Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Debt

Content advisory: Horror story, violence.

On the fifth anniversary of the day Tonya Bradford had been declared an acquitted woman, she decided a celebration was in order. She admired herself in the mirror and shoved a stray lock of hair into place. At twenty-seven she was still smoking hot. She would find a man to bring home. She might even let him spend the entire night. But only if he pleased her.

She made one last assessment of herself and smiled to inspect her teeth. She had just bleached them to white perfection. Her gaze strayed to a curled photo lying on the vanity. She picked up the faded print then tossed it in the wastebasket. She didn’t know why she’d kept it. Mickey had cost her no end of trouble and expense in attorney’s fees. Not that the money hadn’t been well spent on her attorneys. Without them she would be sitting in prison for the death of the little brat.

It wasn’t her fault her date had kept her out too late and Mickey had suffocated in the trunk. Her lawyers’ skillful presentation had convinced the jury, mostly doe-eyed women, that the three year old had climbed in and the lid had fallen shut and locked automatically. Beating the child endangerment charges had taken a lot more work, but her lawyers had prevailed, and she was a free woman. Totally free now that Mickey wasn’t hanging around her neck like an albatross.

Once she had made it past the nasty legal stuff, her life had gone on so much better without the little shitass brat to tie her down.

The experience had served one good purpose though. Now she always used protection. She sure as hell didn’t want to undergo anything like that again. She’d been lucky all the way around. She’d even gotten through the unwanted pregnancy without getting stretch marks on her flawless skin.

She ran her hands down the sides of her tight red dress. It was her favorite. The garment pushed her breasts up until they almost spilled from the top, and every man she passed ogled her. No little black dress for her. Red was her color and she wore it well.
One hour later, Tonya stepped inside The Poisoned Apple nightclub. The Apple was a prime place to meet men. She waved to Chuck, one of the bouncers, and gave him a seductive smile, not that she would ever sleep with him. He was so beneath her standards but it was fun to play with him and let him think that maybe someday she might grace him with a little special attention. She teased and taunted him every time she went to the club.

Three other men waved and smiled before she made it to the bar. She flirted with all of them, but tonight, to celebrate, she wanted a new man. Someone special to take home and tickle her in all the right places.

“Jimmy,” she called to the bartender. “My usual.” She loved Long Island Tea. And she’d worked up quite a tolerance for them. Polishing off at least five and driving home without drawing attention from the highway Nazis wasn’t even a challenge. No driving under the influence arrests for her.

She swiveled her head, scanning for new meat. She panned around the club until she riveted onto a blond god. Her body instantly zinged in all the right places. She had to have him for the night. She watched to see if he was with a woman. Not that it mattered. She had man snatching down to an art. But she didn’t want to be bothered with games. At least, not those kinds of games.

She made eye contact with him and winked.

He smiled and pushed through the throng until he stood beside her at the bar. “Mind if I sit?” He indicated the stool next to her.

“Not at all,” she purred. “I’m Tonya.”

“Dominic Davenport,” he said. “This is my first time here.”

“I come here every once in a while,” she said.

Jimmy brought her drink and she reached for her purse. Dominic stopped her with a hand on the back of hers. His skin was soft and warm. “Please allow me,” he said.

“Why, thank you,” she said and touched his arm.

He shelled out the bills and gave her a radiant smile that showed teeth even whiter and more perfect than her own. She had to have him. She batted her mascara coated lashes at him.

He leaned closer. He smelled really good. The scent was unfamiliar but she bet his cologne cost a fortune. His clothes certainly were expensive right down to his shoes. “So, what do you do for a living?” she asked.

“I’m in debt management. I’m the head of the department,” he said and winked.

“I just knew you were a manager. You have the presence of a leader.” She put her hand on his arm and this time she left it there. “I bet you do a fantastic job.”

“You’d be surprised at how well I do my job.” He gave her another toothy grin. “Hey,” he said. “I know a guy who’s having a party tonight up in the hills. Some Hollywood people might even show up. A director will be there and possibly an actor or two.”

“Really?” Excitement shot through her.

“Yes. Would you like to go? You never know who might be there.”

“I’d love to.” She snatched her purse and stood before he had a chance to change his mind. “I’ve never gone to a party with celebrities before.” She’d rather strut her stuff for the director, than meet actors. Hell, she’d grown fond of putting on a performance for the cameras. She should have won an Oscar for best actress at her trial. Maybe she would go home with him instead. When she finished with him, he’d be begging to put her in a movie. She should be in the movies. A knockout like her was what people paid good money to see. Any director knew that.

Dominic escorted her out of the club. “Would you like to ride with me? I can bring you back for your car any time you want.” He motioned to a black BMW.

“Oh, sure,” she said. “She’d never been in a BMW, and she wasn’t passing up the opportunity. He held the door for her and she slipped into the sleek car. The director would bring her back for her car though.

He got in and gave her a mischievous grin. “Do you like to go fast?”

“Oh yes. I love nice cars.”

“Put your seatbelt on.” He keyed the engine to life with a roar and peeled out of the parking lot. In seconds the car flew down the highway. He wove through traffic like a racecar driver.

She was only a tad frightened though she wouldn’t admit it. He grinned over at her. “I better slow down. Don’t want to kill us. I don’t usually drive so fast. I think I must be under your spell.”

She giggled and touched his arm again.

He tossed his beautiful blond head and grinned like a school boy. Maybe she would at least have him in a spare room before she ditched him for the director. A girl had to get the most bang for her buck. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d had two different men in one evening. She always stayed one jump ahead of any man. She almost giggled at her cleverness.

“Hey, have you ever stopped at Blue Heron Lake at night?” he asked.


“Oh my God. It’s so beautiful under the moonlight. You simply must see it. Do you mind if we stop for a few minutes?”

She did, but he sounded so enthusiastic about the stupid thing that maybe she should play along. She would tease him for it though. She’d make sure his balls were blue and aching before they left.

He pulled off the main road onto a rutted secondary for a couple of miles, then he eased over and parked. After he grabbed a flashlight from the glove box, he got out and trotted around the car to hold the door for her. He captured her hand and led her along a twisting path through thick, reaching trees. She dodged a branch that almost snagged her dress and tottered on her high heels.

“Oh hell,” he said. “I’m afraid I didn’t think about your shoes. Heels and the woods just don’t go well together. I’m sorry.”

“How much farther is the damn lake?” she demanded.

“Tell you what. I really need to relieve myself. I’ll take a whiz and then we’ll go back and get to the party.”

She crossed her arms to wait while he went off the trail and maneuvered behind a thick bush. For heaven’s sake what was wrong with him? He should have stepped off the trail and did his business. It wasn’t like she wouldn’t see his dick before the night was over.

Minutes ticked by and irritation coursed through her. “Dominic? What the hell are you doing?” Probably beating off. She was damn hot. But he could at least wait for later.

He rustled around in the bushes.

“Dominic? I want to leave. Now!”

He didn’t answer.

“Dominic?” Maybe something was wrong with him. Terrific. She’d forgotten her cell phone on the charger. What if he was sick and needed a doctor? Hauling an incapacitated man through the woods wasn’t on her to do list. Oh well, he’d just have to wait for her to go back to the bar and send help.”

“Dominic, if you don’t come out, I’m leaving and sending someone back with your car.” Shit. Maybe he really was sick. “Dominic?”

No answer.

“Stupid fucker,” she muttered under her breath and tottered off the trail in her ridiculous shoes. She should put one of her spiked heels up his ass when she found him.

“Dominic?” She stopped and the hairs on her arms lifted. What if he wasn’t sick? What if something had happened to him? What if they weren’t alone in the woods? Gooseflesh pimpled her skin. She listened carefully and peered into the dark. Why hadn’t she kept the flashlight?

Something close to her moved stealthily. The sound was small, but clearly audible in the still of the night.

“Dominic?” she hissed.

Whatever was ahead of her moved again and this time it didn’t try to be quiet.

Tonya took three strides before a huge black shape literally landed in front of her. She screamed and staggered backward. Her heel caught on something and she went down hard.

A monster straight out of hell stood over her. It drew back black lips, showing a mouthful of long sharp teeth in a surreal grin.

She scrambled backward, scraping her hands, digging her expensive heels into the dirt. The monster unfurled great bat-like wings that flapped lazily. The motion of its wings stirred up a foul stench resembling rotten meat and eggs gone bad.

Tonya moaned. The thing was the height of a very tall man but it was nothing like a human. It had a dragon’s head. Its body was covered with black scales that reflected the moonlight. It stood slightly hunched over on powerful hind legs and a long tail whipped back and forth. Its front limbs were smaller. Curved claws, at least five inches long, tipped its bony fingers. And two small, hornlike protrusions topped its head.

“What’s the matter, whore?” the thing said in a voice bearing a frightening likeness to Dominic’s.

She scuttled backward on her hands and heels. “Leave me alone.” Her words came out in a shrill screech.

“I can’t. I’m here to collect a debt.” It grinned again.

Tonya’s bladder let go.

The dragon-monster rubbed its clawed hands together. “I’ll give you a sporting chance. Something you never gave Mickey.”

“Wha. . .what?”

“You remember Mickey, don’t you? You know, that little baby you had. The one you left locked in a trunk while you went out to get fucked. Yeah, that Mickey.”

She moaned. “Please…”

“I bet your son begged to get out of that trunk. Whadda ya think?”

She sobbed and inched backward.

“Tell ya what, bitch. If you can make it back to the car, I’ll let you go.” It snickered and drool ran from its mouth. “If I catch you…I collect the debt.”

“Who are you?” she choked out.

“Some call me Karma, but I’m known by many names. Revenge, Retribution, Justice, Fear, Reaper. Your Worst Fucking Nightmare. Take your pick. I answer to any of them. He grinned again and ran a forked tongue over his teeth.

“You better get rid of those shoes if you want any hope of beating me. I’m pretty fast. I’m hungry, too. I haven’t eaten in a few days. The one who sent me asked me to do a good job, so I dieted.”

“Who sent you?” It came out weak and frightened sounding.

“All in good time. Now you best be on your way. Unless you want to lay there and let me kill you, but that won’t be as much fun. I’d rather play with you first.” He snorted and snot blew from his nostrils.

Grunting with fear, Tonya kicked off her shoes, rolled over and lurched to her feet. She ran with everything she had. Rocks and sticks gouged into her feet, but she didn’t slow. She stepped on something sharp and felt the wetness of blood. She’d never run so hard or so fast. Moments blurred. The trailhead was in sight and her hope surged. She was going to make it! She was—Something crashed through the woods behind her.

She screamed, but she didn’t look behind her. If she saw that thing behind her she might go mad.

The monster gained on her. It plowed through the brush like a bulldozer and then she thought its hot breath blew on her back. Something cut the air and burning pain tore down her back. Screaming, she stumbled but caught her balance. Hoarse grunts and a sulphurous stench preceded another whoosh of air before claws tore her back again. Her shredded dress fell from one shoulder. Warm blood ran down her skin and soaked into the thin material over her ass.

The thing laughed and its breath warmed her neck. She shrieked. Claws sank deep into her back and yanked her up short. Her screams echoed through the trees. The monster lifted her off the ground and threw her. She sailed then landed hard in a heap.

Though the beast had launched her at least fifteen feet, it reached her in three strides.

“Please,” she moaned. “Please let me go.”

“I can’t do that, you sorry bitch-dog. Someone sent me, and I always finish a job.”

“Who? For God’s sake, who sent you?”

It sat back on its haunches and cocked its head as if listening to something she couldn’t hear.

“Mickey sent me,” it said and cackled.

Chills slithered down her spine. “Liar,” she screeched. “Lying bastard. That little shit. . .”

The dragon-thing roared. Its stinking breath took hers away and she cringed.

“You caused the death of your child. And he’s paying you back, you lousy pig.”

“No! No! It was an accident. He climbed in—“

“Save your lies, whore.” The creature grabbed her right leg and yanked her toward him. Claws sank into her flesh, rending it. She screamed and tears ran down her cheeks. The dragon-thing let go but raked again, clawing down between her breasts, tearing flesh and dress alike. Her screams howled through the woods and the scent of blood filled the air.

The dragon-thing stopped and drew in a deep breath. It licked its black lips then opened its mouth impossibly wide.

Tonya screamed and scrambled backward.

The creature flapped its massive wings and lunged forward, mouth gaping open. Its jaws clamped shut, its teeth sinking into her torso. Agony tore through her. She screamed and flailed. The dragon-thing held tight, crouched, flapped its wings and leapt into the air.

And with Tonya’s screams piercing the dark sky, the monster flew into the night.

~ Nickie Asher ~

If you missed any of our previous posts and would like to catch up, you can purchase the Digital Digest Volume II anthology as an ebook for only $.99.

Copyright © 2011 Nickie Asher

All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.

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