron.
Some curse lay upon the world.
She had reached Wolfheim to discover that they were suffering too. Without the melt, the rivers had run dry, crops were perishing and people thirsty. They had promised to take action and a fortnight later the wizard Ezekial Block had arrived at her village. It had instantly been decided by the other villagers that she should accompany him on his search for the mysterious cave. Only she could protect him from any dangers that might befall them her father said, and two could travel much more quickly than a dozen.
She should have been honoured, were it not for the sneaking suspicion that her temper and ready blade meant that her fellow villagers would be glad to see the back of her if only for a week or two.
The journey had been as unpleasant as she expected. The wizard talked too much and he talked of only one thing. And even when he fell silent, it seemed that his thoughts ran along the same lines. Cracking her whip across the reindeer’s backs, an uncomfortable tingling sensation had her made her glance back to see him smiling appreciatively at her posterior.
And now he laid his hand upon her! He was lucky he was a mere wizard, a man – unlike the warriors of her village – who did not carry a sword and would not have known how to use one if he had. Otherwise she would have run him through without a second thought.
‘All I ask is that you look,’ he repeated, then pointed – ‘see? The high proud breasts of the White Goddess, nipples erect and beckoning for the touch of a man’s lips –‘ already his voice was thick and husky with passion.
The sun was setting on the landscape before them – a bleak, snow-covered wildneress – and indeed the two hills a mile or two distant, gilded in red, did bear a striking resemblance to a pair of woman’s breasts. For a moment Brigitta even thought she could make out the lineaments of a gigantic female form, sprawled as if asleep -
She shook his hand away. ‘You are a fool, Block. Those nipples you see are burial cairns, nothing more.’

But he would not let it rest. They had passed between the two hills only to find themselves crossing an open, undulating plain, whipped by icy winds. Somehow, despite the flurries of snowflakes, she had found a deep hollow in the plain where they might camp, half-full of snow to be sure, but out of the wind. She even managed to light a fire.
‘Well, wizard?’ she said, ‘is this your cave?’
‘Indeed no,’ Block said emphatically – he was busily consuming his third portion of meat and did not look up. ‘We are lucky to be spending the night in the naval of the White Goddess, the bellybutton of that most delectable of deities – ‘
‘Enough!’ Brigitta snapped. She leapt to her feet and drew her sword in one fluid movement, pressing the blade against the wizard's throat.
He froze, mouth still full, staring up at her in astonishment.
She leant forward. ‘I will help you as best I can Block, but I will hear no more talk of the White Goddess. Is that understood?’
After a second he nodded.

Block did not mention the White Goddess again, although it was clear he felt they were on the right path. The following morning he simply sat back in the sled, indicating with the faintest of nods what direction she should go in, smiling to himself all the while.
The end of the plain branched into two great mountain ranges, grim grey scarred rock where the snow could get no purchase.
Block insisted that they should travel down into the ravine between two. She was secretly glad that he had chosen to do so (although she could not see where else they might go) as the sky was the colour of iron.
A storm was brewing.
They travelled down into a wood which was entirely dead, everything the same white, petrified colour, branches glittering like crystal, and some of Block’s good humour left him. ‘This should not be,’ he murmured softly, ‘not here, of all places. Not here where she, most lovely and delictable of creatures should be warmest –‘
He caught her eye and fell silent.
Here and there were the frozen corpses of Frockan bushes. Brigitta suddenly remembered how their berries were supposed to help a woman conceive and felt a sharp stab of doubt.
Could there be some substance to Block’s absurd beliefs?
In another hour she did not care. The blizzard came suddenly and it’s fury was like nothing she had encountered before, even here, where the dead trees should have protected them. She could not see a foot in front of her.
She would have sheltered, but Block insisted they continue. ‘The cave is somewhere nearby’ he shouted over the  gale. ‘I am sure of it!’
In the end they found the cave by chance, blundering through the blizzard. One minute they were surrounded by a blinding whiteness, the next the storm was outside and they were inside – inside being a vast cavern at the very back of the ravine. Great icicles decorated its mouth and as she stared up at that high, vaulted ceiling, Brigitta thought she had never been anywhere so cold.
Nor could she light a fire. The very air seemed to resent her attempts to do so. In the end she and Block were forced to huddle together. She was surprised at the heat which emanated from him, less so by his faint musky smell. Did the brotherhood’s vow of celibacy include those pleasures which could be self-administered?
She wondered.
For hours they hugged one another, waiting for the storm to abate.
After a while, it did not seem quite so cold, and not just because of Block’s proximity. Brigitta touched the stone floor and discovered to her astonishment it was warm to her touch. What strange sorcery was this? Or was she succumbing to delusion? There were many such tales back in her village: of how a man dying in the snow felt as if he were snuggled deep into his own bed.
But now the heat was travelling up her wrist, into her loins. Inflaming her. Feelings and desires that she had never felt before and barely knew existed were stirring to life within her.
Once Block had repulsed her, now – and the thought made her blush with shame – she found him strangely attractive.
‘What is happening to me?’ she murmured.
‘Your presence has stirred the White Goddess back to life,’ Block whispered softly into her ear. ‘You are a woman and you are here, in that most holiest of places. You must realise that: the crevasse, the vegetation –‘
‘I warned you, wizard,’ Brigitta muttered, trying with all her might to resist the delicious langour that was creeping over her, ‘I will hear no more of your nonsense!’
‘Yet you would have me take you,’ he leered. ‘It is what the White Goddess asks of you.’
She bit her lip, furious that he had guessed as much. Or was that why he had brought her out here? Not only to save the land but so he might turn her into his willing accomplice?
‘Very well then, Wizard,’ she finally snapped, ‘do with me as you wish. Or perhaps you lack the prerequisite skills?’
Block shook his head gravely, unexpectedly sitting back against the cavern’s stone wall and folding his arms. ‘On the contrary, my order indulge in wild orgies between bouts of celibacy, all the better to help us appreciate the pleasures of the flesh even as we are denying ourselves them. But I am a professional. I will not abuse the trust the city elders put in me. You must fetch a boy from the village for the deed.’
‘For pity’s sake, wizard!’
Why was he tormenting her so? Yet looking at his face, she realised the poor fool meant what he said – that indeed some part of him regretted exposing her to the emotions which were threatening to engulf her. That he thought he was only doing what was right.
Yet she had never wanted a man so much in her life. True, he was somewhat stouter than she might have cared for, and as for that beard –
She threw herself at him. He thrust her back. ‘No Brigitta,’ he said, quietly and firmly, ‘it cannot be.’
And then in a flash she saw how she might provoke him. For if he looked at mountains and saw a woman’s breasts, surely he would appreciate if the metaphor were reversed?
Her eyes sought out his own. ‘I ask only that you bury yourself in my sweetness Block, like a bear might bury his snout in a hive filled with honey.’
Yes! She would use that which she knew he found most intoxicating of all.
Words.
The effect was instantaneous. Block closed his eyes, tilted back his head, clenching and unclenching his great fists.
‘Stop, witch!’ he groaned.
‘I ask only that you send your nimble silver trout swimming up my river -’
‘Silence I say!’
‘That you be like the great boar whose sharp tusks – ‘
But she never finished her sentence. With a roar of lust Block threw himself upon her.

Later, as they lay entangled in each other’s arms, she ran a finger across his hairy chest. ‘Why it is most strange, Wizard, for a moment I felt as if I were looking down on some landscape from a great height, see here are two hills, with cairns at their summit, not unlike those we passed through earlier, although somewhat flatter I will admit….’
Block grunted and drew closer.
‘But what is this? Some mysterious tower? Or perhaps I exaggerate. A humble cottage might be a more accurate description –‘
Their laughter echoed up as far as the cavern’s high ceiling. Already it was glistening wetly.









































































Mon 21st

Gharibuu’s Journey

Published by: I.R.W on Monday 21st September 2009 08:09pm

Your challenge if you choose to accept it.

4000 words, a story about a lost Hippo and his meeting with a Griffin or Unicorn. Must be done before Monday :) What happens in entirely up to you, whether the Hippo falls madly in love with the unicorn and they live happily ever after. Or Death and carnage from bloods and guts of the hippo over the forest floor as the griffin took a dislike to the fat round beast and ate him.

Gharibuu’s Journey

The light shone down through the forest canopy, spreading in beams on the earth below. As the hippopotamus shuffled along the spongy ground his heavy footsteps were muffled by the leaves and twigs. As he inhaled deeply, many new scents filled his nose. What a wonderful new place this was, filled with unknown sights, sounds and smells, his senses were spoiled. This was very unlike the place Gharibuu had originally come from.

It was a flat, grassy place that was warm and smelled like hot spices. He used to wallow in the cool, russet mud and bathe in the crystal rivers with his family. Oh how he missed his home and his pod. A human with dark skin, rapped in rags had stolen him away from them. One day when the sun was high in the sky and the others wallowed far to the west of the river, he had strolled into the grassy plains to lay under the shade of the palm. The stranger had bundled him into a cart and rapped him in blankets so he couldn’t see. He had called out to his mother but they were too far away to help him.

So that’s where his new journey had begun. He stayed, cramped in this cart, covered by dirty blankets for weeks, hearing the voices of the men but nothing else. His skin was cracked and sore and he was left hungry. He cried for his lost family and his home, he was scared of these humans. His missed his beautiful home and longed to wade in the cool lake again. They smelled of oil and tobacco and would shout and swear at each other, squabbling over there latest finds. It seemed as though they were gathering things to take somewhere. Maybe that’s where he was going too, or maybe they would just leave him to die.

One morning, the cart began to move again in the usual routine after their night in camp. The sunlight felt warm on Gharibuu’s back and his sore skin ached under the blankets. He could feel the sticky warmth of blood on his knees from the sores that wept underneath him. For weeks he had not left the splintered wooden cart and he had occasionally been fed some scraps of mouldy bread. His stomach grumbled loudly at the thought of the sweet grasses that edged the river. The cart wobbled unsteadily and Gharibuu rolled heavily onto his side.

 A sudden beam of light reached his eyes, making him blink blearily and he noticed a moth eaten hole in the dirty rags that wrapped him. He held an eye closely to the whole and tried to focus on his surroundings. He could see a long dirt road that they were following, leading uphill to some unknown place. He lifted his head and then the dirty wooden sign came into view, carved with markings he had not seen before. It read ‘Ravenholt City ½ mile’, but of course poor little Gharibuu did not understand its meaning.

Before long his little cart came to a halt and he could hear the cracked voices of the men shouting to each other. Gharibuu heard them speaking to a new man with a softer voice.

“We are carrying goods to trade at the market, just fish and foods”. One of his men called Jihab croaked.

“Where do you travel from, the south? Do you carry smeesha herbs for trade?” he demanded.

“No Sir, we carry no illegal trading goods! Just fresh foods for the market” he replied anxiously.

“Very well, you may enter, but beware, any illegal trade is punishable by death by order of the King! RAISE THE GATE!” he bellowed.

The cart began to move again and Gharibuu shifted anxiously, trying to keep his eye to the hole. As he looked he could see the large arch of the gates behind them, the wooden door creaking shut, flanked by men dressed in metal that shone brightly. Suddenly he was surrounded by the bustle of hundreds of pairs of feet and the loud chatter of many voices. He could hear voices shouting loudly into the crowds, trying to carrying their voices over the loud chatter and shouting of others. A loud shout met his ears as he passed a wooden stall.

“Fish! Fresh Fish! Just caught this morning! 10 copper!” a deep voice bellowed.

As he looked through his spy hole he could see a fat, dirty looking man holding two large, dead fish in his hands, showing them off to the passing shoppers. He could smell the heavy scents of the different produce mingling with the foul stench of smoke in his nostrils. This place was very different to home. It was so busy and harsh, everything moved so quickly and loudly here. Gone were the rich, grassy planes and instead he saw an angular world of grey stone. Gharibuu sighed deeply to himself as a single tear escaped his beetle-black eyes and rolled down his leathery skin.

The cart bobbed and weaved in between the crowds and other carts. He saw a little wooden cart pass closely to his, stacked high with wooden crates. On top on the wooden crates sat a dozen wicker cages, all carrying beautifully coloured little birds. They chirped franticly and beat their wings against the cages that held them. Gharibuu felt sorry for the poor little birds trapped in their wooden prisons, just like him. He remembered bleakly how the birds of his home had soared high and free in the clear blue sky. He thought fondly of how they often came to sit on his back as he lay wallowing in the mud on hot days. He chuckled to himself as he recalled how their tiny feet would tickle him as they scurried back and forth.

Suddenly the cart lurched as it swerved to avoid something ahead, followed by a resounding thud. Gharibuu shuddered as the impact vibrated through him. He could hear the angry voices of the men around him.

“Why don’t you watch where you are going, huh? We have delicate cargo here! If you damage our goods you will pay for them!” Jihab screeched in anger.

“Yeah, yeah. You bloody travellers are all the same, why don’t you sod off back home?!” the stranger shouted back.

Continuing their journey, they turned a corner quickly down a quieter road. They began to slow as the din of the crowd became a quiet buzz. As they past more wooden stalls Gharibuu could see dark skinned men surrounded by sacks of grains and spices, shrouded in dirty rags. Lifting his nose he was delighted by the scents that greeted him. He closed his eyes and was back in the cool, thick mud at the edge of the river bank. He could smell the sweet spices that travelled across the plains upon the swirling air in the shimmering heat. He sucked at the cold air greedily, in this grey place, clinging to his memories of home.

They slowed to a halt as the men began chattering quietly amongst themselves. He could see through the window of some small house. There were many people sat inside around little wooden tables, drinking deeply from metal cups and laughing raucously. It looked dank and grubby inside and was lit by stubby melted candles dotted around the wooden walls. He saw Jihab enter the room and sit at a table next to a pale faced man.

He was older than the others with tufts of grey matted hair sticking out from under his cap. When he smiled Gharibuu saw he was missing several teeth and the rest were yellowed and rotting. He stood up and shook Jihab’s hand, patting him firmly on the shoulder with the other, smiling his toothless grin. He handed him the contents of a worn pouch he pulled from his pocket before walking towards the door.

“Pleasure doing business with ya gentlemen!” he croaked.

Gharibuu could smell his stench on the breeze as the wind swirled around him. He smelled stale and damp with hint of sweat and fish. He crinkled his large nose back in disgust. He could smell a strange smoke waft over him as the stranger lit his pipe and exhaled loudly.

He lowered his voice as he spoke again. “Ahh... thanks for the smeesha too, I was starting to run low.” He chuckled deeply and the others laughed along with him.

Before he knew it he was moving once more but as he went he saw Jihab and the other dark skinned men walking away behind the cart. He was being taken by the old, pale faced man. Gharibuu shifted anxiously in his prison, his sores making him wince. They turned again into a small ally lined with little houses, it was quieter here but smoke puffed from the chimneys and made him cough. They reached the end of this ally and he saw a larger house on the corner surrounded by a fence with a large pen to the left. It was filled with straw and little pink creatures routing around in the mud.

He could see a smaller gate to the north of the house, leading out of the city, flanked again my men in metal clothing. Before the gate was a large bridge and with a burst of joy Gharibuu realised he could hear the sound of rushing water, just like a river.

“Well let’s see him then Jim! We’re all dying to see this magnificent creature you keep banging on about” She cackled loudly.

“Now, now Vivienne, if you want to see it, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow and pay like everyone else!” he replied to the waiting crowd.
 
As the cart turned he saw a plump woman stood near a group of people with her hands on her hips. She wore a frilly green dress and had a tatty shawl draped across her shoulders. Her hair was drawn up into a dirty cloth cap and frizzy ginger curls framed her rouged face. Her haggard face crinkled as she scowled in the man’s direction.

“Yeah, yeah we’ll see Jim!” Vivienne turned to grin at the people behind and as she laughed they began to laugh along with her.

His view darkened as the cart bumped over the doorway of the man’s house and he was dragged into his living room.

“Now, let’s see what we have here then!” he said excitedly, rubbing his hands together.

Gharibuu could feel the warmth of a fire at his side and then two hands grabbing at his soiled blankets. They were lifted from his head and heaved from his tangled body. He blinked blearily as his eyes adjusted to his surroundings even the dingy light of the house was too bright for his tired eyes.

“Well I never.... Agnes! Get and see this!” Jim shouted his ugly face pressed closely to Gharibuu’s.

“I am washing Mrs. Stone’s gowns Jim, what do you....” her voice trailed off as her eyes focused on the cart in her living room. A skinny dark haired woman stood gawping in his direction. “What the bleedin’ hell is THAT?!” she squealed.

“It’s a hypa... a hippa... hypapo... a hippo! Bought it off one of my traveller friends, it came all the way from the south coast, near the islands!” He exclaimed.

“And why on earth did you want to buy that? We got a dozen pigs and sows as it is!” she shouted, looking angry.

“Because my dearest...” he cooed, stepping closely to her and wrapping an arm around her skinny frame “This is going to make us rich! Can you imagine it?” He focused on something in front of his eyes that Gharibuu couldn’t see. He lifted his hand as if pointing to the words on a sign. “Jim’s Amazing Animals – See Henry the Hippo – 10 copper!” Agnes sighed and rolled her eyes at him.

“Alright then love, do as please, you usually do! Oh Jim look at the poor creatures legs, no one will want to see him in that state”. She frowned as she stepped towards him, her eyes showed sympathy for him. “You had better get some rags on those. I’ll boil you some now”.

“Of course my beautiful Princess. I’ll sponge him down in the tin bath while you do it. Come on lad, down you get!” Jim said as he unlatched the wooden cart and lowered the flap to the ground.

Gharibuu wobbled unsteadily on his sore legs as he tried to stand. He shuffled slowly down on to the ground.

“Well you’re hardly a baby anymore, they said you’d be small. I guess it took a while for you to get here”. He bent down and grunted as he lifted the hippo into a tin bath beside the fireplace.

Gharibuu closed his eyes as he felt the relief of the tepid water on his skin. The old man smiled as he trickled water down his head and back. Agnes strode into the room, her brow beaded with sweat carrying a large basket of steaming rags.

“There that’s better isn’t it little fellow. I guess he’s kind of sweet looking in a way. He won’t be fit for showing tomorrow Jim. I insist you wait until those wounds have healed. Let him be for a few days, we can keep him in the pigs shed”.

She kneeled beside the bath and dipped a hot rag into a bowl of steaming liquid beside her. Dabbing it at his sore leg he winced in pain, pulling back from her.

“It’s ok, it will make it better” she said soothingly and he held his leg back out for her to bathe. “Right take him out now and I’ll dress his legs, then you can take him around to the pen and put him in the shed.”

He sat next to the fire as Agnes dressed the sores on his limbs and a scratch to his back, taking in his surroundings. It was a dusty dark room, with wooden floors and dirty peeling wallpaper. It smelled slightly damp and the air smelled stale, it reminded him of how Jim smelt when he first met him.

“Right, there you are, all done” she said bearing her yellow teeth in a grin. “Now you can go around the back and have a rest. Jim! Take him around the back!” she yelled.

Jim came hobbling from the kitchen, sucking deeply on his pipe, dragging a frayed rope behind him.

“Come on then boy, out the back” he grunted, slipping the rope around his neck. It felt tight itchy around his neck as he was led through the kitchen and out of the back door. Jim threw a blanket around him as he stepped through the door. “Can’t risk anyone seeing you yet can we, come on, in here”. He said, dragging him through the gate of the pen and into a small rickety shed. It smelled like other animals in here and damp earth. He could hear the noses of them chattering excitedly as he was guided through their home.

“Who is that? That’s the biggest pig I’ve ever seen!” one piglet snorted.

“It can’t be a pig, it must be a cow, it’s far too big!” one squeaked in reply.

He didn’t like them talking about him like that. These ‘pigs’ were just as strange to him and he wished they would leave him alone. He was so tired. He shuffled heavily into the shed and slumped onto the straw bedding, burying his face in the moth eaten blanket. He sobbed as he thought of his lost home and his family. Before he had realised his heavy lids fell, his body tired and aching from its ordeal. He fell into a deep sleep only to be awoken by a familiar sound, calling out to him from the edges of his consciousness. He woke with a start, hoping that he had simply had a bad dream and was still safely sleeping between his parents. When he focused his eyes he saw the bleak surroundings of the pig shed. Heaving himself from the ground he shook off the blanket.

Suddenly filled with a fierce determination to find home again, he followed the sound out into the pen. He was now surrounded by darkness and could see unfamiliar patterns in the stars. As the pigs slept quietly he crept to the wooden fencing, pushing his nose into the gap. He could see the gate and the guards from the morning and the bridge that arched over rushing water. He closed his eyes to concentrate on the sound.

He had to find a way home! Rubbing his neck against the splintered wood he freed himself from the rope around his neck. He had seen how fast and strong the elders of his pod where, he hoped desperately to summon the energy break free. He trotted quickly to the opposite corner, readying himself to sprint. He was going to break down the gate. As he ran, building speed he thought of his family, throwing all his weight against the wooden fencing. A resonating crack filled the air as the wood crashed to the ground. Tripping as he became tangled in the wood, he struggled to get to his feet as the guards shouted in his direction.

“What the heck is that?!” one man shouted through the darkness.

Panting deeply Gharibuu ran as quickly as his legs would carry him towards the bridge, flinging himself into the rushing water below. He was submerged within seconds, kicking off the bottom powerfully to propel himself along. He saw a dark stone tunnel ahead and kept kicking until he reached the end. When he surfaced he was beyond the city walls, as he turned back he could see the puffs of smoke filling the sky above it. He was free! He glided merrily down the stream until it became too shallow for him to swim in and he reached the edge of a dark forest. He slept on the embankment, glad to be free, but anxious he was lost forever.

In the morning he began his journey home, trotting quickly through the forest, nibbling at grass and moss as he went. He enjoyed the sunshine as it shone through the branches above him and drank from the clear stream. After a long time he realised he had ventured very deep into the forest. The trees looked taller and older and their dense branches blocked out most of the light, casting him into an eerie twilight. Before long he saw a clearing ahead and at its edge a vast cave, covered with stones that shimmered. As he drew closer he could see two large eyes staring back at him from the darkness.

“Hello there. Are you lost?” it asked, it voice smooth and velvety. As it drew closer Gharibuu gasped aloud at what he saw. He had seen animals like this on the plains before, the lion and the eagle. What he saw before him was both, yet neither. It had the large muscular body covered in golden fur, the dangerous paws that housed claws like daggers. It had the majestic head of an eagle, covered in brown and white feathers and its vast, powerful wings. Its huge beak shone in the little light that remained as it spoke.

“My name is Gharibuu. I was stolen by a man and now I am lost trying to find my way home”. He explained.

“Well my name is Varashar. I am a Griffin. But not an ordinary Griffin, I have special magical powers, you see.” He said silkily, as he chuckled deeply in his throat.

Gharibuu was scared of him, there was something about his eyes that he did not trust.

“Do you wish very much to go home? I can help you get there very quickly!” he offered, turning his head from side to side, assessing Gharibuu with each eye.

“Yes of course more than anything. Please help me get home!” he pleaded.

Chuckling darkly the Varashar replied “As you wish little Hippogriff!!”

“No, no, I’m a hippopotamus not a....” he words stuck in his throat as he felt a churning inside of him and his skin began to burn. He fell to the ground, curling into a ball. “What are you doing to me, stop it! It hurts, please!” he pleaded.

“Just what you asked for, I’m going to help you get home quickly!” he replied, chuckling louder.

Feathers began to spring from Gharibuu’s neck and shoulders, quickly covering his face. His front legs began to lengthen and the skin that remained turned to a yellowish crust of scales, each toe armed with a lethal black claw. His back legs grew longer and slimmer, sprouting a glossy chestnut fur, and his little toes turned to hooves before his eyes. As he stood shakily he realised to his amazement that he had grown wings. He stretched them out, testing there power, the tips nearly touching either side of the clearing.

“There you are, much better!” barked Varashar. “Now hurry up and thank me and be on your way.”

“Umm thank you. So now I can fly home?” he asked shakily.

“Yes, yes! Flap your wings! Fly out through the clearing, over the forest and follow the river south, you’ll soon be there” he replied smugly, a dark look of satisfaction on his face.

Gharibuu beat his new wings furiously and he was soon soaring up to the tree tops. “Thank you Varashar!!” he yelled to the ground.

“Oh no my little hippogriff, the pleasure is all mine.” He chuckled darkly as he retreated into the gloom of the cave.

As he followed the river south the ground became drier and flatter, the hills and forests left far behind him. Then his heart leapt as he saw it, the mouth of the river opened into a wide lake, and there were the bright grassy plains of his home. As he soared over the water he could see a group of hippos slashing in the distance. He swooped down to close to them.

“Momma! Papa! It’s me Gharibuu!” he yelled to them, as he galloped across the grass.

“Don’t be so ridiculous boy, you are a strange creature, we have never seen your kind before! Leave us now.” He barked

“But Papa don’t you believe me, it’s me! Momma  it’s little Gharibuu!” he pleaded, his voice cracking as tears filled his yellow eyes.

“My Gharibuu was killed by poachers! How could you be so cruel!” she said angrily, turning her back on him.

Gharibuu, filled with sadness turned and flew across the vast waters, flying further south. After abandoning all hope and dropped his beak and swooped straight towards the glassy surface of the lake. He dropped into the lake, sinking deeper and deeper until he reached the bottom. The water felt cold on his skin as in seeped in between his feathers. Then as sadness washed over him and the cold reached his core she saw something shimmering before his eyes. It was a giant fish, larger than any he had seen before, its silver scales dazzling, refracting all the colours of the rainbow.

“Hello little Gharibuu...” it said, bubbles flowing from its mouth. “I see you have gotten yourself into a spot of trouble. You haven’t spoken to a mischievous Griffin by any chance have you?” she giggled brightly, swishing her flowing tail back and forth.

He nodded weakly, loosing strength as he ran out of air.

“Dear, dear. Sometimes what seems the easier route to take is not the right route to take. You would have found your way back without him. All you had to was be Gharibuu and keep on trying. Now I will help you again. The plains have not been the same without you!”

The fish swam around him, faster and faster gathering speed. The water around Gharibuu fizzed as he was surrounded by a whirlpool of bubbles and swishing water. The water was filled with the sound of a low hum and before he knew it, she had stopped. When he looked down he saw his own legs and feet again, gone were the talons and feathers, gone were the hooves and tail, he was a hippopotamus again! He zipped around the water gleefully before turning to the fish.

“How can I ever thank you?! What is your name?” he cried.

The fish giggled sweetly as she swam beside him. “My name is Nobu, do not worry, that’s what friends are for. Now go to them!”

“Thank you Nobu, I’ll never forget this. We will be friends forever!” he shouted as he bounded across the river floor, rushing to be with his family once again.














































































































































































Thu 3rd

My progress so far.... Prologue & most of Ch. 1 :o)

Published by: I.R.W on Thursday 3rd September 2009 11:09am


 


Prologue

            The dense grey clouds overhead swirled dangerously. The rumble of thunder rolled across the sea. The waves grew higher and lashed angrily at the cliffs edge. Elana was suddenly aware of the familiar feeling rising up inside of her. The impending exhilaration of what was to come. Her breath felt heavy in her lungs, she could feel the thickness of the air, pressing down on her. She could taste the metallic taint it carried as she inhaled and felt its moisture upon her lips.

            As she stood with her hands pressed against the cool stone of the castle wall she began to feel the rush of air from the ocean below. She could taste the brine of the sea as its spray hit her face. The foam bubbled over the rocks beneath her. Her white blonde hair danced behind her as it was swept from her face by the fierce wind. Elana closed her eyes as the rumbling rose to a deep menacing growl. As she opened them once more, she saw the bright blue flicker of lightening over the horizon. The sensations suddenly intensified with the crack of electricity.

            Pulses of prickling energy emanating from her brow flowed swiftly, like a white hot river through her body. Her gaze dropped to the beautiful ring that adorned her slender finger. The silver white metal glinting as the lightening forked to the sea. The gemstone set inside was mesmerizing, it looked almost liquid as it shimmered and swirled in its ornate setting. It radiated a faint, eerie glow in the storms darkness.  Her fingers reached up to her throat as she unhooked her heavy velvet cloak, dropping it fluidly to the ground. She gently removed the elaborately embroidered slippers from her feet, the golden thread sparkling in the light slashing down from heavens.

            Placing her feet upon the jagged, damp rock she began to climb the stone wall that edged the castle’s balcony. Clinging tightly against the power of the roaring wind, she continued her dangerous ascent. Pulling herself onto the top, she stood unsteadily on her feet as the winds rushed past. The suppressed emotions began to rise within her, bubbling furiously to the surface, entwining with the roaring of the storm. The swirling winds carried them rapidly towards the sky as she raised her arms above her head, fingers outstretched.

            As Elana’s eyes closed she could feel the familiar hot, sting of tears. As they spilled on to her silken, white cheeks the rain began to fall heavily in ice cold sheets. The storm now engulfed the horizon as far as the eye could see. Her white nightdress billowed like a sodden sail as it was whipped by wind and rain. As she was swallowed by the storm, feeling its enormous power course through her, she fed it with her pain, hatred and fear.

            The images of what had passed flashed through her mind as the lightening thrashed angrily to the ground. She saw the fierce insanity in his eyes. She saw the faces of her brothers. Her mother’s anguish. She felt the pain of his selfish betrayal. The cold of their skin on her fingers. Elana, overwhelmed by the agony that rushed from within, parted her lips and screamed as loud as her voice would allow into the chaos surrounding her. But her voice was merely drowned in the thunderous symphony of the storm.

            For a time she was lost in the power of the storm, feeling the hot prickles of energy under her skin, the very cells of her body vibrating. Her thoughts were gone as she was consumed and her body felt a momentary peace. Suddenly she felt something grasp her ankles, tearing her mind from its place of solitude.

            “Elana Reàdarmus what are you doing? Come down!” a woman’s voice exclaimed.

            Elana wobbled dangerously at the intruders surprise and felt two hands grab her tightly around her waist, dragging her to the ground.

Chapter 1 - The Seer
           
             King Regalus Readarmus was a pleasant man considering he was after all a King. His father had been a great king, who had led their people through times of immense troubles. There had been many wars between the races of the Great Planes and even within the Kingdom of Elindor. Despite the wars that had ravaged the lands, as a young prince the King hoped to bring an age of peace to them. His mother Liliana, or Nana as she was now called, came from a well established aristocracy. They had no fortune of course but her wild and daring attitude along with her beauty attracted the attention of his father. 

            Regalus looked nothing like his mother, but in temperament they were very much the same. They say behind every great man is a great woman and in his father’s case this was very true. Liliana always managed to persuade him to see things as she did. She chose her words carefully and could sway the King without him even knowing there was reason to be swayed. After his father’s death Regalus had married before taking the throne. His father had given his aid the task of finding Regalus a suitable wife. As much as he protested to Queen Liliana, he eventually agreed to meet her. It was his father’s dying wish that he be married.

            Her name was Freya Cariad. She lived in Elindor near the edge of Forana forest with her family. She was an incredible beauty with copper coloured curls that covered her back. Her father had many Elven friends and often took her to visit them. As a result she was extremely fond of this race and even spoken fluent elfish. Regalus was pleased with this acceptance of others and captivated by her warm nature. They had married in a lavish ceremony and invited members of each of the royal families to join the festivities. Within weeks Freya had fallen pregnant with their first child and soon after followed five more healthy sons.

            The King’s brow furrowed as he learned over his large oak desk, scribbling away on pieces of parchment.

            “Come now Regalus, do not get so aggrieved” said a woman from beside the fire.

            “I cannot abide by this alliance Freya! After all of the attacks to the miners. Humans and Dwarves killed for Craag ore” spat Regalus.

            “I know the costs to the Kingdom and the people have been high, but we must look to the future now” Freya replied, rubbing her rounded stomach.

            “I know this more than anyone. But they are not to be trusted. I feel it.”

            The King closed his eyes, rubbing the bridge of his nose with finger and thumb. Freya draped herself across his shoulders and gently kissed his neck.

            “We must be seen to be willing to forgive Regalus, if not all is lost.”

            She straightened, taking his face in her gentle hands. Freya’s expression hardened.

            “You know the darkness in our world grows deeper. The disturbances worsen. Other World breaches are becoming reality, no longer myth. We need to be as one.”

            Gazing sternly into her husband’s eyes all was understood.

            “You are right my love, we must try. I shall send a declaration by horse tonight. All crimes by the Goblin people will be forgiven and they will be accepted back onto the committee. They shall have all the political power that the four have.”

            She smiled sweetly at her husband and kissed his forehead.

            “I must get some rest now. Try not to stay awake too late”.

            She walked gracefully across the room and twisted the heavy brass door knob.

            “Goodnight dearest” Freya said sweetly.

            “Goodnight my love” Regalus replied with a smile, despite his concerns.

            A guard bowed as she floated past into the darkness, her hair glinting russet in the gloom.  The King’s brow furrowed as he wrote quickly by candle light, his quill scratching feverishly, inches from his nose. He began to melt a stick of wax above the flame, dripping the blood-red wax in splotches onto the parchment. Plunging his heavy, golden ring into the wax, he marked it with the royal crest.

            Regalus strode to the door and called into the corridor for the royal messenger. He handed the messenger, a young slim man, the sealed declaration.

            “Take four guards. Ride to the Goblin village and do not stop until you get there. Give this to Grindleward and nobody else.”

            He quickly bowed and replied “Yes your majesty!” before striding away.

            The King returned to his dimly lit study. Pictures in gilt frames filled the spaces not covered by books and maps. As he slumped down into his chair, he sighed deeply, resting his head in his hands. Exhausted from the day’s events the King quickly drifted into a deep sleep, only to be awoken by a frantic knocking at the heavy oak door.

            Regalus rose quickly from his desk, removing a dagger from its sheath at his ankle.

            “Enter!” he yelled, his eyes not moving from the door.

            The door swung open gently, creaking on its hinges. Stood in the doorway was a hunched, frail figure, cloaked in black. As it floated towards the King he drew a deep breath.

            “Avarah is that you?!”

             A cracked, hoarse voice rattled “Yes my Lord it is only I”.

            Two twisted, knotted hands reached up to lower the hood. A mass of matted gray hair surrounded a weathered face with thin, crinkled skin. The old woman’s dark eyes glinted dangerously in the gloom. The King took an involuntary step backwards.

            “Must you come looking like one of the nine?!”

            “Oh I am sorry my Lord!” she said as she drew a ragged breath “I know this appearance does not please you...”

            The woman closed her eyes and a low hum filled the room, shaking the instruments and ornaments strewn across the desk. As she looked up her face began to transform before the King’s eyes. Her hair darkened to a silky raven black, spilling in waves past her waist. The deep wrinkles in her paper-like skin smoothed as it filled with a dewy, soft youth. She looked quite beautiful, especially in the soft candle light. She had the same beetle black eyes as she smiled with dazzling pearl teeth.

            “Is this better my Lord?”

            Avarah assessed her image in the long mirror next to the fireplace.

            “I will never understand why you think this image beautiful, but if it makes you less... anxious”.

            She turned to face Regalus, removing a velvet pouch from within her cloak.

            “If the nine found out I was bringing the sacred stones before you I would be done for! But what I have seen is of great importance to the lands, to all our futures.”

            She placed a stone bowl at her feet, chanting words that were not understood into their surroundings. There was the sudden crackle of magic as the bowl began to rise from the ground, spinning slowly as it bobbed in the thickened air. Regalus took another step back as he struggled to breathe in the humid room, staring at Avarah with a mixture of intrigue and fear.

            Placing the velvet pouch in both hands she raised her arms above her head before emptying its contents into the bowl. Taking the bowl in both hands she continued to chant as she swirled the contents, the sound of clinking stone mingling with her mysterious crooning. Suddenly she spilled its contents onto the floor around her feet. Small stones of different sizes, ornately carved with strange characters lay strewn on the wood.

            Avarah’s black eyes grew large as she looked from stone to stone.

            “I have foreseen a great darkness my Lord. A great darkness that will fill the land. The nine will have a hand in the peril brought to us. They will bring about the end of days. Ragnarok will come. There is only one hope that we will prevail my Lord. It lays in the hands of your unborn child, your seventh child! A choice will be made, that may tip the balance.”

            Regalus stared at the stones that lay on his study floor, overwhelmed by what he had been told.

            “Are you sure of this Avarah?” he asked.

            “My Lord have I ever misguided you? We are all in danger now, even us seers of the islands. Maybe even the nine...” She replied drawing her eyebrows into a concerned frown.

            “My sons are strong, the eldest is growing into a fine warrior. I’m sure he can defend the lands. Will my seventh son be stronger than Thorn? Will he be the greatest warrior our lands have seen? I fear he must face dangers our world has never known.” he sighed.

            “I do not know my Lord, I only see what the stones chose to show me. I only know that our very existence may depend on this child!” Avarah replied.

            “Very well! Please leave me now. If there is any news send word straight away!” He barked.

            “As you wish your Majesty” she replied in a bow, sweeping quickly from the room, her raven hair turning to brittle grey as her skin began to crease.

            As the King undressed for bed his head swam with thoughts of the future, of his Kingdom, but most importantly of his family. He thought of all that was expected of his baby, sleeping peacefully in its mother’s womb. As he climbed into bed with Queen Freya he laid a protective hand on her stomach, holding them both closely to him as tried to sleep.


 

 

 
































































































































Wed 26th

Beyond Night (Chapter Two)

Published by: Joey on Wednesday 26th August 2009 03:08am

Chapter Two

 

Jackie sat fixing her little black dress. She chugged back her vodka and coke then winked at the boys opposite her.

            “Go on ask me. It really is ok.”

            Brie looked over to Mike who was fidgeting. Mike had more then one question in his mind about this girl. But knew where he was expected to begin.

            “How did you make the ghosts leave?”

            She smiled.

            “That’s an easy one. I’m a witch.”

            Both men jumped and their hands went to their guns, hidden in their jackets. Jackie raised both hands in a sign of peace.

            “Settle down cowboys. Not the blood sacrifice, deal with a demon kind of witch. I’m Wiccan.”

            Brie and Mike relaxed again. Brie let out a low whistle.

            “I’ve never seen a Wiccan pull a move like that. Aren’t you guys normally more: keep the Earth in balance kind of magic.”

            “I’m special.”

            Jackie looked up mischievously into Brie’s chocolaty brown eyes. He was surprised to find hers glistening green. He knew who they reminded him of and he looked away. Jackie was intrigued by these two more then she had expected.

            “So tell me. How did you two get into hunting so young?”

            Brie grimaced.

            “We’re not so young. You’re not ancient yourself!”

            “That doesn’t answer the question.”

            Mike shot another warning glance to Brie. He felt that Brie’s flirting was revealing too much information. But Brie had already lost the fun of the chase the second Ivy crossed his mind. Jackie was sipping her third drink slowly, watching the pair over the rim of her glass and wondering what their real story was. Mike was the one to break the silence.

            “Our town was hit by vamps a few years back. We wanted to know the truth so we starting trying to get into the underground magic scene. We got a few contacts and learnt a lot. Now we do what we can. What’s yours?”

            Mike got a rye smile back in return for his terse speech.

            “Much the same I guess. Some weird shit happened while I was growing up so I went to find out the truth.”

            Jackie giggled as she finished her drink.

            “I found it if this is any kind of truth.”

            Brie handed another beer to Mike who was starting to flag. He didn’t really want to take it but didn’t want Jackie to stop talking. Brie poured her another drink and took up the conversation again.

            “So are you a hunter too?”

            Jackie shook her head.

            “Not before tonight sweetheart. I just did my research then just tried to live a life. Unfortunately odd things have a habit of finding me so I’m thinking of starting this “hunting” malarkey.”

            Jackie fell silent then. Both Brie and Mike put then drinks down and looked at each other. This girl was interesting but there was something off with her. Mike was half tempted to bring her along to find out what it was but he knew that they couldn’t.

            No one really felt like breaking the silence that had fallen across the table. Another car drove by on its way into or out of the small town half a mile away, flooding the room with the glare from its head lights. Jackie was chewing her lip.

            “What’s it like? Hunting I mean. How do you get away with it?”

            Brie laughed.

            “We’re legally dead. We used different names sometimes. Once I wore a blonde wig. But mainly just for the laugh. We just don’t talk to people much. Keep a low profile, you know?”

            Jackie grimaced.

            “So you just stay invisible? I’ve already mastered that.”

            Brie and Mike raised their eyebrows in disbelief making Jackie giggle. She ran a hand over her spiked up hair.

            “You two have some silly idea that blending in means you have to be dull and in the background. Sometimes you just need to throw some glitter in their eyes.”

            Jackie pulled a poster from her pocket. The red paper was topped by black letters reading: The Astounding Jay-Bird! The worlds leading Magician-iasta!

            Underneath was a picture of a beautiful if strange woman. Her long black hair was pinned up with peacock feather. She wore a long glittery, red dress under a smart black tail-coat. Written under the picture was a date from a few weeks ago and the name of a club.

            Mike shrugged.

            “Jay-bird? I think I’ve heard of her. She does all tricks of levitation and mind-reading, doesn’t she? So what?”

            Brie was squinting at the photo trying to figure out what it was that bothered him about it. It was her eyes, her startling green eyes.

            “That’s you!”

            Jackie leaned across the table and pulled the ace of hearts from Brie’s pocket just to prove the point. She had written her phone number on it and she slid it but into his pocket grinning.

            “Well spotted young man. You win yourself the Ace of Hearts.”

            Mike handed the poster back and she rolled it up.

            “Oh that explains why everyone says your shows are impossible.”

            Brie glanced at Mike sideways.

            “Why do you know any of this?”

            Mike shrugged again.

            “I like magicians.”

            Jackie pouted. She didn’t like where Mike was going.

            “Excuse me. I don’t use real magic in my shows. It’s slight of hand and suggestion. Magic can not be used for personal gain like that. It’s wrong.”

            Brie looked for the joke in Jackie’s eyes but for the first time her expression was very sober. Mike wanted to change the subject.

            “So what make’s a Wiccan be able to pull off a spirit dusting like that?”

            Jackie’s nonchalant grin returned as she poured another drink.

            “Oh I’m just more naturally talented then other Wiccan’s I guess.”

            He was tempted to point out that this wasn’t really an answer but Brie gave him the nod that it was time to go.

            “It was nice to meet you.”

            “Maybe we’ll see you again next time we get trapped by murderous dead people.”

           

The brothers stood and got their jackets. Jackie leapt up too looking stricken.

            “Wait! You can’t go yet! There’s a…what about the bartender?”

            Brie answered her but they were still walking towards the door.

            “We’ll call the cops from a pay phone in town before we hit the road. There’s enough evidence here that he killed the prostitutes at least.”

            Mike and Brie continued to the door but Jackie hurried after them.

            “But…stop!”

            The boys turned at the door. Jackie stood in front of them awkwardly. She wasn’t used to having to beg for attention like this.

            “Wait please.”

            Jackie pushed her hair back and tried to look cool and calm.

            “You need me.”

            Mike and Brie exchanged glances. Brie put a hand on Jackie’s shoulder.

            “Sorry darling but this is sort of a family business.”

            Jackie shook his hand off.

            “Take me with you. You haven’t got anything to lose. Look at tonight! If I hadn’t been there you would both be dead!”

            Mike sighed impatiently now. This was turning into an unpleasant scene.

            “And we really are grateful for that but it doesn’t mean you can come with us.”

            Jackie grabbed Brie’s hand. She had now completely lost the air of mocking sophistication which she had clung to earlier. Her eyes were wide and her lips trembling. Brie suddenly realised that she was really only their age or younger. For a moment he was sorely tempted to bring her along. But he already had his hands full feeling responsible for Mike. The last thing he needed was another liability to worry about. She squeezed his hand.

            “Please! I can look after myself, I can fight and I don’t need to be babysat. I have been researching full on since I was sixteen but I was raised Wiccan so I know my mythology.”

            Brie took his hand from hers. Mike didn’t look her in the eyes as they moved soberly into the car park.

           

Jackie was left alone in the bar. The dimly lit room; which before seemed dingy and small now seemed vast and empty. She shuffled back over to the dirty table they had been sitting at. She picked up her long black coat and wrapped it around herself.

            Jackie knew that she had to leave with those two hunters. She hadn’t told them that she had seen them in the dream. The dream that had told her to stop hiding from who she was. The dream that luckily also showed her how she got her way. Jackie picked up the bottle of vodka and tucked it into her coat.

            “Waste what want not!”

            She pulled up her hood and slipped silently into the car park. She recovered her easy appearance as she muttered to herself.

            “Not so fast boys.”

 

Mike and Brie walked across the dark car park. Mike was uncomfortable about the awkward exit but not overly concerned about leaving Jackie behind. Brie was bothered by that though. He couldn’t get the image of her standing in the bar looking terrified as they left her alone.

            “Brie? Open the car I’m freezing!”

            Brie jumped as Mike’s voice cut through his thoughts. He was standing beside a black ‘75 Ford T-Mobile pick-up trunk. The keys were hanging loosely in his hand.

            “Sorry Mikey.”

            He unlocked the car for Mike to get in and then pulled back the black canvas on the back to put the rock salt and iron cross in with the rest of their gear and bags. Mike sat in the front playing with the radio. He called out to Brie.

            “Don’t forget to tie the tarp back down properly this time!”

            Brie pulled a face but was already doing as Mike had said. He climbed into the font with Mike and slapped his hand away from the radio. After tuning it he turned to Mike.

            “Do you think we should have brought Jackie with us? It seems pretty cold leaving her there on her own.”

            Mike sighed but shook his head.

            “It isn’t the best of situations but we didn’t put her there. Like she said, she can look after herself. We aren’t a travelling homeless shelter.”

            Mike laughed and rubbed his hands together to warm them. Brie shrugged but still wasn’t happy. It couldn’t figure out what it was about Jackie that didn’t sit right with him.

            “I guess you’re right.”

            He started the car and they pull off into the cold October night.

 

They reach a road side motel an hour later. The green neon sign was flickering as they pulled into the parking lot. Brie parked the car and they got out. Mike nodded in the direction of the reception.

            “I’ll get a room. Can you manage the bags?”

            They turned noticed that the tarp off the back of the truck was loose. Mike rolled his eyes as he went to the door.

            “You had one job!”

            “What are you my wife?”

            Mike laughed and strolled swinging his hips mockingly. Brie rolled his eyes and then turned to look at the truck.

            “I know I fastened you up.”

            He pulled back the covering took out the bag of clothes. There was a box of emergency magic stuff that had the guns stashed in it to take in as well. Brie peered around the back of the truck.

            “Achoo!”

            Brie pulled out his gun and pointed it at the dark shape that had sneezed. It shifted and moved out.

            “Put that down jackass it’s only me.”

            Jackie swung her legs over the side of the truck and hopped down. Brie put his gun away and frowned.

            “Jackie this is getting ridiculous.”

            She didn’t meet his eyes at first. Jackie spent a moment straightening her coat. When she looked up she was grim faced.

            “I know. Believe me when I say that I don’t like this. I don’t like begging and I don’t like being a stalker hiding out in the back of a truck.”

            She shivered. The cold was really starting to set in through her coat. Brie leaned against the truck and put an arm around her.

            “Then what is this all about?”

            “I just need to do something. I mean I need to get out there and make a difference. But I can’t on my own.”

            Brie rubbed the bridge of his nose and thought. Jackie yawned and leaned in against his shoulder. He didn’t like the idea of leaving her alone a second time. But the idea of being responsible for someone other then Mike was wearing. Jackie sighed as she drooped sleepily.

            “You don’t have to look after me. I’ve been taking very good care of myself since I was sixteen maybe younger. But I’m tired of being alone all the time. Just give me two weeks. If it isn’t working out I’ll find some different hunters.”

            Brie looked hard into Jackie’s eyes, trying to ignore the memories they stirred. He saw sincerity there.

            “You’ve got two weeks probation. Welcome to the team. But you have to tell Mike he’s sleeping on the couch. I’m not paying for another room”

            Jackie grabbed her rucksack out of the truck. Her whole face lit up when she smiled. She kissed Brie on the cheek before rushing towards the building out of the cold.

            “I don’t care if I sleep on the floor!”

            Brie leaned back against the truck again for a moment. He would have to deal with Mike but that wouldn’t be too hard. What he was really asking himself was why he had let Jackie stay with them. He chuckled bitterly and kicked a stone across the empty parking lot.

            “Maybe because I’m a sucker for some pretty eyes?”

 

The motel was dingy by anyone’s standards but Jackie wasn’t paying attention. She got the room number from a dozy receptionist. She opened the door and entered the dingy room. Two small beds lay across from each other. There was a broken table and a dirty sofa against the far wall. Mike looked up from his book and jumped, reaching for his gun.

            “What are you doing here?”

            Jackie rolled her eyes.

            “Danu! You boys and your toys! Put the peashooter down sugar. Brie said I could stay.”

            “He what?”

            “I have two weeks to convince you or I get sent on my merry. I’ll sleep on the sofa if you’re so pissed about it.”

            Mike didn’t reply. He walked straight out of the room and slammed the door behind him. Jackie winced at the sound. That had been even worse then she’d thought it would be. She dumped her bag on the couch and surveyed the room grimly. Her light mood was starting to fade.

 

Mike found Brie as he was coming down the corridor. He cringed at Mike’s face. Clearly he was taking this badly.

            “You idiot.”

            “Mikey…”

            Mike shoved him.

            “Don’t call me Mikey I’m not a little kid. What do you think you’re playing at?”

            Brie shook his head.

            “Mikey…sorry…Mike, she was totally and had no where to go. More then that she could be a real asset. You said it yourself we’d be dead if not for her.”

            Mike took a deep breath that failed to calm him.

            “Our lives our too dangerous for you to bring any little tart you feel like jumping along!”

            Brie grabbed Mike’s shoulder. He was fast losing the moral high ground.

            “That’s enough Mikey! Just because your pissed doesn’t mean you talk about her like that! Jackie is smart and she really wants to help. So give her a break and grow the hell up!”

            Mike pushed past his surrogate brother and shot a parting quip over his shoulder.

            “Don’t worry. I’ll talk really nice about her after you’ve gotten her killed! I’m sleeping in the car.”

            Brie leaned against the door and slid down the floor. Sometimes he didn’t understand Mike. But his word stung. Was he just going to get Jackie killed? Should he have told her to go back to showbiz and leave the hunting to the men? He chuckled. That would have gone down really well. But maybe he should’ve refused but she would have only tried again with other hunters and some of them were dangerous people.

            But had it been more then that? She was pretty and the idea of spending time with someone other then Mike for a while wasn’t unappealing. But what would he do if she got killed? Was he selfishly putting her in danger?

 

On the far side of the door a tear slipped down Jackie’s cheek.

            “…dangerous for you to bring any little tart you feel like jumping…”

            She had had no idea that she would drive such a wedge between them. This was all wrong; it was suppose to be good. They were supposed to fight together with her help. She only wanted to help. They didn’t know. They didn’t understand what was coming.

            She heard Brie sigh and turned the door handle. Jackie jumped and tried to get to the bed but he spotted her. He sat down beside her and looked downcast.

            “I guess you heard that then.”

            “It doesn’t matter. I don’t blame him.”

            Brie lifted a hand a placed it on her cheek. She really was lovely. Jackie’s skin tingled under his fingers. They both stood and looked away. Jackie moved the blankets around aimlessly.

            “I think I’ll go to bed.”

            Brie hurried to the other side of the room.

            “Good idea I think I’ll do the same.”

            Brie turned his back on Jackie as she changed and hopped into the bed. They both lay staring at the ceiling for a moment. Brie felt compelled to end the silence.

            “Good night.”

            “Oh yeah. Good night to you too.”

            Jackie rolled over and pulled the covers over her head. She needed to stay clear minded. There was some serious darkness coming. She could feel it in the air but if she got all muddled over some guy then that would make all of their jobs more difficult. The last thing they needed was more complications. She muttered to herself as she tossed again.

            “Sleep tight; don’t let the nasty things bite.”

Thu 23rd

Ears are crying!

Published by: Liane on Thursday 23rd July 2009 04:07pm
Hee hee. Just put the theme tune we wrote and performed for the book The Chronicles of Joya and didn't realise I had a few windows open. Just been blasted backwards five feet in my chair ... well it is on wheels :)
Mon 20th

Unwelcome Visitors (just pieces from my story - 1st Draft)

Published by: Chanty on Monday 20th April 2009 08:04am
Hi all,

These are the last little pieces I'll be sharing with you from the story... Yes, Alice most likely hates me, I put her through quite a bit and still have much more for her - but she's a strong girl with a deep inner strength.

Again, not everyones cup of tea. You may like and you may not.

*******************************************************************

Alice opened her locker, to exchange her books for the last class. Suddenly a icy chill ran down her back, she felt as though she were being watched, not like the other times, this was somehow different - very uncomfortable. She glanced about her, to see who could be watching her, not really expecting to see anyone. Then froze when her eyes came across the watcher, he was tall

and built in much the same physic as the guys from Wolf Haven, deadly handsome, with thick dark hair just past his shoulders.


She could see why the girls had been so excited; he was obviously one of the two new guys, Pamela had mentioned. Although, there was something very dark about him, almost evil in her opinion. The way he leaned up against the lockers on the far side of the locker corridor, with a sly smirk on his face, boosting self confidence. What troubled Alice the most, was the way he stared at her, it was intense, she could feel the heat of his stare. There was almost a hunger in his eyes and his eyes were dark, almost black. Another cold shiver shook her body, raising the tiny hairs on the back of her neck as fear crept into her. Alice quickly looked away, trying to focus on her books. Then closed the locker door, glancing back to where he stood, but he was gone. She sighed with relief, but the fear stayed with her.

 

Alice sat counting down the minutes to the end of class, the last class for the day. She felt a sense of urgency to be away from the University, she wanted to be home already, where she would feel safe. She just couldn't shake the fear from her body, a sick feeling of dread was forming in the pit of her stomach and the scars on her back were suddenly sensitive again. The tiny hairs on the back of her neck and arms lifted as an ice cold shiver traveled down her spine, she felt a presence behind her. She glanced back, but no one was there, except for the girl who sat behind her.

 

Her body went cold - she could still feel that someone was close, too close. Fear gripped at her chest as she felt hot breath against her skin, on the side of her neck, her cheek and then her shoulders. And heard a soft sound, like someone sniffing, there was a kind of musky scent in the air – she froze when she felt something hot and wet like a tongue lick the skin on her neck and the

sound a low growl. The other girls seated around her swung around to look at her, they had heard it too.

 

The bell rung, Alice jumped to her feet and ran towards the door of the class room, weaving in between her class mates as they made their way to the door. She could still feel the presence as it kept pace with her. As she left the class room and entered the passage, she felt fingers rake through her hair, jerking back her head and pulling a chunk of her hair out. She screamed out in pain, her eyes wide with fear as she tried to escape.

 

He was there - in a blink of an eye he was there in front of her, with Wyde and Dale at his side. Alice ran straight into the open arms of Lucas, sobbing aloud, her body shaking violently as she clung to him, unwilling to let go. Dale and Wyde ran past them as they chased after her invisible threat, there were shouts from other students that were knocked out of the way by some invisible force.

 

****************** Lots of missing text *********************

 

Dale drove with Amanda up front, sitting next him, while Lucas sat with Alice in the back. Wyde, Cindy, Warren and Lisa followed behind them in the other large jeep as they sped towards Park Falls. Everyone was alert, but silent. Amanda was nervous – she kept glancing back at Alice and smiling at her, trying to be reassuring – but, Alice could see the fear in her eyes, she'd seen it in all of their eyes. They had not thought that she was crazy, far from it, they had unwillingly acknowledged that something was out there and it was hunting her.

 

As they neared campus, her anxiety grew and she began to regret wanting to come back for her clothes, but she couldn't make them turn around, not now. Alice glanced through the windscreen at the slight red haze in the distance, far up the road. Everyone saw it and they wondered aloud as to what it might be. As they drew closer it became brighter, almost like a red light district in

Amsterdam. And as they approached Alice's house, they saw the cause of the red light. It was the strobing red lights from four police cars and two ambulances parked in the road near her house.

 

They saw the red and white tape that had been set up around the front the neighboring house, cording off the area so that no one could enter. Carsten was standing out front with Gary and Steven, when they stopped on the side of the road. An ice cold shiver ran down Alice's back as she climbed out of the jeep, her fear stronger, Lucas was at her side in a flash and put his arm around her, pulling her close as they walked over to Carsten, who watched their approach.

 

“Son, it's best you get her out of here. This isn't a pretty sight.” Carsten said, with a warning look in his eyes.

“What's happened dad, what's going on?” Lucas asked, his voice full of concern, as he pulled her closer to him.

“Four girls were murdered tonight, son. The murderers have come to town. A friend of the girls found the bodies, just over half an hour ago. I think it's best you get Alice away from here.” Carsten said, as he gave Lucas a knowing look.

 

Alice saw it, and Lucas seemed to suddenly jump into action. Alice started to tremble, her fear growing stronger still. 'Oh my God! The girls next door are

dead. I would have been here at home, if it wasn't for Lucas. They could have killed me too. And if the others hadn't gone out, them as well. Carsten and Lucas know something, I can see it in their eyes.'

 

*************** Missing text again *****************

 

They left the house, heading over to where the jeeps were parked, Dale in front and Wyde and Warren behind the girls. Lucas was still speaking to his dad, Steven and Gary had joined in on their conversation, but his face was still filled with anger, he was arguing with his dad. As they neared the jeep, Alice heard the sound of trolley wheels and looked toward the sound. The medics were wheeling out the bodies.

 

Her hand flew up to cover her mouth, as she felt her stomach turn while taking in the sight, the white sheeting that covered the bodies was soaked in blood, there was so much blood, it was dripping off the sheets, making thin trails of blood along the walk way. She watched as the bodies where pushed along to the Ambulances, and as one of them jerked to a stop, causing a bloodied and

mangled arm to slip out from under the sheet, bones were exposed, where flesh was no longer.

 

Alice screamed, and fell onto her hands and knees as she wrenched, her body shook violently as the emotions she'd been fighting to control escaped and she started crying hysterically.

'Oh God help me, please! I'm reliving my nightmares!'

 

She heard Lucas's voice. “Alice! Alice!” She felt hands on her, but she lashed out at them, she didn't want anyone touching her. She didn't see who it was, the tears blurred her eyes. She heard his voice again. “Medic give me something to knock her out, she's having an emotional breakdown.”

 

Again she felt hands on her and tried to lash out, but they held her down, she struggled to fight free of them, but they were far to strong. 'Nooo!' She felt the prick of a needle against her skin and the feel of the cold liquid as it entered her body through the needle. It was only seconds before she lost feeling in her body and her eyelids grew heavy, she couldn't fight to keep them open anymore, she was to tired – finally she closed her eyes in surrender to the drug she'd been given.  











Mon 20th

The Face of Death (Edited - 2nd Draft)

Published by: Chanty on Monday 20th April 2009 07:04am
Hi all,
 
Here's an edited version of pieces to my story.. I prefer this as it's a little darker and more discriptive...

You may like, you may not - not everyone's cup of tea. Oh, BTW - Alice is 10 years old here..

*****************************************************************

The moon was high and bright in the night sky. The wind swept and howled around a large dark figure crouching on an outcrop of rock far above a cliff face, ruffling his thick dark fur. The glow of camp fires reflected in the pitch black eyes that gazed down over the outcrop, at the large camp site far below. Watching and waiting. The beast lifted his head and sniffed the air, it was thick with the smell of humans, there were many. But, there was another scent too, something sweet and powerful - it called.

It was two weeks since their last meal, they had been traveling for days, in the thick of the forest, the whole pack now under Drakes' leadership. Drake glanced back into the forest behind him where the members of his pack were gathered, restless and hungry. Already the pack was short five members, from recent fights to the death, that had broken out within the pack. For such a powerful and ancient race, they were still so primitive, fighting amongst themselves.

The real enemy were the humans, they were responsible for the fate that had befallen his race in the seventeen hundreds – disgusting weak creatures that they were. It sickened Drake, how humans had managed to survive and progress through the centuries. This only fed the hate and darkness within him. Drake glanced back down to the camp fires far below.

'Tonight we feast!'

******************* Some text missing – Oh, come on.*****************I can't give you everything, now can I?**************

The howls were extremely loud and so terrifying, they surrounded the camp. And then the screams started, terrifying screams, blood curdling screams of men, women and children and the sound of gun shots, mixed with loud roars. Vicious roars and snarls of some kind of beasts. Alice could hear a ripping and tearing sound, like cloth being ripped and loud thuds. Suddenly the flap of the tent opened, the girls screamed. It was their mom, her eyes wide with fear, her face bloody, tears rolling down her face. She grabbed them both by an arm, pulling them from the tent. In a strangled and terrified voice she shouted to the girls. “Run! Run as fast as you can to the river! Keep running along the river, until you find help! Don't look back! Just run. I love you!!”

Alice felt as if she was in a nightmare as she glanced around her at the camp site, taking in all the

horror. There were many gigantic wolf-like creatures attacking their camp – a mans body covered in fur with a wolfs head. They were being attacked by, by werewolves? The bodies of the people she had known lay lifeless all over the camp site, their bodies ripped open, their insides and shattered bones exposed, their blood soaking into the earth. Others were being attacked by the beasts, their throats were being ripped out. Alice realized that the ripping and tearing she'd heard, was the sound of flesh ripping. But the most sickening sight of all was the sight of the beasts feeding on the bodies of the campers, tearing off chunks of flesh, even while some of the people were still alive. The blood of their victims soaking into the fur of their large thick necks and chests. Spraying in a rain of bloody droplets, into the air as they shook their large heads, ripping and tearing off another chuck of flesh.

 

Reality came back to Alice, with her mother pushing her forward. Alice stumbled, then regained her footing and ran after Debbie towards the far side of the camp. Alice was nearing the edge of the camp when suddenly, she fell backwards with a loud thud, she had run into something hard, like a tree, but there was nothing in front of her. Shaking the dizziness from her head, she

attempted to get back onto her feet, she could see her sister in the distance.

Alice screamed out in pain as she felt the rip of her flesh, and the hot burn-like sting across her upper left arm and back, as her small body was thrown through the air, hitting against the thick hard trunk of a tree, hearing the snap of bones, before she hit the ground at the foot of the tree. With her body screaming out in pain, she struggled to get to her feet, her face and head stung with a burn like feeling where she had hit the tree and scraped off some skin. She could see blood running down her left arm as she staggered, half crawled towards her sister, who was running back to her.

 

Suddenly Alice was pinned to the ground, by a heavy weight, a fresh burst of pain raked her body, as she felt large claws and teeth dig into the flesh of her back. Alice screamed out in agony, screaming to Debbie. Debbie saw Alice laying on her stomach struggling, she could see the flesh of her sisters back being ripped open, the blood pooling, but she couldn't see what was responsible, there was nothing there. She collected a large log from the closest fire pit, then ran over to Alice and with all her might she swung the log at the space directly over Alice's back.

 

There was a loud thud, followed by a roar, as she connected with something large and hard, the impact of it vibrated through her hands and up her arms into her body, causing her to stumble backwards. Alice was suddenly released; she stumbled over to Debbie, looking back behind her to where the sound of another roar came from, and then snarls, as suddenly a large wolf-like beast appeared in front of them, out of nowhere. It's eyes pitch black in the moon light and staring, it snarled again bearing its large sharp teeth at them. The girls screamed, staggering further backwards.

 

Debbie pushed at Alice, screaming. “Run, Alice! Run! Don't look back!” Debbie swallowed hard and tightened her grip on the fire log, her body trembling, tears running down her face, the knowledge of her death clear in her mind. Debbie looked to her baby sister one last time, before turning to face the beast again, ready to swing her weapon and fight, allowing Alice time to escape.

 

Alice struggled to her feet, and ran as fast as she could, with fear and adrenalin pushing her body, ignoring the pain. She could feel the warmth of her blood, as it ran thick down her back, from her fresh wounds. Could hear the roar and snarls behind her at the camp, then the terrible sound of

Debbie's screams. Alice ran faster pushing herself, tears welled in her eyes.

Running in between the trees, tripping and falling over the raised and exposed roots, but she kept on running. Blinded by her tears, she was barely able to see where she was going, but could hear the sound of rushing water and knew that she was close to the river. She continued to run towards the sound, as it grew louder.

 

Suddenly the forest opened up into a clearing, the sound of

rushing water was loud as it filled the air around her. She was near the river bank. She heard a howl, it was close, fear gripped at her, forcing her onwards, stumbling and slipping as her foot caught in an exposed root. Her ankle snapped under her weight, the terrible pain shoot up through her leg, she

screamed out in pain as she fell forward and over the edge of the steep river bank.

 

Alice felt herself falling through the air; it's seemed like such a long time before she hit the water. And felt the icy cold water swallow her body up, as she plunged into the river below, down to the bottom, her head hit against a rock, pain flooded through her mind. She managed to surface, gasping for breath against the icy water that stung and numbed her body, but the currents of the river were strong and pulled at her, pulling her down below the surface. Alice fought to surface again, chocking as she swallowed water that filled her lungs. The more she struggled against the currents, the more water entered her lungs, the weaker she became as she was pulled into the depths, until finally darkness closed in around her.

 









Sat 18th

Deception (first rough draft - to be rewritten)

Published by: Chanty on Saturday 18th April 2009 11:04am
Hi all,

So here's a piece from one of the very first chapters I wrote, when I started to write my story. I another type of emotion I've been writing in.

My writing style has changed in a big way since then and with my story growing and developing more - it's given me 2 reasons as to why I have to rewrite the last 4 chapters of the 1st book, after all that's where I started.. hee he - but it's a beginners rough draft, so I don't mind sharing some of it with you.  Again it is a very long read.. sorry.  And 'Awakening' actually comes before this..

Not everyones cup of tea - you may enjoy it or you may not..

********************************************************************

Alice parked her car next to the curb, outside the front of the house - Adams house. A kind of foreboding overcame her as she walked up the path way to the front door. 'Should I have called Chief Wolf?” She sucked in a deep breath of cold air to clear her head and rang the door bell.

 

Adam had heard Alice pull up outside. Peering through the curtains he could see that she was alone. He smiled to himself; all was going according to plan. The plan he had began to piece together while in class. This was going to be easy and he was prepared. He'd done his research. He'd get his proof and have his revenge. And then the town would have no option but to believe him, especially in the face of the overwhelming evidence. For Alice's part, well she'd be yet another bit of pleasure, as Brook had been.

 

He'd been attracted to Alice from the day she'd first entered his class. She had stirred him sexually and he often thought of what he'd do with Alice given half the chance. But this time he didn't have to waste time, playing a role to earn favors, as he had with Brook. Having seen how much time Alice and Lucas had been spending together of late and the way, in which they looked at each other, his jealousy had been fueling his hate for Lucas. He was certain that Alice was just the bait he needed.

 

He’d researched a case of a werewolf attack eight years ago and connecting Alice Peters to that case, as being the same Alice Peters that had been the only survivor of the attack. He had to wonder if she even knew what Lucas Wolf was. Adam opened the door and greeted Alice with a smile, excitement slowly building up inside of him.

 

“Hello, Alice. Thanks for coming, Brook will be happy to see you. Please come in.”

 

He stepped back from the door and gestured for her to enter. He was still wearing his same scarf from earlier that day. Alice thought it strange as surely it was warm enough inside.

 

“Good evening, Prof Black” Can I see Brook?” She forced a little smile.

 

Prof Black had the habit of unnerving her and giving her the absolute creeps. While he was considered to be handsome for his age, there was just something sinister about him.

 

The way he'd look at the young women at University. At times she'd feel as though he were slowly undressing her with his eyes. Not to mention the rumors that had surfaced and circulated around campus, of him interfering with some of the students. She remembered walking in on, and interrupting a heated argument between Prof Black and Lucas some months back – something about Lucas reporting Prof Black to the board, if he didn't clean up his act... It was so tense, that they'd nearly come to blows. And she'd never forget the look in their eyes – pure contempt and hate for each other.

 

“Please call me Adam - after all we're not in class.” Adam said smirking. “Brooks upstairs resting, she's been though quite an ordeal. You can go up and see her in a while, just let her rest for now.” He gestured towards the living room. “Please have a seat. Would you like some tea or coffee to warm you up? It's freezing out there.”

 

Alice sat down on the sofa already uncomfortable in his presence, but she was cold and a cup of coffee would warm her up.

 

“Coffee please, then will you tell me what happened to Brook?” She forced another smile.

 

“Yes, of course – now how would you like your coffee”. Adam could have laughed out loud, his plan was coming together so well.

 

“One sugar and milk please.” She forced yet another smile; she was slowly becoming more and more on edge and couldn't understand why.

 

Adam headed to the kitchen, leaving Alice in the living room. There on the kitchen counter, ready and waiting was the bottle of 'Eye-gene' eye drops. It would take merely a drop or two in her coffee and she'd be his. He had this down to an art; he'd used it many times before without any failures.

 

Sitting in the living room, Alice felt a wave of anxiety wash over her. Without thinking, she started to hum the tune of the Native American song Lucas had given her – it seemed to help calm her. Her thoughts were drawn to Lucas. 'Would he be back, yet? He's supposed to be back tonight. Maybe I should call him – we need to talk about what happened.'

 

Adam entered the living room with two cups of coffee in hand. Handing her cup to her and then placing his own, on the side table next to the single seat across from her. Alice took two sips of her coffee, holding the cup between both hands to warm them.

Now for the next part of his plan, Adam couldn't risk having any one see her car outside his house, he had to hide it.

 

“Alice, I don't want to alarm you, but there have been some vandalized cars in the area of late, and I'm concerned about the safety of your car. Would you mind if I moved it into the garage next to Brooks until you leave? My cars at the workshop so there is space and it would be much safer in there. I really don't mind moving it, you stay here and warm up, it won't take long. Keys.” Adam held out is hand.

 

Alice wasn't to sure about his reasoning, but felt compelled to hand him her car keys and did so. Adam's eyes sparkled with glee as he took the keys from Alice he had a sinister smirk on his face. Alice felt even more uncomfortable. She had a strong impulse to leave there and then, but she had to see Brook. Adam left the house.

 

Alice could hear Adam struggling with the motor of her car, obviously the temperature had dropped suddenly, freezing the motor and would take a few minutes to heat up. She had a few more sips of her coffee and decided that it was time to see Brook. She couldn't wait here all night, she still wanted to see if Lucas was back. After all, Brook had asked that she come over.

 

Alice left the living room and went upstairs to find Brook. She opened the door to the first bedroom but found it to be empty. Opening the door to the second bedroom, she spotted the shape of a person lying under a thick duvet on a double bed, and went in. Alice wrinkled her nose, there was a strange odor in the air and it made her uneasy.

 

“Brook?” she whispered as she moved closer to the bed. There was no reply, Brook had her head covered with the duvet and had obviously not heard Alice. Alice sat on the edge of the bed next to Brook.

 

“Brook honey? It's Alice. Are you awake?” she asked in a soft voice.

She reached out, placing hand on Brook and gently shook her. Still there was no response.

 

Glancing down, she noticed that Brooks hand had slipped out from under the duvet, it had a odd coloring to it, like a pale bluish white and looked so cold. However something else caught her eye, something more horrifying, Brooks fingers and fingernails. Her fingers had dry blood smears and her fingernails were bloody and broken, with skin and flesh encrusted deep under the nails. Alice's head spun, she felt ill. She reached out to touch Brooks’ hand, but pulled back quickly, when her fingers touched very cold and stiff skin.

 

Alice jumped back, however the room started spinning, she tried to steady herself on her feet, shaking her head to clear the dizzy spell. A sick feeling grew inside of her, threatening to consume her. She staggered towards the bed and pulled back the duvet. She gasped at the horror she faced. She wanted to scream, but fear paralyzed her, she could barely move, she was frozen.

 

There on the bed lay Brook, but she was not okay, far from it. She lay exposed, cold and stiff. She was all bloody, with cuts and large swollen bruises all over her entire body. Three of the fingers on her right hand looked broken and her arm was twisted in an awkward position and could have possibly been broken too. Clearly a result of the struggle she had had fighting for her life.

 

Her face was barely recognizable, all bloody, her eyes were bruised and swollen, one was swollen shut, while the other gazed out lifeless not seeing. Her nose had been broken and her lips were blue in color, but cut badly, jaw possibly broken. She had dark bruises around her throat, which resembled the shape of fingers. Brook had been violated, beaten within inches of death and then strangled to death.

 

The room spun wildly, she was so dizzy, taking a few steps away from the bed. She tried to cover her mouth as she started to gag, but it was to late, she collapsed onto her knees and wrenching.

 

It suddenly all made sense. The older guy Brook was dating, keeping his identity a secret from her friends for fear of being judged, the scratch across Adams chin, him wearing a scarf indoors. The mystery man was Adam! The rumors surrounding him were true. Her eyes blurred and her body shook violently as she started to cry – the truth was devastating.

 

Renewed fear gripped her, as she realized that she wasn't safe, she was in the house of a sadistic murderer and no one knew she was there. She felt weak, she was battling to focus, she had no strength in her arms or legs, she was becoming more and more dizzy. Had her coffee been drugged?

 

Suddenly she heard a noise over at the door. Struggling for control, she lifted her head, trying to focus her eyes, she saw Adam leaning against the door frame watching her, a smirk on his face.

 

“I told you not to come up here. It was to be a surprise, such a pity. I enjoyed my time with Brook, you know. She put up a good fight, it was certainly challenging. But, alas all good things must come to an end.”

 

Alice struggled to digest what he'd said. Sobbing aloud, she cried out.

“Why? Why do this?!”

Adam laughed out aloud and adjusted his position to lean against the other side of the door frame.

“Don't you get it, you stupid twit? It's all about the game. I just took it to the next level. I just hope that you aren't going to disappointment me. But, I'm sure you'll be just as much fun, if not more.

 

But, first I have a score to settle” he said fiercely, his eyes were dark and menacing, with such contempt.

 

Lucas rode his Harley over to Alice's house, eager to see her and to ensure that she was okay. He knocked on the front door and waited. He could smell the scent of Belinda, one of Alice's new house mates, as she came to answer the door. The door opened and he saw Belinda suck in a breath as color rose to her cheeks, before greeting him with a brilliant smile, eyes shining.

 

He had become painfully aware of her attraction to him over recent months. And he was clearly not interested, yet it had not stopped her from trying to get his attention, even when it was Alice he came to call on and visit. Her advances were just beyond tolerant of late. 'I must do something about this very soon. Perhaps introduce her to Lyle, they might hit it off.' But right now his attentions were focused on seeing Alice.

 

“Hello, Belinda. Is Alice home?”

“Uh mm, no. She left awhile ago. Would you like to come in and wait for her?”

Belinda's smile brightened and hope reflected in her eyes. Lucas knew she'd like nothing better then the opportunity to 'entertain' him while he waited for Alice.

“No thanks. Did she say where she was going?”

Belinda's smile disappeared, disappointment now showing in her face.

“No, she just took off. She didn't even say goodbye. Are you sure you don't want to come in and wait?”

 

She had the look of a puppy begging for attention.

“Yes, I'm sure. I'll call Alice on her mobile and find out where she's at. See you around.”

Too late, he'd said it without thinking and he regretted it already. Belinda's face lit up, eyes sparkling.

“Great, I'll see you around then. Bye.”

Lucas turned and walked away from the door, cursing under his breath, he wanted to kick himself.

'Don't give the girl hope! Stupid, stupid!' He heard, Belinda sigh and knew that she'd be watching him until he'd ridden away.

 

A block from Alice's house, Lucas pulled up onto the curb of the road and to call Alice. She was supposed to be home. He didn't like the idea that she was out. He wondered if she had gone out to meet someone, perhaps another guy. A twang of jealousy clawed at him. He entered her number and waited for her to answer. Alice was crying, tears flowing, blinding her – she couldn't get up off the floor, the drug was taking effect. She feared the torture Adam had clearly planned for her.

 

As if in a dream, she heard her mobile ringing in her pocket. 'HELP!' She screamed out in her mind and with all the strength she could muster, she reached for her mobile. She had only just had time to press the accept key, to answer the call, when Adam reached her. Alice screamed out in pain. Her head felt as though it had exploded, as agonizing pain stabbed at her traveling down her body, threatening to envelope her in darkness.

 

Adam had back handed her across the face and she'd fallen with a loud thud against the corner of the bedside table. She couldn't move. She felt a warm sticky liquid seeping down the back of her neck and over her shoulder; from the corner of her eye she could see her white polar neck shirt turning red from her blood. She felt the same warm liquid oozing from her eyebrow down the side of her face to her mouth and she could taste blood.

 

Lucas froze, fear building up inside him, fear for Alice, his beloved Alice. He'd heard her painful scream, the horrific sound of it. Rage threatened to overcome him. 'NOOOOOO!' He called out her name, as if she'd hear him. His attention was drawn to the sinister sound of someone laughing on the other end of the mobile.

 

Adam had picked up Alice's mobile from where it had fallen and seen who the caller was, he'd started to laugh with glee. His night surely couldn't get any better then this. The game was about to begin. He was ready and had prepared for this moment, he glanced over to the chest of drawers, there lay all his tools – waiting, ready. He now spoke.

 

“I know what you are, DOG! You know where I live, come and get her.”

 

Lucas recognized the voice of Adam Black. His rage now exploded engulfing him, causing him to shift into his wolf-like form, shredding his clothes. A deafening howl erupted from his chest and he sprinted in the direction of Adams house at full speed, invisible so none would bear witness to the sight. Even Alice had heard the deafening howl.

 

Adam began to laugh again clearly happy with himself. Alice stared at him blankly, confused - growing weaker. He considered her expression and shaking his head, said.

 

“You honestly don't know do you? You have no idea of what he is? You of all people should have figured it out. You disappoint me.”

 

He walked over to the chest of drawers where his tools were neatly laid out and ready. He lifted the gun and attached the silencer, he'd had silver bullets made especially for this occasion, and obviously the gun smith had thought he'd lost his mind.

 

Alice felt her life's blood draining away from her, she was becoming weaker and weaker, a shell of the person she once was. Perhaps this was better, easier to wade into the darkness that threatened to engulf her, swallow her whole. Rather die now, then at the hands of a cruel monster. It was only a matter of time now and she welcomed her death. She rejoiced in the thought of it.

 

Her eyelids grew heavier the numbness had fully consumed her body. Only a single thought stayed in her mind – Lucas. She smiled at the thought of him – his face fading in the darkness. Lucas could smell Alice's scent in the upstairs bedroom, around the back of Adams house.

 

Adam was there with her, but what alarmed him even more was the smell of Alice's blood that filled his nostrils, there was too much blood. And the very faint sound of her heart beating, it was slowing, growing weaker – she was dying. His rage intensified as he leaped up and burst through the bedroom window. The entire window and its frame shattered into a thousand pieces, as if an incredible force had just burst though it.

 

Adam fell back against the wall, from the force of it – shock and fright in his eyes, he had not expected this – this wasn't the way he had planned it. The gun had fallen out of his hand. Alice could barely see, as she sluggishly turned her head in the direction of the broken window.

 

A loud terrifying snarl erupted from the empty space. Adam gasped and reached for the large glass jug of acid he had on top of the chest of drawers. As he turned to throw the acid into the space between him and the broken window, it was knocked out of his hand. Acid was flung in every direction. Adam screamed in agonized pain as the acid hit him and started to eat at his flesh.

 

However there was another agonized cry, a loud roar erupted from the empty space and then the space was no longer empty. In that space, suddenly appeared a large wolf-like creature, a werewolf?

 

The pupils of Alice's eyes enlarged with fear as she recognized the monster from her nightmares, but this one had gold amber eyes, eyes she knew.  Darkness came and Alice slipped into unconsciousness.