Authors: T. Michelle
A Novella By:
book / January 2013
All Rights Reserved
2013 T. Michelle
All rights reserved. This book or
not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express writ
ten permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Colorado Springs, CO
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
The sudden, bright white fissure that split the darkness directly in front of her tore a yelp from Tabitha and
abruptly stopped her
repeated in a futile attempt to subdue her panic
the heavy backpack further up on her shoulder. At the deafening crack and roar immediately following the lightning bolt, she screamed again. The rain was coming down in droves now, the constant torrent obliterating all other noise.
She glanced back at her car one more time, then turned to face the ominous signs posted at the entrance to the dirt drive in front of her. ‘Private Property’, ‘No Trespassing’.
These signs did not bode well with Tabitha at all. Especially out in the country, late at night
. Her imagination needed no prompting to conjure up the image of some Grizzly Adams Hoboken sizing her up over the barrel of a rifle. But this was nothing compared to the sign tacked
the bottom of the post. The words glaring at her in
orange struck sheer terror into her being. ‘Beware of Dog’.
Tabitha had no choice. Although she’d much rather hunker down on the floorboard of her car, the risk of
was too great. The radio had announced tornado warnings and watches all over the West Texas area. And the only thing worse than a
was a tornado at night. Her car was useless. She had been on a perpetual adrenaline rush since the abrupt blowout sent her careening on the slick streets and into the ditch, rendering her utterly stranded.
Lightning lit the sky directly above her once again and her mind was made up. She’d risk the creepy tree-lined road and possible attack dog over standing out in the open like storm bait.
All she needed was shelter and a phone. Her resolve intact, Tabitha struck out down the path at little less than a run. The wind had begun to pick up again – not a good sign – and it howled through the trees like some hostile spirit.
Tabitha’s mind seemed torn between complete fear bordering on hysterical panic and disbelief over how she had ended up in this situation to begin with. For the most part, the fear was winning. But, it pushed her forward and on she dredged through the puddle-ridden dirt and rocks beneath her feet.
The further she traveled down the lane, the darker everything seemed to get. Even the almost constant lightning flashes were reduced to mere flickers by the dense tree limbs and foliage the dirt lane carved through. At least there was enough periodic illumination to determine that she was still on the path. She had no way of knowing how far she’d come, having had to slow her pace as her field of vision diminished, and thanks to her frantic mental state, her calculation of time was probably well distorted.
Another crack of blue light revealed a widening in the lane and a sharp curve to the left. She’d
rounded the bend
saw the eerie silhouette of a large house looming before her. A sm
all sense of relief filled her
but was soon swallowed by the o
verwhelming feeling of dread. Even though the rain had ebbed slightly, b
ecause of the roiling skies and raging winds that cast ghostly and unpredictable shadows, it looked as though she were about to check in to the Bates motel.
It was a large two-story structure cloaked in
darkness – not a single light burned in any of its many windows. With her luck, the house was probably abandoned. It didn’t matter; her only choice was to try.
She was less than
away from the porch when she heard the growling begin. She wasted no time in considering the source of the evil sound, but turned on her heel and fled from the hulking shadow that lunged at her. Sharp, burning pain shot up her right leg and brought her down hard on the wet ground. She could hear the beast tearing at
felt the ripping of her flesh as its teeth locked on to her right calf. She frantically kicked at the beast’s large head with her left foot until she managed to free herself and scramble to her feet. She pushed at the ground, her knapsack down around her elbow. Gut-wrenching agony flared up her
arm as the large dog attacked again. It felt as though the thing had ripped her shoulder off and she lost her footing again.
Tabitha knew she was screaming hysterically, but she didn’t know what else to do. She screamed,
she flailed maddeningly
. Her free hand landed on the strap of her backpack and she ripped it from
and heaved the bulky mass at her assailant. She heard the dog yelp and felt the release of its hold. She lifted the bag and swung again and again, fury replacing her fear.
” A deep, gruff
voice bellowed out. “Sam, come!
The dog immediately
and trotted up the porch.
Tabitha managed a sitting position, gulping in air and gathering strength to stand. A heavy hand pressed down upon her shoulder. “Don’t move. I’m going to pick you up.”
She slapped the hand away, panic rising again, still reeling from the harrowing experience. “I can get up. I-I…” she was fighting back tears. “I’m sorry to cause so much trouble, I just needed…”
“Please, ma’am. It’s raining and it’s late.” He grasped her forearm, but she immediately cried out and jerked free.
“Christ.” He muttered and with no effort
flung her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. He bounded up the porch steps, threw open the front door and flipped a wall switch, casting the large front room in golden light.
The inside of the house was trussed up just like a rustic, old country-style farmhouse, complete with
robin’s egg blue
couches, one of which he deposited her on none-too-gently.
When he straightened, he towered above her. It was hard to discern his facial features with his
the light, but she knew he wore a stern countenance and his brow was knit closely together.
“Stay.” He commanded then disappeared down a short hall to her right. Tabitha pulled the quilt off the back of the couch and covered her shoulders, tucked her feet up under her.
A large, black mastiff sauntere
d into the room, one eye closed;
the jowls on his huge head. Tabitha emitted a slight sound and tried
ry herself in the couch
The man re-entered the room carrying a large plastic toolbox and a pile of towels. “Sam, go lay down.” He patted the dog on the head as he passed then leaned over her and turned on the lamp next to her.
He hooked an arm beneath her knees and extended her legs out along the cushions, swinging her around to rest her back against the arm of the couch. He pulled the coffee table closer and perched on the corner, studying her intently. He handed her a towel from the stack he’d placed on the floor. “Dry your hair before it chills you further.”
Tabitha winced at his harshness. He
didn’t seem to be
a very personable man and his tone was dry and judging. “Thanks”, she muttered and started rubbing its warmth over her face and hair.
“You mind telling me what you were doing trespassing late at night in this weather?” He didn’t look at
instead he turned his attention to the large red box he’d brought in. He opened the lid, revealing a plethora of medical supplies. Removing the top tray, which held a bunch of surgical tools, he dug around in the bottom. He stopped abruptly and glared at her. “Well?”
She’d been entranced by his actions, her mind still numb with shock, and had forgotten to reply. “I, uh, my car – that is…
Jesus, his stare was penetrating. And his eyes, a clear green color, were hard to look away from. She shut her eyes briefly to regain focus. “I had an accident and couldn’t use my cell phone.” The man snorted rudely and began
a roll of gauze. “So, I had no choice but to risk disturbing you. I am truly sorry about the intrusion.” She hung her head, filled with embarrassment, her whole body throbbing.
“Look at me.” His voice was a bit softer, but he was still commanding. She looked up and saw concern reflecting in his features. “I’m going to have to clean you up and fix the bites. From what I can tell, some of them are bad. I’m pretty sure you’ve ruined my couch.”
So much for his sympathy.
“So, let’s get familiar. I’m Jared, and the dog you beat the shit out of is Sam.” He held a hand up against a retort. “I’m very sorry that you were hurt, but he was only doing his job.”
She relaxed a little after his explanation. “I’m Tabitha.” She paused to watch him take out surgical scissors, a scapula, a few syringes
, a weird curved needle thing
and some thread. He then removed a pair of latex gloves, two bottles of liquid (one thick and yellow, the other clear and thin). Her heart rate doubled and her mouth went dry. “What exactly are you thinking will have to be done?” She asked in a small voice.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll have to suture your leg and that one nasty cut on your tricep.”
He shrugged. “I won’t know what else until I get a good look at you.” He studied her eyes for a moment then rose to his feet. “You could use a sedative and
to ward off the aftereffects of the shock.” He strode from the room, his large frame filling the doorway as he passed through.
In a flash he was back, carrying
what looked to be a blanket and article
. “I’m going to go wash up, you change into these pair of shorts and top so I can get a good look at what I’m up against.” He handed her the clothes and disappeared again.
Tabitha watched him leave, bewildered by everything and just wanting to curl up in a ball and go to sleep. She was freezing; his air conditioner must have been set somewhere around 50 and she was still dripping wet. The last thing she wanted to do was try peeling off her jeans and T-shirt. But, she didn’t really have much choice, and Jared seemed as though he knew what he was talking about.
She unbuttoned her fly, checking to make sure she could still hear the water running and that he wasn’t going to come striding into the room. With only one working arm, she managed to wriggle the sopping, clinging mass over her hips, pulling her underwear half way down in the struggle, and began trying to maneuver the jeans down over her hurt leg. The material snagged on one of the cuts and lit a fire up her leg. She cried out and hugged her knees, tears pouring down her face.