A Fistful of Sand by Doktor Gostel – Book 3 – Chapter 2

A Fistful of Sand 3: Resurrection

Chapter 2 – “What the Deuce?”

Gregg held his hands up before his eyes, his last feeble attempt at defending his life just as Christine’s madness-induced ball of fire shot from her arms. It was so unfair. He was just coming by to help and something went horribly wrong. His final thoughts were of Heather, Emily, and Laura. They didn’t deserve to die this way.

Several long seconds passed by, but they could have been an eternity.

‘Man, death sure takes a long time!’ he thought, his eyes still tightly shut, his arms growing tired as he held them up, tense, waiting for the explostion. ‘And it’s so warm!’

Finally daring to open eye a crack, he was amazed to see a massive ball of white-hot fire hovering just in front of his face. Two odors simultaneously struck his nose – one of burning cloth and one of cooking meat. He saw a wisp of smoke coming from the cuff of his shirt and realized that it the ball of fire had stopped and was hovering so close that the sleeve of his extended arm was smoldering. He quickly pulled it back and began beating it with his hand to quash any flames that might have been there.

As he did that, he noticed what was causing the other smell. Laura, in a last ditch attempt to throw herself between him and the fireball – even with that nurse hanging off her legs – had managed to extend her arm far enough out that it was immersed wrist-deep inside the fire. Gregg quickly yanked it out, but if Laura knew what he was doing, she didn’t seem to give any indication. Her face was a mask of desperation, frozen in time, much like the fireball that was burning her skin.

Laura was like an overly-life-like mannequin, and as he pushed her dead weight out of the fireball’s reach, he looked around and noticed that everyone was in exactly the same state. Time appeared to have stopped. The nurse attached to Laura’s legs apparently had gone so far in her crazed attempt to stop Laura that she sunk her teeth into a bit of exposed flesh above Laura’s left butt-cheek. Brian and Heather were similarly frozen in mid-struggle, his face blank and impassive, holding her tightly, even as blood sprayed from the gouges Heather was making in his arm with her fingernails. The blood was frozen in mid-air during its descent to the floor. Gregg could only imagine the pain that Brian was feeling, despite there being no evidence of it on his face.

Heather appeared otherwise unharmed, except for look of desperation on her face as she tried to come to his rescue. Laura’s hand was slightly pink, burned, but at least not to the point of blistering. Gregg eased himself out from under the fireball, and looked desperately for Emily, the only one of his group he hadn’t yet accounted for.

With a startled gasp, he found her. She was sitting calmly in the chair at the foot of Christine’s bed, her face amused, her legs crossed and her foot tapping. She was naked except for a diaphanous white robe that left nothing to the imagination. It was the same outfit she wore when she came to his rescue during his battle with David. If anything, she looked even more beautiful now, like she had a mystical aura about her. And as much as he would have like to stay and admire her intense physical beauty, Gregg was horrified. It wasn’t her calm demeanor that horrified Gregg, nor her inexplicable change of outfit, nor the fact that other than him, she was the only one who wasn’t frozen. No, it was the blank stare with which she held him.

Literally – a blank stare.

Her eyes were pure white. No irises, no pupils. And still, Gregg knew she was looking directly at him. Her hair, out of its ponytail and flowing over her shoulders, seemed to move lightly in some unfelt breeze. And for all the drama of her appearance, her smirk held a bit of annoyance.

Gregg had seen something like this before. When he and Emily were finally reunited when she returned from Tunisia to the States, she’d taken on this very same appearance after they’d coupled, spouting prophecies in some other-worldly voice. More recently, when Gregg allowed Laura to ‘borrow’ his powers to uncover her new pledge Yasmine’s treachery; he noticed that Laura’s eyes did the exact same thing. He was only beginning to put two and two together when…

“You know Gregg, I’m getting awfully tired of pulling your chestnuts out of the fire.”

The voice coming out of Emily’s mouth wasn’t hers. It was a man’s voice…with an English accent.

“Deuce?”

“This isn’t a game Gregg. This is life. There’s no reset button…” She looked around at the room’s frozen chaos and smiled wryly. “Um, present circumstances exempted.”

“What the hell is going on, Deuce?” Gregg asked angrily.

“Don’t get saucy with me Béarnaise!” Emily said forcefully. A few seconds later she began to laugh. It was very unnerving hearing Deuce’s laugh coming out of Emily’s scantily clad body. Gregg remained stone-faced. “What, not a Mel Brooks fan? Honestly Gregg, you need to lighten up.”

Emily stood and approached the fireball, still hovering in mid-air, its flames frozen in time. She put her hands on either side of it and Gregg was amazed to see she didn’t flinch with pain nor was there the smell of burning flesh.

“Watch. Notice that there’s nothing up my sleeve.” She looked down at her see-through costume and smiled. “Actually there’s not really anyplace to hide anything, is there, you cheeky monkey. For someone with such a large stick up his butt, you certainly have a flair for costume.”

“What do you mean? You’re the one possessing Emily. It’s YOUR costume.”

She smiled sadly, taking on the expression of parent dealing with a child who just doesn’t get why they shouldn’t stick a fork in the outlet…yet still trying to be patient. “This is how YOU see her. You tend to put the women you love up on pedestals, treat them like goddesses…not that there’s anything terribly wrong with that. This is just a reflection of your imagination…I won’t show you how David viewed your fiery friend over there,” she said indicating Christine with a nod of her head. “Now shut up and let me do my magic trick.”

Emily squeezed her arms together and the ball of fire compressed. She moved her hands above and below and squeezed again, further compressing the ball. She did this repeatedly from all sides until the ball was no larger than a ping-pong ball, every bit as bright as before if not more so.

“Abracadabra, hocus pocus, etcetera, etcetera,” she said and loudly clapped her hands together, crushing the ball between them. When she opened her hands, she held a shiny gold coin. With a flick of her fingers, it disappeared into thin air. Bending low so she was almost nose to nose with Gregg who stared at her from the floor in amazement, she reached behind his ear and magically retrieved the coin.

“Tah-dah!”

Gregg was dumbstruck. This was so over-the-top silly that he thought for sure he was in fact dead and this was the first circle of hell: an eternity of children’s birthday magician humor.

“No Gregg,” Emily sighed, standing up again, “you’re not dead…and how dare you insult my talent so. Birthday magician indeed.”

“S…sorry…”

“I can’t leave you alone for a second, can I?” She seemed to sadly contemplate Christine for a moment. “Well, that’s not entirely fair, is it? You have no idea what that poor girl has gone through. Normally we would just have disposed of the refuse of the experiment…but then that decision was overruled.”

“Overruled? By whom? And what do you mean, disposed of?”

“Oh! Eh…not important. You wouldn’t understand anyway.”

Gregg was suddenly very annoyed with Deuce/Emily’s evasiveness. “Try me,” he said dryly.

Emily looked at him for a second and then flicked her finger. Gregg’s head snapped forward, pain flaring at the base of his skull, just like when the older kids in school used to slap him upside the head.

“Behave.”

Gregg rubbed the back of his head and decided that this wasn’t a fight he could win. He couldn’t bring himself to attach Emily…even knowing it wasn’t really Emily who stood before him.

“Let’s try to sort this mess out, shall we?”

She snapped her fingers and Christine unfroze.

“ARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!” she screamed, still in the middle of unleashing her destruction.

“Will you stop that racket!” Emily shouted in Deuce’s voice.

Christine looked around in confusion. Her fireball had suddenly disappeared and Gregg wasn’t in her line of fire. She glanced around in a panic but spied Gregg and hurriedly poured energy into her hands once again.

ZZZAP

Her hands erupted in pain as the magic failed, giving her a painful shock. But she was undeterred and quickly set about forming another ball, her eyes red and froth appearing at the corners of her mouth. Gregg again shrunk back in fear.

ZZZAP

This time the shock was even greater and Christine cried out in pain. It seemed to wake her from her fury.

Finally she noticed Emily.

“Merriam?” she whispered, her rage quickly dissipating.

She blinked a few times and realized it wasn’t her sister. It was the real-life Emily that David had tried so hard to emulate with her sister, just like she herself had been made to look like Heather. She must have been in too much of a daze to either notice or care about Emily’s all-white eyes or the crazy diaphanous costume she was wearing.

The battle was over her and the adrenaline ceased pumping. She collapsed to her knees and began to sob uncontrollably. Her body shook as the tears flowed freely.

Gregg looked up at Emily and saw that Deuce had no intention of intervening. His heart swelled and he crept forward and put his arms around her shoulders and Christine buried her face into his collar and just cried.

It lasted for long minutes and if she’d allowed herself to, it would have lasted even longer. But the hatred that David had for Gregg was buried deep inside her heart, and as she began to realize who she was leaning on, she forced herself to get a grip.

Emily (that is, Deuce) watched Christine and Gregg with an expression of curiosity – as if this were all very fascinating to her/him.

Christine abruptly pushed Gregg away, stood, and sat back on the bed, wiping her eyes with her hands. She also wiped her hands on her gown as if she could wipe away Gregg’s touch. She took a few moments to finally really look around, taking in the violence that she’d wrought and the violence that was still frozen in the doorway. She took it all in, but without revealing how she felt about it. Her face was settling into a composed mask.

Gregg, seeing that the emotional moment was over, awkwardly stood and took a seat next to Emily.

“Feeling better?” Emily asked.

If Christine was surprised by the deep male voice coming out of Emily’s body, she gave no hint. She didn’t even acknowledge the question.

“Good. Now, if you can stop trying to kill Dr. Walters here for a few minutes, perhaps we could have a little chat.”

“He shouldn’t have tried to possess me.”

“I…I didn’t!”

“You fucking liar! You come in here, you get me all horny. You’re just as bad as my mas…DAMN IT! As bad as David is…FUCK! I mean WAS!” Gregg could see she was getting worked up again.

“I didn’t…or at least, I didn’t mean…I…”

Emily finally interceded. “You’ll have to forgive the dear professor. Just a misunderstanding, I’m sure. You have my assurance that Gregg couldn’t have ‘possessed’ you, even if he wanted to…and I’m sure part of him did want to…”

Gregg was about to protest, but a look from Emily cut him off.

“You have to understand. He’s just human…and to make matters worse, he’s a male. Tens of thousands of years of evolution and really, they’re still just animals driven by their…needs. And let’s face it – you are quite a lovely specimen…when you’re not in the midst of an act of murder. Gregg hasn’t quite mastered keeping his libido in check yet and, well, as you’ll learn…it’s got a bit of an area effect. Just ask his neighbors. They don’t know he’s behind it, but they’re having some of the best sex they’ve ever had…or will ever have.”

Christine let a hint of confusion flash on her face before catching herself.

“You got caught in a kind of feedback loop. You were horny from your little encounter with Cindy out there. He walks in and feels that and sees you playing with yourself – he gets horny. You feel that and it amplifies your lust. He feels THAT and his lust is amped up, and so on and so on. But, I think nearly killing him and all his friends cooled him down just a bit. Still, I suggest we keep this short…no telling when his fear of you will cease to overpower his lust.”

Christine let a hint of superiority flash on her face and sat up a little straighter. This had the unfortunate effect of sticking out her chest and causing the back of her gown to part a little, letting a hint of her smooth asscheek peek out.

Gregg huffed at the indignity of being referred to in such base terms, but he had to admit, looking at the bit of her hind-flesh that was sticking out of the back of her gown, Gregg started feeling some familiar stirrings.

“Christ Gregg, try to focus!” Deuce scolded.

Gregg blushed embarrassedly and tried to keep in him mind that the beautiful, if cold, woman before him DID just try to destroy everything and everyone he ever loved. That seemed to keep his libido in check.

“Good. Now, here’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to take a bit of a breather here. You,” Emily pointed at Gregg, “will take your friends and go home. You,” she pointed at Christine, “will get a good night’s sleep and try to remember that Gregg’s not going to kill you…at least not yet. Maybe tomorrow cooler heads will prevail. For both your sakes, I hope so.”

Having made her declaration, she sighed and said more softly, “Things are different now. We’re in unexplored territory. I won’t be able to step in again and set things right. You’re on your own now. Try not to make me look like an ass.”

Before either Gregg or Christine could ask questions, Emily clapped her hands and everything went white.

* * *

The lithe blonde nurse walked past Gregg and his group as they approached Christine’s room. She was still adjusting her uniform and there was an unmistakable odor…

Gregg leaned over and whispered “What is it about nurses, Em?” causing Em to blush.

Heather giggled along with Emily. ‘What WAS it about nurses?’ the hot red-head mused, remembering that the little nymphet not only managed to win Gregg’s heart but her own.

Gregg stopped short suddenly. Before Heather could ask what was wrong Emily grabbed her shoulder steadying herself. She looked dizzy. At the same moment, Laura hissed in pain, shaking her hand.

“What the fuck?” she winced, holding out a hand that looked like it was suffering from a bad case of sunburn. She took a step closer toward Gregg and winced again in pain. “Ahh!” he winced again putting her hand against the sharp pain on her back. She pulled up her shirt a little and there was a noticeable bite mark. Gregg was looking around in amazement.

Then nurse that was the source of their amusement only moments ago suddenly ran past them, back toward Christine’s room. But she didn’t enter. Instead she stopped at Brian who was standing there, impassively holding his arm. She quickly looked it over and grabbed some gauze from a nearby cart, wrapping it quickly and walking him in the general direction of the ER.

Gregg reached out and touched Laura’s then Emily’s faces, taking an extra long look into Emily’s eyes. He was looking at them like they’d just come back from the dead…and the haunted look that suddenly appeared on Gregg’s face told her she probably wasn’t too far from the truth.

“Gregg?” Heather began to ask.

“We’re going. Come on…I’ll explain on the way home. Emily, Laura, you’re coming with me. Heather’s got some burn ointment back at her place. We’ll pick up your car tomorrow.” Gregg’s tone made it clear his order wasn’t to be questioned.

Heather’s mind was going a mile a minute. What just happened? She took an extra look back in Christine’s room’s direction and then followed Gregg back toward the parking lot.

Pulling the car keys out from her jeans pocket, she finally noticed her hand. Her fingers were covered in blood and it looked like there was skin under her fingernails.

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