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by Scott Harper
Description: Fleeing the painful, horrific events that she's just endured in Pinewick, New Jersey, monster hunter Wendy Markland heads south for Florida. Upon arrival in the Sunshine State, however, Wendy realizes that she's being followed. Her tail turns out to be Colm Pryce, a slightly older, more experienced hunter. Why has Colm been following her? Because he has a message for her -- a warning. According to Colm, Wendy is being pursued by a group of vampires calling themselves the Kindred of Malignity. Whereas the first cultus Wendy encountered was concerned mostly with feeding and the spread of their kind, the Kindred of Malignity, led by an ancient and powerful vampire named Adolph Larson, are more focused and far more dangerous -- they hunt hunters. And their current target is Wendy Markland?
eBook Publisher: DCL Publications LLC, 2011 2011
eBookwise Release Date: August 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [277 KB]
Reading time: 173-243 min.
Thin tendrils of vapor curled up from the surface of the water, rising up to caress the hull of the ship, touching it gently as if fondly stroking a lover. The trails of mist stood out, pale ghosts against the darker backdrop of the sea, in the glare of the floodlights. The breeze gusted again, stronger. Wendy wrapped her arms around her scantily-clad body for warmth as she shivered again.
"Brrr," Colm said from behind her.
She turned, finding him standing there, arms laden with neatly-folded blankets of various colors. Turning back to the water, she pointed to the rising vapor.
"Is that normal?" she asked.
"Fog at sea, yes. But the weather isn't right."
Looking back and forth from the curling trails of mist and Colm, she hugged herself and shivered again.
He shook his head slowly. "The temperature is dropping too quickly. This isn't right."
Dropping the blankets on the deck, he moved to her side at the rail. Together, they watched the fog rise from the ocean, swirling and churning as it grew denser. After a few moments, she turned, looking toward the opposite side of the deck. She gasped, the startled sound causing Colm to turn, as well.
Dense white vapor flowed up and over the edge of the hull, spilling across the deck, rolling toward them. The fog was accompanied by a chilling breeze.
"Captain Cornell?" Colm shouted, "You'd better see this!"
Wendy shivered harder and picked up one of the blankets Colm had discarded. She shook it out and wrapped herself in it, leaving only her head exposed.
"Captain Cornell?" Colm yelled again.
She turned, aghast that she could barely see the wheelhouse through the roiling fog. "Captain Cornell?" she called out. "Are you awake?"
"What do you--" She heard the old man's voice, echoing faintly in the fog. He cut off in mid-sentence, cursing the cold. "What's going on?" he demanded.
"We don't know," Colm answered. "The fog came up out of nowhere."
A light flicked on in the wheelhouse, blurred and fuzzy in the heavy mist. Cornell stepped into view a few seconds later, waving his arms as if he were trying to swim through the chilly vapor. He stopped, still not fully visible, backlit by the murky light in the wheelhouse, pausing to buckle his belt. Again, he cursed the cold air.
"I moved to Florida to get away from the cold!" he shouted, moving closer to join them.
"Have you ever seen anything like this before?" Wendy asked the captain.
"Not in weather like we had when I went to bed," he answered gruffly. "How fast did this come up?"
"Fast," Colm answered. "Everything was clear. I started to pull the blankets out for us. When I turned around..." He trailed off, waving a hand at the fog.
"That's not natural," Cornell muttered.
"I was afraid of that," said Wendy.
Colm pointed into the dense vapor. "Over there!"
Wendy followed the line of his finger with her gaze. A patch of fog was churning out of sync with the rest of the mist, moving in odd swirling patterns that had nothing to do with the wind. She gasped as it gradually coalesced into the form of a man. END EXCERPT The mist-formed image gave the impression of being clad in a billowing shirt, tight pants, a flowing cloak and boots. Long hair fluttered around his head and shoulders and the fog-figure had a neatly-trimmed moustache and a small beard.