Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Cold sweat dotted Cale’s forehead as he tried to recover from a string of nightmares. The constant drip of a leaking faucet frayed at his nerves. Propped up against a block of warped wood, he avoided his bed, hoping the hard floor would impede sleep. He couldn’t trust himself to rest.

He’d considered braving the night, then he thought of the girl, of Terach’s disregard of his fears. His thoughts inevitably moved to Raine and his sudden change in behavior. He tried to piece together the loose threads of what had happened over the last couple days, but they knotted just out of his grasp.

His eyes drooped and the comfortable grip of sleep took his hand, leading him down its infinite hallways. There, the girl again. Her mouth, carved open, stretched to an impossible length, screeched in ascending tones.

He ripped his eyes open to the sound. He stretched across the table, missed his mark, then seized the phone.

“Yeah?”

“I thought you were never going to answer. I was worried I was going to have to cross town and break down that damn door.”

“Sorry to disappoint. I thought I told you not to call me.”

“You get any sleep?” Terach asked, dodging the comment like a pro.

“Sure as hell feels like I didn’t.”

“Well, you’re about to have another long night.”

“I told you to call Adr—”

“Don’t worry, I did.” Terach cut in.

“Then what?”

“We’ve got another body, this time knee-deep with the bargain hunters.”

Cale sat up, exhaustion taking second hat. He rubbed his eyes, cautioning himself not to get caught in this trap. He stood, crossed to the front door. He pulled it open, stepped out into the humid night air. A breeze came from the sea, giving him a chill. He stared out at the docks, trying to fight the dread he felt just looking at it. A few months ago, he’d moved into an abandoned warehouse situated across from the docks. The Sandhyanen Wharf Company had been more than accommodating when Cale had approached them. Since they’d had their name dragged through the muck when children starting disappearing, they’d set him up with a prime view of the Stalker’s hunting ground. “Another girl?”

“Better.”

“Please do not tell me you said there’s something better than a dead girl.”

“You got to admit there are plenty of things better, but in this case, we’ve got a witness.”

“A witness to?”

“Turrell Louden’s murder.”

“Who?” Cale asked as he retreated into his home, started to dress.

“I thought you read the file. Raine had an altercation with him and Jaiden Nedrun at the Key Note. Now the bigger one of them is dead.”

“We’ve actually got someone who saw it happen?”

“Well, no. But she saw him come flying out of his apartment, knife driven through his chin. Something tells me he didn’t plan for it to be there.”

“Cute.”

“You coming?”

“No, not interested.”

“Why not?”

“This has got nothing to do with me.” Cale grabbed a glass filled with water, took a drink. He screwed up his face at the stale liquid. “As fun as it sounds.”

“What? Oh wait, I didn’t tell you the best part.”

“And what’s that?”

“Raine attacked a woman downstairs minutes beforehand.”

“Did he kill her?”

“No. But he was asking about Turrell.”

 “Did we catch Raine?”

Silence.

“You’re a real miracle worker.” Cale sighed into the receiver. “Hold on. I’ll be there to interview her.”

“Great bud—”

Cale slammed down the phone, irritated with his friend, unsure of how much sleep he actually got. He didn’t keep a clock around here, but his gut told him it wasn’t nearly enough. Still, he’d been here hiding away from the world and Raine had been active. Too active. Perhaps his gut to track down Theon had been wrong.

Cale grabbed his coat. He stared at his revolver, then snatched that up as well.

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Justin D. Herd

Justin D. Herd is a purveyor of the weird and strange. He occasionally squawks at friends and family, but does so only under the cover of night. Okay, that's not true. He squawks in full daylight. Drinking games have been built around his peculiarities, but the truth of it is this: he is a loving husband, with two wonderful dem--children. One growls at things he likes, including pretty women. The other has started to learn hand-eye coordination. Neither had made it to the tender age of three. From there, things will only get more interesting. He spends most of his writing time either at a coffee shop or sitting at one of his many desks around his house. Any other place makes it nearly impossible for him to write. He uses horror movies and rock music to help get the juices flowing. His favorite authors are Jeremy Robert Johnson, Alan Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Justin Cronin, and Patrick Rothfuss. He consumes most of his books through audiobooks, but still loves his personal library and getting lost in the printed word.