Race the Darkness (Fatal Dreams Book 1)(5)

By: Abbie Roads

Queen’s attention snapped to Gran. “You were warned. Now, you shall be executed.”

Isleen thrust words from her heart, words she’d always wanted to speak but never dared until now, when she needed to divert Queen’s attention away from Gran. “You’re not a queen. You’re psychotic. You’re a bitch. You’re evil and stupid and mean. And…and…you smell bad.”

Queen’s wide-spaced eyes nearly bulged out of her block-shaped head. Her fat lips snarled back, revealing teeth so neglected they were the same color and texture as Fritos. She switched her grip on the scissors, fisting the handle, and stabbed the blades at Isleen.

She watched the scissors descend, heard the whisper and swish of them piercing her flesh. Felt only a vague pressure and presence of something foreign inside her body. Smelled sweetness in the air and tasted salt on her tongue.

Queen yanked the scissors from Isleen’s body and held them up. Blood dripped from the blades, sending red streamers down Queen’s doughy arm.

Warmth oozed from Isleen’s side, the heat comforting her cold skin.

“Tomorrow, if you are still alive—off with your head!”

Gran waited until Queen locked them back in the room, then scooted next to Isleen. There were no bandages, no cloths, no tissues. Nothing to stop the bleeding.

“Hold on, baby girl. Just hold on. He’s coming. He’s got to be coming. He will release you. Save you.” The worst part of Gran’s mental breakdown was the delusion that someone would find them. In Isleen’s most desperate of moments, she had allowed herself to believe Gran. Not anymore.

“Your dreams will come true. All of them. Remember the dreams about him. How you loved him and he loved you. Remember the dreams of sunshine on your face and the cabin you shared. Remember…”

There was nothing to remember. They had just been dreams. Silly dreams. No more powerful than Gran’s sleep-talking.

You’re not coming. You’re not going to save me. Because you don’t exist. Never have. I believed in you. Thought you must be real—Gran swore you were. But you were nothing more than hope’s fatal dream. We’re going to die, and no one other than Queen will ever remember we existed.

A rainbow of colors swelled in front of her eyes. Colors she hadn’t seen in years. Colors so brilliant and bright and beautiful that her eyes watered. Death was an alluring kaleidoscope.

Chapter 2

A bloated moon dangled from the sky, tossing silver light across the barren hilltop where Xander’s cabin stood. He sat on the front porch swing, listening to the symphony of sounds only night could produce. A breeze full of relief from the summer sun whispered over his skin. From the woods encircling the yard, leaves rustled and branches swayed and clapped as if applauding Mother Nature’s concert.

Xander closed his eyes—as close to sleep as he was going to get. To other people it was late, the middle of the night, but to him, time didn’t matter. That’s what happened when he couldn’t sleep. The days and nights blurred and blended together with no division between them other than the color of the sky. It was an exhausting, endless sort of existence.

Tonight was worse than ever. His foot jittered against the porch floor. His insides twitched and trembled as if they were about to erupt through his pores. His brain itched. Itched. Actually fucking itched. Short of eating a bullet, there was no way to alleviate that particular sensation.

He couldn’t sit there a second longer. He needed to go somewhere. Do something. Only he didn’t know where or what. He’d figure it out on the way.

In less than five seconds, he was in his truck, cranking the engine. The pick-up turned over with a throaty rumble he usually enjoyed, but not tonight. He jammed his foot down on the gas, gravel chucking across the yard until the wheels got their grip and then rocketed down the mile-long winding driveway.

I’m dying.

Tension grabbed hold of his spine. His heart stuttered, stopped, and started again.

Those two words, spoken in that female voice, were not a product of the Bastard in His Brain. Those words were an auditory hallucination—another enduring effect of the lightning strike.

It’d been a long time since that voice had spoken to him. But still, there was only one sane way to deal with it—booze. There was another way to get rid of the voice, but that involved psych meds and a trip to the nuthouse. And he had a severe nut allergy.

He was ten minutes from the twenty-four-hour gas station with its beer cooler stocked full of liquid oblivion, but only ten seconds from driving past the main house. He should’ve moved years ago, but he couldn’t afford a seven-hundred-acre tract of land as beautiful and isolated as the one his father owned. The benefits of extreme solitude continued to win over the reminder of rejection every time he drove past his childhood home.