First, many thanks to Anita Stewart for organizing this hop,
creating all the graphics, gathering the authors
and hosting six days of creepy fun!
At the end of the hop, I'll put everyone's name who
commented on my posts in a drawing for a
$10.00 Amazon Gift Card.
Today and tomorrow I'm sharing an excerpt from
Favors For the Dead.
The story itself is dark fiction with some dark romantic elements.
The excerpt is just plain dark...
I hope you enjoy it.
The house is nothing but a weary shell of what it once was. It grumbled at Elliot’s intrusion in the form of creeks and moans as he puts one cautious foot in front of the other. A solitary dwelling for decades, it no longer wanted company, but to be left alone in its decaying misery.
A yellowish glow streamed from the camp lanterns scattered around the room. Pushed up against the brick fireplace, missing half its hearth, lay a tattered, sex tinged mattress half covered by a moth-eaten blanket. Broken Jack Daniels bottles and used condoms littered the floor around it. The walls were spray painted with angry and profane graffiti including a list of sexual favors offered by a woman named Wanda.
He couldn’t escape the stench of piss, vomit and sex and didn’t want to. He inhaled deeply. All this helped him tap into the negative energy left behind. While this wasn’t a setting he’d bring a woman to or sit around and drink with friends, it was however, the ideal place for his Samhain plans.
Elliott moved into the dining room. Food in varying degrees of decomposition lay scattered around. Nibbling at what may have been French fries, a family of rats stared up at him. Elliott stomped his feet and they scurried off.
His beloved stood atop the lone chair that survived the vandalism. The last two days hadn’t been kind to her. Dressed in a white ritual robe, she wavered between semi-conscious and awareness. Her hair, tangled with dirt and sweat, lay matted around her face. He’d bound her hands behind her back, and her feet together. The noose around her neck was tethered to the rafters above.
“My dear! I see you’re awake.”
“Ah, the cold shoulder. That’s not very becoming of you. But I’ve discovered there is much about you that is unflattering.”
She spat in his face.
Elliot wiped the spittle off his cheek on the back of his sleeve. “Give me what I want.”
“All I have to do is push the chair away and you’re dead.”
“Then do it. I’m dead either way.”
Elliot paced in front of her. “In eighteen sixty-six, the Reverend Samuel Haughton of Great Britain calculated a formula using the weight of the criminal, that would be you, and the length of the rope, or drop, to quicken death by the neck snapping faster. Unfortunately, you’re looking thinner than what I used in my original calculation and I have no urgent interest in letting you die fast. But, if you rethink your position, I’ll redo the math and make your death relatively swift.”
“You think you have power because my life is in your hands, but there’s nothing you can offer me to do your bidding. I want to die. I despise you and I always have.”
Her words scorched his heart.“I gave you everything you wanted; a beautiful home, designer clothes, money and my love. You took it all with a smile on your face.”
“You’re incapable of love. I smiled on the outside, I had to, it’s the nature of the relationship between the necromancer and the risen one. But I am no longer bound to that. It was a charade. I was an empty shell on the inside. Your mere touch made my stomach turn.”
Rage bubbled inside him like a volcano ready to erupt.
“When you’d leave my bed and go to your room, I’d stand under the hot shower for an hour trying to get your filth off of me.”
Shut her up! The voice inside his head screamed.
“Do it,” she taunted. “Push the chair. I don’t care if takes a half hour to die, just knowing I’ll be free of you will be worth it. Do it.”
Shut the bitch up!
“Do it you fucking coward.”
Don’t let her talk to you that way!
Elliott’s last hope vanished. Deep in her eyes he saw no trace of love or affection. No hint of fear or panic, only pure revulsion for him.
In a series of awkward movements, she hopped her bound feet toward the edge of the chair. “If you don’t have the courage to do it, I’ll do it myself.”
“You vile whore. You’ll rot in hell.”
“An eternity in hell is far better than another five minutes with you.”
If she jumps she wins. And you lose.
His fury rose to the point of no return ending in a brutal release. As she was about to step off, he seized her body and shoved it violently against the wall. He grabbed the chair. As she swung back toward him the chair became a bat and she a human piñata. He struck her. Again. And again. And again.
But she wouldn’t break.
Her eyes bulged. Her face turned a dark red. But her eyes haunted him. They glared with pure defiance. And her lips. Her lips curled into a cruel smirk he’d never forget. Chair still in hand, he smashed it against the floor, screaming, “Die bitch, die,” each blow causing it to shatter until nothing was left and exhilaration filled him.
His beloved’s swaying diminished to a slow moving pendulum. Death may have been her wish, but natural instincts took over. She thrashed against the noose, gagging and fighting for breath. He waited in silence, enjoying her agony. Twelve minutes had passed. How much longer would she last? A god-awful guttural groan escaped her as her body gave in to its last twitches.
“I was hoping you’d go longer my dear, but I think you’re almost at hell’s door. It’s a shame really.” He gave her a gentle push and began to sing.
Rock a bye baby, from the rafter top
When the wind blows, you’ll pray it stop
When the noose snaps, your body will fall
Down you’ll come, dark secrets and all
Forward and back, you sway and swing
Life hanging by a heavy braid of string
Rock a bye baby, do not you fear
Never mind, my beloved, I’m right here
Rock a bye baby, a struggle so violent
Then your body goes, limp, still and silent
Eyes shut tight, last breath will cease
Into slumber but never to rest in peace.
Carina hung motionless. Her bladder released. A puddle formed on the floor. Elliott circled around her and sighed. “Forgive me, my dear, I should have mentioned that if Ms. Millane chooses not to give me what’s rightly mine, you’ve sealed her fate to that of yours.
If you enjoyed that, I hope you'll stop by tomorrow for part two!
From here don't forget to check out all the other awesome authors in the hop.