Ever Rain: Nine Kings Episode I

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Chapter 13

A hot shower was just what the doctor ordered. Stress melted and Kell’s muscles relaxed. She had double checked her injuries before getting in. The hand-shaped bruises on her neck were real. Matthew Edwards had choked her to within an inch of her existence. Kell finished washing up and cut off the water. This is getting---

Something heavy clanged to the floor overhead. She dried off her other leg and wrapped herself in the oversized towel.

“Probably the neighbors again.”

The Culpeppers had three kids who loved to play Wii Sports. They knocked things over on a routine basis, which was usually followed by a series of threats for grounding from Mrs. Culpepper.

“Kids.” She stepped onto the mat and pulled her hair over a shoulder to brush.

A series of weighted thuds grew closer from her hallway.

“I didn’t imagine that.”

The condensation on her mirror ran in lines, and then bent and ran against gravity back up the glass. A wave of numbing tingles raced from head to toe. No matter what she encountered in her job, these things always hit home.

One word emerged:

Tenebris

The streams snaked toward the bottom of the glass and drew something else:

Aeternam

Kell slid into her undies and socks and crept to the doorway. More footfalls. Sound like steel-toed boots. She poked an eye around the wall. Nada. She glanced in the living room. All clear.

Her chest deflated in relief. “What the hell?”

Kellerika moved into the kitchen. A swig of water would do some good. She padded across the cool linoleum to the cabinet next to her sink.

“Stay in contr---”

Every cabinet door in her kitchen flew open. Cups, plates, and bowls crashed to her floor in scattered piles. Kell tiptoed out of the room and backed toward the bath across the way. The Scarecrow’s laughter bounces around inside her head.

“I know who you are.” Kell strode into her living room. “Reid summoned you, didn’t he?”

Time to turn things up a notch.

A bright flash out of the corner of her eye. Kellerika’s stovetop had turned into four pillars of flame.

“I’m coming for you.” She ran to the stove and turned the burners off. “I’ll find you in there, and when I do---”

Spare me your heroics.

The overhead light in her living room flickered and grew to a dull glow. Kell stepped over the shards and went back to the living room. A towering figure stood out in the parking lot. A burlap sack tied over his head. His trusty machete in his right hand.

You’re in my world now. The real question for you is, can you save him in time?

An invisible blade tore into the far end of her couch near the top.

Time’s running out.

The phantom blade ripped a wide gash in a line toward Kell. The lights above her intensified, burning to a climax as the gash marched on her hand.

Come fetch, little bitch!

The ghost blade stopped next to her pinkie finger as the bulbs overhead exploded.

Lights out for young Evan. As the rain fell, the Scarecrow turn and strode away from the light of the street lamp and fazed from existence.

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