Remember, I'll be giving away an electronic copy of Jane, Volume 1: Revival to one commenter after the tour, so leave a comment for a chance to win. I'm also giving away five signed paperback copies through Goodreads. Click here to enter.
Jane lay in the dark for a good hour, reflecting on the bizarre day and the part she played in it.
Had anyone told her she’d end up the beard for a misunderstood gay man in the course of her travels, she would have laughed it off. Still, she couldn’t think of a time when she’d had so much fun in a relationship. She’d only been with one decent suitor, and that was a long time ago, back when she was staying at the commune.
Dwayne had been a good guy. If only she hadn’t been so fragile when they’d met, maybe they would’ve had a chance. The young man had doted on her with such enthusiasm … such love. It was too bad she hadn’t known what love looked like back then. He’d been her biggest reason for staying as long as she had, and he’d also been the one eventually to drive her away. That last night there played out in her mind, haunting her and tugging at her emotions as it sometimes did. Even though it had been nearly fifty years ago, she could still remember every detail as though it had happened last night.
* * *
“You have the most beautiful eyes,” he said with that goofy, awkward smile reserved only for the dumbstruck and the haplessly in love.
Dwayne had long brown hair and a scraggly beard, and he wore a battered tie-dyed tee shirt and old, worn jeans with a tattered hole on one knee. He was a couple years older than Jane, old enough to have found his way to the commune on his own but still too young to drink in the state of Washington. He was a heavy smoker—both hand-rolled cigarettes and pot—but he was an exceptionally motivated and hard-working young man who put his construction skills to good use.
She’d tried to satiate her hunger with the farm’s fresh fruits, grains, and vegetables, but nothing was able to satisfy her cravings. She’d fantasized drinking his blood, but fear had held her back. She didn’t want to hurt him. Even more, she didn’t want what had become of her, as impossible as it was to escape. Ignoring it had only held it just beyond the forefront of her mind; it was always there, pushing, struggling to take over.
And yet she continued to struggle for some semblance of normalcy, as though fighting the urges would eventually allow her to overcome them.
She and Dwayne had retreated to the barn for some privacy, and now lay with hay in their hair and dirt on their backsides. Jane had been skittish about the relationship ever since their first kiss, even though he brought about an inexplicable sense of calm to her spirit with his mere presence. He’d never tried to make a move past third base, and so it took her by surprise when he unbuttoned her jeans.
She stopped him with gentle but nervous hands. “What are you doing?”
“I just want to feel you.” He arched his body over hers and tried to kiss her.
She turned her cheek to him. “Can’t you wait just a little longer?”
“Why? What’s wrong?”
Memories of the repeated rapes flooded her thoughts, hitting her like a fist to the face, and she shook her head in her attempt to will them away. The face of her aggressor loomed over her, and the pain of his cruelty tore through her body. She could feel his teeth on her neck, the shackles on her wrists, the instruments of torture coaxing out her screams and desperate cries. Memories of being held down forced her body to go tense.
The moment dissolved fully into the past, and with that also dispelled her hold over the blood lust. No longer did Dwayne loom over her, but the monster that refused to stop haunting every aspect of her being. She stared up, fighting her mental restraints, the tears to her flesh fashioning tears through her soul.
“Scream for me,” said the creature.