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The darkness of the night fell abruptly at Jude Brubaker’s desert home, matching the woman’s mood. As she sat on the stone steps leading up to her front door, looking across the Arizona countryside, she could smell the fragrance of Whitethorn Acacia on the warm breeze. Though heady, the smell did nothing to lighten Jude’s growing dark mood. It brought to mind the title of a book she read years before, Something Wicked, This Way Comes. When she read the book, all those years ago, it was disturbing to her for some reason she could not quite put her finger on. Years later, with a lifetime of experience under her belt, Jude understood the meaning of malevolence and understood there were powers in this mortal world that were never meant to be seen, let alone used. And now, right here and right now, Jude knew the creeping crawling feeling on her skin and she knew why there were tears in her eyes. Fear of the unknown? Fear of dying even? Mostly, fear of the unknown. Something wicked was most certainly on its way and she knew where its first stop would be.
“Perception,” a voice said, “I like that.”
Jude stifled a scream as the skin on her back crawled. Something was behind her, something dark, wicked, cruel and yes, malevolent.
“Oh, please don’t stop there,” the voice said. “You make me sound so… interesting. And yes, I can read your thoughts, human.”
Jude detected a rasp in the voice, indicating the being had only just arrived and had not quite assimilated, yet. But she knew it was there, knew it was a shapeless mass of swirling blackness, distorted, wispy even, but most definitely forming into a human shape. In all her years in this mortal world, she had never felt such hate before.
“Yes, only just arrived. No time to even drop my bags off yet,” the voice said, giggling hysterically.
“Aren’t you going to turn and face me? Face your mistress?”
Jude’s head shook, her long black hair shining in the faint light given by a now rising quarter moon. “You are no mistress of mine, spirit.”
“Spirit?” The voice screeched and Jude still did not turn, but instead smiled inwardly. Round one to me.
“Hah, you think? You think you can better me?”
Jude shook her head once more. “No, I cannot best you. But I know someone who can.”
The fearful scream that followed made Jude’s body reverberate and the fear she felt was so intense she cried out in abject terror and wept the tears of someone who knew her very soul was at risk.
Copyright © Tom Kane 2020