Sneak Peek

Here's a SNEAK PEAK at Bad Elements: The Hybrid Unleashed!

The Hybrid Unleashed


Rapid gunfire spread throughout my living room, penetrating the walls to where my children would sleep, had they been in bed. Instead, they screamed, cried, and clung to me. My son, Robert, was ten years old, and my daughter, Jennifer, was only four. We huddled together in the corner behind the oak entertainment center.

Bullets riddled past, striking the wall to the right of us. The suppressor on the gunman’s rifle kept its noise to a minimum. Dressed in black, the gunman swept the room with his rifle. Then, he turned and pointed the gun at me and my children.

Tears flowed down my cheeks. “No!” I screamed. I squeezed my children tighter, pressing their heads against my chest.

“Please no!”

The gunman grinned. As he readied himself for another shot, my husband Wayne, rushed through the front door. His footsteps resonated throughout the house.

The gunman whipped around. As he turned the rifle on my husband Wayne grabbed the barrel, yanking the rifle and the gunman, at an inward angle, toward him, the barrel pointed at the floor. The gunman jerked forward, his finger still on the trigger.

Another succession of bullets fired into the Spanish tile floor sending pieces of the tile flying everywhere. Then another bullet struck the television and the stereo system to the left of us. Sparks shot everywhere, igniting a fire to the entertainment system.

Jennifer’s screams died down to a coughing, crying fit as Robert’s echoed throughout the room.

I was afraid to move.

My home was no longer my safe haven. It had been intruded upon, and I was scared. If I didn’t do something to help my husband, we might all lose our lives. Robert and Jennifer needed to know mom and dad were here to protect them. But, huddling here in the corner was not protecting them. I had to step up and do something even though I had no weapons in my hands.

A fight ensued between Wayne and the gunman. Wayne spun around, driving an elbow into the man’s ribcage. Snarling, he ripped the gun out of the man’s hands and tossed it to the floor. The werewolf within Wayne came forth, revealing his large canine fangs.

If we made any noise, we might attract the werewolf’s attention. That was the last thing I wanted to do, so I tried to keep the kids silent. I pressed my finger to my lips to indicate they needed to keep quiet. Robert understood. Jennifer did not. She was too young.

Wayne’s fingers transformed into claws. They dug into the man’s arm. Blood oozed out from the wounds. Then Wayne latched onto his head, his fangs penetrating the man’s skin. The gunman screamed.


I clamped my hand over Jennifer’s mouth as she wriggled in my arms. The man’s cries overrode her voice. Thank God. My heartbeat raced.

“Shush,” I whispered.

To our left, the fire traveled up the walls and onto the floor. Next, it would be us. We had to get out of the house. The nearest exit was our living room window, so we crept over to it. I motioned for Robert to keep quiet as he opened the window and scrambled out of it. Tears streamed down his face.

My adrenaline sped up, my heart beating faster by the second. The werewolf was too busy with his kill to notice us.

Trembling, Robert reached through the window and grabbed his sister. Without hesitation, he covered her mouth, turned, and ran away toward our neighbor’s house.

I hesitated, contemplating grabbing the gun, or immediately following my kids. At least with the gun, I could shoot whoever attacked us.

Then two figures emerged from the shadows. They moved toward my children.

“No!” I screamed.

I grabbed the windowsill to jump out of it. Behind me, Wayne growled.

Glancing back, I cried, “Somebody’s after the kids.”

Our children screamed.

Snarling, Wayne leaped at the window. I backed away as he crashed through the glass. It shattered everywhere.

Just then the entertainment center erupted into a full blown fire. It was growing out of control. I couldn’t wait any longer. My only chance of escape was through the window, so without question, I grabbed the windowsill. Broken shards of glass penetrated my skin. Shit!

Groaning, I glanced out at my children. They struggled against the two men who fought to control them. As Wayne leaped at the man who held Jennifer, another figure emerged from the darkness. In his hand, he held a Taser.

“No!” I screamed.

An electrical current shot out, connecting with Wayne. It sent my husband into seizures as he fell to the ground.

Heads turned toward me.


No time to wait! I snatched up the rifle. When I spun around to aim it, an electric current shot through me. The rifle fell from my grip. As if in slow motion, I fell to the floor. Red and orange embers danced, gracefully and rapidly moving in toward me.

The back door opened, and in strode a man with dark-colored boots. Though I was unsure and fearful of who stood over me, I could do nothing about it. My body was paralyzed and before I knew it, I lost consciousness.

Awakening from a deep sleep, I bolted upright. I glanced around. My dream was a distant memory. My hair was wet and it clung to my face. When I touched my cheek I found my fingers soaked with blood. Bloody tears streaked my face.

Memories of my past were coming back.


Here's a SNEAK PEAK at Bad Elements: Blood for Blood!

Blood for Blood

Late Night Surveillance

Crystal, are you okay?” Warrant asked.

He stood before me, naked, his body muscular and well-defined.  His leg muscles twitched. The werewolf who had been dominant in him had disappeared.

Warrant was in his early forties. He was five foot eleven. His slightly receding brown hair was cropped short. The massive claw marks from the werewolf fight he had been in had disappeared. They left only remnants of dried blood on his skin.

He grabbed my arm. It was scratched, bruised, and bloody from tonight’s events. 

“I didn’t hurt you, did I?” he asked. A look of concern arose on his face.

Though it was genuine, I disregarded it. My mind was on my son, Robert.

“No, you didn’t,” I said.

I looked away.

“Who did this?” He touched the scratches on my face.

"Nobody. I just fell.”

He forced my chin up and peered into my eyes.

“Looks like you’re telling the truth.” He let go of my chin and sat down next to me on the motel bed. He sighed.

It was past midnight, and all I could think about was my son, Robert. I was relieved and excited that he was alive. Yet, I was frustrated and disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to tell him I loved him, and how happy I was to have found him after being held captive for almost five years.

Tonight was the first night I had seen him after all that time.

I had volunteered to fight in the underground fighting circuit to assist Agent Warrant and his peers in locating a rogue vampire. In return, they would go through the state agencies and police departments to help me find my son.

But when the arena turned into a battlefield for the vampires and werewolves, I escaped with the assistance of Warrant’s friend, the invisible man. We fled into the forest where we were attacked. Then, we got split up.

Robert and his friend, Deputy Torrance had been at the fight, too. When the chaos erupted, they followed us out into the woods. That was where I found my son.

Had Robert recognized me? Is that why Deputy Torrance was acting funny? Did he know I was Robert’s mother?

I couldn’t make up the prior five years but tomorrow was a new day. My mission was to go back to the Sheriff’s office and talk to Deputy Torrance about Robert.

As I thought about my son, my thoughts switched to Warrant’s friend, who had saved me from the battle at the arena. I barely had a chance to say thank you before he darted off. I had hoped to learn his name but it didn’t happen.

Warrant’s hand brushed against my leg, bringing my thoughts back to him.

Warrant was my other hero: biker, secret agent, and werewolf all rolled into one.

We had gotten too close, which was a mistake. He was only in town for business. Once he found and captured his suspect, he would go home.

His mistake would cost him not just my life, but his, if he wasn’t careful. My mistake would break my heart. So, I savored what little time I had with him.

I was lucky to have found him by the side of the road in FlagstaffArizona after escaping my captors. Due to his kind nature, he picked me up and allowed me to stay with him at the motel.

Crystal, are you okay?”

“No,” I said. Tears welled up in my eyes.

“Look at me,” he said, firmly. He sat up. 

Our eyes met.

Too much had happened tonight. First, there was the fight. Then my prior two kidnappers, Jace and Wayne, were at the arena. I never came face-to-face with Jace, but he had pitted me in the arena against Wayne. I still can’t figure out why, but that alone told me there was more to this fighting circuit than what I knew. I had already heard about the hatred between the two species, but something else was amiss.

Then I discovered my son was in the midst of the vampire/werewolf war. Why was he there?
And, Warrant. The wounds he had suffered from the battle between him and another werewolf after our escape scared the shit out of me. I thought he was going to die.

I couldn’t handle it. I broke down in tears.

Crystal?” Warrant asked. His voice was soft.

“I’m fine.  Don’t worry about me.” I turned away. 

Warrant pulled my face back around to his.

“I’m sorry about tonight. I shouldn’t have let you fight.” He leaned in closer. “Please forgive me.”

“It’s not just that,” I said. “It’s everything.” Tears melted down my face. “It’s my son, you, me…”

“I told you not to get attached to me. This isn’t good. Hell, even Tristan saw it on your face out there.” He pointed toward the motel door. “He knew you were getting attached. And, dammit, so did I.” He sighed.  Then, he stood.

My heart hurt. I refrained from letting him know it, instead I shut my mouth and stared at him.

“If he can see it, so can everybody else,” he said. Tears welled up in his eyes. “It will make both of us vulnerable to anybody who wants to hurt us. Remember that.”

I nodded. “Who’s Tristan?”

Was he the invisible man, my savior?

“He’s one of us.”

“One of the snipers? Bounty hunters?” I rubbed my eyes, trying to wipe away the tears.

He nodded. “Yes, but I shouldn’t be telling you this. The less you know, the better you are.”

“I won’t say anything, I promise.” The invisible man’s blue eyes were still a memory. “Does he have blue eyes?”

Warrant looked at me. “Yes, why do you ask?”

“I just noticed them,” I said.

His muscles tensed. “Really, Crystal?” He stood up. “What a hell of a thing to notice while you are under attack!”

I already hurt, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I didn’t need any more shit tonight. Warrant’s anger over noticing something such as eye color sent me over the edge.

“You know what?” I stood up, got in his face, and stuck my finger in his chest. “You can go fuck yourself, Warrant!” I snapped. “I’ve had enough shit tonight! I’m done!”

“His eyes stand out because I know him from somewhere!” I turned away. “He seems familiar.”

Familiar, but another piece of my life I couldn't place. Was he someone I could trust? I bit my lip.
There had been a man with blue eyes in my prison cell. I remembered his eyes vividly. Was he the same man?

“Really? If that’s the case, then where do you know him from?”

Considering he could make himself invisible, I was reluctant to say anything. I glanced about. Was he in the room? And, what the hell was that about anyway?

“I’m not sure.” I spun on my heels and looked at Warrant. “Does he have anything to do with the underground fighting?”

Warrant sighed. “Why do you ask?” The frustration in his voice rose.

I took a step toward him. “Does he?”

An inquisitive look crossed his face. “Not that I’m aware of. What is your concern?”

I looked away. Was Tristan the same man who had been in my cell when Wayne originally kidnapped me? Was he the man who held me down while a doctor stitched me up on the prison bed? Had he been one of the kidnappers?

If he was the same man, he had not been like my other captors. At times he was rough, and other times, he was gentle.

“Dammit, Crystal, answer the fucking question?” His voice escalated. He threw his arms out. 

“What is your concern?”

“I’m afraid to say anything, because I don’t know what’s going on.” I swallowed hard.

“Warrant? Who is he? He scares me, yet I feel safe with him. I don’t understand. And, who the hell was that strange wolf in the forest?” I thought about Robert. Warrant did not know that I found him. “Do you know him?”

I decided to refrain from saying too much about my son so I changed the subject.

“I recognized the Deputy, but…”

His brow rose up. “You recognized the Deputy?” He put his hands on his hips.

“Yeah, he’s the one I talked to yesterday. I think I might go to the Sheriff’s office and talk to him, see if he knows anything.”

“Hmm…well, to answer your question, no. I don’t know who the other wolf was. Tristan and the others might, but I don’t. My only mission is to find the man who’s creating these hybrids.”

“What has Tristan been sent to do? Do you know?”

“No, we don’t ask and we don’t tell. We’re merely sent to complete our jobs unless it requires us to converse with one another.”

“Can you find out?”

He glared at me. “No. It could put us in more danger, depending on what he’s been sent to do.”

“You two have worked together before though, right? At least, that’s what I’m sensing.”

“Yes, we have.” He paced the floor.

“Is he a good person?”

He peered over his shoulder at me. “Yes, he is. He saved you from me, didn’t he?”

I thought about this. “Yes, he did. Do you not like him?”

“No, I do. He’s a good man. He always has been.”

I detected some history between the two. He wouldn’t elaborate though. 


“Yes?” He glanced at me. 

“How does he make himself invisible?”

“Why are you so interested in Tristan?”

I sensed a bit of jealousy in his voice.

“I think anybody would be interested in knowing that. Besides, I’m just trying to figure out where I know him from.”

“It’s a gift. He’s always been able to do that.” 

“But not all vampires can make themselves invisible like Tristan can. Can they?”

“No, they can’t. That’s one of the reasons he has this job.”  Warrant sat down at the table opposite me.


“Some snipers and bounty hunters have gifts, and that’s why they get elected to the positions they’re in. That’s his gift.”

“What’s yours?”

Our eyes met again.

A thin smile crept up my face.

He maintained his intent stare. “Detaching myself from others.” 

My smile waned.

“Except for you. You’re one of a kind.” The corner of his lip curled up.

My faint smile returned. He had put distance between us when he sat at the table. I stood and crossed the carpet to kneel at his side.

“So are you. I don’t want you to go.” I rested my hand on his leg.

Crystal…” He shifted in his seat, crossing his legs.

I straightened up and kissed him.  My tongue slid in his mouth.

He gently, but firmly, pushed me away. 

“I’m sorry, Crystal. I can’t.” He pressed his fingers to my lips. 

“Why not?” Tears welled up in my eyes. My heart was heavy. I knew our relationship wouldn’t last.

“I can’t do that to you, and I can’t do it to myself. I’ve got to sever this before it goes any further.”

“One last time.” I moved in closer.

He put his hand on my chest and pushed me away. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

With that, he left to go take a shower.

I regretted that I had slept with him. We had a brief love affair, and that was it.

After changing into my pajamas, I walked over to the window that overlooked the parking lot. I peeked through the curtains. 

The forest surrounded the asphalt. A male figure stood in the foliage of the trees. I recoiled. The curtain fell back in place. My heart beat faster. Was it Tristan? Was it my son? Who was it?
Inching open the curtain, I peeked through the glass again.

Blue eyes stared back at me. Then the man disappeared into the forest.

My mouth dropped. I backed away. 

The bathroom door opened. The scent of the mountain spring soap drifted my way.

“Something wrong?” Warrant asked.

I didn’t look at him. As a matter of fact, I didn’t answer either. My silence was the response he needed. Before I had a chance to say anything, he was at my side, peering through the curtain.

“No, nothing’s wrong,” I lied, turning away. 

“Lying really doesn’t become you,” he said.
I knew it was Tristan, but I couldn't figure out why he had followed me here.


Robert tried to keep from waking everybody, so he snuck into the downstairs bathroom in his home. He stripped out of his clothes and stepped into the shower. The wounds he had suffered during his battle with the other werewolf had already healed. All that remained was the blood, dirt, and mud from the fight and his mother’s rescue.

After almost five years since her disappearance, he had finally found her. Their reunion had left him speechless. Robert wanted to hug her, and to let her know that she was the reason he became a Deputy. But, he didn’t know if she intentionally ran away from her family or if something else had happened to her. Pain had shot through his heart. The thought of her purposely leaving him and his sister behind brought tears to his eyes. Either way, he was excited and scared at the same time.

The excitement was to see her again, to introduce her to the family he had, and to reunite her with his sister, Jennifer. But, he was also scared of the thought that her desertion was intentional, that she wanted nothing to do with her family anymore. If it was deliberate, he didn’t know why.

Tonight’s reunion with his mother ran through his head.

Once the fights in the audience broke out, the vampires and werewolves invaded the arena. My mother’s safety had been compromised. Just as I had been ready to jump in the arena to save her, an invisible creature had snatched her up and rushed her out of the arena.
Deputy Torrance and I fled the building to pursue her. Once I made it outside and out of sight, I changed into my werewolf form. Since Torrance was mortal, I didn’t want to leave him behind. So, I urged Torrance to ride on my canine back. It had been the only way we could follow her together.

When I had the opportunity to take the invisible creature down without killing my mother, I lunged for him. The impact had thrown her out of the invisible creature’s grip, and Torrance from my back.

I had been thankful we landed in a clearing, but it wasn’t enough to keep my mom from getting hurt. She struck her head on a rock. It bled. I regretted my actions. I was mortified.
Then,  Torrance approached me.

“I’m sure she’s fine. I’ll go check on her.” Torrance’s cheek was swollen, and his arms were bleeding. He turned toward my mother.

She rubbed her head and groaned. She staggered to her feet, and glanced around before turning to face Deputy Torrance and I. I was still in werewolf form. With her hand on her head, she stopped.

Despite the invisible creature being nearby, I smiled at her.

She looked at me with a confused expression.

My smile was too apparent. So, I wiped it from my face. I deliberated on changing back to my human form so I could talk to her. I didn’t know what to say, and I didn’t know who or where the invisible creature was, so I refrained. Torrance would have to explain who we were.

Torrance sauntered over to her. The half moon cast shadows in the darkness and faint illuminations on their faces.

“Where’s your friend?” Torrance asked, looking around.

“I don’t know.” She glanced around.

“What’s his name?”

“I don’t know,” she answered, backing off.

I walked over.

“Okay. Well, then, who was that invisible creature?” Torrance asked.

“I don’t know.”

Torrance chuckled. “Do you always let strange men take you away in the night?”

“Not if I can help it,” she answered. She glanced at me. “What do you want?”

We stopped, and so did she.

“We’d just like to introduce ourselves,” Torrance answered.

“I already know who you are, Deputy Torrance. Just tell me who the hell he is and get to the point,” she demanded.

Before Deputy Torrance had a chance to answer, a low noise erupted nearby. A dark gray haired werewolf appeared in the distance.  A belt was looped around its neck. I sensed the other werewolf. I turned and glared at the creature.

The dark gray haired werewolf bared his teeth. He snarled.

I sneered and bared my teeth at the dark gray wolf. Tension filled the air. Torrance took a couple of steps back. The other werewolf drew closer.
We bared our teeth at one another. Once the fight began, my mom disappeared into the forest.

The other wolf and I snarled and leapt at each other, colliding in mid-air before we fell to the ground. Our claws struck one another, our mouths snapping. Growls and the gnashing of teeth echoed throughout the night. 

Even though Torrance knew what direction she had disappeared in, he had lost sight of her. 

He continued to look for her, until a blond haired vampire rushed him. 

Deputy Torrance turned, his gun in hand.

The blond vampire’s head snapped back. The vampire leaned backwards in a horizontal dance-like pose. It wasn’t a natural look for anybody. Blood rained down upon the blond vampire, the Deputy, and the invisible creature. The rain of blood spattered the invisible man, revealing a vague human shape. His face was indiscernible. He dropped the blond vampire’s headless body to the ground.

Before Deputy Torrance had a chance to fire his gun, the invisible man ripped it from his grip and threw it to the ground. The invisible man’s eyes changed to a midnight blue.
Still in my wolf form, I continued to fight the other werewolf. I was ready to break free from the fight to save my friend.

“Who are you?” the Deputy asked the invisible man. His voice echoed in the clearing.

The invisible vampire didn’t answer, but stared at the Deputy as he advanced toward him.
Finally, my mother appeared in the battlefield, screaming. She tried to gain the attention of the other werewolf. I was on top of him, my mouth latched onto the back of Warrant’s neck.

“No!  Stop it!  Don’t kill him!” she yelled, waving her hands in the air.

That was when the blood-splattered invisible creature ran full force at her. 

She turned to run. 

The invisible man snatched her up again, and flew off in the night.

Robert washed the soap through his dark hair. The incident following his fight with the other werewolf ran through his head.

My mother’s foot struck soft dirt. It gave way, tossing her down the side of a ravine. She crashed to the ground and hit her head on a rock in a small creek. Water splashed her face.
Moaning, she sat up and rubbed her head. She turned. I stood there in werewolf form, behind her. Her eyes widened.

I crept forward.

Then Torrance spoke up. “We apologize. He didn’t mean to hurt you.”

She gazed at me, her mouth agape, as if I were the one speaking. Then Torrance walked around me. When he did, she closed her mouth.

I would have changed back to my human form but I didn’t know who else may be lurking in the darkness, especially the invisible man who had been with her.

“Are you okay?” Torrance asked, nearing her. He extended his hand.

“You? What the fuck do you want with me? Why do you keep following me?” She didn’t take his hand. Instead, she stood, keeping her eyes on me.

“Look, I said we’re sorry.  He was trying to help you, not hurt you.” 

She stared at us.

“Why does he want to help me? And what the fuck do you want with me?”

She started to climb the ravine, her feet sliding in the dirt. With the way she was going, she was never going to make it up alone. I motioned to Torrance to climb on my back.

Then, I came up next to her, Torrance gripping my fur.

“Allow us to help you.”  He extended his hand to her.  “It’s much easier.”

I nudged her butt to help her.

“What the hell?  Get away from me.” She tried to shoo me away, but lost her balance instead.
She toppled over backwards. I moved in fast. She fell against my shoulder.

“Really, just allow him to help you up the side.” Torrance smiled down at her, his elbows resting on his knees.

“No, thank you.”  She attempted the climb again.

Instead of pressuring her anymore, I crossed her path and continued up to the top. 

“You are a stubborn woman.”

“Yeah, well, if you led the life I did, you’d understand.”

Once her head was at the top of the ravine, she slipped in the mud.  She fell back down. 

As she slid, I threw Torrance from my back.

“Motherfucker…” Torrance said.

I ran beneath her. By God, she was a stubborn woman. But, that was my mother.

“Hey, asshole, you didn’t have to drop me. Just give me a hint next time!”

I prodded her with my head. She hesitated. Then, she climbed on my back and allowed me to take her to the top. Torrance stood there, dirt and leaves all over his backside. She slipped off of me. In the distance, I heard another battle going on. She peered back into the forest from where she had come.

“Who are those men to you?” Torrance asked.

The look on her face was unsettling. “Nobody.”

Deputy Torrance grunted in response.

“Why? What’s it to you?” she asked.

“It’s nothing to me, but something to him.” He motioned towards me.

Again, I deliberated about changing back to my human self. There was a battle going on in the woods, and from her continuous glances back, I presumed it may involve the bloody invisible man. This might be my one opportunity to talk to her.

“What is his problem, anyway? He keeps looking at me funny.”

Torrance chuckled. “Maybe I should have him change into his human self. Maybe then you might recognize him.”

She turned to Torrance. “So, tell him to change. I want to see his face. I want to know who we’re talking about. I know it’s not Wayne.”

I was thankful she had turned. It avoided the painful visual that came with the ugly transformation. Even though I was embarrassed of standing in front of my mother naked, I needed this one opportunity to talk to her, to tell her that I never gave up looking for her. Something deep down in my heart had told me she wasn’t dead.

Once I had transformed, I spoke up. “Who’s Wayne?”

I was in my early twenties, and almost six foot. I had dark hair with dark features similar to my mom’s big brown eyes and short nose. I was lean and muscular, with wide shoulders.
She turned toward me. Her mouth dropped open.

Did she recognize me?

The werewolf from earlier stepped up behind her. Then, a partially invisible man appeared. Streaks of blood across his masculine body made him vaguely discernable. The invisible man latched on to my mom and took off with her.

“No, wait!” Her voice echoed in the night. It took one second for her to disappear.

The werewolf glanced at me, then ran off.

I transformed back into my werewolf form and motioned for Torrance to climb on.

As long as I knew she was alive, then I would find her again, one way or another.

The worst part was, Robert still didn't know why she had originally left. He had to find her, get her alone, and talk to her.

Despite the night’s events, he smiled. He was eager to introduce her to his wife, Rebecca, and his children, Leah, Tisa, and Katie. Most importantly, he wanted to reacquaint her with his sixteen year old sister, Jennifer. She would have her mother again, something she desperately needed.

Jennifer had anxiety and blackout issues. She couldn’t remember parts of her life, which included their mother and their father. Dad disappeared when they were young. Doctors prescribed her medication and psychiatric consultations. The doctors had come to the conclusion something traumatic had happened to Jennifer, maybe even Robert. It was enough to cause Robert and Jennifer to block out parts of their life from childhood to their teenage years, including time spent with their father.

After their mother disappeared, grandma moved them. Jennifer’s issues only got worse. When Robert married Rebecca, their grandmother had all but given up on Jennifer. Robert hoped Jennifer would feel better living with him, but things still weren’t the same. She had been real close with mom before mom’s disappearance.

Despite the loss and the move, the small city atmosphere was a good change of pace for Jennifer. Munds Park wasn’t as hectic as Phoenix, so it gave her time to mourn, to become one with the surrounding forest, nature, and Robert’s kids. The family decided to stay in Munds Park. With time, she got more involved in school events, and eventually got a job.

Robert rebuilt their mother’s 1965 Mustang for Jennifer. He figured having mom’s car would do Jennifer some good, more so on an emotional level.

Robert stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel. As he dried himself off, something bumped against the door. He put some clean clothes on and opened the door. Jennifer leaned back against the staircase, her arms folded across her chest. Her tired brown eyes gazed up at him.

Her short dark hair was disheveled. Some of the hairsprayed pieces either stood up on end, or stuck out to the side. She looked just like mom and even stood at the same height of five foot three, except that she was twenty to thirty pounds heavier.

Jennifer’s pajamas consisted of black sweatpants and an Avenged Sevenfold concert t-shirt. She picked at her t-shirt, pulling it away from her body. She rubbed her eyes.

“What are you doing up?” he asked.

“You woke me up,” she said, looking him over.

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to.”

She scratched her head. “Why are you taking a shower now?” 

“I couldn’t sleep, so I thought I would take one down here. I didn’t want to wake Rebecca and the girls.” He leaned against the door frame.

“Bullshit.  You haven’t been home all night.” She folded her arms across her chest again. “Are you cheating on Rebecca?”

“Cute, Jennifer,” he said, rolling his eyes.

“Why the hell else would you be taking a shower at three forty-five in the morning?’

He didn’t need to answer to her, regardless if he had a valid excuse or not.


“Can I get in the bathroom?”

As he moved out of her way, she squeezed in and shut the door behind her. He leaned against the staircase and waited for her to come out.

When the door opened, he looked up at her.

Their eyes met.

He stuck his hands in his pockets.

She leaned against the door.

“What’s up with you, anyway?” Her eyes narrowed in on him. “Have you been fucking some chick in the woods or something?”

“Watch your language, Jennifer,” he said sternly.

“Why? The kids are asleep. It’s just you and me.” She leaned her head against the door.

“Just act like a lady, please.”

She rolled her eyes. “Honestly, what’s up? You got dirt and leaves all over the floor.”

He glanced past her at the mess he left in the bathroom.

“I was on an investigative lead.”


“Jennifer, watch…”

“No, Robert. You were not on an investigative lead, you were out fucking—oh excuse me—screwing around, weren’t you?” she said with an accusatory tone.

He cocked his head.

“Just what in the hell gives you that idea?” He threw his hands up.  “Does that look like I’ve been screwing around?” He pointed towards the bathroom. The pitch in his voice deepened. “And, how would you know the difference between cheating and an investigative lead?”

Jennifer leaned forward. “This is Munds Park. It’s a small town,” she said, pointing her finger toward the floor. “You couldn’t have been on an investigative lead at this time. Besides, I know you weren’t working yesterday.  It was your day off.”

He approached her.

“Jennifer, I was on a lead,” he said. “Unfortunately, it was on my day off, but I was on a lead. Now, would you stop with the bullshit?”

“Robert, watch your language.” The grim line on her face erupted into a faint smile. “It’s nice to see you human once in awhile.”

He shook his head. “You’re a bitch sometimes.”

“Yeah, well, you’re an asshole sometimes.”

They laughed at one another. Then, Jennifer stopped, her face turning serious again.

“Robert, I ran into Torrance the other day.”

“Yeah?” His curiosity was aroused.

“He said you were looking for a missing woman and showed me a picture of her.”

His brow rose up. “A missing woman?”

“Yeah, brunette, long hair, real pretty.” 

He stared at her. The Deputy in him became inquisitive.

“Did you recognize the woman?” he asked.

“No, I didn’t.”

He frowned.

“The picture was kind of crumpled up. It looked older, too. He didn’t say who she was, but I think I may have given her a ride to a restaurant the other day.”

Robert’s throat tightened. “Did you get her name?”

“Yeah, it was Brandy.” 

“Where did you give her a ride?”

“Off Mormon Lake Road, not to far from work. She said she was going to meet someone at the restaurant on the corner. After I dropped her off, I drove around the corner and watched her…”

“What? Why?” he asked, upset that she would do such a thing.

“I…I, uh, well, she kind of looked like mom,” Jennifer said. She shrugged and her eyes welled up.

He sighed. He wanted to tell her that he found their mother, but he didn’t want to say anything until he could talk to mom. He didn’t want to get Jennifer’s hopes up and then crush them. For all he knew, mom might have deliberately vanished. Until he knew the reason why, he didn’t want to say anything to Jennifer.

Since Jennifer couldn’t remember much about mom, this situation could go either way. It could be the best thing that ever happened to Jennifer and Brandy. Their family had been close. After mom disappeared, Jennifer’s visits to the psychiatrist increased. Robert even signed up for some counseling sessions to deal with their mother’s absence.

This reunion could re-establish their relationship. Or, it may be best that Robert keep his mouth shut. It all came down to the reason why their mother had vanished.

“I guess in a way I was hoping it was mom,” she said, looking down. Tears fell down her cheeks. She wiped them away.

“I miss mom.” Her voice cracked. “It’s like something is missing, like parts of my life have been ripped away. I remember pieces of it, mostly when I was young. But, then as I grew up, I can’t remember half of it. I vaguely remember what she looks like. If I seen her on the street, I wouldn’t recognize her. It’s almost like that disease. Oh, what the hell do you call it?” She scratched her head.

“Alzheimer’s?” he asked.

“Yeah, that’s it. Do you know what I mean?”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.”

Robert wrapped his arms around his sister and held her tight.

“Why can’t I remember her like you do?” She clutched his shirt and smothered her face in his shoulder.

 “I don’t know, sis.” He swallowed hard.

“You remember more of our life with her, though.” She pulled away and looked at him.

“Why?  Why can’t I?”

The sorrow on her face broke his heart.

“I don’t know. Maybe whatever trauma that’s holding some of our memories back hurt you more than me? I have no clue. I’m not even sure what the hell happened to wipe out some of our memories, including those with dad.”

Robert needed to talk to mom. The more time he spent consoling his sister, the more time he lost finding their mother—and the answers he desperately needed.

He grabbed Jennifer by her shoulders and looked her in the eyes. 

“Listen, sis, I know this is difficult for you, and I really don’t want to sound like an asshole, but this investigation is very important.”

Jennifer looked up at him, her eyes red and bloodshot from crying.  Her nose reminded him of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It was pitiful. It made him want to cry.

“Do you remember anything else?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry I followed her.” A knot had formed in her throat, making it difficult to swallow.

“Don’t worry about it. I just need to know what you saw.”

“Okay,” she nodded. “Um, yeah, some guy picked her up on a Harley and took her to a motel.”

“Would you remember that Harley if you saw it again?” he asked.


“And the motel…” Despite Robert being upset with Jennifer following their mother, he was excited to hear that she had found a location for mom.

“Yeah, I can drive you there…” She wiped more tears off of her cheeks.

“Good, let’s go,” he said. 

“What? Right now? Can’t it wait until tomorrow? I’m supposed to be at school in a few hours.” 
She glanced at the wall clock.

“I don’t care. I’ll write you a frigging note if you need it. This is important. Get dressed,” he demanded.

“Are you serious?” she asked, rolling her eyes.

“Yes, I’m serious. Get your ass in gear.” With that, Robert walked into the bathroom and shut the door behind him.

“Damn you, Robert,” she said.

“Get dressed,” he hollered through the door.


Twenty minutes later, Robert drove his truck into the motel parking lot. He followed the paved road around to the back of the beige, two story motel. The woods surrounded the back of the parking lot. A car, a truck, and two Harleys were parked near the motel.

Jennifer spotted the jet black bike.

“That’s it. That’s the bike,” she said, pointing to it.

“Did you see what room she went to?”

“No, I didn’t stick around to see. I admit I’m a little weird sometimes, but I’m not a creeper.”

“That’s okay. I’m your brother. I can forgive you,” he said, looking at the motel.

Frowning, Jennifer flipped him off.

“She’s probably in one of those rooms right there because they’re closest to the bike,” he said. 

“It’s a nice bike, so I’m going to say whoever owns it wants to keep an eye on it.”

Jennifer glanced around the parking lot.

“He wouldn’t want it to get stolen,” he said.

Then, he opened the truck door.

Jennifer spun around, eyes wide. “Robert, what are you doing?”

“I’m just going to take a look,” he said, casually.

“Are you nuts?” she asked. Her voice escalated. Eyes wide, she glanced at the motel, and then the parking lot.

“No, I’m just a Deputy. Hand me my gun.”

She pulled his gun out of the glove box and gave it to him.

“You’re crazy, Robert. People are going to think you’re a creeper if you’re walking around in the dark with a gun.”

“Well, that’s not all I’m doing,” he said, checking the gun’s chamber.

“What?” Jennifer stared at him.

Robert strapped his gun on his hip and straightened up. 

“See those windows right there?” He pointed to a section of the motel.

“Yeah?” she asked. “Oh, no you’re not!”

“Oh, yes, I am.”

“Oh, that’s worse! They’re going to think you’re a perv.”

“I’m just doing my job.”

“But, why?” She leaned closer to the driver’s side. “Robert?”

He shut the door behind him, careful not to make much noise, and left, leaving her alone in the car.

“What the hell is going on?” she whispered.

He walked along the side of the motel, his hand resting on his gun.  He neared the windows he was headed for. All he wanted to do was find her. If casually glancing in the window would take him one step further to locating her, then so be it.

He peered around the parking lot. For a fleeting moment, he met his sister’s eyes. He cast one last glance back at the Harley. The incident he and Torrance had been in earlier drifted into his mind. He hoped there wouldn’t be another confrontation.

But, if something did happen, at least Jennifer knew where his rifle was—strapped just below the front seat, fully loaded. Wrapped around the stock was a pouch full of additional ammo. And, next to the rifle was another pouch of ammo.

Robert had made sure she knew how to shoot a gun, and he felt some relief knowing that she could take care of herself. At the same time, he was still concerned. He despised the fact that he had to bring her here, but without her, he wouldn’t have known where to find mom.

As he neared the first window, he turned his full attention back to the motel. The blinds were partially open. He stopped short of it and peered inside. A blonde woman walked into the bathroom. Nobody else was in the room with her, so he continued on to the next window. The blinds were ajar. A couple lay asleep in bed. The woman was a little bigger than mom. Robert moved on.

He glanced at the truck. Jennifer shook her head at him. He turned and peeked in through the partially closed curtain. A couple lay back-to-back in bed. Robert studied her face. It was his mother.


Jennifer was nervous. Even though it was cold out, she was sweating. She wiped her wet palms on her jeans, and gazed out at the driver’s side view mirror. Nothing. Then she looked out at her side view mirror. Nothing. Wait! Yes, something was there. Her eyes widened. She took a deep breath and held it. She could vaguely discern a red streaked human figure yet she could see right through it.

The invisible human form came from the rear and neared the truck bed. She glanced down at the doors. They were locked. Scared, she lowered herself to the floorboard and pulled her cell phone out of her pocket. She held the phone low so that it wouldn’t illuminate the inside of the truck.

Eyes wide, she glanced up. She was barely able to discern the crimson color on its body. She pressed the button to call her brother.

The invisible form moved away from the door.

She pressed the phone to her ear. “Come on, come on.”

The phone rang five or six times before Robert’s voicemail picked up.

“Shit.” She hit the END button. She slowly rose up on knees and looked out of the window. The invisible entity advanced on her brother.

“Fuck.” She pressed the REDIAL button. The phone rang one, two, three times.

Her heart beat faster. “Turn around, Robert. Turn the fuck around.”


Robert stood with his back to the truck. He glanced at the room number, and then back at his sleeping mother. Something from his childhood drifted into his memory.

At the age of five, Robert lay in bed. His bedroom door opened, and in walked his mom.  The carpeted floor masked the sound of her crossing the room. He closed his eyes and pretended to be asleep.

“Hmm, are you asleep, sweetie?” she whispered.

He didn’t answer. Instead, he enjoyed her hand brushing his dark hair. She caressed his back.

“Love you, Bobby.” She leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on his head.

He smiled.

His mom giggled. “I didn’t think you were asleep.”

His eyelids fluttered. She smiled down at him. He squeezed his eyes shut. She giggled again.

“Get some sleep, Bobby.”

Wasn’t that the way it was supposed to be? The mother watching her son sleep. Not the other way around.

At this point, he wasn’t sure what to do. He could make up an excuse to get them out of bed so he could talk to her, but he wasn’t really sure that was the answer.

He glanced back.

Jennifer jumped out of the truck. 

“Robert! Behind you!”

It was too late.

Just as he turned around, the scent of blood was upon him. Something invisible threw him backwards into the motel. The impact put a dent in the wall. The invisible entity grabbed him and threw him forwards into the parking lot. Robert hit the ground, flipping twice.

“No!” Jennifer screamed.

“Fuck,” he mumbled. Dizzy, he stood up. Before he had a chance to react, it was upon him again.

Jennifer came barreling at them from out of nowhere.

The invisible entity grabbed him again, and threw him up and over a truck. Robert struck the asphalt.

Her human body began the transformation into a werewolf. She cried out in pain.

Robert jumped to his feet and turned toward his sister.

Her muscles and bones enlarged, taking on the look of a canine.

“No!” Robert screamed. His mouth dropped open. 

He had no idea she carried the same disease. He dreaded her becoming a werewolf. It was a horrible and life altering experience.

He turned to face the invisible entity. 

In full werewolf form, Jennifer lunged at the invisible blood-streaked creature. Together, she and the invisible entity toppled over one another. The moment she pinned it to the ground, it slashed at her. She yelped. Blood dripped from her face.

Robert grabbed onto her neck fur. He wouldn’t let anything happen to her. She struggled against him.

Behind them, a door opened.

The invisible entity moved toward the open door.

His mother and the man, with whom she shared a room, stood in the doorway.

Mom stared at the two of them, her mouth agape.

Jennifer reared up on her haunches, her jaws snapping at anything that moved. She didn’t know how to control her aggressive alter ego.

His mother recoiled back into the room. 

Robert was sure she was leery of Jennifer.

Jennifer whipped her head back and forth, snarling, trying to escape Robert’s hold on her. He tightened his grip on her.

The man in the room took a step toward them.

His mother put her hand on his shoulder. “No, don’t. It’s…”

The blood-streaked entity grabbed Robert’s mom and whisked her away into the forest.
Her screams faded into the distance.

The man in the room snapped, “Who the fuck…”

Robert ignored him. “Jennifer, we need to follow her. Just forget about him.”

Jennifer snapped at Robert’s arm. He narrowly dodged her mouth.

“Who are you?” the man demanded. He stared at Robert.

Robert didn’t listen to him. “Jennifer, we need to go, now!”

She gazed into the forest where mom had disappeared.

Robert let go of her.

“Come on.” He ran towards the forest with Jennifer in pursuit. 

By the time Robert and Jennifer entered the forest, a strong wind had picked up. Robert looked back over his shoulder. Behind them, four haggard, long haired male vampires had emerged from the forest on the other side of the parking lot. They must have heard the commotion and come to feed.

Robert glanced at the motel door. It was shut but it didn’t matter. Two of the vampires kicked in the motel door. The other two ran around the other side of the building after Warrant.

Robert turned. Jennifer stood next to him. He was grateful that she listened to him. It most likely saved their lives.

She peered back at the parking lot and whimpered. 

“They don’t look like friends, do they?”

She looked up at him.

“Did you see which direction she went in?” he asked. He looked around.

She lowered her head.

“Well, either way, we need to get out of here. Those vampires look like trouble. I can come back for my truck in a little while.” He waved his hand for her to follow him. “Come on.”


Here's a SNEAK PEAK at Bad Elements: Crystal Dragon!


My head was woozy, my body tired and drained.  The pain in my eyes when I tried to open them was nearly unbearable so I let them close.  Curling up into the fetal position, I wrapped my arms around my legs, the cold air overwhelming me.  Chills ran down my spine, goose bumps swelling over my skin when I realized I was lying on a cold floor, possibly concrete.  Debris fell from my skin.  I pulled my hands back and my eyes shot open, pain tearing through my eyelids.  I bolted into a sitting position and batted at my skin, afraid of what was on me.

What the hell was on me and better yet, where was I?  Worried about that and who was nearby, I struggled with the urge to cry out for assistance.  Should I or should I not yell out?  Darkness surrounded me and there was no telling who stood within it.

Instead, I bolted to my feet.  My legs gave way and threw me right back down to the ground, knees first.  Pain tore through my kneecaps and expanded into my thighs and calves.  A moan escaped my lips.  I sat back on my heels, tears forming in my eyes.  I rolled onto my side and rubbed my knees, whimpering.  I resisted the urge to cry, but it was too painful and tears dripped down my face.  Agony coursed through me.  I tried to keep my cheek from touching the cold ground but pain shot through my right shoulder.  I groped at the other side of my neck and shoulder, massaging it when I found something odd.  I pulled my hand away and held it out in front of my face, trying to see it in the darkness.  There was liquid on itcold, thick, and pasty.  I put my hand in front of my face but was unable to see it.  I trembled, unsure of where I was. 

The strain of my neck muscles gave way.  Tears flowed down my cheeks.  My face hit the concrete, and pain shot through the side of it.  I struggled against the tears welling up in my eyes again.  Touching my cheek, I realized it was the size of a baseball.  I gasped in horror and rubbed the other one.  The right cheek was huge in comparison to the other.  More tears erupted from my eyes.  As I continued to evaluate my injuries, I realized my eyes were bruised and swollen too. 

I decided it was best to measure up my injuries since I couldn’t remember where I had been last, what had I done, or who I was with.  Carefully, I studied the details of my body beginning with my feet.  They were bare.  No shoes, no socks, nothing.  My feet and heels were bruised, and my ankles swollen.  The muscle along the bone on my calves were inflamed and bruised, mostly on my right leg.  My knees hurt and my thighs ached, along with my hips and stomach.  A couple of my ribs felt out of place. 

My left breast was bruised and more painful than the right, along with my left arm and neck.  I inched my hand down past my shoulder along the right side of my back.  One of my fingers caught within a fold of skin.  I gasped in pain.  I had stuck my finger into a large gash.  I tensed up and pulled my finger out, blood now stuck to it.  The gash was thin and about two or three inches long.  Possibly a knife wound.  Parts of my back were sore.  A headache lingered behind my eyes.

Once I completed my checkup, I leaned forward on to my hands.  My fingers crept across the cold concrete.  I touched something small and hard.  It took a moment to realize it was the debris that had fallen off of me.  I plucked some up.  They weren’t alive, so I sniffed them.  Pine.  I was covered in woodchips.  With that done, I decided it was time to figure out where I was.

Because my knees still hurt from the hard fall I took, I searched the darkness for something to support myself with as I carefully transitioned from my knees to my feet but with no such luck.  My head felt faint.  My stomach grumbled and lurched.  Bile rose up in my throat.  I turned my head and threw up.  I leaned over while my body convulsed with the pain violating my body.  After a minute, I straightened up and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. 

I took a step forward, and then halted.  I cocked my head and listened.  Silence.  Not even the ticking of a clock. 

I took another step forward, defying the pain still reverberating through my legs.  I groaned and took another step, and another.  Then I stubbed my toe on something hard.  I drew in a hard breath and whimpered.  I stuck my arms out in front of me, trying to discern what was in my path.  My fingers struck several steel rods that were spaced apart.  I froze in place, recognizing the objects before me.  They were circular, slick, and cold.  I wrapped my hands around them and leaned my face into the bars that imprisoned me.  Fear surged through my body.  Was I in jail?  What happened to me?  Why couldn’t I remember that put me here?

I turned my back to the bars, slid down to the floor, and brought my knees to my chest, wrapping my arms around them.  I gave in to the weaker side of me and cried myself to sleep. 

My dreams were brutal, even the ones where I was with friends.  The faces looked familiar, but I couldn’t fit the names.  I woke up several times throughout the night, pain throbbing inside my body.  Each time, I cried myself back to sleep. 


I awakened to my body being dragged across the floor.  A strong arm was wrapped around my chest from behind.  My head lolled forward and then to the side.  I tried to control it, but found I could not.

A male voice bellowed from outside of my prison cell, “I’d be careful if I were you.  She might wake up.”

“Yeah, I know,” replied the man who held me. 

A couple of laughs echoed throughout the room and then he tossed me onto a cot.  I struggled to open my eyes so I could get a good look at him afraid he was going to try to have his way with me, but he pulled a blanket over me.  When I opened my eyes, his eyes met mine and then he was gone. 


I awoke in a fright to somebody turning me over onto my stomach.  I turned my head to get a glimpse of him when he pushed my face back down into the cot.  I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t get my face out of the surface of the bed.  I thrashed around to free myself.  Something hard struck me in the middle of my lower back.  A sharp pain traveled up the muscles next to my spine.  My back arched in pain as I pushed myself up.  A large pair of hands slammed down in the upper middle of my back and pushed me back into the cot.  I was barely able to turn my head.  Just as I did, cold water splashed onto my upper right shoulder, my face, and mouth.  
I drew in a deep breath and choked on the water.

Two men in my prison cell argued with each other.

“Stop her, she’s moving too much,” replied the irritable man.

“She’s got water in her mouth,” said the one pinning me down.

“No she doesn’t, she’s just trying to get loose.”

“No, she’s choking,” said the guy who held me down by my shoulders.  “Don’t start yet.” 

He relaxed his hold a little.

I pushed up onto all fours.  My body trembled as I continued to cough.  I spit water and blood up onto the cot.  With a lighter pressure, he continued to hold me down.  My vision was blurry.  I didn’t know who he was or what he wanted, but I did know exactly where he was. 

I shot to a kneeling position and turned as I delivered a right back fist to his face.  He grabbed my chin.  Before I knew it, he threw me backwards onto the cot, the weight of his body on mine.   

“Don’t you ever do that again,” he whispered in my ear.  “You don’t know the damage I could do to you.” 

I glared back at him. 

He moved in closer to me and whispered, “Be thankful I’m the one handling you and not them.” 

I tried to make out his face but could not.  Instead, my eyes focused on his.  I’d seen those eyes somewhere before.

He held my chin and pressed my head back.

He lowered his mouth to my ear.  “Now, you turn over and be a good girl.  We don’t want you to get hurt.”

With that, he released my chin, grabbed my shoulder, and forced me onto my stomach.  I managed to turn my head to the side.  Unaware of what their intentions were, I tried to focus on something, anything.  With that, I stared at the dirty concrete back wall.  His weight straddled my lower back while he continued to hold me down.  

I closed my eyes and cried.  As he poured water over my shoulder and brushed a cloth over it, I realized he was cleaning the upper right part of my back.

“Shut up and stop moving around,” said the man standing next to me.  “Stupid woman.  Hey, didn’t somebody say she was a tough bitch?  Obviously not.” 

His hand found the wound on my shoulder and pressed down hard.  I winced in pain.  

“She doesn’t know what’s going on,”  the man straddling my back said.

“What the hell?”  The man standing next to me sounded angry.  “Are you getting soft on me?”

“No, I’m not, but you need to back off a little.  We want this wound to heal properly and not get infected, alright asshole?  Now, get the job done.”  He lowered his mouth to my ear.  “You need to stay as still as possible so that we can get this wound cleaned and stitched.  Okay?” 

I stared back at him through the corner of my eye. 

“Yes,” I muttered into the mattress.

“Good.”  He turned his head to the other man.  “Let’s get this started.”

I clenched up, closed my eyes, and tried to avoid moving as much as possible when a series of sharp pricks stuck me in the back.  I came to the realization that the man standing next to me was stitching up my upper back and that he was a doctor, only an obnoxious one.

After taping up the gauze he placed over the wound, he asked, “Can you sit her up please?”   

The man on my back complied.  He climbed off of me, stood up and helped to prop me back up against the wall behind me.  I shivered against the cold concrete.  The doctor grabbed my hand and poured some pills into it.  Then he removed a water bottle from a pocket in his doctor’s coat and handed it to me. 

“Take those for the pain, they’ll help you feel better.  We’ll bring you some food in a little bit, too.”

When the men turned to leave my prison, I looked down at the pills.  Were they really for the pain?  Or were they to sedate me?  I debated.  Should I or should I not take them?  Granted, my entire body hurt and I could probably use them, but I was wary of the men’s true intention.

Once the men left my cell, I threw them at the bars behind them.  Some flew out and others fell within my prison.  I opened the water bottle in haste, spilling some of it.  I was thirsty as fuck.  I couldn’t remember the last time I had some water.  As I chugged it down, the doctor rushed back into my cell and struck the bottle.  The bottle shot up out of my hand.  Water splashed all over me and him.  I glanced up at him.  He sneered down at me. 

“You ungrateful bitch,” he said.  Then he slapped me.   

That was when I snapped.  I leapt to my feet.  I punched him at the same time my legs wavered beneath me.  Some of the men yelled for him to stop and a couple of the others screamed, “Fight!”  When he attempted to backhand me again, I threw my left arm out and blocked him.  I threw an uppercut with my middle knuckle extended into his solar plexus.  His head jerked forward, the air rushing out of his body.  With the same fist, I threw another uppercut into his Adams apple.  He staggered backwards into the bars.  The other man who had held me down rushed into the cell.  The color of his blue eyes shifted from an aqua blue to a deeper blue hue.  I would later identify this man as Blue Eyes.

Blue Eyes glared at me.  “Maybe he deserved that, but you need to stop now.”

“Why!  What the hell am I here for!”  I glared back at Blue Eyes and then at the doctor, who staggered toward the cell door. 

I took a step toward the doctor while he tried to regain his breath.  Then Blue Eyes stepped in front of me, blocking my path to confront the doctor again.  
“Not now.”

Dammit, I wish I could see his face, could see all of their faces.  Due to the swelling around my eyes, I was barely to see through the slits of them.  Even then, I was scarcely able to differentiate Mr. Blue Eyes and that was only because of the exquisite hue of them.  I stood my ground, but my legs threatened to give.  In the room surrounding my prison, I was barely able to distinguish approximately five to six male figures in the room, all of whom were now silent.  My jaw clenched.  I feared what I was here for.  I tried to look around the room but found it difficult through the haze of my vision.  Even though I was fueled with anger and heated from the fight, chills ran up my spine and along my neck.  I swallowed hard.

“Now come here,” said Blue Eyes.

I looked at him.

“Don’t try anything stupid.  Understand?” 

I stared at him. 

“Do you understand, or do I need to lock you up?” 

The others grumbled amongst themselves.

My gaze shifted back to Blue Eyes.

I muttered, “Yeah, I understand.” 

I approached him and allowed him to take my arm.  Gripping onto it, he led me past a hallway and then through the room to the left of my cell.

He walked me through the room which looked like some sort of training facility.  Then he led me to the restroom on the right.  It looked like a prison shower for there were multiple shower heads in multiple stalls.  The lighting was minimal.  When he spun me towards him, our faces were inches from each other. 

“I want you to clean up, use the bathroom, and then we’ll get some food in you.  Okay?”

“Okay,” I replied, complying.  Though I was hesitant, I decided it was in my best interest to do as they said.  This of course, was a temporary decision which was subject to change later, depending on my circumstances.

“This is the only door, so don’t try to run.”  His eyes glared into mine.  The last four words came out of his mouth slow and precise:  “Don’t piss me off.” 

I took him for his word.

He gripped my upper arm and led me to a bathroom stall.  Once I was inside, he turned me around to face him.  

“I’m sure you can figure everything out from here.”  He shut the stall door. 

Once I was done, I opened the door and saw the dirty mirror across from me.  I walked to it, as if mesmerized.  I had to know.  His gaze lingered on me, to the point of resisting the urge to squirm.  To avoid doing just that, I turned to the mirror and focused in on it.  I tried to wipe the dirt off the mirror but it only smeared instead.  I turned the faucet on and splashed the mirror with water, still afraid of what I might see.  The dirt rinsed away and revealed what looked like a Halloween mask.  I stared in horror at my reflection.  I wanted to cry. 

He moved up behind me, his mouth almost in my ear.  “Don’t worry.  It’ll heal.”

I paid no attention to his reflection, but only to my own horrendous twin in the mirror.  Even though I couldn’t see all the details of my wounds, somebody had beaten me up pretty bad.  My face looked worse than I had imagined.  It was distorted.  My eyes were black and blue, along with other areas of my face.  My cheek was almost two times its size.  Tears welled up and slowly, painfully, trickled down my face. 

Studying my face, I asked, “What happened to me?”  Carefully, I touched it, tracing some of the distinguishable marks on it.  I didn’t even glance at him when he answered.

“You were in a bad fight,” he replied, emotionless and cold.  There was no reassurance in his voice whatsoever.

“What is happening to me?” 

He turned me towards him. 

My mind drifted back to how I had woken up confined, hurt and the reckless way I had been treated from that moment on.  That combined with the way my face looked convinced me I was literally in hell.

“Listen to me,” he said.  “I’m not going to be here all the time, so you need to do what they say.  I know you don’t know what’s going on, and that’s probably for the better, but you need to strengthen the survivor in you.  Do you understand?” 

His eyes almost bore into my skull. 

Uh, no, that wasn’t for the better.  I needed answers, something, anything to give me some light as to why I was here.  Just who the hell were they, anyway?  What gave them the right to keep me prisoner here in this piece of shit hell hole?

“Who are you?  And, who the fuck are they?”  The more time I spent thinking about my situation, the more I became irritable and angry.

He straightened up, dropped his hands from my shoulders, and sighed.

“The less you know, the better.”  He walked me towards the showers and then turned on the one at the end.  “You need to clean up.” 

I glanced at him.  “And you’re going to watch?”

“Trust me, I don’t like this any more than you do.”

“I highly doubt that,” I said. 

He smirked, and then as he moved around behind me, he grabbed the lower part of my shirt.

I jerked my arms down. 

“You’re not going to be able to get this off without some help.”

“And what gives you that idea?”

He replied, “Because you’re sore, bruised, and that shoulder of yours is not going to be nice to you.  Now let me help you.  This isn’t a sexual thing.  It’s strictly medical.  You need to clean up.  You have cuts and wounds that need to heal.  Otherwise they’ll get infected and you’ll get sick.”

As hesitant as I was, I let him remove my clothes.  Not only was I embarrassed about being seen naked by a stranger, I also was not the fittest woman in the world.  I’m twenty-five pounds overweight and five foot three inches.  Just because I’m slightly overweight, I’m still proud of my body.  I have a little extra weight around my waist and hips.  My legs are stout and muscular.  The same with my shoulders and arms.  My hips are curvy.  

Though my vision was still blurry, I tried to make out the details on his face.  Should I have the opportunity to escape, I not only wanted, but needed to know what my abductors looked like.  If I could identify them then maybe I could put them behind bars from what they had done to me.  But when I realized his attention wasn’t completely focused on my face, I looked away.

He removed my hair tie, allowing my dark hair to fall in waves below my shoulder blades.  I stepped under the warm water.  The water relaxed my muscles, but stung my wounds at the same time.  I tried not to think about the man who watched me.  Instead, I enjoyed the water cascading down my skin.  I reached up to run my fingers through my hair.  My muscles cramped and locked at ear level.  I winced from the pain.

I tried to force my arms up higher but they remained locked.  The pain was just as bad when I lowered them.  Christ, all I wanted to do was wash my hair.  The urge to curl up in a ball and cry was overwhelming.  Again, I tried to force my arms higher, but now they were tired and resistant despite my effort.  

I tilted my head back to get the dirt and grime out of my hair, but even that hurt.  A grimace escaped my lips when his hands touched me. 

Alarmed he would approach me when I was at my weakest, I opened my eyes.  But why should I be shocked?  He was just like the others.  I turned to face him and threw my arm up, blowing his hands off of me.  Boy, was that a mistake.  A sharp pain shot through my shoulder.  I doubled over, gasping and cringing.  When I tried to move my arm again, I realized it was useless.

Annoyed, he said, “Would you relax?  I’m not going to hurt you.”  After a slight hesitation, he sighed and asked, “Are you alright?”   

He bent toward me, a look of concern on his face.  

“No, I’m not,” I said, my voice shaky.  “I think I threw my shoulder out.”

The pain settled deeper into my bones causing my shoulder to ache more.  I fought the urge to cry.  Straightening up, I realized he had walked fully clothed into the spray of the water, only his feet bare.  He held his hands up as if surrendering.

“I have toiletries for you.”   

I stood silent, staring at the shampoo bottle in his hand. 

“You look like you need some help.” 

I continued to stand there, leery of his intent.  Embarrassed, I tried to cover my female assets.  I wanted to hide my vulnerability, but couldn’t.  He walked further into the water, toward me.

A look of embarrassment encompassed his face when he realized that his attention had shifted elsewhere.  Focusing on my face, he added, “Look, this is just as awkward for me, too.  Let me help you.”

He took another step, his wet shirt clinging to his body.  I glanced around the room.  It was darker than the one that housed my prison. 

I stared up into his face, which was still not clear to me.  It frustrated me that I had no clues to use to identify my captors.  I could only blame the darkness for so much though.  My wounds obstructed most of my view.  He reached out to me, holding the shampoo bottle in his other hand, and flicked it open with his thumb.

I was worried that his hands might wander over my flesh.  “You’re not going to do anything funny, are you?”

“No, I’m just going to wash your hair for you,” he said.  “I know how you women are.” 

“How do I know I can trust you?”

“You don’t.  But you can rest assured that I could have easily done something to you already if I’d wanted.  Have I?  No, I have not.”

For a brief moment, his pupils seemed to darken, a hint of evil hiding behind them.  I closed my eyes and then opened them again.  The blueness of his pupils stared into mine.  For some odd reason, I trusted him.     

He was smooth in his steps and in the way he handled my hair.  Still, he was a little too close for comfort, but he could not wash my hair from afar either. 

I wanted to know who he was.  Even though I told myself he was like the others, he was not.  Yes, he threatened me and yes, I detected something evil inside of him, but he handled me like I was a diamond, or an exquisite crystal.  Something that could be broken if not handled right.  His hands were kind, gentle, almost compassionate, unlike earlier.  Even though I was in danger, I still felt reassured around him.  It put a different kind of fear inside of me, something I couldn’t identify.  I closed my eyes and relinquished myself to him, his hands becoming one with my hair and then my head.  His fingers massaged my scalp.  The touch of his fingers relaxed me.

He moved ever so slightly nearer to me, his breath in my ear.  Goosebumps broke out along my neck.  A wave of shock trembled through my body and almost sent me to the ground.  Instead, he caught me with his arms just below the breasts and pulled me to him.  His body temperature was too cold for any normal man, but I was still compelled to remain in his arms as if a hypnotic trance kept me under his spell. 

The moon shone brilliantly in the sky, illuminating the large pine trees.  Just then, the outline of a man moved above me in the night, his face unidentifiable.  His tongue lapped over my lips, his hands caressing the curvature of my bare breasts.  We lay in the midst of the forest, the sweat from his leather jacket against my back. 

His hands rounded my hips.  His hardened manhood stood defiant against my body.  I wanted him inside me, wanted him to take me here and now.  I wrapped my legs around his waist.  The thrust of his groin sent me into a momentary wave of pleasure.  I moaned and arched my neck when his lips found the soft spot on my neck.  I gave up any and all free will to him.     

"Yes,” I moaned.  “Take me now.”

His hand moved away for a second as the water moved ever so elegantly over my face.  I savored this time, allowing myself to let this vision take full reign over me even though I knew something was not right. 

I turned my head slightly to the side when ecstasy took hold. 

He pulled back.  Then he was on me again, his mouth on my neck.  A gasp escaped my lips when the penetration of his fangs sunk into my skin.  A mixture of pleasure and pain filled the void in my body.  My breath caught in my throat, followed by the taste of blood which engulfed my mouth.    

As fast as the vision had come, it left.  A taste of copper lingered in my mouth.  I was now alone under the water.  Though he stood by and watched, I avoided glancing in his direction.  I washed up the best I could despite my soreness. 

Once I was done, I stepped out of the shower onto the floor.  He moved forward to help me dry off and dress.  I had a little more trust in him since he had not attempted anything sexual in the shower.  I was more embarrassed of my vision.

Once I was ready, he led me back to my cell.  Only two men remained in the main room now.  When he tried to take me through the cell door, I halted.  I thought I would catch him off guard.  Instead, he stopped quicker than I’d expected and turned me to face him.

“Don’t…” he began.

I pressed my body into his and whispered, “I’ll do anything.  Just get me out of here.  You’re not the same as them.  Please, I’ll do anything.” 

I begged for mercy.  His eyes were piercing. 

I pressed him against the cell door, my face inches from his.  “They trust you with me.  I trust you.  I don’t know why, but I do.  Please.” 

He stood silent, his eyes darkening.  Underneath, there was something evil yet compassionate.  Afraid to push him too far, I backed into my cell.  The door shut in my face.  Exhausted from what little physical activities I had done, I laid down and fell back asleep.

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