Primitive: Chapter 3

His head was pounding, and his throat hurt.  Christophe started to reach up to rub at his eyes, but something had hold of his arm.  He tried again, and realized his arms were secured together.  Memories came flooding back, and he began yanking at the restraints.  They failed to budge.  Slowly, he sat up.  He was alone, in what looked like a garage.  It was illuminated by what light came in through a boarded-up window.  And he was alone.

He started to shift position, and there was a tinkering sound.  He looked down to see a length of chain encircled his ankle, secured with a padlock.  The other end was secured around a support pillar.  “Great.”  His boots had been removed, and he saw no sign of them.  He tried to scrap the chain off with his other foot.  Christophe began looking around, trying to see if there was anything he could use to free his wrists from the zip ties.

Some fumbling got him to a nail sticking out of the floor.  He began sawing his wrists over it, wincing when he caught skin.  “Come on.  Come on.”  It took what seemed like ages, but finally a tug succeeded in separating the restraints.  Immediately he leaned forward and began trying to get off the chain.  There was no slack in the chain.

Christophe was trying to pick the lock with a bit of wire he’d found when he heard footsteps.  He quickly hid the wire in his clothes as his captor entered the building.  “Good.  Awake.”  The larger man shrugged.  “Thirsty?”  The man held out a bottle of water, then tilted his head.  “Wrist is bleeding.”  He tossed the water down next to Christophe, then grabbed a small box and tossed that to him as well.

A glance proved it was a first aid kit.  Christophe exhaled, then grabbed the water bottle and opened it.  “What do you want with me?”  He took a long drink.

“Bait.”  The man shrugged.  Somewhere, he’d found clothes.  Christophe frowned when he realized that the man was wearing his boots.  “Your father…”  The man waved a hand, then went back to looking through the bag he’d brought with him.  “Is an asshole.”

“He is not.”  Christophe glared.  Then he blinked.  “You took me as bait for my father.”

The man nodded.  “And to punish your father.”

That part didn’t sound good.  Christophe exhaled.  “I was kind to you.  I—”

“You live.  In one piece.”  The man smiled.  “I am kind to you.  See?  Brought bandages.  Tend your wound, or I will.”  He tilted his head.  “What is wrong with your name?”

“What is…”  Christophe pulled the first aid kit over and opened it.  “What do you mean what is wrong with my name?”

“Is missing letters.  Your parents not love you enough to give you a whole name?”

“Missing…”  Christophe glared.  “It’s French.”

“Thought Americans didn’t like French.  Cheese-eating surrender monkeys.”  The man took a bottle of water for himself.  “Though that does explain your father.”

“You’re a dick.”  He took ointment out of the kit and began putting it on the scratches the nail had made.

“Been called worse.”  He opened the water and drank it.

“So, what do I call you?”  Christophe grabbed a bandage.  “Dick?”  He glared.  “Asshole?”

“Brave now.”  The man smiled.  “Master.”

“What?”  Christophe blinked.

“I am Lykos.”  The man set the half-empty bottle down.  “You will call me Master.”

“I won’t do anything of the —” Christophe cut himself off when the man produced a long bladed knife.  He swallowed.

(more…)

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Gabriel: Chapter 5

Michaels watched the man limp out of the bullpen.  Rather than draw attention to himself by talking to himself, he picked up his cell phone.  “Alright, explain?”

To his surprise, her voice actually came over the phone rather than simply getting into his head.  “That guy was a witch.

“Like the one the other day?”  Not really a comforting thought.

No.  Alright, simple explanation.  There are two kinds of witches.  The full kind, which are what most think of.  Cast spells, brew potions, ride broomsticks.  Then there are those that are just gifted, like Laura is now or will be as soon as we can figure out her gift.

“And that guy?”

Just gifted, but surprisingly strong.  Some serious mojo there.

“You think that guy might be on Gabe’s level?”  Also not a comforting thought, though the fact that the guy needed a cane to walk raised a few more questions.

No, but tough enough that…”  She made a sighing sound.  “Alright, no good way to put this.  I’m going to need you to go out and get laid.”

“Seriously?”

You want me to keep witches out of your head, you’re going to need to get it on.  I kind of gave Gabriel a migraine this morning and considering there is a werewolf in town we  —

“We need him at 100%.”  He rubbed his forehead.  “Fine.”

And it’s you or Laura and —

“I said fine.”  He managed to keep his voice low.  “How the hell does Gabe manage to talk to you without letting people on?”  It would have been nice to be able to ask her questions with the guy still here.  Letting him walk out might have been a mistake.

He has an internal monologue, you tend to think out loud.  It’s kind of like an introvert extrovert thing.

“Can you follow that guy?”

Uh…”  She was quiet for a moment.  “Well, actually, no.”

“You follow people all the time.  You even follow multiple people at a —”

I told you, the guy has some mojo.  And whatever it is, he’s a blank slate to me.  Only reason I could detect anything about him was I was already in your head when he showed and you were looking right at him.”

“If I’d known that, I’d have followed him out of here.”  Michaels exhaled.  “Fill Gabe in.”

Already done.”

(more…)

The Woods: Chapter 4

He was no longer certain how many days he’d spent hanging from the tree.  At least a week, maybe more.  Time seemed to pass strangely where ever it was they were.  At seemingly random intervals he’d take his meals with Ileana and her strange companions.  He was becoming somewhat inured to their taunts.  The delicate winged woman had even expressed disappointment in the fact he no longer blushed just by sitting at the table.  The satyr, however, could still make him turn red, though at least half the time it was anger rather than embarrassment.  It would whisper to him when it put him back in the tree, of things it would like to do to him.  Ileana seemed to find it amusing, though she never let the creature go beyond words.

The few hours he was given to sleep were never quite enough.  He’d be woken, and set out to be displayed in her garden again.  Her silent trophy.  She never let him speak, save to make him beg for basic necessities.  And to make him ask the satyr to be put back in the tree.

They were plotting against his brothers.  Ileana viewed Nicolas as a threat, and rightly so.  Nicolas would have known what all these creatures were.  If anyone could get this blasted collar off, it was him.  There had to be some way to get a warning to him.  With warning, he could prepare, could…  Do something.  Thomas had nearly forgotten what it felt like not to hurt.

She was waiting for him outside the privy door.  Waiting to put him back in the tree.  Thomas took a deep breath.  The satyr had suggested a collar for Nicolas, and Ileana had laughed.  Said it was only fair that the beast have a pet prince of his own.  He couldn’t stomach the thought of his brother at that thing’s mercy.  If she would just listen…  He looked up, and met his reflection’s eyes.  Then he took another deep breath, and went to the door.

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Hunting: Chapter 2

“I like your mom’s boyfriend.”  Daniel stripped off his shirt.

“He tazed me.”  Matthias glared at him.

“Yeah.  That’s one of the things I like about him.”  Daniel chuckled when Matthias picked him up and set him on the countertop.  He wrapped his legs around Matthias’s waist and his arms around the big man’s neck.  “I like your mom too.”

Matthias rested his forehead against Daniel’s.  “Feels weird.  Being home.”

“You grew up here?”

“I grew up on the move.  This house was the first place we ever stayed longer than a few months.  We came here just after my father was killed and the pack broke apart.”  He sighed.  “I was angry, and she…”  He shook his head.  “She managed to keep me from being stupid for a long time, but eventually the stupid won.”

“Don’t worry.”  Daniel kissed him.  “I’m here to do the thinking now.”

“Look outside.”  Matthias smiled evilly.  “See how it’s dark out?”  He grabbed Daniel’s arms, then pinned them above Daniel’s head with one arm.  “That means I’m in charge now.”

“Yeah…”  Daniel returned the grin.  “But there isn’t usually a lot of thinking involved with this —”  He cut off with a gasp.

“You were saying something?”  Matthias pulled Daniel’s pants off almost casually.  Then he removed something from his back pocket.

Daniel blinked at the sight of the handcuffs.  “Where’d you get those?”

“Swiped them from Stephan.”  Matthias shrugged.

“What if he wanted to use them tonight?”  Daniel tilted his head, then couldn’t stop himself from laughing at the look on Matthias’s face.  He was pulled off the counter, spun, and then his hands were cuffed behind his back.

“You’re gonna pay for that.”  Matthias’s voice was a playful growl.

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The Woods : Chapter 3

Refusing to let him dress had been petty of her, she knew that.  Yet the look on his face when he realized he was going to have to be stark naked in front of a dozen of her dinner guests had been hilarious.  Her friends weren’t making it easy on him either.  He sat next to her, hunched in front of the table, trying to keep what modesty he could.  Janna trailed a hand across his shoulder, leaning in behind him as she poured wine into Ileana’s cup.  Then she ‘accidentally’ dumped half the flagon of iced wine into Thomas’s lap.  He yelped when the cold liquid hit him, but managed not to jump out of his seat.  Several of her guests made disappointed sounds.

The slyph produced a towel.  “Here.”  She grinned.  “Let me get that for you.”

He caught the towel.  “Thank you, but I can manage.”

“No, really.”  Janna licked her lips.  “I insist.”

“I have the matter under control.”  He tugged at the towel, but Janna didn’t release it.

“It is a big mess.”  On the other side of him, Keffer picked up his napkin and started toward him.

Thomas immediately released Janna to catch Keffer’s wrist.  “I appreciate the…”  He trailed off when Janna started reaching into his lap again, and caught the towel with his other hand.

“Maybe he just likes being wet and sticky.”  Tsara laughed.

“Well, then…”  Keffer pulled his wrist free of Thomas and set the napkin back down.  “If that’s the way he likes it.”

“Hmmm…”  Janna shrugged, then pulled the towel away before going back to her seat.

Ileana hid her smile behind her wine cup.  Then she set her glass down.  “Thomas.  Would you be so kind as to go to the sideboard over there…”  She pointed.  “And fetch me another roll?”

His glare was luminous.  Then he shoved his chair back, stood, and stalked toward the sideboard.  Several cheers accompanied the action.  He grabbed a roll and brought it back, holding it out to her.  She smiled.  “And could you put some butter on it?”

(more…)

The Woods: Chapter 2

“How?”  Thomas stared at her.  She was…  and yet she couldn’t be.  Princess Ileana had thrown herself from her balcony into the river below.  He’d seen it with his own eyes.

Instead of answering, she lifted a thin bladed knife.  She moved toward his neck, and for a heartbeat he thought she was going to slice open his throat.  Instead, she cut the rope around his neck.

His head dropped forward, and he sucked in air.  His position still prevented him from drawing a full breath, but he was no longer limited to the painful, shallow gasps.  He wasn’t sure how long he hung there, limp, just breathing, before she caught his hair and viciously yanked his head up and back again.

Around her wrist was coiled a golden serpent.  It raised its head, flicking its tongue at him.  It hissed, revealing glistening fangs.  “You belong to me.”  Her voice was soft, with a curious echo to it.  “Body and soul.”

“Kill me and get it over with.”  He stared back at her.

Her smile was vicious.  “Oh no.”  She gave a small shake of her head.  “It won’t be that easy for you.”

The serpent reared its head back and struck, its fangs piercing the skin of his throat.  Fire seemed to flow through his veins as he felt it coil around his neck.  He screamed as darkness closed over him.

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