Ya know, I’d hit something if I wasn’t sure it’d fuck up my life even more.

Yes, I just swore.

I’m a LITTLE bit angry and pointlessly so.  It’s useless to be angry.  I am nevertheless.  Why?

Well, we all know I’ve been sick.  Thought I was getting better.  Last night it was like someone had flipped a switch from “Getting better” to “SICK!”

I woke up this morning after sweating through two nightshirts and almost the third. Everything hurt.  Felt like I’d been run over by a Mac truck.  Still, was breathing about normally.  Then I walked my daughter to her babysitting job.  Well, I fell short several blocks because my breathing got too difficult.  By the time I got home my chest was on fire, I was sweating (again, honestly I think I’m a little dehydrated) and I was having trouble breathing.  Inhaler didn’t seem to make much difference.  

There were a few other symptoms too but the main was the breathing and fatigue.  My ass was dragging on the ground and I think my eyelids were about there too.  That’s unusual for me.  I almost always have more energy than I’m capable of using.

Peter informed me he was coming to take me to the ER.  My objections (to the tune of “You need to rest today!”) were ignored.  So off we went.

Cute little redheaded 4th year resident.   Smart girl too.  Knew what she was on about.

In the end we got told that I have allergies (duh) that have resulted in a viral infection in my lungs, sinuses and – oddly – the bottom of my mouth. That last is f*cking fun. I’m supposed to be on a one-a-day allergy med (can’t afford) and my steroid inhaler (needs renewed) and chewing lemon drops to stimulate the saliva ducts because one is blocked (can’t find and we’ve been to 6 stores now).

She said too many more exposures to allergens and chemicals right now, things that make my nose run and my lungs want to cough, will probably drop me into a bacterial infection. I have a doctor’s appt on the 7th, we can fix some of those missing meds. But I’m exhausted and I’m going to have to miss Callie’s competition because it’s everything that I’m not supposed to be exposed to. I can’t even do her hair and make up beforehand. 

I am livid and depressed.

Working on the livid thing.  Good-naturedly picking on my son – almost voicelessly since talking hurts and makes me cough – is cheering me up a great deal.  

I think I shall offer all you patient, wonderful readers a glimpse into Lizendale, the book I’ll be giving away as part of the grand prize packages.  The section was offered up by Tee and it is a bit of a read.   Maybe tomorrow I’ll give you the background of the book.  For tonight, I’m going to crawl into bed and watch TV.  And count my blessings.

J’aret is a very, very bad creature of the Dark.  He’s a kind of psychic Vampire.  Thomas is a poor red shirt kind of character, doomed to die the moment we see him.  And, if you don’t know this already, you should: I am a master at killing creatively.  I have fun doing it and I do it well.


Chapter Twenty-Four


    When Thomas opened his mouth to scream, J’aret’s hand snaked out and grabbed him by the throat, choking off the sound.  All that emerged was a squeak.  Thomas shut his eyes but the images of blood were burned into his brain.

“Come now, Thomas, open your eyes and look at me.” J’aret deliberately let his true self show, rotting teeth and one eye socket starting to melt down his face.  He wasn’t that old, hadn’t been Winnigo for very long, but the damage was enough to terrify Thomas.

Thomas whimpered as his eyes opened against his will.  He took one look at the horror that held him by the throat and threw his hands up in front of his eyes, the knife dropping to the ground with a soft thud.  J’aret found the source of the sound and grinned.  “How nice of you to offer your own blade for your destruction.”

A soft keening sound emerged from Thomas’s mouth.  J’aret crushed his windpipe a little tighter and the sound stopped.  He shoved Thomas against a tree and tried to hold him there with Power.  When that failed, J’aret’s hunger and frustration became mounting fury and he dragged the nails of his other hand over Thomas’s face, shredding one cheek into strips of skin that exposed his teeth.  Thomas’s eyes bulged as he tried to scream.  J’aret dropped him, satisfied at the wee bit of energy from the terror in the young mind, and sought some vines to bind him with.

He kicked Thomas in the ribs when he caught the boy trying to crawl away.  A loud snap echoed around them and Thomas dropped like a stone, curling defensively around himself with a whimper.  “Oh, I’m so sorry!  Did I hurt you again?”  J’aret’s voice was filled with mock concern and he kicked Thomas in the same spot again.  Thomas curled into a tighter ball.  J’aret laughed, then exclaimed in pleasure as he discovered several thick vines covering the forest floor. 

While his Power might be waning, his physical strength was not yet and he used it to tie young Thomas to four trees, bound around each ankle and wrist and suspended about three feet off the ground.  J’aret hung the boy face down then lay on the ground underneath him.  He crossed his ankles, laid the blade on his chest then clasped his hands behind his head.  He looked up at Thomas, dodged a tear that fell from the terrified boy’s face and smiled. 

“This was quite a feat wasn’t it?”   J’aret’s voice was conversational.  “You’re not exactly small.  But look at you now; you’re quite helpless.  Go ahead,” he waved a hand, “try and get out.”

Thomas began to struggle wildly, the fear in his eyes ramping up a notch when J’aret merely chuckled.  Thomas began to realize he was never getting away.  He still hadn’t figured out that he was a corpse, but he knew he’d never get away.  The second realization came when J’aret picked up the knife and stabbed upwards, plunging it into his stomach.  Pain burned into Thomas’s mind, leaving him nearly insensible as it mixed with the fear, becoming a thick stew in his mind. 

J’aret slapped Thomas’s unmarked cheek.  “Tsk tsk, stay with me now.  Can’t have you fainting already.”  J’aret pulled the blade out and moaned as the blood began to drip on to him.  He shed his clothing with a thought, revealing to Thomas just how wasted his body was.  Thomas tried to close his eyes.  J’aret wagged a finger in disapproval then reached up and cut off Thomas’s eyelids.  Pleasure filled him as his Power sparked into renewed life, rejuvenated by Thomas’s blood dripping onto his body and his face.  He opened his mouth to catch the drips then grinned at Thomas with bloody teeth, horrifying the boy.

J’aret made several shallower cuts, using his growing Power to keep Thomas’s intestines from sliding out of the deep cut in his belly.  J’aret stretched out under Thomas so that the blood dripping from him covered him everywhere.  Thomas watched in horror as it soaked into the monster’s skin.  

J’aret frowned.  “So you think I’m a monster do you?”  He slid out from under Thomas, hovering an inch above the ground and floating out, then moved himself upright until he was standing. 

He used a good deal of his renewed Power to untie Thomas, flip him over mid-air and retie him.  “I’ll show you monster.”  Thomas shook his head frantically as J’aret wandered down his torso, using the knife to draw a long line from armpit to pelvis.  “So you wanted to put this puny thing in Alexi, did you?  Did you think she’d enjoy it?”  J’aret toyed with Thomas’s limp penis before cupping his scrotum in his hand.  “There’s barely enough here to make you a boy, let alone a man.  Well, let’s fix that.”  J’aret castrated Thomas with one smooth move. 

Thomas’s eyes rolled back in his head as his body arched in pain.  J’aret sighed and slapped the boy until he woke up again.   Thomas started crying the second he was conscious.  The salty tears stung the wounds that used to be his eyelids but he couldn’t stop them.  The pain was too much and the humiliation and the hopelessness that had set in when the creature flipped him over combined to reduce him to a emotion filled mess.

J’aret worked to keep the boy conscious while he sawed through hips and shoulders, feeding off the pain and terror.  He left the limbs attached by the tendons then lovingly stroked Thomas’s face.  “I do not normally thank my prey but you have done so well, and fed me so nicely, that I feel I must.  Your life has not been a waste, young Thomas.  It has gone to helping me be strong enough to kill again.  I think I’ll go for your mother next.  Raping her before I kill her will only add to my Power.”

Thomas started to frantically shake his head as the weight of his torso tore the tendons in one shoulder apart and his body dropped down as his arm swung away from him.  The rest of his joints could no longer support the movement and weight.  There was a sickening noise as the remaining shoulder and his hips gave way.  His torso landed on the ground with a squelch and a thud.  J’aret laughed as Thomas died in pain and fear.  He absorbed Thomas’s soul as it left his body, making the boy one with him and increasing his Power.  J’aret’s last act against Thomas’s body was to call the carnivores in the forest to him.  He walked away, leaving them feasting on the parts littering the ground.

J’aret killed four more times before leaving town, three women and one man; he abused all of them as badly as Thomas, with the addition of raping the women.  He shifted into the form of a large raptor and flew in circles above the woods, sniffing for the faintest scent of the Tenochs.  Then he shot off east. 


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