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ValentineDavis21

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  1. Is there editors out there who would be willing to do some editing for my story Immortui? I would like to prepare it for publishing

    1. Emi GS

      Emi GS

      Try in the editor's forum. Post a request. And you will get the help you need...

  2. Chapter 15

    Before Lane could even knock, Madame Sophia had the door open. “Come in,” she said. “Make yourself in the living room. I’m going to make some tea.” “Yeah, do you have any Excedrin?” he asked. She gave him a funny look. “Oh.” He mentally slapped himself on the forehead; as a recovering drug addict he wasn’t supposed to have any Excedrin. “Right. You don’t have anything? My head is pounding. Don’t you have anything?” “There is a special herb that I buy,” Madame Sophia said softly. “I can mix it into your tea. The tea will mask the taste. It will help with the headache. I suppose you have been having headaches too.” “And the shakes too. My nerves are shot.” “The herbs will help.” Lane sat on the couch, shivering. He clenched his hands into his fists and forced himself to breathe. His chest heaved up and down. Cold sweat dripped down the side of his face. He suddenly felt furious and he wasn’t sure why. He wanted to kick something, throw it on the ground, hear glass shatter. Madame Sophia came in with a tray and handed him a cup of the steaming hot tea. He could smell the honey that she had put in it. He sipped at it with shaky hands, sloshing a few drops of the hot liquid onto the front of his shirt. The liquid scalded his lips but he didn’t care. Madame Sophia was right: whatever herbs she had put in the tea he could not taste them. Madame Sophia waited patiently while Lane tried to grab a hold of himself. It didn’t take long. Within minutes Lane could feel the calming affects of the tea take hold of him. When he felt calm enought to speak he said, “The door. I went through the door last night. It was like...I don’t know, like I astral projected or something. That is possible, right?” She nodded. “Yes.” “I never knew that I could do it until now.” “What happened? Tell me everything.” He recounted every detail that he could. Unlike most dreams, the details were perfectly clear in his mind. A cold chill raced up his spine when he told her about Stamper. “Have you heard of anything like this?” She shook her head gravely. “No, but I know someone who does.” “Kenny LaBeau.” “Precisely. We should go talk to him at once.” “I’m ready when you are.” Kenny LaBeau lived in an apartment above the club he owned, called The Blue Shaiman. It was a dark jazzy bar. Since Madame Sophia didn’t drive and Lane no longer had his Plymouth they had to take the bus. With its sweet jazzy music and the smokey air always made Lane feel sleepy and relaxed; the fact that it was daytime did not dampen the affect on him. Men and women sat at tables with glittering blue table tops, dressed in suits and dresses that made Lane think of the deep south. The men and women who came to this bar were dressed like the men and women from the ’30s and ‘40s. It was as if time in this bar had been preserved while the world outside continued to spin on through time. Lane and Madame Sophia sat at the bar. Madame Sophia let the bartender know that they were there to see Kenny LaBeau. Lane ordered a Coke and sipped at it while they waited. It wasn’t long before a dark-skinned woman appeared and gestured for them to follow her. Lane recognized her immediately from the last time they had come to Lenny LaBeau for advice. But not all things were the same. Her belly was no longer round and pregnant. “You had the baby,” Lane said. The woman looked at him, smiled, and nodded but offered no further comment. She must be a real hit at parties, Lane thought. There was something about the woman that creeped him out everytime he saw her. She was very...eerie. Inside of LaBeau’s apartment tribal masks leered out at them from the dimness. Some of them smiled or wept or screamed in anger. The psychic himself sat at a purple round table, shrouded in smoke. Lane had Kenny LaBeau to thank for a lot of reasons. It was because of Kenny that Carlos, Madame Sophia, and he had survived the incident at the ruins of the Wishwood Apartments. Lane had made a valid attempt to save four innocent souls from the evil spirits that they had conjured up but had only been successful in saving one of the four. He would never forget the strange dreams that he’d had inside of the building. Kenny had been in them; even stranger, Lane remembered dreaming about one of Kenny’s ancestors. It was through Kenny that Lane had learned about the magical properties that a psychic’s blood had-a true psychic that was born with the gift, that was. A black hat rested gamely on Kenny’s head. His dreads hung down to his shoulders. The last time Lane had seen him there had been an eye patch but this time there was none. Lane frowned and wondered what had happened to the eye patch. Both of Kenny’s eyes gleamed at Lane and Madame Sophia like twin black rubies. He smiled, showing perfectly alligned teeth. Lane blinked again. Last time most of them had been gold capped. What the hell? Lane thought. As if reading his thoughts, Kenny’s eyes swivelled from Madame Sophia’s to meet his. He took a long draw from his pipe and blew out a large cloud of smoke that danced and twisted around him as if alive. “You must be wondering how I can change my appearance,” Kenny said to him not unkindly. His smile was knowing, and Lane didn’t like it. He didn’t like the idea of someone knowing him better than he knew himself. “But that is something I would like to leave a mystery. It is a simply a trick of the mind if you will. I also like to change my appearance from time to time. Do something different every once and a while, y’know?” “Cool,” Lane replied weakly. “I see you both survived the ordeal with The Wishwood building. I cannot tell you how much this pleases me.” He looked back at Lane again. “There is something different about you. You have given up the pills, yes?” Lane nodded. Kenny beamed at him for a moment before his face turned completely serious. “Now you have a new problem. Old ghosts that have come back to haunt you, yes?” Lane did not bother to ask him how he knew this. That would have been a stupid question so he just said, “Yes.” “There is a door in your apartment building that no one else can see but you, and that only opens in your dreams.” “My neighbor can see it. Lucinda.” Kenny shifted in his seat. “Her belief in a higher power allows her to do so. It makes her more subceptive to the supernatural forces around her. Especially the evil ones.” Madame Sophia cleared her throat. “Do you know what the door is? Have you seen or heard anything like this in the past?” “A few times. Very few times. It is a very rare phenomon, you understand?” Kenny waved a hand at the very woman that had taken them to his apartment. She bent down before him and he whispered something later. She nodded and left the studio. When she came back a minute later she was carrying a big black hefty leatherbound book. When she set it down on the table it made a heavy thudding sound. “The massive tome that you see before you is a bound recollection of the strange phenominon that different psychics have encountered throughout the centuries,” Kenny explained. He swivelled it around so that Lane and Madame Sophia could see the spine. “Take a second to notice how this book doesn’t have a title. Strange, don’t you think? There are only a dozen copies of this book and most of them are scattered God knows where.” He licked his index finger and opened the book directly to the page that he wanted. He pushed the book towards Lane and Madame Sophia. “There you have it, The Door of the Beast.”
  3. Chapter 57

    Hours later, still covered in blood and sore from the long battle in Romania, Skold stood before the three council members that were there to represent King Yaldon. “You did very well,” Bevlin said. Aurora nodded silently in agreement and to Skold’s surprise so did Sebastian. “There’s nothing left of the Paladin’s castle or of the village. All traces of the plague are gone. You succeeded, Skold, as we knew you were.” Skold smirked, sitting before them at the wooden table in King Yaldon’s mansion. “I’m sure there was some doubt in my capabilities somewhere.” Bevlin nodded. “Of course we had some concerns. But you proved those concerns to be foolhardy. Once again the world continues to spin because of you. We owe you our thanks.” “What will happen with the boy that we found in the village?” “We will let the human government deal with him. You won’t have to worry about that. He will be fine. Has the human girl said her goodbyes to him?” Skold nodded. “She has said her final words to him.” “Good.” “Then what can we give you in return for your services?” Aurora said, speaking up for the first time since Skold had entered the room. “Give me?” Skold raised an eyebrow cautiously. “Well yes, we want to reward you for what you have done. Perhaps we could reclaim you as our own again. You wouldn’t be an exile anymore.” Her voice had become soft and dangerously sweet. “You could work for us again, be a commander of armies again. Even in this new and modern age there are wars that still need fighting, adversaries to be fought. We could restore your name again, your reputation. You could become a hero again.” “A hero? A soldier?” Skold laughed coldly. “I was a hero and a soldier once already and you took the most important thing from me. That something is even more important to me than my cock and balls. Don’t play games with me. You know what I want.” “We cannot give you your memories back,” Bevlin said. “But you know who can.” “As if we would tell you,” Sebastian said nastily. “So you can start another war like Paladin and Samhein?” “So that I can be whole again,” Skold replied. His voice had gone soft, even a little shakey. It was almost impossible to keep his eyes open. He was so tired. But more than sleep he wanted his soul back. He wanted his past back, his identity. “So that I don’t have to live as a ghost trapped in purgatory anymore. I am haunted by the very things that I cannot remember. You have no idea how agonizing that is.” “It is agony that is well-deserved,” Sebastian said. “You are cruel,” Skold said. He pushed his chair back and straightened up. His gaze went from one council member to the next and the next and then back again. “All of you. You praise me for saving the world in one minute and then laugh at my deformities in the next. You think you are so strong, so powerful. But you’re just scared little children. I don’t want anything from you degenerates. I will get back from what you and your shitty little king took from you. And when I do I’m going to laugh and spit in your face. And then you will have a real reason to fear me.” Skold took a taxi cab back to the hotel. He stepped into the room and plopped down on the couch just as Rebecca ended her call with Melanie. Her hair was wet and she wore a white bathrobe that the hotel had provided. “Hey,” she said. “Good evening.” “How are you?” “I’ve had better days.” “Were the council being assholes again?” “To say the least.” “I’m sorry Skold. I’m truly sorry.” “For what?” She hugged him, her wet hair falling across his shoulder. “I know you want your memories back. I can’t imagine how you feel not having them.” “I feel like a shadow. But do not pity me Rebecca. I am not to be pitied, do you understand?” She sat up; there were dark circles around her eyes. “I understand. I’m ready to go home.” “As am I. We’ll be home soon. But right now I think we both need to rest. Recover. Where’s Dom?” “In the bedroom, asleep.” “I think I will go join him.” Skold wished Rebecca a good night and slipped into his shadowy hotel room. Dom’s rumbling snores led him to the bed. Skold stripped out of his filthy, bloody clothes. He didn’t even have the energy to shower and wash it off. With Dom’s warm skin pressed against his back, Skold closed his eyes and went to sleep. It was as Skold, Dom, Rebecca, and Candestine were packing for the flight back to Roc City that Maeglin chose to bid them farewell. He came dressed in a finely pressed suit; he looked like a business man on the streets. “It was a pleasure fighting with you,” he said to Skold. He offered his hand. “I must return to servicing our poor sick king.” Skold clasped it firmly and gave it a single shake up and down. “As it was with you. Tell me, was it like the old days?” Maeglin laughed. “Yes. It brought back old memories.” “Too true,” Candestine muttered under her breath. “And you continue to be a beautiful and fierce warrior,” Maeglin, kissing her on both cheeks. Candestine blushed. She tried to keep her face deadpan. For a second her mouth twitched, hinting faintly at a smile. “Don’t get yourself killed, you hear?” “I can’t make any guarantees but I’ll try not to.” Maeglin turned to Dom and laid a hand on one of his massive shoulders. “I expect that you’ll keep an eye on Skold? He has a tendency to get himself into trouble.” “I will,” Dom said. Maeglin took Rebecca’s hands in both of his hands. “You are the bravest human that I have ever encountered in my many, many centuries on this earth. I cannot tell you how much I have learned about your race within the few moments that I have spent with you.” “Be careful,” Rebecca said. She kissed him on the cheek. Maeglin bid them one final farewell and left. Tearing up, Rebecca sighed and said, “I hate good byes.” The next day. Roc City. Home. Rebecca kept trying to tell herself that this wasn’t a dream or a trick of the mind. She was home, she was really home. She had been home for almost a whole day now. She was still a little sore from the terrors that had occurred in Romania but she was alive. She was breathing in cold winter air. She now realized that Roc City was nowhere near as cold as Romania. Here she was opening the door and stepping into Melanie’s apartment building. Here she was climbing up the flight of stairs to the third floor; and now here she was knocking on the door, feeling as though her heart was going to leap out of her mouth. Though she had spoken to Melanie in the hotel back in Berlin this was the part that she feared the most, the part where this dream would become a nightmare. She was afraid that Melanie would turn her away. Or not even answer the door. She was afraid that Melanie would just ignore her. She knew that this was an irrational fear but she was afraid anyway. She held her breath. The door opened. Melanie looked at her. She had nothing but a towel wrapped around her waist. Her skin shined from the beads of water that dotted her skin like transparent beads. Before Rebecca could open her mouth to speak, Melanie yanked her inside and pulled her into a deep, warm kiss. “My heroine’s home,” Melanie said when they parted. She took Rebecca’s hand and led her into the bedroom. She stopped at the foot of the bed, turned back around to face Rebecca, and let the towel drop to the floor. Three weeks. Three weeks since the day that they had returned to Roc City. Three weeks that Skold and Dom had spent in Dom’s cabin. Alone with each other. Away from the city. Away from the noise. They had not gone anywhere else, had not seen anyone else, not even on Christmas Day. They talked, they fucked, they talked some more, and they fucked some more. Sometimes Dom fucked Skold so hard that Skold was actually sore afterwards but he loved it. He loved the way that Dom grunted like an animal, biting Skold’s flesh, and how it felt when he came inside of Skold. He loved the feeling of Dom collasping on top of him, pressing his body deeper into the bed. All that solid muscle, and hair, the warmth of his flesh. He liked it when Dom simply ran his fingers through his hair. But Skold didn’t just like having sex with Dom. He loved Dom, he was sure of that now. It no longer felt strange to love another, only natural. The morning of New Year Skold climbed out of bed. Dom was still asleep. They had spent the whole night making love. It would be well into the afternoon before he woke up. But for some reason Skold could not sleep. He felt restless. He dressed silently and slipped out of the cabin. He went to the pond. There the seer waited for him. He stood beside her. “Annabelle. I was wondering when you were going to show up.” “I have been busy,” she said. “Vacation?” “I am never on vacation. There is always something that has to be done.” Skold did not laugh at her humor. Instead, as was his way, he got straight to the point. “What do you want?” “You know it is not over,” she said. “There is much still to come.” “I know. No rest for the wicked.” “It won’t be long before Bane returns. And this time he will be even more different than when you saw him last. More powerful. Hopefully by the time that moment comes, you will be too. In order to be stronger however, we need your memories. We need the old you.” Skold said, “I’m not so sure I like the old me. No one did.” “But you still want them back, do you not?” Skold met her gaze. “I do. More than ever.” The seer looked down at her feet. “There is something you must know, something that I have not yet told you.” “Then say it. There’s no need to be dramatic.” “The spell that was used to bind your memories into the darkest parts of you is a very powerful spell. It is a spell that only a seer can perform. Three of them to be exact.” Skold’s blood turned to ice. He became very still. “What do you mean?” “King Yaldon and the council paid my two sisters and I to bind your memories, lock them away.” “Your two sisters?” The seer nodded. “You bitch,” he said. He grabbed her by the throat and pulled her towards him, his eyes burning with rage. “You fucking bitch.” The seer’s mask of beauty and youth crumbled, turning into the old crone that dwelled behind. “Careful, Skold. I am not the one to fuck with.” “Neither am I.” Skold threw her back so hard that the seer tumbled down into the snow. He looked down at her. “If you had told me this a month and a half ago I would have killed ypu, memories be damned.” The seer rose to her feet. The face of the crone was gone, the mask of youth and beauty had returned. “My sisters and I are the only ones that can reverse the spell. But I couldn’t tell you in the beginning. I had to see if you were truly capable of changing, if you could truly show compassion.” Skold laughed. “Compassion. And how do you know that when I get my memories back that I won’t do what Paladin and Samhein could not? How do you know that I won’t bring the sky down around your ears?” “I do not know that,” said the seer. “The future right now is very unclear. But it is your choice. The fate of the world will depend on what you decide to do. But everything that has happened, your exile, the loss of your memories, this conversation, it all has a...” “Purpose?” The seer nodded. “I’ll believe it when I see it. How long do I have to wait?” Skold asked. “I must find them,” Annabelle said. “I do not know where they are. I have not seem them since the day that you were exiled. Once I find them I will return.” “Then go. Go and find them.” The seer nodded again, and disappeared in a flash of purple light.
  4. Chapter 56

    Rebecca stared down at the Paladin’s castle-what was left of Paladin’s castle-in amazement. From the chopper she had a perfect view of it. All hell had broken loose. She bit her lip anxiously, bit it so hard that it split the skin. Blood gushed into her mouth but she was too exhausted to notice it much less care. Somewhere Skold, Dominic, Candestine and Maeglin were down there. She found herself searching for their bodies, expecting the worst, but she was too far up to be able to see. Vlad’s head leaned against her shoulder. Almost as soon as they climbed on the chopper the boy had fallen asleep. She too wanted to giver her mind and body over to sleep but knew that she could not sleep yet. Not until I’m away from this awful place, she thought. She decided that she never wanted to leave Roc City ever again. Not ever. Both times that she had traveled away from the city, whether it was just a few hours away, or in a completely different country, had brought her before the face of death itself. And then she thought she spotted them-Skold and Dom. Even in her state of mind numbing exhaustion it was impossible to miss Skold with the way his hair shined. His face was all bloody and he was limping, which frightened Rebecca. She had seen him heal from wounds in seconds. If he was limping and had not regenerated yet then that must have meant that he was pretty injured. Once the helicopter landed and the ramp opened Rebecca sprung to her feet. Before she could take a step an elf waved a hand, signaling for her to sit back down. “We don’t know if it’s safe yet,” he said. She nodded reluctantly and sat back down. Vlad looked around, wiping at his eyes sleepily. “Where are we?” he asked in Romanian. “We are safe,” she replied. She kissed the top of his forehead. “Don’t worry.” He smiled at her sweetly. “I’m not worried.” Several minutes later she was informed that it was safe to get out of the helicopter. “Stay here,” she told Vlad sternly. “Don’t roam.” She ran down the ramp and staggered in Skold and Dom’s direction. She hurled herself at them, trying to wrap her arms around both of them. “You guys are okay! I was so worried about you!” “Not so hard,” Skold said, pushing her back gently. “I’m so sore.” She stepped back. “What happened? Are you okay?” “I’ll live.” He smiled at her. “I’m glad to see that you’re okay too. How is the boy?” “He’s alive. He’s on the helicopter asleep. Where are Candestine and Maeglin?” “They’re around here somewhere,” Skold said. But he was no longer looking at her or Dom. He was looking somewhere to the right. His face had become distant and thoughtful. “Excuse me.” He started to walk away from them. “Where is he going?” Rebecca asked Dom. “I don’t know,” Dom said, just as puzzled as she. The mountain dropped into a steep cliff. It was here that Skold stopped before the edge, looking down at the ghost village below. Understanding dawned across Dom’s face. A light bulb went off in Rebecca’s head. They both understood. “You should go to him,” she said. “I will,” the giant elf rumbled. “After a minute.” Together they waited and watched. The sun was rising, bringing with it the dawn of a new day. Skold had never wanted to be back in Roc City, back in his apartment so bad. The thought of home tugged at his heart longingly. The feeling pleased him more than he could say. In between the years that he had been exiled and the days before he’d arrived to Roc City, Skold had been a nomad. He’d drifted through the world looking for a place where he felt he belonged only to find nothing. Samhein had been defeated, his plan to destroy the world thwarted. Skold has been reunited with the few souls he cared about. Those two things should have been enough to satisfy him. But it wasn’t. There was still something missing. Something crucial. He looked over his shoulder, hoping that no one would notice him standing over here and bother him. I need silence. I need to be alone. I need to be able to hear. Such luxeries were hard to find these days...especially when you needed them the most. He turned back the other way and looked down over the precipice of the mountain. He had stood in this very spot so many times before in his dreams. But now he was really standing here for real. The warm beams of sunlight that he felt on his face was reals. So were the aches all over his body. Just to match the dream as closely as he could, he unsheathed his sword in his hand. The blade was covered in smears of black and red blood yet there was no blood drop that was gathering at the end. In the dream Paladin’s castle had not stood behind him and the village hadn’t looked so modern. He couldn’t smell death or blood but he could smell the smoke and his cape was flapping along behind him and his hair was whipping across his face. He looked at the white washed world behind him and felt nothing, not evening a sense of familiarity. Not the sense that something was supposed to happen, that a revelation would be realized. Desperately he closed his eyes and listened. Nothing. Suddenly Skold felt broken. Sad and angry. He wanted to scream. He wanted to scream so loud that it made the ground split at his feet and engulf him; he wanted to scream so loud that it made the world fall off of its axis. He fell to his knees and wept. He let his heart drop into his lap and wept like a child. The last time he could remember crying this was after his father had castrated him and that had merely been from physical pain. The pain he felt now came from somewhere deep inside of him. What? a voice whispered cruelly in the back of your mind. Did you really think that if you saved the world once, after one good deed, that your precious memories of the war and learning Death Magic would come back to you? He laid down on the ground and pressed his cheek into the cold snow. Seconds, or maybe minutes later, he heard the approach of footsteps. Someone sat down next to him. He didn’t have to open his eyes to know who it was. He raised himself enough to stretch across Dom’s lap. Dom began to run his fingers through Skold’s hair, but said nothing. Skold felt a great and insurmountable love for Dom in that moment. “Did anything come to you?” Dom asked. “No. Not a thing. I am doomed,” Skold said. “No.” That was all Dom said. “Yes. I am hollow.” “We’ll find a way to get your memories back,” Dom said. “We?” “You already know what I mean, you just want me to say it, don’t you?” “It would help.” Dom laughed. “Skold you are truly despicable but I do love you so. I told you that wherever you go I will follow.” “The things I did in those days...I wasn’t exactly a saint. I was cruel. Blood thirsty. What if I go back to my old ways?” “I will love you all of the same. But whoever you are, you’re not Paladin. Or Bane for that matter. You’re not completely heartless.” Skold had started to trace a finger along Dom’s hairy jaw line when one of Yaldon’s men cleared his throat. Skold looked up. “We have been ordered to destroy the town,” the elf said. “There can be no traces left of the plague.” “Burn it,” Skold said. “Burn it all to the ground.”
  5. Chapter 55

    Skold reached the landing of another flight of stairs. He was at the very top of the east tower. There was another door at the end of the corridor that led out onto the top of the tower. But there was one thing standing in his way: Samhein blocked his way to the door. The top of his scarlet robs was opened at the neck to show his pale, hairless chest and milky pink nipples. In his hand he held a dangerous looking sword. “Done playing hide and seek, are we?” Skold said smoothely. “As I said, you’re too late,” Samhein said. “A chopper is just seconds away, awaiting to pick me up. I will be on that chopper. This time I will be in Tokyo.” “So you’re running again? Is that all you’re good at, running and hiding, and running some more? And you call yourself a male?” Samhein grinned maliciously. “At least I still have my cock.” “And not much else. Your kingdom is falling down around your ears again. At least the first time around your lover had the courage to stand up and fight for what he believed in. Unlike you.” Samhein turned and darted towards the door without a word. His movements were quick, almost snake-like. Skold gestured at the door and shouted “ Sdheil!” A wall of kinetic energy spread out in front of the door, blocking Samhein’s way. He turned around and snarled. “Damn you, Skold!” “Indulge my curiosity just this once, won’t you? Dance with me.” Skold held the blade of his sword out before him. “I’ll even take the defensive position.” Samhein gave no warning. He charged at Skold, sword raised above his head. He moved so quickly that Skold barely had enough time to get his sword up in time. Samhein was quick and graceful, his attacks coming from every angle. Most of the times Skold could predict what his adversaries were going to do before they did it. Most of the times they had a style, a pattern. A certain composure. But Samhein had none. Though he was graceful and quick his movements had no fluidity. They were violent, brutal. His eyes, normally red, burned like a flaming inferno. He was letting his anger control his movements. “I’m going to enjoy tearing you apart, Skold!” he roared. “Fuere!” A flaming ball of fire shot from his outstretched hand. Skold rolled out of the way just in time to feel it soar over his head. It hit a bust behind him, disintergrating it into ash. He rose to his feet just to feel Samhein’s fist strike him in the face with enough force to send him stumbling back a few steps. Samhein stopped, panting furiously. He watched as Skold wiped the palm of his hand across his busted lip. Pools of silver light shot from Skold’s eyes. He beared his teeth in a rabid smile. “Is that all you got? Is that all you can do?” Howling, Samhein drove his sword towards Skold’s chest. Skold parried the attack with a downward swipe of his sword. With a wild kick, he knocked Samhein’s sword out of his hand. With a curse, Samhein made the mistake of reaching for his sword. Skold could have ended the moment right then and there and drove the blade through the back of skull. But he was having too much fun. He was getting too much satisfaction out of this. This is what the glory days must have been like, he thought. He grabbed Samhein by the back of his hair and slammed it into the wall as hard as he could. Samhein’s head bounced off the wall. He stood up straight. Blood dripped from a nasty gash in his forehead. Other than that the blow had not done any damage to him; if anything it only enraged him further. He lashed out with a kick that caught Skold in the center of his chest. His armor took most of the force but not all of it. Before he could raise his sword to defend himself again, Samhein grabbed a hold of him and slammed him into the wall. Skold felt the air being crushed from his body, felt the wall giving way at his body hit it. The next thing he knew he was plummeting through open air. For a split second he felt the chill of his wind as it slapped at his face before he slammed into stone once again. The moment of impact was like being struck by a sledgehammer; it reverbrated through his entire body, made every bone shake. Grunting, he forced himself to get to his feet and looked up. He felt a muscle twist painfully in his back. Tears sprung to his eyes. He was so exhausted that everything made his body hurt. This is what it must feel like to be human, Skold thought. To be so vulnerable. He had landed on a sort of patio that had been built into the side of the palace. Samhein was looking down at him through the hole that he had just made in the wall. They stared at each other for a moment, one measuring the other and vice versa. Then Samhein left through the hole in the wall, plummeted several feet, and landed gracefully before Skold. He had his sword in hand again. Skold had nothing, no weapons. It seemed that the tables had turned against him. Lightning flashed from the sky and struck the ground. The earth shook around them. The smell of smoke and flame made Skold’s nose twitch. Somewhere a fire was burning in the castle. Wouldn’t it be fitting if the castle were to burn beneath our feet and collapse, killing us both? Skold thought. That would be the perfect ending to this little standoff. He had to bite his tongue to keep from laughing. Just to the right, out of the corner of his eye, Skold could see the glass paneled roof of a beautiful, elaborate greenhouse. Samhein spread his arms, gesturing at the spectacle that was happening around them. “You wanted to dance. Now we’re dancing. I hope Paladin’s watching. I hope he watches as I rip your heart out of your chest.” The sound of an approaching helicopter distracted them. The helicopter hovered before them, the rovers spinning rapidly. The light blared in Skold’s face, blinding him. “Shoot him!” Samhein screamed. “Shoot HIM!” The gun turret attached to the side of the helicopter rattled off, firing hundreds of rounds per a second. Skold dove for cover, sliding into a small alcove that was just big enough to fit him to fit inside. Shells slammed into the wall, turning the stone into dust. “Fuck,” Skold cursed. His heart gave a jerk. Samhein was running towards the chopper. Skold knew that if he got away everything was over. I can’t let Samhein get away. I can’t fail. For a second, just a second, there was a slight pause in the fire. That was all Skold needed. He bolted forward and leapt off the patio just as the helicopter started to drift away. He soared, suspended in the air. There had been no time to measure the jump. He had made the jump blindly. If he missed then this game would be over. He landed on his hip, inside of the helicopter. The helicopter swerved so that the ground was almost directly beneath him, very far away. He gripped the sides of the door with all of his strength. Gravity threatened to pull him down, to pitch him out of the helicopter. The helicopter uprighted itself again. “Damn you, Skold!” Samhein screamed. His robes rippled in the cold wild. He raised a gun to Skold’s face. It was a standard .9 mm weapon. A single shot to the face would be fatal enough to kill Skold. Skold struck out. His hand knocked the gun out of Samhein’s grip. As it spun sideways the gun went off. The pilot’s head jerked forward, slamming into the dashboard. The sudden jerk of the the helicopter slammed Skold into the ceiling and then face first into the floor. After that he didn’t know which way was up or down. He was being pinballed this way and that. The air was being crashed out of him again and again. There was no time to feel the pain. He thought he could hear Samhein screaming in pain but he couldn’t be sure. He was too busy dealing with his own pain. The helicopter crashed through the glass roof of the greenhouse and then- Darkness engulfed Skold. Oblivion. There was no feeling that followed, no thought. There was only nothingless and yet Skold wa s fully aware of that nothingness. That was okay with Skold. He deserved a nice vacation. But the darkness didn’t last long. “Skold!” The voice was distant yet familiar. It was just loud enough to penetrate the darkness, to pull him from it. Someone was pulling him out of the wreckage. He stared at what was left of the helicopter, amazed. The helicopter now looked like a crumpled up piece of tin foil, all twisted up and wrong. The rotors had snapped off. There was glass everywhere. He could feel wetness. Blood. He was bleeding. Now he was lying on his back, looking up at the night sky. He could see the stars and the moon. It’s cool silver light fell upon his face. The roof of the greenhouse was gone, brought down when the helicopter crashed through it. A face blocked out the moon, hovering over his. It was a familiar face. A face that he was glad to see. “Dom,” he croaked, smiling. He could taste blood in his mouth. “I’m here. Can you move?” “I don’t know.” “I saw the helicopter crash and came running. I figured it had something to do with you. I came running. It’ll be a miracle sent from the spirits of Valhalla if you didn’t break anything.” Dom helped Skold get to his feet and stepped away cautiously. Skold’s felt weak. He was more than sure that he had some broken ribs. But he managed to stand on his own. And he was alive. There was nothing that he couldn’t deal with. “Where’s Samhein?” he asked. His voice came out slurred. “Over here.” It wasn’t hard to find Samhein among the wreckage. They only had to follow the trail of blood and they didn’t have to walk far. Somehow Samhein had managed to crawl away from the wreckage but there wasn’t much left of him. Past the hips there was nothing left of his legs. One of his arms was twisted in at an awful angle. And there was red so much red. So much blood and torn flesh. Samhein’s face was a mass of flesh and bone. It was no longer a face but something straight out of a nightmare. “He’s dead,” Dom said. “Good riddance.” “ Mya yuo reetunin whit yrou lrove ni teh dsunngoe fo teh udnldreorw,” Skold said. (May you reunite with your lover in the dungeons of the underworld). Skold and Dom left the ruins of the greenhouse. They stopped and looked at Paladin’s palace. Flames billowed out of the windows. Smoke spiraled towards the sky. Skold had the unshakable feeling that this was not the first time that he had watched it burn.
  6. Chapter 54

    Rebecca and Vlad burst into the church. Rebecca slammed the door shut behind her just as one of the creatures slammed into them. It slammed into them with such force that it almost threw Rebecca onto her ass. She grounded her heels into the floor and shoved back with her shoulder. Vlad came out of nowhere with a large candle bracket and handed it to her. She took it and wedge it through the wooden handles. The creatures continued to try and break their way through the door but the candle bracket seemed to be holding. For now, she thought. These guys never quick. She was past the point of exhaustion. There was a stitch in her side; she felt as though her ribs were trying to explode out of her body. She could no longer feel her feet and her legs ached. Everything ached. They were far from safe. All she could do was buy them a few more seconds to get away but that was it. She was running out of ideas, running out of places to run to. Running out of everything. Vlad was tugging at her hand, urging to continue on. I can’t, she wanted to tell him. You go on. I just need a minute to breathe. But they didn’t have a minute and she didn’t have enough ammo to take them all out. All of the adrenaline that had kept her going, kept her fighting, was gone. She sucked in a breath. It hurt just to breathe. The oxygen shuttered in and out of her body. She staggered after Vlad, letting him lead her down the aisle. It was all she could do. One foot in front of the other. That would have to do for now. She ignored the pain and willed her brain to think. There was a door to their right. Beyond that door was a staircase which could only lead up to the bell tower. That’s going to have to do, she thought. There’s no where else to go. I can’t do this much longer. Rebecca scooped and picked Vlad up. The muscles in her arms screamed in protest. She started the climb up the steps. She let her mind fill the space that was her skull and counted each step that she climbed. One. Two. Three. Four. When she reached one hundred she put the boy down. “Trebuie să continuăm!” he shouted. (Translation: We have to keep going!) “Stiu,” she said wearily. “Dar am nevoie de un minut pentru a-mi prinde respirația. Dă-i drumul, o să ajung. Găsiți un loc unde să vă ascundeți și nu ieșiți pentru nimic.” (Translation: “I know. But I need a minute to catch my breath. You go ahead, I’ll be right behind you. Find a place to hide and don’t you come out for anything.”) The boy nodded. Rebecca could read the fear in his eyes. He didn’t want to leave her, he wanted her to protect her. That was what she should be doing. She was the adult and furthermore she had promised that she would protect him. He was too tired to have to see such horrors, too young to have to face the possibility of death. But she was tired...so tired. She was so tired that she didn’t care if she died in this goddamned frozen country, right here in this church, on these very steps. She didn’t care if she never made it back to Roc City. She just wanted to lay down, close her eyes...and rest. Just rest. She was tired of fighting, tired of this nightmare. It had been going on for too long. After all I’m only human, Rebecca thought. She was too tired to feel sad, or scared. She was too tired to care. If this was how it was going to end then so be it. It was what it was. A minute. I just need a minute. Please, just give me a minute. Sixty seconds and I’ll be ready to go. Yeah, you bet. In that moment she didn’t know who she was praying to. Was she praying to God? She didn’t know if she believed in God. Was she praying to the spirits of Vahalla. Would they care about the prayers of a petty human girl? Her muscles groaned. She sat down as Vlad’s footsteps faded away. She held the Glock in her hands. Her hands were covered in cold sweat. Her pig tails had fallen out. Her bangs hung in her face. Her breath came out in white motes. For the first time all night Rebecca no longer felt afraid. She felt calm. She didn’t give a fuck. Sometimes not giving a fuck was the most wonderful feeling in the world. Rebecca thought of Melanie. Melanie who was waiting back in Roc City for her to return. Rebecca tried to imagine what would happen if she didn’t return alive. What would happen if Skold and the others brought her back in a coffin instead? How long would Melanie grieve for her before she moved on, found another girl to fall in love with, and forgot what she had with Rebecca. What did they even have after only a month of knowing each other? She sure as hell knew that her parents wouldn’t grieve for her. They’re probably glad that I’m gone. My death would be a relief to them. In the back of her mind Rebecca knew that she wasn’t thinking rationally...she hadn’t been thinking rationally for quite some time. Of course Melanie would grieve for her. Skold would grieve for her, she knew. Skold who had changed so much in the short time that they’d known each other. She knew Dom would too. Dom was just like a big giant teddy bear. She was glad that Skold and he had found each other. Somewhere down below her Rebecca heard the door crash open. Any second now the abominations would swarm up the steps like an army of insects. Rebecca still had a little fight left in her. She rose her feet and put her last mag into her Glock. The first creature scurried into view, climbing on the side of the wall. Like Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western, Rebecca emptied the Glock into the oncoming Scourge. When the gun clicked empty she dropped it carelessly to the ground and turned around to to make a run for it...only to find herself staring into the muzzle of another gun. This gun was different. It was some kind of assault rifle. Holding the rifle was an elf. She didn’t know how he had gotten there and he didn’t care. There was another elf behind him, who was also armed. They were firing into the wave of abominations. They waved at her, shouting. She didn’t know what they were saying, but it was fairly obvious. Whoever they were it was clear that they were here to rescue her. Rejuvenated by a fresh rush of adrenaline, Rebecca climbed all of the way up to the bell tower. At the top of the tower several elves waited, wearing armor. A helicopter hovered right outside of the bell tower. Vlad let out a cry of joy and threw himself into her arms. She fell to her knees, numbed by a mixture of shock and relief. “You must be the human girl,” a female elf said to her. Rebecca was only vaguely aware that she was being spoken too. “I am,” she said absently. “King Yaldon thought it would be a good idea if he sent reinforciments. Thank the spirits of Valhalla for the boy. If he hadn’t waved us down we wouldn’t have known that anything was wrong.” Rebecca smiled down at Vlad and ruffled his hair. “Yeah, he’s something else isn’t he?” “We have to get you on the chopper.” King Yaldon’s reinforcements helped Rebecca and Vlad onto the large military chopper. Once the reinforcments were on the chopper, the chopper pulled away from the church. Rebecca watched numbly at the abominations flooded out onto the bell tower, looking after them. But the night was not over yet. The helicopter, along with several others, were heading straight for Paladin’s palace.
  7. I want to apologize to those who are waiting patiently for me to finish Chaos Lives in Everything. I will finish it eventually but at the moment I need a break from it. Chaos Lives in Everything has been fun but it has also been very draining.

  8. Chapter 53

    Skold led the charge into Paladin’s castle. As he strolled purposefully through the thick drifts of sulfur smelling smoke he could see inhuman shapes looming out of the smoke, coming towards him. He didn’t have to fully see them to know that they were more of Samhein’s abominations. He unsheathed his sword and slashed one down and ran forward. It was impossible to tell where the abominations were coming from. Gun fire rattled from all corners of the entrance hall. A stampede of abominations pushed forward and Skold’s men clashed with them in the middle. Each abomination that dared to cross paths with Skold met a nasty end at the tip of his sword. He slashed and kicked and rendered them. He was back in war mode, doing what he did best. At the top of the staircase before him something caught his eye. It was Samhein. The raven haired elf was looking at him, a smirk on his face. “You shouldn’t have come here, Skold!” he shouted gloatingly. “You can’t stop what’s coming! You and all of your men will die for nothing!” A cold fire of rage was ignited within Skold. “Fuere!” he cried, blasting through several abominations with a beam of fire that disintergrated them to ash. With another shout he threw another lance of fire at Samhein. Samhein swooped out of sight just in time. The spear of fire hit the wall where he had just been standing a second ago with enough force to tear stone from the wall. Skold cursed and shoved an abomination out of his way. The stupid creatures were always getting in the way. They were ruthless and there seemed to be an infinite number of them. It was clear that Samhein had been busy. He caved another’s head in with the hilt of his sword. His fury and aggravation only made them eaiser to kill yet no less infuriating. I’ll kill every single one of these ugly monstrosities if that’s what it takes to get to Samhein, he thought. “Dom! Candestine!” he barked, fighting his way towards them. “I need you with me. We’re going after Samhein. I just saw him. Let us end this night once and for all.” “Take the lead,” Candestine huffed. The trio pushed and shoved their way back up the staircase. At the top of the stairs they came to a long carpeted corridor. The air inside of the castle was cold and icey. Not even the lit torches in the brackets had any warmth to them. Samhein was nowhere in sight. The corridor was clear. Strange. At the end of this corridor they came to another corridor that looked almost exactly like the last one. The sounds of the battle grew fainter the further they traveled. After two more corridors they came to another flight of stone steps and still had not encountered a single foe. The castle was humongous. Even stranger than the lack of adversaries was the feeling of familiarity that came over Skold. It made him feel almost nauceous. Each corridor they passed through, every room they checked, gave him the feeling that he had walked through them before. But of course, no matter how hard he tried, he could not remember. Still, he let that feeling guide him, filled with the certainty that they were heading in the direction where they needed to be. The second floor wasn’t nearly as well lit as the first and was even draftier. The stone floor was dusty and the air smelled wet. Still, everything about the castle was immaculate. The hallways were dimly lit, casting shadows in the corners of the corridors. This made the hallways seem longer than they really were, made the walls feel as if they were closing in. Skold stopped, swearing that he heard something. “Did you guys hear that?” he asked. Dom and Candestine both nodded, listening silently. The sound came again, the sounds of multiple paws skittering across the stone floor. The smell of wet, filthy fur and sulfur penetrated the air. Skold cursed. Hell hounds. Candestine seemed to be thinking the same thing. She groaned. “Great, this is going to be fun. There’s nothing like fighting a pack of mangy hell hounds in such close quarters. Samhein just keeps the surprises coming, doesn’t he?” As he did most times, Skold ignored his sister’s obnoxious attempt at sarcastic humor, sheathed his sword, and switched to the Uzis. He was on his last three clips. After that he would be relying completely on his sword. The hell hounds came around the corner one by one. It was impossible to tell how many there were of the hulking dogs from Hell. There were at least a dozen of them, and that was just from what Skold could make up. Samhein’s playing games with us, he thought. He’s probably up there somewhere laughing at us, laughing at what idiots we are. That was fine. It would only make the challenge of killing him more joyous. When they charged they charged at once, three at a time. It surprised Skold that that many hell hounds could fit their broad, muscular frames in such a small space. Still it did not stop them. They moved quickly, smoke rolling from their muzzles. Their eyes burned red with murderous intent. They made short work of anything they got a hold of. Not only were they strong and fast but they were cunning too. Fighting a single hell hound wasn’t so bad, but fighting a pack as big as this one was...well it certainly wasn’t easy. Skold aimed at the closest hell hound but before he could fire it somehow clung to the side of the wall and continued bounding towards them. It moved so fast that it was a blur of bristling black fur and rancourous drifts of smoke. Skold barely had enough time to turn, take proper aim, and fire. The rapid report from his Uzis rocked the hell hound’s body before it exploded. Skold stepped back, barely avoiding the flame inferno that threatened to engulf him. Already another hell hound was soaring towards him, claws outstretched. Skold hardly managed to raise a Shield spell. The beast slammed into the shield of shimmering kinetic energy with enough force to throw Skold on his ass. A third hell hound, seeing him as easy prey, charged for him. Fortunantly Dom stepped swiftly in the way and cut the beast in half with a single swing of his axe. “At the rate we’re going we’ll never catch up to Samhein,” Dom growled. “He’s probably got an escape plan already in motion.You go after him, Skold. Candestine and I will take it from here.” Skold shook his head, knowing that he was being foolish. The idea of being seperated from Dom and Candestine, the idea of them perishing, was more terrifying than anything he could have imagined. “We’ll be fine!” Candestine grunted, blasting a hell hound with a ball of fire. “Go!” Skold got to his feet, suddenly feeling tired all over again. He knew that it was the fear that was bogging him down. Emotion, he thought. The very thing that my father tried to purge me of. Perhaps he was right. Perhaps it does make me weak. Love makes me weak. It’s better to be cold. It’s better not to care. But even as he thought it Skold knew that he was wrong. What Kane, his father, had done to him was wrong. No loving father would ever mutilate their own child just to preserve the family name. He had watched Skold and Candestine’s mother die from the Black Death without shedding a tear. He had never smiled at his children, never told them he loved them. And for the last six centuries Skold had stumbled drunkenly through life, a thing of flesh wrapped around hollow bones. Asleep. Dead. To feel is to be awake, he thought. To be alive. To love is to be strong, not to be weak. How is it that I am only realizing this now when the world is about to end? “I love you both,” he whispered. “More than you could ever know or imagine.” Dom and Candestine had managed to create an opening for Skold to get through. Risking one more fleeting glance at them, hoping that it wouldn’t be his last. Skold sprinted down the corridor.
  9. Chapter 52

    Skold darted towards a rather large pine tree; he moved smoothely across the frozen earth. The ground shook under his feet. He jumped out of the way just as the troll sliced at him with his axe. The blade missed him by centimeters. The troll swung the axe again. Skold jumped up and grabbed a tree branch just in time. He swung up just in time and continued to climb. The branches swayed underneath his feet. Half way up the tree he turned and emptied both Uzis into the troll’s face. The troll stumbled back once. It roared in a mixture or aggravation and pain, trying to shield its face with its free arm. The elven silver bullets tore into the beast. Black tar-like blood rained down onto the glowing snow. Skold quickly reloaded both Uzis and continued to climb. It didn’t take long for the troll to recover. It roared and grabbed a hole of the massive tree trunk it its hands. It started to shake the tree. Skold lost his footing and dangled from a branch like a monkey. Gritting his teeth, he dug his fingers into the brittle branch. It was all he could do to keep from falling. Somewhere Dom was waiting, waiting for him to give the okay. With the way things were going it might have to be sooner rather than later. Give us a few more minutes to dance. I’m not done having fun with the beast yet. Skold pulled himself up and regained his foot long enough to jump towards the next tree. For a moment he soared through the cold Romanian winter air before landing gracefully on top of the tree. The troll had not yet noticed that he was gone. Skold watched as it continued to shake the tree, becoming more and more agitated. Skold grinned mischeviously. These creatures really are stupid. “Dom!” Skold shouted. “Now!” Dom immediately bolted out from behind a cluster of trees. The troll was still none the wiser, unaware of what was happening. It pulled at the tree, trying to pry it out of the ground. Dom took advantage of its distraction and struck the troll’s leg from behind with the axe. The axe let out a great hollow thunking sound as it cut through the troll’s flesh. The beast roared in pain and turned around to face Dom. Dom ran back in the direction of the trees, trying to take cover. With a single yank the troll pried the tree from the ground in an explosion of snow, dust, and dangling nerve-like roots. Before it could swing the tree at Dom Skold let out an ear piercing whistle. The troll’s spiked head turned, glanced at Skold and then back at Dom. Skold could sense the rusty wheels of thought turning in its head. Which one do I go for? Which one, which one? “Come on you foul piece of shit!” Skold shouted; he pulled out the rest of his grenades. “Over here!” That did it. Again the troll charged. Skold leapt through the air towards it. He soared directly over its head, pulled the pins on the grenades, and dropped them directly into the troll’s mouth. He landed feet first in the snow next to. The troll stopped. A loud gurgling sound emitted from its belly. “Take cover,” Skold said to Dom. “The thing’s going to blow.” Dom cursed. “You’re shitting me?” “You know I have no sense of humor.” “No shit.” They ducked behind the trees and watched the troll as it continue to stumble around drunkenly. It tore at its stomach with its claws, tearing into itself. Apparently the beast had enough sense to know that something wasn’t right. The grenades went off one by one, exploding inside of the troll’s belly. Black fluid flooded out of its mouth and nostrils, from the holes that had been punched in by the grenades. The troll fell to its knees, tried to stand up again, only to fall back down. Skold almost felt sorry for the creature. Almost. It was like watching an animal dying, fighting to stay alive. He wondered if the troll was smart enough to know that death was inevitable. Didn’t all living creatures have some engrained sense of what death was? It gave one last dying groan and fell over on its side. For a moment Skold and Dom just stood in the snow and the silence, listening to the race of their own hearts. “Let’s go,” Skold said. “We need to catch up with the others.” It didn’t take them long to catch up with the rest of the troops. They were nestled behind the trees. Within sight, just yards away, Paladin’s palace stood. It was tall and impassive and very foreboding. Golden light glowed from within the crystal windows. Skold pulled out a pair of binochulars and scanned the tops of the towers and the entrance. Skold frowned. There’s no guards. None at all on the outside... “I don’t like this,” Skold said. “It’s too quiet. I don’t think Samhein would just send a single troll to fight us. He knows better. It’s a trap.” “Of course it’s a trap,” Dom rumbled. “It’s like you said, by now he already knows that we’re here. I say we just charge and get this over with.” Skold grinned. “And make a terrible bang?” “Just to make them shit their pants.” “Let’s do it.” Skold gestured for his troops to follow him. He led them stealthily across the tower. He kept his eyes trained on the palace, expecting that at any second chaos would erupt. But it didn’t. Everything else was quiet. Nothing else moved. The double doors that led into the castle were made of thick oak and very, very tall. Skold and Dom pushed at them but no matter how hard they pushed the doors would not budge. “It must be locked from the other side,” Skold said to his small army. “I need the mines and remote detonator.” Skold planted the mines and waved for everyone to take cover. They pressed themselves flat against the side of the wall. Skold glanced at Dom. He was suddenly, dismally, very nervous. I want you to do this with me, he tried to say with his eyes. Dom seemed to get the message because he laced his fingers through Skold’s with one hand and placed his other hand over the detonator. His hand dwarfed Skold’s other hand, the hand that was placed on the detonator. As always Dom’s flesh was unnaturally, deliciously warm. Dom nodded once and together they pressed the buttion.
  10. Chapter 51

    Skold veered through the winding streets of the village, headed straight for the trees that climbed up the mountain. An abomination came forward to intercept him. He grabbed a hold of it and threw it into the snow with the grunt. He didn’t stop to finish it off but kept running. He left the little ghost village behind and jumped into the trees. Branches clawed at his armor, his hair. He paid them no heed. I have to keep going. This night has to end before it’s too late. Already the ground beneath his feet was starting to rise. He clawed through the snow with fingers that were already numb and started to climb. His movements were quick and cat-like. He reached behind him to give Dom, who was not so graceful, a hand. Each foot he lifted burned. His long hair slapped the sides of his face, soaked with sweat. What was left of his men were following him in the climb but unfortunantly so were the abominations. They were faster, more capable climbers. Somehow one of them had attached itself to Dom’s back like a parasite. It clawed at him relentlessly, tearing through the armor and straight into Dom’s flesh. Blood colored the air like falling rain-mist. Dom was barely dangling with one hand. If he slipped he would knock into Candestine directly below him. Skold could picture watching as everyone, one by one, fell down the mountain like Dominoes. Skold was close enough to the struggling Dom that he could reach the creature. “Candestine, watch out!” he shouted. As she scooted to the side Skold lashed out with a well-aimed kick. The creature lost his grip on Dom’s back and tumbled down the snow. He grabbed Dom’s hand and pulled him up next to him. “Thanks,” Dom rumbled. “Are you alright?” “I’m fine. Those bastards have sharp claws. Don’t stop on my account. Carry on.” Skold nodded and continued on his way. Sometime later, the massive hill they were climbing flattened, the trees just sparse enough for everyone to fit through. Though Skold could see the top of the castle from where he stood they were still several miles away. He wanted to stop, wanted to rest, but knew that he couldn’t. He reached for his water canteen and forced himself to sip from it; his throat was so parched that he wanted to gulp it all down. Doing that would be a bad idea. While it was a must to stay hydrated water could be very heavy on the stomach. Water sloshed down his chin. It was icey cold but Skold didn’t care. The cool touch of the water was welcome against his sweaty skin. He screwed the black cap of the canteen back on and looked down. His men were making a steady pace up the mountain. He could not see anymore of the abominations. Satisfied, Skold continued to lead the way. After the long, arduous climb up the side of the mountain it was a relief to set foot on flatter ground. After another half an hour of putting one foot in front of the other, Skold signalled for everyone to take a five minute break. Skold and Dom slumped against a tree trunk together. Skold took another careful sip from his canteen. It was at that moment that he began to feel uneasy. Something was watching them, he could feel it. When he relayed this to Dom, the large elf nodded. “I feel it too. What do you think it is?” Skold shrugged and let out a tired sigh. “Who knows? I get the feeling that Samhein knows we’re here by now. It’s definitely a trap, a way to buy himself some more time. Whatever it is, it isn’t good.” In Skold’s mind the five minute break wasn’t enough. It simply gave everyone enough time to drink water and check over their weapons. Such were the pains of war. There was nothing anyone could do but muster through it. Everyone can rest when they’re dead. Leaning slightly against the tree he got to his feet and motioned for everyone to follow him. The break was over. It was time to move on. The feeling of being watched grew stronger. There was something out there. It was the same feeling he got when he’d been in the subway tunnel with Reynolds and his men back in Roc City. It must be a troll, Skold thought, grumpy with fatigue. Of course Samhein would have a troll, just for laughs. His suspicions were confirmed when the ground started to shake under his feet. It was as if the mountain was being hit by strike after strike of lightning. He waved a hand, signalling for everyone to be ready. The troll burst through the trees, crude stone axe in hand. It looked exactly like the troll that Skold had faced in Roc City only it was bigger. Much bigger. And much faster. When it swung its axe Skold barely had enough time to jump out of the way. The curved blade of the axe slammed into the ground where his feet had been just a fraction of a second earlier. “Move!” he shouted. “Everybody move!” “What about you?” Dom said. Skold shook his head. “Not enough time. I’m going to keep the troll distracted while you head towards the castle.” “Are you nuts?” “I took the last one down myself. This one shouldn’t be any different.” “I’ll help,” Dom said. “I’m staying with you.” “Fine,” Skold said reluctantly. Now was not the place or time to start an argument. “Just don’t get yourself killed. Run around to the left and stay out of sight until I tell you to jump in.” Dom nodded and lumbered out of sight. Skold’s men were weaving through the trees, heading away from the troll and in the direction of Paladin’s castle. The troll turned to follow. With a side swipe of its axe it sliced an unfortunante elf down the middle. Blood and intestines clung to the troll’s axe as it raised it to take down another. No you don’t, Skold thought. His uzis rattled in a sustained yet well aimed burst of fire that hit the back of the troll’s head. It provided the distraction that Skold hoped for. The troll turned its attention his way. It snarled and reared its spiked-covered head and knocked a tree out of its way. The tree fell completely to the side, roots tearing free from the ground. It reared its head back once again and charged towards Skold. Skold turned and sprinted in the other direction. Distracting the troll had been the easy part. Now came the hard part.
  11. Chapter 50

    Rebecca dug through the boxes slowly, silently, trying to focus on the task at hand-anything to distract her from the sounds of battle carrying on outside of the house. There were several gun shots that were fearfully close to the house. Vlad was watching her silently. She had been successful in finding a battery operated keroscene lamp. He sat at a low rickety wooden table with a coloring book and a box of crayons. He seemed unbothered by the noise that rang through the night. He’s holding up a lot better than I am, Rebecca thought. Wahlah! She had found two boxes. One was full of jackets and the other were full of blankets. They both smelled of mothballs, of years spent boxed up in an old attic, but that was okay. It was better than freezing your ass off. She tossed a jacket and several blanket at Vlad. “Pune-o pe asta. Vă va ajuta să rămâneți calzi.” (Translation: Put that on. It will help you stay warm.) The boy did not argue. He nodded and slid into the jacket. It was far too big on him but he didn’t seem to mind. He wrapped the blankets around himself, creating a sort of nest, and went back to his coloring. She selected a pink jacket with yellow tulips embroidered into the front. She wrinkled her nose at it. The jacket was hideous. This is definitely Grandma’s jacket. But now is not the time to be picky. She had to take off the parka, put on the jacket she selected, and put on the parka over that. She grabbed two blankets and joined Vlad over at the table. Rebecca watched the boy, wondering what he had seen, what he’d heard, what he knew. Did he know that his Grandma was going to turn into one of those things? That she would no longer be the sweet, loving old lady that he’d always known her to be? She would do her best to spare him from that; she would do everything in her power to protect him, even if she had to die in order to do it. He looked up at her. His eyes were steady. There was a maturity in them that shouldn’t have been there. It was as if he had aged several years just in a single night. “Sunt infometat.” (Translation: I’m hungry.) She smiled. “Trebuie să fii, un băiat tot mai mare ca tine Mă duc să-ți dau ceva de mâncare.” (Translation: You must be, a growing boy like you. I’ll go down and get you something to eat.) Vlad shook his head solemnly. “Nu. E prea periculos.” (Translation: No. It’s too dangerous.) She stood up. “Imi pot purta singur de grija. Trebuie să mănânci și să rămâi cald. Mă voi întoarce imediat, îți promit. Doar nu plecați nicăieri, bine? (Translation: I can take care of myself. You have to eat and stay warm. I will be back real quick, I promise. Just don't go anywhere, okay?) Again the boy nodded. “Doar nu lăsați monștrii să vă aducă.” Translation: Just don't let the monsters get you. “ Nu voi.” (Translation: I won’t.) She ruffled his hair and let the ladder down as slowly and quietly as she could. Rebecca pulled out her gun and climbed down slowly. She stood in the hallway and checked all of her corners as Skold had taught her to do. Always check your corners to make sure there’s nothing lurking around that can catch you by surprise. When the coast was clear Rebecca crept down the stairs. At the foot of the stairs she stopped. Rebecca could no longer hear the sounds of gun fire, of battle. There was no sound but for the howl of the wind. The absence of sound made her blood run cold. Hurry up. Grab what you need to grab and get your ass back to the attic. She walked into the kitchen and started rummaging through the cabinets. She grabbed a package of chocolate chip cookies that had not been opened yet, a big bag of pretzels. In the fridge she found a large hunk of cheese, bread, lunch meat, and what looked like mayonnaise. She made a plate full of sandwiches and carried everything up the stairs. She was about to climb up the ladder again when something tugged at the back of her mind. She climbed up the ladder and set all of the food on the table. She told the boy that she’d be back and to close the ladder behind her. He nodded and said he understood. Once Rebecca made sure that the boy had closed the attic door behind her, she turned in the direction of Grandma’s room. The air was frigid, cold. A feeling that cut her right down to the bone told her that something wasn’t right. Something was wrong. Danger was lurking somewhere in the house. She pulled out her Glock again and made sure that the safety was off. After what seemed an eternity of tip toeing, Rebecca entered the room and felt her heart stop. Something from within the cocoon had broken out. “Fuck!” she hissed under her breath. She sensed something moving behind her. Just as she turned around the abomination that had once been Vlad’s grandmother attacked, knocking the weapon from her hand before she could fire. Rebecca stepped back and grabbed the first thing that was in her reach-a dry erase board. She used it to shield herself just in time as Grandma Abomination lashed out with one of her disgusting tendrils. The tendril punched a hole in the board, stopping just inches away from Rebecca’s face. Rebecca shrieked, part in anger, part in fear. She brought the board back and struck the creature with it as hard as she could. She was relying soley on instinct, her body defending itself of its own accord. She’d struck the creature hard enough to knock its head back buying her the precious second she needed to pick up her gun. She aimed it at its head. “I’m sorry,” Rebecca said. Her Glock roared three times. The creature dropped to the ground with a wet thud. Now you can rest in peace, she thought. I promise to protect your grandson with my life. He’s going to be okay. Suddenly one of the creatures exploded through the window in a shower of glass. She gritted her teeth and fired several bullets into the creature. It staggered back drunkenly but did not fire. Rebecca dove bravely forward and shoved it with all of her strength. The creature fell through the window and hit the snow below. To her horror several of the monstrosities were running towards the house. “Shit,” Rebecca said. She ran out of the room and slammed the door shut behind her. She grabbed the pole with the hook at the end and pulled down the ladder. She waved at the little boy. “Trebuie să plecăm!” (Translation: We have to go!) The boy dropped half of the sandwich that he was eating and ran into her arms. She lifted him up and hurried down the stairs just as the front door crashed open and several creatures streamed in. Rebecca grabbed a grenade, unpinned it, and threw at them. She told Vlad to cover his ears and ducked into the hallway as the grenade went off hard enough to shake the entire house. Mutated limbs and black gore flew in several directions. When Rebecca was sure that the coast was clear, cradling the boys head with one hand, she ran through the smoke and into the night. Across the street she spotted an old church with stained glass windows and an old bell tower. Praying for sanctuary, she ran for it.
  12. Chapter 49

    Skold, Dom, Candestine, and Maeglin stepped into the middle of the ensuing chaos. The night, once eerily quiet, was now filled with the blast of guns and shouts. Skold’s small army was advancing forward to meet a swarm of oncoming abominations. Skold had the feeling that what had happened to Vladmir’s grandmother had happened to the rest of the village as well. His lungs filtered the cold air in and out and his heart raced not with fear but with anticipation. Despite his recovered sense of emotion, Skold would always be a warrior before anything else. This was what he was born to do, what he lived for. He threw himself into the fray, sword in one hand, gun in the other. He jumped into the path of a charging abomination and blew its head off. The sight of its head disintergrating in an explosion of black pulp excited him, made his blood lust even stronger. He decided to let go of his mind, to let his body do all of the work. He lashed out with a kick, planting his booted heel in the stomach of an abomination. If he had done this to a human he would have likely killed them for sure. If the kick itself didn’t kill them then the internal bleeding would. But this creature was no longer fae. The plague had altered it on a genetic level to become something entirely new, something that was much more durable. He finished with a slash of his sword. Even after six centuries of non use the blade was dangerously sharp and cut through the flesh easily, like a knife cutting through butter. He spun around and decapitated another swipe of his sword. The blade danced through the air, seeming to reflect the light from the moon. He moved with a grace and fluidity that almost seemed feminine. To be in the moment of doing what only came natural was as blissful, as euphoric as sex. It was like the releasing of endorphins as you reached burst into orgasm. Is this how it felt like the last time I was here? Skold thought. Or did I feel weary, tired after all of the years of fighting? He grabbed an abomination by its throat and twisted it; the sound of bone snapping was music to his ears. Still the creature struggled to break free, its tendril of a tongue darting towards his face. He finished it off with a bullet through the skull. To his right, Dom laughed and roared, “Nothing like a good fight!” Someone to his right shouted, “Fuere!” and a ball or orange fire shot through the air like a rocket. It hit one of the creatures and launched them several feet into the air. The creature’s body disinteregrated, falling like a meteor. What remained hit a blue car making the alarm go off. Skold filtere the sound out and moved on. The sound of a high-pitched screech alerted him. He turned just as the creature was about to hit him face first and shouted, “ Sdhlie!” The creature smacked face first into a wall of solid kinetic energy with such force that it was thrown to the ground in a stunned, disheveled mess. Skold pressed the creature down with his boot; he didn’t hesitate to finish it off with a bullet. These creatures may have been human once but they were not human now. And as of now there was no cure for them, no hope, and no time. Skold was about to holster his gun, for it was empty, and reach for the other when a creature slammed into him from the right with enough force to knock him into the air. He crashed through the window of a tiny used clothing store. His back slammed into the counter hard enough to knock the air from his lungs. Dizzy, Skold tried to get to his feet when the cash register fell from the top of the counter on top of his head. He slumped back against the counter, his ears ringing. Outside of the store the sounds of battle were muffled. Two of the creatures leapt through the window. One raised a clawed hand and a sharp-tipped tendril shot towards his face. Skold managed to roll to the side before it could strike him. With his senses now fully renewed, and his head still stinging profusely. He drew his lips back from his teeth in a silent snarl, challenging the abominations. One of them launched itself off of the counter into the air. Again it’s tongue shot out of its mouth at his face. He caught it in both hands and swung around in a full three hundred and sixty degree circle before letting it go. The creature flew across the store, knocking over several racks of clothes, before crashing into the wall. He turned to face the other one. Interestingly it seemed to get that of the two of them it was in the greatest danger. It backed away, heading towards the shattered window. So they do possess some sort of intelligence, Skold thought, cocking his head slightly to the side. They’re not all just rampaging mindless beasts. At least they don’t start out that way when first turned. No matter… He emptied half of the Colt into the back of the creature’s head, turned, and emptied the rest into the other creature that was starting to rise to its feet. Now it’s time to give the bigger guns a turn. He reloaded both Colts, slid them back into the twin harnesses attached to his belt, slid the sword back into the scabbard strapped to his back, and pulled out the two Uzis. He climbed through the shattered window. The street was littered with bodies. Most of them were of the abominations but there were a few that was of his own. We have to go, he thought. We can’t waste all of our time and energy fighting these things. “Head towards the castle!” he shouted. His voice carried well over the rattle of gun fire. “Head towards the castle now!” He waved at Dom, Candestine, and Maeglin to follow him and broke into a run.
  13. Chapter 14

    Renard kept telling herself that she was making the drive to Tootulu only for business purposes; but in the back of her mind she knew that was a crock of shit. She was not just going to the orphanage that Lane spent the first half of his childhood to close an investigation. Stamper’s death was a suicide. Put a red stamp on it, file it away for the records. No, it was simply the alliby for looking into his records. And as far as Stamper went, the man didn’t have any records, none that could be found. The man was a ghost, a ghost with falsified records. Who knew what the man’s name really was. Perhaps he had lived under hundreds of names, winking in and out of existence, being whoever he wanted to be when it suited him. The same could be said for his “daughter” Julie, if that was what she really was, if that was her real name. It only made Renard want to know more. She knew that what she was doing was wrong. She didn’t question that. But she couldn’t get Lane Hardy’s words out of her head, or the look on his face: He raped me almost every night for eight years. Him and his daughter Julie. Sometimes they would even tag team me. She had to know. She needed clarity, to be able to understand. She just had to. Renard looked up at the orphanage and felt her nose wrinkle up. The building sat behind a wrought iron fence that read APPLEWOOD ORPHANAGE. There was an obnoxious plaque engrated into the brick wall beside the gate that said the orphanage was founded by a man named Stephen Applewood. Renard didn’t care to know the rest. The building was two stories tall but somehow seemed taller. It was immense, menacing. Dreary. It wasn’t the kind of place that any child should live in for an extended amount of time Rebecca thought. It was hard to imagine Lane living in this place, even harder to imagine him as a little boy. Lane who had always fascinated Renard, who always kept everything close to his chest. Somewhere she could hear children laughing and play. Boys and girls, children of all ages. Children who had been abandoned in this strange place because their parents didn’t want them. To Renard it was like purgatory. She couldn’t see them so they must have been somewhere behind the building. She stepped through the wrought iron gate and stopped. She shielded her face from the bright summer sunlight. On top of the roof was a large cross. It should have been comforting. God was watching over everyone and all of that. But instead it gave her the creeps. When Renard was her girl she and her parents had lived across the street from a haunted house. It was the site of a gruesome mother, where a woman had gone mad and killed her ailling mother by bashing her over the head with a hammer several times. Bored and stupid one night, a friend and she had entered the house. It was in that house that Renard encountered her first ghost. From then on she’d always held a fascination, an obsession with the paranormal. Specifically the strange events that occurred within Roc City seemingly on a daily basis. It was drove her to become a homocide detective, so that she could investigate these cases. Considering the things that she had seen over the years she believe that there was an afterlife. She believed that there were good spirits and bad spirits. She believed that there were demons and she believed that there was a hell. She believed there was a devil and that his name was Lucifer. If she believed in those things how could she not believe in angels, in heaven, in God and Jesus? Yes, she believed in God. However, in the the three quarters of life she’d spent as a cop she had seen more evidence of Lucifer than she ever had of God. Again, Renard believed in God. She just didn’t think very highly of Him. She moved on, walking up the steps that led to the double doors. She opened one and stepped inside. The smell of overcooked cabbage assaulted her sense of smell. She had to cover her nose with her hand and slowly let her sense of smell adjust to the pudgent odor. She stood in a hallway with grey walls that only added to the drabness of the place. The walls were covered in various scribblings of crayon, marker and pen. The word that came to Renard’s mind was vandalism. To her left a nun sat at what appeared to be a receptionist desk. There was no computer on the desk but an old electric typewriter. Weird, Renard thought. Very weird. The nun’s head was bent over paperwork; a rosary dangled from her neck. A plaque on the desk read SISTER MARGARET. Renard watched her wearily. Most people were afraid of clowns for some strange reason but Renard found nuns to be more creepy. She could think of a few horror movies that she’d had to stop watching because they had possessed nuns in them. The unpossessed nuns were almost just as creepy as the possessed ones. She gathered her courage and cleared her throat. “Uh, excuse me?” Sister Margaret looked up and smiled. To Renard’s relief she was quite young, not one of those old wrinkly ones with the stooped backs. Being a little critical, aren’t you, Brenda? she told herself. You’re not too far off from being that way yourself. “Can I help you?” Sister Margret asked in an ultra soft voice. “Yes. I’m Brenda Renard. I work with the Roc City Police Department.” Renard made sure to show Sister Margaret her badge. “I need records for a boy that used to live here about fourteen years ago. Lane Hardy?” Clearly the name did not ring a bell. Sister Margaret did not look a day over twenty-four so it was safe to say that she was a little girl when Lane had lived here; which meant that hypothetically she was only two or three years older than Lane. “You’ll have to speak with Mother Mary Elephant-” Sister Margaret cleared her throat, looking embarrassed. “Excuse me, Mother Mary about that...” Did she really call her Elephant? “I’ll take you to her office,” Sister Margaret finished saying. Renard followed her down the long grey hallway, peeking in the doors as she passed them, wondering which one had been Lane’s. So far all of the rooms appeared to belong to girls. They climbed up a flight of stairs onto the second floor. They stopped in front of a wooden door with a wooden name plaque on it. In white lettering it said THE OFFICE OF MOTHER MARY and just below MARY, carved crudely into the wood ELEPHANT. Sister Margaret knocked on the door lightly. “Come in,” a voice said softly through the door. Sister Margaret stepped inside. “I have an officer from the RCPD here to see you, Mother.” “Show her in, please Sister Margaret.” Sister Margaret stepped back to let Renard in, smiled once at her and closed the door behind her. The woman stood up from her desk and looked at Renard with an appraising eye. The woman was massive; it was easy to see how the knickname Elephant came about. Broad hipped and broad shouldered her skin was a soft, creamy brown that was only slightly weathered. Her hair had very little grey in it. Despite the horn rimmed reading glasses she wore Sister Margaret looked to be in her fifties. Her smile was bright and radiant. Like Sister Margaret a rosary hung around her neck. “I’m sorry to come here on such notice,” Renard said. “Usually I call before showing up but it’s been a hectic day...” “Nonsense, Sargeant Renard,” Mother Mary said. “May I call you Brenda? Oh, and where are my manners? Have a seat?” She gestured at a rookedy wooden chair. “These chairs aren’t the most comfortable but I suppose it’s better than standing up. Unless you have arthritis that is, then your goose is cooked either way.” She took off her glasses and looked at Renard more intently. “So tell me, what can I do for you?”
  14. Chapter 13

    “Jesus Christ,” Carlos said. He gaped open mouthed at the wound. “You’re going to have to go to the hospital again.” Lane finished spreading antibiotic cream over the wound and tried not to wince in pain. “It’s not nearly as bad as it looks. And I’m not going back to the fucking hospital. You know what going into a hospital is like for me.” “But it could get infected...” “Carlos.” Lane looked at him pointedly, silencing him. “I know you’re just trying to look out for me but right now I’m not in the mood. My mind is spinning, still trying to process what just happened.” Carlos blinked. “Yeah, what the hell did happen? One second we were both sleeping like the dead and the next you were screaming your head off...and then there was that. It just...appeared. Like one second it wasn’t there and then the next it was. I keep thinking that I’m going to get used to seeing the strange shit eventually but I guess I never will.” “You and me both.” Lane leaned against the bathroom sink. He was shaking, had been shaking since he woke up. “Are you okay?” “No not at all. Right now I really want a fucking Klonipin. It feels like I’m going to crawl out of my skin. I went through the door. I don’t know how. I must have astroprojected or something. I could hear this little boy crying. I’ve seen him a couple of times since I came back from San Diego. It was me, Carlos. That little boy was me, me when I was eight years old and Stamper came to get me from the orphanage in Tootulu.” “What happened when you went through?” “Stamper was there,” Lane said after a moment of hesitation. “I don’t know what that place was but he was there. Only he’s something else now.” The way Lane sounded and looked when he said that made Carlos shiver. He remembered how Lane had looked when Stamper had called him on the phone just hours ago. He had that same look now, of mad fear. But it wasn’t just fear, he looked like a junkie, a junkie who was going through withdrawls. He had seen millions of people come in through the station hopped up on every drug known to man and he could never understand what drove people to become addicts. Why would someone want to push everyone they loved away from them for a few hours of pleasure, to let their bodies slowly break down until they killed themselves? Seeing it with Lane, someone that he loved more than words could describe, was like seeing it in a completely different light. The craving, the need that Lane was feeling was real, and it was a threat to his newfound sobriety. Seeing him like this scared Carlos more than any ghost ever could. He hugged Lane. It was all he could think of to do, as if somehow his touch would take away the craving. Which was fucking stupid. But it was all he had. Lane burrowed into his embrace. The way he was shaking broke Carlos’ heart. His teeth were chattering together as if he was standing in the middle of the Artic Circle. “It’s going to be alright,” Carlos said and hated himself. The words were bullshit. It’s going to be alright was just something that people said when they didn’t know what else to say. It’s just like when someone tells their best friend that they just got diagnosed with cancer and the person simply says, “I’ll pray for you”. They say that even though you know they’re going to forget to pray by the time they get home. “It’s not,” Lane said; Carlos could tell that he was trying to keep his voice from breaking. “He’s not human anymore. In death he’s become something more powerful. He’s never going to leave me alone Carlos. There’s no where I can run, nowhere I can hide.” This time Carlos said nothing; he didn’t want to say something when he didn’t know what to say. Those were always the worst kind of lies you could tell someone. So he simply held him and tried to will the shakes to stop. “I’m going to make coffee,” Lane said after a moment. “You know, give myself something to do so I’m not just standing around like a fucking idiot.” Carlos knew that this was his way of saying that he was embarrassed, embarrassed for looking weak and tiny. “You should try and get some sleep. It’ll be daylight in a few hours.” Lane chuckled dryly. “Go back to sleep? After I just went through some Nightmare on Elm Street shit? I don’t think so. I won’t sleep for a week.” “Do you need me to stay home tomorrow?” “No,” Lane said sharply. He was giving Carlos that said not to ask again. Like Lane, Carlos could be quite stubborn in his own right. He pressed on. “Are you sure, it’s not a problem…?” “Don’t make me out to be a mansel in distress.” “Did you just say mansel?” “You know me, the always-present comedian. Get your ass back in bed. You got to be at work in the morning, you know go save the world and all of that?” “Fine. But you have to come back into bed with me even if it’s just so that we can snuggle. You know I don’t like sleeping by myself.” “I know. Underneath the costume of the rugged, sexy, bad-cop you’re nothing but a big teddy bear. Alright, let me finish making my coffee and I’ll be in there.” Later that morning Carlos went to work. He made to sure to make himself a cup of coffee before he left. Just like everything else about his boyfriend, Carlos loved Lane’s coffee. He always made it a bit strong but not overly so. Just enough to give you a perk in the morning. Before he could enter his private office, Frank Chestermont who was one of the beat cops jogged up to him. He was carrying a rolled up issue of the Roc City Tribune. “Hey, Carlos you’re gonna want to see something.” “What is it, Frankie?” “You know that last case you cleared up, the guy who just murdered his wife? The actress?” Carlos felt a cold pang in the center of his chest; he could already tell that he wasn’t going to like this but he did his best to keep a straight face anyway. “Yeah. Of course I remember.” How could I forget? That was only last week. It’s one of the many things that I wish I could forget. “What about him?” “He comitted suicide last night in his cell. Slit his own throat open with a razor.” “What?” Carlos practically tore the newspaper out of Frankie’s hand. Sure enough, above the picture of Robert Bowerman laying in a puddle of his own blood with his throat hanging open, the headline read, KILLER/HUSBAND OF FAMOUS ACTORESS COMITS SUICIDE IN JAIL CELL.
  15. Chapter 22

    Thank u Rikki
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