Sample Chapters of Deadly Intuition
The darkness, the exquisite nothingness surrounding him was delicious. Just before the shift is when he is the most powerful. He can gather himself, concentrate his essence. He was sure that his power had increased by at least one hundred fold since last taking them on.
Execution of the plan had to begin earlier than he expected, but something had to be done about the boy; his power was increasing. And even though he was still far from being a threat, he would not stay that way for too long. The child was in no way a match for him; nevertheless, he was a foolish boy. He will try to protect the girl at all costs, even knowing that it will ultimately lead to his own destruction.
Such blind devotion might end up costing him time.
It will begin all over again, but this time, he will prevail. His long and private preparation of the girl will finally pay off.
They will not see it coming until it is too late.
Megan would never look at trees in the same way after that December in 1989. Each one was now evaluated as a potential Christmas tree. Granted, some were pathetic, not worthy of decoration; but even in those, she saw great possibilities. To quote the immortal words of Charlie Brown’s optimistic sidekick Linus: “Maybe all it needs is a little love”.
Her Father had brought her to the woods behind their house to help pick out a Christmas tree. This was a family tradition; at least… it used to be. Her brother Leo was killed in a car accident two years ago, and for those two years; Christmas didn’t exist.
Leo always used to go out with his father to help find the best tree in the woods. Megan was only here this year by default, but that was all right; at least this year they were getting a tree.
There’s so much snow, she thought. She didn’t remember seeing this much snow before. Of course, she was only twelve. Today though, she didn’t feel like a clumsy child. Walking alongside her father, she felt much older; even a little taller. She felt grown up to be allowed to take part in this special family outing. She didn’t do anything except give advice on the possible candidates. She saw potential in every tree, which kept her in a constant chatter. Her father was not listening; however, he was not really there with her. He was in the past with Leo.
He didn’t know how coming back out here after all this time would make him feel. He never imagined that all the pain would come back so fresh, as if it was only yesterday, and his friends were waiting for him back at the house to give him the horrible news all over again. He could still hear the young officer as he tried to tell him what happened.
None of the other men said a word, and most could not even meet his gaze. Ironically, the one who managed to speak first was Robert, the most recent addition to the force. He had just been hired a month previous. His face was ashen and he seemed to be on the verge of shock, but he told the Chief what he knew, and as gently as possible. As Robert’s story unfolded, the other men began to move closer; a look of helpless anguish was evident on every face. They slowly closed in around Chief Chiles, surrounding him in a circle of friends, as if to assure him that they were there for him and would get him through this tragedy.
At first he didn’t understand why this twenty-three year old rookie was the one that spoke first. Later he was sure he knew why. He had trained….no… more like raised all of the other men on the force. He had worked with most of them since they were no more than kids. They all loved and admired him. He was more than just their boss. He was like a father to all of them as well. No matter how hard they tried, none of them could tell him that his only son had been killed…and no one could even begin to explain the gruesome circumstances that surrounded his death.
The reason Leo’s death is always referred to as a car accident, was because Leo’s blue Chevy Nova was discovered upside down in a ditch on the side of State Road 30, which cut through a vast stretch of woods in the middle of nothing. There was no evidence that supported the theory that another vehicle was involved in a collision, as the official report indicated. Leo wasn’t in the car. Actually, Leo was not in any one place. He was in numerous places.
It took the entire day, and all available Police and Fire Rescue workers, but they finally found all of the severed parts of Leo’s body.
The first part was found in a clearing in the woods directly behind the car. The place had once been the site of an old plantation house, a remnant from the civil war era that was common to that area of South Carolina. Now, because the house had long since burnt down, the chimney and the front steps were all that remained.
Leo’s head was discovered on the top step of the phantom house. It seemed that whoever placed it there did so intentionally. It was clearly visible due to the light of the moon, which shined like a spotlight through a small hole in the blanket of trees overhead. The moonbeam shining directly over that top step made the scene appear alien; It was as if the severed head was a grotesque sculpture on display in a museum of the deranged.
Chief George Chiles never saw any of these things. If he had, he would’ve certainly lost all sanity forever. No one knew this better than the officers that were on duty that night. Those who were the closest to the gory scene were never the same. Pete Richards, a forensics tech from the state, was in charge of collecting and bagging what was left of Leo. The only conclusion he could come up with sounded insane, but was the only explanation for what they all were seeing. It was as if Leo had been blown apart, from the inside out. What they were seeing was impossible; it appeared that he had swallowed a bomb...and then it went off.
Leo’s remains formed an almost perfect circular pattern, which actually corroborated the bizarre theory, but nothing could explain the condition of the head. It was cleanly severed and completely intact. No weapon, at least none in this world, could have done such a thing. Pete, like everyone else, was shaken, but seemed to be able to do his job. Several weeks afterwards however, he drove his truck straight into the Smyrna Quarry, where it exploded into a brilliant ball of fire, killing him instantly. He left no note behind as to why he had done such a thing, same as all the others.
Five weeks after finding Leo, Frank Capshaw, the most senior deputy on the force and one of George’s closest friends, went outside on a sunny Saturday afternoon and casually kissed his wife and ten-year-old son. He then took a steak knife from the silverware drawer and went to take a bath… where he sliced completely through his left arm, from his wrist all the way up to his elbow.
There were others who just left town never to be heard from again. The ones who stayed that did not opt for suicide were never the same. Some, who never had a drink in their life, turned to alcohol or drugs on a daily basis as a means of escape.
George never commented on any of the bizarre deaths. He went to the funerals, consoled the wives and children of those who were lost, but never seemed shocked or amazed at any of the strange developments. He was so tortured by his grief, that on many occasions, he secretly wished that he could join Leo, and escape the never ending pain of this world. Not willing to let down his wife and daughter, who he loved beyond all reason, he managed to keep going.
The forensic testing on Leo’s body took almost two months, delaying his final arrangements. Scientists were brought in from all over the country in an effort to determine exactly what had caused his death, or more accurately…his destruction. Finally, they gave up trying and released what was left of the body to the family. The day after his son’s remains were released to him, George made the final arrangements. George Leonard Chiles Junior was officially laid to rest at a memorial in the presence of his family and the rest of the townsfolk of Smyrna.
No one was ever prosecuted or even suspected of Leo’s murder, which didn’t surprise George in the least.
It was as if a black veil of denial had covered the entire town.
The townsfolk almost never spoke of the horrible events, but if forced to, the stories were transformed into tales of fatal household accidents, tragic car wrecks, or restless neighbors who had simply moved away in pursuit of bigger adventures than the tiny southern town had to offer.
Here in the woods, George tried hard not to think of Leo’s death. Instead he reminded himself what a good son Leo had been and how lucky he was to have known him. He smiled as he came back to reality, pleased to hear Megan muttering to herself about whether to go with a cedar or a pine.
After the tree was properly decorated, and there was no longer a demand for a bossy teenager, Megan went outside to find an activity to appease her until dinner. She decided that most of the fun she could have was to be found out in the woods, as usual. Her forest was where all of her memories were kept, safe and sound, and there for her to visit whenever she liked.
If she tried to bring Leo’s face into focus with her mind’s eye and everything was clouded, all she had to do was to come here to the woods where his image would regenerate in fresh detail. She could see him in action there, running, laughing, happy…alive. Maybe it was the earthy smell coming from the thick blanket of leaves, the clean smell of the snow or just being drenched in winter itself.
South Carolina winters were more often than not, mild. For that she was grateful. She would have hated to live in a place where she was stuck indoors all the time; that would’ve driven her crazy for sure. She needed to be out in the forest; she needed to remember him. She didn’t know what made him seem to come alive here, and it didn’t really matter anyway. She was just glad he did, so this was where most of her time was spent.
The path that cut through the forest deep into the back of the property had been well traveled by them both. There was a huge tree house at the end of their lot where they had spent most of their time together. She could not stop the tears whenever she would think of how the two of them worked so hard to build it. It was the best time of her life and her most cherished memory.
She was only about a quarter of a mile down the path when she decided that she probably shouldn’t have come this far. It was way too late to be out this deep in the woods, and she was becoming sleepy. It never seemed that there were enough hours in the day to explore all the mysteries of her forest.
She sat under the nearest elm and considered the long journey back up the hill to the house. She could almost hear Leo telling her that she was a putz for giving out so soon and if she didn’t get going, the big green tomato would come and eat her.
She knew that there was about as much of a chance of her being devoured by a giant vegetable as there was of finding her father wearing a green dress and purple high heeled shoes; nevertheless, she was afraid just thinking about it.
She had feared Leo’s big green tomato for many years now, and being here in the forest alone near dusk only made matters worse. Besides, it was not like the big green tomato was made up. She was pretty confident that Leo had been full of it when he tried to scare her by telling her that he lived in their woods, but he was real…no doubt about it. He led a sinister double life as the Kool- Aid man on TV. Sure, he looked harmless enough in those commercials, bouncing around yelling “Oh Yeah!” as a trail of happy kids chased him around an inflatable swimming pool, begging for a sip. But there was no fooling her; even that jolly, but oh so enormous pitcher could not conceal the evil that lurked within. It gave her the hairy willies just thinking about the whole conspiracy.
She got up after she realized that she had started to scare herself. It was too late to be out here. The woods became much darker than anywhere else at dusk, and it was easy to see things that weren’t there.
She brushed off her overalls making sure that she hadn’t gotten herself dirty because her mother would be certain to put a hickory switch to her if she did. Unlike her father, her mother had not been the same person after Leo’s death. She was easily aggravated and never seemed to be pleased about much anything anymore. She knew that her father was sad a lot, but outside of the sadness, he stayed the same. Annette Chiles, the woman formerly known as her mother, was now merely a stranger to her.
She started up the hill to the house wishing that she was already there and that the tiring walk was behind her. For some reason the path seemed harder to climb than usual. She figured that it was because she was more worn out today from all the tree searching.
She hadn’t made it far up the path before she started to stumble over something in her way. Looking down, she saw that her feet were tangled in some roots that were sticking up out of the ground. The previously clear path was covered with them. At least she thought they were roots. She had never seen anything like them before; they seemed to have come out of nowhere. They were shaped like roots, but were darker and coated with a slimy film that felt slick and warm against her leg. She stopped and tried to pry herself loose but could not get a grip on them…they seemed to writhe and slide between her fingers, almost as if they were…alive. It was as if they were fighting with her. She would start to become free of them, and they would become even more tangled, as if they were trying to hold her captive.
That is when it happened.
All of a sudden the ground started to tremble violently. She lost what balance she had left, which was not much, since her feet were now tightly bound in the root creature. She hit the ground; face first. She sat up, and spit a mixture of dead leaves, dirt, and snow out of her mouth in an exasperated humph sound.
She looked up; searching for the source of the rumble that was so loud…she expected to see a stampede of large jungle animals bursting through the woods at any second. Just as the noise became almost deafening, the ground started to give way underneath her…everything was being sucked in: rocks, dirt, trees, and soon she would go with them! She would almost believe a stampede before an earthquake. She grasped the root creature, interlacing her fingers in the slimy mass, in an attempt to brace herself for whatever was about to happen.
It seemed only seconds had passed when she found herself suspended, engulfed in total darkness. The air was thick here. A slimy film was forming around her; one, she thought, not unlike the covering on the root creature. It was incredibly viscous and putrid. And it was suffocating her.
She felt totally paralyzed and had the sensation that she was taking in fluid instead of air…filling her lungs with the vile substance that covered her. Just as she was on the verge of passing out, the dark was penetrated by the presence of a faint green light. As the light became more intense it seemed to twist and sway through the dense atmosphere, slowly revealing her murky surroundings. There were shapes in the distance that she could not make out…grotesque forms that seemed to writhe and twitch…and they were coming closer.
As the strange figures approached, she heard horrible shrieking noises that in some vague way seemed familiar to her. The sounds mixed with the light, which had now become blinding, was so disturbing that she thought her head might explode, just as easily as a wine glass in a Memorex commercial.
She awoke startled, drenched in cold sweat and gasping for air…and still under the elm. She had only been dreaming? It all seemed so real and she was still petrified. The tiny hairs at the base of her neck stiffened suddenly. She felt as if someone was there watching her. She turned quickly, certain that she would find herself face to face with some unimaginable creature, ready to pounce on her, but found no one. The dream had been so real that she was still not sure if she was really awake.
Wasting no time to brush herself off, she bolted back to the house and made it in record time. She ran through the back door and straight into Annette, who immediately complained about the mixture of dirt and snow on her clothes. She went directly to her room, locked the door, and checked under and inside of every part of her room that she couldn’t see. She cleaned up for dinner and stretched out on her bed until her shaking finally subsided.
Later on at the dinner table she watched as her parents carried on with their usual, dull conversation. Thankfully, no one said anything about tremors, shrieks, or bright green lights. This further reassured her that what she had experienced earlier in the forest was only a dream, so she quickly cleaned her plate. It took a lot more than a bad dream to spoil her appetite. She did forfeit dessert, and went straight to bed, leaving her bedside lamp on, of course.
She still could not shake the feeling she was being watched.
In fact, she never would.
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