Hunting Shadows

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Chapter 7

JB watched with dark amusement as the argument became more heated. Oh, how foolish humans were. A mere shadow watching from the corner, waiting to make a move.

The man backhanded the woman across her face sending her sprawling against the kitchen counter. Dazed, she reached for the knife lying next to the cutting board. The man advanced behind her, yanking her hair and pulling her head back against his chest. He screamed in her ear as she struggled and screamed in pain, tears leaking down her face.

The man wrenched her head to the side throwing her into the dining room. Her hip collided with the edge of the table, ripping her shirt.

She slid down, sobs hitching in her chest, as she gasped for breath. The man grabbed her hair bringing her to her feet, still yelling at her he drew his arm back and slammed it into her nose with a sickening crunching sound as bone and cartilage shattered together. His face a thundercloud of rage as he brought his fist slamming into her stomach; his eyes glimmered with a feral anger.

As he drew his arm back for another hit, the woman screamed; high and inhuman. A sound of pure guttural rage and pain. Her eyes flashed murderously and as he moved to strike her again, she slashed upward with the knife she had hidden away. The man backed away, stunned, his hands flying to his throat. He stumbled backward, tripping over a chair that had gotten overturned earlier. The woman looked positively mad as she watched her husband go crashing to the ground, his hands still clutching his throat as blood spurted out from behind his fingers.

Calm now, the woman walked over to her husband who was choking on his own blood. She crouched down, whispering something in his ear before driving the knife into his chest viciously again and again, until the life had faded from his eyes. She left the knife buried to the hilt, sticking up out of his chest. JB waited until the woman had fled with a bag over her shoulder before removing the soul.

The man’s aura burned with a cold rage and as soon as the soul chain had been severed, he began yelling.

“That stupid bitch killed me! I can’t believe she had the gall to kill me. I ought to haunt that bitch for killing me. She fucking killed me! Yeesh, she could have done a cleaner job of it.”

JB rubbed his temples; sighing deeply.

“Yes, she killed you, your dead.”

The man kept yelling and throwing his hands in the air.

Disgusted with how he had died, and the fact that his wife had stabbed him to death no less, he barely glanced or acknowledged JB in any way. His patience wearing thin, JB growled low.

“Just get in the doorway, don’t make me throw you in.”

The soul kept yelling, his aura glowing with his rage. Finally losing his patience, JB grabbed the man’s soul and shoved him through the doorway onto the next stage.

Her head throbbed as she became conscious; the paralyzing poison rampaging through her body was slowly beginning to numb the left side of her body.

Vaguely she wondered if it would kill her; part of her hoped it would, part of her knew she couldn’t die because of her link to JB. Something was scratching at her nose; opening her eyes, a chipmunk was sitting on her mouth nibbling on her nose.

She tried moving her arms and found she couldn’t move more than a simple twitch of the fingers.

Panic began to creep its way up her chest. Crawling like an all-consuming insect until she thought she would suffocate in it. Gritting her teeth, she managed to push herself up against the tree she was leaning on. She couldn’t remember how she had ended up away from the lizard compound. The paralysis in her body was taking control the faster she moved.

Eryn, you need to move. There’s an antidote in your pocket. Hurry.”

JB’s voice shivered across her consciousness forcing her awake.

“JB, I’m so tired though…” Her eyelids drooped again.

“Eryn, I need you to get up!”

Again, he growled across her consciousness; his gravelly voice jolting her into moving. She forced her hands to jerk to life, slipping into her pocket to grab the antidote.

It took an exorbitant amount of will power to do so; but she did manage to get her numb fingers around the syringe.

Panting heavily with the exertion of moving, she paused, resting for a moment before dragging out the syringe and plunging it into her leg.

She blacked out hoping she had made it in time.

The castle was cold; dark and had an ominous, uninviting feel to it. But Reapers were not creatures of life and vitality; they were creatures of death and darkness. Being in this realm was peaceful and quieting and as he wandered through the halls down to the library of memory his thoughts began drifting. Vaguely he wondered if his own memories of his life were here. He flipped though the W’s until he had found the book marked with his name, birth year and death year. Opening the book, the first page stated his full name, birthday and death day.

The second page showed a live picture of his birth. Mildly disgusted and disturbed, he flipped forward about five years when he and his older brother and sister were riding bikes in the summer. JB was a young boy still riding on a racing tricycle and his brother Robert was on a big boy two-wheeler riding circles around him and laughing. His sister was on her girls two-wheel bike, but JB wanted to ride his brother’s bike. An oddly happy memory, he smiled at the live photo of the three children laughing in the sunshine.

Looking back through his human life, it felt like it had happened a million years ago to someone else. It was within that moment that JB realized how detached from human life he had become, even his own.

“I haven’t been human for a long time… at least now I can protect Eryn.”

He flipped forward in time another 15 years, pausing on the day Eryn and he got married. A long-awaited day and one he had been planning for five years.

He watched as his four-year daughter solemnly carried and threw flowers down the aisle with Heather, Cassandra and Jared’s daughter. They were followed by Alyx, Cassandra and Jared’s oldest daughter who was ring-bearer, then the bridesmaids and finally the stunning beauty herself. Eryn walking calmly down the aisle with her grandfather beside her.

This was the woman he had fallen in love with so many years before, the woman he had sacrificed himself for so she could get away. The woman who even today didn’t entirely trust him because of the monster that ruled within. He sighed closing the book; memories didn’t do anyone any good.

The dappled daylight of fading sunshine woke Eryn. Breathing deeply, she was relived to be alive and have mobility back. Checking her watch, it appeared to be a little before seven thirty and a Saturday.

Thinking back to when she had left, she realized it had been over a week since she had left. Stretching to get the stiffness out of her body, she was no longer feeling the effects of the lizard creature’s poison. Within a few moments, the moon had risen above the horizon and shone with a pale glow turning the landscape around her to an eerie silver color.

Her luminescent eyes reflected the moon’s light and as she watched the tiny creatures around her disappear in to their homes, she longed to be back at her own. Small creatures with large, round eyes watched from the safety of the trees and avoided her, lest they become her next meal. She turned into a large wild cat and slipped silently through the undergrowth. She hunted, catching and devouring small rodents as she made her way to a place that would hopefully get her home, or at least back in her world.

Every world had them; weak spots and spaces where worlds over lapped, barriers were thinnest and one could traverse the spaces between worlds going from one to the next.

Sometimes there were time shifts between worlds, realms, and other dimensions, and if she wasn’t careful, she knew she could end up on a world or in a realm or dimension far from where she wanted to go. With her senses high, and adrenaline singing through her veins, she secured her backpack and began making her way to where the barriers of this world were thinnest.

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