Guilt Ridden – Making Amends

I’ve been feeling a bit guilty lately. January 2011, I published the first book in the Striped Ones Series. I’d hoped to have the second book out by now. With all that’s been going on these days, I’ve struggled to even get the next short story of the Control Freak Series out. I don’t want to disappoint, especially since a few have contacted me, asking me for the next book. The thing is, time has not been on my side lately.

I feel awful I’ve let folks down. I want to try to make it up though. From now until the time I publish Chasing Shadows, I’m going to do my best to release one scene a week here. It’ll be a rough or second draft, so please don’t expect perfection. You might even find some MAJOR plot holes along the way. Look for new scenes every Sunday or Monday. If you fall behind or just want to reread a scene, you’ll find links here.

 

Chapter 1

Scene 1

Six years earlier

Blood. Too much. It coated Mujur’s hands and ran through the cracks of his palms.

A thick drop fell, splattered on the woman’s bruised cheek, and fanned into the semblance of a crimson spider.

Mujur wiped his hands along the forest floor, trying to rid himself of the glutinous fluid, but only succeeded in making a grimy mess as flakes of decayed leaves and dirt stuck to his palms.

No. He rubbed his hands together frantically and tried to convince himself something other than blood rolled between his fingers, but his eyes locked onto the dead woman and refused him even that illusion.

Scratches deep enough to flay the skin covered her body, but none mortal, except one—a large gash along her side which exposed broken ribs and oozed dark red blood that seeped into the ground. Her glazed, fish-like eyes fixated beyond him while an expression of terror etched her face for all eternity.

“She was over here last I saw her,” a voice said in the distance.

Mujur jumped to his feet, his heart pounding. The conversation drew nearer. He took one last glance at the mutilated body partially hidden in the brush then ran.

A few strides later a large male stepped out from behind a tree. Driven by momentum, Mujur barreled into him, ricocheted, and fell to the ground.

The male, a fellow wehr-tiger named Gemuk, towered. One corner of his mouth lifted in a sneer to reveal dingy teeth stained dark red from betel nuts. “You’re not going anywhere.”

Mujur scrambled backward.

Gemuk lumbered forward. Corpulent body swaying, he closed the distance in two heavy strides, pulled back a foot, and let it fly.

Mujur reeled from the sharp pain in his gut as the air whooshed from his lungs with a grunt. He had no chance to recover before a multitude of kicks followed. Curled into a ball like a pangolin, he tried to protect his vulnerable organs and head.

“You find anything?” someone asked.

The blows stopped. Mujur took the opportunity to crawl even as the intense throbbing in his left hip, elbow, and shoulder threatened to pull him into oblivion. A dull thud accompanied by an explosion of pain behind his eyes halted his progress, and he sank to the ground.

“Over this way,” Gemuk said, his voice barely audible as the haze surrounding Mujur faded to black.


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