Read Catharsis (Book 2): Catalyst Online

Authors: D. Andrew Campbell

Tags: #Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Catharsis (Book 2): Catalyst

BOOK: Catharsis (Book 2): Catalyst
10.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 
 

 

 

Catalyst

D. Andrew Campbell

 

 

Copyright © 2014 David Andrew Broviak

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, copied or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission of the publisher and/or author.

 

Catalyst
is a work of fiction.  The names, characters, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Cover design and interior layout created by David Broviak

 

Published in Indianapolis.  MMXIV

Edition 1.0

ISBN:
978-0-9897522-4-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novels by D. Andrew Campbell

Catharsis

Catalyst

Catastrophe (Coming 2015)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my family,

For my students,

And for my grandfather.

None of this is possible without you

PROLOGUE (the before-we-get-into-it-again part) 

It has been a little less than a year since that dark night I willingly took another human's life.  I have now performed the same awful task three other times, but it’s the original deed that will forever stay with me.  The feel of Mr. Black's life draining away as I held him still haunts me as I try to rest at night. 

            Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying I regret what I did.  I don't.  I still believe to this day he had to die for what he had done to Lazzy and me, but killing a person is not something easily wiped clean on the ol' moral slate.  It is something that
should
stay with you.  It should never be an easy decision.  The other three people I have since chosen to retire from the living world all deserved what happened to them, too, and their deaths still haunt me.  But not like his does.  They died in the name of justice.  Mr. Black?  He died to fulfill a sense of vengeance.

            Since that late autumn night last year, I have dedicated myself to becoming stronger, faster and more agile.  I have to believe I was inflicted with this cursed infection for a reason.  I was given these powers for a purpose.  I've come to accept the truth about my powers stemming from darkness, and the influence evil will have on my destiny.  But until the day the Dark Hunger finally consumes me and I can no longer fight it, I will continue to focus on the golden light of goodness driving me forward.  I still have a choice in this life.  And I choose to be a force of good.

            And now I no longer have to face that choice alone.

 

 

 

PART  ONE

-The Evil-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

            I watch the handsome, well-built man cross the street and walk into his small, immaculately-maintained house, and I wonder - not for the first time this week - if he will become the fifth person I've ever killed.  His death is certainly not my intention as I follow him, but I've come to learn over the past year that sometimes my – let’s call them "darker" - instincts have a bad habit of exerting control over me when I become extremely emotional.  Usually it’s just anger.  A good bout of anger still has the ability to flip my time-to-go-rampaging-crazy switch.  I'm getting better at controlling it, but it's a slow process.  And this tall, blond, impressively good-looking man is rumored to have made some choices that could very well prevent me from controlling my decisions.

            Truly evil people tend to have that effect on me.  And I should know about evil; for over a year now I've been hunting people so that I can drink their blood.  It’s not all necessarily by choice, though.  It's either that or starve to death, and I fear what might happen to my soul if I choose to abstain from eating and commit suicide.  I’ve been given the ultimate version of “screwed if you do, and screwed if you don’t”.  I either commit a sin by feeding on other people to stay alive, or I commit a sin by not feeding and eventually killing myself.  (Thanks Fate for that sick little twist on life!).  So I choose a life drenched in evil so that I may do the greater good.  I use the evil that's in me to try and make the world a better place (At least that's what I tell myself every night as I lie in my homemade sensory deprivation box – I refuse to use the word ‘coffin’.).

            And if Renny is right about this guy, then the blond man definitely qualifies as a steaming sack of something nasty. What that particular
nasty something
is will be up to me to find out.

            Tapping the small microphone on the band around my neck, I whisper into it, "Are you sure this is the guy?  I've been following him for almost a week, and I've seen nothing suspicious.  Maybe he is innocent like he's claimed."

            The response comes from an earbud that's been tucked into my pocket.  With how sensitive my ears have become, there is no way to actually have the speaker
in
my ear without it also causing me pain and possibly deafening me.  Luckily with my heightened senses, I can still pick out my friend's words quite clearly.  From a tiny wireless speaker.  Turned down to the lowest volume setting.  In my pocket.  Some days it really does pay to have superhuman senses.

            "It's him, Cat.  Don't let his charisma fool you.  He's a complete toad.  Once you get close enough to him, you'll be able to feel the slime on him.  I know it.  He might be able to fool people from a distance, but in your presence he'll fall apart.  I know he's guilty.  Just confront him already."

            I've begun to believe that Ren is a bit jealous of my powers, and his having to stay back at the warehouse and guide me from a distance is slightly emasculating for the poor guy.  Ren has become a good friend over the last several months and his guidance has been invaluable, but at times
his
drive for justice and vengeance (and occasionally even bloodlust) outweighs mine.  I like the guy, but sometimes his insistence can get on a girl's nerves.

            "Ok, Renny.  Don't get so worked up.  If you say he's responsible for those girls, then I believe you.  I'll take care of it tonight."

            The response is slow to return (And his tone is a bit grumpy.), "Thanks Cat.  And you know I don't like it when you call me that..."

            Smiling, I tune out anything else he says and concentrate on my prey across the street.  Due to the sensory overload of being out during the daytime (I have gotten a lot better at tuning out extraneous sounds and smells, but it is still something I'd rather avoid.  The fewer distractions, the better.), I had planned this particular encounter for late evening.  Thankfully late autumn has been very beneficial to me with all the extra hours without a blazing sun overhead.  I can now begin my hunts much earlier in the day.

            The fit-looking, light-haired guy I've been following for nearly a week doesn't appear to be evil at first glance.  He just looks like a middle-aged surfer who has settled down into a normal job to live out the rest of his life in obscurity (As an accountant according to Ren.).  But that's not who he is.  He just puts up a really good front.

            According to the papers (and the court documents that Ren managed to get his impressive little fingers on), this man, this Mr. Chadwick Morrin, is allegedly responsible for the disappearance of half a dozen young girls and for the appearance of some frighteningly inappropriate pictures of them online.  But nothing has been proven.  He claimed, quite effectively, that he was just the victim of coincidences (wrong place, wrong time shenanigans) and bad luck (Amazingly enough, there is more than one Chadwick Morrin who also exists in this world and who can also make poor choices and dilute the police databases.).  That plus his added good looks and disarming grin have helped him walk away from all charges.

            And that is where I come in.  I am a force that is unaffected by a person's looks or charm.  Well, that and the fact that I’ve developed the ability to prevent somebody from lying to me.  It's an ability that tends to painfully twist the – let’s call them cognitive intestines - of the receiving party.

            And that's just too bad for Mr. Chadwick Morrin.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

            From my perch on his neighbor's roof (When you have the ability to easily scale the side of a building using just your fingers and raw strength, it becomes a tough habit to abandon.), I can tell Mr. Blond Ex-surfer has settled down for the night.  His evening routine this past week has been rather...routine.  Home by six, mostly downstairs until about nine (Assessed by following which lights he turns on.), and then upstairs in his bedroom for the rest of the night.  Watching him has been mind-numbingly boring, but I want to make sure he’s guilty before confronting him (My normal prey of drug kingpins and poison-pushers had to take a backseat when Ren came up with the idea of meting out justice to a different kind of corruption who thought they were above the law).  Unfortunately, the past week spent watching him and his house has given me no evidence towards his innocence or guilt.  Ren is right (And wouldn't he just love to hear me say that!); just watching him is getting me nowhere.  I need to take this to the next level.

            Frowning, I look down the street to my left at the unmarked police car that's also been tailing this guy the entire time I have been.  Judging by their absolute lack of subtlety, I'm guessing they don't plan on catching him in the act of doing anything nefarious.  They just want him to know he's being watched.  They want to prevent his next act of horror and debauchery (Or at the very least delay it from happening.).  That's a great plan for them; unfortunately, it also prevents me from catching him in the act and determining his guilt.  As long as they've been watching him, he's been nothing but an upstanding and model citizen (Or maybe he truly is innocent, and they are harassing the poor man.  Maybe the reason I can't catch him doing anything wrong is because he was right about the coincidences and bad luck.  It wouldn't be the strangest thing I'd ever heard of.).

            I can't approach the front door with the police watching it (No point letting them know I'm involved.  Or that I even exist for that matter.  I've stayed under their radar so far, and I don’t want that to change now.), so I'm going to need to find another point of entry.  Until I know for sure he's guilty (or at least suspect it a lot more than I currently do), I won't just break into his house.  That leaves the back door.  Which could work.

            Lightly leaping off the house's second-story roof and away from the two officers of the law in the dark blue sedan (The same strength and agility that allows me to climb the house with little effort also allows me to drop the thirty feet to the ground without injury.  It truly is a wonderful ability to have.), I jog a circuitous route through several yards and a side street until I find his fenced-in backyard (Low, evenly spaced, white-washed boards.  The man does know how to landscape well, I can tell you that much.).  With a quick hop, I jump the fence and walk the short distance towards his glass-windowed back door (There are blue and white curtains blocking off the view of the yard, though.).

            "Be careful."  I hear Ren's voice pipe up from my pocket, and it startles me (not an easy thing to do).

            "Why?"  I ask him as I step onto the beautifully finished deck surrounding the rear of the house.  "It's not like he's violent.  Or a threat.  At worst he's a child-abuser who takes on people much smaller than himself and does evil things to them.  At best he's just a guy with good taste in lawn decor and a case of bad luck.  I'll be fine."

            "Think about it, Cat.  If he is guilty, then he's very crafty.  He may keep his violence saved up for teen girls, but he's also smart enough to get away with it.  Don't underestimate him.  Seriously.  He worries me."

            I pause and experience a flashback to every bad action movie my dad ever made me watch where the partner warns the main character of danger, and the cocky protagonist just shrugs it off.  "What?"  They say.  "Me in danger?  No way." And then they open the door and the bomb goes off.

            Ren's smart.  Really smart.  If he's worried, then it's for a good reason. 

            "Ok, buddy.  I'm going forward with eyes open and senses alert.  Let me know if you notice anything I miss."

            In a quieter voice, he responds, "Thanks Cat."

            Looking around the back deck nothing appears to be out of the ordinary or throws up a beware-of-crazy-resident flag.  There are no obvious booby traps out here (Then again isn't that supposed to be the point of a booby trap?  Not easily seen.), so I step up to the door and lean in close to it.  Inhaling as deeply as I can, I let my sense of smell take over and filter what it can from the air seeping through the doorframe of the house.  I can detect one person inside and exceptional cleanliness but very little else (Dirt and filth actually have a scent all their own, and I've become rather adept at figuring out the tidiness of a house just from the smells.).  There are a few other random scents peeking through the chemical cleanser fog, but I can't really place most of them.  He appears to be a single guy who likes a clean house.

            "Nothing odd so far," I whisper just loud enough for the microphone on my neck to pick up.  "I can smell him inside and lots of chemical odors like bleach and disinfectant.  Nothing out of the ordinary, though."

            "Can you hear anything?"  Ren asks through the tiny, piping earpiece in my pocket.  He's known me long enough to be used to my odd assortment of abilities.  Actually he's adjusted to them much quicker than I have (Must be that whole happening-to-someone-else thing that makes accepting their oddities a bit easier.), and he seems to delight in witnessing them in action.  Even if it is often just over our two-way radio.

            "Just him walking around the first floor.  A television is on in the front room - sounds like a car commercial.  And I think he's making dinner.  I'm pretty sure I heard dishes in the kitchen a moment ago, and that would help explain some of the odd smells I picked up earlier (Having not eaten a normal meal in almost a year has hurt my ability to recognize food scents.  It's annoying.)."

            "Sounds normal enough, but I still don't trust him," he tells me.

            "Agreed," I respond before something catches my attention.  "Wait.  His heartbeat and breathing just changed dramatically.  They're speeding up.  Something has him nervous or excited."

            "What is it?"

            "Heck if I know," I hiss back at him.  "I'm out here, remember?  I'm not picking up anything aside from his vitals changing and the fact that he stopped walking.  I think he's just standing in the kitchen.  Maybe he's excited for dinner (I miss being excited for a home cooked meal.  Shoot.  I miss just being home.  But that's a depressing avenue of thought for another night.  I don't need the distraction.)."

            "I don't like it, Cat."

            "Accepted," I pause and stare at the door and what might be waiting for me on the other side of it.  "I'm going to knock and see what's up.  Maybe I can catch him off guard.  Keep your ears on and your voice off."

            "Be careful," he whispers and then gives me our customary three clicks over the radio to signal that he'll be listening to everything, but he's turned off the transmitter on his side.  I don't really worry about anybody being able to hear him in my pocket, but I figure why risk it (A few months ago we had a problem with a blind guy who somehow managed to pick out Ren's voice every time he spoke.  I guess the loss of his sight had caused his ears to get stronger.  It caught me off guard and almost got me really hurt, so now we turn off his end as a precaution once I'm around people.).

            With one last look around the yard (dark, empty, desolate and impressively maintained) and down at my own outfit for the evening (Jeans, red Converse tennis shoes and my favorite black hoodie – one that Ren found for me while he was shopping for supplies for the warehouse.), I sigh and knock on the house's back door three times. 

           
Let's see where this is going to take me
, I think and wait for the door to open. 
How bad can this guy really be?

BOOK: Catharsis (Book 2): Catalyst
10.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Savior by Eugene Drucker
A Different Kind of Deadly by Nicole Martinsen
Looking for You by Kate Perry
The Foreigner by Francie Lin
The Silk Map by Chris Willrich
To Love and Honor by Irene Brand