by Sandra R Campbell
Publication date: August 2013
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Horror, New Adult
Seanna Raines is on a journey of self-discovery. Only her search does not include college applications or finding a cool summer job. After killing Samuel Bolvayne, the ‘man’ she fears and loves, Seanna is not looking for who she is, but rather what she will become.
Samuel spent countless lifetimes trying to forge a companion like himself, but his previous attempts were considered failures. Until Seanna. She is his first true success… and his ultimate undoing. Now, without Samuel to guide her, Seanna is lost. To survive, she needs to find out what her transformation means: super strength, the ability to smell human emotions, and an ever-increasing need to devour human souls. Seanna travels to Samuel’s earthly homeland, along the coast of South Africa, in search of answers. Here, she encounters several of his failed experiments, who claim to know the truth. These abominations lead her into a sinister world of chaos and destruction, where the birthplace of evil is revealed.
Seanna clings to the last piece of her humanity while struggling to accept her feelings for Samuel and what she has done to him. Just as Seanna embraces her fate, she is forced to choose between life as an immortal with the one she loves or sacrifice it all to save a world that does not deserve saving.
The young couple we found on the beach had just finished their dinner and ventured out for a romantic stroll in the moonlight. Mimicking the couple’s actions, Val played his part well by holding and sometimes kissing my hand, but we often let go to race up around them. A few times we even reached out to touch their skin or to lift their hair as if by the cool breeze off the ocean. Never once were they aware of the predators about to attack. Their ignorance to the danger that surrounded them drained some of my excitement, allowing their thoughts to become clear.
The man fidgeted with a diamond ring in his pocket, wondering if now was the right time to pop the question, while the woman had been slightly disappointed that a ring had not appeared in the bottom of her champagne glass when he toasted her at dinner. There was nothing criminal or immoral about them. Having just graduated from law school, the young man had valiant but unattainable aspirations to make a difference in a corrupt legal system. His long-time girlfriend worked long days as a waitress while attending night school, all her money going to her family to help her ailing mother. All of this knowledge made it harder for the human in me to sit back and watch. They weren’t like the surfer. They didn’t deserve what was about to happen to them.
I can’t do this. I can’t kill these innocent people.
I’d been so caught up in their thoughts and my own personal inner struggle that I missed Val’s stealthy advance. He greeted the couple with a kind smile, one that didn’t expose him for the monster he was. In the dim light, Val appeared completely normal. I, on the other hand, wouldn’t. My eyes burned hot white and would be abnormally bright. Staring off at the ocean, I waited as he lured them over by asking if they would take our picture. As I watched the small flags atop the distant shark nets flapping against the breeze, I recalled more of my first kill, Alphonse. The attack happened here, on this beach.
Just as the man and woman approached, laughing at something Val had said, I turned. Behind them a familiar beacon gleamed over the cliffs above.
The woman let out a bloodcurdling scream at the sight of me. Val ripped her from her lover’s hand and bit her neck, blood spurting from around his fangs. A delicious sweetness filled the night air. My mouth watered. The man did the only thing he could do. He ran. I ran too, but not after him. I would leave that for Val. Surely he loved the thrill of the chase. Oddly enough, my need to do the right thing overpowered my desire to kill.
My humanity isn’t going down without a fight. I have to save Kendrick. I have to get to the house before Val realizes I didn’t go after the man. He’ll hunt him down so there are no witnesses, and then he’ll come after me. Twenty minutes, maybe less.
The front door was locked and bolted. I ripped it off the hinges. Kendrick froze when he saw me. He was in a defensive stance with a baseball bat in his hands. He looked strange dressed in several layers of oversized clothing, obviously borrowed from Samuel’s closet. I took several calming breaths before addressing him.
“Kendrick, let’s go. We need to get you out of here before Val comes back.”
“Seanna, thank God you’re okay.” He dropped his arms. “We can’t leave. There’s someone here you have to meet.” Seeming to forget about the violent entry I’d just made, Kendrick waved me into the next room.
I got quite a shock as I rounded the corner to the library. Tied to a wooden arm chair was a familiar corpse, now looking only a few days dead. Her black hair appeared thicker, her grey complexion lighter. Bluish-black veins traced a map under her skin, which happened to be the same odd color of her full lips. Bianca was also wearing one of my designer sundresses with a complimenting red ball strapped in her mouth. Her fully intact brown eyes grew wide at the sight of me as she pulled against her restraints.
“After what she did to that cop, I was afraid she would try to bite me and turn me into a zombie. Seanna, she agreed to let me tie her up. I still don’t trust her, but you have to listen to what she has to say.” Cautiously, Kendrick walked behind her to remove the ball gag.
“We really don’t have time for this. We have to get to the airport.” I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear a single word out of this woman’s putrid mouth. She was Samuel’s first love and she had just eaten a friend, which seemed to revive her own decaying flesh. Plus, she wanted me dead. Surely she’d say anything to make me think otherwise.
“It will only take a minute,” Kendrick said, dangling the red ball from a string in his hand. “Go ahead, tell her.” Smiling, he poked Bianca in the shoulder with the tip of his bat.
About the Author...
Sandra R. Campbell lives along the tranquil waters of the Chesapeake Bay with her new husband and weight challenged cat. She can trace her passion for the macabre back to reading Edgar Allen Poe as a child, with her pet crow, Big Fellow, by her side. She has since submerged herself in a wide range of dark literature. An avid thrill seeker, Sandra is always looking for her next big adrenaline rush, and when spelunking, climbing, diving and monster hunting fails to deliver, she turns to the creation of through-the-rabbit-hole worlds and sends her characters on their own adventures. Her first NA paranormal thriller, Butterfly Harvest, was published in September 2010. Sandra also writes children’s stories, is an active member of the Maryland Writers’ Association and the head of a MWA critique group.