Publication date: August 2013
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Horror, New Adult
Barnes and Noble
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.
I’d anticipated Val’s return, but not ten minutes later. There has to be more time involved in plotting revenge. Judging by the look on Kendrick’s face, Val stood behind me with a large sword, laser gun, and giant cannon. No, he’d brought something far worse, something so horrible Kendrick’s mind couldn’t register it. My eyes followed the path of his trembling finger.That’s not Val.I flew from my chair to the French glass doors where IT stood. Before the grimy bone of a hand could reach the outside handle, I threw the dead bolt. “Did you leave anything open: windows, doors?”“I don’t know. I can’t think!” The sight outside the door had rattled Kendrick to his already stressed foundation. He swayed on the borderline of consciousness. Kendrick needed a distraction or he’d be a useless bump on the floor.“Don’t look at it. Go check all the doors and windows. I’ll make sure it stays here. Go, Kendrick.” I heard the chair legs scrape against the wood floor and then the pounding of footsteps toward the back of the house.As unbearable as it was to view the atrocity before me, I found it impossible to turn away. The long matted hair and two-inch jagged fingernails did not indicate it was female, but at one point, I think it could have been. Old putrid skin hung loosely over its slight frame with very little muscle tissue intact underneath. Its mouth contained black, broken teeth permanently frozen in a skeletal smile, and the remaining eye, doggedly scrutinizing me, was nothing more than a shallow hole with a gelatinous grey center. The glass between us did little to mask the rancid odor of death it carried. An unforgettable smell of decay seeped through the crevices around the doors.The sound of slamming windows and latching locks echoed throughout the house. Then only a second of quiet followed before Kendrick’s pounding feet came skidding to a stop by my side. He kept his eyes on me and I remained locked in an eye-to-eye standoff with the thing.Another hospitable member of Samuel’s morbid family, I suppose.“Holy night of the living dead, is that what I think it is?” Kendrick squawked as he stumbled back and away from the door.“I’m pretty sure it is.” I couldn’t bring myself to say the z-word, not out loud anyway.“That is a corpse! Animated and staring at you.” Kendrick couldn’t say it either. “What does it want? Is it going to try to eat us?” He buried his face in his hands to muffle the sobs.“This isn’t a George Romero movie. Don’t worry. I won’t let it get you.”Kendrick’s fear was the sweetest tasting ever, but I couldn’t risk indulging in the nectar. Now I have two reasons not to breathe.The thing’s bottom jaw dropped open and then started moving up and down as though it were trying to speak, but its tongue had long turned to dust. Other than the faint clicking of teeth, it made no sound. Soon the ringing of my cell phone helped to break some of the tension. I yelled to Kendrick to hand it to me. Slowly the thing leaned closer to the glass, watching as I hit the send button and pressed the phone to my ear. The way one would if they were trying to listen in.Can you even hear us? Or are you just curious?Before I could say hello, Gordon barked from the other end, “My God, Seanna, what do you mean you’re in Africa? How did you get there? We’ve been going out of our minds over here. Are you okay? Lucy was so mad at us she took off and we can’t find her anywhere. We need your help to find her.”When Gordon finally paused to catch his breath, I cut in. “I found a few things stashed in my suitcase: a plane ticket, fake passport, a little cash. We all know my leaving was for the best.” I’d paid Officer Kelley for his silence but never expected him to keep quiet. Certain he’d call Gordon to report every detail before pulling out of the airport parking lot.“I thought we had a deal. I go where you go. After all that’s happened, everything we’ve been through, how could you just take off like that? I’ve been worried sick.”No deal, Gordon.The thing outside leaned away from the glass and took a couple exaggerated limps to the right.“Fuck! It’s moving! Seanna, it’s moving,” Kendrick squealed hysterically. I waved my hand for him to be quiet. I’m not blind. I can see that it’s moving.“Sorry, Gordon. I really am, but after everything that’s happened, the deal’s off. I heard about your daughter, and I’m truly sorry she’s gone, but I’m not her. I don’t need you to save me.” I glared at Kendrick, daring him to make another sound.“Who told you about my Melanie? Who’s that screaming? Are you in trouble?” The panic in Gordon’s voice in concert with Kendrick’s near hysteria made it more difficult to concentrate on the creature’s movement outside.Nothing would stop Kendrick’s yelling. “Seriously, you’re going to stand there and have a pleasant conversation like there’s NOT a flesh-eating zombie outside trying to get in!”Hands on his hips, Kendrick continued to wail. “HELL NO! We need HELP.”For a moment I was too stunned to react to either Gordon or Kendrick.
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.