The Doppler Affect - Excerpts
“Yes, that will do, my friend.” Law stood and surveyed the room as if it was the first time he had seen the carnage. He couldn’t comprehend how one small, pasty man could overwhelm all the hardened criminals he had bribed to work in the cafeteria today. While it seemed impossible, he didn’t dwell on it too long as he was eager to report back to the Prima Maestra and give her the disk. The reward he would receive for squelching a potential leak now seemed worth the many months of being trapped in a wretched prison with the worst that humankind had to offer.
Law casually walked toward the steel double doors on the other side of the room. His footsteps echoed in a rhythmic pattern, a hollow tap followed by a slurping noise from the blood still stuck to one shoe, until he stopped to pull open the door. He stepped out into the vast, sterile cafeteria and stared without fear at the two prison guards. “Gentlemen, it seems there was a nasty fight in the kitchen. I’m sure the warden will want to know about it after I get back to my cell.” Law waited for them both to nod before continuing his saunter out of the cafeteria’s opposite doorway and up the rickety stairs.
Jandarin scanned the shadows that the tree roots threw out, able to detect even the smallest living creature. To his surprise, he didn’t sense anything out of the ordinary. After he passed by the last mound, he spotted the five giant humanoids guarding the horizontal stone doors leading into the earth. The shaggy creatures stared at him with an intelligence in their eyes, which confirmed what he had heard. They were not mindless fighters. In future days they would be known as yetis or bigfoot, living in harsh, desolate lands to avoid all human contact. However, in this age they were called beastias, guardians for the Prima Maestra, and she alone they would die for without question.
Jandarin floated up to them, over exaggerating his bow before speaking. “I have been summoned by your female.” He placed a thick accent on the last word, chiding the beastias for allowing a woman to control their race. The towering creatures merely turned and took their practiced positions around the stones before reaching down to grab their carved handholds. The stones groaned as they scraped past each other, sending up a small plume of freshly ground dust. The stagnant air from below rushed outward, and Jandarin wrinkled his nose when he caught the scent of his mortal enemy. “Why is he here!” His calm demeanor was overshadowed by his rage-filled words. All five of the beastias smiled in amusement, with the one farthest from him responding. Its voice’s deep tone seemed forced, like air being pushed out of a broken tube. “When THE female calls, dogs in heat and even the mindless dead listen.”
But when Michael looked up, he only noticed Candice. She was wearing tan heels that lengthened her athletic legs. As she stepped forward the supple muscles in her calves tensed softly and the fullness of the front of her legs made a mesmerizing pattern under her pleated skirt. Her loosely-knitted, white sweater didn’t completely cover her tight stomach, which drew in Michael’s attention for a moment. But what really captured him were her dark brown eyes, curly hair, and round cheeks, pushed up by the smile on her face.
She opened the back door, placed her right hand against her short skirt, and smoothly slid in next to him. “Hi, Michael.” Her soft voice caused his heart to race. “Hey. Thanks for coming, Candice.” He knew the words were cheesy but didn’t care. “I didn’t think I had a choice. DeSean said you’d be heartbroken if I didn’t.” She laughed ever so softly, with Michael blushing bright enough to light up the car. “Wooah! Now that was damn funny. True, but funny,” replied DeSean as he drove down the bumpy road. Candice caught his embarrassment and gently touched his arm. “Hey, I was only joking.” Michael winked at her. “I don’t care, as long as it got you here.”
He was alone.
Michael rested his head on the front car seat. He felt like he was spinning out of control, and didn’t know what to do. Not now, nor in his life. Helpless, he began to slip into a catatonic state. At that moment a coldness brushed against his face, leaving a frost on his nose and cheeks. He opened his eyes to see a gray, amorphous form rising out of DeSean. The human-like shadow turned toward him before fully extracting itself. What appeared to be a featureless face tilted sideways and looked at him for a few seconds. Michael didn’t move. This is a dream, he told himself, but he was all too familiar with seeing this type of being. It always occurred during times of incredible stress or severe mental weakness. Without warning, ill-shaped arms drove into his body, gripping his lungs with a coldness that stopped his breath. Michael was reminded of a time he had jumped into a pool during the winter, and how his body refused to let him breathe even after he’d climbed onto the deck. Michael tried to move back as it used its hold on him to pull its oval head forward, melding itself into his head. The cold pain that had permeated Michael’s body was nothing compared to what happened next. High-pitched screaming, the kind bred by unbearable horror, shot into his mind and reverberated inside his skull like an explosion inside a cave. Michael tried to pull away again, but the death grip held him. Then a voice rushed out a frantic sentence, with a familiar tone carrying the words. Each word echoed on top of the others, making that last sentence nearly incomprehensible. “Michael. What happened to me? What’s going on?”