Hungry for vampires, zombies and witches; this novel has them all. The islands hold secrets only spoken in whispers. Mia, nearly three centuries old is fighting for her independence. Michael, his humanity stolen because of an adulterous act finds a kinship in Mia. The battle between the living dead and the undead will intoxicate your mind.
Michael watched as the captains head fell to the deck. Blood spurted like a fountain from his neck. The crewmen stepped back away as if the blood were some kind of acid. One of them moved to the side and grabbed Bijoux. He pulled her tight against his chest and laid the blade of his knife on her throat.
“Take another step and I will slice this wench from ear to ear, creature. Her life means nothing to me. I think she might be someone to you. Your choice to kill the captain gives me the right to kill this whore. Lay down that saber and I might let her live long enough to watch you die.”
Michael looked at the man holding Bijoux. He had no doubt that he meant what he said. She was nothing to him and he wanted Michael dead; as did the other crewmen.
“Release her and I will do as you say. Kill her and I will eat the flesh off of your face while you live. I too mean what I say.”
The man looked at Michael’s face. He could see in Michael’s eyes that their hatred was a shared feeling for one another. He pushed Bijoux over to Michael and then waited.
“You should not have done this for me, Michael. I am as he said; a whore and that is all.”
“You are a lady inside, of that I am certain. I will not stand here and watch him kill you; not without a fight. Go below and stay there. Take this saber with you and stab it through the heart of any man that comes down those steps. Go now before he decides to change his mind.”
Bijoux went into the hold without looking back. She did not want to see Michael hurt.
“We do not have to fight. I am not a threat to you. I simply want to reach the Americas like you do. Let us finish the journey and so that we can part ways. I have no issues with you or the crew.”
“Well we have issues with you, creature. I don’t want to be sleeping with my eyes open so you don’t eat my face while I sleep. The captain made the mistake of letting you live. I will not be the second to do the same.”
Michael knew he had no other choice but to fight. He hoped he survived long enough to see land. He reached out and took the closest crewman by the throat. The sound of the man’s neck snapping made several others halt their advance.
“I am a gentle soul but, I will kill all of you if that is what I must do. Come forward anyone that does not wish to see the Americas.”
The man that had threatened Michael looked around at the others. None of them made any attempt to move towards Michael. He pushed his saber into the man beside him, shoving it to the handle into his heart.
“There, you little ladies, that is one less that need be afraid of this creature. I will help him kill you cowards one by one unless you do what you are paid to do! Start fighting and kill him!”
The man stepped forward and swinging his saber towards Michael. The sound of metal scraping metal pierced the ears of every man. Michael pulled the saber back long enough to slice a man’s arm off and then reconnected with the leader’s saber. He saw a man approaching him from one side. With a swing of his arm, Michael snapped the man’s head back, killing him instantly.
“You are a strong one, creature, but I will win this battle and feed your rotting corpse to the seagulls. I do not fear you at all.”
Michael slid the blade of his saber up the length of the man’s saber. He gritted his teeth as their faces drew nearer.
“Yes you do fear me. I can see it in your eyes. Your mouth does not say what your eyes do. Stop this now!”
“I will not stop until you are dead or whatever it is your kind does. I am sure that you can die again and I aim to be the one that helps you do that.”
Michael pulled back and stabbed another of the crew. As they fell to the deck, more of the men began to back away.
“Where do you think you are all going?! I told you to fight!”
One of the men shook his head and dropped his saber.
“I didn’t sign on here to die. I want to see the Americas while I still live. I will not help you creature but neither will I fight you.”
“Damn you… damn you all! I will send this thing to Hell on my own then! When I am finished, I will cut everyone that stepped away into tiny pieces; one limb at a time!”
“Your crew has left you and I do not wish you dead. Let us be done with this and find land.”
Without answering the man swung his saber at Michael. The tip caught Michael’s shirt and cut into his chest. There was only a small stain of blood where the wound was inflicted.
“See to it that the creature does not even bleed. You cut him well and he does not bleed. You cannot kill him! Only you will die here today.”
The leader looked at the man speaking to him. He snarled like a mad dog at his words as he spit into the man’s face.
“You will be first to feel my cold steel when I am done. Shut your yellow-bellied mouth so I can be done with him.”
While Michael looked down at the wound, the man swung again, this time slicing deeply into Michael’s arm. There was one thing Michael was sure of. The pain was real no matter what he had become. The lack of blood did not mean there was no pain. Another slice to his leg sent Michael to the deck. He felt the man’s heavy foot stomp down onto his chest. The sun’s rays reflected off of the blade blinding Michael. He only knew it was above him.
“This is where you and I part ways, creature. I will enjoy your whore before I toss her over the railing. It will entertain me to watch her sink beneath the waves in the mouth of a sea creature. How nice it will be for her to pleasure me twice before…”
The man felt Michael’s blade pierce his stomach before he had time to finish talking. Blood ran down the blade onto Michael’s hand and chest. Michael twisted the blade, cutting away at the man’s entrails. He shoved harder and plunged the blade out the man’s back. He stared up into the eyes that were once filled with hatred. Now, they were filled with surprise and pain.
“You should have saved your victory speech for a victory. It is I that will enjoy watching you disappear below the waves.”
Michael pushed forward, raising his body to stand. The blade was still embedded in the man’s stomach. Michael leaned forward and smiled at the man. Knowing he would be dead soon, Michael leaned forward to whisper in the man’s ear.
“I will make certain the others fear me enough to stay clear of me. You will help me do that by feeling your worst fear happen. This will pleasure me!”
Michael moved his mouth to the man’s face. Screams of sheer pain bellowed out of the man’s mouth as Michael bit deep into his face. He pulled off a large part of the man’s cheek then spit it onto the deck.
“Did you think I was going to eat that? I have better taste than the likes of you. I just wanted you to know that I could have.”
With that said Michael lifted the man above his head and tossed him into the waters below. He watched to make certain he didn’t miss the sea. He turned to face the other men. All of them had moved back against the opposite rail.
“If any of you are interested in continuing this game, let us do it and be done with it. I wish to return below deck.”
None of the men moved. They nodded their answer to Michael’s offer. After their answer, one man moved forward. He held his hand up as if it were a truce flag.
“I want no issue with you, creature. I wish the same thing as you do. When we reach land you can go wherever it is you wish to go. I am next in line to captain this vessel. I will leave you be as long as you do likewise.”
“I will not be any cause for alarm for you or your men. We cannot be far from land now. I will abstain from food until we reach the shore. The woman that was on deck is not approachable. She will not be compromised by any of your crew. The others I have no say in what you do to them short of causing them to suffer.”
“You need not worry about the whore; she will not be touched by anyone. The others will simply be used to pleasure us until we make land.”
“What becomes of them when we are docked?”
“Not that it is your concern but they will be sold to the highest bidder. What the buyer does with them matters none to me. Do not be a savior to those women. They would likely cut your throat as quickly as they would my own. Go to where you will now; I have a ship to steer.”
Michael returned below deck. Bijoux was waiting for him. She hugged Michael tight and kissed him. He could feel the warmth of her tears on his face. The saltiness of her emotions touched his lips as she kissed him.
“You could have died today, Michael. Then who would watch over me until we reached land? Surely it would not be any of those men above us. They would see me dead as quickly as they would kill you. I am tainted goods to them now; tainted more than when they took me from my family.”
“I didn’t die Bijoux and I would fight one hundred fights for you. They intend on selling you to the highest bidder when we reach shore. I will not allow that to happen. We must have a plan set for when we reach land. I will take you with me if you will go with me.”
“Michael, I would follow you where you wish to take me. I do not know what we will do but I trust in you.”
“When we near the port, you will need to trust me one more time. I know of only one way for us to leave this ship together. We must go to the deck and toss ourselves over the railing. If we do not do that I fear the men will take you from me. I am strong enough to carry you to shore. We can slip into the darkness and never be seen by these men again.”
“I will do as you say, Michael. How will the men not see us as we swim to land?”
“I will stay as near the ship as I can. There are places that we cannot be seen from the ship’s deck. I will take us to a place where we will not be seen leaving the water. We will not stop until we are safely hidden from the crew. It is the only way we will leave this ship alive.”
“We will see shore before long now. I will prepare my things so I am ready when you say.”
“Bijoux, you cannot tell anyone of our plans. Should one of the women tell the crew they will kill us both before we see the Americas.”
“I will say nothing to them of our plans.”
“Perhaps we could use a little distraction when we are near port. Do the women know why they are being brought to America?”
“They were told there was work as house-maids there. They don’t want to believe they will be sold into slavery for sex. They only want to be free and start new lives.”
“That will be the commotion we need that will throw the crew off balance for a short while. It should buy us enough time to get to safety. When we know we are close, you must tell the women you heard the men talking about the slave traders. Tell them that they will be waiting on shore to buy them as they leave the ship.”
“They will try and run to save themselves, Michael.”
“Are you certain that they will?”
Bijoux stared at Michael and then shook her head. She reached out and touched his face with her palm. Tears wet her cheeks as she spoke.
“I would, Michael. That is what I would do if I did not believe in you.”
Michael reached out and pulled her to his body. He wiped the tears from her eyes.
“It will not be long now, Bijoux; you will be free of ever having to fear these men or any man again.”
Five more days went by without any more trouble between the crew and Michael. He was sure that they stayed away from him out of fear. He had shown them the horror that had been passed down from generation to generation concerning zombies. The unbridled anger and strength that had given way to so much folklore had erupted right before their eyes. None of the men wanted to be the next story told by others.
Michael woke to the sound of scraping under the ships hold. He wondered if he had actually slept or if he merely closed the world off for a time. He would have to ponder that later. For now he needed to know what caused the scraping beneath his feet. He could hear scuffling above on the deck. He saw a small figure descending into the hold. He knew right away who it was.
“Bijoux, what were you doing on the ladder?”
“I heard a commotion and men yelling, Michael. I went to see what they were saying. No one saw me looking.”
“What are they doing? I heard scraping under the ship.”
“We are coming into shallow waters. The men have set small boats to the shore.”
“Then we have reached the Americas now. We need to be ready to leave this ship. Now is the time to tell the women your story. We dare not wait any longer or we chance being held captive here.”
“How are we going to get past the men, Michael?”
“We are not going to see them at all, Bijoux. As the women begin to panic, I will pull a few boards lose and we will go out from here. We need that scare put in them now.”
Bijoux went to the corner that the women had been in since the beginning of the journey. She told them what she had heard from the men. She could see the fear come almost to life as she explained the intentions of the crew. Some still refused to believe her words.
“You lie to us, Bijoux. You want to help that creature you have given your soul to. We will not listen to what you say to us. A curse will be on you for touching that disgusting thing. You shame our women because of your own lust.”
“I tell you that the men are going to sell you as sex slaves! You must run to your own safety when they take you on deck.”
Some of the women whispered amongst themselves. Bijoux could sense the fear in them. She needed only to make it more real for them.
“If you do not want your life to be as it was before then you must fight back. There is no time left to make you believe me. The men will be coming for you soon. I pray for your souls and hope that some of you listen.”
Bijoux returned to Michael and prepared to follow him. She would rather die inside the ship than be a slave for the rest of her life. She hid with Michael in the darkest corner of the hold. From there she could hear a man screaming orders.
“I want all of those whores brought up before we are tied down! Make certain that you kill that sad excuse for a human while you are down there! I want to see his corpse floating on top of the water before we are unloaded!”
The women heard the man’s words and began to panic. It was in that moment they realized that Bijoux had spoken the truth. Michael could hear the men begin to come down to the hold. As if on cue, Bijoux yelled at the women.
“If you are to be free, start fighting now! Scratch and kick your way off of this ship. If you reach the shore, run until you cannot run any more. This is your only chance at freedom.”
The women began screaming and throwing anything they could lift at the men coming down the steps. Some grabbed knives and swords that were being brought to America. Their screams were only matched by those of the men descending the ladder. Boots pointed and hard kicked out at the women. The sound of necks snapping back as boot met throat resounded off of the walls. Long sword tips cut easily into the bodies of those that wanted only freedom. The floor beneath the women’s bare feet became slippery from the blood that flowed from their bodies.
Bijoux stared at the open eyes of women she had once called her friend. The glazed over look that would never look at anyone again haunted her soul. Had her words caused death that did not need to be? Was her desire to be free so important that she had sacrificed her people for her own safety? She began to move forward in an attempt to help the women. She could not bear to watch them die.
“Bijoux, the time is now. If we wait longer we too will die with those women. They are making their choices to be free just as you have.”
Michael pulled on her arm trying to get her to look at him. He knew the window of opportunity was tiny. It would only be moments before their chance to escape would end.
“Michael, how can I leave them? They are fighting because of my words!”
“They are fighting because they want to be free, Bijoux. If you want the same then come with me now! We cannot wait any longer!”
Michael pulled at the planks that were the hull of the ship. His strength made it easier to rip them free. A light shone through the opening illuminating all that was in the hold including Michael and Bijoux. Men had made their way to the bottom and were beating the women into submission. As the light exploded inside the hold, some of the men noticed Michael bending to rip another plank free.
“There! That is the one that caused all of this to happen. The creature and his whore are trying to escape! Forget the other slaves and kill those two!”
Michael knew that there would be no other chances. His bargaining chips were spent and the men meant to kill him and Bijoux. He pulled the plank free and swung it like a sword. The plank struck the closest two men and sent them crashing into the women. He pulled Bijoux behind him just as a sword stabbed out at her. The point found its way into Michael’s chest, burying itself deep inside.
“I have skewered the creature this time!” one of the men called out. “He will not leave this boat alive!”
The man’s eyes widened when Michael grabbed the edge of the sword and pulled it out. Before the man could react, Michael turned the sword and pushed it into the man’s throat. Blood spewed out like a fountain, covering Michael and the walls behind him.
“You never seem to learn from your past, do you? I told you I will kill you all if that’s what it takes to be rid of you.”
Michael took the man’s face in his hand and pulled it to his mouth. He opened his mouth and bit deep into the man’s cheek. Tearing off his skin and muscle, Michael spit the meat into the crowd of men. The men stopped as they had before and stared down at the hunk of flesh lying at their feet. Michael turned away from them and pulled off one last plank.
“I never meant harm to come to anyone on this vessel. I only wanted to reach the Americas. Anything that has happened here, you caused on your own. I am going now and you will never see me again. Do what you will to the others but if you follow Bijoux and I you will be my first meal in America in a very long time. The choice is yours.”
The men stood where they were as Michael pulled Bijoux through the hole in the ship. He looked back one more time to be sure none were following him. They had not moved and did not look as if they were going to. Michael cradled Bijoux in his arms and jumped into the water below. He didn’t care any longer if he made a splash or not. The element of surprise had been lost already.
The water was warm and it felt good to be free of the confines of the ship’s hull. He swam as best he could as Bijoux held tight to his neck. In a few hundred yards they would be safely hidden inside the palms that peppered the land. The screams of the women went abruptly quiet. Michael did not care what had caused the silence anymore. He felt the sand under his feet and stood to carry Bijoux to shore. He stopped only when they were completely concealed by the underbrush. He laid her down on the soft sand and covered her with his shirt.
“We will be safe here for now, Bijoux. I will move us deeper into the forest as soon as you have rested for a time. You are shivering from the wetness. I cannot build a fire until we are further from the shore. I do not want the men to come looking for us.”
She reached up and pulled his face to hers. She kissed him deep and smiled.
“I will be fine, Michael. You have saved my life and given me a new start. For that I am eternally grateful to you. We will start a life together and no one will harm us ever again.”
Bijoux drifted off into a slumber as Michael held her tight. His wound had stopped bleeding and the soreness was nearly gone. He would lie with her until darkness and then move into the forest. His heart was content to be where he was. He thought about Tiaton and what she had said as he was leaving. He wondered if her powers were strong enough for her to find him. Michael hoped that they were not. He too wanted to start over fresh and new. He wanted only to be with Bijoux and no-one else. He wondered if that was ever going to happen for him.