Monday, January 11, 2021
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/Jp_cqmFCZFQ
“Okay, I did my best work but I’m tappin’ out.” She laughed a little as she held up the white flag, or in this case, the ice cream cone with less than a quarter of the Dark Ambrosia left on a partially eaten cone. At this point, it actually just looked like a mini ice cream cone of sorts.
“You did good, female,” he grunted in approval and meant it. The damn cones were huge. Of course, it was nothing that his bottomless pit of a stomach couldn’t handle. He took her sweet offering and with hooded eyes said, “I’ll happily lick up the last of your ambrosia and savor every taste.” With smoldering eye contact, his tongue licked the cone in the slowest ascent to only slightly suck at the top.
Her lips parted on a breathy exhale as the juncture between her thighs responded in the most feminine of ways. Suddenly, the memory of his mouth on hers slammed into her mind. The silky sensuality of his emotions rubbed up against her skin and it sent a shiver down her spine. She unknowingly licked her lips while staring deep into his piercing blue eyes. His deceptively lazy, feline smile was full of dark promises. A heartbeat later, he proceeded to walk down the path as if they did not just share the erotically electric moment.
Putty. Her legs were putty. And it was a miracle that she wasn’t a melted pool of the Dark Ambrosia on the park path right now. For a moment, all she could do was watch that wicked male saunter down the path in that easy-going way he had of moving his big body.
Walk. Right foot. Left foot. Right foot. Left foot, she mentally commanded and—hey, what do you know? Her body seemed to be on board with following that male. It took her a few steps to catch up to his long, lazy strides and when she did, she looked over at him. He was already done with the mini cone and her eyes fell to the corner of his mouth.
Cute, she thought with curved lips, seeing that a smudge of chocolate ice cream had escaped and took up residence at the cross streets of his lips and chin. She could tell by that smug, satisfied expression on his face that he wasn’t even aware of the offending sweetness. She looked at the chocolate smudge again. Was the Universe being cruel or giving her a gift, wrapped in chocolate?
Are you really going to do this? She bit her lip because she already knew the answer. And screw it. She already passed the line. So, why hold back now? Hell, the line was so far behind her that she didn’t even see it anymore.
About the Author:
M.C. Solaris’s life took an unexpected turn during the super blood moon eclipse on January 20, 2019. She woke up and began writing bios for her imaginary friends that she met that day. As soon as the pen hit the paper (or fingertips to the iPhone), she couldn’t stop. It was kind of like one of those fire hydrants, spewing copious amounts of water all over the place. The characters and their stories just flowed out of her. She is honored to be the scribe, getting to share her friends’ stories. You can read all about her gifted friends in the Orion’s Order series (Book 1 is Calypso’s Heart).
On a personal note, M.C. Solaris is actually the pseudonym of Marina Schroeder, women’s health enthusiast and lover of all things paranormal romance (PNR) and happily ever after (HEA). When she is not curled up on the sofa with her partner’s oversized hoodie, a PNR novel, peppermint tea, and one of her three cats, you will find her either at the ocean with her toes in the sand or in a forest hugging a tree. Well truthfully? There is one more place you might find her: trolling the aisles of Whole Foods for a satisfying combination of salty and sweet while hiding in her partner’s hoodie… like any proper PNR-writing introvert.
Want to get the latest scoop, sneak peeks, and short shares all about her imaginary friends? Go to www.mcsolaris.com/newsletter and sign up for the newsletter.
Welcome to The Order!https://www.bookbub.com/books/calypso-s-heart-orion-s-order-1-by-mc-solaris
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
“Not the prince, not the prince,” screamed the old hag.
The demons from the entrance sprang from the walls and came at Thomas.
“Attack the demons,” he commanded his risen and they went into action, putting themselves between their master and the creatures. Thomas ran forward and swung at the nesferatu. The same clawed spectral hands began to claw at Thomas, but his sword worked against them and they retreated into the substance from which they came.
The nesferatu swung at the necromancer and opened Thomas’s chest with the claws of his fingernails.
Thomas swung at the demon lord, but the blade passed through it harmlessly. Marina had lied. He could do nothing against this thing.
Then Thomas felt the leather amulet burn his skin deeper. His mind raced. Backing up against the onyx bowl as it spewed forth its shrouding vapors, he watched the demon lord. The eyes of the thing glowed red and it smiled in a hungry satisfaction.
If the bowl is his power… He turned and swung with both hands down onto the side of it.
The sword shattered. Both the clawed hands of the demon lord raked down the necromancer’s back, causing him to arch backward and yell in pain. The bowl imploded and then shards of the black rock flew in every direction. The boiling, dark green mist poured from the base of the bowl as if liquid. From the remains of the giant dish, something crawled, pulling itself up on thin, torn arms. Its eyes were the solid black of hate and anger.
“I shall rend your soul, necromancer.” The nesferatu spoke the words softly, but Thomas felt the power they carried reverberate in his bones. Then he burst into light the color of the mist, surrounding them.
When this happened, the demons from the entrance scampered up the walls and fled from the cavern. His risen, about to follow, stopped as Thomas commanded.
Thomas looked to find the prince dragging a still jabbering Andrea to her feet.
The creature on the remains of the bowl opened it mouth and turned toward the prince.
“Christoff,” the necromancer said, careful not to speak too loudly, for fear of attracting the attention of the new beast.
The prince lifted his head at hearing his name, but froze half-erect, as the thing caught his gaze.
Thomas moved to put himself between the prince and the thing dragging itself forward. Thomas thought the language the demon lord spoke similar to that which the nesferatu spoke moments before, like something a reflection would say. The prince focused on Thomas.
Grabbing the girls other arm, Thomas pulled the two into action. Nothing stopped them. No hands from the mist reached out from the shroud. All else had fled. Everything seemed absent, gone at the sensing of this new ruler. As fast as they could drag the still dazed girl, they headed for the entrance back into the tunnels leading to the power-blasted crater outside.
“Is it really you, Christoff,” whispered the girl. “Is it you this time?”
“Yes, love,” answered the prince. “You’ve got to run.”
Looking over his shoulder, Thomas saw the new demon drag itself out of the bowl shards and into the concealment of the fog. As it submerged itself, the necromancer saw it legs shredded below the knees.
“We’ve gotta move faster,” Thomas said. “Let’s go, let’s go. Move move move! Risen, attack the demon.”
The new demon halted as the risen attacked him, but only for an instant before they burst into dust.
About the Author:
James J Crofoot started working at 11 years old and never stopped. He’s been a sailor in the U.S. Navy, worked in video tape production, made money investing in stocks, and traveled throughout the US as a truck driver and an army brat. He’s been to all four corners of the US and to the top of every major mountain range in the United States.
Through it all, writing has been his first love, companion, and constant friend.
He has so many stories to tell, he plans to spend the rest of his life writing.
Born in Germany he currently resides in the "Great Mitten" that is Michigan. He resides with his insane family consisting of his sister, two spoiled but loving nieces, a brother in law, and two dogs.
He hopes you’ll enjoy his books while sipping tea, coffee, or cocoa on a rainy day.
Monday, December 21, 2020
Listen to a Soundcloud 15 minute Excerpt
It took less than a second for the young man to fall. Impact with the hard ground cut off his yelp. He rolled on his back with wide eyes. His fear, thick and tangible, mingled with the stench of rotted leaves and dust as the syringe’s needle pushed into his skin, taking a moment to pierce the earliest layers of flesh.
Standing back, emotionless brown eyes watched him thrash and struggle to scramble to his feet. The poor bastard looked drunk. It waited, breathing steadily as the jogger’s cries faded and his body fell back among loose sticks, pebbles and crumbling leaves. The predator strode a few steps forward to stand over the man’s shuddering form. It bent low, leaning just enough to peer deep into the wide pale blue eyes of its now-paralyzed victim. Then it grasped the man’s ankles and dragged him into the shadows, among the low foliage, and set to work.
About the Author:
Kim Richards lives in Northern California where she works for the County Disease Control Covid 19 Task Force as clerical support for testing. She loves to sew, write, garden, and read. She also enjoys crafting to relax and is always looking for new ways to create.
Author webpage: www.kim-richards.com
Newsletter sign up: https://forms.aweber.com/form/12/2104744212.htm
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00APPEHK4
Friday, December 18, 2020
Our suite is on the second floor of the hotel. As soon as we get inside, Nick switches on the lights, and I feel a flutter of apprehension. My legs are weak and it’s a struggle to put one foot in front of the other. I can’t believe I’m about to do something I’ve dreamed of constantly since the first day we met. And yet, a part of me is petrified I’ll end up disappointing him. It’s been so long, and I’m so out of practice. What if this is all a big mistake?
Folding my arms across my chest, I step into the bedroom area of our suite. It’s breathtaking, with a king-size bed, leather-panelled walls, a plasma-screen TV and a balcony with a panoramic view of the River Thames. By the window is a large cocktail cabinet, a gas fire and an ornately carved walk-in wardrobe. To my right, a glass partition slides back to reveal a spectacular bathroom with marbled walls, a huge stone bath and a gold-plated shower.
Suddenly, I start to panic; things are moving too fast.
“I’m sorry. I don’t think I can do this.” I turn to go, but before I reach the door, Nick’s in front of me, barring my exit.
“Please don’t go,” he begs, slipping his finger under my chin so he can see my eyes. “Nothing’s going to happen if you don’t want it to. We can just sit here and talk, or watch a movie. I don’t want this night to be over. Please, stay. Is that too much to ask?” I stare up at him and for the first time, I see a desperation that almost matches my own. “Nothing’s going to happen,” he repeats. “Scout’s honour, I promise to be on my best behaviour. I just want to spend some time with you, Carly.”
My head is screaming for me to get out of there, but his eyes hold me entranced and my body is refusing to take instruction.
At last, I let out a sigh. “All right, I’ll stay.”
Bowing my head, I allow him to lead me over to the bed, and for what seems like forever, the two of us sit side by side, looking away from each other, the air thick with unspoken tension. My arms are still folded across my chest, putting up an invisible barrier between us. The screeching silence pulsates through the room like an electric current.
I start getting heart palpitations; Nick’s giving me long, lingering looks that make my body tingle. He’s probing me deep, reading my face like my features are hieroglyphics.
Suddenly, he leans forward and whispers, “You’re so beautiful. Can I touch you?”
I catch my breath then nod slowly.
Cautiously, he reaches out and tenderly caresses my cheek with the back of his hand. Then he gently strokes my hair and the dip and hollow of my ears, his fingers warm and slightly shaky. With a shock, I realise he’s just as scared as I am, and this knowledge makes me feel a little less insecure.
Slowly, his hand travels down the side of my face, then down to my neck, and lightly caresses the sculpted base of my throat. As he works his way back up, tracing the outline of my veins, I marvel at the silky softness of his fingers.
“Shall I take off your jacket?” he breathes.
I swallow hard. “Y-yes.”
With deliberate slowness, Nick eases off my coat and drops it to the floor. Then he takes off his own and I find myself becoming aroused as he fixes me with an expression so hungry, it’s like he’s got me paralysed. Desire spreads under my skin and burns me all over as he sits back down next to me. His sweet cologne is making my head spin.
“You’re trembling,” he observes.
I drop my hands into my lap. Damn. He wasn’t supposed to see that.
“Don’t be afraid …” He reaches out again and delicately touches my lips, my nose, my eyelids. I arch my back and moan softly as his strong hands slither down to my waist and pull me closer to him.
“Can I kiss you?”
I nod mutely.
Tentatively, Nick presses his lips against my cheek and breathes in my scent. Lightly, he kisses his way from the corner of my mouth to my neck and runs his hot tongue in and out of my ear hole. The heat from his breath makes me crazy and I utter a low groan of pleasure.
Goaded by my desire, he gently but firmly tilts my face toward him. His lips brush the periphery of my cupid’s bow, teasing me into a frenzy that shoots straight to my crotch. With trembling hands, he cups my cheeks and takes my mouth in his, pulling on my lower lip with his teeth. I whimper as he kisses me hard and deep, his long, agile tongue plunging down my throat with reckless abandon, igniting an inferno of longing inside me. The force of his need leaves me breathless, his soft lips eating me out like he wants to consume every piece of me. No one has ever kissed me this way before, and the depth of his passion tips me to the brink of insanity.
For what seems forever, our tongues glide together in a flurry of unrelenting lust. Finally we pause for air, and the room is quiet except for the sound of our heavy breathing. Nick stares down at me, his body shuddering in a way that indicates he’s trying mighty hard not to act on a violent impulse.
Instinctively, I raise my fingers to my lips; they feel all puckered and bruised.
“It’s been so long,” he murmurs. “So very long …” His hand snakes around my back and starts to lower the zipper of my dress. I moan as he brings his face level with mine and whispers, “I promise I won’t go too crazy.”
“Why won’t you ever listen!” Taryn screamed. He turned away from Mackenzie, his shoulders set with rage.
Before she knew what she was doing, Mackenzie picked up a heavy plant pot from a nearby table and brought it down on the back of Taryn’s head. His body crumpled to the floor.
Dropping the remains of the plant pot, she stood over him, waiting for him to get up and start screaming at her again. When she saw the blood pool out onto the carpet, that’s when she knew how serious it was.
“Taryn?” She dropped to the floor beside him, reaching out to check for a pulse. Nothing.
“No, this isn’t happening,” she whispered. She turned him over, stifling a scream when she saw his eyes open and staring back at her. “Taryn.”
She shook him, willing him to respond, but he didn’t. He couldn’t.
Oh God, I killed him.
This couldn’t be happening, she didn’t mean to get so mad, she just lost control for a moment.
Sobbing, she rested her head on his chest. Her whole life was over now. Taryn was gone, their life together, their home, their future. She would go to prison for sure and then...She sobbed harder.
She turned to find Annie standing at the top of the stairs. How did she get in?
“What’s happened? Is he okay?” Annie asked, taking a step toward her.
“No. He’s dead.”
Annie kneeled down beside her, placing a comforting hand on her back. “Oh my poor girl.”
“I need to call the police,” Mackenzie said, wiping her face.
“There’ll be time for that. You need to focus on what is important.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I need you to tell me who you are,” Annie said.
Mackenzie stared at her. “What?”
“You heard me. Tell me who you are.”
Mackenzie shook her head in confusion. “You know who I am, Annie. Are you okay?”
Maybe Annie had hit her head or something.
“I know your name, but I need to know who you are and why you are here.”
Mackenzie got to her feet, eager to put some space between herself and Annie. Annie’s hand shot out and gripped her wrist.
“Answer the question!” she barked.
“Get off me,” Mackenzie said. She pried Annie’s fingers off her wrist and hurried downstairs. She would call the police and maybe a doctor for Annie.
Before she could reach the phone, Annie caught up to her. “You can’t escape me. Answer the damn question.”
Mackenzie whirled to face her. “Enough. I don’t understand your damn question. You know me. My name is Mackenzie. I’m here because I bought a damn house.”
Annie’s face twisted into a snarl. “Not good enough.”
There was a flash and for a moment, the entire room changed. The furniture vanished and she was sitting in a chair with a strange man standing over her. She blinked and she was back in the room.
This isn’t real.
Annie advanced on her.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Excerpt Book One:
“What have you got for me tonight, folks?” I asked.
I backed through the doors of the operating theater, butt-first, gloved hands lifted before me to keep them clean. I took small steps, mindful not to lose traction. Those thin booties were slick, and I’d fallen on my ass on more than one occasion when I made sudden moves. Tonight, I was determined to get through surgery in an upright position and not have to scrub in twice.
One of the nurses read from notes on a computer terminal. “This guy was found in the parking lot of a closed bowling alley. Speculation is that he took a trip or two through the pin setting machine and got badly torn up.”
“Well, that’s a first.” I turned toward the operating room table. The light was so bright that hardly any shadows were cast in the room. They focused on the unholy mess on the middle of my table.
This. I’m supposed to fix this.
A man lay, unconscious, on the table. His chest was torn open, flaps of skin oozing onto wads of gauze and a paper sheet. His face was a mass of blood, now being daubed at with sponges. The anesthesiologist had found his mouth to thread a tube down, and someone had managed to get an IV started in one of his scraped-up arms.
My nose wrinkled under my mask. “What do the X-rays show? How deep does the damage go? Did he get a CT?”
A nurse clicked on a flatscreen monitor that displayed a carousel of CT images. I squinted at them, muttering dark oaths.
“Radiologist says it looks like a lacerated pancreas, punctured lung, and two rib fractures,” the nurse said. The image switched to the head, and he said: “Also the bonus of a fractured orbital bone.”
I stared at the CTs. “Let’s start with that lung. We leave the pancreas, and call plastic surgery on that orbital bone. This guy’s going to need all the king’s horses and all the king’s men to put him back together again.”
I gazed down at the poor suffering bastard. I liked seeing the imaging, but I preferred to get a good visual with my own eyes on my patients. Sometimes X-rays and CTs didn’t tell me everything I needed to know about what to start sewing where. Something about seeing where the blood moved and pooled in an injured person gave me an idea of where to begin. The blood always led me to where I needed to direct my attention. Where it spurted required my immediate expertise. Where it clotted or moved lazily, I could wait a bit. When blood drained out of a limb and had left it white, I needed to add more. I noted with approval that he was already receiving a transfusion. As long as blood was moving, there was a chance for him
I frowned at his chest and touched the edges of the rends in his flesh with gloved fingers. Those were ragged and would have to be cut clean before I sewed him back up. I could see the edge of one of those protruding ribs, sticking up like a finger. I glanced over his limbs, counting the usual four. Hey, it pays to count. Count twice, cut once. I mentally cataloged bruises and scrapes, nothing that needed my immediate attention, though I flagged the palms of his hands to get a few stitches from the surgical resident. Looked like defensive wounds, like the guy had tried to fight the pin machine, but lost.
My eyes moved up to his face. One blackened eye was swollen shut. My fingers and gaze wandered over his scalp, checking for major wounds, when I spied a laceration at his throat.
I gently probed it with gloved hands. Some kind of puncture…the machine must have caught him near a seeping vein. It had nearly dried up, smelling rusty and not like the bright, coppery blood of his more critical wounds. It could still take a few extra stitches.
I stared down at the unfortunate guy’s oozing chest. Peeling back a flap of skin, I felt around for the collapsed lung. My finger quickly squished around and found the hole, and I extended my free hand for a scalpel. Time to get this party started…
…when the patient sat bolt upright on the table. His good eye was open, rolling.
I yanked my hands back and yelped at the anesthesiologist, “Curt, what the actual hell?”
The OR erupted in a flurry of activity. The anesthesiologist arrived at the patient’s side with a syringe, while nurses tried to push the patient back down.
But he was flailing, windmilling with his arms like a pro wrestler in the ring. The IV ripped out of his arm, and the line slashed back at the anesthesiologist, whipping across his face. The patient reached up and ripped the tube out of his throat. His foot caught an instrument tray, sending scalpels flying. His blood line yanked away, spewing crimson all over the floor.
I held my hands out, using my most calming voice. Not that I had a particularly calming voice; I was a surgeon. We don’t talk to patients. But I tried: “You’re safe. I’m your doctor, Dr. Conners. If you just lie back, we’ll make you comfortable and—”
The guy shrieked and launched himself off the table. The paper sheet tangled around his legs, and he grasped it around his waist as he put his shoulder down and aimed for the door. His shoulder hit me in the arm, and I slipped on my booties, landing on my ass on the tile floor. The patient launched through the swinging doors and disappeared down the hall.
I swore and ripped my booties off my sneakered feet. I clambered to my feet and punched the intercom at the door with my elbow. “Security, code orange at OR 6.” I couldn’t say: I’ve got a runner taking off down the hall. Please send somebody to stop him, because anyone listening to that would freak the hell out, and I would get a talking-to from HR.
I straight-armed the door and took off after the guy. I had no idea how the hell this man was still walking around. Those injuries should have flattened him, and he’d been anesthetized. I had graduated med school with Curt a few years ago, and knew him not to be a careless anesthesiologist who played on his phone in the OR.
The patient skidded down the hallway, landing at a dead end, where a window overlooked the parking lot. The sun had just set, and the sky was the violet color of a fresh bruise. I approached him slowly, like I was herding a feral cat. I tugged my mask down to try and give him a human face to look at.
“Hey, it’s okay. It’s gonna be okay,” I murmured soothingly. I wanted to keep him here until security arrived. If he got even further loose and hurt himself, that would be one obnoxiously long incident report. And an even more involved surgery after that.
“No, no,” he said, shaking his head. “It’s not gonna be okay. The bloodsuckers found me…and the Lusine couldn’t protect me.”
“I don’t know who that is,” I said, thinking that the guy had probably run afoul of some loan sharks. Maybe the mob? “But you’re safe here. We can protect you.”
“No,” he gasped, his face twisted in agony. “No one can protect me. And no one can protect Emily.”
He turned toward the window, backed up a few steps.
“No, wait…” I could see what he was trying to do, and I was helpless to stop it.
He rushed the window, aiming for it with his shoulder. All the latches on the hospital windows on patient floors were welded shut, but this wasn’t an area where conscious patients had access, and the window was not secured against suicide attempts. The glass buckled under his shoulder, the window crumpled away, and he pitched through in a hail of glass into the falling darkness.
I rushed to the window and stared down at the parking lot in horror. Three stories down, the patient sprawled on the parking lot blacktop, flattened like a bug under a shoe.
Curt had come up behind me. “Oh, my god, Garnet…did he…”
“He jumped,” I said, my heart in my mouth. I turned and ran to the stairwell, barking at him. “Get a gurney and the ER team.”
I burst into the stairwell, taking the steps two at a time. As I rounded the third curve, my path was blocked by a tall, dark-haired man in a brown velvet blazer and jeans. He was the type of guy that I might have liked to meet in my off-time—he had a kind of scholarly intensity in his hazel gaze and a bit of roguishness in the stubble that covered his sharp jaw.
“Stand aside,” I blurted. “Emergency!” As if my bloody gloves and surgical gown weren’t warning enough.
But he blocked my path, one hand on either stair rail, his long arms spanning the length of the stairwell. “That man is dangerous,” he growled softly.
“That man is under my care,” I announced, lifting my chin. I walked into the man, figuring that he would give way to my outstretched bloody gloves. Like a normal person would.
. But he didn’t. My sticky gloves nearly mashed into the velvet of his jacket, and he didn’t flinch. This close, he smelled like old books and moss.
“You can’t go down there,” he said. His voice was soft, but insistent.
My eyes narrowed. “You don’t get to tell me where to go,” I chirped petulantly. I ducked under his arm, darting out of his reach, and barreled down the steps the remaining way to ground level.
I rushed out into the parking lot and stopped short.
“What the actual hell—”
The patient peeled himself off the ground and crawled to his feet. He reminded me of a half-dead insect when he did so, shaking and rickety and dripping blood.
That’s impossible, I thought. There was no way that a human being could do that. I took two steps toward him…
…and a dozen people flitted out of the darkness, from the shadows beneath cars and behind shrubs. The overhead parking lot lights, haloed by moths, illuminated their long shadows on the pavement.
I breathed a sigh of relief. The squad was here and would get him stable, get him back to my OR.
But…my brow wrinkled. That wasn’t the squad. Nobody was in uniform. They converged on him as he turned, screaming.
“Stop!” I shouted.
Heads turned toward me. Their faces were moon-pale and glistening in the lamplight.
The man in the velvet jacket grabbed my arm, dragging me back. “You want no part of this.”
“Don’t tell me what I want,” I growled. I stomped on his instep and twisted my arm to break his grip at the weakest part, the thumb. I whirled and ran toward the fracas.
The shadowy people had plucked my patient off the pavement, clotting around him.
I yelled at them, the way I might yell at pigeons in the park who were eating my dropped French fries.
Overhead, the parking lot lights shattered, one by one, in a series of pops. Someone had a gun. I flinched back, shielding my face from flying shards of plastic with my hands, as I was suddenly plunged into darkness. I heard fighting, yelling, as if a gang war had broken out in front of me, roiling in the dark where no one could see.
Or at least, as dark as things could get in Riverpointe. Riverpointe was a decently sized city, and ambient light filtered back quickly from the freeway, headlights on the access road to the hospital, and the hospital’s helipad above.
As my vision adjusted, I realized I was alone. The people who were trying to abduct my patient, my patient…even that fascinating-smelling velvet guy…all were gone.
Ambulance lights flashed at the end of the parking lot, approaching me. Behind me, I heard the hammering of footsteps on the stairwell. Security spilled out behind me, along with a few cops who’d been hanging out in the nurse’s lounge. The EMTs pulled up to the curb, and there were all of a sudden a couple dozen people churning in a uniformed cloud around me.
“Where’d the guy go?” a security guard asked me.
A moth that had once orbited the parking lot lights flitted down and smacked my face. I batted at it, grimacing.
“I don’t know,” I whispered, stunned. “He was just…taken.”
The moth landed on the ground on its back, wiggling.
With bloody fingers, I picked it up and placed it gently in a nearby shrub. Lights, voices, and radios crackled around me. Questions rose and fell, directed at me in a tide of inquiries I couldn’t answer. But I stared at the bloody moth, stained by my touch, as it sought a safe place among the churning shadows and light.