The Charm – Chapter 20


A persistent tugging directs Jemma’s running feet, strikingly similar to the calm force that negotiated the busted flight of stairs for her in Bangkok. Back then she’d accepted her agility as pure instinct. This time her reflexes weren’t ready to be so pliable. There were no hazards of that type here.

She resists the change of direction and shoves against the interfering pressure. Her feet become wooden blocks and Jemma crashes to the sandy soil, caving in a rabbit burrow where her knees impacted…possibly where a foot might have landed…which may have broken her leg. She lunges to her feet and test them with an impromptu jig on the spot. They feel normal again and do as she directed them to.

The Charm sings a long note of alarm inside her head; berating her disobedience with the rise and fall of alien tones. Jemma gives the faintly glowing metal a guarded look and taps it with a fingernail.

“Stop it,” she whispers between hard breaths, then feels stupid. “Shit, I’m losing it, talking to a piece of metal.”

The tugging sensation comes again, urging her away from the animal track she wants to follow. Once more she resists and stumbles straight into an enormous web stretched across the path. Spinning wildly away at the first repellent touch only wraps the sticky net around her entire body. The resisting force releases her, leaving a long droning note of exasperation in its wake.

Jemma senses the presence withdrawing even as she frantically scrubs and tears at the tangled web. She prays not to touch the hairy bulkiness of an owner capable of constructing something that size. Containing the scream that fills her head almost blacks her out. A hoarse sob escapes a tight throat instead.

She staggers towards the fire still violently rubbing at her arms and legs to rid herself of any sticky residue. The Charm hums serenely in the background, exuding a ‘you should have listened to me’ tone.

Her insanely turbulent thoughts focus angrily on the smarmy being. The thing crouched inside the Charm recoils in shock as her mind cleaves into its. She clearly sees the form hunched in its dark womb and unlocks hidden memories that she files away to examine later. The dark entity resents the intrusion but it is still in the edge of starvation and returns to a semi-conscious state as Jemma jerks her probing mind away.

She could feel it now. The steady drain of her energy has stopped and it had even returned some of the stolen energy in order to keep her alive. Its threat was lessened for the moment but it still posed a threat to her and everyone around her.

She skids to a stop near the fire. Hands on knees she catches her breath and tries to think through a thousand thought. Her eyes scan the darkness but bright flames mess with her night sight. The torch beams are invisible. Tears brighten her eyes. She angrily ripped another clump of spider web out of her hair and threw it on the fire. The Charm sparkles in the firelight.

“What do you want me to do? Help me, if that’s what you’re for.”

She imagines throwing the Charm on the fire. A message of pain is sent through her body in place of strength. The entity proves its control by uncoiling and coming forward to arrogantly stretch her hand towards the flames.

Jemma widens her eyes in fright and pulls back with all her strength. She falls backwards as the force releases her suddenly. As she falls a pile bagged pills Mark has spent hours packing is knocked over. A thick roll of finished hits tightly bound with rubber bands rolls across the sand. The entity’s interest it piqued at her minds assessment of what is contained in the plastic bags. The entity once more takes control of her body. With reservations, she allows it to grasp the bundle.

A sense of great age and malice moves within her mind. Thick dread prompts a reminder about not inviting vampires into your home. This warning comes typically late. Reconsidering the prudence of letting this thing range around her mind unchecked she moves in to kick it out. Too late her hands twitch and the bundle is turning end over end in slow motion to land the fire’s hot heart. A vindictive childish prank to remind her who’s boss. Inside the Charm something chuckles.

(Chapter 21)

Published in: on Sunday, 30 November, 2008 at 4:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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