Immortal of Darkness - Excerpt by Alexis McNeil
Cain fell weightlessly through the wavy wormhole, drifting through time. Half-awake, in a dream-like stupor, he let the time-traveling current move his languid body. To achieve his destination, he visualized a middle-aged woman with long, brown hair, keen in druid magic. Julianna also happened to be his good friend. He craved to be immortal again. His future depended on reversing the spell Rowena had tricked him into casting. Rowena. Cain gritted his teeth. He hoped his mother had been destroyed, or else, when he turned immortal again, he’d return for the conniving witch and finish her off. Cain grabbed the side of his ribs, grimacing. He'd have to have Julianna look at them when he arrived. Without warning, the wormhole vanished, leaving him to plummet into blackness. Arms flailing, pain coursing through him, the dark night sky encompassed him. Emerging like a bullet out of the heavens, he plunged through a roof, a ceiling, a second story floor, and finally, landed onto hard ground. As he crashed to the floor, Cain gasped out in pain. Fighting to keep one puffy, red eye, open, he slumped against a smooth wall at his back. He opened his right fist, sore from hitting the wall on his voyage down, and flexed his fingers. As they opened, they brushed across a smooth wood floor. He squinted through the darkness. Shadows of a table with chairs and its intricate carved legs sat before him. Making a small movement to sit up, Cain sharply inhaled through his teeth. Being mortal sucked. Misery consumed his entire body.
“W-who’s there?” a feminine voice suddenly called out. A dim light switched on over an oriental carpeted staircase to Cain's left. “I-I have a bat," she continued to say. "I’m not afraid to use it!” Cain wanted to laugh. The trembling in her voice suggested otherwise. The last thing Cain remembered, before blacking out, were two bare legs poking out from under an oversized T-shirt, and a club raised over his head, ready to strike down. His muscles tensed. Eyeing the weapon with dread, he had no choice, but to accept that his human body ached. Excruciating pain radiated through his ribs, and vulnerability filled his body for the first time in his long life.
Gwen carefully nudged the crumpled form at her feet with the tip of her well manicured toes. No movement. She craned her head…and cringed. Bleeding scrapes marred the man's stubble covered chin and cheek, while shaggy blond hair hid the rest of his face from sight. Lacerations marked his naked, heavily tattooed torso like roads on a map. Gwen frowned, noticing the one arm hugging close to his ribs. Biting on her lip, she lowered the bat. Gwen glanced up. Her mouth dropped open. She could see all the way up to the starry night sky through the man-sized hole. Gwen looked back down at the man sprawled out on her dining room floor. The unusual tattoos caught her attention, mesmerizing her. They seemed to come to life before her eyes, shimmering and moving briefly, before turning dormant once more. Gwen shook her head. Making herself move, she turned to make way to the phone hanging on the kitchen wall. The police would handle the unconscious intruder. A footstep away from entering the kitchen, a groan escaped the assailant. Gwen whipped around, bat posed, ready to strike. Her fingers continuously shifted on the smooth handle. Silently, she waited for the intruder to make the first move. The hair over the man's face stirred as he blinked a few times, before his eyes slowly opened. A raspy curse filled the silent room. Gwen watched as the man, with his teeth clenched, pushed himself up, so he rested higher up against the wall. The man's head turned her way, revealing his face in the shadowed light. Gwen froze to the spot. Unnatural sable eyes stared directly at her. Covering her mouth with a shaky hand, she glanced away, but hastily returned her gaze, unable to refrain from looking. The man's eyes transformed into clear, ice blue irises, before his head dropped forward. Gwen audibly swallowed. Cain slowly raised his head. Bile rose into his salivating mouth. He focused on the quick, shallow breaths he panted, willing himself to stay awake. He threw his hand to his throbbing skull. His vision steadied, and gripping his side, he took in his surroundings, only to behold a shocked looking, pint-sized lass, standing in front of him. His gaze traveled up sleek, naked legs, from the tips of dainty feet, up to a pale oval face framed with long, jet-black, hair. Wide eyes peered down at him. Cain silently cursed. When he had time-traveled to escape Rowena’s wrath, he had visualized his old friend, and mentor’s home, but the woman standing before him was definitely not Julianna. Who knew where and when he had ended up. A warm, thick substance ran down over Cain’s right eye. Raising his hand, he grunted out in pain. He glanced down at his fingertips. Blood. Cursed humans! Now, he was one of "them", a most undesirable sort. He bled like them, felt pain like them, and God knew what else he would do like them. He had been an Immortal, a champion, a true male to be reckoned with, but that was before Rowena had tricked him. A nasty smile curved his mouth. Immortality would course through his body again if it was the last thing he did. Cain closed his eyes, focusing on the power within. Black magic flowed sinuously through his veins, permeating him with power. The energy didn't seem as intense as when he had been immortal, but he'd avail every ounce of power he had, after he acquired the complicated spell of immortality. Soon, he'd revert back into the indestructible warrior he had been. He was well aware of the fact that Julianna possessed his sacred spell books which held the incantation he needed. Julianna had stolen them from him and then hid them away, thinking she was helping him. Now, he just needed to find her to recover his books.
“Stay where you are!” the lass yelled, flicking on the dining room light. Ah, the human. He had almost forgotten.
Cain glanced up to the woman, his face now illuminated in the bright light. “Leave me."
Gwen froze. That face. That voice. Was it really him? She wanted to reach out and touch him, make sure he was real. Are you crazy? her inner voice screamed. You need to get away from him! What if "she" comes? "There’s nothing here of any value. Leave now, and I won't call the police.”
A smile curved one side of Cain's mouth. Little did the wench know, she had just given herself and the valuable baubles in the house away. Lucky for her, he wasn't a common thief. His gaze lingered on the accelerated rise and fall of her chest. Cain smiled coldly. His licentious gaze wandered up to her frightened one. “I thought a woman named Julianna lived here." Cain noticed the slight tensing around her mouth. This woman did know Julianna. Goosebumps rose on Gwen's flesh. The man before her definitely resembled Cain, but how had he found her? Had he gained his memory back? Had he been searching for her? Gwen watched his face for any signs of recognition. It didn't seem Cain remembered her at all.
Gwen blinked, focusing back on the situation before her and realized her mistake. After her unfortunate pause and the cocksure expression on his face, she knew she had been found out. “Ah," he said quietly, scooting up the wall, grimacing as he went, "so this is her dwelling."
She pointed the bat at him. “D-don’t move!” Keeping her ground, Gwen painfully studied his unforgettable features. She knew deep down in her heart that the injured man before her was Cain. Her heart filled with pain as she held the bat in shaky hands. Hurting him was the last thing she wanted to do, but she would, if it meant keeping her promise. “Stay where you are." Turning for the phone, her guard dropped for a split-second, and in the next moment, she found herself flat on her stomach, with the bat rolling across the floor. A tight grip encased her ankle. Glancing back over her shoulder, she glimpsed a snarl unlike one she'd never seen, plastered across Cain's face. Bile inched up her throat. Her stomach clenched. She was wrong. This wasn't the Cain she had known. What had happened? Was it because of what she had done? She cringed thinking she had anything to do with his new terrifying person. Pain drenched his features, but his grip continued to hold like that of a vise. Cain felt the sweat break-out on his forehead once more. With each breath, agony filled his lungs. “Get-Julianna!” he roared. Gwen jumped to life. Twisting and pulling, she struggled to pull her foot loose. Cain yanked back on her ankle.