chapter viiMature

He woke up in his car, holding an icepack to his forehead in the backseat.

Every inch of his body ached.  There were thick cuts that twisted all the way around both of his wrists, and the handcuffs dangled like bracelets.  His pulse throbbed violently through each muscle individually like small earthquakes.  Graeme wanted to get up, wanted to get into his condo and find his laptop, but lifting his head alone sent the world into a tailspin and took his stomach with it.  Blindly, he activated the timer on his watch and told himself over and over that he had to get up.

The hardest part was getting out of the TransAm, but once he’d stumbled free he managed his way up the sidewalk and into the building’s elevator with relative grace.  Through blurry eyes, he found the button for his floor.  He swayed on his feet as he thumbed through his keys in search of the correct one.  With his door locked behind him, he collapsed into his computer chair with a groan.  A tremble shook his hands as he opened up the laptop and navigated his way into his webcam documents to the newest video and fastforwarded to when he’d hand-cuffed himself to the radiator.

What he saw he could not believe.  As quickly as he'd nodded out he'd woken up and his eyes went straight to the camera.  Only, they weren’t his eyes – not the hazel eyes he’d had his entire life, but inky black orbs that had no iris or sclera, just a pool of black as deep as a celestial void.

In the video, his hands clenched into fists and his forearms strained and the hand-cuff chains stretched and stretched and cracked and snapped apart to free him from the radiator.  Graeme watched his body walk up to the laptop and peer directly into the webcam lens as he clicked it off.

All of Graeme’s previously considered explanations fizzled out in the face of his new evidence.  The voice of the woman he’d heard earlier swept through his mind.

“How do you like the holy water, demon?”

The End

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