This Sample is from the first installment of a new series called “Fanged Love.” “Fanged Destiny (Fanged Love #1) will be released late Spring 2013.
I shifted in my chair, hoping a move would alleviate some of the pain. I glanced quickly at Nathan and T, and then resumed watching the moon.
Knowing that the Moon Goddess was gazing upon me brought a great deal of comfort as I sat there with those bozos. I felt connected to her somehow, and I felt she would understand why I was letting go. I wouldn’t be asking for anyone’s help, or hoping some knight in shining armor would show up in the bar and rescue me. I knew the only angel who may come for me, if that sort of thing happened, would be the Angel of Death. Realizing how absurd that sounded, I glanced over at Nathan and T.
“What time did she say she’d meet us again, Nathan?” T asked. T’s voice startled me as I heard him ask Nathan a question. His voice seemed hazy and far away from me.
“I don’t know why she’s not here yet. Something is wrong. I can sense it,” Nathan replied.
Lowering my head, I leaned forward slightly in my chair and rested one elbow on the table while gripping my stomach with the other hand. Something was amidst in the Nathan plan, I mused. “What? The internet chic wasn’t showing up to buy me like a pair of shoes?” I thought to myself and let a smile flash across my face as I buried my face in the crook of my arm.
“She’ll be here,” Nathan assured T.
“You don’t think she’ll send the church lady instead, do you?”
When I realized both guys had paused in their conversation, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that they remained staring at each other for several minutes. Jesus, who was the church lady?
“She’ll send one of her guys. I’m sure. It’ll work out. Have a little faith. Besides the church lady is too busy,” Nathan announced in his polite, yet commanding tone he used in public. I recognized it only too well.
“That reminds me. You need to tell me about the ceremony again. I don’t think I understand what I’m supposed to do,” T added.
“What’s to understand?” Nathan snapped. “Stephanie has requested I select someone I know and trust to be our volunteer. You’re it.”
“You mean I’m to be a sacrifice, right?”
I grew still when I heard the word ‘sacrifice.’ That didn’t sound good for T.
Impatiently, Nathan slammed his beer mug on the table.
The thud scared me and I jumped, and then I looked around apprehensively. Nathan ignored my movement. Quickly I busied myself with reading a few names carved into the top of the wooden table. Finally I returned to staring at the moon.
“Yes, yes, if you want to put it that way,” Nathan replied. “So? Don’t you realize you’ll be a martyr for the revolution? We need a volunteer, T. I can’t randomly pick someone off the street, a non-believer.
“Why not?!” T shrieked. “I won’t do it!”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Nathan yank T by the arm, pulling him close. His lips twisted and he snarled at T. “Sure. Fine. You want me to tell her that? You want disappoint you know who? Hmm?”
I held my breath and shifted my gaze to an empty spot on the table where I would have been served a beer, if I’d been brave enough to ask for one.
T mumbled a few words I couldn’t understand. Finally he let out a short laugh and replied, “No, it’s okay, man. I didn’t mean anything by it. Dying for the revolution is fine by me!”
“That’s what I thought.”
“Do you have her number? Maybe something came up the reason she’s late?” T asked, dropping the ceremony sacrifice subject entirely.
“It doesn’t work that way. She’s a smart lady. She doesn’t give out her number.”
I heard T sigh. Then he asked, “How do you contact her?”
“Shut up, man,” Nathan hissed. When Nathan hissed at any of us, it meant we needed to shut up.
An uncomfortable silence filled the air again.
“Fine. I’m gonna get another beer,” T announced and rushed off.
“Don’t stay gone too long!” Nathan shouted after him. His impatience was showing in his voice, even with T.
I jerked my head up when I realized I had fallen asleep. I glanced around, searching for Nathan and T. Had they left? Could I be that lucky? Quickly I brushed off my long sleeve navy flannel shirt to act like I was brushing away lint or crumbs from peanut shells from the set of small wooden bowls scattered across the table. The idea of eating anything made me nauseated.
I knew my main goal tonight was to stay conscious until the crowd in the bar picked up. The usual anxiety I experienced while being in Nathan’s company was changing into calmness, almost peace. It probably wouldn’t be much longer. Were they really gone? Maybe I could stand up and look around for them?
I leaned slightly forward, hoping to exit my chair and a wave of nausea seized me. It was worse than before. I’ll sit here for a few minutes, I decided. Then I’ll ask if anyone has seen Nathan. Maybe they’ll remember he used to work here.
Glancing up at the moon, I attempted to visualize a skull’s face coming out of the evening moon, a flaming skull that would zero in on Nathan and stop him in his tracks like a runaway comet. Out of nowhere my recollection of the time I had told Max he should change the name of his bar came to me.
“Why should we call it the Golden Skull? What is a golden skull? Why not silver or blazing. Oh! The Flaming Skull. Max, that’s it!” I had said.
Max reminded me a lot of Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead. He was a cool, hippy version of Santa Claus. I couldn’t help but love the man.
“I appreciate your suggestions, darling. But I named it after Jeremy’s mother, God rest her soul. She had hair as golden as sunshine. I added skull to make it sound cooler. I can’t go and change it.”
I smiled at the moon and folded my arms around me. The wetness under my arm was throbbing and hurt like Hell. Hopefully the dark flannel pattern would hide the blood from my wounds.
“Okay, Max. Have it your way,” I said aloud, forgetting myself.
An image of Max’s face materialized across the moon. He smiled at me with that glint in his eye he had and flashed me a couple of gold capped front teeth. I had often thought that the bar had been named after his teeth and not his dearly departed wife of twenty years, but there was no arguing with Max. Suddenly the image faded.
I shifted again in my seat, and then froze catching my breath as the pain wrapped across my midsection with renewed fury. Maybe I could make it to the restroom to check my bandages? Slowly I exhaled. The pain floated away, however briefly. I hesitated. The brilliance of the moon caught my eye again. Quickly I resumed my thoughts about the good memories I had had once in this bar. I was going to miss this place.
If I had sold Max on the idea of calling the place the Flaming Skull, I could easily have a weapon to use on Nathan and T when they returned. I could be sitting here waiting with several skull-shaped shot glasses full of whiskey, eyeballing them to see if they would ignite. Wouldn’t that be fun? I hadn’t tested the trick I supposedly got the night of my transformation, but I was fairly sure I could make inanimate objects burst into flames. It was worth a try. Wasn’t it? But attempting to do it to a person was probably a pipe dream.
I imagined myself waltzing over to Max, who I knew was usually sitting at the end of the bar by his precious vintage cigarette vending machine, and pitching my idea to him including the crispy critter Nathan and T scenario to see if he’d give me my old job back. I hadn’t ever asked my former boss what he thought of my boyfriend, but seeing the twisted frown surface on his winkled face when Nathan appeared in the bar was enough proof.
Since I was unable to stand, I resigned myself to settling in the chair next to me, so I would have my back to the windows. Maybe I could spot Nathan and T? Could I make a run for it then? I searched the back of the bar, looking past Max’s cigarette machine. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one of the customers sitting at a large square table near the exit door. She seemed very comfortable at her table, typing on her laptop and texting now and again on her phone. She played with a few strands of her long black hair while she rested one hand on the keyboard, thinking. It didn’t take much more observation to see she was a confident lady, strong and decisive. I instantly wanted to hate her, but I didn’t have a good reason to do so. I was being silly. She and I were on the same team, being female. Suddenly I remembered I didn’t have any girlfriends really. Just Nathan and T, and I couldn’t count them as friends. I was always surrounded by men. I dismissed the line of absurdity my thinking was taking, and focused on my current situation.
Maybe this woman had seen Nathan and T? There was something odd about her. Despite knowing it was risky on my part to be staring at anyone, I continued to admire her. I couldn’t help it. If only I could make contact with this woman. Would she help me?
Jeremy appeared at her table with a glass skull shaped bottle. It looked like it was about the size of a cantaloupe and had a gold cap. Yes, that’s right. Max’s brand of tequila. That could be the flaming skull, I thought. Had Max really started selling a line of his own liquors? Well good for him. Maybe he had taken me up on that idea after all. I smiled to myself.
As Jeremy placed the bottle on the table, he paused for a moment, talking to her. The woman shook her head and smiled at Jeremy. He walked away. Then the woman looked over at me. I froze. I didn’t realize she had become aware of my watching her. What could I do? Could I plead for help, motion for her to join me? “I’ll kill em all.” Nathan’s threat sounded again in my head.
A sharp pain in my left side brought me back to reality and reminded me escaping my current situation was not a possibility. I had made that decision after I had gotten off the phone with Nathan, and I had to stick to it. All negative thoughts he had towards me, he shared freely. And when I had refused to play along with Nathan and his gang, he had decided to get rid of me. But not in the way a person would normally do like just breaking up with the other person. Nathan had decided to sell me as a commodity to the woman he had met on the internet, the Stephanie chic.
As if I were ignoring my one opportunity at freedom, I decided to forget the black haired lady sitting at the table and looked away.
Copyright 2012 Ally Thomas