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   Chapter 3 iii. A Cosmic Cadence

New London Masquerade By Rian Torr Characters: 10156

Updated: 2018-10-21 12:03


Devin set the pages down on the ledge and began to back off.

He had thought Gavin was gone for good, having fled his life.

He had no clue Old Magic had been hunting Seth all that time.

He left the mausoleum, reforming into Wulf. His tear-away suit snapped into a belt around his waist—allowing for added bulk to flex freely. The full moon was still out, so as long as Gavin's tracks were fresh—the hunt was on.

Sadie, I'm coming, he thought to himself. They had shared a psychic connection ever since she had first appeared before him after dying—when she had beckoned him to enter her sarcophagus as the other mourners gazed graveward, lost as one in their collective sadness, as her eulogy unfolded the morning.

He listened for her, but she did not reply. He followed the highway across the high hills of town, where the two scents fled. He ran free through the acres of wheat fields that rose and fell down into the valley of smog.

Whenever he took to all fours he found himself again—in the hunt.

To be human was high—it was consciousness—it was compassion.

But to be the hunter—it was his true form—it was his wholeness.

He would forget about his social woes. He would cast behind his intellectual musings. He would banish all moral and ethical conundrums.

When he was of fang and fur, few misfortunes prospered, for he was the aggressor for once—he was the one calling the shots and taking them.

Indeed, during some of these feral episodes, he almost lost himself entirely to his animal mind. In some cases, he did not snap out of it for months—and once for nearly a year—when everybody thought him dead.

But inevitably, eventually, he always came back to remember what it was like to have empathy again—and to seek others pleasure, not just his.

Then he would have trouble remembering why he loved being predator so much—why the adventures were such a rush that they became a fix.

He would get lost in his books and studies—focus on writing his poetry and songs—playing guitar and riding his bicycle—instead of blood.

But when the moon was full—and he had had quite enough of the steady drip of his solely cerebral existence—he would snap back to biting.

He would rip the skin of polyester from his frame and howl at the lunar altar--altering his physique--from thin and gangly—to big and hulking.

He would switch between human and Wulf at will—to his needs.

He would strip New London of its weaker prey under shadows—and in the mornings after--he would struggle to recall any of it at all.

He now came upon the edge of town, with all the lights fanning out over the horizon—and he took a moment to check some prints headed east.

He did not like getting too far out of New London—because his Wulf was not as strong beyond the city limits. Sometimes he felt it was as if his powers waned by certain degrees--in concentric circles spreading out from the scene of the accident--where he once crashed off Lion's Bridge.

It was also likely that Gavin was leading him out of New London—because he knew that Devin would be less menacing beyond town.

Nevertheless, Devin could not let Gavin get away with this—and he knew from experience there was always enough Wulf if truly needed.

He tracked them along Highway 88, until their sole impressions ended—and he cursed himself for not acting sooner, for they had likely now hitched a ride and were outpacing him every moment he wasted waiting.

Now he would have to get wheels or lose Sadie for good, so he reverted to human form, using all of his concentration—and from out of his hip pack pulled his tear-away, buttoning it back down his front and sides.

He put his thumb up, a few cars passed--then he tried two thumbs—and with a turn of good luck for once that evening, a trucker stopped.

From then forward he felt like the stars were behind him.

"Where you headed?" the old bearded driver asked upfront.

"How far you going? Is that old Motel Paradise still operating?"

"Sure is, but I'm driving all night if you want to go farther on."

"Do you always stop for hitch-hikers? Risky these days no?"

"I can take care of myself, " he said with a wink, showing gun.

"Ahhh—good on you. I'm sure you've got plenty stories—no?"

"Don't get me started. World's full of crazies, you know, son."

"I know. Don't get me started. Some days I think we're all mad."

"Oh … We are … no doubt about that. We all lost it long ago."

"Do you ever get the feeling that people are prone to being nuts?"

"I think we go off--out of touch with ourselves—with Earth."

"You're right about that. Body clock could use some resetting."

"It's not just us though, the world is losing it too—speeding up."

"I've heard that—the core is quickening—shortening the days."

"It's not just to do with getting older—time is actually bending."

"I feel it. Days are like blinks of an eye now. Years just gazes."

"So why are you on the road, son? You stranger to these parts?"

"Not really, I'm sort of, chasing my girl. S

he's with someone."

"Ah—love is worth pursuing, but don't beat a dead horse over it."

"I'm not—it's not like that. She's trying to get away from him."

"Sure—that is what they all say. Why waste your time on her?"

"She's special--my school sweetheart. I owe her so much."

"As long as you realize there are others like her waiting."

"I know—I know, believe me. There is--another ..."

The old trucker fell silent--watching the road.

Devin sighed—so sick of complication.

"It's best not to think, " the man said.

"Easier said than done—agreed?"

"Not at all. I do it all the time."

"What? Never worry at all?"

He shrugged. "I try not to."

"Well … It's worth a shot."

"What bothers you the most?"

"Sometimes I wonder, how I got to loving two women at once."

"We get divided by the losses—then less willing to settle down."

"So true—I can see two futures—and neither is so sure to stick."

"Especially if they find out about each other—I would imagine."

"Well—Sadie knows already—but I think Barb would kill me."

"She would be pretty upset to find out that you loved another?"

"Well, yes … But I mean, she would literally try to murder me."

The old man laughed. Devin just rubbed his face, tired of it all.

"Well—I don't agree with you leading this Barb on—but no one deserves to die for love. All's fair. Plus, she sounds a bit jealous, from my sense of it—and maybe that is what drove you into Sadie's arms in the end?"

"Sort of … I loved Sadie first—but Barb and I shared alot—and then one thing led to another. It was too late to turn back, once our emotions became entangled—even while secretly seeing Sadie at the same time."

"Damn—this is straight out of my wife's soaps—you have to tell me everything—she loves to hear about gossip like this, it makes her day."

Devin just laughed. He didn't mind indulging this stranger with his stories of romance and remorse. It almost felt good, in fact, to unload for a bit—since he never really had another guy to confide in, besides Blake. But Blake was just like a blank slate from all the booze—and you could tell he never absorbed anything that you were saying, so it was not really dialogue—for you knew it all passed out the other ear every heartbeat.

He looked at you long enough at first while you were blathering on—but then after awhile you could clearly see his attention beginning to flee.

"Well, if you really want to know, I'll tell you everything, " he said. Just don't say I didn't warn you … because it's a bit of a nail-biter … Hey—do you think we could make a stop—I've got to drain the lizard."

They were just coming up to Wheels Of Fire truck stop. The old man swung in to refuel—and Devin jumped out to leak in relief.

When he came back, the trucker was leaning against the glass storefront. "I asked inside if a couple had come through here. They said someone stopped for gas about an hour ago. They said the girl inside wrote HELP backward on her fogged window. They called the cops already."

Devin's face fell. All he could do was pray he was not too late.

"So I'm guessing there's more to this story than you're letting on."

Devin sighed in defeat. He did not want to have to dispose of this kindly gent if it could be avoided. He was not hungry or feeling the tug of the moon at the moment—but nothing would stop him from saving Sadie.

"You're right, I've been sparing you some of the deadlier details."

"What am I wrapped up in, son? Are you in trouble with the law?"

"No, no … It's Sadie … She's been kidnapped … By my kin—my grandfather. He has gone and blown his mind. He's seriously lost it."

"You're serious …? Really? You can't save her yourself, son."

"There was no time. Cops would just be dead weight anyway."

"Who would do this? What is he? Some kind of madman?"

"Yes—absolutely insane. He believes he is the seed of night."

"What on earth were you thinking? How dangerous is he?"

"He's capable of almost anything. I may die trying to do this."

"How did it happen? Where was your girl when he took her?"

"She was asleep … all wrapped up in her bed … He snuck in."

"That seals it, " the old man said. There was a twinkle in his eye, like he had a personal investment in the drama. He patted his jacket where his gun was holstered. "I will take you far as you want to go—my word."

"That means a lot to me, " Devin said, holding out his sure hand.

The trucker shook it. "The name's Addison. Cadence Addison."

"Tell me, Cadence … Why are you so quick to help a stranger?"

"Because I lost a daughter long ago—in an alien abduction."

Devin remained silent. He was not sure if this was serious.

"Ten years searching, " Cadence said--shaking his head.

Devin nodded. "Darkness prevails in and off this world."

"Not on my watch, " Cadence quipped—quickly grinning.

"Alright—then let's get going while the trail is still fresh."

They blazed out of the Wheels Of Fire at a quick wild clip.

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