A Wicked Beginning – Excerpt
It’s out in print and eBook! Here’s an excerpt:
As Cam lay back against the shower walls, he heard a scratching at the bathroom door. That was odd. He was sure he’d closed the bedroom door to the hallway – how could anyone get in? The scratching became insistent. He was sure he must be hearing things. Or maybe it was Mano’s dog, Severe, scratching the wall from the outside. Mano had an energetic mix of Shih Tzu, Miniature Poodle, and Border Collie mutt of a dog. She could be a handful. Yeah, that must be it. “Stop it, Severe,” he yelled, pounding on the wall that led to the yard. Then the bathroom door burst open. The glass door of the stall was all fogged up, but sure as shit he saw it open. Now he saw paw prints appear on the glass. What the fuck? He threw open the stall door and peered out into the bathroom. There was nothing there. The bathroom door was wide open, but there was no sign of Severe, anywhere. That was odd. There had to be an explanation.
After he toweled off, he dressed in a green t-shirt and clean jeans and walked out into the kitchen to get some breakfast. Mano was in there, already preparing a meal. “Hey, Mano…”
“Good, you’re here…” Mano replied. “I’m trying out a new recipe. It’s a recipe I’ve been working on. The flavors have to marry throughout the day. Care to join me for dinner tonight?”
It smelled great in the kitchen. How could he turn the guy down? “Sure, man, that’d be great.” Cam reached into the ‘fridge and pulled out a carton of orange juice. “Say, where’s Severe? She must’ve got into my bedroom. She scratched the bathroom door open and jumped up on the shower stall door.”
“I don’t think so, Cam,” said Mano absentmindedly, bringing a spoonful of sauce to his lips. He took a taste, thought for a moment and then reached into the spice cabinet. “She’s at the dog park with Jayze and Marilyn.”
Cam felt an involuntary shiver of fright run across his face. “Oh, really…?”
“Yeah, man, really. They picked her up come daybreak. She’s been gone for two hours. They’ll be back later this afternoon.”
“Right…I must’ve been hearing a dog outside.”
Mano, immersed in the cooking process, did not say anything. Carrying his glass of OJ, Cam went back down the hall to his bedroom. He looked at the bedroom door. Then he inspected the bathroom door. Sure enough there were colossal fresh claw marks scoring the wood. His skin pricked with fear as he gazed at the marred wood. “Hey, Mano!” Cam yelled.
“What?” Mano yelled back.
“I think you should take a look at this.”
A few minutes later, Mano came striding into the bedroom, wiping his hands on an apron tied around his waist. The big man whistled when he saw the scratch marks. “What the fuck, Tyson?”
“I know, right? I sure didn’t make those marks.”
Mano scratched the back of his head. “You’re telling me you heard scratches while you were taking a shower just now…?”
Cam felt like a fool in answering. He hesitated, rubbing his chin with his hand. “I saw the bathroom door fly open…”
“The room and shower door were all foggy…I didn’t see anything enter…but I did see paw prints on the glass.”
“Let’s go take a look.”
The two walked into the bathroom. The room was still steamy from Cam’s shower. The moisture on the stall door was fading, but they could see faint outlines of paw prints. Mano spoke first. “I’ve done some animal tracking up in Canada. Those prints are big, man…about eight inches across. And look at the shape…those look like a big cat, Cam. Like an enormous lynx or something.”
Hearing the word lynx made Cam’s face turn an ashen white.
“What…?” asked Mano, eyeing him quizzically.
“I don’t know…shit…I had this freaking dream about a lynx when I was staying in the basement a few months back.”
“A dream, huh?” The big guy walked back over to the bathroom door. Then Mano rubbed his palms together briskly and placed them an inch from the scratches. With his eyes closed, he said “Shit. Feel this, Cam.”
Cam put his palms near the scraped door. “I don’t feel anything.”
“Huh…right. Well, the energy here is intense…it has a particular signature…and it could only mean one thing. You’ve got a star dreamling on your trail, Cam. And those scratches – those are not from the cat spirit trying to get in…no, those are the dreamling marking the door to say….well, to let all other dreamlings know you are his.”
Cam felt the skin stretch tight over his face in an involuntary grimace. His arms, legs, and back became peppered with little goose bumps. “What the fuck is a star dreamling? Are you fucking serious?”
“Serious as hell, Cam…Ancient Ones speak of a tribe of beings known as the Galaxy Dancers. The Dancers roam the universe like gypsies, and they have these creature spirits called star dreamlings. The creatures are usually only visible in dreams but they’re said to move freely through this dream we call reality. And if they mark you…well, that means you belong to the one who did the marking.” He whistled through his teeth and shook his head, causing the tiny strands of silk in his braid to shimmer.
“Whoa, Mano…” Cam backed away from the door. “This is freaking my shit out. Are you just putting me on?”
“Nah, Cam, I wish I were. Here’s the rub, bro…if a star dreamling marks you, that means that you have ancient ties…and you are either an ally to the dreamling or an enemy.”
Cam narrowed his eyes. “You know I don’t believe in any of this stuff, right Mano? All that psychic mumbo jumbo and energy shit is just that – shit.”
“Yeah…I hear that…only this has nothing to do with belief, Cam. Keep your eyes open. You have been given a sign, bro…best to heed the call.”