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Monsters In The Night - Ch 2

Disclaimer: See Chapter 1
Rating: R

Monsters In The Night



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Ch 2 Face Of The Moster

Fry had always loved the dark, but as she crawled along on her belly through the cramped black tunnel looking for proof that a convicted murdered hadn’t killed, she was beginning to change her mind. The small hole above had been splattered with clotted blood. The doubtful faces of her companions as she pushed her way past the gristly reminder that one of them had died, told her that all but Imam thought she was wasting her time. But it was her time and something about her encounter with Riddick drove her on.

She held her flashlight between her teeth so she could use both hands as she pulled her way along. The darkness in front of her stunk, and between the metal casing against her tongue and the smells all around her, it was leaving a funny taste in her mouth.

Riddick was probably sitting back in the ship laughing at how easily he had manipulated her. The thought lasted until she realized she had entered a large vaulted chamber. Everything else became unimportant, as she pulled herself to her feet, and looked around. A little bit of light slipped through the high ceiling, but it only added shadows to the already dark cave. There were strange hushed sounds and in places it seemed as if something was moving along the walls.

‘Fuck, was this what her soul looked like?’ she shivered as the words flitted through her mind, to be chased away by a feeling of evil and pure dread. To bolster her courage, Carolyn grabbed her flashlight and tried to shine some light into the darker places of the cave.

She swallowed quickly as she looked around and tried to get rid of the odd sweet taste that was being intensified by the odor in the room and the flavor of the metal flashlight that had been in her mouth. That’s when she saw it, the blood covered boot that had once belonged to Zeke.

For one split second things were very clear. She remembered Riddick’s description of human blood and knew without a doubt what the smell was, and why her tongue was covered with the flavor of copper covered peppermints. Then she knew nothing but fear as something jumped out at her.

Fry thought she had been afraid when the Hunter-Gratznia was going down, but she had never felt fear like she did as she tried to claw her way up the chiminy shaped rock toward the light above. Her cries for help echoed loudly in her ears, she only hoped others heard them as well. Hell snapped at her heels and the lifeline that was cinched to her utility belt had become an anchor dragging her down. She knew she had to get into the light or she would be lost to the darkness forever.

A voice screamed through Riddick’s head. It was pure fear, the kind born of desperation and need. In that moment he knew Carolyn had found Zeke’s body at the bottom of that hole. Grasping his chains he pulled and began pounding on the walls of his prison. He had to drive out the fear that was being seeded deep in him. The fear that he had been right, and she would never return from that hole. He didn’t question it; he just acted.

Suddenly it rained dirt, as a hole was torn open a foot above Fry’s head. She didn’t care what it was, or how it had gotten there, it led to the light. Hands grasp her and she tumbled out. She head voices and knew she was rambling as she answered their questions, but all she cared about was getting as far away as she could from that dark chimney to hell. There was something down there and it had killed Zeke and it would have killed her if she had been a little slower getting up out of the cave.

Carolyn gulped air in the planet’s thin atmosphere, in hope of gaining control of her racing mind and heart. As sanity began to return, she relaxed for just a moment. Then she was snapped back off her feet and dragged kicking and screaming like a madwoman toward the nightmare below. She could hear her own screams, but the words didn’t make any sense to her ears. All she knew was that she was being pulled back into the dark. As she fought, arms wrapped around her, to pull her back, but it wasn’t enough. The stench from the cavern was hitting her in the face as she begged and pleaded with the darkness to set her free.

There was a movement to her right and she sensed rather than saw Imam. The holy man’s face was serene as he pulled a knife and cut the rope that had been sucking her down. Sitting at his feet, she looked up and caught a glimpse of incredible faith in his eyes.

They had worked fast to get everything from the corpse of the Hunter-Gratznia that they thought they would need. All that was left were the remaining power cells and those they would retrieve on the next trip. Johns had been adamant about that, but he refused to say why. Privately, Fry thought he was being paranoid about Riddick, but she figured he was a cop, and knew his business. She chalked up her doubts about the redhead to exhaustion from her two little strolls down the corridors of the damned. In the last seven hours she had learned more about herself than she ever wanted to know. She figured if she worked herself to exhaustion, she might be able to forget some of it.

Carolyn had one more official task on the bridge, and then she could join the others. Working as carefully as possible she pulled the housing face off the main console and flipped out the crystal containing Captain Mitchell’s log. As she held the delicate communication device in the palm of her right hand, she froze in horror at the flecked brown of dried blood that smeared across her palm.

“Fuck,” she gasped as she shoved the log into her back pocket and scrubbed her hand on her thigh to get rid of the stain. In her mind’s eye she could see the bright red on the ground. The only true color in the glare of the sun, just before she climbed into the hole. She had no doubt that the boot in the cave and the smear on her hand were all that was left of the tall serious man named Zeke.

Riddick came around the corner of the Hunter-G and found Fry kneeling on the ground, rubbing her hand in the dirt as if to clean off something offensive. She still looked pale from her experience and he refused to acknowledge the relief he had felt when he had discovered she had survived.

“It won’t come off that easily,” he knelt facing her. His large hand turned her much smaller one over to see what she was frantically trying to remove. He blew away the dust on her palm and felt her fingers twitch in response. Even wearing his goggles in the bright sun, he recognized the currency of his trade when he saw it, though it was old and dried. He did a quick check to see where she had injured herself, but quickly came to the conclusion that the blood wasn’t hers.

“Let go of my hand!” She tried to pull herself free, but he just sat there and stared at the darkness on her palm.

His stomach did a slow roll. She was panicked, that was a first. How interesting. Maybe it was time to push a little? He had heard once that if you put an animal into water and warmed the water slowly enough, it would stay there until it cooked. Hhhmmm maybe it was time for a little experiment? Here you go Carolyn, ‘plop.’ How’s the water? Do we have time for a little heat?

“I’m only trying to help, Carolyn,” he whispered as she fisted her hand in his, hiding the stain from him.

“I said let go,” she snapped. His hand was warm on hers and she didn’t like that it felt so good to have someone holding on to her. Please, please let me go her mind cried out. Her rough tough exterior was wearing thin and she was afraid he could see right to the core of her.

“Now why would I want to do that?” He grinned as his strong fingers reached around her fist and pulled it open. Holding her hand spread-eagled in his.

“Damnit all, Riddick, wipe that shit eating grin off your face and let gooo…” her mouth went dry and her breath caught in her throat as he licked the thumb of his free hand and rubbed it across the dried blood in her palm. Every nerving ending in her skin screamed and centered on where he was touching. She couldn’t take her eyes off his slow stroking of her hand.

A moment earlier Fry had heard all the noises associated with a camp getting ready to move. The musical chatter of Arabic as the young boys finished their tasks; Shazza’s soft voice tinged with grief interspaced with Jack’s higher happier tones; Paris and Johns arguing somewhere very close and Imam trying to keep the peace. It all receded into background fuzz. It was just Riddick and Carolyn kneeling together in the bright light of three suns.

He watched her face as he wiped his thumb on his pants and leaned a little closer. When he felt her hand relax in his and saw her eyes darted to his mouth, he raised his thumb and sucked on it. As he slowly pulled it out and reached for her palm, he felt the stiff line of her shoulders give way. He had a feeling that if he hadn’t been holding her hand so tightly she would have crumpled. He wondered why the simple action made him feel so strong, suddenly.

Until he started caressing Carolyn’s hand, Riddick thought he knew all there was to know about woman. Most of his adult life had been lived in dark places and those were populated by people like him. The women along the way had all been free and easy or came with a price tag. He had assumed that Carolyn fell into one of those categories. Her confession to Johns had added weight to his theory that she was a kindred soul. But as he played with her senses and her mind he remembered other things: a curl that tingled when it touched his lips; and wide eyes that understood that his shined eyes were only an outward sign of what his life had been.

What if he was wrong? What if her darkness was an accident that needed to be prevented? But it was too late now, he had started his game and Richard B. Riddick was a man who always finished what he started.

He ran his wet thumb over her soft palm a third time, removing any trace of the blood that had lingered for so long. He was sorely tempted to raise her hand to his mouth and take a taste of the delicate softness that was under his thumb, but the slightly spooked look in her eyes made him move slowly.

Carolyn sat transfixed as the hard cruel man slowly drove her a little mad. How had he known what she had needed so badly, when she didn’t even know it herself? As he licked his thumb again and moved it across her palm, she took in all of him. He looked like what he was: a criminal, a murderer. He was neither handsome nor kind, but it seemed so right that he was touching her as he was.

Briefly, Johns’s face flitted across her mind. She knew the man was interested in her. He was handsome and law abiding, but the thought of him touching her like this was unsavory. She had always found it less confusing to meet men on their terms, to be one of the guys, so why was she sitting there letting Riddick make her feel like more of a woman than she’d ever felt? Answers were too hard and her mind was refusing to work. A little voice was shouting in her ear to get up and move, but she didn’t bother to listen to it.

The fifth pass of his thumb over her palm was when he made his mistake. He let his eyes move from hers and saw her as a whole person. Her mouth was slightly open and her hair fluttered around her face, as she sat there watching him caress her. It was then that he realized his seemingly casual touch was the most intimate act he had ever taken part in. For the first time in his life he knew the difference between a whore and a woman. Carolyn was giving of herself to him on a level that he had never reached before and he was only touching her hand! Suddenly his pursuit of an easy sexual encounter had turned into something he had never experienced before. He felt a stab of regret that he couldn’t still see true colors. He wanted badly to know her eye as she did his.

As he watched her, his hand still moving over hers, he felt a tingling begin in his fingers and move up his arm. It was what his lips had felt; causing him to toss her curl to the wind, but this time it was becoming a steady buzz that reverberated through him. For a tiny space of time he had a picture of that cooking pot that should contain Carolyn Fry, as she slow simmered to a sexual frenzy for him. Instead of the petite blonde swimming in the heating water, he had a flash of himself doing a frantic backstroke to stay afloat!

In a moment of desperation, he reverted to type. An easy grin spread across his face and he pretended to look the skin of her hand over carefully.

“There you go Carolyn, that should do it, no blood on your hands now,” he smirked at her as he ran his thumb over her palm one last time. She ripped her hand from his as all the noises of the group came crashing down around her head.

“Fuck,” she spat at him. What had she done, letting her guard down around a man like him? Damn, what did he know? Her mind reeled with the possibilities.

“It’s a bit public for my tastes, but if you’re game?” He leaned in close and she shoved him away as he laughed at her.

“RIDDICK?” Johns called from somewhere in the distance.

Riddick stood quickly and touched his finger to his lips, asking Carolyn to be quiet, as he slipped into the darkness of the ship. Neither of them questioned his asking, nor doubted her obeying. Oddly, both trusted the other.

“Fry, you seen Riddick?” Johns came around the corner of the ship. His eyes were bloodshot and he had an odd tremor in his hands.

“He was around a few minutes ago,” she was able to answer honestly.

“What’cha doing sitting here in the hot sun?” He looked the small blonde over carefully. He knew she had had quiet a fright earlier. What she needed was a man to lean on!

“Enjoying the peace and quiet.” Her eyes and voice said leave me alone, but he didn’t take the hint.

Riddick grinned as Johns missed the insult. He was tempted to listen while she made mincemeat out of the other man, but he had let her distract him enough already. Sliding his goggles onto his forehead, he shoved thoughts of her aside, to get on with business. Something was very wrong and it had been eating at him ever since he had gotten a good look at the planet they had crashed on. He wished the suns would set so he could check out the stars, but that didn’t seem likely.

It only took him a few minutes to find the navputer. Someone, probably Fry, had already taken the facing off the main console, so that saved him time. Working quickly he searched for the black box. It was the Company’s way of keeping track of where its ships had been. The box was a well-guarded secret around the Company. Most flight crews, including the captains were ignorant of its existence. It contained the plotted course and all changes made to the flight plan. Only someone with Company authority could wipe it clean. For a computer the size of a small cigarette lighter, it contained a huge amount of memory.

He’d bet his shiv they were nowhere near New Mecca. It was going to be real interesting to see where they really were and even more so to discover who had sent them careening out in space while in cold sleep.

He retraced his steps and listened to the conversation the man and woman where having just outside the Hunter-G.

“We gotta get going,” Johns squinted into the distance trying to catch a glimpse of Riddick. “Imam says there has to be water somewhere back at the mining camp and he thinks he can find it.” He licked his dry lips. Water wasn’t what he needed, but he was damned if he was going to tell Fry what his veins thirsted for.

“What about Riddick?”

“Maybe we’ll get lucky and whatever got Zeke has gotten him too,” Johns reached for her right hand to pull her to her feet. At the moment he didn’t care how much money he would lose if the convict disappeared, he needed a fix and he needed it badly!

“I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.” She shifted and pulled herself up, avoiding his touch. It made her shiver when she thought of him touching her skin where Riddick had. Don’t go there, Fry, she warned herself.

“Let the fucker die!” His temper snapped at her odd behavior. What was wrong with the bitch anyway?

“You lookin for me?” Riddick strolled into the light. Between the heat and the need for a fix, Johns had lost it. For the moment, he was still needed, but soon very soon…

“What’cha doing in there, boy?” Johns frowned. What was going on? He would figure it out as soon as he could get to his stash and a spike. But it was hidden in the ship along with the H-G’s medical kit that he had appropriated for the morphine it contained. “We’re leaving soon and you need to harness up,” he grinned at Riddick. “Fry you go with him I’ll be back as soon as I get my things from the ship.”
The caravan of weary people trudged over the sand dunes toward the deserted camp they had found early in the day. Fry in the lead, squinted at the three suns and wondered how much worse the heat could get. She had spent most of her life on a ship and her fair skin wasn’t used to the harsh treatment it was getting. With the exception of Riddick and Imam, they had all gotten sunburned. With any luck they would find a med-kit somewhere in that retched settlement, and it would have the necessary Sun-Out pills to protect them from the burning rays.

Looking over her shoulder she saw Riddick bringing up the rear, pulling the heavy sled with their equipment. Between the thin atmosphere and the heat, he had to be tiring, but it didn’t show. She watched him for a moment, under the guise of doing a headcount. It was a joy to see the way his muscles moved as he labored. She had never realized before that a man could have a beautiful body.

He had confused her badly, and nice to look at or not, she didn’t like that. Who was he really? At times he acted exactly as one expected, but at others he had been gentle, almost kind. Involuntarily her left hand ran over her right palm remembering how his skin had felt against hers. It had taken her breath away and left her feeling totally exposed.

For a moment she stared openly at the picture he made trudging through the sand his skin slick with sweat. Then she saw him grin, and give her a barely perceptual nod. It caused the blood to run out of her head, leaving her a bit dizzy. He had been watching her too, and wanted her to know it. Even as she turned and joined Imam, his gravelly voice echoed in her head, ‘I’ve put my mark on you now, Carolyn.’ Shivering she rubbed her right hand against her thigh, much as she’d done earlier. But unlike before, there was no one to help her remove what had been left behind. Was she always going to feel his touch or was he just fucking with her mind?

“Imam?” Fry matched her pace to his; trying to show Riddick his little game meant nothing to her. “I never thanked you for saving my life today.” Her voice was hushed and she had trouble meeting the Holyman’s eyes. She knew she should have done this sooner, but any reminder of what had happened made her feel out of control.

“All life is sacred, so there is no need for thanks,” he smiled. “Besides, any one of us would have done the same. I just happened to be the man with the knife.”

“No,” she shook her head. “It was more than that. You kept your head and knew what to do. I would have been pulled back down that hole if you hadn’t acted.” She wanted to thank him for the calm strength she had seen in his eyes after he cut the rope. It had been a balm to her badly frayed nerves, but that would lead the conversation in a direction she was unable to face.

“Well then, consider it a small repayment for what you did for us when you landed the ship, Captain.” The tall older man turned and shifted the power cell that he was carrying so he missed the stricken look on Fry’s face.

“Please don’t call me that,” she cut in. “The title doesn’t belong to me. I could never fill Captain Mitchell’s shoes.”

“If you wish.” He looked at her closely and could see a pinched expression around her eyes. “I have distressed you, for which I am sorry. I was only using the title as a means of respect.”

“I don’t deserve it,” Fry looked around needing to change the subject, Imam was too perceptive for her to be able to get away with half-truths. “The last time we walked this way, you said you were on a pilgrimage. You called it a…I can’t remember the word you used.”

“Hajj,” he nodded remembering their earlier conversation. “When we left Kordis 12 I was taking three boys on their hajj to New Mecca. All young men between the ages of 8 and 14 are encouraged to take that trip before attaining manhood. But now it has become one of much greater proportions. It involves us all. It will be interesting to discover what each of us finds along the way.”

“You talk as if you think God is involved in this somehow.” She had never been much of a believer in a higher power, at least not anything higher than gravity wells, pulsars, and black holes. If there was a God, He wasn’t on this planet and He was definitely ignoring Carolyn Fry.

“God is everywhere,” he smiled. “The trick is to open our eyes and see Him.” He put his hand on her shoulder and looked into her troubled face. “What did YOU see in that underground cavern?”

The whispered question sent a shaft of fear slicing through her. She felt like she had been turned inside out. “Other than the remains of Zeke, nothing! I saw nothing!” She strode quickly ahead, as her mind screamed out, 'me, I saw me down, there!'

Chapter 3 - Truths Turned Inside-Out



Latest Month

September 2012


The moving finger writes: and having writ Moves on. nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancal half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it...The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

If I quiet the voices in my head, I would face the day with nothing to write. - Unknown

I must go down to the seas again the lonely sea and sky...J Masefield

Cinderella walked on broken glass,
Sleeping beauty let a whole lifetime pass.
Belle fell in love with a hideous beast,
Jasmine married a common thief.
Ariel walked on land for love and life,
Snow white barely escaped a knife.
It was all about blood, sweat, and tears.
Because love means facing your biggest fears

The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of...French Proverb

I have drempt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after. They've gone through me like wine through water and altered the colour of my mind ...E. Bronte

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage...Lao Tzu

It takes chaos to give birth to a dancing star ..F. Nietzsche

How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true? But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face...Yeats

Let us go, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky...T. S. Eliot

In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter, that is the day when I first met you, appears the words, "here begins a new life".
La Vita Nuova

Midnight courage of the heart...Jen Kirkwood

The three o-clock in the morning courage which Bonaparte thought was the rarest...Thoreau

Did you say it? I love you; I don't ever want to live without you; you changed my life. Did you say it?
Make a plan, set a goal, work toward it, but every now and then, look around, drink it in, 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow. - Meredith Grey

Shakespeare is easy, life is hard...Wheels

Don't try to be a great man, just be a man. Let history make up its own mind...Z.Cochron

I had a job to do and I was unafraid...Jack to John Creighton

For I dipt into the future, as far as the human eye could see. Saw the vision of the world, and the wonders that can be...RWW Hipwell

Without diviation from the norm, progress is impossible...F. Zappa

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, In a beautiful pea-green boat: They took some honey and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, and sang to a small guitar...E Lear

Sweet and low, sweet and low, Wind of the western sea, Low, low, breathe and blow, Wind of the western sea! Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon and blow, Blow him again to me;... Tennison

Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn... Keats

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