May 28, 2010

Artwork by Ana M Berry

The deaths had continued in the weeks and months that had followed the meeting at Blaylocke with Dain DelaCrosse. Jason Macguire was the next to die, followed only a short time later by Ernest Stanton.

Arthur And Dain had grown quite close in that time, as is apt to happen in times of war. And he seemed pleased with Mr. DelaCrosse's interest in Elizabeth, encouraging it even. But he had no way of knowing the truth of their relationship. That they had become lovers, that as Elizabeth provided him with an alibi, he had eliminated John and Chester Amblin. That Elizabeth had carried a note from Dain to Dr. Stanley that saw to the poisoning deaths of Henry and Edward Farrolli.

Frank and Lyle Dearing were killed in a car accident on their way to visit Mr. DelaCrosse, in mid November, only a few short weeks after Mrs. Dearing had secured a sizable amount of life insurance on the both of them.

Sheriff Whitacker mysteriously disappeared without a trace just after the New Year causing the few that remained to question if he had run away in cowardice.

Completely of his own doing, Dr. Stanley, who in recent months had talked of moving his practice to another town walked off the edge of a seven-story building.

Before long, Arthur and Dain were the only ones left. And after a time it seemed as if the creature they hunted had spared them and moved on. Dain had encouraged time spent with the Dearings and had told Arthur that he believed it was their association that spared them.

Arthur continued to loath the Dearings, but seemed pleased that Dain had taken such a liking to Elizabeth and had not decided to move on as soon as the threat seemed to have passed.

Following a lead on a sighting of the creature by an associate, Dain had been compelled to leave for a time, but promised that he would return at the end of the week.


Chapter 22 - Souls Of The Damned

Elizabeth sat alone in her room, brushing out her long dark hair. She smiled in the direction of the setting sun, anticipating the return of her dark lover.

She pinched several strands of hair between her fingers and admired them closely. It had been nearly two weeks since she had seen him, and she had a new sense of vision she could not understand, a new sense of touch and a new sense of smell, perhaps she was beginning to change already... slowly, every time they made love, every time he drank from her. Until finally one day she would be an immortal just as he was.

There were too many complications involved with turning her right now, Dain had told her. But she did not mind this slow change, the ecstasy of it. All should experience it this way, she thought, but she was glad that she was unique. Her new heightened senses detected some one coming down the hall... the aroma was strange and yet familiar, it caused a swelling of emotions and nausea deep in the pit of her stomach. Her mind lapsed trying to remember a memory she could not purge from her mind... a moment of terror. The bedroom door swung open with great force banging into the bureau where she sat.

Alarmed, she jumped back and onto her feet, knocking the chair on its side.

Her father stood before her, covered in sweat and soot. The strong odor of it lingered heavy upon her nose, her mind spun, recollecting another time when she had sensed a similar rage. The memory was vague at first, and then flashed in her mind with an absoluteness that shut out current time. She was in a dark and dank basement, with stone walls. She was trying to escape, to get away, but she could not discern from what or whom. She was cornered, trapped.

Then, her eye caught a glimpse of what she thought must be daylight, she made a run for it but was stopped as a strong arm caught her chest and she fell backward, smacking her head against the stone floor.

"What goes on in here?" demanded her father, pulling her back into present time.

She could not find the words to answer him and she knew by his rage, that nothing she said would stop his anger.

"What goes on in here?" He demanded again, rushing toward her.

She wanted to run from him, but she could not will herself to move as another memory captured her.

She was being dragged, then pulled onto a table. Large hands pawed at her, she tried to fight them off, but the pain in her head was too much.

"Don't fight me, girl." The voice boomed. It was not her father's but at the time, she didn't recognize it.

She screamed.

A large hand was quick to cover her mouth. Whoever he was, he pressed the weight of his body on top of her, knocking the wind out of her, her head felt full, as if it would burst, and her lungs ached for air. Tears streamed from her eyes, as she tried desperately to take in a breath of air, meeting only the putrid stench of rot and filth from the hand across her face.

Her attacker's other hand pulled and ripped at her clothes, groping and fondling. Her senses swam, and she lost consciousness.

She drifted in and out of consciousness while he raped her. A fact that she was actually grateful for, as consciousness brought with it only pain. 

Her father grabbed hold of her hair and yanked her head back. He ran his hands across her neck, as if expecting to find something there. Tears welled in her eyes, making her vision blurry. All she could see was the ceiling and the tops of the walls. She looked toward the window but could not see through her tears. Her father's hand closed around her neck, his fingers digging in to her skin he held her tight, slowly choking of her air supply.

He let go of her hair; she moved her head down to view the window. Sunset. She knew that Dain would be there soon. But would he get there soon enough?

Her father had taken something from his pocket, he lifted it in front of her face; her vision was blurred from the tears, she could only just barely make out the blackened object that dangled from his fist. It was the cross he had given her, the cross she had lost the night she had helped Dain escape from Whitacker's basement torture chamber.

"You are in league with the devil himself," he said. His voice was strong but it cracked in fury.

"No father." She shut her eyes to the tears. His grip tightened around her neck to the point that she could no longer talk; no longer take in air. She wondered if Dain could still save her if he found her dead.

Her father released her neck. She bent forward supporting herself with the aid of the bed, and sucked in a deep lungful of air. The smell of soot, and sweat, and filth was thick and strong in the room and almost made her gag.

Another memory came rushing back to her. She felt the physical pain of the memory. She was crying, alone in the darkness her clothes were in tatters, her body ached, and she was sure that she was bleeding. She was sitting on a hard bench, her abuser stood before her. She lifted her head; she wanted to make sure she clearly knew his face, when she told her father who had hurt her so terribly. Her eyes stopped briefly at his midsection, he wore a belt with a large buckle that had a star on it. As she stared at the star and the words engraved into the buckle she realized that she didn't need to see his face. Only one man had a belt like that. Sheriff Whitacker.

"You little whore!" her father bellowed.

She turned to see her father standing only feet from her just seconds before the back of his hand met her face.

The realization as to why he had let go of her neck, came to her mere seconds before he struck her hard across her face with the back of his hand; the blow knocked her back onto the bed. He threw the cross at her. Her mind flashed backward again, but this time also remained in present time to hear his movements. The realization hit her heavy. She had been raped, and beaten, with her father's knowledge. She recalled her father telling her mother she had fallen into the sheep's pen at Sheriff Whitacker's house and had nearly been trampled to death. She had wanted to tell her mother what had really happened, but could not find words, and in truth she suspected that her mother already knew, at least in part...

Her father gripped tightly to the post at the end of her bed, he put his foot at it's base near the mattress and pulled and kicked, snapping the post free. She wondered if he intended to run her through with it.

"You are the devil's whore!" he shouted clubbing her with the broken post, it hit her hard on the side, she felt her ribs crack and the wind being knocked out of her. She coughed and gasped for air. She pulled her legs up onto the bed and curled into the fetal position. Then some strange feeling came from deep within her, a feeling she could not define exactly, the need to protect herself at all cost. The feeling came from deep within her, and somehow she knew it was completely a part of the new changes she was under.

Strength found her. She rolled onto her knees and jumped backward on the bed just as the post came down again. It caught her on the thigh of her right leg. She yelled and grabbed at her already bruising leg.

"You betrayed me," he said moving around the bed, past the window, and the ever-darkening sky.

She glanced briefly at the window then returned her gaze to her father. He was repositioning himself for another strike. She knew that if she made any quick movements it would only speed his attack, what she needed was time, as she did not have the strength to defend herself against him. She knew that somewhere out there in the darkness was her only chance of survival, and could only hope that he would he get there in time.

"Twenty men," her father's voice was deep and guttural almost a growl. "Dead, at the hands of that monster... dead because of you!" He shouted.

He swung the post again, instinctively she jumped back to dodge the blow, but the jagged end of the post caught her upper left arm making a large gash. She cupped her hand over the wound and recoiled further up the bed to the soft mounds of pillows.

"They found Whitacker in shreds!" his voice was still low, but cracked slightly.

Her mind flashed back to the cold stone basement, to her father back handing her across her face. Then he left and let Whitacker rape her again. Then he took her outside and pushed her to the ground in a pile of mud and manure

"Make your choice," her father had said. "Continue on like a whore and you can die right here in the mud and the shit... where whores belong. Is that what you want?"

She shook her head. The truth was, she didn't care if she died or not. Death would be an easy escape from the pain, but she knew that it would not be as easy as that. She knew that if she did die it would be under great amounts of torture and so she made her choice... her life in exchange for her soul.

Her mind became clear as hatred and anger swelled within her. It was time to take back her soul "I made a mistake." she said, her voice was bold and fierce.

"And you will die for it." He retorted.

He raised the post above his head, she knew this was to be his final strike; he intended to run her through. She could sense his rage, and his fear.

"Please, I wish to confess," she said pushing herself back into the pillows, hoping she could bide the time she needed. Her voice was still strong, but her mind swam and she felt weak.

He hesitated then lowered the post, waiting her confession.

She steadied herself, knowing that she was doomed, and that these words would be her last. The anger that grew within her gave her courage, "I asked him to let you live."

Her father's face went as red as crimson. He raised the post again. She turned her face away from him and closed her eyes.

"The devil shall have you!"


(c) copyright 2010-2016 Lauren T. Hart