So I know I owe you guys something and I was bad, Krampus should come spank me but the inspiration wasn’t there and things have just been crazy so instead I’ll leave you with what I have planned for next year.
First as I’ve mentioned there are only 3 chapters left of Black Honey (Ball Gags, Collars, Leather and Dead Things) the following installment called Poison Honey will start somewhere in the middle of next year. I promise you all will know what happened to Thor at the end of Black Honey.
Second I’m working on a contemporary romance “The Wiled of Africa” and no it’s not spelled wrong. Wiled means “seduction or lure” for those who don’t know.
Here is the blurb:
Aquatic toxicologist Thinus Botha has returned to Kruger National Park to continue his study surrounding the dying crocodiles of the Olifants River. But there is a new enemy, one as brutal as the toxic chemicals found in the river, only the new enemy has faces and their targets are very different.
In the hunt for answers, truth and justice, Thinus never expected to find his heart or, be faced with the possibility, that the same man will break it.
Veterinarian Beau Doux, volunteered a helping hand to the Kruger National Park, as part of his two weeks vacation in South Africa, but the brutality of rhino poaching and slaughter of the wildlife is beginning to take a toll on his own heart as these majestic animals are hunted for nothing but human greed. In the arms of the handsome toxicologist he finds comfort and maybe something more, but Beau knows he shouldn’t fall along that path. Having your heart broken once was one too many.
But In the wild of Africa, no heart is ever broken enough that it can’t love again. The spirit of the land knows all and the wildlife has a teaching from which every man, woman and child can learn.
Here is a short snippet of Chapter one: (note there are some words you won’t understand I will have a glossary at the beginning of the book for my native words and trust me I haven’t yet come a cross a M/M romance novel set in South Africa so this will be a first.)
Thinus Botha sat staring through the lens of the microscope. Sweat beaded on his forehead brought on from the Limpopo heat. The overhead fan did nothing but blow the warm air through the small manmade laboratory in Kruger National Park. In the back of his mind he thought about the poor Black Rhino they discovered early that morning. Blood had been spilled on Mama Africa, her own child’s blood. Donerse foreigners coming into his country and taking what they want, the calf was still missing and this worried him. The park rangers had been up from four this morning, searching.
He heard the Land Rover pull up outside but paid no attention to who came into the small building. It was probably Reiner to confirm with him they had found the calf— either dead or eaten.
“Howdy!” A voice said from the door.
Australian? His mind whispered but the accent was off.
Without turning to face the former, “You’re at the wrong building sir. The reception for the guest lodgings are a kilometer up north.”
“Oh…sorry, my ride already left.” Thinus heard the drop of a bag fall against the floor.
With a burdened sigh he pulled away from the microscope and glared at his watch 13:13, he might as well go for lunch, no harm in taking the man with him.
Thinus stood, placed his glasses back on his face and turned. His mouth opened and closed. Opened and closed again.
Moerland! The man was a bear…and then some. He wore a white tank top, his golden tanned and bulging arms gleamed in the afternoon sun warming the mans back. The material of the cotton clung to his barbaric torso. He wasn’t just built but ripped on top of it. The dark curls of his chest hair clear under the damp cotton while the rest was prominently displayed above the neckline of his shirt. His massive chest was topped by two large nipples protruding through the damp fabric. Thinus’ mouth went suddenly very, very dry and he licked his lips as he took in the sight before him. The man’s light blue denim jeans wrapped huge thighs and he wore…cowboy boots? Thinus could feel the smile reach his lips. Those boots were going to be a bitch of nasty blisters in the bushveld.
As Thinus’ gaze swept over the man, he saw the flash of lighting in the distance and it was at that exact moment that their eyes truly met for the first time. Lighting blue eyes stared back at Thinus. It was the only way he could describe them. Soft and crystal clear. Blue as the ocean waters of Cape Town.
“Beau Doux,” the man had extended his hand and Thinus couldn’t bring himself to take it so seduced out of his mind by the man’s appearance. The suns rays caught the black stubble on Beau’s face. Beau’s hand slightly dropped and Thinus stepped forward and took it.
“Sorry. Manners.” Thinus laughed, as he shook Beau’s hand vigorously. “Thinus Botha.” He knew his grin was larger than life but he couldn’t hold it back, the hand embracing his was big with long thick fingers and rough calluses but the grip was gentle.
“I’m heading for lunch, you can ride along with me.” Thinus caught the man stare, a bit disappointed that it wasn’t at him but rather at the lab equipment placed about the room.
“I’m an aquatic toxicologist, come up every couple of months to look at the water in the Olifants River.”
“You’re not from these part?” the man sounded exhausted and his heavy American accent…that’s it and the cowboy boots.
“No, west coast Cape Town, ever since the Pansteatitis Epidemic back in ’08 I’ve been called up to keep a eye on the water.” Thinus bowed his head and rubbed his brow. It was still an upsetting issue to him, which no one wanted to take serious. “Need to make sure the river’s clean, can’t have one of our top predators die out. They are as important as the lowest in the food chain. Bliksem, sorry.” Thinus looked at the man.
“Pansteatitis is a condition where the body fat becomes inflamed turning almost rubberlike making it impossible for the animal to use its reserved fat tissue. The animals look healthy but are actually starving and the rubbery fat limits their movement. The crocks started eating the dead catfish down at the Olifants gorge. Chemicals in the water from near by industrial and mining complexes dumping their waste in the river.” Thinus paused, the man eagerly listening to his explanation arms folded over his massive chest. A smug smile played on Beau’s dimpled face.
“Yellow fat disease,” Beau cocked a grin, “let me reintroduce myself, Veterinarian, Beau Doux.”
Thinus flushed, knowing full well how his Afrikaaner skin reddened regardless of his own tan.
“Sorry,” but it was not the only thing Thinus felt sorry about. He was sorry for his own blabbering. This wasn’t him, he was always a drawn back quiet man, avoided most strangers and kept to himself. Why would a gorgeous straight cowboy want to hear an old man babble?
Thinus stepped back, “Come-on, I’ll give you a lift to the guest reception.” He bent next to the man taking the handles of the duffle bag, “I’m heading for lunch anyway.” He slung it over his shoulder, unprepared for the weight of the bag and almost toppled backwards. The bear cowboy reached with strong hands to steady Thinus.
“Easy sir,” Beau’s palms were damp and warm against Thinus’ shirt and skin.
“You offered that already. Thank you, that’d be mighty kind of you.” Beau was so close Thinus could feel the man’s breath on his face. Beau’s hand lingered a bit too long for a simple helpful gesture. Thinus swallowed hard. Finally, Beau reached for the bag and smoothly flung it over his immense shoulders and stepped out.
Thinus drew in a long deep breath, still feeling Beau’s warmth linger against his body. He stepped toward the desk and snatched the Sorento’s keys. He gave a last glance at the room making sure nothing was left out that shouldn’t be in the heat and locked the door on his way out.
Then there is The Wulf Chronicles (Book I) that will be released next year. I know the blurb says very little but also says so much and don’t expect a M/M paranormal romance this is more steered to wards fiction. Though one of the underlining aspects of the novel is romance, the book doesn’t focus just on one character or one couple it deals with numerous internal, fictional and very real struggles we face.
What if Werewolves were real?
What if one of them was different?
What if you were a defective werewolf?
Welcome to my life. I’m Michael Brown. I’m a defective werewolf.
This is not the story of how one night I got bitten and my life changed, nor is it the story of how I go on a savage killing spree left with guilt and dread the next morning. No, I was born one, born defective and instead I’m the one on the menu.
And here is a short snippet of chapter one:
They won’t stop, not until I’m dead. The words taunted me as I opened the door to yet another school, another town and another house. How many so far? Three? Four? Too many to keep track.
The one-story school was old, though the building looked new. Maybe it’s was well taken care of. Except for the gray walls and roof, the grass was green and the school steps were made of red-brown bricks. But inside, the hallways were poorly lit, the tiles and walls gray. They matched the gray lockers. The air smelled old.
Worst of all it was Friday. Who in their right mind starts a new school on Friday?
I can’t remember the last time we had a holiday season without fear of being found. There was nobody else, just me and mom. It has always been just the two of us for as long as I can remember. No dog, no cat, not even a goldfish and certainly no other family. I always found it odd when I asked about my family or my father, mom would just say, “They’re all dead and I don’t want to talk about it.” I never pushed the issue as it obviously distressed her.
I took in a deep breath as I walked down the corridor.
A stern voice came from behind me. “Should you not be in class?”
I spun around and spot an odd-looking bald man with spectacles that looked like magnifying glasses stuck to his face.
“Michael Brown,” I said and extended my hand. I heard mom’s voice in my head, ‘Always be nice’ and ‘a smile doesn’t cost anything.’ The man didn’t take my hand. “I just started here,” I explained.
“Mr. Clarkson,” he said in a rather deep voice for a short man.
“Could you please direct me to the administration office?” I looked down at his chubby hands covered in white chalk.
“Straight, turn left, and you’ll see it on the corner.”
I didn’t even get a chance to thank him before he turned and slammed a classroom door, the noise echoed down the corridor. And that, I noticed, was the only noise. Sure seemed quiet for a school. I turned on my feet, dug my hands in the pocket of my trusty old hoodie and continued along the corridor.
The lady at reception looked as dull as the school’s gray walls and could have faded into the background. When I sniffed before speaking, I couldn’t help thinking she smelled of mothballs.
“Good day, ma’am. I’m Michael Brown. I just transferred here.”
She peeked over her glasses. “Yes, Mr. Brown,” she said slowly. “The Principal is waiting for you. Please step this way.” She stood and moved around the desk, and led me along the corridor to the principal’s office. “Mr. S. S. Black, Principal,” read the plaque over the door.
He was a big man and handsome. Damn, I’m a sucker for older men. I’ve never had one, of course, hell I’ve never even been kissed before despite being almost nineteen. I felt like such a loser but then it wasn’t easy to make friends while always on the run, moving trying to stay alive.
“Mr. Brown,” his deep, strong voice interrupted my thoughts, demanding my attention. “You’re late.”
He stretched out his hand to greet me. It’s bigger than mine, hard and rough as though used to heavy lifting. He motioned for me to sit and I did what I was told.
“So Michael, I see you’ve been to five different high schools in a period of three years.”
“Well Mr. Black, my mom—”
Before I could finish he leaned over and looked me in the eyes. His brows frowned dangerously which made his eyes appear darker and his lips drew thin. The color in his face reddened and a warning rose from his lips.
“I don’t like trouble makers Mr. Brown and you seem to me like the kind of scum we’d rather keep out of this town.”
My breath stuck in the back of my throat and I felt my pulse picking up. All I heard was his heavy breathing … taking in extra air to accommodate his size. It sounded almost hypnotic. I found it curious he had no smell. No one just had no smell. It was quite peculiar. He still had that angry expression on his face.
“Miss Elena, call a student to escort Mr. Brown to his class.”
I got up to follow the woman, half-way out the door he said, “I’ll keep a close eye on you boy!”
I sat in the admin office and it was too quiet. So quiet I heard the rats nibbling on the wood of the office lady’s desk. I’ve always been the odd one out in my life. Everywhere we went and in every school I attended. It was like I had this big sign on my forehead saying, “Beware!” It was a short fat girl that stepped through the door of the admin office. The lady pointed with her long finger at me and the girl nodded. I assumed that I should follow. I picked my bag up and walked after her.
“Hello, I’m Michael Brown nice to meet you.” She didn’t look up.
“We’re not allowed to talk in the hallway, we can get in trouble.”
I rolled my eyes. “Seems to me Mr. Black should get the cork out his ass if you ask me.”
She stopped, looked up and said, “Please be quiet, and don’t speak of Mr. Black like that!”
It sounded almost robotic like it had been drilled into her, no doubt in my mind principal Black accomplished that. I felt way too vulnerable under his eyes. Well hot eyes deep ocean blue-green, but still intimidating. The man was just down right terrifying.
We came to a classroom at the end of the hallway, the door read Mr. Oliphire. She pointed at the door and walked off. I knocked, opened the door and walked in.
The classroom walls were painted a soft canary yellow. The teacher at the desk greeted me with a smile.
“Mr. Oliphire…and you would be?”
Finally! A real person!
“Michael Brown I just transferred here from Houston, Texas.”
His hand was warm in his welcome. “Good to have you with the living.” he chuckled.
“Thank you, sir.”
“Pick a seat Mr. Brown and once again, welcome to our school.”
Also let’s not forget The Witch King of California which is the prequel to The Wulf Chronicles and will be released after the first book so that parts of the second book will make more sense.
The cold front that has swept California for the past seven days is not natural. There is something in the air. Something doesn’t sit right.
Cole knew what he was to become since he could remember, destined to be one of the witch kings but never felt he truly lived up to the privilege of being called one. Now a sinister darkness is being awakened, darker even than his own power and it will test him and see if he truly is worthy of the title of the Witch King of California.
James is a detective on the brink of nothing. He lost his savings, lost his apartment and his job is on the line but at least he still has his status as one of the best damn Dom’s in California. Arriving upon a crime scene which clearly states satanic ritual, he can’t help but wonder if the supernatural truly goes beyond what people say it is. The case could mean his rebound but the suspect draws a knot in his heart that he just seems unable to untangle.
One destined for greatness, the other destined for a rude awakening but the question is who will save who and at the same time could they truly make their hearts beat as one?
Cole Garwick stepped out into the cold California night knowing it was wrong. Something was off. He felt it in the air, the slight tingle of magic as it flowed across his skin. It prickled on his hand and greeted his own. He lived here most his adult life and the temperature has never drop this low. For the past week the California skyline was painted in tedious gray clouds. A heavy bulked mass of darken shades of gray bearing the down pour they wanted to wash upon the city. The feeling twisted in his gut and the cold spread to his bones making him shiver almost like glass scraped against a chalk board.
He stepped off the side walk and continues down the road, two figures moved past him. The couple’s arms hooked into one another. They bowed gracefully and respectful to him as they passed. He returned the bow with his head to the two. They exchanged no words but Cole knew the burning question on both the man and the woman’s lips.
What’s going on?
He too had that very question plaguing him and yet has not come to any conclusion or answer. As he again starts walking, he draws in the ice cold air and blows it out and then stops, stunned at the fog breath that’s escaping his mouth.
The temperature has definitely dropped lower.
He pressed forward but gasped and took in a sharp breath. A flash blurred before his eyes. The pain wrecked him like his scull was splitting and his lungs tightened and closed up, he desperately struggled for air. If it was his first vision most likely he would have stumbled forward but he managed to keep his balance.
A girl not even ten, her petrified face burned into his eyes and her own stained with tears. The face smeared with blood and earth, then her eyes again, horrified, cold, empty and dead.
Unlike his past visions this is all he saw. The victim already succumbed to death. He could not draw from it or make out the surroundings. A vision of past events. Like the other four also girls, young and also dead.
He blinks open his eyes the effect of the forced vision still strong and present in his mind.
“What are you trying to tell me?” He uttered under his breath still fighting for control at the pain in his head and closed his eyes.
He heard him then cawing and flapping his white wings.
“Henry?” he forced open his tight lids. For a split second he sees his old friend flutter and caw in distress on a telephone wire but the after effect of the vision still held remnants of pain so he squinted his eyes again.
Henry rattled at him his cry indicated Cole must follow.
“Yes, yes, you bloody fool. I hear ya’.”
Cole focused, he felt the pain and the tightness on his chest slowly ease but still present, he managed to open his eyes this time.
The crow jumped to the left and turned its head to look at Cole.
Henry took flight, flapping his wings into the cold night air, Cole started a sprint after him. The white of Henry’s feathers were blunt and clear against the black night sky.
The streets were desolate as he followed his guide. He turned a corner and then another, by now more crows joined Henry, beginning a rapid song of caws. The hulking mass of crows grew but through them all he could still see Henry’s white feathers reflect the little glow that shinned from the street lamps. The crows flew further and circled around an area just ahead of him. He slowed his steps as the black gates of Sacramento Historic City Cemetery came into view. The mass of crows dived into the darkness of the cemetery there cries quieting and then died out.
A fluttering of wings in his right ear and sharp talons dug into the thin material of his wool cardigan on his shoulder, Henry nipped him eagerly on the ear.
Cole reached into his left pocket and retrieved small piece of cheese.
“Good lad,” he hands the piece to his friend, the crow in his ritual first thanks Cole by pecking at his fingers before taking the cheese from him.
His steps into the cemetery crunch under his black leather boot from the frost on the tar. The trees whisper though there rattling leaves when the cold air cuts through them. He could feel the air in the cemetery was colder than the surrounding air and the realization shook him; here is the place, here is the cause of it all.
He wiped the cold sweat from his forehead and drew in a thin breath. Henry took flight again landing on a grave stone not far from him. Cole follows, venturing deeper into the cemetery. The deeper he goes the more prominent and clouded the mist becomes around his feet.
In the distance he hears a faint voice, a short- fast whispering, almost as if the one is speaking to someone or something. Most likely in Cole’s case it would be something. He pressed forward. The voice became closer and Cole’s own magic responded, sending a gripping cold shiver down his spine. A warning. He tread carefully on the grass but stopped at the smell of blood drifting in the air. Cole calls to the darkness around him, pulling the thick mass of nothing to him. The light particles filtered out and he felt himself smothered in a vale of black mass, knowing now that not even Henry could see him. He gave a step forward and saw a figure in black kneeling on the ground, around him a pentagram outlined in white sand and five bodies lain out at each point. Cole gasped at the mutilated corpses of the dead girls, his blood slowed down as he realized what it all meant.
During the past week since the cold front rolled in little girls had gone missing. Front page news in the papers every morning. He knew the face as it appeared on Monday morning’s front page. He had seen her in his first vision and so too the second on Tuesday, the third on Wednesday and fourth on Thursday. Yet this morning there was just an outline and statement from the police, stating they’re doing everything in their power to apprehend the kidnapper, and now tonight he had seen the final victim.
“What do you mean it’s not enough?” the shape spoke, seemingly to the ground. He kept quite as if the ground answers back.
“Another?” he hissed, his face hidden behind a dark hood.
“Fine I will bring you another but these should be sufficient for your assentation into this plain?”
Cole’s hands at his sides turned to fists, angry at him self for failing to see the singes. He didn’t care who the figure was or what he was about to summon. They where only children.
“Children!” hissed Cole.
The figure snaps up his head in Cole’s direction yet dose not see him.
Cole doesn’t respond. The anger in him far too fierce for him to make words.
He takes a calming breath as the figure eyes still trails over the area where he stood.
And yet the figure is inexperience, to not know that there where the darkness is deeper and denser, another like him stood, veiled in it. Cole stepped forward forcing the light particle back into the darkness and lifting his veil.
“My lord—” the figure stumbled at Cole’s sudden appearance.
Then of course there is the Tooth Claw and Horns Chronicles: Neon White which is a 6 part series, the second one is in process and will be out soon.
Last but not least I’m working on a novella The Heart of a Villain which hopefully will come out end of January or early February. Keeping my fingers crossed for that one. So as you all can see I’ve got a shit load of stuff to do and I hope these have made up for my lack of producing chapter 11 for you all.
Happy belated holidays and before I leave you here is a short story:
Twelve Black Hearts for Christmas.
“Holly shitballs, it going to eat me alive. Again!” The two story building loomed terror and furious against the pale winter sky. Its front doors open wide like a snarling mouth ready to devour any who entered. The second floor glowed yellow like demonic eyes from the windows.
It’s only a building.
That’s what I thought each morning I stood in front of the hell of all evil, more commonly known as Saint Vic’s High.
Until my senior year I was the scrawny, dorky kid with a trazillion allergies and digestive problems. You know you where considered less than fly-shit when not even the EMO kids would touch you. Yeah I use to be that kid but not any more though, not since Josh Willbrie took my hand in front of the zombie hyena popularity pack and, front and center, smacked his lips on mine.
He, the High school quarterback and team captain kissed me of all people.
Gizznicks! No one gasped in horror or cursed. Actually, I don’t think anyone noticed. We spent that summer together. He even invited me to watch him practice with the team. Strangely, after that epic event, high school seemed less scary or was it just that now I had been accepted into the higher pecking order of the superior popular kids.
A big hand came to my hair ruffing the brown nest into more of a bed head.
“Hi Booger,” he placed a kiss against my cheek and latched his arm around my shoulder, I blushed every time. Smiling, I quickly forced the smirk off my face. He stepped around to face me and his golden brown eyes stared darkly at mine. “Don’t, please. I want to see you smile more.”
Before I could squeak a word his lips brushed mine. Fellow students past us without stopping to stare, it was no secret Josh was gay. He was like the trophy gay guy every one loved and kept high on the pedestal polished and shining and me? I was the speck of a stain so small against the backdrop that not even a microscope could pick me up. He changed that — ok by now you get it. The likelihood of us being a couple was like a comet plummeting into the earth and the human race dancing around naked with unicorn horns attached to their heads because no one got killed. Fucking unimaginable!
“What you got?” he asked as he pulled away and scaled the stairs but immediately held out his hand for mine.
“Bio,” I shrugged, “double chemistry then algebra.”
Our fingers touched and he wove his into mine, pulling me up the steps with his strength.
Our shoulders bumped and our backpacks brushed against one another while we walked into the school.
Stopping at his locker, not letting go of my hand, he retrieved his books.
“A full day in other words.” He sounded disappointed. I knew he wanted us to skip class so we could get busy.
Hey we’re teenagers, of course we did the whole getting naked with limbs in different positions and certain appendages hard as nails drilling thing.
“Sorry, Josh.” I apologized.
He slammed his locker door and pulled me to him in a hug.
“It’s cool besides you want to become a doctor so we can go live some place nice,” he smirked. Being this close to someone you liked your body did its own thing. Knowing no one could see we rubbed against each other. “See you at lunch?”
I shook my head, “You have a meeting with Coach,” I sneered and looked away. No one liked the coach and no one hated him more than me. Okay maybe Josh did. Coach, in my junior year, had forced himself on me and made me swore not to tell anyone and I didn’t except for Josh. Strangely, I trusted him more than I did myself.
The indents of his cheeks were the display of his fury. He looked up at the ceiling avoiding my gaze but I felt the squeeze of his hand tighten on mine, it hurt. Josh was never good at controlling his anger.
“I fucking hate him for what he did to you,” his voice was low and menacing. He released my hand. “It shouldn’t have happened to you,” he growled and slammed his fist into the blue locker leaving a dent. I’m sure other kids stared at us this time probably taking it as us having a quarrel of some sort.
I didn’t say anything I never did when he got angry. I understood Josh. I knew him or I convinced myself that I did.
“I swear Booger, I would do it myself. Tear his head from—,” the bell rang.
“Josh, it’s okay. I know you would but I don’t want to lose you,” I fixed the collar of his shirt that stood askew.
“I love you Booger,” he said quick and leaned in to give me a peck on the lips, “Catch you later.”
I gave him a smile as he left for his classes.
“Love you too,” I whispered and made my way to Bio.
By lunchtime the whole school was abuzz with the news. I saw Josh alone, staring at his lunch. He looked greener the closer I got and I know it was because of what happened.
Silently I sat beside him.
He spoke but didn’t look up, “I didn’t mean it, what I said this morning.” He stopped and a hard swallow followed his words. “Booger you have to believe me,” he turned to me his pupils dilated and his eyes red. “I didn’t kill Coach.” His hands were in fists trembling as he shook. It frightened me to see him like this broken, scared and freaked.
I clasped my puny hands with nibbled nails over his fists. “Josh, I know you didn’t. I believe you. You were just angry.” I bit my lip, his hard empty stare burned into my eyes.
“Did you… I mean were you the one that found him?”
He nodded and turned away staring at his lunch again.
“He had a hole in his chest Booger. The whole shower floor was covered in blood. Someone ripped out his heart.”
A cold shiver flew up my spine. Coach wasn’t the first. Mayor Thompson was found hanging from his ceiling fan spinning, spraying blood like the room was a blank canvas, chest busted open and heart missing. Like a chest–buster hatched there or more correct heart-buster, but he deserved it. The prick drove into my sister two years back, drunk at four in the afternoon. Now sis has to spend the rest of her life in wheel chair and she’s only 14.
Mrs. Glade, a ranching money thieving tax collector said Dad made a big jizz on his tax payments and we had to hand over every penny we had and forced us to move into a two bedroom apartment so small I can see my ass around every corner. She died; car crash, heart ripped out and missing. Found out later she was scamming dad.
Then there was Father Jackson, fag basher. Said Josh and I were an abomination and would both bring forth the end of the world for being together. He slapped me in public. Died falling out of the churches Bell tower and was impaled through the ass by the hands of a steel Mother Mary that was kneeling and praying beside a baby Jesus in his crib, smiling. His heart too was ripped out and missing.
Shit, all of them had had bad dealings either towards me or my family and all of this started happening since going out with Josh.
A sweat tear dribbled down my neck and slivered its way across my spine. My chest drew tight and the room felt suddenly hot in the midst of a cold snowy December day. I pushed my own lunch tray away and my stomach coiling in knots.
I glanced at my Josh, he wasn’t aware of my panic attack staring emptily into the space in front of him.
It couldn’t be him. I fought it inside me, it couldn’t be this beautiful guy next to me that had done this. Sure Josh had anger issues but he would never kill someone. Love? Obsessive in love, no he wasn’t, I wasn’t. Even the dreams we spoke of for the future were just that, dreams and teenage desire, ambitions and empty words that would never be. I honestly didn’t expect us to have a future together after high school. He would meet someone better, I always knew that. I always suspected that no matter if we said we loved each other it was just boastful teenage love and nothing more.
“You’re awfully quite all of a sudden Booger,” he said his tone still shaken. “Got something on your mind?” This time his words came ice cold.
“No,” I said and reached for his back with shaking fingers. “No Josh, I’m just spooked about this that’s all.”
Gently I ran my fingers over his spine. He jerked at my touch and I pulled my hand away.
“You okay?” I asked without thinking. He turned and glowered at me his voice and gaze were equally as icy.
“I fucking saw a dead body!” He slammed his fist on the steel table, the noise echoed off the cafeteria floor and everyone went silent. “You tell me if I’m okay or not.” He stood.
“Dick!” he snapped, turned and walked out of the cafeteria.
Everyone heard him and most likely every eye was on me.
I felt again like the fly-shit I was before he allowed me into his life.
The day swam past me. I looked for him during classes but couldn’t find him. By fifth period I gave up. He had probably skipped school and headed home. People kept talking low as they passed me either about what happened in the cafeteria or in the gym showers or about the heart snatcher as the killer became known around the high school. The police wouldn’t be able to trace the leads to me unless they knew what happened between me and Coach.
Stepping out of school, Josh’s best bud was waiting for me around the corner.
“What the fuck?” his hands clutched my back pack and dragged me in-between two dumpsters at the back of the school. It reeked here between the trash and ciggy butts scattered on the ground.
Billy’s plump, fat, sweaty, pink face stared back at me.
“Hi, what’s up?” I said dimly, this won’t be the first time he bullied me and I guessed it wouldn’t be the last. His fist met my gut.
“Were not friends faggot,” he groused.
I gagged at the blow choking. I got words out, “You’re touchy today.”
He hit me against the head the blow forcing me into the side of the dumpster. I tasted blood on my lip. Licking the cut I stared a bit dazed at Billy. “Have you seen Josh? I’ve been looking for him since lunchtime?” I asked in a hiss.
His knee came to my groin this time and I sunk to my knees to the pavement. The best thing to do with a tyrant is not to show them they’re getting to you, it works…sometimes.
“You stay away from Josh,” he spat at me the glob of spit landing in my hair.
“Fine,” I lied closing my eyes. Things got quiet I thought he left until his shoe was pressed hard into my chest and forced me back against the wall.
“Josh doesn’t need you to fuck up his life and turn him into some queer, we like him the way he is.”
His fist collided with my head and the pain raked across my temple. I lost my balance and fell with my face in the dirt. Good, now just play dead.
What the hell did Billy mean by “the way he is?” When you’re queer, you’re queer, or was Billy jealous? Bullies had secrets they wanted to hide or things they couldn’t face or accept about themselves. I waited, face planted against the dirty ground until I was sure he had left before I stood. A cigarette butt stuck to my cheek. I skimmed it off and touched my eye feeling it had swollen.
Walking along the path Josh and I would go, I passed The Spot. We’d always spend a 15 minute break here on the way home mostly making out hidden behind trees where no one could see anything. I noticed the snow around the bench, four ciggy butts lain where foot prints stood partly melted. He was here.
I looked around for the green and gold of his football jacket but couldn’t see it anywhere. I shrugged and kept walking. I paused in front of his house but decided against the idea of seeing if he was home. My face felt tender after Billy’s carnage and likely swollen. I’d be home alone till mom came back from picking up my sister from after care. I could hide in my room doing homework saying that I wasn’t hungry for dinner— it was the usual safety measure I took after getting beaten up. It allowed me to avoid my parents ranting and making matters worse by laying a complaint to the principal.
Night came and with it, the dreams. I had had them since I was 12 years old.
I’m always running in the woods, snow crunching under my wedge hooves, cold air hissed against my bare pale-gray skin. Bigger than I could ever be my shoulders swelled to enormous proportions, thick arms and bloated biceps. My chest was bare like some deranged caveman, my hair long black and wild against the frame of my angular face. A pelt of fur covered my body except for my chest. A pink fleshed tongue dangles from my mouth alive with a consciousness of its own. Ivory split horns root up from my scalp that waved backwards. My breath comes ragged in grunts as I exhale warm vapor into the cold air.
I am dominant but always scared as I ran from something. I never looked back to see what was chasing me. There is a sack on my shoulder and I clutch it fiercely with clawed hands as if my very life depends on what’s inside. And there is something inside, plenty of someone and they struggle agents the woven sack. Chains attach to shackles rattling from around my wrists stating that I was formally bound or kept captive.
As I run the woods grow denser and darker around me and my heart pounds like a rhythmic mantra in my colossal chest.
Voices grow closer behind me and I am cornered with nowhere to run. The voices grow in their angered uproar to me, in tongues I do not understand. I turn to them with there pitch forks in hand and sweltering torches. They try to poke me and cuddle closer.
The trees burst into flames and I am terrified. The heat of the infernos eats the shrouding forest. It calls to memory a darkness pain and anger that I do not understand but the fear is stronger. The sack falls to the ground and children crawl from it in endless numbers brushed, broken and friable. They cry blood from their eyes, screaming and calling for their mothers and fathers. The world spins and it’s hard to breathe as the smoke choke up my lungs. I fall to the snow my face against the ice white and usually the dream ends here, but not this time not since five days ago.
The world twists and I am in a house I do not recognize. My hooves clank against the wood floors and my horns scrape against the ceiling. I can smell them the fear like malodor-urine poring form there pores.
A women comes before me yet I don’t see her face. There is a flash of light from outside against the steel knife in her hands. She tries to stab me but I grab her wrist and force the blade into her belly she convulses and falls to the floor bleeding, shaking and crying.
I bend on my hooves and a voice whispers, “She has done wrong, take it from her, she does not deserve it and she must be punished!”
I reach out a claw and tear into her torso shredding through clothes, flesh, tendons and bone. I reach the struggling organ and rip it from its cavity, its warm in my hand and still moves but she is lifeless.
I wake up, perspiring, my cloths clinging to my damp skin. I shiver and sake from the cold and the bile rises in my throat as I head for the bathroom.
Two days later, the day before Christmas, things were getting daunting. Rumors sprung up of more murders but the victims had been kept secret till today.
I was in bio and hadn’t seen Josh in all of the two days. A detective stepped into the classroom. My heart hurtled in my chest, how had they made the connection?
I kept glancing between the experiment before me and the man who whispered in the teacher’s ear.
“Mr. Loidl,” my ears perked up at the broadcast of my surname on the teacher’s lips. “The detective would like a word with you, take your things son.”
My hands became clammy and my skin itched packing my things in my back pack. Walking past the desks of my fellow students it felt like the walk of shame with every eye on me, all attention smothering me. Stepping past the teacher’s desk his hand fell on my shoulder. He gently squeezed it, a sorrowed expression of empathy on his face, my heart flashed in its tattering fury.
I stepped out of the classroom and the burly detectives stood waiting.
“Yes?” I cocked an eyebrow and tighten my hold on my back pack straps.
“Detective Kollel, I would like to ask you a couple of questions regarding a missing person.”
I silently nodded to the large detective who stood with his arms around his chest. His hair was chaotic and he had gray stubble.
“Do you know Billy Hacklow? Have you seen him since Monday?”
“Yes I know him but haven’t seen him since,” which was the truth. I actually haven’t seen him since he busted me up but I didn’t tell him that, I didn’t want a finger pointed at me.
“Josh Willbrie have you seen him since Monday?”
I froze, my boy was missing. My heart slowed down, what if the heart snatcher was someone that took revenge on anyone that brought me harm? I took a leveled breath and shook my head.
The detectives asked more questions but my mind was a wandering bullet. What if the heart snatcher got to Josh because we had a fall out? Could it then be a fellow student?
He asked my whereabouts and I explained my routes and routines to and from school.
By the time he had finished school was out and the corridors eerily quite as I made my way outside. A pain had started to form in my chest. I was worried about Josh and he was missing along with Billy. I jogged towards his house placing my hope that maybe, just maybe his parents kept him home because he might be traumatized from finding Coach’s body.
His house was dark walking up the steps to the large cherry wood front door. My heart rushing away in my ears as I rang the bell. By the fifth attempt my fingers were shaking, my skin itched and a cold sweat had gathered on my neck and back. My breathing was quaking. I made my way to the back of the house climbing over the fence. Neither Josh’s Mother nor Father liked me I wasn’t particularly welcome at their house but also not banned either.
The sky grew heavy with dark gray clouds and a snow flake found its way to the already bleached earth. The temperature had plummeted quickly. His house led to the back part of the woods. I rounded the corner and saw the blood smears in the snow. A body had been dragged across into the woods.
Why hadn’t the police searched his house and where the hell were his parents? I stepped up to the sliding door. Peering inside the Christmas tree was overturned and ornaments lay scattered across the floor. A struggle had occurred of some sort. My eyes wandered and took in the sight. It came to me in a flash, I was in here last night and I recognized the interior, one of the dream. I halted, my breath left a fog against the glass. There was a slight gap to the sliding door as if someone had closed it but not checked if it was properly shut. I shoved my hand in my pocket for my mobile phone. The screen was cracked and the battery didn’t fit into it well so I had a rubber band keeping it in place. I was about to dial 911 when a rustle across the yard pulled my attention away. The flash of a green and gold jacket sparked my feet and before I could find myself I was dashing cross the snow into the woods.
I could hear footsteps before me but could not see anyone.
“Josh.” I whispered but grim silence lingered. The crackling of fire wood drew me to a faint glow in the distance. My running stopped and steadily I walked towards it. Darkness quickly swallowed the world around me and then I stood before the fire.
“Josh.” I whispered. A silhouette with its face concealed under a black hood stepped out.
I could see it was him, not by the jacket but by his frame. The large wide shoulders and chest, his jeans enveloped around his firm thighs. Something in me calmed in that moment knowing he was still alive. He stepped forward and stood in front of me.
A low wheezing rumbled from him, a faint fog coiled with each ragged breath as his chest puffed and expanded, his hand balled into a fist.
I laid my hands on his shoulders, yet he didn’t look at me, he still hid with his head bowed and the hood covering it.
“Are you alright?” I whispered.
His head shot up the hood falling back as he showed me his face. Normally I’d take a stepped back but I couldn’t, not from my Josh.
His lips were dry and cracked with blood blemishes. His eyes blood shot in anger or fear, black veins stood prominent under his skin and over his face. I swear they moved with black liquid in them.
“Do I look okay Booger?” he tilted his head to the right and blinked his eyes. “Because honestly I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me.” It came out like dark tremors that I could feel vibrate through my hands on his shoulders.
I should step away, run and find help but I couldn’t. I reached out with my shaking fingers and brushed his cheek, a smile crept to the corner of his mouth more blood wrung from the cracked lips.
“I have something for you.”
I immediately snatched my hand away.
“Josh, we should get you to the hospital, they can help you.”
“No!” he barked and stepped towards the fire. “They can’t help,” he turned and held out his hand for me, “come I have something for you.”
I reached instinctively for his hand and he wrapped his around mine, pulling me against him. The fire and Josh strangely held no warmth.
“You’re freezing,” I whispered.
“I’m fine,” he nestled his face in my hair and draped his left arm over my shoulder, “look Booger, for you.”
My eyes bulged in their sockets. They would have torn from their sinew if I strained them any wider.
A silver plate dripping with blood sat before me and on it, a tower stacked with hearts.
“No Josh, you didn’t!” I stepped away from him and moved towards the plate.
“All of them for you sweetheart, all ten.”
“Ten?” my voice creaked “Josh no!”
He chuckled behind me. The laugh sent an icy shiver down my spine.
“The last two are special Booger, come on eat up. Don’t want them to go to waste.”
I bent in front of the plate, the snow my knee dug into liquefied and seeped into the material. With my shaking hand I reached out for the mountain of hearts.
Touching the first one I could feel it was fresh. Slowly I brought it to my lips and licked. The metallic taste of iron in this one was strong. The memory bolted into my brain. We agreed to do this once my mother told me of my heritage, my birthright, my reincarnation into this world from hell. The heart of the wicked and innocent where the requirements for my rebirth. I sank my teeth into the heart.
Josh spoke, “Twelve Drummer’s Drumming.”
Mayor Thompson, for following in the footsteps of his drunken father.
“The cycle continues,” I said swallowing the last piece down and reaching for the next.
“Eleven Pipers Piping.” Josh said.
My father for his lack of judgment and forth bring ill luck.
“Of a sad lament,” I reached for the next.
“Ten Lords A-Leaping.”
Coach for being an ardent prick and sexually aggressive.
“To be wicked and misrule,” I said with a mouthful of his heart.
“Nine Ladies Dancing.”
Josh’s father for trying to keep us apart.
“And ardent in death,” I reached for the fifth heart already feeling the change upon me.
“Eight Maids A-Milking.”
Billy’s brutality for what he could not accept about himself.
“We lay the old behind us,” a smile spread over my blood soaked lips.
“Seven Swans a-Swimming.”
Josh’s mother for her vanity and obsession with beauty.
“And pierce the sky to the heavens.”
“Six Geese A-Laying.”
My mother for passing on the heritage.
“That the cycle can remain,” I released a deep snarl and reached for the next.
“Five Golden Rings,” I could hear Josh more clearly now; his heartbeat, his breathing, the blood running through his veins.
Father Jackson for his beliefs and what he forced on others.
“But always be defied!”
“Four Calling Birds.” Josh’s shadow fell over me.
My sister and her innocence in this all.
“The pure will become black,” I snapped in a primal dark voice no longer my own.
“Three French Hens.” Josh voice equaled mine.
The hag that stole with her false lies and made my family’s life such miserable poverty.
“The wicked which has been done has been punished.” I stood and turned to my Josh, a tear trickled from his eye as a warm blood smile reached his veiny face. His chest naked and beautiful against the glow of the flames.
“Two Turtle Doves.” Josh said cutting with a pocket knife into his own chest. Blood spewed from the wound and he kept cutting.
My Josh. My beautiful boy for the sacrifice he made.
“By the devotion of love and loss,” I said and clawed into his chest and ripped out his beautiful strong heart. My jaw dislocated and I pressed the still beating organ into my mouth. Razor sharp teeth sliced and cut the flesh and I swallowed with a sense of pure blissful admiration.
He could barely speak lying on the ground dying. In a second it would be so and he would be gone but it was enough time for him to say the words.
“A Partridge… in a …Pear… Tree…”
My own heart, I ripped from my chest and brought to my now triangular jaw and stuffed my face.
“As a pair, the two become one!” I roared and fell to my knees. Pain sliced through my skin and muscle, clothing tore and fell as my body altered and I became what I always have been.
“Reborn anew.” I whispered to the dark night with my new voice that petrified the birds from there hiding.
I leaned over Josh. “We’ll make this through Josh.” I looked at his wristwatch then at his eyes. The golden brown lifeless eyes stared endlessly into mine and beyond.
“Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday from your little Krampus.” I leaned in and devoured his lips with a kiss smearing the taste of blood between us. My tongue digging down his throat.
And then… God I need to go have a shit.
Much Love Wulfy