dark faerie 06 - ever dead (7 page)

BOOK: dark faerie 06 - ever dead
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“Here goes nothing,” Hank mumbled as they walked between the trees…instantly disappearing from sight in a shimmer.

 

 

 

Chapter 13

 

 

 

 

Hank felt the familiar cool dampness on his face. Dropping his jaw in surprise, he quickly looked behind himself, realizing that they had just entered between the two massive twin trees of his dream!

“We ain’t in Kansas anymore girl,” Hank mumbled nervously as he looked down at Luci. Quietly returning his look, Luci didn’t appear to be feeling either frightened or threatened.  Taking that as a good sign and seeing nothing around them, he re-holstered his weapon before taking in the forest before him.

His heart skipped a beat when he realized that he was standing where he had been when he met the beautiful woman the night before in his dream. Shaking off those thoughts as his mind refocused, he slowly scanned his surroundings.

Although there was no sign of Benton, the path before them appeared to be well worn with use. Luckily, it was the only path visible, and they wouldn’t have to guess which way to proceed.

Not yet anyway.

Not wasting any more words, Hank and Luci set off slowly down the path. Although both were on high alert, their eyes constantly wandered around the amazing forest.

Suddenly they heard a buzzing sound approaching them. Uneasy at the new sound they stopped, surprised when three winged creatures unexpectedly started flitting around their heads.

Thinking initially that they were just some large insects, Hank’s jaw dropped in surprise when he caught a glimpse of some human-like features on the face of one of the creatures.

“Easy girl,” he whispered, gripping the leash tighter when he realized that Luci was getting uneasy over the buzzy things flitting around in front of her.

“Good girl, just ignore them girl.”

Luci was whining now, unsure as to what to do about the things flapping around her. Just about to try and calm her once more, he realized that it was too late as one of the creatures got a little too close to Luci’s face. Starting with a low growl, Luci then let out three rapid and snarly barks, the force of her voice sending the creature head over heals into a nearby fern.

Crap,
he mumbled, realizing that Luci’s barking would wake up the whole forest.

“Hey!” he heard then from down the trail. Following the sound with his eyes, he soon found the man Benton running full bore at him…followed by two other men.

None
of them looked happy.

Reacting with practiced training, Hank effortlessly slid the staff off of his back and pointed the rounded end toward the approaching trio.

“STOP!” he shouted, the sound filling the forest like thunder.

The three men stopped immediately, skidding in the dirt. Benton uttered a surprised
shit as
shock spread in the eyes of all three as they stared at the staff in wonder.

Having been worried only about the approaching men, Hank hadn’t taken notice of his staff until that moment. Glancing at it now, he almost dropped it when he realized that the gnarled end had somehow turned into the head of a snake. His own shock had him wordless in response.

“Mister?” Benton uttered as his eyes moved toward Hank, “Just what the hell are you?”

 

 

 

 

Chapter 14

 

 

 

 

Fighting the urge to drop his Grandfather’s ancient staff, Hank stared at the snake in wonder…and a little fear!

“Hey man, could you put that thing back in its cage?” Benton finally spoke, appearing more relaxed.

Great idea,
Hank thought to himself,
if I only knew how.

As if hearing his thoughts, the staff suddenly transformed itself back into wood. Drawing it back to himself nervously, he tentatively touched the gnarled end to confirm that it was indeed solid once again.

“Who is this Benton?” one of the men beside him asked, his eyes narrowed suspiciously.

“I
thought
he was just someone from the human world,” Benton replied thoughtfully. “He’s been following me around and even confronted me once on the street. He’s that cop I told you about.”

“And what of the beast beside him?” the third man asked.

“They call them dogs,” Benton enlightened, rolling his eyes and shaking his head at his comrade. “They are
pets…
domesticated animals that they can train to do various tasks.”

The man that spoke nodded knowingly. “A conquered species then, one that they have enslaved to do their menial tasks.”

Benton laughed at this, “You need to get out more, Nautilus! Dogs are just animals, dude. Pretty smart ones, too, and they can track a scent like nothing else.”

“We could use a
dogs
here then,” the man named Nautilus spoke up again. “Maybe we should enslave one.”

Benton and the second man were cracking up. “You doof! One of them is a
dog…
leave off the
s.
And I told you, they aren’t enslaved…they are…

“ENOUGH!”

The men looked toward the source of the explosive outburst.

It was Hank, who was as surprised as they were at the force of his words in this place. Even Luci seemed surprised.

“What the hell
is
this place?” Hank finally asked when he got his thoughts back in order.

The three men stared at him quietly for a few moments until Benton stepped forward and pantomimed a formal bow.

“You have entered the land of Faerie. The bigger question is…why are
you
here?”

Looking over his shoulder at the men behind him, Benton then turned to face Hank once more with a wicked grin.

“And until we can sort out what all of this is about…we will be taking you into custody.”

 

***

 

Reacting quickly, Hank slid the staff into his other hand as he pulled out his pistol in one fluid motion.

“I’ll decide
who
gets arrested; you men are coming with
me!”

Anger crossed the faces of the three men before him as Benton created a ball of fire in his hand.

“You don’t know who you are dealing with here,
dude,”
Benton threatened, “Best if you just put that thing down on the ground and come with us quietly so we can sort this all out.” He held out his free hand in an effort to calm Hank down.

“I’m not going anywhere…
dude,

Hank replied with a bravado he wasn’t feeling. “You’re wanted for murder, and I suspect that your friends are also involved…several counts of murder actually.”

Laying down his staff while keeping the gun and an eye trained on the three men, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone.

“Keep an eye on them girl,” Hank said to Luci as he punched in a string of numbers. “I’ll call in some backup and we’ll all go downtown to sort this out.”

When he punched the send button, the phone bleeped at him. Looking at the screen, he noticed that he had no service. In fact, the screen was flashing with lines and static at him.

“What the hell?” he mumbled before hearing laughter. Looking up, he saw that the three men were choking down laughs as they watched him fiddle with the phone.

“There is no communications on this side of the barrier fella,” Benton spoke then, drawing back his hand to throw the fireball. “You have about two seconds to drop your weapon or I will be forced to take you by force.”

As Benton raised his hand further, Hank also aimed down the sights of the gun. Their eyes met over the sight as a quiet few seconds passes with each of them staring down the other. Each was determined to follow through with their threats while simultaneously hoping to find a reason…
any
reason to call a halt to the madness that confronted them.

 

***

 

Hank was squeezing the trigger while Benton was beginning his throw when it happened.

A blinding ball of light suddenly appeared before them, an explosive force simultaneously emanating out of the ball, blowing all of them off their feet and onto the ground.

When next they looked up, there was a beautiful, golden-haired woman before them.

“You?” Hank asked as he saw the woman. “I saw you in my dream!”

Smiling at him momentarily, she then turned toward Benton.

“Benton, I am surprised at you.”

Her voice was like music as it left her lips.

“I told Hank that he should talk to you, and you threaten him instead? I would have hoped that one of you would have recognized the offspring of Tamaki Kyan?”

Hank’s breath caught in his throat.
My grandfather?
he whispered unbelievingly.

One of the men approached the woman; the tall and muscular one that had the look of being a Native American with long, dark dreadlocks. Hank seemed to remember Benton calling him Nautilus.

“Benton was not around then, but I knew Tamaki Kyan. This man looks nothing like him Dulci,” he replied as he eyed Hank through wary eyes.

“Do you then not recognize the staff, Nautilus?” The woman replied melodiously toward the warrior with a deep tan, sparkling steel colored eyes and long brown dreadlocks.

The man’s eyes grew wide as he turned and stared at Hank’s staff.

“Damn,” he whispered, “It does appear to resemble it.”

“Hello?” Hank sputtered out then. “Would somebody like to tell me what the hell is going on here? And what’s all of this got to do with my grandfather?”

Glancing at Hank momentarily, the woman graced him with a smile…a beautiful, alluring smile. His heart leaped into his throat as she turned to address the other men.

“I will take responsibility for him for awhile gentlemen; there is much he needs to hear.”

“Are you sure…Dulci?” Benton questioned the oracle. “He was ready to shoot me a minute ago.”

“And
you
had a ball of flame aimed at
him
,” The woman replied evenly.

“Touché,” Benton replied with a smile. “We’ll leave you then, but we’ll be just over the hill if you need us.”

The woman smiled again, looking once more at Hank as she did. “I’m sure that we will be fine Benton. But thank you for your gracious offer.”

Bowing deferentially toward the woman, the three men turned and headed back the way that they had come.

Approaching Hank, she stopped in front of him and looked down at Luci. “And who might this beautiful animal be?”

“That’s Luci,” Hank stuttered, suddenly finding himself lacking any self-assurance in the glow of the woman.

“And w-w-who are you?”

Her smile growing, she placed a hand on his cheek, instantly calming him.

“I am called Dulcina, but everyone just calls me Dulci. I knew your grandfather when he was here, a long time ago.”

Seeming unsure of herself for just a moment, she nodded faintly before continuing.

“He was my lover.”

 

 

 

 

Chapter 15

 

 

 

 

“Excuse me?” Hank asked incredulously. “My Grandfather was a happily married man! And what was he doing here anyway?”

Dulci’s smile dimmed only slightly. “You have many questions, and I did not mean to upset you. Would you allow me the pleasure of bringing you to my home, where we could be more comfortable as I reveal the things that you want to know?”

He considered this for a few moments; at least he pretended to consider it. Truth be known, he would follow this beautiful woman anywhere.

“As long as Luci can come too,” he finally answered.

Dulci’s eyes twinkled as she looked down on Luci. “It would be my pleasure to include Luci. We have already been talking about it, and she is anxious to see my humble abode.”

Hank was shocked at her statement. “But I don’t under…”

Dulci laughed…a magical and mysterious laugh that sent his pulse soaring.

“I will explain everything soon, Hank. Are you ready to go?”

Nodding dumbly, he watched as she once again laid her hand on his cheek. Suddenly encircled with colorful orbs, he soon found himself in a comfortable room with an arched ceiling made of rough wooden siding. A warm and inviting fire was hissing away in the hearth, and the air smelled slightly of cinnamon and wood smoke.

Wow,
Hank breathed as he looked around the room. “That was much more pleasant than using the subway.”

Noticing a confused look on Dulci’s face, he was about to explain his remark when he noticed her staring at Luci.

“Ahhh,” she seemed to reply to Luci before turning her attention back to Hank. “You were referring to the mode of transportation? Yes, I can imagine. Traveling underground at a high rate of speed in a mechanical contraption seems extremely dangerous!”

Hank glanced at Luci in confusion. It wasn’t just that she seemed to be easily communicating with the red dog, but he was even more surprised that Luci would know and be able to explain what something like a subway was.

“You should not be surprised at Luci’s knowledge, Hank,” Dulci explained, “She is a
very
smart animal! She lacks only the ability to verbalize it to you.”

Turning suddenly, Dulci moved across the room and pulled a small box off of a shelf. Extracting something out of the box, she then returned the box to the shelf and made her way back toward Hank. Passing by him, she then kneeled in front of Luci and disconnected her leash. The next thing he knew, Luci’s collar was glowing as Dulci placed something on it.

“There,” she stated as the glowing stopped and she once again stood. “That takes care of that.”

“We have to leave the leash on,” he stated with confusion. “It’s how I connect her to the magic of the stone!”

“I gave her a talisman of her own,” Dulci grinned as she sat in a nearby chair. “She already explained to me how the leash worked, and I thought this might be a better solution.”

BOOK: dark faerie 06 - ever dead
3.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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