Going Home – Chapter 39 – Hidden Monsters


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King Veelka wasted no time diffusing the hostilities.  He sent out his populist to encourage the rebels to rejoin the pack and offer peace to the jackals for the former king’s egregious behavior, requesting audience with a constituent of their clan to further discuss their truce.  He and his new guards escorted Tomas, Jill and Layla to the holding cells to release the prisoners.

The door to the cells stood open.  The chains lay in a heap on the floor and one guard lay moaning just outside.

One of Veelka’s new guards moved forward, sword at the ready and ventured through the opening.  Soon they heard sounds of a struggle followed by the guard’s reappearance.  He stumbled out and fell hard against the floor battered and bruised.  He raised his eyes and addressed Tomas.

“Your mate is a dynamo and a very angry one.”

Tomas couldn’t help smiling.  He lay a consoling hand on the guard’s shoulder, shifted his appearance to human and ventured through.  After a short minute, he signaled the others to follow.  Jill entered first, eager to see her mother and check on Robbie.  What she encountered sent her into dry heaves.  A  guard she recognized from the hive room lay dead on the floor.   A frozen expression of agony twisted his features.  His skin looked burned and had turned a sickening shade of brownish green as if he’d been consumed by a thermonuclear blast.  Tom pulled Jill away from the gruesome discovery and shielded her from the sight.  Soon she felt her mother’s arms encircling her as well.  Jill tried to breathe but their seemed to be a deficit of oxygen in the air.

“Breathe, baby,” Rebecca said as she rubbed Jill’s back.

“Did the wasp poison do that to him?” Jill asked in a shaky voice.

“Yes, but Robbie’s ok, dear.”

“How?” Jill asked looking up.  Her mother led her to the back of the cell.  Robbie lay on a bed of hay with his mother by his side.  His complexion didn’t look as bad as the guard’s but she still saw the awful greenish hues on his skin.  Jill dropped down beside him and lay a hand on his brow but he didn’t stir.  Paloma gave her a weak smile.

“I’ve stopped the spread of the poison for now but in order to remove the rest from his body, he needs an infusion of a plant extract from our territory.  It’s a ephemeral flower that blooms late in the season.  I purged what I could but it continues to multiply and spread at an alarming rate.  I can keep him in stasis until I get him home.”

Jill continued to rub Robbie’s forehead and smooth the fur around his ears.  She thought a minute and looked up at Paloma, “You put the poison in that guard, didn’t you?”

Paloma’s face turned hard, “He deserved it!  Treating my Robbie like he was already dead, an expendable casualty of war!  He laughed at my son’s discomfort and told me to give up.”  Her face softened as she looked back at her son and tears welled in her eyes.

It didn’t take long for Saal to arrive at the castle.  He met briefly with the new King before he rushed to take Paloma and Robbie home.  He returned later for Tom, Rebecca and Jill.  He spoke as they followed him to a designated portal site.

“Robbie’s responding well to treatment.  His mother should have him back to normal in a few days.  He wants to visit when he’s well again.”

“He’s more than welcome,” Tomas said.

No one knew how Ulvarg had managed to open a portal to the human  realm.  It was an ability delegated to the Guardians.  Saal had proved himself worthy and received this rare gift.  It was a mystery that disturbed them all.

Tomas pulled his family close as they waited for the portal to appear, relieved to have them back and soon, safe in the human realm.  “We should celebrate tonight.  Our first night back home, what do you think?  Dinner out?” he asked.

“Yes!”  Jill said.  “I really want a big juicy burger!”

“I could use a Chardonnay,” Rebecca said.  “Maybe two.”

Tom laughed as Saal opened the portal to their home.




Heart’s Betrayer – Chapter 27 – Hidden Monsters

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Jill and Robbie walked hand in hand through the woods. Jill had no intentions of going back to class with Officer Billy lurking there with his new friend. She’d decided to inform Vrag of his reappearance. He would know what to do. Soon they reached a clearing where an antique oak stood alone towering above the other trees. 

Jill heard the faint sounds of traffic and viewed a busy street beyond the tree line. 

“I’m sure that street connects with my neighborhood. I should go tell my uncle what’s happened,” Jill said. 

“Not yet,” Robbie said. He held on to her hand and twirled her back against the sturdy oak, his arms folding around her waist. Jill felt her mind floating as his lips brushed against hers before he captured her mouth completely. Her heart thumped in a frantic rhythm against her chest and echoed through her ears like a base drum. Tingles flowed from the roots of her hair to her finger tips when he licked his tongue across her lips tasting her cherry cola lip gloss. She gripped his shoulders and held him close, never wanting to lose this feeling. Her heart had no shield against this new sensation and it filled up to the point of bursting. 

A bright light flashed around them like a warm cocoon. It’s energy moved around them until it faded to nothing. Jill still felt Robbie’s arms tight around her. She opened her eyes and gasped. The woods looked strange now, as if the trees themselves had changed. Oddly shaped flowers she had no name for blanketed the ground and a chill blew leaves of spectacularly unusual colors around them. Her world no longer surrounded her but what did caused her floating heart to turn to stone in her throat. Wolves. They formed a wide circle around the couple, snarling and snapping their jaws with hunger. 

Jill looked into Robbie’s eyes and saw the betrayal. 

“You brought me here?” she asked. 

“I’m sorry, I had no choice,” he said. Jill tried to wrench herself free but he held fast. 

“Let go of me!” she screamed. 

“No! Please. I can protect you,” he said. Jill fought him until she broke free from his grasp. Her mind listed and reeled against what her heart felt only seconds ago. They’d shared something special and new but now, her heart felt like a crystal glass shattered to dust. Jill fought at the tears. She couldn’t afford to cry. She backed away from her betrayer and eyed the wolves as they closed the circle around her. A large gray wolf shifted and stood upright. He eyed her with a smile, his muzzle pulled back to show fangs glistening with saliva in anticipation of their prey. He manifested a staff and threw in the circle near her feet. 

“No!” Robbie shouted. “Don’t fight them!” 

Jill threw him a hard look before she scooped up the staff just as the first of the wolves attacked.

Escaped – Chapter 26 – Hidden Monsters

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Jill stifled a yawn listening to their science teacher, Ms Caldwell bloviate about the epiglottis. She appeared to have learned the word as of last night and compensated with long exaggerated explanations that sounded like an aria sorely out of key. Robbie sat next to her at their workstation in a vegetative state. She nudged him and he turned a glazed smile her way. Shaking her head, she tried hard to listen to the teacher but all she wanted to do was cut the teacher’s tongue from her mouth, epiglottis and all and sell it to a smokehouse as mystery meat. 

Ms Caldwell paused her droning when someone knocked on the door. She smiled. 

“Class, we have two guest speakers joining us today to discuss the very serious subject of drugs in school.” She went to the door and ushered the guests in. 

“May I introduce to you Doctor Bernard Pendergast and former police officer, Billy Smith, who recently joined Dr. Pendergast in the private sector to help reduce drugs in our local school system.” 

The class clapped, relieved to have an interruption. Jill’s body went rigid. She sucked in a gulp of air, her eyes wide in disbelief. She jumped when Robbie laid his hand on hers. 

“What’s wrong?” he asked leaning in. Jill remained silent. Her eyes met Billy’s arrogant smile as he spotted her in the back of the classroom. 

“I don’t trust those guys,” she whispered, finally finding her voice through the emotional hurricane boiling inside her. She listened to their canned drug statistics while the teacher politely sat at her desk, her Bible forever opened to the book of Psalms as if she read piously in her spare time. Jill never saw her turn the pages though. 

“Let’s demonstrate how we do a drug screening. We brought a model of the machine used to test blood samples. How about a volunteer?” Dr. Pendergast asked. No one raised their hand. Jill watched Officer Billy stroll down the aisle to her desk, his pace easy and even like he walked on a slow speed treadmill

“How about you, young lady? There’s nothing to worry about. I’m sure it will show negative,” he said. 

Jill looked wide eyed to the teacher for help only to be chided. 

“Jill! A good student like you afraid of a little pin prick? It’ll be fine, just tickety-boo!” 

Jill shook her head emphatically and hid her hands below the desk. Billy raked her with a knowing look before he found another student to harass. She couldn’t breathe until the class was over. She bolted from the room with Robbie close on her heels. He grabbed her hand and pulled her through the halls to the cafeteria and out into the courtyard. Jill sat outside and concentrated on the woods. Robbie sat close, holding her hand for support. 

“You want to tell me what that was all about?” he asked. She shook her head ‘no’ before she nearly squeezed the life from his hand. 

“They’re coming this way!” she hissed. She felt tears pricking the backs of her eyes and a soft sob escaped her lips. 

“Come with me,” Robbie said as he pulled her up. He grabbed their backpacks and led her toward the woods. Jill hesitated. “We’ll lose them in here and hide by the stream,” he said as he guided her along. Jill followed Robbie moving quickly and quietly through the woods. They reached the stream with no way for Officer Billy to find them. Jill sighed with relief when Robbie came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. She felt safe, finally calming down. 

“Thanks,” she said. 
“Don’t worry, Jill. They won’t find you,” he whispered.

Ambush – Hidden Monsters – Chapter 11

Tom moved in and out of consciousness until his system finally purged the last of the poisons.  He blinked his eyes into focus before he realized two things.  The car wasn’t moving and Jill was not in the car.
Tom sat up and noticed bandages on his shoulder and front leg.  A bowl of fresh water and a hamburger sat on the floor of the back seat.  Soon he heard footsteps approaching the vehicle.  His hackles rose and he sunk lower on the seat, poised to strike, fangs ready.  He scented Jill and relaxed when she opened the door.
“Where have you been?”  Tom demanded.
“Nice to see you back to normal.  Are you hungry?” Jill reached for the water and set it on the seat. Tom licked at his dry nose and gulped at the water in earnest. When he finished draining the water bowl, he ate the large hamburger Jill unwrapped for him in two bites. She smiled and pulled another from a bag. He polished off three before he went back to his first question.
“Where were you?”
“Covering the car tracks near the side of the road. I saw it in a movie once and it seemed like a good idea,” Jill said as she reached into the bag and started eating a burger of her own.
“Good thinking. Where are we?” Tom asked.
“I’ve been driving for at least eighteen hours. I stopped a few times for gas and food but you were out of it most of the time.  I took a nap in the car for a few hours but according to the GPS we’re still over a day away.
“No doubt they found the dead hyena by now.  We can’t sit still for long.  I’ll feel safer once we reach Saal,” Tom said.  “Get some sleep.”  He moved to the floor and let Jill stretch out on the back seat.  She looked exhausted and fell asleep fast.  Tom kept vigil during the night, listening for any sounds of attackers.
Jill woke to low rumbling growls issuing from her father’s throat.  She followed his hard gaze to the side window above where she lay and screamed.
If you’ve just started reading this serial, you may not know I am using writer’s prompts from Creative Copy Challenge to create each chapter.  Unfortunately the creator of the challenges is going through some rough times.  
Until the challenges are back on, I’ll write the chapters without prompts.
Please leave well wishes for my friend and his family.  I hope they will get through the tough times soon.

A Mother’s Rage – Hidden Monsters – Chapter 10

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Ulvang, the Wolf King, descended the steps in a slow lethal manner. Rebecca felt guards grabbing her arms and pulling her upright. She watched him reach the bottom step and move toward her. 

“We need her alive. I’ll forgive her this time. Afterall, the love of a mother toward her offspring can fuel a rage few of the male species can fathom. But perhaps we can use it to our advantage. How did Tomas come to be in the human realm?” he asked. 

“I don’t know. He never spoke of his mysterious past,” she said.

“Do not confuse my understanding with pity, human. I know he received help from someone in this realm that now resides in yours.” The king turned to the guards. “Threw her into the circle.” 

The guards formed a circle in the center of the floor, some in full wolf form while others stood upright. They snarled and howled as the woman was thrown into their midst. The first lunged for her, biting and clawing at her calf. Rebecca drew herself into a ball as others attacked her back, neck and arms. Those who stood upright, having a distaste for human flesh, kicked at the woman and inflicted blows causing welts and large dark bruises over her skin. Soon the pain melted away along with her consciousness. 

Rebecca woke in her cell, uncertain of how she’d gotten there. Ulvang wanted from her a secret she didn’t know. An invisible calm washed over her. No longer scared or what they could do to her, she rose from the cold stone floor, content to be tortured forever if it meant Tom and Jill’s safety. She staggered to the far wall and cupped her hands as the stones seeped spring water and drank her fill. She hissed as she washed the scars and bite marks clean. Afterwards she made her way to the pile of hay which served as a bed and lay down. 

The door to the cell clanged open causing Rebecca to sit bolt upright. King Ulvang walked in carrying a small bowl of cooked meats. His nose wrinkled as he slid it over to her. 

“I’m sending another group into your world to find her. Make no mistake, I will have her. It would be so much easier on both of you if you cooperated. Tomas has taken her away, moving north. Perhaps if I use you as bait, I can draw them out into the open,” he said.

“Well forget it! I won’t let you use me to get to them. Get out!” She shouted. 

Ulvang made to leave but turned back quickly. Rebecca saw the glint of a knife seconds too late.

Ulvarg the Wolf King – Chapter 9 – Hidden Monsters


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Rebecca walked with natural grace even as cold restraints chafed her ankles. She carried a silver serving tray filled heavy with raw meats from strange animals toward the Wolf King, Ulvarg. She grimaced at the thick leather collar around her neck. The guard behind her jerked the chain attached to her collar and nearly pulled her off balance. She scowled back at the monster before she continued on. 

 She made her way up the polished stone steps toward the king’s throne just as another group of guards burst through the double doors to the official chambers. 

“The first hyena was unsuccessful, My Lord,” the guard said as they neared the throne. They carried a large bundled object and dumped it near the steps. The first guard jerked the cloth from their load, revealing the body of a dead hyena at their king’s feet. The lifeless corpse still held the iron poker Jill had lodged in its gut. 

Rebecca gasped and threw her hands to her mouth, dropping the tray. It crashed with a loud clatter to the floor, spilling its contents and coating the floor and everything around it with bloody juices. 

“I see Tomas has not lost his touch. I had hoped the hyena would have at least been successful in drugging him with prey,” the King said. 

“We found the drugged carcass of a rabbit. The hyena at least did that but we believe the girl killed him.” 

“She has spirit. Maybe we should just kill the young one,” Ulvarg mused. 

“No!” Rebecca said lunging for the king. 

The chain tightened and pulled her back with a jerk. She spun from the force back to the guard who struck her hard across the face sending her to the floor in a heap. 

The guard shifted in an instant, his massive paws heavy on her back with his muzzle near her ear. He growled, his lips quivering with rage. 

“You dare attack our king, human? Let my king say the word and I will feast on your heart and entrails and quench my thirst with your blood hot in my throat!” 

Rebecca felt her insides knot. The guard’s threat blew hot in her ear and the funk of the dead corpse assailed her nostrils. His powerful jaws snapped as he spoke and saliva dripped from his dangerous teeth. She clamped her eyes shut and waited for the declaration of her fate from the Wolf King while her lips uttered a silent plea,

Please don’t let them find her, Tom. Keep her safe for me.

Rush to Vertical Peak – Hidden Monsters Con’t – Chapter 8


Photo credit: Anya Sergeeva / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Jill grabbed a dish towel and pressed it into the wolf’s shoulder. She sniffed and wiped at tears as she worked to stop the blood flow.

“Jill, we need to leave here. Other’s will come when this one doesn’t return. We need to call my friend, Saal. He’ll help us,” Tom said. 

“Ok, where’s your phone?” she asked. 

“In my pocket.” 

Jill looked at the wolf’s thick fur and shook her head. “You don’t have pockets. Change back into a human.” 

“I can’t. The hyena tricked me. The rabbit must have been drugged.”  

“You ate a rabbit that mysteriously appeared trapped near our house? Are you crazy? That’s the oldest trick in the book!” Jill said. 

“I was hungry,” Tom whined. 

“Never mind, I hope you know this guy’s number by heart.” Jill punched the number into her phone as he rattled it off. Jill spoke into the phone for a few moments then listened. She explained her father’s current form and his inability to change. “Yeah I said the same thing,” she said, giving her father a scowl. “Ok, just a minute,” she said as she placed her phone near the wolf’s nose and hit the speaker button. 

“Tom? I hear you got yourself into a real mess. I’m at my cabin at Vertical Peak. Can you make it here?” Saal asked. 

“Yes, we can get there in a few days but we might attract attention with me in this form,” Tom said. 

“I understand. Hold on. Jill, stand back.” There was a short pause before the phone began to glow blue. “Ok, Tom, touch the phone.”

Tom touched his nose to the phone and the blue light began to grow and engulf him. It flashed white before it faded. Jill picked up the phone and laughed, “He looks like a Husky! Awesome!” 

“Awesome is you guys getting here as timely as possible, young lady,” Saal said. “I’m sending the address to your phone now.” 

“Yes Sir, thank you,” Jill said before the connection ended. “Can you walk?” she asked her father. 

He drifted slowly to his feet and limped after her as she made her way to the garage. He slumped at the door but she pulled him along, making her way to a small two seater Porche. 

“No, take the Mercedes. It’s designed as a getaway car.” 

Jill shrugged and moved toward the Mercedes CLS four-door coupe. She found a few old blankets and covered the back seat before she helped her father lay down. She grabbed a few more blankets and put them in the trunk, which held pieces of luggage for both of them, dry food, water and sodas. Jill grabbed a Coke and hopped in the front seat behind the wheel with a one month old learner’s permit. She pushed the start button and eased out onto the driveway. 

“Hang on, Daddy. I’ll get us there. Don’t die, ok?” 
“Ok,” he said.


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