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       Demon Fallout_The Return, p.1

           Mark Tufo
 
Demon Fallout_The Return


  Demon Fallout

  The Return

  Mark Tufo

  Copyright © 2017 by Mark Tufo

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

  Created with Vellum

  Contents

  Author Note

  Prologue

  ENDING OF LYCAN FALLOUT 4: IMMORTALITY’S TOUCHSTONE

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Epilogue - Mike’s Early Years

  About the Author

  Also by Mark Tufo

  Also From DevilDog Press

  Thank You!

  Author Note

  Hello dear reader if this is the first book of mine that you have stumbled upon, first off I want to thank you for taking a chance on it and it is my sincerest hope that you enjoy it. Now with that being said, I truly meant this story as a standalone, meaning you would not need any other references to understand some of what is happening here. For the most part this is a true statement, but I have created what some call the Talbot-verse, the main character Michael Talbot fluidly flows through a great many of my books and series, mostly due to circumstances beyond his control. Demon Fallout immediately follows the Lycan Fallout Universe which itself follows the Zombie Fallout World. I am going to include after the prologue, the ending to Lycan Fallout 4 which at the very least will set you up for this book. As always if you have any specific questions please feel free to reach out to me.

  Prologue

  Who defines what is good and what is evil? Us? God? Satan? Are we the best—are we even qualified—to judge right and wrong? Can an act be inherently good or evil, defying judgment? Do we decide it’s so? Male lions, when taking over a pride, often times murder the male offspring of the outgoing king—cubs, sometimes. Is that evil? Western morals say that it is wrong to kill innocents. But their behavior is instinctive; nature requires the elimination of competition. Weasels steal the eggs of nesting birds; orca swallow whole adorable seals, sometimes in sport. These acts are not evil; they are necessary for the continuation of their respective species, and all that depend on them in turn. Only man thrusts his beliefs upon the natural world, labeling these actions “good” or “evil”. Laws are set in place to define and enforce man’s conception of morality. I’m not sitting here arguing that we should be able to do whatever we want, when we want. I’m merely wondering why we can’t.

  Helping a little old lady to cross the street is a classic example of a “good” act; such helpful civic behaviors make us feel “good” inside. But a serial killer will tell you there is no more exquisite feeling than the slight pull as his blade slides across the pulsing, heated skin of a human neck, the brief tug while cutting through arteries, the splash of crimson life expelling onto the cold, indifferent ground. We deem this act “evil” because a book of doctrine, written over two thousand years ago, says it is so, because society and its laws say so. Circular argument? Maybe. But I had a little time and thought perhaps writing these thoughts into words might produce clarity. It did not.

  ENDING OF LYCAN FALLOUT 4: IMMORTALITY’S TOUCHSTONE

  I drank more than anyone has a right to, so it stood to reason that sometime during the night I was going to have to get up. I reached over to Azile; she was on her side facing me, clearly asleep. The babies’ crib was next to the bed on her side, both of the munchkins were fast asleep as well. I was going to do my absolute best to make sure that they all stayed in their current condition. Wasn’t going to be easy, considering I was still roughly five sheets to the wind, it was dark as pitch in the room, and I was unfamiliar with my surroundings. I sat up, hoping that my eyes would adjust to the gloom, which made absolutely no sense, though. My eyes had been shut; wasn’t going to get much darker than that. My night vision was as good as it was going to get.

  I started weighing options, like maybe I could hold it for a few hours more, or what would be worse? Me waking everyone up when I fell over a table, or me wetting the bed when my bladder had had enough?

  “I’ll just go slow.” I glacier-like slid off the bed and had a moment of panic when my foot came up against something furry. Took me a second to realize it was Oggie, that meant Sebastian was close by, and if I so much as looked at her crossly, she would start mewling incessantly. I did not pick up my feet so much as shuffle them, figured the odds of stubbing a toe were much decreased that way. Something was niggling in the back of my mind as I navigated around the animals and headed to the bathroom. It was quiet; so quiet as to be called silent. Oggie usually snored loud enough he would wake himself up. If he was already up, he would have most certainly greeted me as I got off the bed.

  And then there was Azile; I don’t know if I’ve ever encountered a lighter sleeper in my life. There were times I’d gotten out of bed without waking her, but never without slightly disturbing her to the point she would roll over.

  “I’m like a ninja,” I said, right as I plowed my toe into a table leg. “Cocksucking whore of a biscuit eater.” I waited until the initial burst of pain subsided to the dull ache of a broken toe, then I completely forgot about my newest injury and the pressing need of my bladder. Something was amiss. I’d now certainly made enough noise that everyone in this room should be looking at me with accusing eyes for disturbing their slumber. Right this very second it was so quiet I could have heard a cricket fart in the far corner of the room. Speaking of which, is that actually a thing? Can that happen? I would have dwelled on it longer, but something had me on the verge of being terrified.

  I was even now wondering if an assassin had found his or her way into the room and was stalking me as its final kill because everyone else had already been taken care of. No matter how hard I strained to see, it was as if a curtain had been placed over my vision. There was no doubt in my mind it was darker than it was supposed to be. There are degrees of dark. Being outside in the pitch black of Maine during the dead of winter is dark; being a hundred feet underground in a cave is another type. What I was experiencing now was that closed in, total lack of light. It had a weight and a claustrophobic feel to it. It wasn’t natural; this was the point I started to think that quite possibly I was in the midst of a world-class nightmare.

  “That’s it,” I said, realizing how flat the words felt as they hit the deadened air. “Your bladder is so full it’s affecting your second brain and you're having a doozy of a dream right now.” I knew the cure to wake up was to just take my junk out and start pissing. My mind would start to wonder how I could go for so long without feeling relief. Worked like a charm every time, because invariably my body would say screw it and would be on the verge of releasing everything for real. That’s when I would awake. But as much as I wanted this to be a dream, I knew it wasn’t.

  I turned back and got low, blindly reaching out with my hands. I touched fur, but it was the cat. I nearly recoiled because her first reaction should have been to jump up, hiss like a snake, and take a razor sharp claw swipe at me. Nothing. She did not move. There was heat coming from her body, but I cou
ld detect no sign of her breathing, no rise and fall of her chest. I ran my hands over the length of her trying to see if I could feel some blood or a wound. Again nothing. She could have been a statue out in a park on a warm spring day. I moved to Oggie; my heart missed a beat or two as I got the same result. I knew there was no possible way I could go over to Azile and the babies. If the same thing happened, I was pretty certain I would spin into depths I would not recover from.

  “Dream, Talbot. This is all a dream,” I said as I stood up. The word “enchantment” drifted into my head, uninvited. “Who, though? Ganlin is gone. His brother, maybe? His ex-wife pissed off that she was no longer going to get alimony payments?” I was heading back to the bed, not that I wanted to, but I needed to know. And if anyone could break through a spell, she was lying on our bed. Maybe I could shake her awake, maybe kiss, maybe I could just randomly wave her arms about and mumble incoherently; I was bound to strike on something that would work. I was absolutely terrified that this was my new reality. I would be surrounded by those I loved but would never again be able to interact with them. That seemed exactly like what a lesser god would do to someone like me.

  There was some laughter out in the hallway beyond our door. It trailed away in a dying echo. I was on the move, about to chase whatever or whoever that was to the ends of the world if need be, for some answers. That was right up until a tapping came on the window. When you’re twenty feet from the ground and there’s a knocking on your window, that gives you pause for concern. Now I was frozen. It’s one thing to chase, it is quite another for something to be bold enough to come a-calling. As distasteful as it was to head toward something deep, dark and dangerous which had absolutely no fear of me, it was where I needed to go. I ripped the right window off its hinges; the left was going to need some work as well.

  A figure, blacker than the surrounding darkness, was somehow visible, if only because the dark around me swirled into it. I knew what it was long before it spun its head at me and exposed its white eye. It was the raven, my raven. Light brighter than the surface of the sun poured out from the eye, over and through me; illuminating the room so brilliantly it washed out all the other colors. I had to turn away from the intensity of the vision before me. Azile was still on the bed; she appeared to be resting as comfortably as Snow White—and had the pallor to match. Then came a voice I thought would snap off a thick blood clot from somewhere in my leg and lodge itself into a deeply folded part of my mind, choking off all flow and hopefully killing me instantly.

  “I need help, Mr. T!” Tommy begged.

  Chapter 1

  MIKE TALBOT JOURNAL ENTRY 1

  “No, Mike. Just damn NO! Please?” Azile pleaded.

  Maybe it was a split second after I heard Tommy begging for help or maybe it had been twelve and a half hours as I sat on the floor in a catatonic stupor, but Azile, the babies, Oggie, and even the fucking cat all woke at the same time. When the raven left, there was a loud popping as if it had created a vacuum between the worlds it inhabited, and by leaving, the bubble burst.

  “You didn’t hear him, Azile.” I’d told her everything that had happened. That I’d awoken to something strange, that she and everyone else in the room were under an enchantment, about the raven, and the message. Like pretty much normally, she looked at me like I was nuts. I think she was looking for signs of the blood clot that was even now cutting off vital blood flow to some part of my brain. But, meh. This was my brain, so how vital could it be?

  “Are you sure you heard him? If I’m to believe everything you told me, then Tommy is in the underworld.”

  “Wait…” I stopped her. “If you’re to believe me? What the hell does that mean? I was dead Azile, and soulless; yet here I am, mostly intact.” Sure, I was of sound body and soul, but it would be a stretch to say I was of sound mind. When’s the last time I could really say that? When I was fourteen, maybe? And even that was questionable. If I remember correctly, that was the year I raced a train across a trestle in the hopes that I would get to see Meghan Grendler’s bra. It was only partially successful. I mean, I didn’t get hit by the train so that was a plus, but as for the bra, she pulled up her sweater and dropped it back into place so fast I hardly got a glimpse of some frilly pink material covering her budding breasts. Well, it was fodder enough for many a night, so I guess it worked out better than being scattered across a train track. What the hell was I thinking?

  “I’m not doubting what you believe you heard,” Azile started, shaking me out of thoughts revolving around a rosebud decorated training bra. “But those you encountered could have made you believe just about anything…couldn’t they? How could you know you weren’t being manipulated?”

  I wanted to argue. I mean who wants to think that they were led along like a puppy? But she was right; how could I not? I’d taken on a five-hundred-ton machine for the chance to see a cloth covered mammary or two. I was not the toughest person to force into a bad situation, plus I’d been in their world, whoever they were. They could have done just about anything. “It was Tommy.”

  “Even if it was, Mike, what are you going to do about it? You can’t just run into the underworld and rescue him and his sister. You do realize she’s part of the equation?”

  “I can, with your help,” I fired back, and as much as I was in a rush to save Tommy I wanted nothing to do with Eliza. I had no basis for the hope that she could indeed help. The way she clammed up was all the answer I needed though, to realize the truth in my statement. Then to further reinforce my words, she redirected.

  “You have a family now—a family that needs you.”

  I think she would have been better saying “a family that loves you.” Of that I’m sure. That needs me? Well, that’s pushing it. Me and trouble are like wet is to water, hot to fire, gross tasting to cherry filling, you know, that kind of thing.

  “Tommy is family, too,” I told her. I’d adopted him before I’d even met the scared girl I’d rescued from a semi all those years ago. She couldn’t argue that.

  Her head sagged. I was gaining ground in a fight I wasn’t so sure I even wanted to win. Did I want to help Tommy? Of course, I did. But I’d really like to help him in that traditional way, like he was out at two a.m. and he had got a flat and like most irresponsible kids he had already used his spare four months ago and never replaced it or repaired the other tire so now he was stranded in some town an hour away and I had to go and help him and I’d be super-tired for work the next morning. But it would all be worth it when I saw the relief on his face as I pulled up. Yeah, that kind of help I was willing to give. But this? This was different. This wasn’t even about just giving up a life, which I was willing to do. This was about giving up the afterlife as well. Lot more at stake in that outcome. Mortality is fleeting. Even immortality, surprisingly, has its limits. It’s once we start traveling the realms of the gods that we begin to understand what eternity really is. To normal people, it’s a word that doesn’t carry much weight, like “infinity” or a “quadrillion.” Sure, we know what they mean on a basic level, but we’re not built with the capacity to truly comprehend the vastness of some things. And maybe because it was something I could not wrap my mind around, I felt that this was still something I needed to do, and might be capable of doing.

  “I can help,” she finally said.

  It’s weird for me just about any time that I actually win a fight with a member of the opposite sex, I don’t feel certain of the victory until I see results. That I did so now should have been cause for celebration, so why did I feel the need to go and hurl up everything I’d eaten that day?

  “But we do this my way or not at all, Mike,” she added, though I barely heard it for the torrent of bile worming its way back up my throat.

  “What does ‘your way’ entail? And what are the drawbacks?” I asked, probably not the best phrasing, but it was out there.

  “I don’t know just yet. It’s not like I send many people into the underworld to retrieve wayward souls.”
>
  “Fair enough,” I told her.

  Chapter 2

  MIKE JOURNAL ENTRY 2

  I spent the following morning with the twins, mostly just looking at the tiny creatures who were spending a disconcerting amount of time staring back at me. I was under the impression infants only had an attention span of a few seconds. Sure, that was a second or two longer than me, so theoretically they should have gone back to cooing and gurgling and looking for their fingers a good long while ago. I fed them and changed them. Funny. After all the things I’d been through in this extended life, all the horrible and disgusting things I’d seen and done, if I’m being honest, dirty diapers trump it all. I don’t know what ungodly thing happens in the digestive system of a baby that can turn their mother’s milk into a black, tarry substance that smells far worse than ordinary shit and sticks to everything like it has superglue for a base. I had my shirt pulled up over my nose and a plastic shopping bag on each hand as I worked through half a tub of wipes and a bath towel getting them cleaned up. On a side note, all the crinkling had the babies fascinated, kept them from pumping their legs too much, which was a good thing because that only tended to spread the goop.

 
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