Saturday, December 13, 2008
Sam Deveroux sat up quickly. He gasped for breath and looked around. The morning light bathed the porch he was sitting on. He had his sleeping bag draped over him. The memories of what had happened flooded back to him and he quickly clutched at himself. His shirt had been removed, and much to his surprise, he was fine. He remembered being stabbed, but there wasn’t a mark on him.
“What the hell?” He said astonished. He went to stand up, but felt his legs give under him. He felt a firm grip on his arm. It was Adrian.
“Easy, Sam.” Adrian helped Sam to his feet. The uneasiness quickly passed and Sam steadied himself. “How are you feeling?”
“Tired.” Sam admitted. “What the hell…”
“Later.” Adrian said flatly while looking past Sam. Sam turned to see his teammates approaching across the yard of the Krenshaw House. Randy Sullivan wearing his letterman jacket and a pair of beat up jeans was leading the pack. Sam looked down to see that all of his things were beside him on the porch. He reached into his pack back and pulled out the light jacket that he had packed. He looked at Adrian. Adrian was staring at him, his eyes pleading for Sam not to tell his friends what had happened last night.
“I’m going to want an explanation.”
“You’ll get one. I promise. Just…” Adrian’s voice trailed off.
“Not in front of them.”
“Alright.” Sam nodded and turned to his approaching teammates. He put on his best fake smile, and Adrian did likewise.
“Well, all right!” Randy bellowed with a smile and started clapping. The others joined the applause. It ceased soon and Randy climbed the stairs onto the porch. “Looks like you both made it.” Randy noticed that Sam’s shirt was missing. “Although I have to say, your lack of shirt is disturbing.”
“Ah, I ended up tearing the stupid thing. It got caught on something when we were crawling in through the window.” Sam answered calmly, and it seemed to satisfy Randy.
“How about you, Reese?” Randy asked with a smile. “You have as much fun as you thought you would?”
“Not really. Next time I’ll have to bring a more comfortable sleeping bag.”
“That dull, eh?” Randy inquired, only to be answered with a nonchalant shrug. Randy laughed. “Yeah. I was bored off my ass too when I stayed in there. Alright Reese, I still think you’re a weird-o, but you’re an okay weird-o.” Randy clapped his hands together. “Part of the tradition is buying you guys breakfast. Who’s hungry?”
“I could eat.” Adrian said and offered the best smile he could muster.
“Yeah.” Sam was growing more and more aware of the emptiness in his stomach. “I’m actually really hungry.”
There was a small restaurant just under a mile away from the Krenshaw House. I group spent the walk over there laughing and talking. Sam and Adrian were quiet for the most part. They responded well enough when spoken to. They did not laugh at any of the jokes that were being tossed around. Despite being the ‘guests of honor’ no one seemed to notice.
The restaurant was cozy and had a good selection for breakfast. The staff was expecting the group and they were greeted with smiles and quickly shown to enough tables to accommodate them. Sam and Adrian sat across from each other. They both ordered a hearty breakfast and both ate in near silence. Every so often they would look up at each other only to go back to their meals.
“Hey Adrian.” Randy called over from the table he was sitting at. “We cool? I know I gave you a hard time.”
“Yeah, it’s fine.” Adrian nodded as he answered.
“So, what’s up with that necklace? It’s pretty weird, man.” Randy’s gaze fell on the medallion that hung around Adrian’s neck.
“Family heirloom. It’s got a lot of sentimental value, and I like to keep it close.”
“Alright.” Randy nodded and finished his breakfast. The boys finished eating and settled their bill. They started for the door, when Randy noticed Sam and Adrian had not moved. “Yo Sam. You comin’? We’ve got practice in an hour.”
“I’ll meet you guys there.” Sam responded with a smile and a nod.
“Have fun with your new boyfriend!” One of the other players called. There was more laughter as the boys exited. This left Sam and Adrian staring at each other at the table.
“I don’t know who they were.” Adrian started.
“But they were after you.” Sam responded.
“No they were after this.” Adrian tapped the medallion with his finger.
“Why?” Sam demanded more than asked.
“Ok.” Adrian said after a pause. “I’m going to tell you the truth because you more than deserve it.” He held up the medallion. “This is a Heart’s Blood Medallion. There’s only five of them, so they’re valuable.”
“Those guys looked damn weird for dudes just looking to rob a couple of guys.”
“It’s also very powerful.”
“What do you mean ‘powerful’?”
“Sam, you saw those guys last night. You know they weren’t… right.”
“I really got stabbed, didn’t I?” Sam took a deep breath and remembered not being able too.
“How…” Before Sam could finish his question, Adrian tapped the medallion again with his finger. “I remember you saying something.”
“It was Latin. I know how to invoke the power in this thing. I was able to get rid of those guys. I was able to heal you.”
“If you could have gotten rid of them, then why didn’t you do it sooner, like before I got a knife stuck in me twice?”
“I don’t care.”
“Fine. The short of it is using the medallion is dangerous and could have killed me.” Adrian stared directly as Sam who fell silent. He struggled to take it all in. The lack of any other explanation made it easier. “You were dying. They would have killed me. Not much choice in the matter.”
“Alright.” Sam drummed his fingers on the table. One question was burning in his mind. He was sure he already knew the answer. “Someone killed your parents to try to get that thing.”
Adrian Reese paused and looked at Sam Deveroux for a moment.
“They same guys as last night?”
“So people… or whatever, are going to keep coming until they get it and probably kill you too.”
“Yeah, that’s about it. Sam, I understand if you want to stay as far away from me a possible after this.” Adrian said flatly as Sam stood up. Both of them were silent for a while as Sam pondered what had happened and all the information Adrian had given him. For a brief moment, Sam thought about walking out and never speaking to Adrian again. He knew that if everything he had been told was true then the young man in front of him was as good as dead as was anyone who was near him. The odds were horribly stacked against Adrian Reese. Sam hated that.
“You need anything: ask.” Sam said as he turned to the door to leave.
This month's artist: This month we get treated to the artwork of Dan Nokes. Dan is the creator of THE PARANORMALS from 21st Century Sandshark. Check him out!
Monday, December 1, 2008
Adrian grabbed Sam’s sleeve and clutched fiercely at it. The shapes of whatever was on the other side of the old distorted window were coming closer very quickly. More noise came from the room that the front door of the Krenshaw House led into. They both backed away from the window that had been their entrance.
“Oh God.” Adrian muttered. His face betrayed his fear.
“What is it? What do we do?” Sam looked quickly around. He felt as though the threat was all around him. Even though they were the only one’s in the room he felt suddenly claustrophobic. He struggled to maintain normal breathing.
“Run!” Adrian ordered as the window shattered. Arms were reaching in, grasping for handholds. The boys fled the room quickly.
They made it only a few steps into the next room when two men descended upon them. Sam could not make out their features in the darkness. He knew they were larger than he and Adrian. They said nothing, which Sam found unnerving. Sam lashed out, thrusting with his palm like he had done so many times on the football field. The strike landed solidly and his attacker was knocked backward. The man quickly regained his composure. Sam did not let up and threw a punch. He had not punched anyone since elementary school. Still the blow landed and Sam followed it with another one.
He could not tell how much effect his blows were having, but it was certainly stopping the man from grabbing him. Not wanting to tarry long with his opponent, he rushed forward and thrust out with both hands. The man stumbled backwards and fell over. Sam took the opportunity to see what was happening to Adrian.
The other man that had attacked him had a grip on Adrian from behind. Adrian was flailing and thrashing wildly, hoping to shake the man loose. Sam rushed to help his comrade, as more men entered the room. Sam could make out two more, but still could not spot anything distinguishing about them.
Adrian cried out in rage and swung his elbow behind him hard. There was a dull thud as the man reeled from catching the blow directly in his face. He gave out a low grunt, as Sam seized the man. Sam’s first instincts were to take the fight to the ground, due to his wrestling background. Sam decided against it and spun around, whipping Adrian’s attacker around with him. The man stumbled toward his accomplices; giving Sam and Adrian a chance to flee.
“We’ve got to get out of here!” Sam shouted as they ran past the stairs towards the kitchen. There was a back door on the other side of the kitchen. Sam was hoping their attackers had not gotten to it yet.
His hopes were dashed when they got the doorway to the kitchen. The door had been broken open. Neither young man had heard it in all the commotion. Three men were visible in the dim moonlight that shown through the windows. Their clothing was nothing remarkable: rough jackets over t-shirts and tank tops along with jeans on each of them. Sam tried to look at their faces. There was something wrong with their faces. Their eyes looked like they were shining in the darkness. Their skin was wrinkled, as if there were a slight excess of it, and is shone in the moonlight as if it were wet.
“The stairs.” Adrian said flatly. Taking the cue, Sam ran back towards the stairs, with Adrian right behind him. The men that had attacked them were at the foot of the stairs. They stood in the darkness waiting to grab the boys as they approached. Sam spotted them and quickly picked up speed, rushing towards them. They moved as if surprised, and that was all the opening Sam Deveroux needed.
Sam crashed into the man in front, shoving as hard as he could. This knocked the lead man into the others, giving the boys enough room to begin up the stairs. The three men from the kitchen were in close pursuit.
The stairway curved as it led to the second floor. Sam followed Adrian up as fast as they were both able. About halfway up, Adrian’s foot crashed through one of the aged steps, and he sunk to mid-calf.
“No! Dammit!” Adrian cursed as he struggled to free his leg. Sam caught up to Adrian and grabbed his companion’s arm, pulling in hopes of freeing him. Sam glanced back and saw their pursuers closing in. With a cry of pain, Adrian pulled his leg loose. Sam spun around and grabbed the banister for support. It shook in his grip as he kicked out at one of the men. The kick did not land very well, but the uneven footing of the steps caused both Sam and the one he kicked to fall. Ever the athlete, Sam quickly got his feet under him again and bolted with Adrian up the stairs.
“Your leg?” Sam asked as they looked around the upstairs hallway. The hallway was in the same condition as the downstairs. The old plaster was cracked and fallen in many places. The hardwood floor was warped, and creaked with their footfalls.
“Hurts. Make for the front of the house, maybe we can get out onto the porch roof.” Both boys sprinted down the hall hoping they were going in the right direction. There was no window at the end of the hall and both young men nearly collided into the wall in the darkness. They could not tell how far away their attackers were, but they sounded close. Their footfalls echoed through the ancient halls. Adrian found a door and with a turn of the knob and a hard shove, the door swung open.
The room had many windows and the moonlight lit it fairly well. They entered quickly and Sam slammed the door shut behind them. Sam pressed himself against the door to try to hold them off. The room was as barren as the others, with nothing to barricade the door with. Out the window was the porch roof.
“Quick, get a window open!” Sam called out, as he felt someone slam against the other side of the warped old door. Sam dug in and held firm, pressing his back against the door. Adrian grabbed one of the old window sashes and with one hard pull the entire sash came loose in his hands. They were both surprised by their luck.
“As soon as they open the door I’ll throw it at them!” Adrian said quickly, raising the sash up to throw. He hoped the glass would shatter, slowing them enough for him and Sam to escape.
“Right, let’s…” Sam was prepared to spring away from the door to give Adrian a clear shot. Before he could he felt a sudden sharp pain in his lower back. His voice caught in his throat. Something had stabbed him. His mind raced and reeled. He was unable to speak. He cried out and stumbled away from the door. He reached around himself, clutching at the pain. His back felt wet.
Adrian was yelling, but Sam could not hear it. He looked towards Adrian and saw him throw the window sash. He then looked towards the doorway and saw the glass shatter on the first one who had entered. Sam was starting to hear yelling. He felt unable to walk, and was trying very hard not to fall down. He looked to Adrian who was yelling something Sam could not make out. Adrian was waving frantically for Sam to come to the window.
Then Sam looked back towards the door. One of the strange looking men was rushing towards him. Sam wanted to run, but felt like he was in dream and could not. The man had something in his hand. Sam was beginning to feel numb, but the sudden fierce pain of the knife being buried into his stomach drove away the numbness for a moment. Then it returned. Sam sank to the floor.
He saw Adrian reaching for him. He saw the men closing in on Adrian. Adrian was backing away from them. He felt very cold and tired. Sam’s eyes slowly closed. He did not want them to, but was powerless to stop it. The last thing he saw before he fell into darkness was the men reaching for Adrian. The last thing he heard was Adrian’s voice.
“Ego precor vos!”
About the artist: This month's guest artist is the amazing Sophy Tuttle. Click her name on the link list to check out more of her amazing works!