Tag Archives: action

Seraphim, Part Three: The Beginning is the End

images

Reese’s clawed hand struck Steven’s neck. The power of the slash knocked him from his feet and he crashed to the ground in a rolling skid.
“Yeah! How’d you like that, fucker? Did ya see that, sweetheart? Your boyfriend’ll be breathing from a tube now.” He leered over his shoulder at Wendy, who shrank against the bar and held her hand to her mouth.
Steven came to a stop and reached up to his neck. Tiny drops of blood dotted his fingers and the wound stung, but was nowhere near as fatal as it should have been. He grinned to himself and pushed to his feet. “You missed.”
Reese whirled around and stared slack-jawed at Steven. “That ain’t possible. I got you good.”
The astonished look brought a tiny laugh from Steven. “Apparently not.
Reese roared and sprang at Steven. They collided with a sharp slap of flesh on flesh. Reese buried his shoulder into Steven’s chest, lifted the smaller man and rushed him into the far wall. The cheap, panelled wall cracked with the impact and Steven’s head bounced back. The blow left him reeling as Reese sliced his chest and face repeatedly like a panicked beast. Each swipe had Steven sucking in a pained breath and he fought to block or counterattack, but Reese was a man possessed, like trying to hold a whirling buzz saw.
“No smart-ass words now, bastard? Huh? I can’t hear ya,” Reese growled. Steven lifted his knee into Reese’s balls. The large man folded forward, cradling his manhood and let out a groan. Steven landed a solid punch to his jaw and the big man staggered back. He pushed off the wall and tackled Reese. The two of them rolled around the floor, fighting for position, scoring minor punches or scratches and snarling at each other.
“Stop it. You’ll kill each other. Stop!” Wendy grabbed Steven by the shoulders and yanked him up.
“Let go!” Steven yelled.
The momentary respite allowed Reese to land a hard punch. Steven rocked back and both Wendy and him toppled into the bar. Wendy screamed. A wash of hot liquid sprayed over Steven’s face and blinded him.
“Wendy? Are you okay?” He ran a hand over his face, smearing the sticky fluid, but still he couldn’t see. “Answer me. Are you alright?”
“Don’t worry, Romeo. She’ll follow you,” Reese said from behind him. A savage kick clacked Steven’s jaw closed and he hit the ground dazed. Reese dropped onto him and bashed him in the head with a thick piece of wood. The blow sent fiery waves of pain from his skull to his spine. The world started to spin away. A burning, intense pulse of energy shot from his heart, through his shoulders and burst from his hands. A bright, golden light broke through his near-blindness.
Reese let out an agonized yell and flew off of Steven. Distantly, Steven heard the crash of splintered wood and the thump of something heavy hitting the ground.
“Wendy?” he croaked. Exhaustion pulled him down and he fought to crawl to his hands and knees. “Wendy? Talk to me.” Through the miasma of pain and thick dust, he saw a small, crumpled body against the bar. His arms and legs shook violently and he collapsed to the floor, raising a cloud of gritty dirt and ash. His eyes slipped closed even as his fingers reached for the love of his life.

*****

One Year Later

Dawn Ericson, host of Late Talk Chicago, smoothed imaginary wrinkles on her blue blouse. She paced restlessly; fighting nerves and stomach-roiling nausea. As she passed her dressing room’s small vanity, she glanced at the stack of question cards she had memorized. Tonight’s guest, renowned bio-geneticist, Doctor Rolland Pierce, creeped her out. It wasn’t his skeletal frame or badly tailored suits with a wide assortment of bow-ties. No. It had everything to do with the eerie way he talked and the way he stared straight through her. After meeting him she felt the immediate need for a scalding shower and a large glass of wine.
“Two more minutes, Dawnie,” Brad-her current assistant-said through the door.
She paused and took a deep, calming breath. “Thanks, Brad.” She flipped through the question cards one more time, not really seeing them, but taking comfort in their familiar, smooth feel. The first question, What are they? stood out in the pile.
“One whole year and we still aren’t any closer to figuring out who or what the Seraphim are,” she muttered. Supposedly, Doctor Pierce had all the answers, but if he did, were they worth knowing? She shuddered and replaced the cards on the vanity. She stared at herself for a long moment in the mirror, tried to control her breathing and practiced her patent, open smile. “This is going to suck.”

*****

Doctor Rolland Pierce adjusted his bow-tie and checked his phone for the tenth time. Still no word. He pocketed the slim mobile and rubbed his hands together. The security alert went off in the Alpha Complex twenty minutes ago and none of the security team had gotten back to him yet. The stress was starting to kill him. Attacks from Seraphim weren’t unheard of, but something about the timing had his stomach churning.
The Alpha Complex held all of his most promising research and the location was supposedly a secret, but the damn freaks kept finding it. There would be hell to pay if any of those incompetent guards screwed something up. The shit would really hit the fan if it was a false alarm and no one told him.
“Still nothing?” Beckham asked from his position against the dressing room’s beige wall. The ex-soldier-turned mercenary-made Pierce nervous. He understood the need for a bodyguard, but he wished the company would have picked someone a little less intimidating. The man stood close to seven feet and was built like a wall. Add to that his perpetual scowl and the scar slashed diagonally across his lips, and the man screamed menace.
“No, nothing. Your men are prepared for everything, right?” Pierce tried to hide the biting sarcasm in his voice, but the fear and panic made that a pipe dream.
Beckham raised one bushy eyebrow, but said nothing. Pierce stared at him for an uncomfortable moment before looking away.
One point to Beckham.
A knock at the door made Pierce jump and Beckham smirked. “Nervous, Doctor?”
“Shut up,” Pierce responded. “Yes?” he said to the door.
“Two more minutes, Doctor,” came the muffled response.
“Fine. Thank you.” All of this going on and I’m trapped here doing an inane talk show. He fumbled out his phone and stared at it, willing it to give him an update.

Seraphim, Chapter One

Hello, everyone. I’m starting a weekly series of stories called Seraphim. This series is an urban fantasy following protagonist Steven Wainwright, whose life is changed by a cataclysmic event while on vacation with his girlfriend, Wendy. The event, a shower of comets that hit the planet, affects the world in a major way, causing massive changes in seemingly normal people.
I hope to see you back again each week as I debut another chapter.
As always, have fun and let me know what you think.
-T.J.

“I can’t believe you dragged me all the way out to the middle of nowhere for a vacation,” Wendy said with a fake pout. “Are you sure we aren’t lost?”
Steven glanced at her and shrugged. “Maybe.” He turned to look out the windshield, trying to hide his smile. They were driving along a dark, desert road in New Mexico. Nothing but sand and the odd cactus for miles around. He wasn’t worried, though they should have reached San Pablo hours ago. It had been ten years since the last time he came to the small town with his dad on one of their infamous cross-country drives and he was sure it hadn’t taken them this long to get there. He checked the GPS again, but San Pablo still hadn’t been mapped out yet and the device showed only empty space.
“We aren’t lost, are we?” Wendy asked, pushing a lock of her caramel colored hair from her face.
“Of course not. Wainwright men don’t know how to get lost. Part of the charm,” he said with a wink. “It’s just up ahead, I swear. They have the most…”
“Beautiful old church. I know, sweetie. You’ve told me a million times. It’s just I was hoping to see it before midnight, y’know?” She nudged him in the ribs and gave him a smile.
“It means a lot to me that you agreed to do this with me. Dad always said we’d go one more time and since he passed away…”
“I know,” she said, twining her fingers through his. “Hey! I think I see lights up ahead.”
Steven peered through the windshield and breathed a small sigh of relief. “I told you it was just up ahead. I can’t wait for you to see this place.” He accelerated as excitement surged through him. After this, we go to San Francisco. His thoughts drifted to the little box he had tucked away in his suitcase and from there, to the future.

*****

The town was set up in a typical cross formation. Main Street ran East and West, while Home Street ran North and South. The town grew along the crossroads, forming four equal quadrants. Antiquated businesses started from Town Square and stretched in either direction. Every one of them were dusty and sun-bleached and none of them bore a resemblance to the big name retailers. They all had names like, Hal’s Hardware and Tucker’s Inn. San Pablo had no claim to fame. It was just another town that sprang up like a mushroom one day and went bankrupt when the Hoover’s highway system became the acceptable route.
Steven parked the car in front of Tucker’s Inn. “This is it.”
Wendy eyed the building with something akin to dread. “This is where we’re staying? Honey, it doesn’t even look like it’s open.”
“What did I say? Part of the charm. Come on, I’ll check us in.” He leaned over and kissed her gently on the lips, before getting out and stretching.
“You are so lucky that I love you,” Wendy grumbled as she opened her door and stepped out.
A cool, desert breeze trickled through town and Steven stopped mid-stretch to admire how Wendy’s hair swirled around her face.
“What?” Wendy asked, self-consciously tucking her hair behind her ears.
“Nothing,” he replied. “I just forget how beautiful you are sometimes.”
She looked away and a shy smile played about her lips. “You’re nuts.”
“Maybe.” He walked around the car and took her into his arms. He stared into her eyes, eyes that had been etched into his mind and heart. He moved closer to her and his lips whispered over her’s.
A glaringly bright light interrupted their kiss. Steven blinked and pulled away from her, searching out the source of the illumination.
A huge golden comet streaked from the heavens. Its passage parted the clouds and threw out a horrendous shrieking noise.
“Oh my fucking God. Wendy, Run!” He pushed her ahead of him, but she only stared as the golden giant slammed into Town Square. The shock-wave knocked Steven from his feet. There was a moment of weightlessness as he twisted through the air and darkness as he struck the ground.

*****

Hot, piercing pain stabbed Steven’s body. His eyes flew open and he sucked in a choking, dust-filled breath and coughed viciously. A heavy, cloud of gritty sand hung in the air; obscuring his sight. He writhed in excruciating agony and his fingers scrabbled in the dirt, searching for Wendy. He tried to sputter out her name, but gagged on the thickness of his tongue.
A high-pitched, inhuman scream cut through Steven’s hell. He squinted, fighting to see through the haze. A shape materialized. A man spasmed and another bellow of torment echoed over the wasteland. As Steven watched, the man morphed and grew. His muscles bulged and swelled to impossible proportions. His eyes glowed a bright gold, like headlights on bright. The man surged forward; roaring and grunting.
Steven forgot his pain and scrambled backwards.
The man scooped Steven up as if he weighed nothing and began to squeeze him with his oversized hands. “Help me!” The man screamed. “God, help me.”
Steven grabbed the man’s arms. “Stop! You’re killing me,” he gasped. A shocking, cold energy from deep within him rose up. It spilled from his fingers into the man’s arms. The power rushed through the big man and hooked something inside him. Sharp, red-hot pain lanced Steven’s arms as the energy recoiled and tore through the man.
The big man screamed and dropped Steven, but his arms were glued to the man. He tried to yank away, but his hands wouldn’t budge. The big man howled in pain and his flesh began to disintegrate all at once. The skin disappeared into the dust, followed by the man’s skeleton.
Silence descended around Steven. “Oh my God. What the hell just happened? Somebody help me!” His muscles twitched and began to bulk up. “No. No!” He hit his knees and screamed as his body grew.