Story Orgy – I Am Not Myself, Part 8

Good Monday morning Story Orgy fans! Can’t believe it’s the end of February. Do you think March will come in like a lion?

A few announcements before we get to my post today: This week I will be participating in the Bear Talk blog tour! Like your men furry and feisty? Hot and hairy? Then this is the blog tour for you! Check out the schedule, posted by Ike Rose, here, and drop in each day this week for a chance to win great prizes!

Em Woods has a new book available today, the first in a hot new series. It’s a menage story and takes place in the magic community of Detroit. Click on over to get your copy of Convincing Symon now! While you’re there, grab a copy of her hot, hot, hot firefighter story Only Sam. Did I mention that it’s hot!

Lee Brazil has a FREE read, “Because You’re You,” available now at ARe and coming soon to Amazon. Follow the link to download today from ARe. Great price, great author, great story! What could be better?

Did you submit your prompt ideas for Story Orgy’s Summer Road Trip? If not, get to it! We’re looking for the following types of prompts:

person (no proper names please)

destination (can be proper or not…hehe)

disaster (something to throw this road trip in a tizzy…be creative!)

Send your prompt ideas to Storyorgy<at>ymail<dot>com by March 1st. One entry per person, please. Each of the Story Orgy writers will pick their favorite prompts, and we’ll announce the winners on the following Monday, March 5th. Those who submitted the winning prompts will receive a copy of the anthology before it is released! As usual, the first 90 days of profits will go to a charity that will be announced closer to that time.

Speaking of Story Orgy anthologies and charities, did you know the Story Orgy donates the first 90 days of profits for our self-published anthology And the Prompt Is… Holiday Edition? Our target charity for this anthology is the My Stuff Bags group that provides children entering shelters with bags full of comforting items that they can call their own. It’s a great cause, and we’d love your help to donate a nice amount, so please click on over to the Story Orgy blog page and follow the links to download it today! You can enjoy some Christmas hotness all year long!

Our smexy picture this week was found, as usual, by the delectable Jade Baiser. She’s pulling double duty these days, not only finding us pictures, but posting her writing as well. Make sure you hop over to her blog after this and leave her a comment.

Okay, on with the story! This week I’m writing a full length post, and our prompt was the following: Write about a secret revealed.

Hmm, do you think there are any secrets we need to find out in Kirkpatrick Manor? Let’s see what’s going on since we last left Dan and Jack, waking up the morning after their first night together, when Dan received a call for help from his Mom.

I Am Not Myself

by Hank Edwards

(c) 2012

The long, winding drive to Kirkpatrick Manor was lined with hardwood trees, their bare branches looking skeletal and out of place against the brilliant blue sky.

“I’ve never been out here before,” Jack said from the passenger seat.

Dan nodded, his lips pressed tight. He kept hearing the terror in his mother’s voice over the phone as she asked him to come help, and the crashing sounds in the background before the line had gone dead. All attempts to reach her after that had gone right to voice mail. He’d considered calling it in to the station, but he needed to see for himself what was happening, and he knew he could get there faster.

“Thanks for coming along,” Dan said. “I appreciate the backup.”

Jack nodded once. “Hey, your Mom means a lot to me, too. And, besides, some stranger in a coffee shop warned me she and Mrs. Kirkpatrick were in danger, remember?”

“I remember,” Dan replied, and mentally cursed himself for not doing more to protect his mother after hearing that warning. But what could he have done? Followed her everywhere she went?

Dan rounded the final curve in the driveway and Kirkpatrick Manor stood before them in all its turreted, gabled, dark stoned glory.

“Wow,” Jack said in quiet awe. “I’ve seen pictures, but it’s so different in person.”

“Yeah,” Dan agreed. “And creepier.” From the outside everything looked fine.

“Kind of doesn’t really do it justice,” Jack said. “Really fucking creepy might, though.”

Dan parked beside his mother’s SUV, and he and Jack ran up to the manor’s front door that stood eight feet high and was made of dark, heavy wood. The door was locked and Dan pounded on it with the side of his fist as Jack pressed the doorbell off to the side.

There was no answer. They made the rounds of the house, peering in windows, Dan anxious for a glimpse of his mother. No one was in sight, not even in Angelica’s room where they saw the empty hospital bed with the sheets thrown back. The only thing that hinted at something amiss was a tray on the floor, broken dishes and scattered food nearby.

“There’s our cause,” Jack said. “Let’s get in there.”

“I don’t need any fucking cause,” Dan said. He hurried to the back of the house where he used his elbow to break a small pane of glass in the back door.

In moments, they stood inside the kitchen, guns drawn. For six years Dan had been partners with Jack on patrol, and they instinctively fell back into the familiar pattern of searching the house, protecting each other’s back, and communicating with their eyes and hand signals.

The first floor of the house was empty. They stood in Angelica’s bedroom to either side of the fallen tray and resulting mess, Dan with his jaw clenched and stomach knotted. He looked around the room, squinted to narrow his vision, hoping to find a sign, a clue, anything, to tell him what had happened here.

“Wonder what was on those shelves?” Jack asked.

Dan followed Jack’s gaze to the empty shelves that ran along the upper part of the room. A memory tickled the back of his mind, something his mother had said a few weeks ago about the shelves, but he couldn’t recall the details.

“Not sure, maybe it was —”

The sound of movement behind them in the main hallway made him stop mid-sentence. He and Jack hurried out of the bedroom to stand in the entrance foyer. The long hallway stretched through the center of the house to the kitchen. Dark wood paneling seemed to absorb the sunlight that reached it from the sitting room windows, keeping greedy hold of it so as to leave the hall in deep shadows.

“Cujo?” Jack whispered.

“At least,” Dan said, and glanced at Jack. “You heard that noise earlier, right? What did it sound like to you?”

Jack looked at him and, from the frown on his face and wrinkled brow, Dan could tell Jack was nervous, despite the jokes. “I don’t want to say.”

“Footsteps,” Dan said for him. “Something small running through here.”

“Glad you said it.”

A thump from the end of the hall near the kitchen made them both jump.

“Basement?” Dan whispered.

“Of course,” Jack whispered back. “It’s always the fucking basement.”

They held their guns up and edged down the hall toward the kitchen, Dan hugging one wall, Jack the other. A door was set into the paneling at the end of the hall, and Dan tipped his head toward it. Jack nodded back and they inched closer.

Before they reached the door, it burst open to slam against the wall. A mob of tiny figures rushed out of the darkness, frilly dresses swishing, sunlight flashing off blank, painted faces. The figures turned as a group and hurried toward Dan and Jack.

“What the fuck are those?” Jack shouted.

Dan fired a shot at one of the things, and the bullet slammed it back against the wall, limbs flailing. He didn’t stand around to see if it got back up; he turned to run, Jack on his heels. They sprinted through the living room, dining room, and kitchen, coming back to the hallway at the opposite end. The door to the basement yawned open, darkness beckoning to them.

“Downstairs!” Dan shouted. Behind them, he could hear the clatter of tiny feet as the things closed in on them. But it wasn’t the sound of their feet that spooked Dan, it was the silence. There was no shouting, no angry screaming, just the sound of movement, and that was somehow worse. He knew what they were, of course: dolls. The dolls that used to sit on the shelves around Angelica’s bedroom. But he wasn’t able to wrap his mind around the idea that the dolls moved, pursued and threatened them.

Dan started down the stairs, dragging his hand along the wall, looking for a light switch, maybe a pull string to turn on a bulb. Nothing. He descended into darkness. Behind him, he heard Jack shout, “What the fuck?”

Then Jack tumbled down the stairs, grunting and moaning as he struck each step. Dan reached the bottom of the stairs, his feet touching the stone floor, and turned to see Jack rolling toward him. Above, the tiny figures stood silhouetted in the doorway, some of them jumping down step by step.

Dan tried to get under Jack, to stop him from landing hard on the stone floor, and he mostly succeeded in absorbing the brunt of Jack’s fall. The force of Jack’s momentum knocked Dan flat on his back. The air rushed from his lungs, and Jack’s wrist twisted beneath him. Dan felt Jack’s wrist bone break under him, heard Jack cry out, and then something soft landed on his chest. It crouched in silhouette against the light beyond the door at the top of the stairs.

“Hear now, that’s enough.”

The voice was shaky, frail, but the words held impact. The thing on Dan’s chest turned its head to look into the darkness. Dan swatted the doll off him and rolled away from Jack. His lungs remembered their function and he drew in a shallow breath, then another.

“Thrown down the fuckin’ stairs by a bunch of fuckin’ dolls,” Jack said. “Glad you’re here to see it.”

“You okay?” Dan asked.

“Hurt,” Jack said. “But alive.”

“Wrist broken?”

“Feels that way.”

Dan felt around for his gun. “Got your gun?”

“Fuck.”

Dan could see Jack as the man rolled on the floor in the light filtering down the steps, sweeping his good arm across the stones. A moment later, Dan’s hand touched cold metal in the dark, and he gratefully grabbed hold of his gun.

Something tugged it out of his hand, and he heard it clatter against the stone floor as it was dragged across the basement.

“Fuck,” Dan whispered.

“What?”

“They took my gun.”

“The dolls?”

“Guess so.”

“Fuck.”

“There’s no need for cussing.” The shaky voice again, a woman’s, and something clicked inside Dan’s head.

“Mrs. Kirkpatrick?” Dan said into the dark. “Is that you?”

A moment of silence, then: “Who’s that?”

“Dan Archer, ma’am. Nora Archer’s son.”

“I like Nora.”

“I do, too,” Dan said. “Do you know where my mother is?”

A light came on across the basement, blinding him for a moment. When his eyes had adjusted, he saw Angelica Kirkpatrick sitting in an antique wheelchair on the other side of the basement. Her blue eyes were bright in the glow of the bare bulb above her, almost feverish. Around the chair stood the dolls, smooth porcelain faces turned to face him.

“My, Daniel, you’ve grown,” Angelica said.

“Yes, ma’am, I sure have.” Dan started to get to his feet, but a a sharp pain in his calf stopped him. He looked down to find a doll standing behind him, head tipped back to look up at his face. In its hands it held a knitting needle.

“Dan?” Jack said.

Dan turned to look over his shoulder. A trio of dolls surrounded Jack, holding onto more stabbing weapons.

“Stay put,” Dan said. “No sudden moves.”

“This is fucking crazy.”

“Now Penelope,” Angelica scolded. “That’s not nice to do to our guests.” With a puzzled expression, she looked down at the group of dolls standing around her wheelchair. “He is so a guest, and so is his foul mouthed friend. He is Nora’s son, and you will treat him as such.”

Dan sat on the floor again, watching from the corner of his eye as the doll with the knitting needle stepped back out of his reach. “Mrs. Kirkpatrick, where is my mother?”

“Oh, we’ve made her comfortable, dear, nothing to worry about.” Angelica looked down at the dolls and giggled. “Yes, she’s resting now.”

Fear tightened Dan’s belly. “Comfortable?”

“Yes, she’s resting well. We’re all excited, you see. Tonight’s the full moon.”

“Oh, is it?” Dan shifted to get slightly closer to the doll with the knitting needle. “I didn’t realize. And what happens during the full moon again?”

“Why, the night nurse holds her ritual,” Angelica said. “And one of my lovelies gets to go home for good.”

“Your lovelies?” Jack said. “These things holding knives on me?”

Angelica turned a withering glare on Jack. “They’re only doing that because you shot Tanya.”

“You know which one we shot?” Dan asked.

Angelica looked at him for a long moment, her gaze sharp. “I know all of my girls, Daniel. I’ve known since Grandpa Astor brought them to me one at a time all those years ago.”

“Grandpa Astor?” Jack said. “Astor Kirkpatrick? The murderer?”

“Jack!” Dan snapped. “Quiet!”

One of the dolls standing near Jack raised the small knife it held, and turned to look over its shoulder at Angelica as if seeking permission to stab him.

Angelica narrowed her eyes, and Dan tried to think of a way out of this deadly trap.

~~ * ~~

Holy crap! Dan and Jack finally got together, and now all Hell’s breaking loose! Come back next week to see what’s going on with those creepy dolls. For now, don’t forget to jump to the other Story Orgy blogs for more hot, smexy reads.

J.R. Boyd,    Lee Brazil,     Havan Fellows,     Em Woods,     Jade Baiser

Follow our tweets during the week:

J.R. Boyd: @JR__Boyd

Lee Brazil: @leebrazil

Hank Edwards: @hanksbooks

Havan Fellows: @HavanFellows

Em Woods: @EmWoodsAuthor

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