azombiewrites: (War of the Worlds - Tv Series)
[personal profile] azombiewrites
Title: Dance on Through
Fandom: War of the Worlds (TV Series)
Genre: Hurt/comfort, Horror, Science Fiction.
Rating: PG
Main Characters: Lt. Col. Paul Ironhorse, Debi McCullough, Dr. Suzanne McCullough, Dr. Harrison Blackwood and Norton Drake.
Disclaimers: Based on the characters created by Greg Strangis.
Challenge: Written for The [livejournal.com profile] spook_me Multi-Fandom Halloween Ficathon 2015.
Prompt: Boogeyman
Picture Prompts: #1 and #2
Author's Notes: Story title snagged from the song 'Dance on Through' by The Human Beinz.
Chapter Word Count: 5,123
Total Word Count: 30,738
Status: Complete

Summary: Responding to alien transmissions, the Blackwood Project find themselves embroiled in the legend of the Boogeyman. Children are disappearing, abducted during their thirteenth year. The local inhabitants are certain a boogeyman is behind their disappearance but Blackwood believes the aliens are involved. When Debi, in her thirteenth year, is threatened, Ironhorse risks his life to keep her safe.





Dance on Through
Chapter Three



Ironhorse took a faltering step, stumbled and fell to his knees, taking Debi with him. Heels of his palms, the knuckles of his fingers slamming against the floor, Ironhorse grimaced, jaw clenching against the profanity wanting to escape. Bad language used to often already, he didn’t want to voice anymore, not in front of Debi; too much of an influence, if she swore in front of her mother, Ironhorse blamed . . . it wouldn’t be pretty.

More pain he didn’t need or want, adding to an already impressive collection. Debi tugged at his shoulder, pulling at his shirt. Image of the boy flashing through his mind got him moving. He stood up, muscles flexing with pain, tight with tension, cramps already forming . . . dizziness circled, a floating sensation, weight pushing at the edges of his mind.

He could do this.

They could get through this.

They had to get through this . . .

He couldn’t let that happen to Debi.

“Hold onto me,” said Ironhorse, taking her hand and pulling it toward his waist. He watched, to make sure, as she tucked her fingers behind his weapons belt, holding on with a firm grip. “Don’t let go.”

“I won’t,” said Debi.

He looked down at her. “Promise me.”

Ironhorse wouldn’t hold her to it, would hold no blame if she did let go. Fear can make a person do things they normally wouldn’t do.

“I promise.”

One foot in front of the other, they left the security of the light, moving into the darkness. He needed to discover their location, find a solid object, a wall, a door, anything. Instinct told him they weren’t outside. Nature didn’t smell like this. No air against his face, no breeze tugging at his clothing, cooling the sweat on his skin. They were inside . . . inside what though, that was his main concern. They didn’t come in through a doorway, a solid opening, instead moving through . . . what . . . space and time, an alternative reality. Ironhorse almost snorted, keeping the sound to himself. If that were the case, they might never get back home.

So much for trying to be positive.

Out of the light, it was easier to see. He could make out shapes, flat and sharp. Could see solid objects. In front of him . . . a wall. He moved quickly, body protesting, Debi following, fingers tugging at the belt around his waist. Reaching the wall, he placed his left hand against it, fingers creating a line through a layer of something Ironhorse didn’t want to consider. They followed the wall, finding an edge, a doorframe . . . a door handle.

“It’s a door,” said Ironhorse.

“Is that the way back?”

“I don’t know.”

“Open it,” said Debi.

Pushy. He liked that.

“Wait!”

“What?” said Ironhorse as he turned to face Debi.

“What if the way out is behind us?” She raised her hand and pointed back to the way they had come.

“Do you think there might be two doors?”

“Harrison’s office has two doors.”

She had a point. Although a good one, he didn’t think there would be two doors but he wanted her to feel useful, give her something to do.

“We’ll circle the room--”

“It has to be a square room,” said Debi.

He smiled down at her. “We’ll square the room, if we get back here without finding another door, we’ll go through this one. Deal?”

“That boy . . .”

“He won’t hurt us.”

“Promise.”

“Promise.”

“I’m sorry.”

He frowned. “For what?”

“You’re here with me and that makes me . . .” She sighed, a long released breath.

“Happy?” It may be the wrong choice of word. “Grateful? Embarrassed to be seen with me? Do you want me to walk a step behind you?”

She smiled. “Grateful. I know I shouldn’t be. I’m really scared but I’m glad you’re here with me.”

“I understand,” said Ironhorse.

“You do?”

“Yes. Are you ready?”

“If you are?”

No.

Not really.

Still dizzy, nauseated, unsteady on his feet; doing his best not to let it show. He didn’t want to worry her, scare her anymore than she already was. The room was still moving, not just spinning, a rolling storm, his balance tested, a deliberate attempt to keep his attention. He couldn’t give into it, couldn’t let it beat him. As much as he wanted to sit down, rest his back against the wall and close his eyes . . . he couldn’t.

“Colonel?”

“I’m ready.”

“You don’t look well.”

He didn’t doubt that. Surprised she could see so much in the broken shadows drifting around them. No time to dwell on it but something told him Debi needed assurance. “I feel better than I look.”

“Promise.”

Too many promises made today. They were both scared . . . scared of losing each other in the darkness, scared of dying at the hands of something unnatural. Afraid of their future, the boy revealing something neither wanted. Ironhorse wasn’t going to let that happen, idea still forming at the back his mind, still unwilling to admit to himself that it might be his only choice. He didn’t have to decide now, not at this moment. They still had time. Debi still had time. At least until it came back; he would make his decision then and only then.

His hesitation making its own revelation, Debi frowned, expression filled with concern.

Ironhorse swallowed down the regret and guilt, his chest aching with the effort. “Promise.”

A blurted confession. Debi pulling at the belt around his waist. Words repeated. “Please, don’t die.”

At least she didn’t ask him to promise.

She looked up at him, her eyes pleading.

“I can’t promise you that.”

Tears welled in her eyes, overflowing. She nodded, looked down at her feet. He knew what she was thinking, her mind replaying images mirroring his own. One more promise, the only one that actually meant something, more than his promise to get her back to her mother. “I promise you, Debi, you won’t end up like that boy.”

“What happened to him?”

“I don’t know.”

“He looked like a zombie,” said Debi.

A zombie? Really. “What kind of movies have you been watching?”

She smiled, wiped her face with her free hand, tears drying. “Dawn of the Dead.”

“That’s an R rated movie,” said Ironhorse. He didn’t like seeing her cry. Anything to keep the tears at bay. “How in the hell did you manage that?”

He could tell by her expression, she wasn’t going to reveal her source. She didn’t need too. There was only one place she would see a movie like that. Only one person who would allow her to watch it . . . “Norton.”

“How did you know?”

Raised an eyebrow at her.

“This is way scarier,” said Debi.

He knew she was trying to distract him, get herself out of trouble. She wasn’t in trouble but she didn’t know that. “Scarier than your mother finding out you watched an R rated horror movie?”

She stepped back away from him, left hand still gripping his belt, keeping her promise.

“She won’t find out from me,” said Ironhorse. He paused . . . “Was it good?”

“It was so good. Norton’s got the new one. He said . . . we were going to watch it on the weekend.” The tears were back. They were talking about mundane things, putting off the inevitable, delaying their future for as long as possible but they were only fooling themselves. Things didn’t look good, for either of them. Only one way to get out of this.

“We’ll confiscate the movie and watch it together,” said Ironhorse.

She only nodded. Eyes wide, tears unchecked. It had sunken in, Debi now aware she might not get back home.

“Popcorn, Dr Pepper and zombies. How does that sound?”

“Do you think we’ll get back home?”

“We’ll try.”

“Mom must be . . .”

“She knows you’re with me.”

“You kill people,” said Debi. “Don’t you?”

He turned away from her. “Are you ready?”

“I don’t want to see that boy again.”

Glancing back over his shoulder, Ironhorse said, “You don’t want to look for a second door?”

“I didn’t . . .”

He turned fully, trying to face her, the position awkward, Debi’s arm caught around his waist; almost an embrace, a hug. Best thing for them both. Careful of the battle knife, he pulled her closer, into a hug. She reciprocated, an opportunity to give-and-take.

“I didn’t want to go out there,” said Debi. “It’s out there, not in here.”

“Look at me,” said Ironhorse.

Debi lifted her chin, resting it against his chest, looking up at him.

“We can’t stay here. The way out isn’t in this room.”

“How do you know?”

“This is what I do. Trust me.”

You kill people.

“Please. Just trust me.”

“Mom said to always trust you.”

“She did?”

Surprise crashing across his features, he felt his cheeks flush with embarrassment when Debi laughed at him. Anything to drive the fear away, if only for a moment.

Debi turned serious, her laughter cut off, words spoken. “I trust you and not because Mom told me too.”

“You sound so much like your mother.”

“Is that a good thing?”

“Yes,” said Ironhorse.

“She was angry with you, wasn’t she? In the van. Harrison and Norton too.”

“I said something I shouldn’t have. I hurt your mother’s feelings.” May as well be honest.

“What did you say?”

Not that honest. He pulled her arm from his waist, pushing her away. It was time to go. “We can talk about it later.”

“Why not now?”

“I don’t want to talk about it now.”

She looked down, nodded.

“Are you ready?”

“Yes.” A whisper.

“We have to go. As much as I enjoy having a conversation with you . . .” They’d been talking for so long, conversing, Debi always so easy to talk to but they couldn’t keep going. They had to stop at some point and now was as good a time as any, not willing to admit he didn’t want to anger Debi in much the same way he’d angered her mother. He needed Debi to trust him, not something she would do if she were angry with him. “We can talk about it later.”

Another nod.

Damn it. Civilians. There had to be a handbook on how to talk to them without hurting their feelings. Word by word instructions with accompanying images – the word idiot above Ironhorse’s head – with speech clouds. Maybe Blackwood had been right all along . . . the best way to talk to Ironhorse was through idiot speak.

“Do everything I tell you.” He didn’t mean it as an order but that’s how it came across. Idiot speak, but Debi wasn’t the idiot . . . he was, only making things worse. “Try not to behave like Harrison.”

Not waiting for her response, physical or verbal, Ironhorse turned back to the door. Knife held in his right hand, he reached out with his left, the limb trembling with weakness and fear. This was it . . . anything could be on the other side, including the thing that had brought them here. He could feel Debi’s fingers tightening around the belt, pulling it tight, the pressure around his waist increasing; it felt reassuring, knowledge that she was still there, still hanging on, keeping her promise. All he had to do now was keep his own promises. Knew without doubt, there was one he could keep . . . the others . . . he wasn’t as certain.

Fingers wrapped around the metal doorhandle, a cold sensation pushing through skin and flesh. It travelled his arm, quickly gaining ground, nudging at the base of his skull . . . turned the handle and pulled. It opened, easier than Ironhorse had expected. He stepped back, pulling the door with him. Light spilled into the room . . .

Without warning . . . a scream shattered the room.

Not Debi.

Ironhorse turned on his heels. Debi turned with him, staying behind him. Good girl. He stepped to the side, putting the wall behind Debi. The room revealed it didn’t take long to find the source of the sound. The boy stood on the other side of the room, the small teddy bear swinging by his side, in constant movement, the boy’s arm so still; the bear doing its own thing . . . the boy not involved. Two separate entities.

“Don’t look,” said Ironhorse, his warning drawing Debi out.

She stood beside him, watching the boy, her body shaking. There was nothing they could do for the boy, Ironhorse unsure of the best way to put the kid out of his misery. He realized the boy looked familiar, Ironhorse groaning with understanding; this was Harold’s son.

“What’s wrong?” said Debi, unable to shift her gaze away from the boy.

“Nothing.” He didn’t want her to know. “Let’s go.”

Hesitating, Ironhorse watched as the boy turned away, no real interest shown, the kid only reacting to the added light in the room. Surveillance, quick and professional, Ironhorse saw no other exit, no second door. The door behind them the only way out of the room.

“Should we take him with us?”

“There’s nothing we can do for him.”

“He’s dead?”

Not sure, of his assumption, Ironhorse studied Harold’s son. His thin chest was still. His diaphragm no longer expanding, his lungs no longer working. He wasn't breathing. Debi’s description of the boy had been correct. He looked like a zombie . . . the walking dead.

“Yes.”

“How can you tell?”

You kill people.

“It’s time to go.”

Ironhorse turned and faced the open doorway. He stepped out into a hallway, Debi still behind him. She pushed against his back, urging him forward. Realising she was still in the room, he took another step. Debi moved to his side. He looked to the left. The right. An empty, long, elongated hallway with no end in sight, it seemed to go on forever.

A reminder of long endless nights, dawn so far away . . . the sound of gunfire, explosions echoing in the back of his mind. Ironhorse felt as though he were back in Vietnam. Body standing in a long empty corridor, his mind somewhere else . . . he could feel the heat, the choking humidity. Smell the cordite and blood . . . sweat broke out on his skin, a numbing chill filling his limbs, his bones aching with the cold, an uncomfortable contradiction between hot and cold. He lifted his hand, palm against his forehead. His skin felt flushed with fever . . .

“Which way should we go, Colonel?”

Returned to the present.

Ironhorse wasn’t sure, no sense of direction. Both directions looked to lead nowhere. He felt lost. Turned to the right. Brightly lit, the hallway stretched on for miles, or so it seemed. The floor, its original format unknown, now covered in dirt, so much dust it had hardened over time, giving the floor a new surface. The walls were pale and stained, paint cracking and peeling away. He could see the outline of a door, another one further down. They offered hope, until he stopped to think about it. It was possible each room held an occupant similar to the one behind him . . . he didn’t want to see another child, not in that condition, one was enough . . . it was enough for both of them.

Turned to the left, everything the same. He didn’t know which way to go. Closed his eyes, allowed his instinct to lead him. Nothing. Damn instinct wasn’t working, staying silent, mind pulling him in neither direction . . .

Except it was.

Well not really.

Instinct was telling him to wait.

For what . . . anything could be coming. He opened his eyes as the feeling of frustration and hopelessness began to boil in his gut. He wanted to strike out, hit something . . .

A flash of movement in his peripheral. Ironhorse’s gaze flickered left, in time to see a silhouette so familiar, his heart clenching with emotion and hope. It couldn’t be. A glimpse of blue jeans, denim jacket, a plait of grey hair.

“This way,” said Ironhorse, moving quickly to the left, trusting what he’d seen. Words echoing . . .

Trust in yourself

The way out exposed.

He had to slow his steps, moving too fast for Debi to keep close, falling behind, her fingers slipping from his belt. When she regained her grip, they continued at a steady pace, making their way down the hallway. Ironhorse could feel the strength he’d recovered ebbing away, his steps becoming clumsy, feet beginning to drag across the floor. Not good. Sweat soaked into the back of his shirt, chilling his skin. He shivered, jaw clenched against the pain cramping through muscles.

Up ahead, another flare of motion. Not what he’d seen before. A black cloak, a hood full of shadows.

Shit.

“Back! Go back.”

Ironhorse moved backward, careful not to trip over Debi, the girl not moving as fast as he’d like. Turning to encourage her, he stumbled. A smell so foul, rotten . . . bout of nausea bringing him down. He lost control, knees weak, he fell onto his side, barely missing Debi, the young girl falling with him. Rolling over onto hands and knees, just in time, Ironhorse vomited. Not enough food in his stomach, bile splattering the floor beneath him. He gagged as his stomach convulsed. Arms and legs trembling, the sweat dripped from his face.

Felt like death warmed over . . .

Except he didn’t.

Not really.

He felt worse.

So much worse.

“Colonel, get up,” said Debi, tugging on his arm, not enough strength in her limbs to get him up on to his feet. “It’s coming.”

Lifting his head, he looked back over his shoulder.

It came toward them, slow, methodical, every step precise . . . savouring the moment. Shadows moved within the hood, shapes dancing over each other, fighting for control. A clicking sound, voice rumbling, gravel grating on fractured nerves . . . “Naughty boy.”

The nausea increased. An ignition of pain within his skull. Ironhorse felt faint, ready to succumb. Lax fingers released the knife. His muscles felt heavy . . . too heavy, Ironhorse falling back onto his side. Debi still gripped his belt, the strength of her promise keeping her by his side. He wanted to tell her to run . . . hide but he couldn’t find his voice . . . his breath. Lungs painful, he couldn’t take a breath . . .

Debi picked up the knife.

No.

“Debi . . . no.” The words came out strangled, his voice hoarse, weak.

Then everything stopped.

His lungs collapsing.

Everything going black . . .

. . . a sudden restart, painful, Ironhorse gasping in pain.

The nausea quickly abated, the pain rolling away, leaving his skull feeling empty. Strength returned, lungs reacting, dragging in a deep breath, releasing it and taking in another. An odd feeling, Ironhorse not waiting to understand . . . to figure out what was happening to him. He scrambled to his feet, crawling his way back up.

Debi stepped back, eyes wide, watching him . . . a different kind of fear showing in her eyes. She brought the knife forward, pointing it at his stomach. Tears filled her eyes as she took another step back, getting too far away from him, leaving herself open to danger. He had to get her back, quickly.

“I’m okay, Debi,” said Ironhorse, raising his hands, palms outward, a placating gesture. A quick look back over his shoulder, the thing gone. Ironhorse frowned, things tying together. Was the thing responsible for the pain and nausea? In serious trouble if it were. “I don’t know what just happened but I’m okay now.”

Promise.

“I thought . . .”

“I know what you thought, but I’m okay and I apologise for scaring you.”

“I thought you were dead. Your eyes were open but you weren’t . . .” She shivered, her body shaking with emotion. “I put my hand in front of your mouth. Like they do on TV . . . you weren’t breathing.”

Not exactly what he’d thought. Unconscious long enough to scare the shit out of her, make her think he wasn’t himself anymore . . . left her to defend for herself but not . . . not dead.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Ironhorse. He still felt a little dizzy, an ach settling at the base of his skull. Had everything stopped? It must have because he believed what she was telling him. “How long?”

She looked away.

“Debi. How long?”

“I don’t know . . . I thought you left me.”

He stepped closer, grateful when she didn’t react, didn’t move away. “Debi. I need to know. How long do you think . . .” Unable to finish, body becoming numb with the thought . . . not of dying. The thought of leaving her alone . . . leaving her to die, alone. It made him sick to his stomach.

“I think . . . a few minutes.”

It was his turn to take a step back. A few minutes. He’d stopped breathing for a few minutes. He didn’t want to believe it but knew it was true. Debi wouldn’t lie to him. She wouldn’t make something like that up . . . he understood her fear.

“You thought . . .”

Debi nodded. “I thought you were a zombie.”

He wanted to smile. To laugh at the idea but he couldn’t. He didn’t find this funny. Concentrated on something else instead. “Did you see where it went?”

“No. I thought you were dead, Colonel. I thought you left me.”

“Come here.” He stepped toward her, took the knife from her hand and hugged her. She cried against his chest, loud sobs crushing his soul. Didn’t feel it was right to remind her he’d made a promise, both of them aware the promises were now empty. Both of them aware they had little chance of escape.

This way

Ironhorse’s head snapped up and he turned toward the sound of the voice. His Grandfather stood in the hallway. Doubt crept into his chest, anxiety a painful bite. Was it his Grandfather? Had it been his Grandfather earlier? He’d trusted himself, following the glimpse of his past down the hallway, decision leading them to the Boogeyman. Could it have been a trick? Was this a trick, the thing trying to draw them closer, dragging them into danger without a fight? He didn’t know. Wasn’t sure he could trust his instinct anymore.

“Who is that?” said Debi, looking down the hallway, staring at the older man standing a short distance away.

Ironhorse hesitated, still not wanting to believe what he was seeing.

Trust yourself

You kill people.

“You can see him?”

Wiping the tears from her face, Debi nodded against his chest. “Who is he?

“It might be my Grandfather.” He wasn’t willing to give her anymore.

“Really . . . but . . . does that mean . . .”

“No, he hasn’t been here for a long time.”

“Is he here to help us?”

“I think so.”

“You’re not sure?”

“No.”

Not anymore.

“Why not?”

Ironhorse looked down at her. Debi stared back at him, hope glazing in her eyes. “What do you think?”

“He looks like you.”

There was a glancing resemblance.

“I like him,” said Debi.

Debi pulled away, gripped his belt with her right and moved forward toward his Grandfather, forcing Ironhorse to follow her. Still pushy. Still liked it, her approach showed determination, her will to survive so strong. He wasn’t going to let her down. Wasn’t going to damage the level of trust . . .

You kill people.

His first step difficult, mind expecting his body to falter, his legs to stumble. He held firm, managing one step and then another, finally getting into a rhythm, one foot in front of the other. Still felt dizzy, not as bad, the nausea taking a respite, the ache in his skull more irritating than painful. More confident, he stopped, pulling Debi close, beside him.

She looked up at him, a question in her eyes.

He shrugged.

Debi smiled. At what . . . well at him but why, he didn’t know. Civilians confused the hell of out him. His gaze followed his Grandfather, long plait trailing down his back, as he turned a corner. Ironhorse frowned. He couldn’t see a corner . . . couldn’t even see a door, an opening. Not much help to them if his Grandfather had vanished into a wall; dry sense of humour always so difficult to understand . . . unless . . .

A faster pace set, Debi had to jog beside him to keep up . . .

The hallway seemed to curve, a straight line changing into something else, shapes moving . . .

Ironhorse stopped, an abrupt halt, too late to protect Debi from the frightening sight in front of them. Children, at least six, huddled in a group, shoulders bumping as they swayed like a moving ocean, a tide rolling in and out. Small and thin, dressed in tattered pyjamas . . . boys . . . girls. Mouths wide, empty caverns . . . their heads twitching, an ugly tick.

Six children had gone missing in the first year. Had they found each other wandering the hallway? Company kept, staying close, searching for a way out; finding none, watching as one by one they changed into something else. It must have been terrifying for them.

Ironhorse pulled his gaze away . . .

His Grandfather in the distance, still moving forward.

No.

To keep moving, to catch up . . .

They had to pass the children.

Ironhorse turned, hunched down, close to Debi, looking her in the eye. He swallowed, a painful lump in his throat, chest tight. Knew the reaction his words would cause. They couldn’t continue, not until . . . she needed to know. She deserved so much better than this. Why hadn’t he been persistent? Given an order. Why couldn’t he have been more of a bastard? He shouldn’t have allowed Debi to come with them but he had and now . . . damn civilians.

“We have to go past them.”

Debi looked away, at the children. Looked back at Ironhorse. Brave and determined, her expression her answer. This kid was full of surprises. “Ready?”

She nodded. “Ready.”

“Hold on as tight as you want to,” said Ironhorse. “Close your eyes if you need to. I’ll lead you past them.”

Debi looked grateful, closing her eyes, trusting his words, his voice . . . him. She came in close, wrapping both her hands around his belt, holding tight. She trusted him. Put all her faith . . . put her life in his hands . . .

You kill people.

Ironhorse knew she hadn’t meant anything by it, knowledge and curiosity guiding her thoughts, her words but he couldn’t stop thinking about it; three words and they nagged at him with continuity. He was conflicted. She trusted him. He knew that, believed it but he was beginning to doubt the why. Did she trust him because she respected him, admired him, believed with all her heart that she could trust him to protect her or was the trust there because she knew he could kill . . . because he did kill?

If they survived, he would have to sit her down, tell her he killed out of necessity . . . in defence of others. It wasn’t something he did out of joy, out of a need for violence. He wasn’t a murderer, a killer . . . he was a good man, why couldn’t they see that.

You kill people.

Mom says you’re a good man. She said it’s hard to see through all the Military maleness.

Is that what Suzanne really thought of him? Is that what they all thought of him? Military first, a man second . . . were they really that blind to the man he was? If they hated him so much . . . if they thought so very little of him . . . why did he bother? Why did he stay? He could leave now. Just walk away from everyone and everything. From Debi . . . He could walk away without guilt or regret, find a dark corner of solitude and drift away . . .

“Colonel?”

Ironhorse blinked, pulled from his thoughts. Understood something was playing with his mind, creating self-doubt, pushing him to leave Debi behind and it had been working. More caution needed, he had to concentrate. He could feel his headache building . . .

Is that why his heart had stopped? Had it been an attempt to get Debi to leave him? Had it tried to play with her mind, failing, resorting to something more physical to separate them? It hadn’t worked. Debi had stayed with him waiting to see if he had become something else.

“Colonel.”

Ironhorse shifted his gaze, looking down at Debi. She was looking back at him, the fear back in her eyes. He opened his mouth to speak, unable to find the words, voice caught in his throat. Snapped his mouth shut. Deep breath. He was thinking too much, the thoughts and questions tearing through his mind distracting him from the objective. He had to stop thinking and start reacting . . . too many emotions getting in the way.

Hurry

The voice in his head pulled him forward, Ironhorse following his Grandfather’s instructions. He stumbled . . . not again. Not now. Not when they were so close to the group of children. Body disloyal, Ironhorse began to feel frail, an old man – an unusual feeling – muscles trembling. He needed to sit down. He needed to rest, an overwhelming urge to stop, to lie down and die . . . another trick.

Don’t stop

Debi waited patiently beside him, still so trustful, her grip so tight, it caused Ironhorse to grimace, the embrace around his waist too tight. The nausea returned, a pungent odor drifting across his senses. The smell of death taken as a warning, Ironhorse rushed forward, taking Debi with him . . .

The smell of death his only warning.





Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four


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