Beast Unveiled Excerpt
Hi everyone, I have some exciting news for you! If you haven’t already heard, the much-awaited sequel to the amazing first novel is available online now! Book 2 of the Changes series, The Beast Unveiled, is finally finished and it is just waiting for all you lovely people to get your hungry eyes all over it. Well here’s where the good news gets even better, you don’t even have to wait to get started! Just like with the first novel, we’ve included an entire chapter hot off the presses and straight to you completely free.
Something horrible has befallen Danni’s best friend Porsha. All hope hasn’t quite been lost, but is the light at the end of her dark tunnel really the headlamp of an approaching train? For whatever reason, it seems as though Danni and Porsha’s fates became intertwined on that fateful day at the restaurant, but what does the future hold for these two friends?
Here’s a little piece of the puzzle to preview what’s to come.
All hospitals looked and smelled the same to me. The thick smell of disinfectant barely covered the bodily secretions and death in the air. I hated hospitals and tried to stay away from them as much as possible. But there was something I needed in this one.
I entered the elevator without anyone giving me a second glance. My index finger found the fifth floor button where my target should be resting in the ICU. I felt a smirk form on my face as the doors shut. It was funny that a building that held people in their most delicate states would be so easily penetrated, especially a military hospital. But like I said, they’re all the same. Maybe I would run into some resistance once I reached her room. I felt a tinge of excitement from the thought.
It seemed to take forever to reach my destination. If I hadn’t known better I would’ve thought I wasn’t moving at all. My attention was brought back from the brink of death by boredom by the familiar ding as the doors opened. Without delay I was down the hall. I made sure I was mindful of the speed of my stride. It would be sloppy of me for that to bring unwanted attention to my presence.
I passed a window that reflected my image off of its darkened pane. My appearance was adequate, with every curly red tress in place. I didn’t need to look down at my dress; I knew it fit the role I was to play. The lavender empress baby-doll dress would display the innocence humans adored so much. Even though it made my skin crawl to always be in the role of a teenaged child. I haven’t been one for the past twenty-five years.
I was making my way past the nursing hub when my presence was finally noticed by one of the staff. I could tell from her expression that it would be better to face her head on. I started to walk towards the nurse as if she was who I had been searching for all along. I stayed quiet, waiting for her to share her usual spiel. She didn’t disappoint as I watched her take breath before continuing.
“Our visiting hours are over in less than five minutes. Who are you here to see?”
I read her demeanor as well as her name tag before I proceeded.
“Oh no, I thought we would’ve gotten here sooner. It’s eight already?” I framed my face to show I was only seconds away from tears. She would be disappointed with my act if she needed actual tears since I was no longer able to cry. Luckily for me the softening of her face showed she wasn’t a sadist.
“No, but visiting is done by 1930 hours for the doctors to start their rounds. Who are you here for sweetheart?”
I had to make an active effort not to show any distain in my expression. I hated being called any sugary child nicknames. I’ve killed people for less. To be perfectly honest, I’ve killed people for fun. However, the current set-up was playing as I needed it to.
“My mother, she was checked in earlier today and we came as soon as we found out.”
“Who are you with?”
“My dad, he’s parking the car. He should be up here in a minute. Can I please just see her? I need to see that she’s okay.”
She went to a chart on her desk and I could see she finally connected the dots of who I claimed my mother to be. I could feel the pity oozing out of her.
“Yes, we did check-in a patient earlier today. We didn’t have any information on her. Who called you? I think we…”
“I don’t know! I just know that my mom needs me and I need to see her. I can’t believe any of this is happening!” I covered my face in my hands.
“Okay sweetie, calm down.”
My hands concealed the sneer on my face. Her constant over-familiarizing methods made me want to rip her throat out right here and now. I kept to my act, fighting my urges.
“Your mother is in room 507 at the end of the hall. I can’t promise the guard at the door will let you see her though. If he does, I’ll send your dad over when he comes up, okay?”
I raised my head, wiping at my dry face, letting my hair hide the lack of evidence of tears. “Thank you so much.”
I turned towards my destination. I paused for a moment as the ghastly woman had even more to say.
“You have your mother’s beautiful hair. I hope all turns out well.”
My eyes couldn’t roll hard enough before I turned to give a woeful nod before continuing on. People rarely leave things be. They always tried to come up with something to do or say to lessen the heaviness of the situation, all in the effort of being helpful to another. However, I knew the secret most refused to cop to. It was the fact that people only helped in order to feel better about themselves. So the very act of kindness was also the epitome of selfishness.
I rounded the corner, setting eyes on the guard. From his lazy stance it was obvious he was expecting a less than average day. Tsk, tsk. Don’t they teach their soldiers to always be prepared, or some such nonsense? I didn’t even bother with my act as I approached. He didn’t look concerned. Why would he? I was probably just some lost girl; wrong.
I sauntered, closing the distance in no time. “Hi, I was wondering…”
He dropped his firearm slightly in response, wrong again. I was on him before he could speak a single word. With one swift motion we stood inside my target’s room and his neck was twisted in the most unfortunate fashion. I felt my fangs itching to unsheathe and take a taste of the fresh kill. But that wasn’t part of the plan. Instead I closed the door and ripped at him as if I was a cat and he was my toy. It didn’t take much of an effort to make a mess.
I looked down at my dress that now had the soldier’s blood all over it. I smiled and wondered how innocent anyone would think I was now if they were to see me like this. I quickly lost interest in the thought as I laid eyes on my goal.
“Hello Porsha, you look like hell.”
I stepped over the dead man and made my way to her side. There was no sound from her other than her machine-assisted breathing. She looked nothing like she had the night I had seen her in her yard. In all honesty she should’ve died that night, but luckily for her I had been there.
I wasn’t sure why the beast was there in the first place. I guess that was the night that led up to this moment. Or it was the vile friendship she made with that bitch Danielle that lead to her predicament? I would’ve rather seen her live her life out naturally, humanly. But what quality of life did she have left?
I listened to her barely-there heartbeat. Medicine had come far, but I knew why the nurse gave me such a pitiful look. Porsha had no chance of waking from this. It would be better for her to be dead than to live out her life in this matter.
“I’m going to do you a kindness.” I whispered in her ear before I finally surrendered to my true nature, sinking my fangs into the fragile skin of her neck. As I drank in all of her, I felt myself falling into a trance. It had been so long since I nourished from a good source. I usually fed from the banes of society. I’d found that blood held different tastes from person to person. The more sour the person’s existence, the more taint was held in their blood.
I listened to her heart weaken further; if I took anymore from her, the machines would sound and she would be dead. Even if I stopped now her fate was sealed, her body no longer had enough blood to sustain itself. With some discipline on my part I stopped, biting into the flesh of my own wrist. My own blood flowed freely. I opened her mouth slightly and placed my open wrist at her lips.
“Now it’s up to you. Would you rather be reborn or die?”
It looked as if she had chosen death as my blood flooded her mouth. I watched as it escaped from the corners. I kept on observing as I felt the gash of my wrist heal. Just as I was about to act on my own escape, Porsha’s true decision was revealed. The blood that was moments ago drowning her was gone. She now showed her hunger for more with her constant swallowing. I didn’t waste time and opened my vein for her once more.
It wasn’t long before I was the one that felt drained. Porsha was no longer the pile of parts that was placed in a bed. Now she was newly born being feeding from her mother. I started to feel faint. I didn’t have much experience in making one of us, with this only being the second time. But I knew I needed to get her off of my arm if I wanted it back. With more effort I was used to spending I was able to push her off of me.
She fell back in the bed slightly writhing about, in apparent euphoria. That was compliments of my blood that was now coursing through her veins. That would change soon enough. My ears picked up the sound of approaching footsteps. Only one set, probably nosey nursey Hanna wondering where my father had gotten to.
I left Porsha’s side to greet our guest properly. There was a light tap on the door before she let herself in. It took her a few moments to realize the gruesome scene that lay in front of her. But when it finally took hold the look that splashed across her face was priceless. My fangs tore into her carotid artery, stealing the scream she was seconds from spilling. She was even sweeter than Porsha, but I stopped myself from draining her. I instead succumbed to my earlier urges. The nurse fell to the ground with her head slumped backward, nearly resting on her back since I had removed most of her throat.
“Hanna, sweetie, you should’ve stayed at your desk.”
I dropped the remnants of Hanna that I held and wiped my hand on my already soiled dress. My attention went back to Porsha. She was clueless to what had just happened. It was obvious to me that she was about to enter the not-so-pleasant part of the change. The scene was even set with an extra bit of drama sprinkled in, thanks to Hanna’s improvisation. Which also signaled Porsha’s and my time here had expired.
I was back at Porsha’s side. It seemed she only now truly noticed my presence. I pulled off the bandages that covered most of her face. The skin still held a slick red appearance, but the structure of it seemed to be on the mend. I observed as her cheekbone plumped back into place, making it possible for her jaw to find its rightful alignment. Even without any ailments the change was agonizing, but in Porsha’s case it must’ve been downright torture. Without a second thought I went towards the window. In one smooth motion I grabbed a chair and hurled it through the glass. Now there was nothing that separated us from the night’s sky.
“Okay Porsha, it’s time for us to go.”
She was in my arms and we were out the window before anyone had responded to the loud crash. I kept to the shadows, reaching our next destination with ease, still a little slower than I was used to. I couldn’t chance pushing Porsha too fast too soon. Even this was more than she should be tolerating.
I had entered the base on foot, too fast for the men at the gates to detect my presence. But again, with Porsha in mid-turn I couldn’t leave the way I had come. If my bosses had done their part, all would be well.
I turned onto a makeshift dirt road, off the beaten path. It was the road the soldiers used for their morning runs. There I found the car waiting as promised under some brush. What do you know, they came through. It wasn’t anything fancy but it would do. I looked in and saw the keys in the ignition.
“Okay, I’m going to put you down for a just a sec.” I didn’t wait for a response as I went to open the trunk. When I returned she was convulsing, every muscle in her body had tensed. It felt as if I had picked up a trembling petrified log more than a body as I lifted her into the trunk.
“I don’t envy you right about now. But on the plus side, your face looks a hell of a lot better.”
I turned my attention elsewhere. I was impressed to see the supplies I needed were in the trunk. A change of clothes, rope, gag and a baseball cap. I almost laughed when I saw the wet naps. “The devil’s in the details.”
If I learned anything on this assignment, it was that the people I worked for were thorough. With the rope and gag, I bound Porsha from movement and sound. I watched as she couldn’t find the spirit to fight out of her bindings through her spasms. If it wasn’t for the gate checkpoint I wouldn’t have even bothered tying her up at all. Oh well, better safe than sorry.
Since Porsha was now secure I went to work on myself. I eyed the clothes they supplied me, not my style but they would do. I stripped out of the hideous dress and replaced it with dark blue jeans, a black hoodie and black sneakers to match. I stifled another chuckle as I went for the wet naps. I was able to remove most of the dried blood off my hands and mouth. All evidence I shed found its way into the trunk.
I knew time was of the essence. It wouldn’t be long before they would shut down the gate altogether. They would need to consult the tapes first since I killed the only person that paid any real attention to me being there. Still, there wasn’t any reason for us to push the limits.
I took one more look at Porsha. Her body was still writhing, but all euphoria was gone. “Let’s get on the road, shall we?”
The only response she shared was muddled whimpers.
“Don’t worry, you’ll thank me later.” I shut the trunk, taking my place in the driver’s seat.
I took a quick glance in the rearview mirror. I couldn’t help but sneer at my reflection. This ensemble managed to make me look even more teeny-bopper than before. I put on the baseball cap and started the car, making my way towards the gate. While driving I turned on the radio, looking for the latest and greatest. It wasn’t hard to find an obnoxious pop hit since the radio was littered with them. I’m positive all the stations played the same ten songs over and over. After I found what I was looking for, I turned it up and faked singing along.
I came to the gate with the music blaring just loud enough. There were three cars ahead of me. The man at the gate waved through car one, then two, briefly looking into car three before letting the driver go as well. It was now my turn. A song I actually knew came on when I was just about to pass the soldier. I kept singing as I drove. He didn’t even make eye contact as he signaled me through. I guess he didn’t like the song.
Now that we had passed the gate and I was minutes away from turning onto the freeway, I could’ve turned the radio down. There was no longer anyone to overhear Porsha’s moans, but this song was super catchy. I turned it up a notch higher, drumming my fingers to the beat as I drove on towards our final destination.