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Chapter 60

“What the hell is wrong with you? You’ve cut my hand!” Shelly was trying to break her hand free. The pressure on her hand grew stronger and suddenly Shelly knew this could not be Allen. He would never hurt her, and he was unable to materialize unless he was focused on saving her.

“You’re not Allen!” She shouted, but the hand was pressing harder. “You’re trying to hurt me? Why?”

She couldn’t see anyone. Maybe because it was too dark or maybe because whatever it was pressing down on her hand wasn’t real.

It is worth a shot. “You’re not real,” she chanted again and again and suddenly the weight on her hand was gone.

Shelly raised her hand off the rough wall, holding it up to her eyes. In the dark it was impossible to see the wound or the blood. “Allen,” she called. “Please, where are you?”

There was a flash of light as a plume of flame spat out across the room from an old oil furnace.

In the brief flash of light, Shelly saw what looked like a man’s body shackled to the basement wall. Even with the head hanging down over the top of his torso, Shelly sensed it was

Allen. She stifled a scream as she scanned the darkness for another glimpse. The man was naked, muscular, his face hidden…was he unconscious? What had happened to him? “Allen,” she called and saw the man’s head move. He’s in trouble.

The flames shooting violently from the burner were blocking her path. Fire had always terrified her. The flames were like a wall. Gazing around the basement now lit up by the burner flare-ups, she saw what looked like a Native American blanket draped on one arm of a wood chair.

She hurried toward the blanket and saw it was covered with strange symbols. Probably Navajo, she thought, wrapping it around her shoulders and over her hair. Whatever you are, I hope you can protect me, she said to the spirits of the blanket.

The flames seemed to be lashing out at her like fiery whips. She hesitated, wishing she had another option, but Allen needed her. He had saved her when she needed help and now it was her turn. “My turn to save a ghost?” That even sounded strange to her, but it didn’t matter. She now understood the link between Allen and her was strong, but was it strong enough io make her walk into the flames?

She gazed with fear at the fire shooting out from the furnace like fiery hands. “One. Two.

Three!” She charged through the flames with the blanket held tightly around her. The heat and the brightness of the fire made it seem like forever until she was through. Her breathing was rapid and she felt like she was in the furnace, but she was through. The blanket was alive with flame so she threw it off her shoulders and stomped the flames with her shoes until they were out.

The flames were no longer shooting at her from the furnace. Shelly was plunged into darkness again.

Shelly felt along the wall, groping her way toward where she thought she had seen Allen.

Her hand moved cautiously, afraid the phantom hand would once again slam her against the jagged surface of the concrete wall and draw more blood. Step by cautious step, she crept forward. Finally her hand landed on what felt like naked flesh, his arm. “Allen,” she whispered, “I’m here. Tell me you’re okay?”

“It’s your fault,” Allen said, his voice hoarse. “You were warned to stay away.” “I only wanted to help,” Shelly said. “You know that.”

“We don’t need your damn help,” a thunderous voice, not at all Allen’s, seemed to rise all around her and Shelly felt a hand clamp around her wrist.

Allen’s voice begged, “You must release me. The key is by the furnace.”

Shelly felt the hand free her and she dropped to her knees to search for the key. She found a small metal box and inside was a key. She grasped it and walked back to Allen. “I have it,” she said.

“Use it quickly. Set me free. Hurry, before they get here.”

Shelly reached forward and fit the key into the leg shackles. One twist and they opened. Next she reached for the thick collar around Allen’s neck. The lock was more stubborn, but she finally felt it give way. She was exhausted but reached up to his wrists, standing on tip-toe, her body inches from his naked torso. I’m feeling his chest, his naked chest, she found herself

thinking as the first lock was breached. Finally the second lock gave way and she dropped away from him, wondering what he was going to do next.

“I’m free,” he said, his voice soft and enticing. “I’ve waited such a long time for you,” he whispered.

Shelly felt herself melting. He had waited for her, but how did he mean that? She suddenly realized she had been waiting for him too. And now she could see him. How was that possible? She didn’t care. She could see his body and it was strong and manly. She felt strange, as if a fire was starting inside her. Have I wanted this all along, she asked herself as she couldn’t help staring at his naked torso, his muscles clear and powerful, more powerful than she had expected.

He reached for her with his hand, pulled her toward him. It was happening. It was impossible, but yet it was happening. At long last, she was seeing and feeling this person who had grown so close to her. He was raising her lips to his and she could see him. He wanted her, and she wanted him. She knew that now. I want him. His fingers were strong. His grip held her and pulled her forward and up. She felt his chest pressing against her breasts. She felt her body responding even though he was rougher than she wanted, holding her hard against him as if years of want were exploding inside him.

Shelly reached up toward his lips and suddenly saw his eyes. “You’re not Allen,” she gasped, as she focused on eyes that were red and cruel. Shelly screamed as the hand was relentless, pulling her closer to his lips. Shelly screamed louder as two blindingly red lights, his eyes, seemed to burn into her. “What are you? You’re not Allen! Let go of me!”

The hand was holding her against his body. Another hand on the back of her head was pulling her mouth toward his mouth which was now open and waiting. A strange odor was coming from his mouth. It made her stomach turn.

“All I want is a kiss,” Shelly heard Allen’s voice taunting. “Isn’t that what you’ve wanted all along?” The hand pressed harder and Shelly’s lips were about to touch the monster’s blood- red lips, its tongue, snake-like, long and pronged, was forcing its way through her teeth. “I know you want me? I’ve felt your heat for days,” Allen’s voice taunted her. “You love me. Don’t

resist. I’ve smelled your heat.”

It sounded like Allen, but she knew instinctively it was some monster imitating him. He’d never talk like this. He’d never be so rough. “No,” she screamed. She kicked and kicked, but her sneakers met only steel-like bone, almost breaking her toes in her effort to break away.

“Why are you fighting me,” the man asked with Allen’s voice. “I know you want me.

I’ve wanted you too.” Bony fingers ripped open her blouse. Shelly tried to break the grip of the hand that was holding her arm behind her back, but it was far too strong. She felt a long nail pull at her bra. “How lovely you are,” the voice hissed roughly yanking the bra over her breasts. “I will enjoy taking you. You are delicious.”

Shelly struggled, but the monster now had his hand on her breast, squeezing hard. Pain shot through Shelly’s body and she let out another scream as the monster laughed at her agonized kicking and clawing, a vain effort to break free. This was not Allen. He could never be this cruel and brutal. Her arm, pinned behind her back felt like it was breaking, but still she tried to break free.

Shelly shuddered. She felt long nails moving slowly from her breast, down her stomach, the nails drawing thin trickles of blood as they trailed through her flesh toward her jeans. “Isn’t this fun,” the voice asked, licking the blood off his fingers. “It’s like unwrapping a Christmas present.”

Inches from the fangs, the sulfur smell overpowering her, Shelly felt the beast pulling at her jeans. “You want me,” Allen’s voice repeated, as he pulled her jeans down to her knees. “Your legs are wondrous,” he hissed, his hand moving up and down her leg. She suddenly felt a nail slice a thin path in her thigh and he released her from his lips just long enough to taste the blood from her finger.

“No,” she screamed, but his tongue was now inching its way down her throat. She felt faint, being held up by this monster, now viciously spreading her legs apart with sharp talons. “Allen, help me,” she screamed, feeling a sharp fingernail pushing under the hem of her panties. She tried to wriggle free, but he was too strong. He moved her hand lower on his body and she felt his immense organ ready to take her. “Allen, please help,” she called, as she felt his organ pressing between her legs, unable to stop him.

Suddenly Shelly felt the forward motion stop and something pulled her backwards and flung her across the room where she landed hard on the concrete floor. Tears stinging her eyes, she fought to get back on her feet, but fell backwards, unable to stand. She screamed in terror as she saw its grotesque face. It was almost upon her again. Suddenly the creature turned. “What

the hell do you want,” it roared, no longer disguising its voice.

Shelly wondered who it was shouting at. She peered through teary eyes and was horrified to see there were now two spectral figures in the smoke pouring from the burner.

“Oh no, not two of them,” Shelly groaned, as she fell back on the concrete, unable to move, staring at the creatures outlined in the smoke.

“Did I hurt you, Shelly,” Allen said, as he turned from the fiery monster a few feet in front of him. “I had to get you away from it.”

“Allen?” Shelly’s eyes cleared and she realized that one of the creatures, body outlined in the smoke, had to be the real Allen.

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