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           J.W. Phillips
 

  Dear Diary,

  I haven’t seen a trace of the monster he can be since that fateful dinner party. I feel like I have finally made a major turn in my life and I’m finally crawling off that cliff. Truck is coming over in a little while and taking me to the movies. We’re going to have a normal, happy, human day or at least that is what I’m going to tell myself.

  Praying for peace for all of us,

  Julie Danielle Emison

  Julie stuffed a candy bar in her purse. No matter how much money Trucker might have; it unnerved her to pay the prices movie theaters charge for a snack. She looked at the clock when she heard a knock at the door. She didn’t expect Trucker for another hour. He was always on time but never early. Racing to answer the door, she couldn’t stop grinning thinking about what beside a movie they might be doing.

  Nothing could have prepared her for who was on the other side of the door. It wasn’t Trucker, but Larry Castleman standing on her doorstep.

  “We need to talk, little princess,” he said with a slight snarl.

  “I’ve got nothing to say to you,” she whispered barely above a breath.

  She had gotten use to him, but he still terrified her. She knew what he was and what he was capable of. She slammed the door in his face, and flipped around. That didn’t stop him as he forcibly grabbed her from behind. She could smell him causing her to drop her purse to the hardwood floors. She wanted to puke. She could feel his hot breath down her neck, and started to scream but knowing that would just excite him, she bit her lip instead.

  “I’m always welcome here, sweetheart. Daddy wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said, and jammed his elbow into her back. It was as sharp as she knew his teeth were.

  “You can’t hurt me. I have your bracelet on,” she said, her lips trembled in fear. She was grasping at straws. He didn’t have an ounce of humanity. He could kill her and never think twice about it. Though loyalty for some strange reason was very big in their world. He laughed the most chilling laugh as every hair on her body rose in response. The Prince of Darkness swept his cloak of emotions over the room and she shivered as everything dimmed around them.

  “Stupid little girl, the only power that bracelet has, is the power I give it.”

  “Please don’t hurt me,” she murmured as he caressed his oversized hand down her side and over her hip.

  His hand wrapped around her waist until he cupped her groin in his hand. “I wonder if you really are that good. I know I’m fucking tired of smelling you all over my damn son. But you must be special because you keep him coming back for more. Angel,” he slurred. “Do you have any idea what kind of women he has had?” Larry whispered in her ear, and inched his hand up until he could work his fingers over her breast. “The type of women he has crumbling at his feet. How many women he has had? Yet, it is you, the plainest and simplest girl of all that he wants.”

  He slowly placed his hand around her neck, shoving his fingers deeply into her skin, and fiercely pulled her close to his body. He was made of a slab of stone and the smell he gave off made her want to hurl. “Did you know that my favorite means to take a life is strangulation? It’s up close and personal. You can feel the life drain from their body. You can see their eyes beg for mercy.” His mouth was at her neck, his teeth scraping over her collarbone. Her eyes closed as a shiver shot through her body. “I just wish it was that easy, but if I was to kill you, my stupid son would turn on me and everything I’ve worked so hard for,” he screamed and violently threw Julie to the ground.

  Pain wrecked her body; she sucked on her lip; unwilling to let him see her scream. She looked up to come face to face with her worst nightmare in the flesh. His eyes were flaming orbits of fire. His teeth were like razor blades. He smirked and blinked. His eyes turned back to his human facade of a dark golden brown. Julie felt relief they were not the blue of Truckers. It would be hard to look in Trucker’s again if there were.

  “You know why I was picked to father this half breed?” he asked and kneeled down. He stroked the back of his fingers over her cheekbone. It unnerved her how similar his and Trucker’s touch felt.

  “Because you’re the most powerful,” she answered as she spit the hair out of her mouth.

  He helped her to her feet, squeezing her wrist so hard it felt as if her bones were splintering, and smiled. “That was a factor, but my grandfather was a half-breed. I understand them and their need to embrace their humanity.” He twirled her hair in his fingers and snarled.

  He walked over to the couch and gracefully sat down, motioning for her to sit in a chair across from him. “His mother is helpful, but she was allowed to stay because his human side would need her.” He leaned closer to Julie. “I know her plans for her precious son. I know your plans, but darling, his heart will never beat again. I’ll make sure of that.” He picked up a picture of her parents off the coffee table. “Did you know he’s not completely turned since he met you?”

  “No sir,” Julie responded, hating to show him respect, but knew better than not too.

  “You better make sure he embraces his best side.” A menacing grin came across his face. “Or someone could get hurt.” He traced his finger along the picture of her parents before setting it down on the table. “You have one week to piss him off enough to turn or I’ll unleash your own personal hell.” He was at her side in an instant. He loomed over her, his tie hitting her in the face. “If you tell him I set foot in this house be sure to tell mom bye too.” He warned and vanished into a fume of gas.

  She crawled in a corner, smothering in the misery he emanated, and cried. She thought of all the possibilities. She wouldn’t do what he wanted. He wouldn’t hurt her, because he would lose Trucker forever if he did. Her eyes closed. He could bring hell down on her. But would he? Her stomach burned with the pain that Trucker’s dream left her with. She heard Trucker come in, but was too upset to move.

  “What’s going on?” Trucker knelt over her, stroking her hair.

  “I had a bad dream, it was so real.” She pulled at him, needing to feel him close to her.

  “Did my father do this?” he asked, wrapping his arms around her, his lip at her ear. He was furious, but remained calm for her. That morning his dad had threatened him. Larry warned him to watch his little princess. That if he didn’t embrace what he was, someone could get hurt. But as unhappy as he was with Trucker, surely he knew better than even to look in her direction.

  “No,” she cried. “I dreamed about the night you were in my dream?”

  He clutched his hands through her curls, and had feelings he had not felt in months. His other side was dying to come out. “If someone hurt you or even tried to. I’ll find out. I will make them pay.” He took a deep breath and tucked her firmly onto his chest.

  “Don’t say that.” Julie placed her palms flat to his broad chest. He sucked in a quick, tight breath. The pain of her touch was almost unbearable. His demon side was laying just under the surface. His grip tightened fractionally. No pain would keep him from holding onto her.

  “Angel, I would do anything for you, give up anything. I couldn’t stop myself if someone hurt you.” Trucker’s jaw tightened. A low growl rumbled from his chest.

  Unrelenting fear propelled her heart rate, a physical response to Trucker’s reaction. She had no idea at the moment what he was capable of doing. She would have broken their embrace if not for the look on his face, a perfect mixture of turmoil and love. They were the exact feelings racing through her. “Baby, I need to get out of here . . . but I don’t want to go to the movies,” Julie confessed. There was a long pause, filled by the pounding of her heart. “Stay with me, through the holidays.”

  Trucker would never change in front of Julie and his dad wouldn’t come anywhere near her if Trucker was around.

  “Why? What about your dad?”

  “I’m scared I’ll have another nightmare.” She lied but knew he was scared too. “Just coerce them. I don’t care. I need you.”

  She hated h
im using his tricks on her parents, but he had become the most important thing in her life. Nothing mattered to her but him.

  That night Trucker did coerce Dan and Ellen to let them stay together throughout Thanksgiving. That trick of coercion somehow scared Julie the most. His ability to tell someone to do anything and they had no choice but to do it. He promised her as long as she wore the bracelet, they couldn’t do that to her but she still wondered. As Trucker showered that night, Julie laid in bed waiting on him.

  November 21, about 10:30 PM

  Dear Diary,

  I’m back on that cliff and it’s slowly giving away under my feet. I hear him in the shower and know I’ll soon be in his arms. Can I truly keep him safe from everything? I wish we could just runaway together and live out a very human life. As hard as it would be, I could tell my parents bye, but I know that his kind would never let him go. They would hunt him to the ends of the earth. There is no escaping what he is. There is also no escaping what I feel for him, because I also thought about running from him. That’s not an option either.

  Help me make the right decisions! Julie

  November 27

  Dear Diary,

  My one week deadline is up. This past week has been full of conflict, on one hand I’ve got to spend every minute of the day and night with my Truck. On the other hand, his dad had never once left my mind. Trucker has spent the last week doing everything in his power to make me happy. I’ve tried my best to play the part of a happy-go-lucky girlfriend but I’m everything but. Every second, of every hour, of every day, the ungodly laughter of Larry rings in my ears. I can’t help but wonder if he will really carry out his threat or is he as scared of Trucker’s demon side as the rest of their kind are. Got to go and try to make Trucker believe I’m not scared out of my mind.

  JDE

  Trucker carried Julie up the stairs that night, piggyback. He loved the feel of her legs and arms wrapped tightly around him. Julie had reached around to his chest and was fidgeting with the buttons on his pajamas. She tugged on his shirt and screeched when he pretended to let her slip.

  “Can you not pull out the few chest hairs that I have?” He chuckled. She was silent. He gripped her hand, which still had a firm hold to his shirt.

  “Sorry.” She buried her chin in his shoulder and sighed. He let her fall back on the bed. Trucker flipped around and tugged on her chin to release the hold she had on her bottom lip. He finally had enough of pretending and started questioning her.

  “What’s wrong, Angel?”

  “Nothing, I’m great,” she said with a fake excitement. He looked at her.

  Her aura screamed with mixed emotions. He was flabbergasted. He was not going to push it, but he knew he was going to get to the bottom of it. Even if he had to fuck it out of her. He flicked his wrist and the room was suddenly filled with a million twinkling stars. Julie’s mouth hung open as she reached out to tap a star with her pointer finger. “It’s a sound barrier so your parents won’t hear when you scream,” Trucker explained.

  “I’m going to scream.”

  “Yes, Angel, you are. In pure, unadulterated pleasure.”

  Chapter 22

  After the marathon of sex, they should have passed out but they didn’t. It actually took them forever to get to sleep that night, and the dream she had did nothing to help with the churning in her stomach. That night the dream was intense.

  Walking slowly down the center aisle in an old dilapidated church, she ran her hands along the pews. The sanctuary had the most exquisite stained glass windows. Which seemed ironic to her that each window was a different scene of angels carrying out a job for Satan. At the altar, she rammed into a casket covered with cobwebs. She opened the lid. The magnitude of its weight, strained not only her arms, but also her heart. Nothing prepared her for what she found, her mom laying there lifeless. She stumbled backwards as the scars started appearing. A surge of jumbled up feelings singed her as her mom’s beautiful body became bloody and broken. She screamed out, it was suddenly her body in the casket. She looked at herself laying there and felt at peace. When a fire spontaneously started to slowly engulf the casket, her body, and her mind. The church was filled with Larry’s menacing laughter as Julie was consumed in flames.

  Sitting straight up in the bed, Julie’s hands went immediately to her neck as her mind was bombard with way too many thoughts. Her first thought was that the dream was not a fragment of her subconscious, but one of the vast tricks that Trucker and his kind were capable of. The second thought was if Larry was near. The thoughts kept coming. Does Larry feed? Could he enter her thoughts? Would he really use magic on her with Trucker so close? These were all questions that she should’ve thought of before then. But somewhere deep down, she hadn’t really wanted to know what Larry was capable of doing. She slipped her fingers around her neck. A bite was nowhere to be felt. Trucker snored, signaling that he was fast asleep. She leaped toward him and pulled at his shirt. She felt his skin and it was cool, soothing the fire in her. His eyes fluttered open. He shifted bringing his face within a breath of hers. Julie’s eyes immediately shut as his scent washed over her. He kissed the corner of her lip.

  “As much as I love getting woke up by you, my love, I’m smart enough to know something is wrong.”

  “Just had a bad dream.” She tucked her hands under her cheek and frowned.

  “Care to share?” He mimicked her pose, even down to the pout.

  “Have you ever had a feeling something bad was going to happen?”

  “No, demons don’t have feelings.”

  “Well, humans do. And I thought you had feelings for me?”

  “I have so much more than feelings for you. Now back on the subject. What’s bothering you?”

  “Promise me, that no matter what happens you will never leave me. I can lose anything but you.”

  “What do you think is going to happen?”

  “My own personal hell, which the only thing that can evoke that is losing you.”

  “Well, lucky for you, I’m here and you can’t get rid of me. Baby, that’s not what’s worrying you is it?”

  “Sleep and hold me.” She curled up close to him.

  “Holding you is my all-time favorite, but I won’t let this go,” he whispered and crushed her against him.

  They laid there for hours. She tried to remember what led her to that moment. The rhythm of his most recent snoring was relaxing. Even sound asleep, his lips graced her forehead and he mumbled, ‘I love you, Angel.’ That simple and involuntary gestured wiped all fear and dread the dream left her with away. Sleeping, there was not a trace of the evil inside of him, just the sweet, kind soul that her heart couldn’t live without. She started drifting in and out of sleep, when she heard the phone going off. She rolled out of Trucker’s arm to grab it. It was a text from her mom.

  My car is at the shop and

  Dad had to go in early

  can you PLEASE carry me

  to work. Sorry

  to bother you.

  Of course I will:)

  She looked over her shoulder at Trucker who was sleeping peacefully. She decided not to wake him. It would take no more than an hour to run there and come back, and he had another hour or two of sleep left in him. She wrote out a note, left it by his pillow, and kissed his cheek.

  “I love you, never forget it,” she whispered against his ear.

  After throwing on some old clothes, she went downstairs to find her mother, waiting.

  “Thank you, sweetie, I hate to ask you to do this, but dad got called in early,” Ellen said when Julie hit the bottom step.

  “No biggie, it’ll give us some time together,” Julie said and slipped on Trucker’s leather jacket.

  As they headed out the door, a sudden dread came over her and it sounded like Gene warning her not to go. She thought it was strange, but figured it was left over fears from her dream. She grabbed the keys off the hook by the front door, and glanced back at her living room, almost scared she
would never see it again.

  Julie’s old reliable truck was sturdy, but didn’t go over fifty without getting bogged down. She caught herself nodding off. The lack of sleep and winding roads leading out of town did nothing to help. Ellen was busy with paperwork so talking was pretty much out. Julie turned up the radio in an attempt to wake up, but caught herself irritated at the lousy reception the old truck was getting. She leaned forward to smack the dashboard one more time in hopes of picking up a decent radio station; when she heard the squealing, her mom screaming, and looked up in time to see a large eighteen-wheeler coming directly toward them. It slammed into the side of the truck causing it to start rolling over and over. The seat belt cut into Julie’s chest as her body was thrust forcibly around the cab. It all happened in slow motion and for once Julie wished for Trucker’s neck-breaking speed. Julie’s head bashed against the dashboard as Ellen’s screams echoed in her ears. The glass shattered into tiny shards as they danced around her body before the car came to a sudden stop. The pain slammed her as she reached up to feel her hair coated in blood.

  She opened her eyes to find a shocking scene around her. The glimmering shards of glass were sprinkled throughout the truck.

  "Mom?" Julie screamed, praying that she would respond.

  With all that was left in her, Julie lurched toward Ellen and shook her. Ellen’s eyes were clamped shut and her mouth was hanging open. A cold chill race down her spine. The thought of her mom lying there dying, ‘my own personal hell on earth.' A warm stream of blood trickle down her face. Suddenly, she was encased in a pair of arms. They lifted her from the truck and shoved her against a ditch bank as the truck exploded in one large fireball.

 
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