or Kindle - link to THE FOLD
- Prepare to be amazed -
A Fantasy story set in Today.
Where did our Fairytale creatures disappear to?
Why did they need to go to Detroit?
And what were the aliens doing with the Bikers?
Yes it actually works!
Find out in this very different Fantasy.
An excerpt from the updated version.
Chapter the Second.
Ron slipped silently into the bathroom as the sun came up over the hills to the east. Judith was downstairs asleep in front of a flickering television set. He was seriously thinking about putting her in a home for people who suffered dementia. It could be the safest thing for her.
Standing in front of the mirror, Ron checked out the twin puncture marks on his neck by the morning light.
Definitely not insect bites.
He kept getting flashes of another life.
Babinja, his mount in The Fold. The beast had to be fed a grass-eater every fortnight or so to keep it in its prime. The nearest thing he could think of to describe the loyal beast was a four metre tall velocoraptor with fur. No one but he could ride his mount and it had eaten a lethargic stable hand or two in its time. Babinja was bonded to his soul and also immortal. Even magic couldn't touch the beast and together they made a pretty formidable team.
It was the backlash of magic from the Velsid Master's Mages which had caused him to turn up here on Earth. Greasy Velsid magic, aimed at both him and Babinja during his final desperate moment in The Fold, weaving the magic of the Void to complete the Shroud and seal the Velsid into The Well of the World. The combined blast from a number of the alien Mages had hit a rearing Babinja, the magic sliding in an oily fashion around his mount to fasten on him alone and blast him elsewhere.
It was Judith who had found him wandering around Vincent Springs, injured, dazed and with no recollection of who he was or where he had come from. Against all advice from her family, she had taken him in and cared for him. Ron responded to her as his mind and body healed but he remembered nothing from a time prior to the accident, not even his real name.
The Doctor's called it traumatic amnesia.
Ron examined these new memories injected into him through Lorelei's dream bite. So, he hadn't really given up his immortality, it had been stripped from him by the Velsid and now those aliens had somehow managed to construct a small magic Portal to Earth and send two Belkyn through to kill him by proxy. Once on a mission, Belkyn never gave up and bit as many animals or men as it took to get the job done.
Everyone was in danger.
Ron made sure his collar was turned up to hide the marks on his neck then woke Judith to check if there was anything she needed in town. He told her to stay in the house and watch out for any feral animals then left her sitting while he patrolled the house, locking every window and door before leaving on his Harley. Amazing how close riding the bike felt to being astride Babinja he thought as he sped down the road toward town. And that wolf. That could have been a Belkyn, they could shapeshift to a limited degree.
For Vincent Springs on a Tuesday morning the town was astir. More people than he knew waved at him but a few just pointed. Word must have spread. He ducked into Sal's and she served him a coffee which he forced her to accept payment for.
"Sheriff wants to see you soon Ron. Said to tell you if you dropped in. Somethin? about those two bikers."
Ron's ears pricked up as a new understanding surfaced. Those bikers had been unnecessarily aggressive toward him, even for bikers. They could have been Belkyn bit and most likely dead by now. He downed his coffee, refused a refill and walked over to Sheriff Johnson's office. The patrol car was parked outside so he went in.
"Howdy Ron, take a seat, be with you in a minute."
Ron sat as Sheriff Johnson wound up his telephone conversation and cradled the phone.
"Damn funny thing Ron. Both those boys you hit in the bar yesterday up and died in the Hospital overnight. Don't know what you hit them with but one had a jaw busted in three places and the other had both the bones in his lower arm smashed to pieces. Not that I'm blamin' you for their death of course but it's mighty odd."
The Sheriff leaned back in his chair and fixed Ron with an attempt at a steely gaze. Didn't work, they had known each other for at least twenty years.
"Where's the bodies Jim?" Ron asked the lawman.
"In the chiller down at the Hospital. Doc Freeman had a look at them both but can't work it out. Reckons they must have been on drugs. He sent off some blood for a toxicology screen. It'll be back next week."
Ron looked down at his boots, pondering for a moment before looking up and meeting the Sheriff's gaze.
"Can I take a quick look at the bodies Jim?" He queried.
"You know I'm not supposed to let that happen but aw hell, this is Vincent Springs. You know somethin' I don't?"
"Maybe Jim but let?s take a look at the bodies before I say anythin' more. Might just be a wild goose chase."
They left the office, Sheriff Johnson instructing Deputy Barnes to hold the fort 'till they got back. As they got into the squad car, Ron casually asked.
"Hearin' any reports of big stray dogs around here Jim?"
The Sheriff?s head shot up.
"How'd you know that? It's only been in the last couple of days."
Ron sat in the car and slammed the door.
"Anyone bin bit?"
"Not that I heard of," the Sheriff replied, "but that don't mean much. We could always ask at Accident and Emergency after we check the bodies out."
The hospital chiller was extremely cool and the two biker's bodies lay naked on stainless steel tables beneath covering sheets. The Sheriff stood off to one side as Ron pulled the sheet back from the naked lower limbs of one of the bikers. He couldn't tell which of the ugly bastards it was under the covering but it didn't much matter. He examined each leg closely. First along the front and then, lifting the limbs in turn, checked the backs.
"What you lookin' for Ron?" the Sheriff asked curiously.
"Reckon I'll know when I find it," Ron replied. "Ah, I think this is it."
He indicated a spot on the back of the dead man's left calf where two, small, bluish puncture marks were visible. The Sheriff was surprised.
"You reckon that killed him?" he asked Ron, surprise in his voice. "The Doc should have spotted those."
"Not the sort of thing the Doc would have been expecting from a bar room brawl," Ron answered as he moved to the other body.
There, on the back of the second man's calf was another pair of puncture marks, almost identical to the previous set. Belkyn bit.
Both of them.
"How'd you know what to look for?" the Sheriff asked.
Ron could hear the suspicion in his voice.
"Oh, I read somewheres that bikers like to inject their drugs there so when the Law checks em, they appear clean."
This was something that Sheriff Johnson could understand. He nodded.
"Good call there Ron. Well done. Come on, we'll check at Emergency for any bite victims then I'll buy you a coffee and a donut at Sal's."
The two men left the chiller, soon to be heading for Sal's and a donut.
A Belkyn, in the form of a very large, ginger tomcat, watched them leave the Hospital, waiting for its chance at Ron. The other, in dog form, was already on its way to Ron's house, backtracking his morning ride into town.
When Ron arrived home later that day, the first thing he saw as he rode up the drive was the front door ajar. The hairs on the back of his neck rose, prickling and once more his shoulder itched. Maybe a sign of danger.
Who the hell would know?
He parked the Harley in the lean-to and stepped up onto the porch. Something sure as hell didn't feel right.
Ron slowly pushed the front door open, thankful the hinges had been oiled recently but didn't step into the house. It was then he heard Judith's voice coming from the kitchen.
"Kitty want some milk then? Pretty kitty gonna stay here with Judith while Ron's off playing on his bike?"
Judith must have known he was home, who could miss the sound of a Harley? Something stank. Ron quietly shut the front door behind him, praying that all the other doors and windows were still shut. Judith's little speech was the longest and most coherent he had heard her make in ages. He sincerely hoped the kitten was just that, a kitten.
Ron moved quietly through to the kitchen door and glanced in. 'Kitty' was the size of a mountain lion. Its head shot up and recognition flashed in its alien yellow eyes. Ron slammed the door and immediately raced to the den, ripping open the closet and pulling out his double barreled shotgun. Breaking it open with one hand, he grabbed two of the nearest shells off the shelf and crammed them into the barrels before closing the weapon with a snap and cocking both hammers. There was a crash and the sound of splintering wood. Ron guessed it was the kitchen door giving way and within a second, the Belkyn, no longer a mountain lion but a scaly creature from someone else's nightmare, sped around the corner of the den at lightening speed and leapt at him, jaws agape.
This was no movie, this was life or death. As the Belkyn leapt, Ron aimed from the hip and gave it both barrels. Luckily he had grabbed solids and both of them tore into the Belkyn. Ron moved aside as the ugly, unnatural beast flew through the space he had just occupied, dead jaws still snapping, before coming to rest in a pile of blood and ruin in the corner of the den.
It had all happened so fast and where was the other Belkyn? Ron reloaded and jammed a few more shells into his pocket.
Judith. Was she Belkyn bit? Where was she?
He left the den and only his increased abilities, courtesy of Lorelei's bite on the shoulder, saved him as Judith swung the meat cleaver at his head screaming.
"You killed the kitty, so I'll just have to kill you."
Ron didn't hesitate. Just smacked her up the side of the head with the butt of the shotgun. Her knees crumpled and her unconscious body hit the floor. He dragged her into the den and shut the door; who could know where the other Belkyn was? Strips of material torn off the drapes provided humane bonds to tie Judith securely to a chair. Finished, Ron took his shotgun and carefully investigated the rest of the house.
It was secure.
Back in the den, Judith had come around and was screaming obscenities at him. Coherent strings of profanity came at volume from a woman who could barely string three words together earlier but he ignored her. There was nothing he could do for Judith now. She would be dead within twenty four hours. He allowed his emotions free rein for a little while and tears streaked his cheeks. This was no way for a human to die. Especially one he had loved for so long. Ron felt guilt and a sense of responsibility for this catastrophe.
No! Damn it to hell!
He was not responsible. It was the cursed Velsid Master who had ordered the Belkyns sent to deal to him. The Velsid Master would pay dearly. All Ranald had to do was get back to The Fold somehow after killing the other Belkyn.
But how to get back?
First though he went upstairs and raided the bathroom cabinet for Judith's sleeping pills, emptying the contents of about ten of the capsules into a half glass of milk. He took this to the den in the hope Judith would be thirsty but she tried to bite him. He had to hold her tight and force her to drink as much as possible. It pained him to have do it to her but his reawakened memories told him that death from a Belkyn bite, after an unsuccessful mission, was a truly painful event.
Judith should not have to suffer.
He made himself something to eat as evening was falling. Judith was fast asleep but he couldn't afford to untie her as she would try to kill him if she came to at all. Leaving the dishes on the sink, Ron went back to the den and took his .357 Magnum from the locked drawer as well as a packet of shells for it. Both it and the shotgun went with him everywhere that evening as he took a hot bath before turning in. He placed the loaded shotgun on Judith's side of the bed and the loaded handgun on his nightstand.
Neither had the safety on.
Getting to sleep was not easy but after setting the alarm clock for six am. and lying back, staring at the ceiling, his weary body eventually slowed. The emotional drain of the day's events caused his eyelids to droop and finally close. Instantly Lorelei was there in his thoughts and shared the day's events straight from his memories.
"I am sorry for you Ranald. It seems the Laws of Chance are not working in your favour. We need you back in The Fold now but as you are presently mortal, if we try to bring you back as you are, you will die when the Void touches you through me. Neither you nor I can stop that death from happening."
"Then how I am to return to take my rightful place as your Champion? I want the Velsid Master to suffer and intend to strip him of his souls. One by one until he has nothing left."
sighed. "We do not have the magic of the Velsid and cannot transport a
mortal between the worlds. However, as I started to suggest last night,
my present Chamberlain, a Blakerdal Gnome who is very learned and deeply
read in old lore, has trawled the aging archives in the castle and
found a really old scroll with details of a spell supposed to open a
Portal. It can be directed at an individual or place. He has discovered a
possible way to bring you over. It is dangerous and will take exquisite
The Queen shuddered.
"If it doesn?t work, you will be lost in the Void forever."
"My Queen, I am lost now. Tell me. How is this to be accomplished?"
Lorelei sighed yet again.
"We can bring you across as an immortal but you have to be an immortal before you come and there lies the conundrum. On Earth, immortality is not really possible. The Chamberlain believes he has solved the problem. We can send over a Werebahn."
Ron couldn't contain himself.
"A Werebahn. One bite and whoever is bitten turns into a mindless blood drinker if they survive and that is rare. Werebahn's usually kill outright by consuming nearly all the blood of their prey."
"Precisely my Champion but a Werebahn confers immortality as well as mindless bloodlust. If we can allow the infection to take hold and mature, you should be immortal just before we bring you through the Portal on the third day after being bitten by the Werebahn. I am assured, once you are back in The Fold, I can cure you with a transfer of Void, me to you. It should remove the bloodlust and madness but still leave you immortal. There is about a two hour window to effect a cure apparently. If we succeed you can be Ranald, the Queen's Consort once more."
Ron, in his dream, considered the options.
"Has this ever been tried before? And where can you get a Werebahn on such short notice. Also, how do I kill the Werebahn without Void? I cannot leave it alive here on Earth, it will wreak havoc."
"The whole process is an educated guess," Lorelei replied. "It is not guaranteed. If we fail, The Fold is no more and the world you are on is plagued by Werebahns. As soon as the Chamberlain found the ancient scroll with the information on it, I ordered the Horde to find a Werebahn. It took a while but we have one in a cage of iron and it is hungry. As to killing it. Easy. Decapitate it with iron, cut the rest of the body into four pieces and burn it all. Immediately."
In his wildest dreams, which seemed to be happening right now, Ron never thought he would agree to such an outrageous plan but he did.
He forced his eyes open, holding onto the dream, and checked the time on the bedside clock.
"Right. Send the Werebahn to me, here, in eight hours. Then three days after that exactly, open the Portal again."
"My Champion," Lorelei purred before lying down beside Ron in his dream and proceeding to take his mind off the near future. Even with his dying mortal wife tied up beside a dead Belkyn downstairs, Ron could not resist his immortal lover.
Eventually, true sleep ensued for a weary body.
'Nightmare' is all I know of this image from the Web.