Something Wicked This Way Comes

Friday, May 22, 2015

FREE FICTION FRIDAYS - BIRTH DAY PART FIVE


Summer's finally here! I have several projects going on this summer that I haven't been involved in before, including the NaNo Games. Hopefully I'll remember to blog about it all. In the meantime, enjoy the latest episode of Birth Day.

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BIRTH DAY #5; by Tucker McCallahan:

Flashes of memory from my encounter in the woods played on the inside of my eyelids as fire raged through my blood vessels and surrounded my organs. Sweat poured off me in thin rivulets. For the first time in my life, I wished I was able to trust blindly, to believe without evidence. Despite my desire to protect Palon, I hadn’t been able to suspend a lifetime of disbelief.

My conversion-my awakening-had come at a price.

I burned.

As I hung somewhere between human and dragon, created and Altered, my brain would not turn off. Lists of symptoms formed in my head only to be discarded and dismissed when new agonies assaulted me minutes later. Just when the pain reached the bone-melting point, something in my mind cracked wide open. It was as if my senses all possessed new volume dials. Instead of being able to adjust from one to ten, now the world could be fine-tuned from one to a million.

Every piece of medical knowledge, every theory, journal article, experimental notes, or bit of advice that I’d accumulated over the course of my entire career came into focus, sharpened to fine detail, and was properly catalogued in my mind. Joy and a fierce altruism struck me like bolts of lightning, and then the fire hit its flash point. With a scream I’m sure they heard in Old Philly, a darkness filled with fire-breathing dragons, gleaming scales, and razor-sharp teeth swallowed me whole.

*

I woke up in one of the ER beds.

All of my senses came back online at once and I sat up.

“Chief?”

I turned and jerked at the sight of the woman sitting beside my bed. Dr. Kalyani Rao was a board-certified anesthesiologist. When the hospital had been a real hospital she’d been the Director of our Pain Management Clinic. I’d always thought she was handsome woman. My new eyes saw the perfection of her smooth caramel complexion and the luster of her black hair. Her delicate black eyelashes wrapped her eyes like layers of thick lace. For a moment all I could do was stare at her, because I was gay, and I’d never looked at a woman this way.

I’d certainly never looked at Dr. Rao this way.

She was returning my scrutiny, but a frown marred her beauty. She whipped the penlight from her pocket and checked my pupillary dilation.

“Relax, Kalyani. I don’t have a concussion or any intracranial bleeding.”

“You’ve been in a chemically-induced coma.” She tucked the light back into her pocket next to a pen and withdrew a syringe full of clear liquid, which she held up before me. “And I haven’t given you anything that would bring you out of it. You shouldn’t be awake, Chief.”

Her eyes held such compassion and concern. I’d already done a complete self-physical and pronounced myself fit and healthy, though. For the first time I understood how the Altered who were brought to us by their frightened families must’ve felt.

“Some of the drugs we’re using have expired. That, combined with the fever I know I had-”

“One hundred four. Do you have any idea what you were infected with? Hank and Jake couldn’t culture anything.”

I nodded. That meant they hadn’t given me any antibiotics. Our resources were too precious and scarce. Gone were the days of using shotguns to kill flies. We only treated something if we were sure we could kill it.

“I don’t have anything communicable. We all need to meet though. I assume somebody checked my room?”

“Of course.”

“Where’s Palon?”

“Who?”

“Palon. The boy I brought back from Old Philly.”

Kalyani stood, her dark eyes shadowed. “I’ll call everybody to your room here for a short meeting.”

“Why are you ignoring my question? Did you let him leave?” Panic struck at that thought. “When?”

“Chief, you stumbled back across our border from your trip with evidence you’d caught flash from the burn. Rosy found you while he was walking the perimeter and you’ve been here ever since.”

Confusion, apprehension, and not a little bit of fear seized my heart.

“What?”

“Lie back. Your blood pressure is shooting up.”

I hadn’t even heard the sound of the monitor going off. I laid back in the bed, dazed and feeling completely sideways. Was I losing it? What was going on? The notion that this was all planned to cover the dragon’s tracks slipped through my mind. That was followed by the conclusion that madness seeking to justify and ground its existence in reality was a really special kind of crazy.

I’d always been lucky.

My next thought, and it strengthened into a full foregone conclusion immediately, was that not even my imagination could create Palon. He was too innocent, too perfect, and too pure, which meant he’d either been claimed by his previous master in the absence of my protection, or he’d run when he woke up and I wasn’t with him.

The ache in my chest was so awful I rubbed the heel of my hand over my sternum. Regardless of what had happened, I’d find Palon and make sure he was free. I had no right to claim him, but by all that was still holy, no demon that had crawled out of some Chinean gate was going to use him. I laid back in my bed and gazed at Kalyani.

“Get everyone in here. I need to talk to them.”

“Of course. Take some deep breaths. Slow your heart rate down some.”

I nodded. She rose and left the room at her usual brisk pace. I concentrated on taking lonat g, slow, deep breaths. I drew air in through my nose as I counted off ten seconds, and then blew it out, making my exhalation last just as long.

On the second cycle, I caught Palon’s scent.

He was still in the hospital.

Every part of my body came alive, including my cock, which stood up and saluted. I climbed out of bed, stopping long enough to stretch a bit and find what clothes I had left here. I tugged them on, and dashed out the door, following my nose.

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Thanks so much for reading! Comments are, as always, craved and appreciated. 

Be Sure To Check Out The Other Stories:

Follow all your favorites and read the first 100 words on the group’s website: 


Be Well ~ Tux






Friday, May 1, 2015

FREE FICTION FRIDAYS - BIRTH DAY PART FOUR



Welcome back! I took a few weeks off for my son's 9th birthday. As some of you may know, today is a high holiday for us Wiccans. It's Beltane, or May Day. But I figured it was fitting to offer everyone something to read as I celebrated Spring and the fertility of the ground this weekend. Beltane is associated with farming and sowing seeds. This episode of the new story plants the idea of the central conflict, so its pretty pivotal. Enjoy!

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BIRTH DAY #4; by Tucker McCallahan:

I swam up into consciousness like I’d been anesthetized.

Blinking, I tried to gaze around and a wave of intense vertigo rolled up over me. My knees went weak and I would’ve hit the dirt had a strong arm not slipped around my waist.

I was standing?

“Easy. You are disoriented, Dr. Wickliffe.”

“Why?”

The question shot out of my mouth more sharply than I intended, but my vision was bleary. I had some wicked dry mouth.

“Why what?”

 “Why am I disoriented?” Oh this was awful. My head spun and my guts heaved. “Who the fuck drugged me?”

“You have not been given any type of intoxicating substance, I assure you.”

I forced my eyes to focus. I was staring at myself, twenty-five years ago. That wasn’t possible.

“This isn’t possible,” I reaffirmed. Saying it out loud might’ve made me feel better if I hadn’t given me a sardonic look and rolled my eyes.

“Your views of what may be possible in this universe are decidedly narrow for a physician.” The younger me gazed at me with something like disappointment on his – my – face. I frowned.

“I have always practiced evidence-based medicine-”

My eyebrows, darker and fuller on that younger face, shot up. “I’m standing here talking to you as you and your blindness persists.” He used the same deep, holier-than-thou baritone my medical school instructors had always used. Today’s procedure will be graded with the usual scale: live or die.

He released me and I immediately took several steps. My balance and reflexes seemed normal. I really studied my surroundings for the first time. We stood in a wooded area. I frowned. The last thing I remembered was being in bed with Palon inside the hospital. The scent of fresh lime consumed me and I got an instant erection.  Palon…

“Think with the big head.” The younger version of me reached out and tapped my forehead. “The last thing I need to deal with right now is your ego wanting to be touched in its special place.”

When he grinned at me, I saw somebody else’s smile on my face.

A bolt of pure adrenaline shot into my bloodstream making my heart pound. My mind raced as fast as my blood through my veins. Either I was dreaming and none of this was real, or I was awake and in danger. The urge to run hit as hard and pure as the adrenaline.

“If you run now, you might never stop.”

I mastered the urge to save my ass and held my ground. “So… who are you? Because I know you aren’t me.”

“Very good.” He nodded. “This is one of the things I like about you. When you commit to something, you’re in one-hundred percent.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“True enough.”

Backing several more steps away from me he closed his eyes. One minute I was looking at a twenty-five year old version of myself, and the next a thirtysomething Chinean male with pale skin and longer than average black hair stretched languorously and blinked up at me. He could’ve been any average guy working a government wage farm save for his brilliant scarlet eyes. For the briefest instant right after the shift, his eyes glowed. Then his face showed no emotion whatsoever.

“Is this your first face, your real face? Or is it just a face?”

He shrugged and slipped his hands into his pockets. “Does it matter?”

“I don’t know.”

“Dr. Wickliffe, I went to some trouble to bring you here. I came out into the open which is forbidden among my kind.” He cocked his head and gazed at me. The inscrutable look in his odd red eyes transformed into something I was sure I recognized. “Our kind.”

“You aren’t making any sense.”

“You’ve examined many humans since the Rising, yes? You have your theories about their extraordinary abilities.”

Just when I thought I’d gotten over the adrenaline, a fresh dose dumped into my bloodstream. My heart hammered like the pistons in a 1990 Ford Mustang GT. Whoever this guy was, he was going to kill me. I kept my mouth shut and folded my arms across my chest.

“My actions tonight were purposeful. As you said, you’re a man who wants evidence.” His red eyes locked with my blues. “I slipped into your unconscious mind and drew you from your bed in a trance. I made suggestions to you that you found rational, so you followed them. Get dressed. Don shoes. Walk to this location. Even if you could believe that we’d met before at some previous time and during that meeting I somehow hypnotized you without your consent and implanted those commands, how do you explain my ability to change form?”

“That could be another implanted command. To see what you command me to see.” But that sounded lame even to me. Hypnosis didn’t really work that way; it couldn’t create hallucinations.

“Have you never wondered about your name?”

The abrupt subject didn’t throw me. I was hungry for this kind of debate. I hadn’t had a really good argument since before the Rising. Besides, I’d figured out where I was, and I was only about ten minutes from the hospital. I felt much better knowing I was close to home and the boy I’d left behind.

“It’s a family name. My father and grandfather had the same name.”

“And you never asked about it?”

“No. Did my surgical residency with a guy whose name was Winston Harvey Waverly the Fourth. He was actually the fourth man in a line of men named Winston Harvey Waverly. Family names aren’t that uncommon.”

“But have you ever met another person named Vancient?”

“No.”

“It’s a name unique to our kind.”

“And just what do you think our kind is?”

“I showed you earlier. You saw me before you went to sleep.”

My mind flew back through the events of last twenty-four hours. Only two events stuck out. Shock must’ve registered on my face because he laughed.

“Is it so difficult to believe that some of your DNA is from an entity more advanced and powerful than a mere human being? You have spent your entire life rebuilding them and yet suffer none of their aging effects.”

I laughed and it released some of my pent up nerves. “Maybe you have the wrong guy. I have high blood pressure, arthritis, and my cholesterol is probably crap. I haven’t checked it since this mess started.”

“No.” He shook his head. “You’ve assumed the symptoms of those infirmities to blend in. Once you accept your true lineage they will vanish and your dormant abilities will awaken.”

“Dormant abilities?”

His face grew serious and he stepped closer to me. His voice took on a low, vibrating rumble that thrummed through my whole body.

“I showed you my true form earlier. I allowed other humans to see me so you would believe. You, Vancient Wickliffe, are dragonkin, the result of a mating between one of mine and a human Pure. If you can accept who and what you are, you’ll have access to many abilities.” His red eyes burned as if lit from behind. “You will be powerful beyond measure.”

His voice was mesmerizing. I blinked slowly and shook my head. “I don’t want to be powerful beyond measure. If there’s one thing the Rising has taught me, it’s that I like being pretty insignificant.” I held my hands up and backed away from him. “Thanks but no thanks, bud. You’ll have to offer somebody else phenomenal cosmic power. I’m not buying.”

He made no move to stop me as I turned to head back to the hospital.

“The boy is a partially-claimed human Pure.”

I stopped.

“When his master or mistress comes to reclaim him, and make no mistake, his owner will come for him, the least of outcomes will be his removal from your custody.”

Whirling around, my hands clenched into fists, I growled. “Nobody’s taking Palon anywhere he doesn’t want to go!”

“If you wish to take him from one who has already begun a Claiming, you must have all your abilities, Vancient.” He shrugged. “Or the worst outcome will be not just your destruction, but the destruction of every human who takes shelter with you as well as your place of dispensing aid.”

I stood there in the woods, the silence of the night no comfort to me as I stared at the man-shaped thing claiming to be the dragon. I wasn’t sure I believed him, but one thing I knew down to my bones.

Nobody owned the boy in my bed.

And nobody was taking him.

“All right. What do I need to do?”

* * * * *



Thanks so much for reading! Comments are, as always, craved and appreciated. 

Be Sure To Check Out The Other Stories:

Follow all your favorites and read the first 100 words on the group’s website: 


Be Well ~ Tux