Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.|
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.
New Berwick, Illinois--a mystic place where witches rule under the watchful eye of the Dominions.
Sorry for being away so long; I had to work with my editor on rewriting 21 chapters of The Animal Doctor. Thank you for your patience. Hope you will enjoy the latest installment of Dark Covenant.
(Recap from July's installment.)
Jessie Carter has been complaining of nightmares. His best friend, Karl Bergess, takes him to his Uncle Ward, an expert on the supernatural, to see if he can shed light on what's happening to Jessie. Uncle Ward tells them he thinks it's a succubus: A demon who seduces men by putting them in a deeper sleep, making them think they're dreaming while it performs intercourse and or oral sex on their victims. Karl thinks it’s funny and cool, but Jessie isn't laughing. Uncle Ward sympathizes with Jessie and tells him he'll do his best to find the information he'll need to: Number one-- to discover what the demon really wants, number two--to know why it chose Jessie, and number three--to learn how to stop it.
(From July chapter 23)
“That’s really a Succubus?” Jessie asked pointing his finger at the page.
“No one truly knows what one looks like—only that it appears in dreams in the form of a beautiful, voluptuous woman in order to seduce men usually, but not limited through oral sex. The male counterpart is the incubus." Ward raised his eyebrows, then he said, "Sex with one of these things is said to be quite intense."
“Far fucking out,” Karl blurted and grinned.
His grin soon faded when he looked over at Jessie who had flopped back in the chair stone-faced with his mouth open.
Ward frowned at Karl. “For God’s sakes, this is not funny.”
“I’m sorry Uncle Ward, I didn’t mean anything. I just thought—”
“Why is this thing after me?”
“I don’t know, son. But that’s what we need to find out.”
Uncle Ward saw Karl and Jessie to the door and promised Jessie he would find out all he could about the nightly visits from the Succubus. When Uncle Ward closed the front door, Jessie and Karl stood outside looking at each other in amazement because of the many clicking sounds they heard coming from the different locks Ward used to secure his safety. After hearing the final click, they turned and slowly walked to Karl's car and got in.
"Dude, that was some creepy shit my uncle just laid on us. I can stay the night if you want," Karl said buckling his seat belt.
"I don't mean to sound like a pussy, man, but would you? I'd appreciate it."
"Make that two pussies. That shit freaked me out too."
"You know," Jessie said. "I don't remember hearing all of those locks when your uncle first opened the door."
"Um, neither do I. Maybe your story freaked him too."
The ride back to Jessie's apartment was silent. Karl had glanced over at him several times during the drive and found him quite occupied with his thoughts. Karl wanted to make conversation, if only to discover just what Jessie was thinking, but thought it better to remain silent until he could, at least, contribute some answers to the mystery of the succubus and its torment of Jessie.
Back at the apartment, the men remained silent, with the exception of some small talk; after brushing his teeth, Jessie bid Karl goodnight and went into the bedroom, leaving Karl to slumber on the living room sofa.
The sofa was a bit uncomfortable and Karl found it hard to fall asleep. He turned on the TV for some late night entertainment and soon dozed off.
The next morning when Karl woke, he rose and walked into the kitchen to make coffee. He stood in the doorway yawning and scratching his butt and observed Jessie staring out the window.
"Good morning," Karl said after a wide-mouth yawn.
Jessie never answered, but stood like a statue as he continued to stare out the window.
Karl walked over to the kitchen sink and reached above it for the cabinet's knob. "How was your night?" Karl asked while looking around in the cabinet for the coffee can. He took the can down from the shelf then half-filled the glass coffee maker with water. As Karl measured the coffee grounds and added the desired amount to the filter, he continued looking over at Jessie. Karl pushed the on switch button and took down two coffee mugs and placed them on the counter.
"Hey, Jess, you all right?" There was a pause.
"Why shouldn't I be?" was the cold and almost robotic response.
Karl walked over and placed his hand on Jessie's shoulder and gently pulled him around to face him. Karl was taken aback, and he swallowed a lump in his throat at the sight of Jessie's face that was dark, with eyes as lifeless as a shark's just before it bites.
"For God's sake, dude, what's up with you?" Karl snapped.
Jessie's lips moved, but another voice, gruff and whispery said, "I'm not Jessie."
Next door, Mrs. Bingham, after listening a few seconds with her ear to the wall, phoned the police while her husband stood at her side.
"What is your emergency?" the dispatcher asked.
"Send the police. No. Not for me; it...it's my next door neighbor, ah...ah Mr. Carter...ah, Mr. Jessie Carter."
"Okay, Ma'am, calm down. What about Mr. Carter?"
"It's...it's awful. Oh, dear God," she said, turning towards the sounds coming through the wall.
"Okay, Ma'am...Ma'am. I need you to focus on talking to me. I'm sending help as we speak."
Mr. Bingham grabbed the phone. "It sounds like someone is killing him. We can hear furniture crashing, and glass breaking and, Jesus; I've never heard a man scream so."
"Do you know who's in there with him?"
"No. But please, he needs help. I'd go in myself, but my wife ..."
"Absolutely do not go in there. The police will be there shortly."
"No, I won't," Mr. Bingham said.
"Don't leave your apartment; and lock your door."
"Yes, we will, but please hurry."
"Help is coming, sir."
As soon as Mr. Bingham clicked off, he and his wife placed their ears to the wall, but heard only groaning.
"Hear that?" Mr. Bingham said to his wife, "I think he's still alive."
"Thank God," she said.
Five minutes later, several police officers filed down the hall. Then the building manager came with the key to Jessie's apartment. First, a policeman's knock and call out then, when no response came, the manager used his key to enter the apartment. The Binghams peeked out and then entered the hall only to be told by police to stay back. By this time, several neighbors had gathered in the hall and were commanded by an officer to go back to their apartments until police found out exactly what they were dealing with.
Mrs. Bingham poked her head out of the door. "I think he's still alive. We heard groaning," she said.
"Please, ma'am, let us do our own investigation," an officer cautioned her, "and stay inside, ma'am, please."
But no sooner had the police entered the apartment, the Binghams and other tenants crowded in the hallway and stretched their necks to see what had happened.
The kitchen was in shambles, appliances on the floor; the table overturned, chairs scattered around the room; the coffee grounds and black coffee mixed with blood on the floor; and there was blood on the walls, ceiling and splatters of it on the stove, cabinets and refrigerator. There were broken dishes and shattered glassware everywhere. In the middle of it all was Karl. His face was bloody and twice its normal size; his eyes were swollen shut, and there were deep slashes on his face, neck and torso. Karl's legs and right arm were twisted; he held his side with his good hand and seemed to jerk with every breath he took. His T-shirt and underwear were ripped--soaked with blood and his left shoulder looked like it had been in a meat grinder.
"Who did this to you, Mr. Carter?" a female officer asked.
"Not ...Carter," Karl wheezed out with blood bubbles forming from the side of his mouth.
"You're not Carter?" asked the female officer. "Then who are you?"
"Did Carter do this to you?" another officer asked.
Karl gagged, coughed up dark red blood and then blacked out.
The police were not certain of how many people besides Carter were involved in the attack. The statements detectives got from the Binghams and other tenants on the floor were quite similar; that is, Jessie Carter had lived there for over two years and that he was a very nice and quiet young man. "Don't know why someone would want to harm such a nice man," said one of the tenants.
"Never had a moment's trouble out of him, the whole time," the tenant manager had told the detective.
“Coming through, coming through,” the paramedics shouted to officers who backed up against the wall and out of the way of the fast moving gurney.
Mrs. Bingham got a quick look at the unrecognizable battered man.
“God be with you Mr. Carter,” she said.
“We’re all praying for you, dear,” another tenant said.
The police, who routinely kept details of a crime from the public, allowed the tenants to continue to think it was Jessie Carter on the gurney. The police had deliberately kept tenants away from the TV reports on Jessie Carter being the suspect, until they could get a statement from each who lived on his floor.
The paramedics work feverously on Karl, inserting IVs, administering oxygen, and checking his vitals. He would need lots of blood and they had to get him stable before reaching the hospital for him to have even a slim chance of surviving.
At the hospital, Karl had to endure ten and a half hours of surgery just to stop the bleeding and repair his many broken bones, with more surgeries to come. Doctors were puzzled to why he hadn't died given the damages to his organs. The surgeon told his family that he probably wouldn’t last the night. But that they were flying in an expert that had had success with patience in near death conditions. The doctor told them to pray.
An APB was put out on Jessie. His picture hung in every county sheriff’s office and Illinois police station with a statement--Armed and Dangerous. The media made a plea to the public: "If you see Jessie Carter, do not--we repeat, do not try to apprehend him, but call 911. His victim, twenty-five year old, real estate agent and fellow employed at Blue Hurst Realtors in New Berwick has been rushed to New Berwick Shock Trauma with life threaten injuries. We'll have an update of this terrible incident as soon as police release more information. Now, back to you, Elaine."
"I knew there was something fishy about him," said one of the tenants on his floor to a detective. "The quiet type, always staying to himself. They're the ones you've got to watch," she concluded.
"I could tell the minute he handed me his deposit and first month's rent and I handed him the key that he was trouble," said the same manager they'd questioned before. "I should have listened to my gut."
Where was Jessie Carter? And why had he so viciously attacked his best friend? Karl's Uncle Ward believed he knew. Now, finding Jessie before the police did was crucial.
New Berwick, Illinois is comprised of four regions: Falcon Haven, Northern and Southern Greyscott Falls, Sheerfield County and Ironforge.
Northern Greyscott Falls:
River Porter....... Main Character
Jewel Porter....... River's wife
Their daughters....Chelsey, Abby, Dria, and Becca
Southern Greyscott Falls:
Dex Porter.........River's brother
Matthew (Matt) Porter... Dex's son
Jan Porter ....Dex's wife and Jewel's cousin/sister-in-law
Raymond Carter.. Dex's neighbor
Debbie Carter... Raymond's mother
Beatrice ....... Jewel's best friend
Kayla Morrison.. Beatrice's niece
Wayne Tilbert....... Sheriff of Sheerfield County
Reece Tilbert....... Wayne's wife/Sheerfield Bank president
Veronica (Ronnie) Tilbert...Wayne daughter/Kayla's BFF
Christopher Tilbert.........Wayne and Reece's son
Christa......................Veronica and Kayla's BFF
Bob Wilson..................Sheerfield County Coroner
Hollie Brewer...............Corina's sister/Sorcerer
New Berwick residents
Art Work: Her Eyes by Diane Azdamar at dianae.cgsociety.org