Lethean Shroud: A 1st Draft Snippet

Rayanna jammed the key into the squad car's ignition. Grantham dove into the seat behind her as voracious snarls neared his doorway and overtook the waking engine's whine. She twisted to glance back. The officer croaked, "Go." Arms smeared in muck and blood, he slammed his door with a crunch and…

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Another 1st Draft Morsel: Lethean Shroud

Misty tendrils snaked between Rayanna and the officer as they crept down the mountain's inky, tangled face. Clouds mauled the full moon to further darken their forest swamped trail. They crept after the officer's bobbing flashlight ray, though low, murky fog swallowed its edges. Despite a void of words, the forbidden…

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Lethean Shroud

She howled as the fiery steel sizzled against her flesh. Burnt skin odors burrowed into her senses. Writhing, she thrashed against the rocker. Jerked against the crazed stranger's grip. "Hold still." Cursing, Reeve wrenched her wrist in a tightening grip. "You ain't goin' nowhere." He peeled the blade away, ripping a…

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Lethean Shroud

She wanted to jump to her feet and shove the old man. Call him crazy. Tell him he couldn't be more wrong. More than anything, she wanted to run. Rayanna darted a glance at the door--ten paces or so. Reeve let out a slow, throaty chuckle and turned the tip of…

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Lethean Shroud

Between her shoulder blades, hairs prickled up her spine to the nape of her neck. Rayanna shuddered under the grizzled hunter's glare and forced herself to sit in the unsteady rocker. "If I don't know my story, how can I ..." She hesitated, regretting the impulse to blurt her concern aloud.…

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The Harvester’s Patch, Part Two

Amy picked her steps through the roadside clumps of withered thistles and ragweed. At the top of the lumpy slope, a shack hunkered among untended hawthorn and mulberry limbs. The gray remnants of porch planks and rails jutted in errant directions like a decaying grin along the front. Its mildewed roof…

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Hostiles on the Wagon Trail

    Prairie grass tufts undulated beneath the wagon’s creaky axles. Dusk bled its final rays between jagged angles of the looming ridge ahead. Millie jostled into Pa’s dusty shoulder. He pointed a gnarled finger across the fly-swarmed landscape at fleshy mounds lining the trail. “Buffalo hunters just days ahead of…

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Poured Life: Part Two

The creature stabbed his fingertips into Christie's side. Pain shot through her gut, but the grip at her throat muffled her cry. He licked her blood from his fingertips. “Sweet liver, but I came for the whole deal—from your heart to the marrow of your soul.” The monster allowed Christie to drop…

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Poured Life: Part One

Steeple chimes echoed through the clapboard chapel’s rafters. Christie raised her forehead from the altar railing. Polished oak furnishings glinted in the candlelight, while darkness oozed through the stained glass windows. Perspiration trickled from her temples and followed the lines of her long neck. She wiped her moist palms across the…

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The Worry Curse, Part Thirty-One

Violent trembling seized her limbs as Laina ascended the final steps to her floor. Terror amplified each scuff of her boot sole. She gripped the banister's corner and squeezed the peeling surface until it threatened to slice into her palm. With hard swallow, she leaned from the stairwell. Darkness veiled the…

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