Where Shadows Lie: Bay City [MultiFormat]
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eBook by J. E. Cammon
eBook Category: Horror/Fantasy
eBook Description: How much would you be willing to sacrifice to learn the secrets of existence? In the underbelly of the eastern US seaport of Bay City, supernatural and non-supernatural creatures alike strive to understand the meaning of life, to belong, or simply exist. David is one of them. He is far, far away from his clan. Before Nick, his only friend used to be a vampire named Jarvis. However, Nick's only gift seems to be more of a curse: he brings change wherever he goes. When the three unlikely companions finally find the answers to their questions, they also find more mysteries needing to be solved. Eventually, they will all wish not to have been present on the evening when everything changed forever. Were the answers they received worth trading everything to darkness? After all, shadows lie. But what's a supernatural creature to do where the shadows' lies carry the promise of home? Excerpt: The blood didn't just flow; it gushed. The vampire's yanking had taken its toll, too, one of the summoned's horns was dislodged completely. The creature stumbled backwards, out of the light, off of the stage. Blood continued to spurt into the scene, but aside from the thing's dying screams and the noise of it falling, there was nothing but Nick and the?lycanthrope. Things came back to him slowly. First, he was on his knees somehow, having fallen at some point. He had dropped everything he was holding, and he had voided his bladder. Nick ran, or he tried to. He was like a newborn foal, stumbling and falling. David shouted his name, and Nick regained his footing and broke into a maddening sprint. All he could see were those eyes boring into his soul. He stopped just long enough to throw up. Then he passed out, or maybe he fell?or maybe the monster caught him. He wasn't sure. In any case, there was nothing heroic or beautiful or romantic about any of it.
eBook Publisher: Eternal Press/Damnation Books LLC/Eternal Press, Published: 2011, 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2011
Inciting moments were so much more rare back then, the professor remembered. The fire in the expensively appointed mantle warmed the room, but its heat didn't touch him. In one hand, he held a crystal stopper, which he rolled about his palm lazily. In the other hand he held a glass tumbler whose surface reflected the light of the flame.
Everything about the man screamed indifference. Except for his eyes, whose gaze appeared to be lost in the fire's colors but was fixed upon memories of a different evening in a different time.
Bay City seemed like the perfect place for him even before he decided on his profession. It was an old city lined with brownstones, and it had bitter, unforgiving weather. History was etched into it by the ebb and flow of the waters slicing into the port. Bay City saw the birth of one nation, a violent forging quenched by the blood of fighting men. It would see the spawning of another still, the man realized.
The evenings stretched that winter. His work always preceded the late dawn and ended after an early dusk. The city lived for the night, even then. Walking home among the unknowing sometimes made him sad; other times he felt empowered by what he knew, by the secrets he promised to keep. On occasion though--and these moments were brief--his faith would slip just so, like a loose garment. Staring into the faces of his contemporaries and hearing the stilted lectures of his superiors brought back memories of his upbringing in a different citadel, among a different flock. Surely, he questioned, there was something more to this. Something more tangible, more believable.
Unlike the last time, his prayers were answered by terrible angels. He never told the story, but it was carefully rehearsed in his mind. He liked to think what made him look up into the rainstorm that night was something else, rather than the sense of dread which permeated him. In any case, a lightning flash obliterated any doubt he held onto--silhouetted in flight against the irrepressible darkness was a figure of legend. A cloak flapped behind it and flowed about in the wind like dark wings. Of course, the creature wasn't really flying. It simply leaped across the confined width of his vision restricted by the smothering buildings.
He made his way through the streets after the impossible beings; there were two of them. For the first time, he conceived of climbing a ladder skyward. He felt the odd sensation of gravity snatching at him, as if he didn't belong. The sounds he heard egged him on; things echoing in the night that everyone else heard but rationalized away.
It took forever, and at the end he was too much in awe to be thankful or terrified upon reaching the summit. There they stood, soaked. They were sleek with a different, unfettered way of standing, of being. Small clouds of breath fogged the scene at even intervals as his breathing labored after the chase. Nothing so inelegant as the need to breathe gripped either creature, even as they fought with each other. The damp weight of their clothes did not impede their movements, which were at times difficult to make out. The victor had his back turned; he seemed cloaked by night itself. When the lightning woke the sky, all of the creature was exposed. He looked like an Adonis of dark power.
It made him literally sick to see the both of them. He was attacked by a crushing migraine and was violently ill on the spot. He knew this was the moment when a man had the opportunity to shrug off the shackles of the mundane and accept the yoke of the extraordinary. He stayed, and watched the two become one. The loser fell, discarded and headless, the trappings of possession ebbing away in rapid decay. The body set back to decomposing as it should have so long ago.
It made him even more ill to see how quickly a man could be undone.
That thought brought him back to his present. Somewhere in the flame he found the dead eyes of the giant, the storm god who owned that night and all the others in Bay City since. The professor rose from his chair. How long ago had it been? He pretended for a moment as if he could not recall the exact day, the exact year. He pretended as if he had not assumed the lexicon of one who knows in every way, shape, and form since that rainy evening.
It always happened at night, most often with the promise of dawn's light just beyond the next hill. The man flattened his hand and looked down at his palm. The firelight exposed the red ridges of bruised tissue. The stopper rolled across his palm, and sunk neatly into the grooves as if his hands were made with the object in mind.
The omen happened just an hour before. It rocked him so fully that he twitched in an uncontrollable spasm. It hurt, but the pain was not new, nor was it unexpected. It was he who set things in place to be forewarned of great import, after all. Ill omen was here now. What it was exactly would have to be uncovered and, of course, why it came but he knew, with all the power of one blessed with knowing, that it had arrived. Whatever it was, it would change things, and change was the most dangerous thing of all. The man glanced over to the complement of the crystal stopper, the matching container filled with brandy. It contained much more before that evening. That container, with its mirrored stand, matching top, and glass tumblers, witnessed the forming of many plans. The man knew for a fact the fates didn't care. He drank the rest of the amber liquid.
The fates didn't care, but that never stopped a man from plotting. These moments used to be so rare, he thought. He was not jubilant; he'd grown wise enough not to look for such dangerous, inciting things. As the fire swayed, chiding, there was a moment of evident fear in the man's features. Then it was gone as the moorings of the mask were willed back into place.