WitD3: Chapter 10

*The Watcher in the Darkness Series and all characters contained therein are the sole copyright of K.M. Spires. All rights reserved.*

The Watcher in the Darkness series contains adult situations, graphic violence, and lots and lots of bad language. Rated M for Mature, seriously.

Chapter 10

Elaina worked in silence as she snipped the plastic bristles from Karen’s toothbrush with a pair of fingernail scissors. The tiny plastic hairs fluttered like snow into the pot of melted wax. I had nothing to contribute to the ritual beyond lighting the brazier coals, so I sat at the kitchen counter with my chin in my hand. The white incense smoke that curled into the air was suffocating, or it would have been if I needed to breathe. The shit did nothing to help my headache, anyway.

I could feel my blog’s absence, and it was like being dangled over the edge of a cliff. I had no idea how to fill that void. For lack of anything better to do, I used my muted smartphone to cruise the deep web for the grossest porn I could find. It was more out of scientific curiosity than anything else; ever since my release, my sex drive had flatlined. Once upon a time, I’d been easy to please, in that regard. Not anymore. I was fifteen minutes into a German dungeon scene before I got so much as a flutter, but it was only a flutter. The girls in the scene were willing participants, after all. It wasn’t like their pain was real.

Wait a second…my turnoff was that their pain wasn’t real?

I sat up straight. Time to do something else. It wasn’t often that I made my own skin crawl.

“You shouldn’t have let me in,” I said. “Isn’t this the sort of thing that causes mistrials?”

Elaina looked up from her work just long enough to give me a thin smile. Her cheeks had become gaunt and there were deep shadows under her eyes. “If only,” she said with a sigh as she stirred the wax. “However, I’m told that I won’t be called on to testify because I have no memory of what happened that day.”

I placed my thumb between my front teeth, just as Elaina’s mother used to do. My claw was as hard as steel. I liked that. “How can I get my hands on an old coroner’s report?”

Elaina laughed once in the back of her throat without a trace of humor. “I assume you mean my mother’s and not just in general? Mother didn’t have an autopsy.”

I frowned. “Seriously?”

Elaina nodded once. “Mother had her will in order long before I was born. She specified that she wouldn’t allow her body to be desecrated in death, no matter what circumstances surrounded it. There was to be no autopsy, no embalming. Just bathe her, dress her, then bury her.” I watched as Elaina poured the hot, clear wax into the gingerbread mold.

“So, when they bathed and dressed her, no one noticed the gaping holes in her neck?” This made Elaina wince, which made me feel bad. “Sorry,” I muttered.

“I was still in a coma at the time, so I can’t say. All I know is the executor of her estate noticed that she wasn’t decomposing and mistook it for incorruptibility. No one consulted me before they decided to put her in that public shrine.”

Damn it, Justine. You and your stupid will. Maybe, if they had given her an autopsy—hell, if they’d just buried her, like they were supposed to—things would have turned out different. Maybe she wouldn’t be a revenant. “Look, I admit that I’m not that good at reading people, but you seem to be taking this fucked up situation really, really well.”

Elaina placed her hands on the small of her back to stretch. Her shirt collar slipped back, giving me a peek of her neck scars. “I don’t think I’m taking it well, so much as it’s so unbelievable that I have yet to fully wrap my mind around it. It feels surreal, like a bad dream or a fairy tale. Revenants are so rare that most people think they’re nothing more than urban legends. Yet, somehow, Mother is one. It can’t be true, even though it is.” Elaina drummed her fingernails on the countertop as she watched the wax set. “Anyway, I can’t give you the answers you’re looking for, Toby. I’ve been asking the same questions myself, lately.”

I put my head between my hands then squeezed. It wasn’t just because the counterpressure sometimes helped; vicious and vivid images were lancing through my brain. I could see Justine kneeling by the bathtub upstairs as she drew a razor across her wrists. She didn’t even flinch as she sliced though meat and tendon; she was already dead, so it didn’t hurt. Her flesh opened, but hardly any blood oozed out. Her fingers were clumsy as she dialed 911, then she placed the phone on top to her suicide note without a word. She couldn’t have it flutter away in the chaos that was to come. Once finished, she rested her head against the rim of the tub, dangled her arms over the drain, then closed her eyes. Whoever responded to the call wouldn’t have found her breathing.

I could picture it so clearly it was like I’d been there, but all of my pain and sorrow was buried under a blanket of smoldering anger. Someone had dropped the ball three decades earlier, that much was clear. A coroner, a police officer, hell, even one of the paramedics should’ve noticed Justine’s neck wounds. They should have put two and two together that she was attacked by a vampire, and was therefore a ghoul. It was their civic duty to have scrambled her brains for her.

People are stupid, lazy, and corrupt, so no one that had died as a result of Justine becoming a revenant was on me. And, if what she became wasn’t my fault, stopping her wasn’t my responsibility, either.

I was pulled from my thoughts by the little idol breaking free of its mold. I stood to follow as Waxxy Jr. jumped off the counter, but I noticed right away that he wasn’t as lively as the original. Waxxy Jr. took a few shaky steps toward the door, staggered to a stop, then burst into flames with an audible whoosh.

Elaina cried out, startled, as she snatched the copper pot off the stove. Surprisingly quick in spite of her wooden leg, she dropped the container over Waxxy’s melting body. “Oh, my gods.” I could hear her heart racing. Breathless, she said, “I don’t know what went wrong. I’ve never heard of this happening before.”

 “I think I know,” I said in a bland tone. “That fucking doppelganger got rid of all of Karen’s personal effects then replaced them with her own to keep Karen from being tracked.” I shook my head in self-disgust. “I really should have seen that coming.”

Elaina nodded in understanding. “Oh, dear. Well, how about we—?” The rest of her sentence was lost as she looked up, then her eyes widened and her face turned white. Her scream was deafening, even in the spacious kitchen.

I jumped back, shoved hard into my fight or flight response. “What happened? What’s wrong?”

Elaina’s eyes were shut tight, and she was breathing fast. “Your face. Just for a second, your face was…”

She didn’t want to finish, but I could guess. Even so, I had to hear her say the words. “What about my face?”

Elaina blinked fast, but tears dropped from her lashes and her voice wavered. “You were a monster. Just for a second, you looked like a monster. Toby, I’m so sorry—”

I turned to leave. The fact that she would apologize to me after everything I’d put her through was disgusting. “What the hell are you sorry for? I am a monster.” I stormed out of the kitchen, and I heard Elaina struggling to follow me. I let myself out of the house, but turned to face her on the porch.

“You need to testify,” I said. This was a command. “Tell the court the whole story. Tell them what I did to you. Hell, make something up.” I stabbed my finger toward her neck, and even though I was nowhere close to touching her, Elaina flinched. “Show them. Make sure that I get put away for the rest of your life. That way, you don’t have to be afraid anymore.”

Elaina looked as though she wanted to say something, but words had failed her.

“Do it for your mother. Justine loved you more than anything in the world. You owe her.”

Elaina’s bottom lip quivered. She looked more than a little wounded as she closed the door between us.

I marched down the walkway toward the street, swearing to myself that I would never set foot in that house again. My eyes stung, but it was as though my tears were turning to steam the instant before they broke the surface.

I was sure of it; Justine’s death, and realizing my part in it, had shorted out the part of my brain that was able to feel.

<<Start from the beginning

<<Chapter 9

Chapter 11>>

WitD3: Chapter 9

*The Watcher in the Darkness Series and all characters contained therein are the sole copyright of K.M. Spires. All rights reserved.*

The Watcher in the Darkness series contains adult situations, graphic violence, and lots and lots of bad language. Rated M for Mature, seriously.

 

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May 7th

 

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<<Start from the beginning

<<Chapter 8

Chapter 10>>

WitD3: Chapter 8

*The Watcher in the Darkness Series and all characters contained therein are the sole copyright of K.M. Spires. All rights reserved.*

The Watcher in the Darkness series contains adult situations, graphic violence, and lots and lots of bad language. Rated M for Mature, seriously.

Chapter 8

The second I saw that stupid kid, I went from zero to pissed, and every step I took in his direction made me that much madder. I’d always liked Scotty, in a younger cousin sort of way, but I literally could’ve wrung his little neck right then. I didn’t say a word or break stride as I snatched up a handful of his sweatshirt to drag him down the hall.

“Hey!” Scotty’s voice cracked in protest. He stumbled as he tried to keep up. “What are you doing?”

“What am I doing?” I said as I punched through the Sanctuary’s double doors. Safe on the stoop, surrounded by blazing sunlight, I shoved him in the direction of the steps. “Do you have any idea where in the hell you are? Go home!”

Scotty caught himself on the handrail then spun around to face me. “I can’t go home. I came here looking for you.”

I felt my face twist into a mask of ugly fury. “Are you stupid? Why would you do that? Do you have any idea how many broke, starving vampires live here?”

It’s a sad truth that little kids are basically vampire chocolate, but not liking it won’t change anything. I don’t know if it’s the lack of adult hormones, or their rich, high-sugar diets, but their blood is so goddamn good. It’s the main reason so many kids get turned into ghouls; their blood is too great a temptation for most vampires to resist, and their bodies are so small.

Scotty was twelve years old, but he looked much younger. As a double-whammy, his asthma and allergies had stunted his growth. He wore thick glasses, and his curly blonde hair was almost as white as his skin. He was so frail and weak, even my half-breed instincts urged me to cull him.

My hands clenched into fists as my voice hardened. “You need to get out of here. Now.”

“I can’t. I need to talk to you.”

“Next time, pick up the phone.”

“I don’t know your phone number, and they wouldn’t let me see you when you were in prison.” Scotty’s face was red with embarrassment, and he wheezed as he tried to catch his breath. “They told me I had to be accompanied by an adult on your visitation list.”

I found myself growing more and more disgusted by his weakness. “Well, here I am. What do you want?”

Scotty straightened his shirt as he said, “I need your help. You’ve been gone for a long time, but there’s something wrong with my sister.”

Of course, this wasn’t news to me, but pretending to be ignorant seemed like the quickest way to end the conversation. “What do you mean, there’s something wrong with Karen?” I said, as though he was so young and stupid that he had to be wrong.

Scotty set his jaw in resentment at my tone. “She’s different. I can’t explain exactly what’s different about her, but she’s totally changed. My mom has noticed it too, and she’s getting really weird around her.”

I felt a coldness spread through me as I listened to the way the simple act of speaking took away Scotty’s breath. What if…what if I put him out of his misery? It was the least I could do for him. He was a good kid, and I would make it quick. Even as sickly as he was, his blood smelled amazing.

I punched down those thoughts. “Has your mom talked to Karen about this?”

“No, but I heard her talking to a friend of hers on the phone the other night. She’s afraid that while Karen was sick and in that coma, she might’ve gotten brain damage, or something. She was asking if there was any sort of medication or therapy Karen could get.”

I felt a tug of satisfaction. Karen wouldn’t be happy to learn that her loved ones weren’t being fooled by her replacement. “Have your mom and sister been fighting?”

“No. Never.” I could tell he was growing self-conscious by his inability to persuade me. “Like, ever, which is weird.  This new Karen is always on her best behavior, and it’s…not normal. She’s never salty with either of us, and she’s always smiling. Plus, she never blinks!”

“Okay,” I said, unimpressed. “Is that all?”

“No. She never has any idea what I’m talking about when I ask her about the past. It’s like she has amnesia and is faking her way through life.”

I nodded, deep in thought. Bad Karen wouldn’t know what the hell Scotty was talking about if he brought up something that had happened when he was little. “I don’t know, man. Maybe your mom is right and she’s just thrown off after the coma. She’ll come around. What do you want from me?”

“I think she might not be herself anymore. Like, there’s someone else living inside of her.” Before I could say a word, he rushed to add, “I know that sounds stupid, but she’s doing things the real Karen would never do.”

The way his face turned bright red again made a tiny insect of suspicion burrow its way out of my sandy indifference. “Like what?”

“She’s been…” He didn’t want to finish, which made my hackles begin to rise. “She’s been crawling into bed with me at night.”

Scotty couldn’t look at me, and my irritation with him blossomed into a burning anger toward Karen. How could she leave? How could she abandon that kid to a demon? What did that heartless whore think would happen?

Scotty began to backpedal immediately. “Nothing gross, though. She wakes me up then tells me these stories. Like, really messed up stories that scare me and keep me awake all night. Then she holds me really close. So close, I can barely breathe.”

Damn it. I should have seen this coming. Trevor was almost depleted, so Bad Karen had shifted her attention to the next closest source of male energy. I pinched the bridge of my nose as the ripples of pain in my temples began to throb like a heartbeat. My eyes felt like they were about to explode.

“Here’s what you have to do,” I said, defeated. “Put a line of salt across the threshold of every entrance to your room. Your bathroom door, your bedroom door, your windows, everything.” Scotty nodded that he understood. “Make sure your bedroom mirror is uncovered.”

“I don’t have a bedroom mirror.”

“Then get one!” Scotty flinched, startled. “If she can’t get near you at night, she’ll lose interest. She’ll turn on a neighbor, or a kid from school, or something.”

Scotty’s eyes began to shine. “What’s the matter with my sister?”

There was no point in lying to the kid, and I don’t have very much experience with breaking bad news gently. “That’s not your sister.”

Scotty blinked and fat tears spilled down his cheeks. His jaw quivered as he said, “Did Karen die?”

“No, she’s not fucking dead. Dry it up, you little pansy. Be a man. Just go home and do what I told you. Don’t be alone with her, and don’t come back here. You should be thanking me. This isn’t even my fucking problem.”

Scotty was wide-eyed with shock, but that quickly transformed into anger. “Fine. Fuck you, you asshole. I came here because I thought you were her friend, but you can go to hell if you don’t care. If that’s not really Karen, and Karen isn’t dead, then I’ll find her myself without your help. Even if I have to run away.”

I rolled my eyes as Scotty turned to storm off. Karen and her mother had coddled this kid so much that he thought he was invincible. “Fine,” I said with an aggravated sigh, grabbing the collar of his shirt to pull him back. “Don’t run off and get yourself killed. Karen will never let me live it down if something happens to you. Just…give me a couple days.”

Scotty gave me a distrustful look. “Why? What are you going to do?”

I really, really, really didn’t want to resort to this, but I had no choice. “I know someone I can talk to. She’s helped me before.”

<<Start from the beginning

<<Chapter 7

Chapter 9>>

WitD3: Chapter 7

*The Watcher in the Darkness Series and all characters contained therein are the sole copyright of K.M. Spires. All rights reserved.*

The Watcher in the Darkness series contains adult situations, graphic violence, and lots and lots of bad language. Rated M for Mature, seriously.

 

 

I guess she told me.

May 7th

 

 

I just got this email, and it was too interesting to not copy and paste. The source was anonymous, but here goes:

Dear HalfVampToby,”

I like that she called me dear.

Under normal circumstances, I avoid drama, especially drama that occurs over social media. However, your recent blog posts have caused such an uproar amongst my kin that I felt compelled to investigate the matter further. I must say that while your sentiments are not the most hateful or subversive I’ve ever encountered, they are very disheartening.”

I said demon. It’s just a word. If that word conjures up bad feelings, it’s because demons have spent every second since the beginning of time earning them.

You are very young, and therefore can’t boast the wealth of life experience I’ve enjoyed.”

Yeah, that’s it. Talk down to me, it makes me horny.

I may not have been around for thousands of years, but it doesn’t take long to figure out that where demons live, misery follows. And demons are literally everywhere.

You haven’t witnessed firsthand just how damaging this sort of vitriol can be. Why, in just the last century, what began as a murmur of discontent all too quickly snowballed into the Holocaust.”

I had to look up what vitriol meant, but now that I know, I think you might be giving me a little too much credit. If I had the power to cause demon genocide, trust me, I would have done it by now.

First, let me tell you a bit about myself. My true form—rather, the essence of which I am comprised—has existed with distinct sentience since dinosaurs roamed the earth. I have experienced life as a mighty tyrannosaur, but I have also inhabited a field of wildflowers. I’ve lurked at the bottom of the oceans as a leviathan, and soared high above the treetops as a butterfly.”

Bullshit. I call bullshit of the highest caliber. Every demon I’ve ever met has the exact same backstory. I have no proof you’re lying aside from the fact you’re a demon and your lips are moving, but my gut says this is crap.

In every form, there are joys, as well as great sorrows. More than anything else, there is always something that can be learned.

For the last four decades, I have resided in the body of an ordinary, lower-middle class black woman from Chicago. I took control of her while she was in her teens, in a manner closed-minded individuals would call possession.”

This, I absolutely believe.

However, I am thoroughly convinced that my invasion saved her life. She was a runaway, addicted to heroin, and her existence was defined by suicidal despair. One tragic night, she overdosed, and her emotional agony provided a wide and very accommodating door for me. Her true soul still lingers within, comatose and content, while her physical body has thrived under my care.”

That’s what they all say.

In this life, I have experienced the long and treacherous road to recovery. I have discovered the thrill of love and marriage, as well as the lingering heartbreak of divorce. Three times I have endured the torment of childbirth, to be repaid by the joyous rewards of motherhood.

No one in my family—and I do consider them to be my family—has any idea what I truly am. I am gainfully employed as a middle-school math teacher. I sleep, I drink, I eat; with perhaps too much enthusiasm, lol. I attend church for the sake of keeping up appearances. The public consensus is unanimous that my life and my worth have vastly improved since ‘I turned my life around.’

Well, aren’t you a big fat hero? Middle-school kids are bubbling crockpots of fucked up hormones. A demon like you could feast on the negative energy they spew out every single day. But I’m sure that had nothing to do with your career choices, right?

Unbeknownst to my loved ones, I cooperate with a Wiccan circle. I share with these very special men and women my wisdom and my power. In exchange, they offer a variety of small tributes and offerings. It is a mutually beneficial relationship for everyone involved.”

Everyone except the tributes, or should I say sacrifices? Did you think I wouldn’t know what you really meant?

You are not wrong when you describe the correlation between vampires and faekind as almost purely antagonistic. However, you must admit that the animosity stems almost exclusively from the vampires.”

I don’t have to admit shit, because that’s a lie. I’ve been Kill on Sight to demon-kind my entire life. Don’t try to blame all the bad blood on us.

You said that ‘predators don’t like other predators’ and I believe that this is where the fundamental difference in our worldviews lie. Vampires view humans as cattle, as food, whereas my kind sees every living thing as part of the delicate tapestry that creates life. Everything is connected; everything. Simply put, all living things depend upon other living things for sustenance. To vilify one means of survival while accepting another more brutal means is hypocritical and unfair.”

Oh, really? It boils down to this. The relationship between vampires and humans is straightforward and honest. We feed on blood, they have blood. There are no grey areas between us. Biologically, we evolved to live alongside each other.

Demons change their environment to make it a hundred times worse, then feast on the pain they create. There’s nothing hypocritical or unfair about the truth.

Is it true that some of my kind deliberately cause harm for the express purpose of feeding off the negative energy? Yes. I don’t want to be defined by these individuals. Vampires don’t want their race defined by the bloodthirsty few that ghoulify their victims. There are wicked fairies, wicked vampires, and profoundly wicked humans, but not one of these individuals should be representative of their entire species.”

I guess I can’t argue with that. Except I’d like to point out that I’ve run across maybe three vampires in my entire life whose bloodlust was that out of control. Not one of them are still around. Every single demon I’ve ever met has lived only to fuck up everything around them.

Less than one percent of the population is a vampire. Demons reside in everything. So, statistically, which one of our species is being judged unfairly?

The hatred you are emitting runs is in the same deadly and destructive vein as racism, sexism, and ethnocentricity. No good has ever come from any form of bigotry. This truth is supported by historical and empirical fact. I can only hope, going forward, that you think twice before broadcasting such hateful sentiments. As I’m sure you will come to discover, what you send out will return to you tenfold.

“Please, take care and be well.”

I have to say, this was the most well thought-out and well written argument I’ve ever gotten.

This was my response: Fuck off, Skinrider.

<<Start from the beginning

<<Chapter 6

Chapter 8>>

 

WitD3: Chapter 6

*The Watcher in the Darkness Series and all characters contained therein are the sole copyright of K.M. Spires. All rights reserved.*

The Watcher in the Darkness series contains adult situations, graphic violence, and lots and lots of bad language. Rated M for Mature, seriously.

Chapter 6

The Sanctuary had gone straight to hell in the few months I’d been gone. Going back over it in my head, I really should have seen it coming. There were just too many Disavowed surviving without the Watchers around to thin the herd. Rows of cheap bunkbeds lined the walls of the common room, and almost every one of them was occupied. In the corners, three outdated televisions blared three different channels. Several of the pathetic bastards were snoring.

I knew I should try to get some sleep, but it wouldn’t do any good. I hadn’t been able to sleep since long before my release from prison. Admittedly, I didn’t need much, but I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gotten more than a catnap.

My mind was just too active, frenetic thoughts tap-dancing on my already tender brain. I couldn’t stop obsessing about Karen. Where was she? How was I going to get rid of Bad Karen? I couldn’t believe I’d been so stupid as to give that demon three days to figure out how to screw me over. I might as well have given her a thousand years. I should have killed her when I had the chance. Or fucked her and have been done with it.

Or maybe I would just rip down those blackout curtains, break out the windows, then finally get some goddamn privacy.

I tried to summon the energy to go hunting, but I couldn’t even bring myself to stand. I’d had nothing but cold blood for months, and I didn’t care. I wasn’t even that hungry. The migraine had turned my stomach. It could be that the shitty conditions at the prison had taken their toll on my body and the damage was already done. Again, whatever.

Every few minutes, my phone vibrated to let me know that I had fresh hate mail and I couldn’t help but smile. Each message filled me with a weird satisfaction that bordered on joy; well, joy as I remembered it. So many random strangers whipped into a frenzy because they didn’t like something I’d said. It was hilarious.

I was so distracted that I didn’t realize Michael had come into the room until he started talking. “Tobias, I’m glad you’re awake. Are you busy? I was hoping I could discuss something important with you.”

“I don’t want to talk to my lawyer,” I said without looking up. I had blocked his number on my phone, but I was aware that the man had called the Sanctuary sometime earlier that day. I didn’t care. According to Google, it wasn’t too late to change my plea, but I had important business to tend to first.

“Well, I’m sorry to hear that, but that wasn’t what I needed to talk to you about.” I gave Michael a flat, unfriendly look, but it didn’t seem to faze him. “Come to my office so we can discuss this privately.”

I was suddenly positive that he was going to ask me to leave. Michael could fit four more Disavowed into my dedicated room, and the city was overrun with those losers. An oily anger seeped through my veins as I got to my feet, and a whisper in my head urged me to use Michael’s self-righteous blood to end my hunger.

I managed to keep my hands to myself as I followed him down the long, dark hallway. We entered his office, and the bright sunlight that streamed through the windows sent crackles of pain throughout my skull. I raised my arm on reflex, and Michael frowned in concern at the look on my face.

“Are you all right?” he said.

“No.” My tone made it clear that he was an asshole for even asking. “What did you want to talk to me about?”

Michael stared at me for a second, then gestured to a corkboard stuck with a half-dozen newspaper articles. Under each article was a photocopied page of what appeared to be very old text.

“Look at this,” he said with endless patience. I stood next to him, because it was simpler than arguing. “As soon as you told me what Justine had become, I started watching the obituaries.”

I felt a menacing look settle over my face. I didn’t like that Michael had taken that liberty, and the very mention of Justine’s name made the scar tissue over my heart tighten. Was that why he had brought me into his office? To make me feel guilty because I hadn’t gone after Justine? Where the hell did he get off making that sort of call for me?

Michael was still talking. “It was a few weeks before I saw anything that sent up a red flag because they don’t always put in cause of death.” He pointed toward the first article.  “For this one, they did. I was looking for a few keywords. Sudden fever, rash, nausea and vomiting.”

The obituary was dated six weeks after I got locked up. My scowl deepened. “What does this have to do with Justine?” I remembered very well that Justine had made Karen sick too, but faking ignorance made me feel better.

“Revenants have always been linked to deadly diseases. The Black Death. Typhus. The Yellow Fever outbreak in Philadelphia. In 1633, a smallpox epidemic all but wiped out the native tribes of New England. A revenant sighting correlated with every single one of those plagues.”

“How do you know that?” My hands were in my pockets and my eyes were half-closed. Apathetic didn’t begin to describe me.

“The church has always been very diligent about keeping track of that sort of thing, so I’ve spent the last several months doing research. Yes, the diseases themselves may have varied, but certain symptoms remained the same every time.”

“Let me guess; fever, rash, nausea and vomiting?”

Michael smiled, though I had no idea why and found it very annoying. “Exactly. It’s the same thing that’s happening now.”

“You don’t know that.” My stubborn refusal to face facts let the air out of his balloon. “People get sick all the time. That’s just about all humans are good for.” Michael opened his mouth to argue but I cut him off. “And even if you’re right, what the hell am I supposed to do about it? I’ve never fought a revenant before, and I wasn’t a match for Justine when she was alive. I sure as fuck don’t have the power to stop a plague. So, even if Justine is responsible, what do you want me to do?”

“Something. Anything.” Michael seemed amazed that he had to spell this out for me. “Toby, innocent people are going to die. Don’t you care about that at all?”

Before I could break it to him that I really didn’t, we were interrupted by the baby monitor on his desk. It crackled, hissed, then began to emit a staticky thumping sound. Michael groaned, his shoulders slumped as he trudged out of the office.

I followed because I could smell blood and suffering. I wasn’t concerned at all, but I was intrigued. “What’s going on?”

“It’s Song.” Michael sounded very tired. “She does this whenever she gets too thirsty. She still tries to hold out for as long as she can.”

“Why?” Where was the guilt in cold blood? Housewives donated that shit while their kids were in school so they could afford new shoes.

Michael shrugged as he opened the door to Song’s room. The light from the hall struck the pathetic, thin, maimed creature on the bed and even I winced. Her skin was literally as white as snow, her eyes sunken and her mouth withered like a prune. Her fangs were long enough to scrape her bottom lip, and the open, dry gash in her forehead was raw and jagged. She blinked at us several times, dazed, then resumed banging her head against the wall.

“Let her die.” I may have said it without thinking, but I stood by my words.

Michael gave me a look of profound disapproval. “You know I can’t do that,” he said before he walked into the room then gathered her in his arms

I shook my head, disgusted, as a scent caught my attention like a flash of light out of the corner of my eye. My gaze was drawn to it immediately, then I felt my heart sink.

Karen’s little brother, Scotty, stood at the end of the hall.

<<Start at the beginning

<<Chapter 5

Chapter 7>>

WitD3: Chapter 5

*The Watcher in the Darkness Series and all characters contained therein are the sole copyright of K.M. Spires. All rights reserved.*

The Watcher in the Darkness series contains adult situations, graphic violence, and lots and lots of bad language. Rated M for Mature, seriously.

 

Demon, demon, demon. I don’t care.

May 7th

 

If I’d known calling a demon a demon would cause such a fucksplosion, I might’ve reworded my last entry. But probably not. Fuck demons. I’ve never seen one-tenth the moral outrage whenever someone called me a bloodsucker, but whatever.

I’d like to take this opportunity to answer just a few of the hate-filled messages I’ve received over the last twenty-four hours, starting with the ones that called me the fewest names.

Bobbyjoker: “This isn’t the 1950’s. In civilized society, we don’t call black people the n-word. We don’t call little people midgets. We don’t call vampires bloodsuckers, and we certainly don’t refer to every spiritual entity as a demon. You’re making yourself sound like a bigoted asshole.”

Yeah, I get that all the time, but I don’t care. Demons don’t belong on this plane of existence. They all need to go back to Hell. Or Hades, or the Abyss, or whatever you want to call it.

KatAgony: “Where does all of this animosity toward spirits come from? Have you had a lot of run-ins with evil entities, or something?”

Hi. New to the planet? Vampires and demons can’t stand each other. Never have, never will. Besides, I don’t know anyone that’s had a purely enjoyable experience with a ghost, poltergeist, demon, tinker-fairy, or anything like that. They all see mortal creatures the same way humans see fruit flies.

Fairy tales—I’m talking real fairy tales, the ones that haven’t been watered down and sanitized for entertainment’s sake—are fucking metal. Demons possess people. Fairies kidnap babies. Most of them feed off sorrow and negative energy the same way I feed of blood, so they spread it everywhere they go. Some literally view human flesh as a delicacy.

But I’m the asshole for calling them names? Okay. At least I’m better than this jackass…

RaceWarrior365: “It’s good to finally meet someone with the courage to call a spade a spade. All of these (blanks) getting the (blank) man’s jobs, these (different blanks) clogging up the social welfare system, and the fucking bloodsuckers that feast on our nation’s disenfranchised are not only a travesty, they are a sign of the end times to come. Demons run rampant, but they’ve somehow convinced God-fearing Christians that they are not the spawn of Satan himself. To not call them what they are is symptomatic of the cancer that riddles American society.

“You may be half-bloodsucker, but at least you’re an honest one. Can you enlighten these good people as to how the common man can identify demons on sight?”

First of all, your approval makes me sick. I’ve already blocked you from ever commenting again, but in order to help someone actually worth helping, I’ll tell you what you want to know.

Demons are tricky, and as a human, you’re pretty much screwed. Demons have had since the beginning of time to practice blending in, and they are very good at it.

So, how can Joe Average tell if the jerk sexually harassing that girl on the sidewalk is a regular, run-of-the-mill-asshole, or a demon wearing him like a skin suit? The only way a human can tell is by tuning into the other person’s energy. It’s the only sense the demons can’t manipulate. It will happen automatically, so don’t try to force it. If a person or place gives you the heebie-jeebies, for whatever reason, don’t ignore it. Go with your gut. Better safe than sorry.

HellsBella: Of course, a bloodsucker would spew racist propaganda against the very beings that taught humans the wards we needed to protect ourselves from the likes of you. Eat a tower of dicks.”

That’s nice. Keep it classy, sweetie. Of course, demons taught you fuckwit humans how to protect yourselves against vampires. Predators don’t like other predators.

KarmaChameleon: “How does a person protect themselves against an Infernal, or any other being of wicked intent?”

Was that really easier to say than demon? Fine.

Holy objects only work about half the time. Salt, mirrors, and cold iron are far more reliable.

HolyMolly21: “My mother taught me that ancient spirits were responsible for the creation of the first vampires. What do you have to say about that?”

Are you sure your mom’s not a demon?

<<Start from the beginning

<<Chapter 4

Chapter 6>>

 

WitD3: Chapter 4

*The Watcher in the Darkness Series and all characters contained therein are the sole copyright of K.M. Spires. All rights reserved.*

The Watcher in the Darkness series contains adult situations, graphic violence, and lots and lots of bad language. Rated M for Mature, seriously.

Chapter 4

While nothing had changed to the outward design of Karen’s house, it was like a completely different place. I had plenty of time to check out my surroundings while Karen and Trevor had loud sex in her bedroom.

The houseplants on the balcony thrived, rather than being brown and wilted from neglect. The patio chairs were almost like new. The metal frames were free of rust, the cushions clean and untorn. The tiles on the roof were all uniform and in good condition, instead of the cheap, patched-over holes I was used to. There were no broken windows. There was no mold or dust on the siding. Even the pave stones on the walkway had lost their cracks.

It was creepy as fuck.

Karen cried out as she orgasmed for what had to be the tenth time. I blew a loose strand of hair out of my eyes in boredom. It felt strange to hear them together and feel not even a twinge of jealousy.

“Baby.” Trevor’s words were muffled. “Baby, get up. Get up, get up, get up.” The pain in his voice was obvious. “My leg is cramping.”

“Probably dehydration,” I said under my breath. My feet were propped on the balcony rail as I used the tip of my knife to scrape blackened grit out of my claws.

Karen purred. “Stretch it out, stud, I’m not done with you yet.”

“No, wait. Hold on,” Trevor managed to protest between sticky kisses. The mattress creaked as he sat up. “I have to go. I was supposed to be home hours ago.”

“Well, you’re not going to get into any more trouble than you already are. Just stay the night.”

“No!” Trevor took a moment to govern his tone. “No, I need to get going.” I heard his clothes rustle as he hurried to put them on. “My mom’s not happy with how often I’ve been breaking curfew for…well, you know. My parents are threatening to take my car.”

“You’re eighteen years old and we’re engaged. When are they going to stop trying to run our lives? I’ll be so glad when we’re married and we don’t have to sneak around like this anymore.”

Trevor made a vague sound as he continued to dress.

“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.” Karen’s voice had grown cold. “Are you going to pick me up or do I need to take the bus?”

“Um, maybe you should catch the bus, or a ride with someone else. I don’t feel so good. I’m going to stay home tomorrow.”

“Aw, my poor baby. What’s wrong?”

“I don’t have any fucking energy.” Even I blinked in surprise at the sharpness of Trevor’s tone. “My head hurts, everything I eat makes me queasy, I barely sleep…”

I don’t know if Karen heard the subtle accusation. If she did, she didn’t care. “All right, then. Go get some rest, sweetness. I’ll call you tomorrow afternoon.”

“Okay.” It may have been my imagination, but Trevor sounded kind of defeated.

“I love you,” Karen said, hopeful.

I rolled my eyes. That should have tipped the poor, dumb bastard off right there. Karen never said it first.

“Yeah. I love you, too,” Trevor muttered as he left the room. I couldn’t stand him, but it was hard not to feel sorry for the guy. He wouldn’t last much longer.

I waited until I heard Trevor’s car start in the driveway before I knocked on Karen’s window. She pulled back the lace curtain a few seconds later, a silky blue robe pulled tight around her nakedness. Her skin glowed as she gave me a long, blank look, then her face split into a wide smile.

“Tobias?” she said with a surprised laugh.

I blinked, long and slow like a cat. Tobias?

Karen shook her head in disbelief. “By the gods, it’s so good to see you. You look great.”

Lying whore. “Can I come in?”

The corners of her eyes crinkled in worry. “Can you?”

“Not unless you invite me,” I pointed out.

Karen bit her full bottom lip. “Are you mad at me? From earlier?”

“You mean when you dominated me in the courtroom?” I shook my head. “No.” My tone was convincing because it was the truth. I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t even upset. I actually felt very little. “I promise, I’m not mad.”

Karen wavered for another heartbeat or two before her sweet face hardened with resolve. “Maybe that’s not a good idea. I don’t want to confuse the issue.”

I tilted my head. “What issue?”

“What?” Karen said with a frown.

“What issue? Why would it confuse anything to invite me in?”

Karen took a deep breath as she drew her shoulders back. Her boobs thrust against the thin material of her robe, leaving nothing to the imagination. “I’m sorry, Tobias, but I can’t do that to Trevor.”

“Do what? What would we do?”

“You know…” Karen’s confidence failed, leaving her flustered.

“No, I don’t. Tell me.” It was fun to watch her squirm.

“Look, things are going really, really well with Trevor right now. I love him and having another man in my room would upset him.”

“That’s never stopped you before.”

“And I was wrong for that.”

I placed both hands on the windowsill as I gave her a direct look. “Did you forget about our arrangement?”

Karen appeared to be resisting the urge to roll her eyes. “No. If one of us finds the Tepes Chalice, we know how to contact each other. Let’s just leave it at that.”

“That’s not what I was talking about.”

Karen blinked, caught off guard. “Oh. Then…”

I gave her an expectant look. “Well?”

“Well, what?”

“Well, do you want it?”

Karen faltered. “I still need time to think about it?”

I didn’t have to pretend to be impatient. “You already said that you agreed.”

“Well, now I need time to think about it.”

I muttered curses under my breath. “There’s no time to think about it. You should’ve made up your mind before I went through the trouble of stealing that goddamn talisman for you. Know what, fuck it. I’ll bet Elaina will want it. She’s a diviner, and she’ll probably pay me.”

It worked, as I knew it would. Karen held out her hand as I began to push away from the window. “Wait. Fine…just. Wait?” She hedged one more second. “You can come in.”

I couldn’t fight back a smirk. I slid the window open then a cloud of jasmine perfume drifted into my face like nerve gas. Karen took a step back as I entered, and I had almost forgotten how I towered over her.

Karen looked me over with a scowl. “Okay, so where is—?”

The rest of Karen’s sentence was lost as my fingers locked around her throat. I lifted her as though she weighed nothing at all then slammed her onto the bed. She flailed at me with her weak little fists, but she may as well have been whipping me with ostrich feathers.

My rage sprang forward, always there, coiled like a rattlesnake in tall grass. I couldn’t keep the words from bellowing out of me, “Where is she?”

“Who?” Karen’s voice was strangled. Her face turned bright red as tears filled her eyes. “What are you talking about?”

I couldn’t seem to keep from squeezing. The sensation of her windpipe being crushed by my bare hands was incredibly satisfying. “Where is Karen?” Spittle would have flown from my lips if my mouth hadn’t been so dry. “What did you do with her?”

Her hands were soft and cool on the sides of my face. “I’m right here. I’m here, Toby. Don’t you recognize me?”

Her strangled voice was getting on my nerves. I pinned her wrists above her head then pressed her against the mattress with the weight of my body. “Save that bullshit. Do you think I’m as blind as a regular fucking human? What did you do to her mother and brother?”

“Nothing.” Karen shook her head, insistent. “They’re fine. Mom’s at work and Scotty is sleeping. Please, calm down, Toby.”

My hands tightened with anger, and her tender flesh felt like play dough. “Don’t talk to me like you know me, demon. I’m going to ask you one last time. Where is Karen?”

Karen’s expression smoothed to contempt, no longer the least bit afraid. “I’m not supposed to tell you.” Her voice had taken on a weird resonance, like a huge crowd of people speaking in perfect unison.

I can’t stand the demonic accent. “Wrong answer,” I said as I pulled back my fist.

“Wait.” Karen’s tone was so rational that it was gasoline on the flames of my temper. “Calm down so we can talk.”

“I don’t talk to demons. Just tell me where she is.”

Karen—rather, Bad Karen—blinked as though she was blown away by my lack of proper upbringing. “Wow, are you ever comfortable throwing that word around. My kind has a name, bloodsucker.”

“And I couldn’t care less what it is. What are you doing here and what happened to Karen?”

Bad Karen rolled her eyes. “Nothing happened to her. She’s fine.”

“And I’m supposed to take your word for that?”

Bad Karen shrugged. “I would. It’s all you’re going to get.”

It seemed pointless to pin her if it didn’t hurt her, so I released her hands. Bad Karen made no move to get out from underneath me. “That’s not good enough,” I said.

Bad Karen’s lips pursed. “Too bad for you.” Her hands moved between us so she could untie her robe.

It took everything I had to keep from looking down. “Don’t play with me, demon.” My teeth ground together against the sudden but strong ache in my lower abdomen.

Bad Karen grunted with desire. “Oh, yeah, call me names. Tell me I’m a bitch, and a whore. Make me suffer. I love it.” I felt her quick fingers unfasten the button of my jeans.

I caught her wrist a split second before her hand slipped past my waistband. “Don’t.” My tone was a death threat. “Don’t do that.”

“Your mouth says no but the rest of you says yes.” Her hips moved against my obvious need. “Come on. I know you want this. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? You won’t even have to hold back. I can take anything you can dish out.”

The heat of her radiated through the thin denim that separated her body from mine. I shoved away from her. “You’re disgusting.”

Bad Karen’s features shifted, became just a little bit older and infinitely wiser. “How disgusting am I now?” Justine said.

I punched her in the face. Hard. Bad Karen groaned as her eyes rolled back. She licked the blood from her split lip, prodding the already swollen flesh with the tips of her fingers. A deeply gratified smile spread across her face as she said, “That was amazing.”

“Tell me where Karen is. Now.” There was no real threat in my voice. I didn’t have a leg to stand on and we both knew it. It took all that I had to keep from staring at her exposed…everything.

Bad Karen moved so that she was kneeling on all fours. “Not until you hit me again.”

I stood, if only to put some distance between us, because I wanted to do what she asked. I wanted it bad. “Not a chance. Tell me where to find Karen, demon.”

Bad Karen glowered as she threw a pillow at me. “Stop calling me that. I’m a doppelganger, shithead.”

This shocked me. “What the hell is a doppelganger doing here? And how can Karen afford to have someone like you take her place?”

Bad Karen made a vague gesture. “Where there is a will, there’s a way. Now,” her expression turned seductive again. “Where were we?”

I turned my back on her then stepped toward the window. “Tell the bitch that hired you that I need to talk to her. She has three days to respond or I’ll yank the curtain down on your little magic show.”

The way Bad Karen crossed her arms made her tits press together. No way in hell that wasn’t for my benefit. “You’re no fun.”

I left without another word. My head was splitting, and I had to find a barrel of ice water so I could soak the lower half of my body.

<<Start from the beginning

<<Chapter 3

Chapter 5>>