|Posted by ashlynnmonroe on May 31, 2014 at 3:50 PM|
**Warning** This is raw and unedited. Enjoy the 1st chapter of my unpublished novella, Untaiming Delilah. The formatting didn't stick when I copied it here. The inner thoughts and telepathy is in italics.
“Hey there Delilah, what’s it like in New York City…” sang Jonathan Brook, her guardian’s lab assistant.
“I swear if you actually said hello like a normal person I’d think you were body snatched by aliens,” Delilah Jones interrupted his serenade. The song was his usual greeting. His cliché musical rendition of her name had been cute for about twenty seconds, and now she found it completely irritating.
He grinned. Jon was a nice albeit obnoxious senior biology major.
She stood outside the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at the UW Madison campus. The breeze brushed her skin. A stronger gust penetrated her cotton t-shirt causing goose bumps to rise on her arms and she shivered. Cold was Wisconsin’s favorite temperature, but this was early September and she was dressed for a warmer day.
Jon held the door for her as she rushed inside the facility. Heat rushed over her and the realization the furnace was already on was a relief and surprise. Delilah’s tense muscles loosened up. Aaron wouldn’t be happy if he saw her.
“You dad is going to be pissed off if you get sick, Delilah,” Jon said, reading her mind.
She shrugged. “Aaron Amun isn’t my father. He’s my guardian and doctor.”
Aaron would freak if she caught pneumonia again. When she was sick, he couldn’t get accurate results from blood tests because her white blood cell count went up. Without the results, He couldn’t give her the right dose 5-23 injection to stave off the seizures.
“Really?” Jon genuinely sounded surprised. He had only been Aaron’s assistant a couple of weeks, long enough for her to know way too much about him, but not long enough for her to be comfortable spilling the sad tale of how she came to live with the doctor her parents had trusted.
“Yep, he’s a good man, but he’s not my dad,” she gave him as much as he was going to get from her. If he really wanted to know there were others in the facility willing to gossip about poor, sickly Delilah and her rare brain tumor that made her see crazy shit.
“What’s going on in your head? You went like a million miles away,” Jon muttered the question with a hint of annoyance in his tone.
“Nothing that would interest you, I promise.”
“I don’t know, you seeming like the kind of girl with deep thoughts and big plans?” Jon said in a flirty way that made her inner voice groan.
“I think I was wondering which Kardashian I want to be when I grow up,” she lied.
He grinned. Not easily fooled are we?
“Aren’t you cute?”
Jon put emphasis on the word cute. As soon as someone discovered she had a terminal illness, interaction always got weird. Flirting back just seemed wrong if she wasn’t going to warn him about how she held hands with grim reaper on a daily basis. Poor Jon didn’t deserve to be the next person she needed to console over her imminent demise.
“Oh, that’s right, I was wondering if they ever found the body of Aaron’s last assistant. He liked to bother me too, and then there was that experiment that went horrifically wrong…” she let her voice trail away absentmindedly and cringed a little bit for effect.
Jon’s eyes widened, just a little, and his nostrils flared. Aaron could get scary intense. Jon backed off, actually side stepping to give her more room. Relief flooded her system and she grinned as she walked a little faster towards the stairs.
Nik moaned. He could smell her, the perfume of her pheromones mingling with the floral products on her skin and hair. He inhaled deeply. As much as breathing her in hurt it also exhilarated him. He bucked and writhed on the thin mattress of his cage. A snarl ripped out of his throat and he his vision sharpened. He screamed as his bones started to break. Transformation. Agony. Death and rebirth, whatever he’d heard this horrific process called no name ever described the torture correctly.
“Fuck!” he screamed, spitting the foaming saliva out, as his body broke in a thousand ways at the same moment.
Yellow, sharp clarity coated his vision and every sound in the building intensified. The soundproofing was only there for the humans. He heard it all when the change stole his body. Her shoes. They had a funny, light click. Even in his torment, he held onto that little piece of her, breathing through the ripping and tearing of his skin and muscles. Her smell was a small comfort. Her. Nik’s snarling cry reverberated through the tiny room. His beastly wail caught between a roar and a bark.
I must control it. This is what that bastard wants. This is what…
Muddled and confused he couldn’t remember whom he hated. The smell. His cock went hard. Desire. Blood. Feast. Soft and delicate. Hot life filling his mouth and coursing down his throat to fill his stomach as he ripped open the weak packaging. Delicious. Delilah.
Her name put a screeching halt to the litany of tumbling consciousness and monstrous thoughts. No. I am not that. I am…
Kill. Eat. Destroy. Take. Mine. Rip. Tear. Fuck. Devour.
Aaron was working frantically at his computer in the lab. He leaned forward, peering at the screen. The dim room made the glow cast by the device illuminate him in a hue that conjured images of a mad scientist. Delilah smiled. Affection for her work-a-holic caretaker left her shaking her head as she watched the maestro at work conjuring magical remedies to control the forces of life and death, or at least that’s how she view her savior’s efforts.
Clearing her throat, she knocked on the door. Aaron glanced up with the barest trace of acknowledgement as he returned to his work for a few moments more. When his fingers stilled he peered at her over the thin edge of the large screen.
“Hi Del, come in and sit down with your sleeve up,” he ordered.
She took off the jacket she’d just grabbed out of the closet in his office. She kept stuff here for emergencies. His lab was her hellish home-away-from-home.
“How was work?” he asked without looking at her as he gathered the supplies.
“Coffee was made, served, and drank. Oh, and I let the customers have some too,” she joked.
Aaron grunted a dry snort of a laugh. That was the best one she’d forced out of him so far.
“Have you had any changes in your senses? See any floaters?” his voice was devoid of concern, only holding a subtle flavor of curiosity. “Are you experiencing anything unusual?”
“No, but I’ve suddenly found this strange back hair, mohawk-thing growing down my spine, and I’m wondering if I should wax or shave?” she said as a jest, flippant.
Aaron dropped the tray he was carrying to rush across the room. He moved so quick her brain couldn’t process what made his characteristic cool, calm, and collected disappear.
Delilah cried out as he jerked her forward and yanked the neck of her t-shirt away from her skin. He moved her forward and to the left. She realized he was positioning her into the light and was actually looking for unsightly hair growth. Jerking out of his grip, she pulled her shirt straight.
“Jesus. Aaron, I’m kidding,” Delilah grumbled. A quick flash of guilt kept her from meeting his eyes. “I was just messing with you.”
The troubled expression didn’t leave his face. She wouldn’t call his gaze angry, but the tick in his jaw said she’d upset him. He worked incredibly hard on her behalf. Guilt burned her as he turned away, and she noticed his lips compressing into a fine line.
Frowning, she reached out and grabbed his hand. “I’m sorry. You know how I get when I’m tired.”
“How have you been sleeping?” He was back in doctor mode.
She tried to shake the unsettled feeling that his excitement over her imaginary freakishness incited. He’d almost appeared—elated. She shuddered and unconsciously rubbed the site where he’d soon be giving her the nightly experimental injection.
“Same as usual, the dreams are still bad. I’m in a cage and I hurt.”
He grunted as he went to get fresh supplies. When he returned, she twisted her arm so he had good access to her vein. Looking at her arm bothered her and she tried to ignore the fact she had track marks like a drug addict from where he’d been taking so much blood lately.
“Don’t forget I’ll still need some of that,” she teased.
Last week she’d been dizzy after he’d finished. He didn’t even glance up as he pierced her flesh and began the process of filling vial after vial. She turned away and gazed at his desk to avoid watching. Even after all this time, she didn’t like to see.
When he finished she sagged as the tension left her shoulders. A tingling started in her temples. She could smell burnt toast. It was happening again.
“Aaron,” she cried out as blinding white light blurred her mind and the sensation of falling made her stomach jerk like a kid who’d gone too high on the swing set. Her seizures were never textbook. Then her mind wasn’t in her body anymore.
Nik fought to control the beast. She was there. With him. He reached out mentally and for a second his consciousness brushed hers. The subtle contact zinged through him. Sensual and alive, the connection dulled his misery for an instant when he touched her thoughts. She made him whole for a wonderful moment. She fought. Delilah always fought.
She wasn’t his kind and didn’t understand. Nik sent her reassurance, compassion, but her terror was the only thing getting through to him now. The beast reacted. He couldn’t restrain the predator when the exhilaration of her fear stirred it awake.
The man fought to stay in his head and protect her, but the wildness inside of him beat frantically at his brain demanding control and freedom.
“No,” he huffed. “Not this time.”
There was something different about the way Delilah’s thoughts moved in his cognizance this time. He wanted to understand, but the struggle to hold on made it hard for him to think. Humans didn’t mind-speak, but it was almost as if…
His body convulsed and twisted in a horrific and pure death as he became. The thinking part of him drained away as instinct and primal needs replaced his higher reasoning. Nik lost his battle with startling finality.
The creature snarled.
© Ashlynn Monroe