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Happy Birthday to my family and D.O.M.R.A.D. #3

February 25, 2015 1 comment

I like getting to say Happy Birthday to my wife in this post. Now I have proof that I didn’t forget. 🙂

I also get to say happy birthday to my oldest son. He turned 21 yesterday.

And tomorrow, my older sister will be celebrating her #### ‘th birthday.

Yeah, the end of February is very busy for my family. But at least there will be cake.

I don’t have much to say on the writing front this week. I am writing and editing multiple short stories and two of them are due for submission by the end of this month. I am busy.

Finally, I am sorry that this weeks installment is a little long. The problem with turning world building into a serial is that it is slow and full of exposition. I promise that this will get more interesting, but I have a lot of setup that I need to get down for this part. I promise that something will either die or explode next week.

hehehe — Go Boom.

L. E. White

Department of Magical Research and Development

 #3

“I don’t believe this,” Dave said as he rolled a bottle between his hands.

“There has to be some kind of a trick,” Walter said. He shook his head as he stared at the bottle of juice in front of him.

The three guys jumped when Charity’s bottle hissed. She gave them an apologetic grin and sat the lid to her bottle of sparkling water on the table.

“You are not going to drink that are you,” Dave asked.

“It’s just water.”

“Like hell it is. For all we know they put something in it so that the guide could make it look like she was telekinetic.”

Sam opened his mouth to say something but snapped it shut when the door opened. Two men and two women walked into the room.

Sam blinked to be sure he wasn’t seeing things when he looked at the four of them. They took seats around the room, and though they had walked in at the same time, he would have been hard pressed to see any connection.

The first guy was black and he sat down beside Walter. When Walter was tall the other guy was short. Where Walter was slim and in shape, the man who sat down beside him had three chins and his arms were so fat that he had creases at his wrists. “I’m Joey,” he said, extending a pudgy hand to Walter. “Nice to meet you.”

“Walter.” He shook Joey’s hand, but frowned when he did it. Joey turned to look around at the others and missed it when Walter rubbed his palm against his pants leg.

A pale woman with very pale hair sat down next to Dave. She was so thin that Sam wondered if she might be anorexic or something. She wore a bright yellow sun dress, but it was obvious that she hadn’t been out in the sun for years. She shook nodded a greeting to Dave and said, “Amelia.”

The other man sat down next by Sam and extended his hand. “I’m Tom.”

“Sam.”

They looked each other up and down. Tom was so dark that Sam wondered if he would be considered black or not. His head was bald and he was much older than the rest. Sam would have guessed that Tom was in his sixties, but he couldn’t be sure. The guy’s hand shake was firm and he gave Sam the impression that he wouldn’t say much.

The last adult, a woman with long, straight brown hair, sat down beside Charity. “Hi, I’m Elese,” she said with a bright smile. “Charity?”

Charity nodded, but didn’t say anything else.

They all sat in silence for a moment before Tom stood up. “We would like to thank you for coming. Each of us will be guiding one of you around and after we finish the general portion, we will be taking you to our work areas and showing you what we do.”

Elese sat forward. “We are also supposed to answer any questions that you have. Now, we each had to do this ourselves so we thought a quick explanation might go a long way.”

Joey rubbed his hands together. “First, yes, magic is real. For our purpose here, magic is the intentional, mental, manipulation of energy. When people talk about being telekinetic or clairvoyant, our society thinks of that as psychic phenomena. Tell them its magic, and they scoff.”

Amelia nodded. “There are three kinds of people who can control magic. We believe that each of you are one of those. Magical aptitude displays in all sorts of ways depending on which of the three types you are.”

Walter raised his hand and all four of the guides paused and looked at him. “The first lady said that we had been identified and watched. Can you explain that to me?”

“Sure,” Joey said. “As kids go through school, counselors and state agencies give tests and conduct interviews. We monitor all of those tests as well as medical records, watching for the indicators.”

“What indicators,” Sam asked.

Joey looked at him and smiled. “Stories of hauntings or poltergeists. Weird phenomena like raining rocks or specific weather patterns.”

Elese was grinning when she said, “For example, each of you told stories about your homes being haunted. In Charity’s case, one house even went through an exorcism.”

“Yeah,” Amelia said. “Hauntings can be spirits that are using the magical power of the people in the house to manifest. That was the case for all four of you.”

“Wait,” Charity said. “You mean that the hauntings were our faults?”

“No,” Amelia said, shaking her head. “The spirit in that house was capable of drawing power from you like using a battery. The spirit was already there.”

The four teens were quiet for a minute, each thinking about their childhood, before Tom said, “Anyway, we said there are three types of magical people. But what type of person you are affects your magical abilities.”

Dave lifted his hand but Tom held up one finger. “Let me tell you the types, then I will answer your question if you still have it.”

Tom looked a little pissed, but he lowered his hand.

“Each person has an amount of magical energy that is stored in their body. As you practice and learn to use it, you will get stronger. It works just like weight lifting.”

Amelia shook a finger in the air as she said, “But there are limits to how much your power will increase. You can get stronger, but your natural talent will put you into a specific range. Kind of like a weight class for fighting. You can move up and down a class, but you can’t really move from feather to ultra heavy.”

Each of them nodded when Joey looked at them, and he smiled before continuing. “The low power people, or lesser talents, are the most common. If you think of magic like batteries, they go from a watch to a car battery in voltage. Almost everyone you meet is a lesser talent. Most of us fall into that category. You usually have one or two tricks that you are good at, and you can learn a few others, but that is about it.”

“When we work together, the total power is increased for each person,” Elese said. “So places like this are where lesser talents join together to get things done.”

Tom held a finger up to Charity when she raised her hand. “The next group is like hooking car batteries in series and go all the way up to small generators. They are called Gifted, and in their case, they usually have some sort of magical blood.”

All four teens started to raise their hands, but Tom smiled and lifted his hand again. “It is possible for some magical creatures to breed with humans. The result is a human with more magic due to their parents.”

“The last type,” Joey said. “Are the major talents. These people are like major power plants or nuclear explosives. Tons of power and they can do the stuff that you see in books and movies.”

“They are very rare,” Else said. “There are only a dozen or so in the world at any time.”

Tom looked around the group. “Does that answer most of your questions?”

Sam, Charity and Walter all nodded. Dave shook his head and lifted his hand.

Categories: Fantasy, Magic, serial Tags: ,

BONUS POST! Between by Clarissa Johal

February 18, 2015 2 comments

I have a bonus for all of you today. An Opener’s Closing is happy to be a stop on the Between, blog tour for Clarissa Johal. At the end of this post, there is also an excerpt from the story. I hope you all enjoy it.

L. E. White

Welcome to the Virtual Book Tour for BETWEEN!
Follow the Tour to Read Exclusive Excerpts, Interviews, and Reviews, and Make Sure to Enter the Giveaway!!
Second Place – Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012 
Clarissa Johal’s novel BETWEEN is a “haunting” paranormal novel that will have you on the edge of your seat!
How far would you go to redeem yourself?

About BETWEEN:

As a young girl, Lucinda was able to see spirits, a gift that didn’t come without its problems. Now, a dedicated young veterinarian, she is committed to the idea that every life can be saved.

After a devastating accident, Lucinda tries to escape her past by moving to a small town. There, she meets a newcomer and feels an immediate connection with him. But there is another mysterious stranger to the small town, one that stirs within her a mixture of unease and desire.

As Lucinda is drawn into a bitter tug-a-war from the forces around her, she is likewise pulled into a dangerous twist of past and present events. Forced to make difficult choices, she finds that the two men are locked in not only a battle for her life…but a battle for their salvation.

Book Details:

Title: BETWEEN
Author: Clarissa Johal

Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: Musa Publishing 
ISBN: 978-1-61937-459-1
Cover Artist: David Efaw
Number of Pages: 300
Purchase Links:

Amazon

About the Author:

Clarissa Johal has worked as a veterinary assistant, zoo-keeper aide and vegetarian chef. Writing has always been her passion. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing or taking photographs of gargoyles. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters and every stray animal that darkens the doorstep. One day, she expects that a wayward troll will wander into her yard, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Find Clarissa Online:
*Member of the Author’s Guild
Coming May 19, 2015 from Permuted Press
VOICES, a paranormal psychological horror
STRUCK
(2014) Musa Publishing
*Indie Book of the Day Award
*Nominated for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2014
BETWEEN
(2012) Musa Publishing
*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012
*Paranormal Reads gives BETWEEN 4 out of 5 Bats
PRADEE
(2010) CreateSpace
*Second round finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012
Short stories:
PIGEONS
Susurrus Literary Journal
THE ROPE
Susurrus Literary Journal
Non-Fiction:
A WAY OF LIFE
The Sacramento Bee newspaper

Praise for BETWEEN:

Paranormal Reads gives BETWEEN 4 out of 5 Bats

Escape Into a Book “I loved how original the idea was for this book, I haven’t read a book like this one…fast paced and kept my interest till the very end.”

MommaSez “Creepy, scary, haunting–just up my alley…gothic romance that makes the hair stand up on my neck!”

Musings from an Addicted Reader “It was haunting, unpredictable, and intriguing. All the characters were unique and draw you in from the first chapter. Excellent read.”

Shut Up & Read “I love a good ghost story, and this one did not disappoint…I’ve heard the saying painting a picture with words, and that is exactly what the author does here. Each sentence is vivid and alive.”

Happy Tails and Tales “I would recommend it to my fellow ghost lovers, Gothic lovers, and historical paranormal lovers alike. There are some interesting paranormal characters…I wasn’t expecting them…a really well done plot twist. ”

Demons Do it Better “Between kept me guessing. I had no clue where the story was going to end but I made a couple of guesses along the way and I was wrong.”

Follow the Tour:
Enter the Giveaway:
Tour Coordinated by:
~ Amber M. ~
Promotions Specialist and Media Contact at Musa Publishing amber.musa.ps@gmail.com
Owner of Sapphyria’s Book Promotions saphsbookblog@gmail.com

An excerpt from Between by Clarissa Johal

She had reached the edge of town before she realized there was somebody behind her.

Cronan quickened his pace until they were walking side by side. “Would you like to share?”

Lucinda glanced at his umbrella and continued to walk. “No.”

“Are you all right?” Cronan continued to follow as the rain fell in earnest. “You are getting wet.”

“I don’t care.” The rain soaked through her T-shirt, rinsing the dog’s spittle and blood from it. Her coat hung limp in her hand. She glanced over to find Cronan’s icy, gray eyes fixed on her. A surge of heat shot through her core.

“At least you could let me return the favor and rescue you from the rain.” He gestured toward the black umbrella over his head, palm up. “Enough room for two.”

She gave him a doubtful look. “Where’s your car?”

“It is still in the shop.”

“You’ve already returned the favor, Mr. Cronan. I don’t need rescuing. What I really need is for you to leave me alone right now.”

“No,” he replied, “I am not sure that is what you need at all.”

Lucinda pushed a strand of hair from her eyes. Rain pelted her body and rendered her outside as numb as her inside. Her T-shirt and jeans were soaked through. Thunder rumbled, and she looked up in dismay. Resigned, Lucinda allowed him to step closer to her. “I don’t want to talk,” she said.

“Then we will not.” They walked in silence until they reached her driveway. She hesitated before she mumbled a thanks and ducked out from under his umbrella. He followed her to the front door like a shadow. Lucinda felt him watching her as she fished the key from her pocket and struggled with the lock. Cronan placed his firm hands over hers, turned the key, and pulled it out. She paused, their hands touching, and waited for him to remove his. He pulled his hand away slowly and stepped back.

“Will you allow me to warm myself before I leave?”

She nodded briefly.

Cronan crossed over the threshold just as Darwin skated into the room. Lucinda stood, uncertain, as Darwin growled, planting himself between her and Cronan. “I’ll put him outside.” She grabbed Darwin and walked the dog to the back door. “Out, Darwin.” She held the back door open. It had stopped raining. Darwin sat stubbornly on his haunches. “Out, Darwin!” Lucinda repeated.

Darwin slunk outside into his doghouse and Lucinda shut the door behind him. “I’ll need to let him in if it starts raining again—” She turned around and almost fell into Cronan, who was directly behind her. Startled, she drew in her breath.

“My apologies,” he said.

Her mouth opened and closed again as she breathed in the scent of rain on stone. “I need to sit down.” She stepped away from him, heart thudding in her chest.

“You need a drink.” He picked up the wine bottle from where it had been shoved in the corner on her countertop. “Do you have a bottle opener?”

Lucinda shook her head as she dropped into the chair. She shivered in her wet clothes. He reached into his back pocket and withdrew a pocketknife. Flipping through several different attachments, he found a corkscrew. “I’m cold,” Lucinda whispered to herself.

“Feel free to change your clothes.” He pulled the cork out, eyeing her as he inhaled the cork’s aroma.

Lucinda watched as he helped himself to two glasses from the cupboard. She vaguely wondered how he knew where her glasses were kept but was too cold and tired to ask. Cronan poured the amber liquid and ran a finger along the bottle’s rim to catch a stray drop. Savoring the drop of liquid from his finger, he offered the glass to her. Lucinda’s face grew warm as he caught her watching him. “Thank you.” She accepted the glass, hesitant. “And thank you for the umbrella. I — I’m sorry I was rude. A patient died today. We had to put him to sleep.”

“Things die, Lucinda. You know that.” He knelt in front of her, placing his hands on her knees.

She leaned back in alarm, drawing her knees together. “I could have saved him.” Cronan’s gaze grew too intense, and Lucinda looked away, holding the glass firmly in her lap. “It’s not my job to decide whether something lives or dies. It’s my job to save them.”

“Everything gets its time on this earth, Lucinda. The trick is knowing when it is time to stay and when it is time to move on.”

“Is that the trick?”

Cronan grinned. “Drink. You will feel better.” He reached up and pushed wet hair back from her face, tucking it behind her ear. “Let your guard down, Lucinda,” he murmured, his face serious. “I have your back.” He ran his thumb lightly over the two small, white scars that stood out against the pallor of her skin.

She shivered at his touch and quickly drained her glass, frustrated with herself.

He raised his eyebrows. “You will end up on your back at that rate.”

“Maybe that’s where I need to be right now.” Lucinda pulled away from him. “I haven’t been sleeping well.” She picked up the wine bottle and poured herself another glass, grimacing. The wine isn’t the only thing overwhelming my senses.

Cronan chuckled softly to himself.

Lucinda turned and faced him. “Why are you here, Cronan?”

“In your house?”

“No, in this town. You seem quite worldly. Why did you move here? It’s a small town and not much in it.” She took a sip of wine and let it flood her mouth before swallowing. The sweet liquid slid down her throat, warming her insides. “People move here to get away from the city or to retire. Why did you move here? What are you running from?”

Something indiscernible flickered across his face. “Not from, Lucinda. To.”

“I don’t know what that means. You’re being vague on purpose.”

“Why are you here?”

“I’m here because my fiancé died.” The confession was out of her mouth before she could stop herself.

“Again,” he replied, his voice somber, “everything gets its time on earth.”

Lucinda caught her breath and turned her back to him. Setting her half-empty glass down, she steadied herself against the counter.

“I apologize.” Cronan was behind her in a heartbeat, resting his hands on her shoulders. “I can be quite heartless at times.”

“No, you’re right. Everything has its time.” A tear slid down her face as she felt Cronan’s breath on her hair. His presence pressed behind her, hard to ignore. The scent of summer rain on stone hit her again. Through the haze, she felt her heart leap frantically and clenched her wine glass as if to still it. He slid his hands lightly down her arms and inhaled. Lucinda pushed past him and backed up toward the center of the kitchen. She saw him clench his hands.

“You didn’t answer my question,” she said. Her thoughts darted around like trapped rabbits. “Why are you here, Cronan?” Her question hung in the air, unanswered. She watched him study her quietly, eyes burning a clear gray. Something plucked at her memory but then it was gone, leaving her confused. “I think it would be best if you left now.”

“Is that what would be best?”

“Yes, please leave.” He seemed to consider her request and set his glass down. Lucinda watched his thumb run along its rim and her vision blurred. A flash of Cronan’s lips on hers. Flowers. Laughter. A time lost. “You never told me your last name, by the way,” she said faintly.

A small, triumphant smile touched the corners of his mouth. She watched his lips as he began to form a word. In the distance, a glass broke, shattering his reply.

Cronan caught her before she crumpled to the floor. He held her for a moment and savored the warmth of her skin through her wet clothes. His hands moved restlessly over her body as he whispered urgently into her neck, holding her tightly to him. Bringing a hand up to her forehead, he pushed her hair back, and studied her face. Minutes passed. Resolute, he let his fingertips stray to her heart. He laid his hands over the beating organ but could not stay it. His face contorted in frustration.

Categories: Uncategorized

D.O.M.R.A.D. #2

February 18, 2015 Leave a comment

No post, just more story.

L. E. White

D.O.M.R.A.D. #2

The four of them stood up and Haley raised her hands up. “Please leave your bags beside your chair. You will not need them for this portion of the tour and they will be waiting for you in your rooms when you get there.”

Sam noticed that the goth kid hesitated to leave his bag. Haley just smiled at him and nodded towards the side of his chair. He frowned and dropped his old army pack.

They walked down a long hall that had frames on either side. There were photos of different groups, but Sam didn’t recognize any of them.

“AT DOMRAD, we are more than just research and development. We build tools and weapons to be used in the field whenever a magical event occurs. We are basically a bunch of scientist that work with magic.”

“You mean magic like illusions?”

Haley looked over her shoulder at the black guy. “Your name was Walter wasn’t it?” She turned forward after he gave her a nod. “Well Walter, when you say illusion, I assume you are thinking of stage magic.”

“Right.”

“We don’t do anything that isn’t real. When we say magic, we are talking about the ability to mentally gather, program and release forms of energy in our environment.”

Sam shook his head and looked at the girl. “I’m confused.”

She nodded as Haley led them through a door and up to a security desk. They each grabbed a name badge and pinned it on.

Haley walked into a small conference room. “A few of the team members will be joining you in just a moment. Each of you will be taken on an individual tour and they will do the best that they can to answer all of your questions. Before I go, would any of you like something to drink?”

Sam raised his hand. “Yes please,” he said.

“What would you like Sam.”

“Soda.”

Haley turned towards an open top cooler and extended her hand. A bottle lifted out and flew across the room to sit on the table in front of Sam. He stared at the bottle with wide eyes before looking back up at Haley.

“Anyone else?”

Categories: Fantasy, Flash Fiction, serial

New Serial – D.O.M.R.A.D.

February 11, 2015 2 comments

Hi,

I have just finished the third short story of the year and am working on editing a submission for an anthology. The next thing I am going to be writing is my first screen play, which will spin off of the latest story. Busy writing times.

At the same time, I keep trying to produce a new flash story here. Normally, these are just a little snippet of whatever the voices in my head decided to talk about on the morning I decide to write. That is why they are seldom related.

Today though, I intend to write a serial.

I have written other serials and posted them on here, but it wasn’t intentional. There have been three, but only one of those was supposed to be a serial. The others had someone out there leave a comment asking to know what else happened.

This time, I am using it as research.

While I am editing and re-writing as a script, I still have ideas popping up. The most recent of which was a cursed meat fork that turns whatever it stabs into a carnivorous version of itself.

Believe it or not, that is the seed that is feeding this serial. It won’t be in this story, but the meat fork of animation has a place in another story and I believe it might be novel length. That means that I have a little world building to work on.

This serial is going to set up for the meat fork story. Some of the characters and most of the locations will be involved. I don’t think this pre-writing will ever manage to be a publishable story on its own, but I still need to get the ideas down. At least this way, it can serve dual purpose. I hope you enjoy this.

L. E. White

D.O.M.R.A.D

01

The door opened and everyone got out of the elevator. All four students stepped into the lobby and moved to form a semi-circle around a woman in a navy blue pant suit.

Sam glanced around the room, but it was bland, with old, uncomfortable looking chairs and a little coffee tables between every other pair. A coffeepot and a vending machine stood in the corner beside a single door.

“Hello,” she said. “My name is Haley and I will be your tour guide today.” She looked like she was somewhere in her sixties, but her voice was still strong. She was almost as tall as Sam, but he couldn’t see if she was wearing heels or flats. There weren’t very many women that looked him in the eye at six foot three, so he figured she was wearing heels.

Sam looked her over, trying to get a feeling for his guide. She was clean and professional looking, but there was a small bulge in her jacket that he thought was a gun. She might have been some sort of federal agent, but he wasn’t sure.

“Now then, I know you are all anxious to get started, but we need a little bit of information on you first. Could you all please take a seat? I need you to fill out a couple of forms before we start the tour.”

The kids all took their seats, and Haley gave each of them a clip board with a sheet of paper on it. The top of the form had “D.O.M.R.A.D.” printed in thick black letters. Below it, were the words, “To Protect and Learn.”

After the group handed their forms back in, Haley smiled and looked around the group. “Welcome,” she said. “When you started school, you were given many tests, and in some of these tests you showed aptitude and potential in specific fields. You were monitored and tested throughout the years, and continued to demonstrate the qualities that we desire. Because of that, you have been invited here so that we might discuss your futures.”

Sam glanced around the group to see their reactions. The other two guys both looked bored. The black guy was slouched back with his arms crossed over the number on his jersey. He was looking at Haley, but he wasn’t watching her. He twitched a little, and Sam thought he was playing basketball in his head.

The other guy, who was dressed in black and had eyeliner on, was also slouched back. The difference was in his eyes. He was focused on Haley, and his lips moved as he repeated what she had just said to himself.

The girl in the group sat up straight and had her hands folded in her lap. She was dressed like she was going to church and she seemed to be paying attention. She glanced around the others too, and she paused when she made caught Sam looking at her. She didn’t smile or nod, she just noticed and waited a second before looking away.

“This facility is dedicated to the research and development of technologies that have yet to be defined by modern methods. You must understand that everything you are about to see and hear is classified. You will not be allowed to discuss any of this with anyone else. Are there any questions before we begin?”

The black guy sat up and leaned forward. “Yeah, what does D.O.M.R.A.D. stand for?”

The other three sat forward and Haley smiled. “The Department Of Magical Research and Development.”

Sam felt his mouth fall open. He glanced around, and saw that all four of them looked the same.

“I realize that answer will have sparked a lot of other questions,” Haley said. “But I can’t answer them. You will end up having almost everything about D.O.M.R.A.D. answered during the tour. Do you have any questions that are not specifically about the organization?”

The three guys shook their heads no, but the girl raised her hand. “Your letter asked us to pack for two nights but we haven’t gone to a hotel yet. Where are we staying?”

Haley smiled. “You will be staying here on the campus. We have dorms and you will each be in a room.”

They all sat quiet and Haley nodded. “Good. Let’s get started.” She walked to the door and opened it, motioning for them to go through. “Welcome to Fort Benjamin Franklin.”

Going out on a limb

February 4, 2015 9 comments

I decided to experiment a little. I am curious to see if any of you recognize what that experiment was. Oh well, whether you notice or not, I hope you enjoy the story.

L. E. White

Watchers

Red sat on the limb of an old oak, watching the camp. It was almost dark, but his replacement wouldn’t be there for at least another half hour. Orson was never late, but the clouds that were coming in were making the forest get dark faster than it usually did. Red wasn’t worried though, even if the weather threw off Orson’s arrival, things had been quiet most of the day.

When Orson arrived, he took a spot on a limb on the other side of the trunk from Red. “You going to stay and watch what happens? You usually take off the moment I arrive.”

“I was thinking about it,” Red said. “These assholes deserve it.”

“Did something else happen?”

Red let out a frustrated sigh. “They have been running all over the mountain today and they blast anything that moves.”

“Yeah,” Orson looked over at Red, frowned, and then turned back to keep his eyes on the camp. “It would be nice if only the people who knew how to live out here would come out here.”

The pair fell quiet as the watched the men. A fire was lit and the smell of cooking worked its way up to the watcher. As the darkness grew, more men returned, joining the group as the night took over the mountain.

The moon rose, bright and full. Her silver light stretched shadows down to the camp, where they stopped in a hazy line as they met the shadows cast out by the flame.

A limb below Red and Orson snapped. Red tried to look down, but he couldn’t see well enough in the darkness to distinguish what had broken the stick from the other shadows.

“Don’t bother,” Orson said. “I can’t see them either.”

“You can’t?”

“No. They move from shadow to shadow, hiding from the light. As good as my vision is, as many times as you and I have watched and waited for them to get rid of intruders, I have never seen them approach the circle.”

“Neither have I,” Red said. “They only do this in the dark. I’ve never stayed here to see it happen before.”

One of the men walked away from the fire. He stepped into the shadow of a tree. Red and Orson heard the tearing sound of flesh ripped from bone.

“When the men notice, then they will come out. That is when you will be able to see them.”

Both of the watchers fell silent when one of the hulking creatures came into view on the far side of the camp. The thing was dark of fur and the light did not reflect from its eyes. It looked like a cross between a bear and one of the great cats. Huge fangs reflected the light of the fire. It did not attack; instead, it waited for the men to notice it.

When one did, he screamed.

The rest of the pack charged out of the darkness, coming at the camp from every side. While the men went for their weapons, eyes on the decoy, they were torn to pieces.

Orson turned away once the men were all down. His job would have been to alert the pack if anyone had managed to get away. “Why did you stay to watch this tonight?”

“They killed my wife yesterday.”

Both of the watchers were silent for a time.

“It is time for me to go get my dinner,” Orson said. “Have you been on watch all day?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want me to bring you something?”

Red shook his head. “No thank you. I’m just going to get some sleep. It is past my bedtime, but I had to see this. I had to watch.”

“I know,” Orson said. “I became the night watcher when my son was killed. I understand. If you need to talk, you know where to find me. You can wake me if you need to.”

“Thank you,” Red said, but Orson was gone. The owl had left the tree with only a single wing beat.

The hawk watched as the camp was torn apart. He watched until all he could see was the smoldering coals of the campfire. He watched until the dawn forced the great spirits to return to the earth.

With the first rays of the sun, he cried out, letting his pain echo across the mountain.

Then he flew down to the camp site, and began to feed.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror Tags: