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Weekly Shorts – ANGEL MINE by Tonya Cannariato (18+ Halloween Special)

Sunday Weekly Shorts – No. 21

Weekly ShortsSunday Shorts has been retired and now any and everyone can participate in Weekly Shorts. Add a comment with your link and everyone can follow. More detailed info at the bottom following the post and author info.

  • Short story (Available at Amazon or elsewhere such as a blog, or your own contribution etc)
  • Novelette or Novella
  • Anthology with a bunch of shorts
  • Post the synopsis, cover (if there is one) and where you can get it
  • make it under $4 bucks! (short on your wallet)

Angel Mine 18+ANGEL MINE (A Short Story)

A serial rapist murderer is on the prowl; Halloween brings other monsters to his doorstep.

  • By Tonya Cannariato
  • Published by Katarr Kanticles Press
  • Cabin Goddess Rating 18+
  • Published: Oct. 27, 2012
  • Words: 4,512
  • WARNINGRated – M (18+) for strong graphic content, mature subject & dark supernatural sexual imagery which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.
  • Genre – Dark Urban Fantasy / Horror

 

…ANGEL, MINE…

by Tonya Cannariato

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Adam said it quietly, in deference to the brushed metal briefcase sitting like the nuclear football on the table between them.

“You know it’s my only choice.”

“Not really. We’re closing in on him.”

“But your team doesn’t have the evidence to make sure he stays locked up. His pattern means that now I’m in his cross-hairs. Unless he dies first, I’m dead woman walking.” Angelica was quiet but determined. The facts didn’t dispute her argument, either. There was nothing for it but to dial the code and open the case.

The foam padding made it look like a sniper’s custom job, but the slots were filled with carefully spaced and supported vials and syringes. Adam shuddered at the thought of his half-sister having to do this on her own and reached out to take possession of the instruction sheet attached to the top half of the case.

Angelica beat him to it. “I have to do this on my own. Technically, this is suicide, so there can’t be any question of your involvement. It would ruin your career if they pinned my murder on you.”

“But the higher-ups have the clearance to know you’re not actually dead…”

“If everything goes right. The alpha said they’d never tried this cocktail before. I have to look convincingly dead to make the plan work.”

“I hate this plan.”

“I know. But it’s the only way off this dead-end road. It doesn’t matter how much time I spend with other people, how many locks I add to my door, or even how many karate classes I take. Anson always finds a way to get me. I refuse to give him the satisfaction of seeing me give up on my life for the sake of enough security. Five rapes is enough. Can you imagine if he were to succeed in getting me pregnant?” Her voice was getting shrill and Adam tried to calm her down with shushing noises and tentative arm pettings.

“Don’t shush me! I don’t have any good options here. The only bonus if I pull through this, is that I have a wolf form that gets me closer to my study subjects. I…” Her voice trailed off. She had never told Adam what deal she’d made with the local weres to be accepted into the pack. It didn’t look like that would change tonight, either.

Angelica had been the one to convince first him and then her mother that the only way to re-empower herself was to make sure she could never be a victim again. He still wasn’t sure where she’d gotten the information about the San Diego-based weres, but she’d badgered his partner Dave until he had made the introduction to the local alpha wolf. It had taken the better part of the summer to negotiate the contact; there was still a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in place about recognizing the existence and status of weres in America, so gaining the privilege of an introduction was no small feat. Angelica had always been headstrong, but her final argument had sealed her fate: She’d be in a better position than any of her colleagues to advance knowledge of the endangered wolves she’d made her cause.

Who knew what kind of bargain she’d struck with the pack leader to get him to agree to this plan, but Adam had been impressed by the admiration in the man’s eyes when he’d come around to meet select family. Apparently that was standard operating procedure; the pack always notified next of kin when it was willing to take in another member. Angelica’s mother had been thrilled to interpret her free-spirited influence on her daughter as the driving force behind her pursuit of what would end up being communal living. Adam understood the more visceral need pushing her to this extreme. She was giving up a normal life; she too would be bound by the non-disclosure of her new species status. She wouldn’t be able to explain anything to her friends–and, in fact, had been told to remain dead to them.

The family had to cooperate with the cover-up to make it stick.

Their father may have been a philandering fool who couldn’t keep it in his pants long enough to save himself four bastards and a failed marriage with its own kids as collateral damage, but at least their mothers had banded together in mutual support (probably driven by Angelica’s mother’s New Age love of communes), so all the kids were well-taken-care-of. And close. Angelica was the one nearest him in age, and even though they were only six months apart, he’d always reveled in taking care of his baby sister. In fact, it’s what had driven him to join the police force rather than complete a four-year degree right away–after all, he had two other little sisters to watch out for too.

He suspected that was another part of what drove his sister: Her sisters. Adam had been undercover the first time he’d found a body. He was in the major crimes unit trying to infiltrate a local mob operation and still hadn’t expected to turn up a string of dead women. At first, the proximity of the bodies to elements of his work had led his superiors to believe the perp had mob ties. The first bodies had been so badly decomposed and dismembered the force hadn’t even known when to peg the beginning of the timeline.

Those discoveries would fuel his nightmares for the rest of his life. The pretty women disfigured beyond recognition. DNA had been the only way to know for sure they could now close those open missing-persons cases. At least he wasn’t on family notification duty. That would be unbearable.

As soon as Adam had received word on the similar backgrounds and looks of the victims, he’d reached out to Angelica to warn her. In each succeeding case, the girl had shared the same long, brown locks and athletic frame.

Angelica had laughed at his concern, but been prudent enough to enroll in a self-defense class. In the end, even that preparation and fore-knowledge hadn’t saved her the indignity first of being stalked, and then of the multiple rapes. Anson had turned out to be more warped than the profiler had anticipated, acting as if he were in a consensual relationship and coming back for more. He may have been smart enough to have graduated at the top of his class, but he was shiftless enough that he couldn’t pass the background tests top research facilities required. At least Angelica had brought her brother this and all other the evidence right away, so their files were now bulging with details on what else to look for in the past cases.

He had worried that the repeated attacks had brought on some kind of Stockholm syndrome–until she’d come to him with the idea of working out her own revenge. He was going to have to be careful that part of her plan didn’t leak to his department. They just thought she was doing an extreme version of “taking one for the team” to help put a madman behind bars–and gain an edge in her chosen field as a side benefit.

There were no redeeming features to Anson’s pursuit of a serial rapist who escalated to grisly murders. The women were all college seniors, nearly finished with science-related degrees at any one of the local colleges offering that education. They were on their way to serious and important work for the betterment of their fellow beings. The profiler they’d brought in after the fourth body speculated the perp had an inferiority complex and was working on a misogynistic plan to eliminate his competition in the fiercely competitive bioscience arena. Which made him well-educated enough to carry out his crimes with cold-blooded efficiency, leaving behind little in the way of trace evidence.

Somehow, Adam would have to arrange Angelica’s body to entice Anson into a sloppy move. And hold himself back should he cross paths with the psycho to avoid being accused of vigilantism and circumvention of proper procedure.

Angelica was determined to force Anson’s hand, so she closeted herself in her bedroom with the prepared syringes. Adam put on his clean room coverups and gloves and waited.

A gasp had him standing and reaching for the door. “No. Stay there. That was just the first one.”

Adam didn’t sit back down. A second gasp. There was only one injection left. The tension crept up his back and the irony of his sister becoming a werewolf ten days before Halloween poked at his awareness.

“I love you. Take care of yourself.” He barely heard the words before a choked gurgle had him opening the door. She had done it. Two emptied syringes were neatly slotted back in their case, while the third hung precariously from her fingers.

He reached out and grabbed it before it could tumble to the floor. Then he realized his sister was fully naked. She had saved him that step.

Before the overwhelming sadness could set in fully, he stashed the weres’ paraphernalia and made final adjustments to Angelica’s position on her bed. Her skin was already cool, and an unhealthy gray pallor was setting in when he couldn’t take any more. He had to leave inconspicuously and let Anson make his next move.

***

Anson ran his fingers lightly down the smooth curve of her cheek. It was cooler than in life, yet still strangely resilient to his touch. He leaned in to sniff; her familiar scent was missing. He couldn’t bear to admit this might be the end of their affair. He crept up onto the bed where she appeared to be resting–no differently than she had last week. He gulped a deeper breath as he settled on his side next to her.

His body didn’t recognize the cause of her stillness either, and he stiffened with desire.

“I need you, Angel.”

She still didn’t answer. Emergency personnel hadn’t visited, police hadn’t visited, but she hadn’t used her cell phone in at least three days. He’d seen friends stop by and pound on the door over the weekend, only to turn away. He’d been glad for his spare key to  assuage his curiosity; it wasn’t like her to miss a day of work. He was sure there had to be a mistake in her non-responsiveness. He unzipped his jeans and nudged closer to her. Breathing softly on her neck, he thrust closer, shifting one hand to handle her thigh.

“I know you want me too.”

He groaned at the contact with the cool flesh of her inner groin. It inflamed him in a way her usual fight against him never had. Plunging quickly, meeting no resistance, he was overcome in a matter of moments. This was mind-bending. Too bad he wouldn’t be able to do it again.

He lay back on the bed to catch his breath. Staring at the ceiling, he wondered how he could have missed the signs of her ill health. She had been so vibrant. It was what had attracted him to her the first time.

She was also the first one to compete with his interests at his old alma mater. He knew his way around all the campuses, but San Diego State’s system had trained him. He had a special fondness for their biology program–not that his field station work had opened any career doors for him. He had hoped Angelica would be his proxy for that.

A sound at the front door galvanized him to action; he rolled off the other side and tucked himself back in. It could only be her interfering friend, Adam.

He crept to the bedroom doorway and jumped when the man was closer than he expected. Adrenaline coursed through his veins. He crashed into the interloper, ran for the door, and sprinted down the stairwell.

“Adam can take care of her. He wasn’t in time to prevent me from getting my fill. Nobody will have her again.”

He realized his muttering didn’t make him look any saner or safer to the pedestrians streaming down the sidewalk, enjoying San Diego’s fall sunshine. Halloween was just around the corner, and the costume-mongers were out in force, so nobody was paying attention for real-life monsters. He worked to suppress his smirk and contain his commentary. He needed to look unassuming. Blend into the crowd drifting through Little Italy. Melt away into the background. It was going to be hard enough to avoid scrutiny given his tempestuous past with Angelica, but he didn’t need to invite investigation, either.

His phone buzzed in his pocket. He was glad he had remembered to set it to vibrate; it would have been awkward to have strangers hear “One Way or Another” belting out from his hip. Certainly wouldn’t help defuse the profile some of Angelica’s family had been building of him as an insistent stalker. He ducked down an alley and prepared to disappear.

***

She was aware of wetness first. In her crotch. It felt unclean. Then came the burning. The pain was extreme. She’d been warned this would be excruciating, but she had minimized it as part of her drive toward revenge; she reconsidered the cost now, with her nerves screaming at her from every part of her body. It was still worth it. She could feel fire burning through her veins. It felt like purification. It didn’t matter how many times she had been violated before, this was vindication.

She kept her eyes closed and her jaw clenched. She wouldn’t let any evidence of discomfort escape. She would be strong in front of the pack. She would be worthy again.

She sensed they were there, encircling her. She was a newcomer who would be welcomed or rejected on the strength she showed during this baptism into new being. She would be strong. She had to be. She hadn’t survived the filth of the previous months to fail now.

Finally, the fire only warmed instead of burned. She relaxed her vigilance, unclenched her tense muscles. The last tingles flowed through her fingers and toes and she shook herself. She opened her eyes. She hadn’t expected the whole pack to greet her, but all fifteen were there. Granted, they provided a respectful space for her to stretch into her new sinews. She sensed an early inclination toward support. She had passed the first test. She blinked slowly, stretched her paws out in front of her, and bowed in front of the leader. She knew him without doubt, though he wasn’t the largest of the beasts surrounding her.

She stretched first the right hind then the left to shift forward in a tentative approach. She ducked her nose slightly to sniff at his muzzle, then dropped her head to rub against his shoulder. The rest of the pack pressed close. She had passed the second test. She understood her canine instincts. She knew the correct approach. Her observational hours at the San Diego Zoo had paid unexpected dividends. The next minutes were an ecstasy of contact comfort, the external pressure erasing the uncomfortable nerve memories of her first transition. They wove over and around and under each other, sometimes tumbling like puppies, other times with formal friendliness, ensuring the pack’s scents were evenly distributed among all its members.

Then came the mental caress. She hadn’t expected more than a simple existence as a shifter in animal form, but she caught pictures and the occasional word. They were sharing how they’d found her. The image of her brother, frozen against the wall, amused them. They hadn’t missed his fear, and it delighted them.

She was loyal enough to want to defend him, but didn’t know the protocol for this kind of challenge. She lifted her lip: He was family too. He had supported her. The pack subsided.

She tried projecting a real message: “I need to know how to hunt.”

“You’re making progress. That’s a clear thought.”

She couldn’t tell who was responding, though she suspected it might be the second-in-command. She knew these beings fully by their scents, but needed real labels–names–to maintain some sense of human normalcy. She would learn to hunt and transform on command. Then she would begin the real work.

The second-in-command jostled her shoulder and pulled her attention back to the group. They were milling around, some noses in the air, some to the ground. They were looking for prey. She needed to know how to use her nose.

First, the air. There were currents of warmth and coolness; dipping your nose with intention through the varying temperatures allowed you to sort scents. The warm air moved faster, was almost slippery, let you find and track movement.

Next, the ground. The particles of smell settled to the earth. She could tell there had been a crowd here earlier, but she couldn’t tell who or what. A soft snort cleared her nose to try again. This time smell settled into picture: A butterfly, the rich scent of robins–there had been at least 5–rabbits (a pair of them), and squirrels (3 had chased through the bushes). She was getting a handle on this. Where were the people smells?

“Be careful. We don’t want to scare the neighbors. You’re not moving silently yet.”

She looked over her shoulder at the admonishment. The rest were fading deeper into the shadows of the hills, while she was poking her nose out over asphalt. She knew there was a good reason to keep moving forward, but she had more to learn from the pack, so she turned tail on that enticement and slunk into the underbrush. She was the only one rattling twigs and pebbles. She watched her paws more closely. Followed the wolf in front of her. Ten minutes later they were in the dappled depths of mountainous terrain she hadn’t known was so close. It was time to rejoin human form now that they were at the pack’s lair.

It was almost as painful in reverse. And then there was the embarrassment of not knowing where to look, confronted by breasts and penises whether she looked up or down. The group filed into the underground accommodation, which was surprisingly light and spacious. There was a stash of t-shirts and sweatpants geared to a one-size-fits-all mentality, so everyone was modest in short shrift, and settled on well-worn leather couches.

The man next to her leaned closer. “I’m Dan. Remember me?”

“Sure. You’re the one who came to that last self-defense class–and mopped the floor with the instructor.”

He chuckled. “It’s good to remember even being well-prepared isn’t always going to be enough to get you through.”

“It helps keep you out of the doldrums of victimization, though. I’m Angelica, by the way.”

“Yeah, we know. Thom, our leader, made sure we all knew your story before we took on your case.”

“How much do you know?”

“There’s a serial killer stalker rapist on the prowl. He targeted you.” She saw vague nods from the rest of the group; they were listening but not intruding.

“You know why I volunteered for the transformation?”

“I’m sure it’s revenge-related. Not many women consent to breeding for us without a strong, overriding motivation.”

She blushed. She must have been naive to think she could bargain again after the deal had been struck.

“I’m sorry. That was poorly said. You’ll have all the time you need to adjust to our way of life.”

She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. It was hard to imagine any emotion other than revulsion involved in coupling, but his body language was gentle and his expression was solicitous. Adam must have told the group more about her past than she had thought. “Good to know. After all, you’re wolves. Who knows what kind of bestiality you’re into?”

“HA! And you still agreed to join us? You must really be desperate for revenge. Our beasts are actually quite gentle, and have nothing on the violence humans can bring to the table.”

Angelica had never imagined her first post-transformation conversation would be a philosophical dissection of human brutality. She muttered: “You would be too, if you had been serial-raped.”

He chuckled. “We know the value of patience, but if you ever feel pressured, let me know.”

“So, when do I get to track that piece of shit?”

“It’ll be tonight, we just don’t like our justice missions to be visible in the light of day.”

She nodded. At least she wouldn’t have to wait much longer. “How long did it take for my transformation to kick in?”

“Oh. Well… The drugs kept you under for longer than we expected. You were mostly dead for about 10 days.”

“Wow. And the police haven’t caught him yet?”

“Uh. Not sure.”

“Seriously?” She panicked. What if the human justice system got him first? These guys wouldn’t be able to break her into a jail for her revenge, would they?

“Settle down; it’ll be OK. There’s really no place he could end up that would be beyond us.”

She eyed him carefully. He wasn’t avoiding her stare. “I guess I’ll have to trust you on that.”

“Just pay attention and keep up. We’ll help you serve justice.”

Thom called the group to attention. “We’ll be out on a short recon in a small group tonight, so the rest of you are at liberty. I’ve updated the chore board, and Samantha, you can show Angelica how we manage communal tasks.”

She looked across the room to a short red-head, who smiled and waved, but kept one hand wrapped around the arm of the man next to her.

Dan nudged her. “That’s the other reason women convert: They fall in love. The only way to mate is if you’re both wolves.”

She shuddered. That was commitment.

Thom said, “Since it will be a late night, let’s eat now so you all have a chance to get to know Angelica a bit better.”

Three members of the group got up and disappeared down a hallway. They returned shortly with heaping trays of steaks, potatoes, and greens. It was odd to be eating dinner in what amounted to a living room, but Angelica noted surprisingly good manners among the group. Once a plate was in front of you, there was no grabbing, or reaching, or talking with full mouths. She would have to revise some of her preconceptions about living as a beast.

Dan leaned close again. “I’ll be on your team tonight. We already have the scent, so it shouldn’t be any problem to find your man.”

“Really? Not even if he’s in prison?”

“You’ll like the magic that comes with being a were. Just wait and see.”

She contented herself with that assurance and enjoyed her food. And was happy she hadn’t lost her taste for a good salad, either.

For all that Thom had invited the group to get to know her, Angelica wasn’t beleaguered by questions, so it came as a surprise when he called for attention again. “Since this is a recon and revenge mission, I want you all on lock-down until you get my all-clear. Let’s not have any rogue blood-lust tainting the job.”

That was more like what Angelica had feared. As they left the bunker, though, it actually only amounted to closing the door behind them, and making sure only she, Thom, and Dan had joined the hunt.

“Do you have to go on lock-down a lot? Is there a real danger of rogue blood-lust?”

Dan snorted while Thom laughed outright. “That’s an inside joke. We are not the monsters around here.”

Angelica stared at her feet and listened to the two men sniff the air. Dan spoke up, “I think I have it.”

“Angelica, follow Dan’s lead. Breathe deeply. Tell me if you can identify anything familiar.”

She took a tentative step forward, inhaling through her mouth. A huge variety of smells assaulted her system and she coughed. It was like being overwhelmed by the competing smells of a smoky bar.

“Easy! It’s better to breathe through your nose when you’re trying to sort out one specific scent.”

She tried again. Small sips of air helped clarify her impressions. All of a sudden she understood. “There! Anson is over there!”

The men smiled at her enthusiasm. They loped down the hill and walked in human form through the city streets, confirming their direction every few blocks. Angelica felt empowered again. Exhilarated by the quick pace and boundless energy available in her reborn body. Finally, the scent trail concentrated, and the three slowed to a stroll. He was close.

Angelica noted the shabby apartment complex, with convenient alleys criss-crossing what must have been the projects. She’d never been here before, but it would be an ideal hiding place for a person of Anson’s caliber.

Thom said, “Now it’s time to go wolf. The sun’s well down, this neighborhood isn’t well-lit, and there are enough people around in costume that we’ll be inconspicuous enough.”

His suggestion was enough to start the process in Angelica. It was still painful, but her goal was in reach so she endured this as well.

On four paws, the trio padded up the stairs and down the hall. Breaking open the door was a simple matter of a strong shoulder shove. Muffled noises in another room led them through the dingy entryway into a ramshackle living room. Another closed door quietly pushed open. There was a naked back, upright, undulating slowly on a small bed. Then a slap and a whimper from below him.

Angelica growled, reared up, and pounced. There was a woman under him. She was drugged, the same way Angelica had been. He was trying to get away with it again. She howled in fury. Anson would never do this again. She managed a partial shift so he would know who she was. Anson screamed like a little girl as he found a woman’s eyes in the beast who had accosted him. “You’re dead!”

“No. But you’ll never rape again.” The claws on her half-transformed hands worked wonderfully as she reached down and tore off his genitals.

Anson fainted and Angelica heard one of the men in the other room on the phone. “Yeah. This is an anonymous tip-off. Your suspect, Anson Jones, is in the projects off the I-5 south of the bay. I’ll leave his phone off the hook for you to trace, but I’m not sticking around.”

The men did a quick recon to make sure they hadn’t left anything behind and Angelica flushed the offending flesh down the toilet, then followed them back outside into the darkness. This Halloween would bring a different set of monsters, and the over-large canids patrolling the streets weren’t concerned with them.

 

The moon was bright enough to light Angelica’s way, but though revenge was sweet, she wasn’t sure she traveled the lighter path.

 

Tonya CannariatoA voracious reader since she was a toddler, and an ordained spiritualist, Tonya Cannariato has now presided over the marriage of her love of reading and her love of writing. She’s lived a nomadic life, following first her parents in their Foreign Service career through Africa, Europe, and Asia, and then her own nose criss-crossing America as she’s gotten old enough to make those choices for herself. She’s currently based in Milwaukee with her three loves: her husband and two Siberian Huskies. She suspects her Huskies of mystical alchemy with their joyous liberation of her muse and other magical beings for her inspiration. She loves to sleep, to watch her interesting dreams, some of which are now finding new life in written form.

TONYA is currently getting ready to launch a tour with First Rule Publicity for her second novel, DEMENSIONAL. Check out the tour page to see when and where she will be in November! Tonya’s “MAKE MINE AN ORANGEBERRY” Interview is happening on the 3rd of NOV. This blog has been and is going to be saturated by this incredibly inspirational friend of mine and, again, I am happy as a girl with a pound of fried bacon and two fresh tomatoes!

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WHAT is YOUR WEEKLY SHORTS?

Weekly Shorts

Weekly Shorts is the revised feature for Sunday Shorts. The idea is pretty basic share a short story, an anthology of short stories, a novella, or a quick weekend read that is also short on your wallet!

  • CHOOSE your own selection of: a short story, an anthology of short stories, a novella, or a quick weekend read that is also short on your wallet! (from Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, free download, a blog post to a short story, etc generally under $4).
  • You do not need to review it, you can say “OOOH LOOK this is awesome sounding!” It is an unsolicited share and potentially a great way to find new blogs to follow. So make sure you comment and share your choices and if you post make sure you share your link!
  • Tweet it with the #weeklyshorts hash tag! 

Please join us at our Goodreads Group and see whats on our shelf! Add a comment with a link to your find of the week so we all can go and see!  If you choose to share your own short story or flash fiction please link and include the info of this feature so folks can find out how to share in the fun!

If you are not writing a Weekly Short Post but happen upon one while perusing the freebies, short stories etc, add it here, and add a comment on one of the participating blogs. Author sites are great to find short stories to read BTW.

It is an under-appreciated genre.  If you do not have a blog, you can leave it in the comment section, add it to the group list, share it with your friends on Twitter using #weeklyshorts when you share! Remember to have fun! Any questions feel free to contact me, otherwise …..

WHAT is YOUR WEEKLY SHORTS?

 



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2 Comments

  1. Your blog isn’t letting me comment from my own lappie now either. This is the first time I’ve been able. And great weekly shorts pick. Sorry I forgot I suck

  2. Thanks Kriss! I hope everyone else likes it as much as you do. 🙂
    Show me some love!

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