Here’s a little treat for you. I thought you might enjoy reading the first chapter of my supernatural thriller, THE DEMON BAQASH. I hope you enjoy!
THE DEMON BAQASH
Kim Troxel’s sleep was restless, punctuated with bizarre half-dreams and images. There was a dark figure, not a man, something different, with wings – six of them – moving independently, like tentacles slithering, reaching, grabbing. The creature had four faces, each directed to a different point. One laughed, while another cried. One ranted, the last smirked. Even through the mist of dream, Kim felt tense, felt her stomach twist, her skin go cold. The faces were not right. A hollow moldy cheek opposite a chubby infantile counterpart. A large uneven eye adjacent a torn and empty socket. The man-thing was somewhere else, someplace far away.
So very close.
A fire crackled and glowed. The smell of burning flesh assailed Kim’s nostrils. The non-man was before her now, grinning, though, in truth, Kim could make out none of the features. But they were familiar, so familiar. Yet… faded, incomplete. The man, the thing, entity – whatever! – it was holding a phone – handing it to her.
Kim’s eyes fluttered as she rolled over to face the annoyance. “Alright, alright. I’m coming.” She stretched, extending her arm as if she could will it to be longer. Why did the phone have to be onTrent’s side of the bed when he was never home from work untilthree A.M.? “Uhuggh, hello,” she managed in a drymidnightgrowl.
“Good morning, Kim.”
“I’ve got a surprise for you.”
Kim squinted at the blurry alarm clock. Why did it seem the numerals faded as if fleeing some unseen menace?
“Trent, what time is it?”
“Late, Kim. Terribly late. But, someone is coming to see you.”
The deliveryman was tall. Taller even than the six-foot sixTrent. Pro basketball tall. Wide-shouldered and statuesque. Kim fumbled to wipe the sleep from her eyes, attempting to bring the face into focus. Somehow it seemed the man had multiple features, each fading and then reemerging in subtle parody of itself. He seemed so inconsequential, as if he might simply evaporate on the cool evening breeze. Kim blinked again and then again. The man was solid. Of course he was solid. How could he be otherwise? Strangely, at the sight of him, Kim felt a warm rush, a kind of electric hum or vibration, both comforting and unnerving, familiar yet alien. It was almost sexual but simultaneously horrifying. Strange. Why should she feel anything at all?
Something in this man’s face was familiar. Intimately so. But how? She’d never seen him before. One would remember a six-foot eight-inch deliveryman with deep multi-colored eyes.
The strangely accented voice brought Kim back around. “Yes. I’m sorry. I’m still half asleep.”
“Undoubtedly,” he agreed. “I assume your husband informed you of this delivery.”
“He did,” she said, rubbing her eyes. “It’s just late.” Then, pausing, she ventured, “And since when are deliveries made at this hour?”
The man smiled. It was somehow inviting, beckoning her to come to him, to wrap her arms about him, to engulf him and…
What was she thinking?
“Distributions of the highest priority can be delivered around the clock, ma’am.” He extended the clipboard for her to sign. Those strange eyes – so knowing, as if he knew her every impulse.
Kim’s mind was fuzzy, unclear, still flirting with those horrible dreams. How was it that this man’s face seemed so ill-defined? She closed her eyes tight, and then opened them wide. She was simply tired. His face was fine. Wacky dreams.
“Would you care to come in?” she asked.
“Reggie,” said Kim to her live-in brother-in-law. “What’s that?”
The sound of someone shaking the front door flooded the tiny home. Kim and Reggie were seated at a table in the small, sparsely decorated kitchen, sipping a sweet herbal tea as Kim jotted ideas for a new poem. Writing poetry normally comforted her, separated her from the day-to-day drudge. But tonight her thoughts were scattered, her lines lacked meter, her meaning remained unclear. The deliveryman had left only fifteen minutes prior –three A.M.– and Kim had decided against climbing back into the oh-so-inviting bed. Now, she felt this might have been a mistake.
Reggie brushed his dark matted bangs from his eyes. “It’sTrent, I think. The door must be stuck again. He sounds kinda excited. Maybe he needs to use the bathroom.” Turning toward the door Reggie hollered, “I’m coming,Trent. I’m coming.” He rose gracelessly from the chair, his pear-like form sluggish as he hiked his lagging pajama bottoms with his left hand. “That door needs a new handle. It needs a new handle.”
Kim took another sip of tea. Reggie was probably right. It most likely wasTrent, but Kim doubted his urgency had anything to do with bodily functions. The pounding and shaking of the door sounded like someone panicked.
Themidnightfog cleared from Kim’s brain like the lingering sound of a marching band. Something was wrong. Terribly wrong.
“HeyTrent,” said Reggie as he pulled the door open with a forceful twist and a sharp tug. “We’ve got some tea. I can fix you some tea. It’s good. You can go to the bathroom first. I’ll just start…”
“Kimmie,” saidTrentas he brushed roughly past his brother causing the smaller man to shuffle backward, nearly tripping over a nearby crate.
“Trent?” Kim nearly screamed at the sight of him. His sandy red hair was disheveled, his face flushed and sweaty, his right hand was wrapped in something red, and his eyes.Trenthad strange eyes to begin with, one green, one blue. But this. There was something inTrent’s dual-colored eyes. Something she’d never seen, not when he was dismissed from the church in disgrace, not even when he’d watched Ashley emerge red and slimy from her body. It was fear. Real fear. Deep down in the soul fear. The kind one expected to find in the eyes of a man who’d just learned that the cancer had spread, that he had five weeks to live. “Trent, what happened?”
“Extraordinary,” he muttered, then paused as if somewhere between bewildered and flustered. “No, horrifying,” he added, wiping a hand on his corduroy leg. “Yes, horrifying is better. Did he come here?”
Kim stared up into her husband’s face and saw tears. “Trent, what happened?”
“Was he here, Goober?” asked Trent, using the pet name he’d given Kim when she’d been pregnant and craving peanuts. “I tried to call. Couldn’t get through. He was here. Of course, he was here.”
“Who, Trent? What’s this about?”
It was then thatTrentnoticed the boxes, twenty-seven of them, coarse wooden crates crowded into each corner, behind and under the not-quite-antique furniture, in the open closet, besideTrent’s upright bass. HowTrenthad missed them was beyond her. But undoubtedly he had. There he stood, jaw prepped to catch flies, golf ball eyes, and his head cocked like a cocker spaniel. If it hadn’t been so tragic, it would have been hysterical.
Kim stepped forward, embraced her husband in a fierce hug, brushed her lips wistfully across his, and then buried her head in his chest. The strangest, most horrifying thought came to her then.
Kim Troxel began to cry.
To purchase THE DEMON BAQASH, go to
Thom Reese is the author of CHASING KELVIN, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH, 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATRE. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published for download by Speaking Volumes. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.
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Check out my new thriller, CHASING KELVIN, at: http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Kelvin-ebook/dp/B008FRA2YY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341060846&sr=1-1&keywords=chasing+kelvin
Check out the first Huntington adventure, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, at http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320244/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335623524&sr=1-1
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Copyright 2012 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.