The sequel to ‘Bound’ is well under way, although I’ve yet to settle on a title. Here’s a little sneak peek of the opening.
He ran, and beneath him, the earth bled. Mud-slick ground churned under his paws, warm like a river of thick, oozing blood. Above him, trees strained towards the ruby-hued night, their limbs strung with scarlet needles, their towering trunks layered in flayed flesh, dried to a brittle finish by the relentless icy winds. Even the moon hanging low and swollen above the mountain peaks in the depthless sky was stained with the angry hue. When he ran like this – ran until his heart hammered towards explosion, ran until his spittle turned to sour foam, ran until sweat weighted his thick coat and stung his eyes – the rage owned him, possessed him even, and in its terrible purity, gave relief.
He tore through the undergrowth, branches and thorns snatching at his coat, nature appearing to plead with him to stop. He wasn’t ready to stop. The end only came when his scalding breaths no longer held enough strength to fill his lungs and his screaming muscles seized into inoperability. Then he would crash hard against the unyielding ground and surrender to exhaustion.
At first, the end used to come within a few hours. Now, it took longer. These gruelling marathons had him so fit that he had to pound for hours and hours before relief would begin to settle upon him – not that he deserved relief, he didn’t deserve one good thing in his life after what he’d done.
A jagged memory pierced his mind: Eddie Stone, a strong and proud wolf, the man who had been his friend, his pack-member, suddenly staggering backwards, his eyes wide with fear and disbelief, his blood-slick hands clutching wildly at the wide gash in his neck, his mouth working to ask why, but only able to produce a rush of bubbling, scarlet blood. He had done that. He had cut his pack-members throat, slit it at the exact point that would produce the most blood. And he had then held a chalice against the gaping wound, had slammed Eddie against a wall to force him still in order to fill the cup, just as he had been ordered. ‘You were possessed!’ a faint voice reminded him ‘you weren’t in control!’
He snarled the voice away, only to hear it being replaced by Leanne Stone – Eddie’s mate, screaming at him to stop before he visited the same death upon her. ‘Michael, no, no, NO!’ Hearing his name sounded foreign to him. He couldn’t recall when he had last uttered it or had heard someone say it, and that was what he wanted. Michael Vincent didn’t deserve to exist. He was a vile, murderous piece of scum. He should have been ripped to shreds by his surviving pack members and had his limbs flung into the farthest corners of the earth.
Propelling himself forward he welcomed the cramps burning through his legs. His panting breaths were weakening, straining to fill his lungs and feed his blood. Oblivion was coming and he greeted it with a long, mournful howl.
The earth was bathed in red. Michael Vincent surrendered and crashed into its embrace.