*Warning, this book contains mature themes. Such as, memories of sexual abuse, ptsd, anxiety, depression, violence, and sexual themes. It is not intended to be read by any person under the age of 18, please be advised. Also, any person or place depicted within this book, are not meant to represent real life situations. This is purely fantasy/fiction. *
This book can be read as a stand alone, but I recommend reading the first book. ‘Claimed by Fate.’ first, to fully understand it’s sequel. :)
This can’t be happening, who are these people?
And where the hell am I?!
A rough hand grips my shoulder and leads me down a winding stair case, my feet slip on the slightly slimy steps.
The smell of mold and decay burn my lungs with every breath. But I dare not voice any complaints, my sarcastic mouth had already earned me several blows to the jaw soon after I woke up in the arms of a strange man.
As if irritated by the thought of it, my cheek throbbed in renewed fever.
Sidetracked by the pain, I lose my footing on a particularly grimy step, and I dip forward, my stomach drops. But before I can plummet to my death, the hands on my shoulders yank me back roughly.
“Careful, we wouldn’t want you damaged before the king can have a go.” The man’s gravelly voice rasped against my ear. His hot breath smelt of sulfur, but that wasn’t what caused me to blanch.
Up until now my captor hadn’t spoken, he’d preferred his fists over words.
But as his ominous remark left his lips memories of the morning flash through my mind, triggered by his voice.
I’d just gotten back from my morning jog, when I noticed the door to my apartment was ajar.
Not being a total dunce, I fished my pepper spray and pocket knife out of my bright yellow side bag. I then tightened my pony tail, and shook my hands at my sides with a little, in place jog, to pump myself up.
All was quiet once I entered my apartment, which should have been reassuring. If it were not for the fact that I had a habit of leaving the tv on for background noise, even when I wasn’t home. Wouldn’t want Casper to get bored, now would we?
Stop it, now’s not the time to be cracking jokes, even in my head, I’d chastised myself, while inadvertently letting my guard down.
I’d been a fool to think that my measly Swiss army knife, and pepper spray would serve as any use to me.
Maybe had my captor been human, I might have stood a chance.
But his glowing green eyes, and wicked smile quickly snuffed out any notion of his humanity.
I was subdued with little more than a breath on his part, but I’d like to image that my feeble attempts to gouge his eyes out had been appreciated.
“Easy lamb, save your fire for the king.” Were the last words I heard before the man... or whatever he was, slammed his elbow down hard on top of my head.
“In here.” The man quipped sharply, he then placed his hand on my lower back, and shoved me into a cell room.
“Wait!” I finally found my voice as the wooden door slammed shut, and the sound of locks sliding into place bounced off of the damp stone walls.
Without thinking, driven more by instinct than logic, I slam my shoulder against the door.
“Let me out! You can’t do this, it’s illegal, you’ll go to prison! Let me speak to this ‘king’ of yours, I demand that he release me at once.” I cry in vain, my fists ache from my futile bartering, against the bared window.
I hadn’t fought him on our way to my prison. Made compliant either out of shock or fear, but now, confined in this small room that smells of death and broken spirits, I regret my meek behavior .
“Maybe in the human realm, but not here, little lamb. You are in his domain now, and I wouldn’t be so eager to meet the king, he won’t be as-” The man paused, and leaned close to the small window, his pale skin looked too thin, to... tightly stretched over his angular features, and sunken eyes.
“Accommodating as I have been.” He loosed a dark chuckle, and I instinctively stepped back from the door, even as he backed away.
At my new vantage point, yet another horror caught my attention, as my captor’s steps receded out of ear shot.
Etched in the door, in a child’s hand writing, was a name, followed by countless tally’s to mark the time that had passed.
I step closer despite every bone in my body screaming that whatever I saw would break me.
I wish I had listened to myself.
Ice pours into the bottom of my stomach, accompanied by a thin sheet of sweat that broke out over my entire body as I stared, unwilling to believe my eyes.
Along with the tally’s that no doubt added to years, was the name of my best friend.
I shoot up in bed from my vivid nightmare like a wound up coil being released, sweat covers me from head to toe, and I blanch as my B.O hits my nostrils.
I need a bath.
“What!” I snap loud enough for my interloper to hear.
“Don’t you get snippy with me, young lady. Let me in!” Fayah demanded from the other side of my bedroom door.
“Uhg” I moan but make my way to the door to let her in regardless.
On my way, I pass a mirror secured to the wall. The quick glimpse was enough to remind me of my visage.
My once tan skin, is now ashen with a slight cerulean hint, that reminds me of how corpses look on crime shows.
My hair hangs in limp hay colored mats, showing no traces of the glossy, golden mane it had be when I was human.
And my mouth...
It’s far too wide for my face, stretching to accommodate the extra teeth that now crowd my gum line in a deadly array of pin sharp choppers.
My eyes however, have undergone the worst changes in my opinion.
They are down right freaky, and that’s being kind.
My azure orbs sit behind a nearly clear, white film, that only serves to add to my cadaver countenance. But hey, at least I didn’t need contacts anymore, enhanced healing and heightened senses were probably the only perks of becoming a ghoul.
“Any day now, slow poke.” Fayah calls from the door, impatiently.
But as soon as I open the blessed barrier, I instantly regret my decision.
Fayah stands before me, bright eyed and bushy tailed—which is enough alone to irritate me these days—
It’s funny how roles reverse, it seems like a life time ago that I was the one greeting Fayah in the mornings, with cheer.
Now it would appear that I’d slipped her former grouchy pants on with ease.
This fact, however, is not what sent my pulse racing, and turned my garbage disposal of a mouth into a fountain of saliva.
That blame fell solely on the delicious scent that rolled off of Fayah in waves of glorious, horrifyingly, tempting, fragrance.
A shred of memory from my childhood flashes through my mind. A cartoon character is looking at his friend, his mouth begins to water profusely, then the friend transforms into a steaming, golden turkey before his eyes, little turkey foot booties and all.
I shake my head to dislodge the unsettling thought. And then take a step away from her to ebb the desire to snack down on her neck like my life depended on it. Which judging by my declining health and restraint, it might just.
“Good morning, how kind of you to wake the dead.” I dead pan, with all the emotion of a rock.
Fayah huffs in annoyance, after a month, she’d grown tired of my bull shit.
Not that I cared.
She was partly to blame for my current mood, she did wake me up after all... not to mention she left out crucial information when befriending me, about her royal, blood thirsty step daddy, that could have saved me from becoming this...
I run my tongue over my new razor sharp smile.
To many teeth.
Far too many teeth.
But I digress.
“Good afternoon.” She corrects.
“Tomato Tamato.” I shrug, what consequence did the time of day have to me? It’s not like I had anywhere to be. Even if my job at the day care would still have me, I’m still in another freaking realm, where the only “people” familiar to me, are not even human.
You’re not human anymore either, Sam.
I chastise myself.
“I come bearing food.” Fayah chirps in a singsong voice, pushing past me and invading my safe space.
Or rather she was relinquishing hers to me.
My eyes reluctantly drift from her neck, down to her hands.
In my over attention to her jugular vein, I’d completely missed the plate of sandwiches cut into small squares, that she held close to her chest.
I take a moment to give my friend a once over.
Her Snow White hair, draped over her left shoulder in an elegant fish bone braid, was adorned with small pink flowers woven within, complementing her blush gown.
It would seem that I was not the only one to change. My Tom boy bestie, was now a refined queen ‘to be.’ Clenching my fists, I swallow the bile that rises to my throat.
Fayah, would be a queen.
And she would soon move past her ever fading guilt, that ties her to me, and move on with her life.
I am, after all, just a side note in the odyssey that is Fayah’s journey.
A supporting character to her grand legacy.
Her little ghoul friend, if you will.
Write that one down in the history books.
“Please don’t look at me like that, Sam.” Fayah sighed, sitting down on my unmade bed, she then placed the plate of finger food down beside her on the many various furs and silks that made up my nest.
“Like what?” I gave her my best closed mouthed smile, and plucked a sandwich from the plate, before stepping back to a safe distance.
I regret popping that bad boy in my mouth instantly.
My jaws almost rebel as I force them to chew away at the bland sponge like texture of the bread. The meat was no better, it tasted of rot and chemical, drained of all life and blood, but the cheese had to be the worst.
It stuck to my tongue in a greasy film, the robust flavor, warred with that of the overpowering mold, and curdled milk.
“Mmm, that really hits the spot.” I gag on the last swallow.
“You're a bad liar, does anything taste good anymore?” Fayah asked in a sympathetic tone, seemingly forgetting whatever look I must have given her.
My gaze returned to her neck, like a petulant child recommencing whatever they’d just been reprimanded for.
The direction of my attention was not lost on Fayah, perceptive as she is.
“Ah.” A deep frown settled on her face, it would seem that’s the only expression that I can consistently draw from her.
And even though my stomach is still rolling from its last horrid snack, I quickly toss another two barf sandwiches back, and swallow them whole.
The gut rotting favor and smell served as a suppressant to my instincts, and allowed me to remain by her side, unwittingly.
“See? I eat.” I flash her another grin, and too late realize that I hadn’t kept my mouth closed.
Fayah’s face pales, and her pink eyes widen to the size of dinner plates. It’s not that seeing my teeth is new to her.
Hell, she watched me unhinge them bitches and put the nom down on the Faye king, her step dad.
No, it wasn’t the sight of my teeth that bothered her.
It was her guilt at what I’d become.
And I’d be lying if I didn’t feel like she deserved it, just a bit.
She’d been through hell and back, and remained sane, and that was admirable.
But she’d left the widow to her childhood open, just wide enough for her boogie man to snatch me through it.
And she hadn’t even had the foresight to warn me that a monster lurked in the shadows, one far more dangerous than the bull shit gang leader story she had fed me.
Or maybe she had considered the risk, and had simply and selfishly, brushed it off.
The pain in her pinched expression, told me it was the latter.
Damn, how do we even come back from this?
“I’m glad to see you eat something, even if it is painful to watch you try and enjoy it.”
“That obvious? Darn, I need to work on my acting skills.” I laugh, the hell with hiding my teeth, let people be uncomfortable, I’m freaking uncomfortable.
“Sam...” Her voice trails off.
Well shit, now I feel like an ass.
“Look, I’m ok. Really, don’t worry.” My lie slips easily from my lips.
“You sure?” She asks, leveling me with her pensive stare, concern written clearly on her face.
“Scouts honor.” I raise my hand to my forehead and salute her.
“Great, then you won’t mind coming to the ball tomorrow night.” Her grin splits her face, giving her an unnerving look to rival my own. In all the years I’ve known her, that smile never ceases to give me the willies, even in my current state.
That smile meant trouble.
The minx had tricked me.
“On second thought, no, I’m not ok.” I raise the back of my hand to my brow and swoon, with closed eyes, falling backwards onto my bed, without thinking.
After a drawn out moment of silence, I crack one eye open to peek at Fayah.
“Enough of the theatrics, will you come to the ball or not?”
“That depends.” I say, propping myself up on my elbows.
“Depends on what?”
“Will I get a set of glass slippers, and meet my Prince Charming?” I fan myself at that last bit, for decoration.
“Pfft, yeah sure, you want a pumpkin carriage and mice coachmen as well?” Her eyes wrinkle as she smiles at me.
“Could that be arranged?” Feigning excitement, I sit up with a bounce, cross my legs indian style, and lean forward on my palms in mock anticipation.
My efforts are rewarded by Fayah pushing me over with a laugh.
“You are such a goof.”
“Hey, someone’s gotta fill the role. May as well be me.”
Suddenly, Fayah lays beside me, closing the last of the distance between us, and effectively putting herself in my bubble, which just so happens to be the danger zone as well.
My pulse quickens once more as her scent washes over me anew; it’s all I can do to bite back the moan in my throat.
She smells like supper, and my teeth begin to shift eagerly in their beds, if Fayah hears the slight grinding they emit as they writhe behind my lips, she shows no indication and prattles on about something or another.
But I’m no longer listening.
Her blood pulses through her in a thrumming, sloshing rhythm that sets my spine on fire, while flooding my mouth with drool.
Am I really drooling right now?
Probably, but Fayah is not paying me any mind, anyways. She is too busy trying to talk this ball up to me, in hopes I’ll agree to attend.
Laying there frozen in place, my nails begin to lengthen and retract at tandem.
Im losing control and quickly.
“I’ll go.” I say, interrupting her speech on self care, and putting yourself out there, to heal.
“What? Really?!” She squeals, as she sits up, bouncing in place with a few claps.
Why am I getting a sense of dejavu right now.
Oh right, I’d begged her to go to the bar with me in a similar manner, and reacted almost the same when she’d agreed.
Karma really is a bitch.
“Yeah, yeah. Now let me get my beauty rest. I’m going to need it, as you can see.” I stand from my bed and rush to open the door, leaving Fayah where she sat, with a look of confusion.... and disappointment?
It doesn’t matter, what matters is getting her out of harms way as fast as possible.
The door rattles on its hinges as I fling it open with far to much force.
“Oh... um ok?” She sounds uncertain, as she stands and hesitates over the remaining sandwiches.
“I’m full, you can finish those off.” I pat my stomach while stepping in place, in obvious agitation.
The stricken look that crosses Fayah’s face briefly, in not lost on me, but I can’t really tend to her emotions right now.
“Aren’t you worried stud muffin will get lonely if you stay gone too long? The two of you are quite inseparable.” I switch tactics in an attempt to lessen the blow of rejection I was dishing her.
“Azazel would be fi-” she begins as she steps through the threshold, but I slam the door at her back, cutting her off mid-sentence.
I let out a sigh of relief, and try to ignore her scent, still hanging in the air.
Suddenly I’m glad that I haven’t had the ‘want to’ to shower, the past few days. As gross as it may sound, my own body odor was helping to flush out the scent, calling my primal side forth.
You really should take better care of yourself though, I’m technically dead, and I can smell you.
The soul of the demon (Circe) that took up residence within my mind and soul when I was changed into a ghoul, spoke in her heavily accented voice. The closest comparison would be an Egyptian dialect, which I’m finding increasingly ironic, being my father was Egyptian.
Obviously I take after my southern mother.
The thought of my deceased parents sends a sharp pain, like a small shard of glass, through my heart. I never speak about them, not even to Fayah.
The only person who knows about the car accident that claimed their lives, while sparing mine, is my mothers twin, aunt Allie.
She’s probably worried sick about me by now...
Ah, I was wondering when you would add your two cents, you’ve been rather quiet this afternoon, rough night?
You could say that; Your nightmares are brutal. You might want to talk to someone about that.
Don’t be humble, I talk to you, don’t I?
Oh, ok wise ass, you know what I meant.
I’m not exactly a shining example of mental health, myself.
Whatever, don’t confide in your friends, but at least shower before the ball, you’ll repel any Prince Charming in a mile radius, if you go smelling like a dusty old mummy.
Well if the shoe fits.
I shrug to myself, and flop onto my bed, instantly burrowing into the furs, once again.
I will admit that you do have an interesting aesthetic going for you presently. But Iv already told you how to clear that up.
I won’t feed again, circe. I’m happy with slowly withering to dust. If the alternative is shredding an innocent to bits.
What if they are not so innocent?
That’s a grey area, who am I to judge someone?
You didn’t feel that way when we brought down that ghastly faye, you quite enjoyed that. Even if he did taste like a canopic jars contents.
My stomach turns at the memory, the sandwiches rallying for a second appearance.
You know why we did that, his sins were rightfully mine to bring justice to.
My head aches, as I force flashes of those long, horrifying nights away from the forefront of my mind, and I find myself hugging my arms around my middle tightly.
Yes... I do... I am sorry, it wasn’t my place to say. I was not yet with you when...
She trails off.
It’s ok. It’s in the past.
But Samaria, you will die if you don’t feed soon, that much is not in the past.
I can’t fathom a reason why that is a problem for me. It would be a welcomed escape. At least ghosts don’t have nightmares... do they?
And? Really? Let me try this angle then. I have been in limbo for GENERATIONS UPON GENERATIONS! So please, for the love of all things right in this plane, don’t go trying to snuff yourself out and ruin my fun. I’d like to experience a first kiss, at least.
Circe rages in my mind.
She pauses her rant.
I died young. Give me a break!
You remember how old you were when you died, and you remember your name. But nothing else?
My memories come in flashes. Don’t change the subject. You need to eat! And soon.
Alright, alright, You win. After the ball we can go hunt down a murderer or a puppy abuser or something.
I’ll hold you to that.
I don’t doubt it, now leave me alone, I really do need my beauty sleep. Wake me up when you think I’ve had enough.
Ok, but you’ll miss the ball.