Here is the fourth chapter of my latest WIP.
It will probably shape up to be a short novella. It’s hard to say now. I’m not sure how long I’m going to leave this up. I’ll probably take it down at some point and turn it into an eBook – with a free/pay-what-you-feel version on Smashwords and a pay version on Amazon.
If you like this opening, please leave feedback. It really helps me! And when I pull it down for the eBook version, please consider buying a copy, leaving reviews, etc.
Also, if you like this please consider buying a copy at LeanPub now, or Amazon or Smashwords when they are available. I know some people have reservations about buying stuff over the internet or for various reasons may not be able to, so I’ll try and always have a free version available. But I also believe in authors getting paid for the work.
Working Title: The Presumption of Darkness
Word Count: 1,100 (approx)
Reading time for average reader: 10 minutes
Part 4 – Cassie
“You’re not serious. It’s so fucking cold up there.” Nick kept saying it over and over like the only reason I persisted in my plan was that I wasn’t hearing him.
“Look, I’m not saying I’d take the job, but openings for professors of Theology aren’t a dime a dozen. Plus this school doesn’t have some fascist statement of faith where they can just fire me if I write some paper that doesn’t exactly line up with their view point on the Trinity or gay marriage or something.”
“But winter in Boston…” He looked at his shoes again. I hate it when he does that. “I don’t know if I can handle it.”
“Don’t be a wimp, Nick. I need to keep my hand in the game for people to take me seriously. I’ll just be gone a couple of days.”
“Do they even have burritos there?” he asked as I walked into my office and closed the door.
I didn’t really want the job, Sammy. I just needed to get away from Nick and Julia’s crushing worry. They had been hounding me, double teaming me from the moment I got back from the conference. It was more than I could take.
So, I booked the flight. And then I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths and tried to reach out to you with my mind. Not that I knew what I was doing, I just tried doing something.
I’m going to be at the Parker House hotel in Boston on the 17th. Please, if you can hear me, come. Prove to me that I’m not crazy, that when I felt your voice at the conference that it was really you.
And then I waited.
Then there was a booming voice in my head: Why do you never talk to me, Cassie? Without me, Sammy would never even have had the nerve to kiss you, let alone do all the nasty things he did to you.
I grabbed my ears and felt the words, “Too loud” roll out of my mouth between gasps. I felt like the only thing keeping my head from exploding was the pressure I exerted with my hands.
I looked up, and the light in the room wasn’t right. I wasn’t like that horrible blackness I saw at the conference. Instead of blackness, I felt like there was this space where the light just wasn’t quite hitting. The color seemed dim, and details seemed to fade away. This draining, for lack of a better word, took on the shape of a man.
It wasn’t the shape that the horrible blackness took on. It was a familiar.
“Eric?” I asked.
Sammy, I saw his death again, in my mind, like I have so many times. But instead of running through the jungle when that thing grabbed him, I stayed. I held your hand, and we watch as that thing tore his limbs off and twisted his head. But instead of the screams I am so used to hearing, he laughed. Sammy, Eric laughed!
“Come and see!” he shouted, even though his head had been completely snapped off his body. “It’s wonderful!”
I wasn’t really expecting to see you in the lobby. But when I did, I girded myself. What were you going to do? Drag me by the hair back to North Carolina? Slit my throat in the lobby? Buy me lunch?
Instead, you sat down and reached out for my hand. And I freaked. No other word does my reaction justice. “Don’t touch me.”
Why did I say that, Sammy?
What I wanted to say was: Take me to my room. Show me that I am a woman and not just some challenge, some contest where you see how many times you can make me cum. Show me that you really love me and that there is still tenderness inside you, that it hasn’t all been swallowed up by that thing that killed Eric.
Would things have gone differently that night if you had stayed? Would you have spent the night if I had begged you? Why did I turn you away after you kissed me in the alley? Did you know where you were leading me or did you just happen upon that sexy little alcove?
Things got bad after you left. I guessed which flight you must be on and stayed up all night watching the flight status updates on the airline’s website, wiping tears from my eyes.
“You’ve gone sentimental in the last few years.”
That weird fading of light I saw back in California was back.
“Sorry about the volume problems last time we chatted. And I can’t be as visually stunning as the thing from the cave. Isn’t that how you think of him? He’s so much more. But surely you’ve suspected as much, yes? All the time you spend reading fairy tales – you must suspect.”
“What’s his name, Eric?”
“You think that will help you? No. It won’t. But I won’t tell you anyway. Let’s just call him Our Dark Friend. He is your friend. Don’t you see that?”
“Why won’t you stay dead, Eric?”
“What’s the fun in that?”
The dullness in the light traveled across the room to the window as if it was admiring the view. “Boston is so lovely. I grew up here. Did you remember that, Cassie?”
Was there something wistful in his voice or was that wishful thinking?
“Sammy boy can never love you the way you want him to. Sammy was too close to Our Dark Friend. And even if he could, you’re polluted, too. If he could love you, you’d grow tired and resentful.”
“I have to go now. I’m still new at this. I’ll see you soon. Maybe next time I will be strong enough to fuck you just how you like it. Even better. I can do all sorts of things that normal humans could never do.”
“Go away, please. If you ever felt anything approaching compassion or friendship toward me, be merciful, Eric.”
“I’m afraid I have no mercy left, beautiful.”
And then he was gone.
Do you love me, Sammy? Are we even capable of love? Or are we running out of mercy, like Eric?