Touched

I wrote Touched for a contest with the theme rock bottom. Rock bottom has the power to bring out the best and the worst in people…

Touched

“Why can’t you people just leave us alone?” Vi asked, glancing at the window. Cole sat shackled and handcuffed, the white rag stuffed in his mouth a shade darker than his pallid skin.
Ethan sighed, rubbing his temples. “What happens if you get bored? What if the Global Government does something you don’t like?”
“So that’s your solution, to kill me? How’s that working out for you?” she said leaning back in her chair kicking up her feet on the table between them.
Ethan’s eye twitched, but he said nothing.
“Please hand over Cole,” Vi said.
“Why would you want that traitorous rebel? His death touch can be replicated by any skilled assassin.”
“I’m not taking the bait,” she said, gently lowering her feet to the ground. “Hand him over.”
“Bait?” he asked.
The silence weighed heavy between them.
“Oh, I see,” Ethan chuckled. “You don’t realize you’ve been sleeping with a rebel spy.”
Goosebumps rose with the sudden temperature shift and the bastard smirked. Vi hated when she first picked up new powers. It took so long to get full control over them.
Vi heard mumbling from Cole’s direction. She didn’t turn to him, but watched Ethan’s every move.
“I came here to get Cole. Are you going to release him or do I have to take him?”
“Avoiding the problem? How about the facts then, straight from him?” Ethan stood. Vi jumped out of her seat across from him. He raised his gloved hands and slowly removed Cole’s gag.
“He’s a mod too!” Cole shouted.
Vi shrugged, “I know.”
“How did I give myself away?” Ethan asked with raised eyebrows.
“The gloves.”
“Can’t be too careful with his deadly touch.”
“Or with my mimicry,” Vi said.
Ethan only smiled.
“Okay Smiley, what’s the real purpose of this meet and greet? If you wanted me dead you’d have tried to kill me already.”
“You’re not the least bit curious what my power is?”
“Why? It doesn’t affect me.”
“True, but it does affect Cole,” he said leaning down to Cole’s ear. “Isn’t that right?”
Cole sat rigid, desperately trying to fight his words. “Right,” he spat.
“What do you think of me Cole?” Ethan asked.
“You’re an ass hole with too much power and not enough sense,” Cole answered, with no hesitation.
Vi shifted on the balls of her feet. “So, you’re an ass hole? That’s not news.”
“My power is truth. I can’t be lied to by anyone, except you of course.”
“Do you want me to slow clap for you?” Vi shrugged.
Ethan glared at her. “Cole what do you think of Violet?”
Cole’s eyes widened. His breath sped up as his words were ripped from him. “She’s terrifying. She’s fierce, but in the most beautiful way.”
“How sweet. What secrets are you keeping from Violet?”
“Enough!” Vi stepped forward.
It was too late, the compulsion to answer Ethan truthfully was too much. “I- I’m not supposed to love her,” Cole said. Violet froze at his words as if her power had overtaken her. “My commander said to observe and report only. I’m compromised. Too involved to be objective. They’re scared Vi’s manipulating me for intel, but she’d never do that. I can’t help but love her.” He turned his tear filled eyes to Ethan, “Damn you!”
Frost radiated from Vi running across the floor and up the walls. The electricity flickered as Cole’s tears froze in their tracks.
“Vi?” Cole whispered.
She slowly tilted her head up revealing an icy storm raging in her eyes, like a hurricane, a hurricane of fire and ice.
“Magnificent! What else can she do?”
“You don’t want to know,” Cole said, maintaining eye contact with Vi.
Ethan stepped between the two drawing her attention. “Violet, I’m offering you a rare opportunity. We can work together. We’ll take down the rebels, pave the way for a new world, or you can join the lying, spying little rebels. The choice is yours.”
She tilted her head in thought biting her lip. “No one but the rebels would be hunting me?”
“Maybe a few government officials would hire assassins now and then, but it’s nothing you can’t handle.”
She locked eyes with Cole. “Done,” Vi said, extending her hand to Ethan.
“No Vi! Please don’t do this,” Cole yelled fighting his restrains. Violet waved her left hand freezing Cole in place.
Ethan grinned, “Brilliant.” He shook her hand and she pulled him into a kiss. Cole’s icy prison shattered. Damn, still needs more control.
“What the hell?” Cole demanded.
Ethan jumped back horrified.
Vi turned to Cole. “I’m too pissed to talk to you right now.” Vi waved her hand creating another Cole-sicle with the saddest expression etched on his face.
It was Violet’s turn to smile as she turned to Ethan. “Now I have your fancy little lie detector. What do I need you for?”
Ethan yelled pulling out a gun out of his waistband beneath his jacket. “Mod powers may not work on you, but this will.”
“How do you know what powers I’ve picked up? You’re just a scared helpless little boy who throws tantrums when you don’t get your way. I don’t think you realize what you’ve done.”
He said nothing concentrating all of his focus on keeping Vi in his sights.
“You and the Global Government set of that WMD. You’re responsible for the worldwide deaths, including my parents. You caused these bat shit powers, you tried to kill me, and now you’ve backed me into a corner and ruined the last good thing I had left.” Ice glinted off the tip of his gun. “You should have left me alone.”

Touched first appeared on the Wordhaus website 2016.

 

Touched

I  entered a writing contest. I didn’t win, but my story Touched is on the Wordhaus website. The theme of the contest was rock bottom. I think my character Vi is definitely at rock bottom by the end of the story. It’s set in a dystopian future where a small percentage of the population gets superpowers through government shadiness. If you want a quick read check it out here: http://www.wordhaus.com/touched/

 

Watching Over Brook

Andrew watched out for Brook. He always had, for the first few years she didn’t even know he existed. Until he started leaving her presents a few months ago. She didn’t understand, he was just watching out for her. Just helping. She filed a restraining order. Andrew still watched, still helped from a distance.

Today, he got a box delivered from her address. Finally, she understands that I’m trying to help he thought. He peeled off the tape excited to see what she gave him. Scenario, after scenario popped into his mind of what it could be, but inside was a letter.

Dearest Andrew,

     After months of watching you fumble after her. I’ve decided to intervene. Stop watching her. Stop following her. Push her from your mind or I will do it for you.

Your secret admirer

Ps

I love that shirt. The Rolling Stones rock.

He looked down at his t-shirt and back at the letter. “What the hell?” His fist drew, crumpling the letter into a ball. He knew he couldn’t go to the police because they wouldn’t understand why he’d been watching out for Brook still.

Someone was watching him, probably still was. They threatened Brook. He was going to have to redouble his efforts and be extra careful.

Weeks went by and his surveillance intensified. Sleeping only a few hours a day, terrified someone would hurt his Brook.

It was a Tuesday. The doorbell rang waking him up. He glanced at the clock, 2:37 pm. He’d only been asleep thirty minutes. He opened the door to find a box, with Brooks return address and terror flooded him. His eyes opened and he scanned the area. He picked up the box and walked back to his kitchen table. He sat down across from the box watching it. Listening for signs of a ticking time bomb or anything that would indicate what’s inside. His stomach was in knots as he slowly peeled off the tape. Each strip twisted the knots tighter and tighter until it was hard for him to breath. He took a deep breath and a strange scent hit him. It was coppery and made something primal in the back of his mind want to bolt. He looked inside the box and found his worst nightmare. Brook’s severed head was inside. He scrambled back nearly falling over his chair. Gagging, barely making it to the trashcan to retch. He started sobbing between dry heaves. When he’d calmed himself down, he looked in the box again. He’d never see her smile, never see the flecks of gold in her eyes when she was mad and threatening to call the cops. He noticed there was another note.
Dearest Andrew,

Look what you made me do. You didn’t take my warning seriously and she paid the price. So, now that you know I’m serious, you will not go to the police. Hell, even if you do its just another city I can’t go to. I really miss Central Park. You will not find a new girl. I’m your only girl. I’ll know. I’m always watching. Leave her head on the patio and I’ll take care of everything for you.

Love always,

Your most secret admirer

“She can’t go to New York. That’s where I’m headed. I’ll be back to avenge you my sweet, sweet Brook.” He put the head on the patio, ran back into the house and threw his stuff into a bag. He hopped into his van and drove as fast as he could.

A woman stepped out of the bushes picked up the box and looked at the head inside. It was a perfect match to her own. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and took the box in her other arm.

“You were right it worked. A bust of my head and blood from the butcher had him running. We have an hour to clear out of here. He’s smart. He’ll realize what happened soon. Yeah Babe, love you too.” Brook was finally going to be free of her creepy stalker.

Brook was right, Andrew was smart. Smart enough to realize that the killer would be coming back to his house soon. Smart enough to realize that the Central Park comment was planted so they’d know where he was. Smart enough to stay behind and see who picked up the head. Smart enough to know his Brook would never do this to him. Now Andrew could still watch out for Brook.

Succubus Scorned

“He will know my wrath,” she said as tears streamed down her face. She calmly flipped through the grimoire next to a bottle of bourbon on her living-room floor. She began the rhythmic chant of a language long forgotten.

“Who has summoned me?” a voice boomed before he appeared in her circle.

“Great, another man will fix it,” Melissa muttered under her breath. “I have cousin. After a millennia of following the Elder’s Covenant, I want to switch sides.”

He laughed. “Did you really think it was that easy to go dark? A little chant from a dark grimoire and you’re granted all the power from the depths of hell. How naive, especially for one such as you succubus. Unlike your precious little light magic, we have to earn the darkness that consumes our souls. Once we’ve proven ourselves worthy it’s only the beginning. We throw ourselves into the deepest pits of Hell where our souls are forged into the darkest, most twisted shadows of our former selves. Then we have to climb back out wounded and alone. Most never make it, but those precious few that do, rise to greatness like the world’s never seen. Are you willing to murder who you are now for the transition?”

She stood up and looked him in the eyes. “Yes.”

“I wonder cousin, what has caused such a dramatic change? I’d wager it’s a man.”

“Shut up and tell me what I need to do.”

“If I am to ‘shut up’ how can I tell you what you need to do?” She glared until he continued. “Fine. You should just kill whatever man is causing you trouble. They’re easily replaceable, especially for you. Bat your eyelashes and have another fifty to replace him.”

“I can’t.”

“Ha, that’s rich. You summon me to set you on the dark path and you can’t even get rid of one human because you’re in love with the man that has wronged you? You’re a succubus, a freakin’ succubus. I’ve got to post this on the Hellion Facebook group. They’ll die, and come back, and die and come back. It’s that funny.”

“It’s. Not. Funny.”

“Tell that to the 66 likes and 23 comments.” He glanced up from his phone and smirked. “Is that your angry face or are you a little gassy?”

She took a deep breath and smiled. “You’re right.”

“I know, it’s hilarious, but a little bit less funny now that you’re on board with the funny thing.”

“I never said he was human. If he was human why would I need you?”

“No, you can’t mean him? I thought that was just a rumor.” he said nervously rubbing the back of his neck.

She looked him square in the eyes. He flinched away.

“He’s the most powerful being alive. He’ll kill us all. Damnit, he’ll probably kill me for even talking to you. I can’t help you.”

“You know, you’re right about me. I’m a succubus and I should start acting like it.” She walked up to the circle he was trapped in and broke it with no hesitation.

“You’re dumber than you look. You should know better than to release a demon from a circle without some sort of binding.” He grinned raising his arms to cast a spell. “Too bad it’s only a mistake you get to make once. Your mangled body is going to win me his favor.”

“No, please don’t hurt me. If you’re going to kill me make it quick,” she said bringing her hands up shielding her throat.

“I’m going to choke the life from you,” he said reaching for her throat, taking her cue. As soon as their skin met he melted to her will.

“Who’s dumb now?” she asked. “You forget, I’m basically four of the seven deadly sins. I’m going to use you for your knowledge and your power. You will give me the life I want or you will die trying. Understand?”

“Yes, my love.”

“If only my magic worked so easily on him, but that would be cheating. And I love a challenge.”

Love’s Sacrifice

“Love should be celebrated not punished,” Angie said shoving the tip of her wand to the high priestesses throat. “You will help me break this curse or you’ll die.”

“You’d really blacken your soul with murder to be with that creature?”

“Ethan isn’t a creature. We love each other more that you’ll ever know. You separated us, just because he’s not a witch too.”

“If he was human, there wouldn’t have been a serious problem, but he’s a vampire a creature of the night. We’re of the light and cannot consort with such beings. It’s against our laws. You were removed from the temptation before more severe measures would have to be taken.”

“Now, I can only be in the sunlight and he can only be in the moonlight. Never to see each other again, but you’re going to change that.”

She said nothing, but the defiance in her eyes was easy enough to read. I’d seen that look on my own face enough times to recognize it.

A few murmured words and she was unconscious. With her wand she drew a protective circle around the Priestesses unconscious body, that would not only keep anything from harming her, but keep her from leaving. She picked up the book and quickly gathered her ingredients. There was only a small window of opportunity to perform this type of spell in the daytime, when even the shadows hid from this realm.

She returned to a conscious Priestess. “What are you… no. You can’t be serious. You’re going to sacrifice me!”

Angie ignored her and started the prep work needed for the spell.

“Please listen to me. If he loved you he would care enough about your soul not to make you do this.”

“I haven’t talked to Ethan in a month. Do you know how hard it is to be able to FaceTime someone you love and know that you’ll never feel his touch ever again? Know that he can’t be there to hold you and tell you that it’s okay when you need it the most? It’s the worst punishment you ever could have given us. It’s easier not talking to him. So, don’t you dare say he doesn’t love me.”

“Vampire witch relationships are forbidden for a reason. They always end in bloodshed.”

“That’s bullshit. You’re just scared that we’ll blend our magic and be more powerful than you,” Angie said studying the Priestess. “See, that fear in your eyes tells it all. That’s why you ruthlessly separate any witch who loves a vampire. Fear, and you should be afraid. I’m going to strip you of your power and lift the curse myself. Then Ethan and I will disappear.”

“If you even want anything to do with him after you cast that spell. Black magic changes people. You won’t be the same person that he fell in love with.”

“Shut up!”

“You’ll both die for nothing. A blip in our history books as an example of why vampire and witch bonds are forbidden.”

“No, you’ll die to bring us together,” she said and picked up the spell book. She didn’t like touching it, it whispered to her. Made her think of things she’d never dreamed of, dark thinks. She started to say what she needed to for the spell, but she couldn’t get the words out. No matter what the book tried to coax her to do, it didn’t feel right. . She collapsed by the circle and threw the book across the room. She was blinded by her tears. Now she’d never be with Ethan ever again and the witches were probably going to kill her anyway.

“Angie, are you okay. I think you stopped it. Every thing’s fine,” the High Priestess said from her magical prison.

“It’s not okay,” Angie said dropping the barrier. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened. I would ask for mercy, but after what I’ve done I don’t deserve it. Just don’t punish Ethan. He didn’t know what I was doing. I swear, he had no idea. Please, please just don’t hurt him,” she said starting to sob again.

The High Priestess knelt beside Angie. “You were tested, both of you. You’ve proven your love for each other and your intentions. We’d like to make you an offer.”

“What are you talking about? Tested?”

“You were given a book of the darkest magic and you resisted it, even knowing that it could reunite you with Ethan again if you used it.”

“You tormented us all this time on purpose for a test?” Angie yelled.

“It was necessary. Do you want to hear our offer?”

Her face was slowly turning red. She let out a breath, crossed her arms over her chest, and nodded. Not trusting herself enough to speak.

“We’ll make you both human. Strip you of your magic and let you live a normal human life together.”

“What’s the catch?”

“No catch. You keep your memories. You keep your pasts to yourself. Have a normal human life together.”

Angie was surprised. She’d never heard of anything like that before and she’d researched reversing Ethan’s condition for months. They knew from their people’s history that if he tried to turn her she’d die. Now she wondered how much of that was true?

“It sounds good to me, but I’ll need to talk it over with Ethan first.” The High Priestess laughed.

“What?”

“That’s exactly what Ethan said.”

I’d give up my magic for Ethan in a heartbeat, but could I ask him to give up his immortality?

Desperation and Death

Death came for me with both hands. This was something I’d been training for my entire life, but people telling you that you’ll face Death, with a capital D, and facing Death are two very different things.

They didn’t prepare me for the cold. Sharp, burning iciness radiated into me, leeching my warmth where his hands gripped my throat. “Your time is up Sonya. Your name’s on my list. You’ll be reaped, just like the others,” Death said. His voice was enticing, like a sweet ice tea on a scorching hot summer day, tempting you to embrace the coldness.

“Sorry, that doesn’t work for me,” I rasped. My fist caught his jaw, only succeeding in knocking down his hood and probably breaking a knuckle.

He laughed and I glared into his eyes. They were so light, almost white. You could see great sorrow there. It almost made me feel sorry for what I was about to do, almost.

I kicked him in the stones as hard as I could, while sweeping my arms across his to break the hold he still had on my throat.

His laughter shook my entire body. “Do you think Death feels pain? You can’t physically harm me. Just give into it and this will be much easier for both of us.”

“Fine, I’ll give into my baser instincts.” My head dropped back and my eyes glowed with the tell, tell signs of something otherworldly.

“A lycanthrope? They are getting desperate to catch me. It doesn’t matter, you’ll die just like the rest.”

I tried to finish the change, but my energy was depleted. If I didn’t transform soon I was going to die.

“Having trouble are we?”

“You could just help us you know?”

“I’m bound by the Laws of Nature.”

“I’m honor bound to change your mind one way or another.”

“You will die first.”

“You really don’t care that they’re slaughtering thousands for their own entertainment?” He said nothing, but his grip loosened a little. “You’re one of the most powerful beings still around. You’re too powerful for someone to control, even my people. Power corrupts. So, if you’d just help…”

“I can’t. I wish I could help you,” he said as his grip tightened and the cold intensified. “I’m sorry.”

You know that saying, if you back a dog into a corner it’s going to bite? I was weak from my partial change and on the brink of death. I needed an external power source to fuel my change. Normally, that would be from the pack or the moon. Death severed those links. My heart faltered and something snapped into place. The only available power source was Death, and somehow I used it. Focusing on the painless void until it was mine. The power seemed endless, healing me, and replenishing my lost life. I reveled in it. Then there was nothing, but the echoes of power lingering in me.

“What the hell did you do?”

“Look, I can’t hurt you. You can’t kill me. You can help me now or I can follow you around forever pissing you off at every opportunity until you help us. Either way you’re going to help me. One just has a substantially less body count.”

“Seriously, what the hell did you do?” he repeated.

She grinned at him.

“I could probably figure out how to kill you.”

“By that time you’d miss me. So, you couldn’t do it.”

“Doubtful,” he said dryly. “I have to warn you, when the Laws of Nature are broken the consequences are unpredictable.”

“Honey, I’m a walking example of what happens when the Laws of Nature are broken. We have a tyrant to overthrow.”