The December dawn violated the night sky, ploughing runnels of crimson and ochre in its wake, like a giant taloned hand gouging fresh wounds over old. Or maybe that was just how I was feeling at eight am on a Monday morning having kept myself awake with a mix of Red Bull and whisky for the second night in a row.
The reason for my devoted vigil was snarling and snapping at me in the dark depths of the living room and the only thing keeping me alive was the circle of protection I had cast as an afterthought, never dreaming I’d actually be in need of it. While that was a big bully for me, I had no idea how long it would hold or what to do when it broke.
But that was not my most pressing problem – there was another darker behemoth lurking underneath that disturbed me more. This creature defiling my house and every waking moment for two interminable days had in fact been stalking me between worlds since I could remember. So long in fact, I’d begun to forget about it, sheltered as I was by the strong wards that guarded my flat. But someone had broken those wards and if I survived, I intended to find out who that particular meddling bastard was and arrange their imminent, screaming demise.
The thing glared at me with red, slanted eyes, howling like a banshee until the ringing in my ears eclipsed the sight of the triple rows of its mismatched teeth.
The protective circle chose that moment to break. It was on me in one loping bound, malformed jaws snapping for the fresh meat of my throat.
But there are worse fates than being eaten alive and I was about to find out the hard way just what they were….