I was cleaning up some files on my computer a few weeks ago, and stumbled upon this totally random excerpt from a story I think I started months ago, just prior to settling down to write The Demon Guard.? I only have one chapter of it, which is written from 4 different POVs, all in third person.? Crazy for me, I know.? Anyway, just to take a little break from the Demon Guard, I thought I’d post it.? It’s raw and barely edited, and sadly, has nary a word of? snark to be seen!?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Dr. Balthrop walked into the dim room, eager to finish up with his last patient of the day.? His raise had been approved, and he couldn’t wait to get home and tell his wife they could finally afford that beach house she’d been bitching about for years. ? Who knows–maybe he’d finally get to watch an entire football game in peace.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? He plunked down on the stool and scooted? toward the? metal bed, shivering at the chill.? For reasons unknown to him, the rooms were all kept at a brisk 62 degrees.? Seemed like an odd temperature for hospitalized patients.? Then again, there was nothing normal about this entire set-up.
After a brief glance at the monitors, he? focused on the? pale face of girl.? ? She? looked like she was made from porcelain, skin velvety smooth yet hard underneath.? Long black eyelashes fanned the tops of her cheeks.? He estimated her age at about nineteen, maybe twenty, because they didn’t give him information like that in the chart.
“How are we doing today, Skye?”? He didn’t expect an answer.? The prescriptions pumping through this one were enough to? fell an elephant.? The gleam of silver metal encasing her wrists caught his eye, and he shivered again.? He wondered briefly why such a fragile wisp of a girl needed so many drugs, and better yet, the rationale behind the steel handcuffs chaining her to the bed, but then stopped abruptly.? His employers didn’t pay him to wonder.? She was just another of the many Jane Does? his employers? had stockpiled in this lab in the middle of nowhere, all hooked up to? monitors.? All sleeping, so to speak.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? He jotted down a few notes on her vitals, then quickly rose to his feet.? He couldn’t wait to escape this Godforsaken place every night.? If the money wasn’t so good….
He’d already taken a step toward the door when he heard it.?
? Beep. Beep. Beep.
? He froze, his gaze jerking up toward the monitor.? Sure enough, the little red heart was blipping faster.? Her? pulse had sped up.? Significantly.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? “What the—?”?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? The crack of splintering metal barely registered before a steel grip? dug into? his shoulder.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Through the shrieking pain in his joint, he thought, this couldn’t be happening.? There’s no way she could have woken up.? But he knew, without a doubt, there was only one other person in the room.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Clenching his teeth to keep from crying out, he pivoted to meet the gray-black gaze of his patient.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Dark? hair? dangled limply? across? her face, but she made no move to push it aside.? Instead, she dissected him with unnatural eyes before speaking.? “Who am I?” Her voice sounded like a nail scratching against an emery board.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? “You…you don’t know?” He managed to choke out.? And then it hit him.? “Wait a second—you can talk?”
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Slowly, she tilted her head to the side.? “Who am I?” she repeated softly, while her fingers squeezed harder.? Seconds later he felt an unbearable pressure build in his shoulder, just before the ligaments began to tear.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Fire ripped through his arm. “Sk-Skye,” he gasped.? “Your name’s Skye.”
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? The pressure let up while she considered his response.? Just before her eyes darkened to slate.? Ice slithered across his back; they were the cold, flat eyes of a predator.? “You lie.”
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? A sudden blur, and then a sharp pain exploded in the side of his neck.? Before he could open his mouth to scream, the room went black.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ***
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? The man jerked awake in his car when the alarms shrilled,? piercing the night air like a bomb.? From the darkness of his car, he peered across the street at the nondescript building, located in-between two more nondescript buildings just like it.? The abandoned warehouse district–what a place to hang out every night.? Nothing ever happened here.? And yet….His hand hovered over his cell phone while he waited for evidence that something was amiss.?
Seconds later, his proof arrived.? ? He almost pissed his pants when the? lone figure darted out into the street.? No friggin’ way.? It wasn’t possible.
He blinked to clear his sleep-crusted eyes, thinking he was hallucinating. Maybe it was time to cut back on the weekend weed.? But when the petite figure took off with the swiftness and grace of a cheetah, he cranked the ignition and jammed the car into gear, hitting speed dial on the phone.
It was answered on the first ring.? “Yes? This had better be good.”
A harshly indrawn breath sounded from the other line.? “Then follow her. ? And you’d better not be messing with me.”
“No, sir—no messing. And I’m on it.”? He tossed the phone down and concentrated on following the girl, who’d just darted down an alley.? The sound of screeching tires in the background told him they wouldn’t be alone for long.
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