Fantasy Fiction posted February 8, 2018 Chapters: -1- 2... 


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A woman finds herself in the company of shape shifters.

A chapter in the book Bear Woman

Preamble

by Susan B. Lamphier


The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.


Background
A woman is forced into the company of shape shifters.

A late October storm had whipped away the last of the leaves, leaving only a smattering of gray green on the few oaks clinging over and above the ridge line behind the trailer. That's where Sammy is, she thought. That's where Sammy is, safe and clean and dry, and Eddie won't get her, not his father, nobody. She glimpsed the top of the great oak leaves dancing in the wind, just visible beyond the edge of the ridge. Goodbye, my darling daughter, she said in silent prayer. Then a great weight struck her, and blackness overtook her, and she thought and said no more.

When she came to, she was roped hand and foot, and a rough cloth was rammed into her mouth. She tried to pull at the bonds, but they were too tight. She rolled her shoulders against the pain and ache of the beating, but her wounds were harder than as usual, and she gasped and winced at the size and depth of them. She knew, then, that she was to die. She looked up into the canopy of tree branches, clacking overhead and next by as she passed them, wind tossing their naked branches, black bones against a misty sky. Winter was coming, she thought, and once more her thoughts were of Sammy. I hope she will be warm enough, she thought to herself. I hope she will find enough to eat.

She felt the truck whine as Eddie (or was it his father?) shifted down, the wheels twisting as they gathered for a climb in the slippery leaves, biting into dirt, and heaving her forward in the truck bed. Gravity tumbled her back again, against the rusty red gate. She might have groaned a little as one of the men shouted to her from the truck cab, "Shut up back there, you fuckin bitch!" And, because she must, because she somehow had to survive this, and get back to Sammy, and, maybe? run away, she silenced the panic climbing within her into a scream. She obeyed and shut up, always the good girl, always seen but not heard. It kept her alive, when Eddie was drunk and singing, when Social Services came to call, when teaching Sammy how she, too, must stay hidden and afraid, and survive.

The truck lurched to a stop, and suddenly she was trembling, her heart thundering inside her chest. Eddie got out of the cab and went to the truck bed, barely giving her a glance. She saw, then, his weakness and his shame, that he, too, was cowed by his father's glare as he released the gate, and slid her to the ground.

Quickly, Eddie grabbed a shovel. "Where?" he asked his father.

"Over there, off the road," his father nodded. He watched as Eddie poked at the ground along the tree line. "Back in there," his father said, pointing to some brush. "Doesn't have to be deep."

"Please," she mumbled through the gag. Eddie's father pulled the hunting knife from the scabbard at his waist. He sliced her shirt, her jeans, her panties, grinning at her as he did so, leaving her naked and trembling. Desperately, she glanced around her, hoping someone would save her. But a cold mist surrounded the woods, the trees ghostly and silent in the milky light.

His father grabbed her by the bound legs, and dragged her towards the shallow grave Eddie was digging. She kicked out, and he plunged his knife into her thigh. The gag cut out her cry. "Tears, my dear?" he taunted her.

"Daddy?" called Eddie.

"Keep digging," his father ordered. He traced the tear down her cheek, scratching the blade along its trail.

"Daddy!" called Eddie.

"I'm not hearing any digging!" his father bellowed. He looked up sharply as his son. "You got a problem?" he demanded.

"Is...is this good enough?" Eddie asked. "There's a lot of roots."

His father sighed. "Fine," he said, his mood broken. He pulled at her by the legs, oblivious to the writhing cries she made under the gag. "Help me, asshole!" he ordered his son. Eddie dropped the shovel and took one of her arms. Together, they slid her into the shallow hole. He handed the knife to his son. "Kill her," he commanded.

"Couldn't we just leave her?"

"Now!"

She watched as Eddie hesitated, took his father's knife, and, of a sudden, plunged it into her abdomen.

Agony ravaged her. She gasped and cried and sobbed, even as she fought for breath. Eddie pulled on the knife. It caught for a moment, then he jerked it out, ripping her heart, her lungs, her chest, wracking her, choking her, its final cut the last of her memory.

But for shadows, of turning instinctively towards the hole, the soil, seeking cold, seeking shelter, seeking life while hers drained away. Seeking the smell of the earth as dirt dropped onto her body, cold and damp and glutted with dead leaves.
 


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© Copyright 2018. Susan B. Lamphier All rights reserved.
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