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The Books of Darkness

by Robert N. Stephenson

Table of Contents
Chapter 14

The Ta’ibah

Diana Arlyn is an author of gothic fiction best-sellers. A hard drinker with bipolar disorder, she falls in love with a mysterious woman, and the turbulent relationship draws Diana unwillingly into a legend.

Diana is haunted by questions: why did the woman pick her, of all people, and how can the Ta’ibah, the hunter of darkness, know so much about her? She is also haunted by the ghost of a dead author. She must find out what he wants, recover a lost book that belongs to someone who wants to kill her, and ultimately survive the darkness.

I watched her on the beach.

I knew who she was, knew where she lived, and I knew where the book had been stored. The Dark One blocked me, stopped me from getting it back. His way, he’d said. His way what? The skeins of darkness were no help, offered nothing more to what I already understood.

I watched Diana, sitting alone, drinking beer. I shifted to her side, went to take her. The Dark One’s force got in the way. I could no more touch her than reach up and touch a star. I thought of the ghost and his connection, the lure. Did The Dark One know more about him than me? He was pushing the two women together, had to be.

I had the links and this made sense. My role might have been to create the fear they needed to come closer. A human response. The Dark One harboured no feelings that equated to anything humans could muster. He was using me in a way I couldn’t fathom.

I stood beneath the jetty, watching as she ate, drank and rubbed at her eyes. Her energy would be in the dark, ready for feeding. Sarina would know this and could move to protect her. All I had to do was penetrate Diana Arlyn’s mind to see what I needed to know. If he didn’t want her dead, I wouldn’t need to take her. Just a touch.

Diana knew of the book; how much wasn’t clear.

Sarina approached through the lights of the square, arms folded across her chest, look creased. Concern? She walked down and onto the beach. I faded further into shadow. She looked beautiful in the yellow light, hair down, face perfect. I couldn’t let him absorb her, even if she was a Uttuke. I couldn’t go against her. Things could change in the future, I’d wait until then. He should make the attempt on her, not me.

I watched and listened. My thoughts had been correct. Was this part of his plan?

Proceed to Chapter 15...

Copyright © 2009 by Robert N. Stephenson

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