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Jivaja: Chapter Five, Part Three

Welcome to Free Fiction Friday! Every week, I’ll be posting a scene or two (in order, of course!) from my book, Jivaja. If you want to read along, just come on back every Friday!

Some scenes will be shorter, several hundred words. Some will be a thousand or more. Read them in order though, otherwise none of this will make sense!

Follow along as Mecca, a young woman with a Gift for manipulating human life force, runs head-first into a shadowy vampire-like society that discovers her power and wants to use her.

If you missed any parts, head over to the Jivaja Table of Contents to get caught up!

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Chapter Five – David, Part Three

 

He rose through the darkness, his body rocking as he slowly came to recognize a sledgehammer’s insistent pounding between his ears. Fuzzy-headed, he tried to open his eyes. He couldn’t.

He squinted, contracting his muscles, and felt the tape, hard and thick on his skin.

Another piece covered his mouth, leaving only his nostrils open. He lay on his side on a hard metal floor. He jostled in time with the vehicle’s fast clip. No carpet under him. Probably a van.

A voice, incoherent, slipped into his fogged senses. He shifted very slowly, testing the mobility of his limbs. His forearms arms were together and secured at the wrists; coarse fabric rubbed his knuckles. It was like they’d put cloth over his hands and bound the whole with tape.

He tried to spread his legs, but resistance pulled at his ankles and thighs. Voices slipped into his hearing, the fuzz still heavy on his brain, but lifting.

“What time is it?” a deep male voice asked.

“Ten past. We’ve got time. Emilia wants him at the compound before midnight.” Again the brogue he’d heard at Jim’s.

Jim.

Jim’s call, the talk of cults, the drink. His mind began to function again, and he pieced together what must have happened. With the thought of each step leading to his capture, David’s anger rose. Betrayed.

“This is twice in a row we’ve done for her.”

“Aye,” Irish replied.

“Why do you think she’s wanting these two?”

David strained to hear.

“Don’t know.”

“There’s been talk that the girl’s the one who killed Hayden. And, you know, as much as he drove Emilia and the Elders nuts, he wasn’t stupid. I knew him, and I can tell you, that wasn’t a stupid man, there. How’d you think she did it? She’s not very big. I heard he just dried up and died. Think that’s true?” The edge of excitement in the man’s voice grated on David’s nerves.

“Don’t know.”

“Think that has anything to do with covering his hands and stuff? This guy’s, I mean. No skin contact. Same with her the other night.”

“You’d prolly do well to shut your gab hole. She don’t like gossips.”

“All right. All right.”

The van rumbled along for several more minutes, rocking David against a wheel well. He’d have a bruise on his hip from that alone. He replayed the evening in his mind, trying to figure out why Jim would drug him and hand him over to two thugs.

He must be in bed with this Emilia woman.

That was the only explanation. Jim had always been honest and honorable; he’d never been the type to take bribes or accept favors. How many times over a beer in the backyard had Jim complained of all the people and organizations that wanted him in their pockets? So what the hell was this?

And now they had Mecca. He’d gotten a brief memory-flash of her in the tunnel. The university? Probably. The Irishman had definitely watched her there, been a part of her abduction. David pushed back fear for her that threatened to grip his heart in a vise. He couldn’t panic.

God, his head hurt. The pain suppressed his urge to jump up and kill the two men in the front of the van. It would do him no good to let them know he was awake. Blinded and bound, he would be relying on nothing but luck to keep him alive. He preferred better odds.

“You think I should give him a shot of the stuff we used on the girl?”

“Aye. He didn’t drink much, so he’ll be waking soon, I reckon. Shoot ‘im up.”

Shit. He’d wanted to keep quiet until they stopped the van, and he could go after the men separately. This changed things.

He didn’t have time to try to free himself. So he lay still on the floor of the van and listened. The road noise was still very loud, but after a few moments, the sound of the passenger getting out of his seat made it to David’s ears. David kept his breathing regular, but hie heart beat like a heavy metal drummer.

“All right, big man. Time to dope you up some more.”

Hold. Quiet. Wait for it.

It only took the man a few steps to reach him. As soon as David felt him crouch down, he grabbed in the man’s direction. He opened his hands like a clam and snapped them shut around an ankle.

“Ah fuck!” The man kicked at David’s forearm with his free foot. The van shook as the guy fell onto his ass. Pain radiated up David’s arm. He couldn’t keep his hold on the ankle, and the man tore away.

“What the bloody hell?” Irish’s shout from the front came coupled with the van jostling to the right and then the left.

The tinkling of plastic on metal barely registered over the rumbling of the van.

Another kick landed in the same spot on David’s arm, and he shouted, his voice muffled by the tape.

“I got him! I got him!”

David pushed himself onto his knees, blind, bound, but with adrenaline singing in his veins. A rustle to his right, very close. Then an explosion of fireworks as something hard and heavy connected with the side of his head. On instinct, he tried to brace as he toppled to his left but landed hard on his elbow. His shoulder connected with the wheel well with a crunch and a riotous flash of fire.

For just a moment, David couldn’t move. He lay there, his breath hard in his chest, spirals of pain echoing from his shoulder down his arm. The scent of burnt oil prickled his nose.

But he couldn’t stay down. Couldn’t stay still. He couldn’t let them knock him out. If they did, he wouldn’t be able to help Mecca.

He rolled away from the wall of the van with all the momentum he could and slammed into the thug’s ankles. The guy landed on top of him with a heavy crash and a string of swear words. His weight nearly blew David’s breath out of him.

“Goddammit,” came Irish’s voice from the front as the van slowed dramatically. “Can’t do a fucking thing right.”

David hooked his bound hands over the man’s head and held him in a tight bearhug. His captive thrashed and jerked. David heaved and rolled himself over, pinning the man beneath him.

He sent out his energy and the Cavern unfolded itself within his mind.

The van shook and they both slid into thee wheel well.

With his eyes blinded, the sensations he felt with his energy increased and the Cavern’s details crystallized in clear detail.

Mecca had been right. He’d never felt anything like this cold cave, this strange creature’s energy center. Dark, desolate, it contained nothing but a stolen soul. The small thing glowed a pale yellow gold, tethered to the Cavern wall with thick, grey, rope-like tendrils.

The edges of the soul had no tint at all.

Remembering how Mecca had done it, David reached his own energy out and encompassed it with all the strength he could muster. His own gold, with dark silver edging, held the little pale ball tight. He pulled.

“What the fuck!” Terror colored the man’s words, making his voice high and squeaky.

A knee connected with David’s thigh, but the impact barely measured for David. A stunted bloom of pain welled, but it didn’t matter. He held on tight with his body as he tore the life force from the thing. The muted, golden energy began to stretch beneath the dark vines and, after a moment, finally broke away.

David fought blind, could only see the Cavern; that ugly, ugly cave. But he knew it was almost over. The body below lost its bulk; the muscles atrophied beneath his touch. The creature writhed beneath as the van shook again. And then it stopped moving.

The stolen life flew out of the Cavern and slammed into him, a bolt of energy striking David’s core like lightning. He shuddered and groaned. Every nerve in his body fired. The charge washed over him like the ocean over a beach in a hurricane — violent, chaotic, stunning. It electrified every cell.

Check out #FreeFictionFriday! ~ The stolen life flew out of the Cavern and slammed into him, a bolt of energy striking David’s core like lightning. ~ #amreading #Jivaja Click To Tweet

And then he couldn’t breath. Something had clamped around his neck, hauling him off the dead thing. The feather-light body fell from between his bound hands.

David kicked, his feet wedging on the van floor, and he pushed backward against his assailant. They both slammed into the side of the van. The whoosh of Irish’s breath being pushed out of him gave David some satisfaction. The hold on David’s neck loosened for a moment, but then Irish got his grip again and the edges of David’s vision speckled black.

Push. Get to his Cavern.

David sent his energy out, frantically, and the Cavern rose in his mind. It looked almost identical to the other, except this one’s stolen ball was much bigger and trimmed in pale blue. It almost lit the entire Cavern; and what looked like hundreds of tendrils held it fast to the wall. David wasn’t sure he could do this again.

The tightening, hot feeling of having held a breath too long came over him. Rockets launched behind his eyelids and flashing black specks swam along the edges. He couldn’t pass out. Not now.

He encircled the stolen soul with his own energy and set to work on the tendrils.

“The hell?” Irish yelled into his ear.

And then David flew. He slammed into the van wall. Irish’s panting breath came loud and stationary, but David knew the thing would come after him any second.

He grabbed the tape over his eyes with his mitted hands, took a deep breath, and pulled with his cloth-covered fingers. Fire tore through his face as the tape took ripped most of his eyelashes right out of the lids. He bellowed a muffled cry. It took most of his eyebrows too and left behind the most searing pain. His face felt as if it had been traced with lighter fluid and set on fire.

It took effort to open his eyes; glue left behind made it painful and slow — slower than he wanted it to be. Through sticky lids, the first thing he saw was Irish — huge, barrel-chested, and pissed —pulling back his meaty fist. David couldn’t move fast enough.
The fist crunched against his jaw, and his head slammed against the wall behind him.

Stars erupted in David’s vision, and his teeth rattled with the impact. Blood filled his mouth. In that second, though, David saw Mecca in the tunnel again, surrounded, looking for a way out. His vision wavered, undulating like a crazy cartoon for a moment before reality snapped back into focus.

Irish pulled his fist back again, and David grabbed his forearm. He pulled the creature to him.

All his anger and fear for Mecca flooded out. He blasted it into the Irishman. David closed his eyes. His life force — stronger from the energy of his first attack — blazed a trail toward the stolen energy.

Another vision of Mecca — still in the tunnel, but scuffling with her abductors.

The tape over his mouth muffled his cry of rage, and he jerked his eyes open. Irish struggled against him, but David’s anger fueled his strength. He pushed forward, moved his bound hands over Irish’s head, and they both careered into the other wall.

David battered the grey tentacles with his wrath. The bulky man yelled, but weakened under the violent onslaught. David’s raw emotion made him hold Irish tighter, squeeze him harder. He jerked them both to the floor, trapping Irish beneath him right beside the remains of the other creature.

Irish’s fighting redoubled, but David hit the struggling thug with every molecule of energy he could. He wanted to make it hurt. Make those last moments soaked through with pain. He wanted to torture this monster who stole his daughter.

The Cavern layered itself over his vision again. The tentacles didn’t even matter anymore.

He tore the ball of life from its abductor.

Irish screamed, high-pitched and wailing. He tried to roll away, pushed at David’s chest, but David held on. He was not letting go. When the tendrils finally ripped away, energy rushed into him again. His body quaked with the strength of it. He couldn’t control it, so he rode it, wave after wave.

Irish’s movements slowed and finally stopped.

He’d never felt anything like this. It was monumental. Nothing like the slow, gentle drain of a human being. This chaotic energy took forever to finally crest, but when it did, it began to settle — the human life energy returned to a human, merged.

He rolled over, panting. “Christ,” he whispered.

He laid there for several minutes, listening to his heart race and feeling the energy. It roiled inside him, uneasy, almost overpowering. David forced himself to breath slowly and deeply. He concentrated on the air filling his lungs, expanding his chest. He imagined the oxygen replenishing his blood and the cells in his body.

The energy he willed to become a part of him, to be welcomed home.

He stood. Sweat dripped from his forehead, stinging the skin pulled raw by the tape. He winced and pulled the tape from his lips. Fiery pinpricks assaulted him as some of his stubble came out. His whole face felt hot.

With his teeth, he went after the tape around his wrists that kept his hands covered with the canvas sack. The fabric fell to the ground next to what was left of Irish.

The corpse looked like a mummy. David staggered, his head pounding, his shoulder aching. All of the damage he’d sustained in the fight started to register. Knee, side, face.

He bent double and leaned his hands on his knees. His belly roiled and for a second, he thought he would puke.

Deep breaths. Just take deep breaths. Okay, heart, slow down. We need to survive the night so we can find Mecca.

A surprisingly robust version of “Bat Out of Hell” broke the silence in the van and David jumped. The song came from Irish’s pants. David rifled the pockets, without looking at the corpse, until he found the cell phone, thirty bucks, and the van’s keys.

The display on the phone read Salas. David decided against answering, swiped Decline, and pocketed the phone instead. Whoever was at their intended destination would probably miss them soon, and he wanted to have a head start. He needed to come down from the energy drains, and he needed to get something for the pounding between his ears, the aches in his joints, and the fire on his face. And probably food.

More importantly, though, he needed to have a very serious talk with an old friend.

 


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