It was a crazy ending of 2011 and for that matter the beginning of 2012. For those of you who don't know, I have had multiple hip prosthesis' in both hips. I developed a massive bone infection in my left hip and had to have emergency radical surgery on December 20th. They removed my left hip implant and all other hardware that had been implanted over the past ten years and left me without a hip. Yep, no hip. Who ever thought a person could actually walk and get around without the top part of the femur and a hip. It has been a tough recovery; one I'm still struggling with, but each day is better than the one before. I would like to thank everyone for your prayers, emails and get well wishes. I don't think I could have endured this past three weeks without them...God bless all of you.
Enough melancholy. It is time to celebrate the new year. And what better way to celebrate than with a new book. The long awaited sequel to "Cursed Blessing" is being released on January 31, 2012. I loved writing Cursed Presence and I'm very proud of the final edit. It took a while. We carved the original 600 plus pages down to a tight, spellbinding 400ish. I don't mean to sound conceited, but I think this one is much better than the first.
We received great critical acclaim for Cursed Blessing, so I am hoping for the same for Cursed Presence.
Since I didn't want everyone to have to wait until the 31st to get a glimpse of the sequel, I am going to start to put the first few chapters on the blog site to help wet your appetite. PLEASE let me know what you think. Your opinion means everything! Enjoy chapter one.
God bless and until next week,
Chapter One“On the count of three, you’ll awaken. You’ll have no memory of anything that has happened. You’ll feel tranquil, as though you’ve taken a long peaceful nap. One, two,
Though the words were distant, he heard them deep in the recesses of his mind. Cognizant of their meaning.
On “three” the inmate awoke and scanned. His gaze sharp enough to cut glass. He knew where he was. The room brought an awkward peace.
When he spoke, his voice was feminine and sounding preadolescent. “How did I do, Doc? Was I able to tell you anything new? Did I remember anything about my childhood?”
Two feet away, sat Dr. Osgood. Amazing, he thought, nothing like the psychopathic serial killer who first appeared at Dreamland seven years ago.
The prisoner had arrived shortly after Dr. Osgood opened the Dreamland penitentiary and research center. It could be argued that the facility was built because of him.
“That’s not important,” the doctor answered, “You’re doing great, you’re getting healthier and your mind is healing. I’m proud of you.”
The young man sat up, his eyes darted about the room at all times. The greenery of the plants and the pastel walls helped him focus.
“How do you feel?” Dr. Osgood asked.
Hands on his knees, kicking his feet back and forth like a child, his eyes fixed on the doctor’s. “Kind of like I took a long nap. But I’m not groggy or nothing. Know what I mean?”
The doctor’s mouth turned upward in a friendly, relaxed manner. “I do,” he answered, “that’s the way you should feel.”
Inmate 54112 bit the inside of his upper lip. His thoughts cut deeper. I’ve grown to like the guy, it’s too bad I have to…a knock on the door interrupted his thoughts.
A cold, abrupt voice rang out, “Time’s up, doc. I have to take the inmate back to his cell.”
“Sorry, son, but we’re out of time for today. We’ll pick back up tomorrow in our next session.”
Two heavily-muscled men walked in. As they moved towards him, the inmate instinctively stood up and held his hands straight out in front of his body, as he’d been taught. The first guard cuffed his wrists and tightly held onto him while the second guard bent down to shackle his ankles.
A chain fastened to the leg irons was brought up between his legs and attached to a waist chain. It was drawn through an extended link on the handcuffs and pulled down, drawing his hands into his body, and again fastened to the shackles.
“Let’s move,” the guard said. The prisoner shuffled his feet and moved towards the open door.
Dr. Osgood looked up from his notes, “Until tomorrow.”
Not allowed to speak, 54112 nodded an affirmative and kept walking. The distance from the doctor’s office to the inmate’s cell was a short one, but it took several minutes to navigate because of the confining chains.
The guards, posted on either side of the prisoner, continued down the hall. “Are you sure this is the guy?” Jim, the guard on the left asked.
“That’s the scuttlebutt. Hard to believe, isn’t it?” Mickey, the other guard replied.
“I’d say. This guy’s what, five-foot-five, maybe six? And weighs about a buck forty. I’m surprised he’d have enough strength to overpower those girls, not to mention what he did to them.”
The first guard turned and looked at the inmate. Goosebumps covered his forearms, as if in warning. “I don’t know, Jim, if you think about it, the timing’s right. He got here at the end of 2001, just about the same time the Omega Butcher was convicted.”
Jim shook his head. “I know, but it’s still hard to believe.”
“Yeah, well—if it’s him, he’s gonna fry for those atrocities as soon as Dr. Frankenstein finishes playing with him.”
The inmate sucked his lower lip and bit down trying to abate his aggression. I’ll show you how I did it, he silently promised. I’ll tear the two of you to shreds before you ever have a chance to pull your weapons.
Seething with anger, he heard a calming voice somewhere in the recesses of his mind.
Easy, my son. It’s not yet your time.
His heartbeat slowed as he listened to the voice. The voice he now considered a friend. A friend who’d kept him from going crazy shortly after he arrived at Dreamland.
Seven years ago he had questioned the voice’s identity, and was told, I am the one; the ruler of all that is of this world and all that will ever be, and you are my chosen, my son.
If I’m asked who sent me, whom shall I say? the inmate pressed.
Tell them the Dark One sent you. The one who lurks from within the shadows of men’s souls sent you and that you are my chosen.
One of the guards walked ahead as they approached the prisoner’s cell and unlocked the door. Mickey, the second guard walked 54112 straight through without delay. Once inside the small cell, the guards removed the chain, shackles and cuffs in reverse order. The prisoner put his hands down by his sides and remained at attention until he heard the door shut and the tumblers lock.
His shoulders dropped as he expelled a relaxing breath. Here, in his nine-by-nine square foot home, he felt secure. He looked around. Everything was white: white walls, white linoleum floor, white metal-framed twin-sized bed, and crisp, white linens. A commode and sink, also white, sat in the back left corner opposite his bed.
He, like other Dreamland inmates, had running water twice a day, between six and six-ten in the morning, and again between eight-fifty and nine in the evening. During that time, inmates brushed their teeth and took a quick sponge bath. There were no showers.
Truth be told, the cell reminded him of the only other place he had ever felt secure, his bedroom where he grew up.
If he was nothing else, the prisoner was a man of patterns. He kept a mental schedule of how and when things were to be done and he followed the schedule to a tee. He permitted himself no variations, a system familiar to him from earliest memories.
A cold sweat began to form as he thought back to that fateful day. He could still hear his mother screaming in pain as she lay in the fetal position on the kitchen floor. The salty sweat burned his eyes as he remembered waiting outside the operating room. Bile bubbled in his throat at the memory of the surgeon walking down the hall, head down, not wanting to make eye contact with him.
His last memory of that day was throwing up on the shoes of the woman from Child Services.
His mother passed away from a burst appendix and subsequent infection. He had no father, at least none he knew of. He was sent to live with his Aunt Peg. She was his mother’s older sister, his only living relative. She had agreed to take him in only when she learned the state would pay her to keep him.
Following his mother’s funeral, Aunt Peg took him by the hand and they walked silently to her car.
When they arrived home, she grabbed the visibly distraught boy by the shouldersand shook him. Fear swept over him as he looked into eyes that held no love. Evil was all he saw. Evil eyes set in a sharp, angular face. The boy often wondered if her face would crack if she smiled. It was a theory he was never able to prove or disprove in the thirteen years he lived with her.
“There will be no more crying, boy,” she shrieked.
She shoved him into her three-story
The mere thought of Aunt Peg caused the inmate to shake uncontrollably. Time and schedule had been burned into his being, figuratively and literally.
The clock above the door of his cell read 4:29 p.m. Dinnertime was 5:00. It was time to pray, a rigid practice he’d held to since the day he moved in with his aunt. 54112 knelt in the middle of the floor. He knew he was being watched by security officers. They assumed the inmate was praying to God.