Thirst For Souls
(a sneak peek)
Danny R. Milligan
Copyright Ó 2011 by Danny Ray Milligan
All Rights Reserved
No part of this work may be copied without the
Express Written Consent of the Author.
For My Daughter,
1: A lamb, led unto the slaughter…
It was a cold March evening as a big Honda 1000 cc was rolling north on County Road 204, parallel to Slaughter Beach, in the state of Delaware. The big V-Twin had been stripped of all its fairing and other accoutrements, as the rider had little use for flash and none for storage.
Spring nights in this northern clime were apt to be very chilly, but the rider rode with his jacket open, little concerned about the temperature of the air, around him. Though he usually rode with a wide grin on his face, this evening his mien was serious, a frown of concentration knitting his brow.
As he slowly passed a multitude of houses on the right, the summer residences of rich New Yorkers, he slowed, his eyes carefully observing the sandy roadside before him. Once or twice, he paused, studying tire tracks in the sand, but shook his head and moved on, still searching.
Out here, there were no streetlights every few hundred feet, nor were there any security vehicles cruising. This district was far off the beaten path, and there were rarely any outsiders who ventured here, so there was little need felt to pay for rent-a-cops to patrol the quiet strip of beachfront homes. An occasional State Trooper or County Sheriff would prowl by, watching for anything out of the ordinary, but they never found it. Slaughter Beach had never lived up to its name… until tonight, that is.
As he slowed, his eyes inspecting the marks of truck tires that had drifted off the black top and then stopped, the cold offshore wind brought a familiar scent to him. He stopped the Honda, and killed the motor, letting it settle back onto its kickstand. He watched it for a moment, to make sure that it would remain stable in the loose sand and not fall over, then he brusquely pushed his way through waste-high weeds that hadn’t been green since the previous summer.
After he topped the low rise, he could see a small clearing in the weeds, where someone had pitched a tent, hidden from both the road and the nearby beach. He recognized the signs of the professional homeless, one of those who shunned society and existed on the fringes, surviving on a bare minimum. He paused to look down at a burnt-out campfire, only a few embers still glowing amber in the moonlit night, and then continued on, sniffing occasionally as though he were a bloodhound, attempting to recover a trail.
It only took him a moment to find what he sought: a body, thrown carelessly into the brush, where it would be inconspicuous to anyone who happened to be wandering along the beach.
He dragged the body onto the sand, shaking his head, in disgust. Reaching down to his right side, he pulled a saw-tooth knife free of its scabbard. Long and thin, such a knife was more useful for filleting fish or small mammals than it was for the purpose he had bought it for, but it would do.
Bending down, he seized the left arm of the corpse, and began sawing it off, at the shoulder. To his chagrin, the wound his knife made immediately began to smoke, and the flesh of the arm appeared to be trying to re-attach itself.
“Fuck!” he growled. He’d almost arrived too late, and now he would have to hurry. He finished severing the arm, then tossed it back into the brush, where it would be hidden from view but still exposed to the coming morning light.
He made quick work of the other arm and the two legs, then proceeded to separate the head from the torso.
He jerked in surprise as the body beneath him twitched, and a low moan escaped from the lips of the half-severed head that he was holding by the hair.
Sorry about this, bloke, he thought. You’re better off if I just finish what I started, believe me!
He grimaced with distaste at the noises he was hearing when he finally cut through the last bit of flesh, and the head came loose. He bent over, seizing the torso by the collar, and flung it into the brush with the other pieces. He stared into the dead face before him, its eyes watching him and blinking, mouth opening and closing so hard that he could hear the teeth clashing together, then gently laid it down in the weeds, his face softening into a curiously sad expression.
“I’m hopin’ ye go where I can’t, Lad,” he breathed. He tore his eyes away from the frightened eyes of the bodiless head, and briskly walked back towards the tent. This, he seized, noting that it was one of the one-piece jobs that had the bottom sewed on. All the belongings of the dismembered camper weighed it heavily, but he hefted it over his shoulder, walked down to the surf-line where the tide was coming in, and threw it a good distance out into the waves. It floated there for a moment, before the weight of the camper’s property forced it to silently sink down into the depths.
Sighing heavily, he made his way back to the Honda. Before straddling the big bike, he stood there for a moment, sniffing at the wind suspiciously, then his cold blue eyes turned to the south.
He’s got at least four hours jump on me, he thought. But I’ve probably got a good week before he does this again, so maybe I can catch up to him, in time.
He climbed onto the bike, and quickly turned it around, heading south. He was already furious that his quarry was so far ahead of him, and he knew he would lose more time, because he was beginning to get thirsty, himself…
Look for this novel to be released on Amazon.com in Kindle and Paperback format by Christmas, 2011!!!