Destiny: Chapter 18 Excerpt

Best of the Boards
Mari Adkins


Sami sat at her desk trying to decide if she was in the right frame of mind to put up the Christmas tree and start decorating the house for Yule or if she could put it off another week. Chills danced across her shoulders as several car doors slammed shut in the driveway. Fear gripped her. She knew who was there without bothering to look through the dormer window.

Grasping her cellphone in one hand, she dialed emergency services on the desk telephone. When the dispatcher answered, she said clearly, “This is Samantha Devon Young on Ivy Hill. I’m calling to report a home invasion—”

“I’ll send someone right away. Are you able to stay on the line?”

“I shouldn’t.” Sami replaced the receiver into the cradle while dialing George’s number on her cellphone. “George!” she cried. “He’s here!” She felt her composure slipping away.

George asked, “Are you alone?”

“Yes, and it’s time for Destiny to be home from school!”

“I’m already on my way to your house. I’ll make some calls. Have you—”

“Yes.” She whispered, “George, I’m scared.”

“Don’t be,” he told her firmly. “I’ll have Derek meet Destiny at the school. I’m almost at the bottom of the hill. The dispatch call is out. I hear cars behind me. We’re coming.”

“Hurry,” she begged.

“Leave this line open. Put your cellphone in your pocket.”

She switched the cellphone to ‘speaker’ and dropped it into the front pocket of her pants. “Can you hear me, George?”

“Every word,” George replied. “Look, don’t go downstairs.”

“I won’t be made a prisoner in my own home!” A loud crash of glass and splintering wood came from downstairs. “They’re breaking down the front door.” Tears of rage pricked Sami’s eyes. She blinked them away.

She went down to the second floor. Squatting at the top of the stairs and peering through the banister, she confirmed that what she heard was the heavy front door separating from its hinges.

The sound of sirens came from the narrow road over the hill below the house.

“Samantha!” Daniel’s deep voice rumbled from the front hall. “Samantha! You can’t hide from me.”

Taking a deep breath, Sami crept down the back stairs and across the kitchen. She stopped near the table. Her heart pounded in her throat; her arms hung limply at her sides. Her blood turned to ice when Daniel turned and saw her. Her eyes narrowed. “What gives you the right to break into my house?” she asked through gritted teeth.

Daniel’s thin smile sent chills all over Sami. “I came to finish what I started.” He moved down the hall toward her.

Every instinct she had told her to turn and run; she could easily run into the back yard, but she had no idea what to do once she got there.

 

Outside, Destiny drove up the hill toward the house. She felt something was wrong, but told herself that she was being silly. When the house and the men standing in the yard came into view on the left over the gentle rise, she knew she should have listened to her intuition. Behind her, she heard sirens. She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t keep driving—their house was near the end of the road, just three other houses, including the one where Toby and his parents used to live, stood between her and the tiny cul-de-sac at the top of the mountain. She pulled her car to the side of the road across from their house.

One of the men in the yard charged toward the car. As her hand came down on the switch to lock the car doors, the man yanked open the driver’s side door. Her mother screamed to her telepathically for her to run, but the warning came too late. The man wrangled her from the car. She screamed for her mother and fought to get away. The man who held her said, “I wouldn’t,” as he bodily dragged her toward the house, Destiny kicking his knees and shins mercilessly as they went.

 

You can get loose, Destiny! Run! Sami cried in her mind. Tears streaked her face. “Leave my daughter alone,” she said coldly, her hands balled into fists. A flame ignited in her veins.

A crooked smile crossed Daniel’s face. “Very fortuitous,” he leered, moving closer to Sami.

Such big words you have. Sami snorted. “You will not harm my daughter. Or me.” Her head jerked up as a cacophony of several police cars, private cars, and two ambulances pulled into the driveway and along the side of the road. “GEORGE!” she screamed. She dashed into the family room, evading Daniel as he reached to grab her arm.

Sami meant to keep running until she reached the front yard. Daniel growled her name behind her; his voice stopped her cold. She wheeled around to face him. He rushed toward her wielding the iron poker from the family room fireplace. She dodged him to run back toward the kitchen. “Let my daughter go, you bastard!” she yelled.

“Not a chance!” Daniel snarled as he ran after her.

Sami shocked both of them by stopping in the middle of the room. Rage danced in her grey eyes. “If I were you, I would leave. Now.”

The man dragging Destiny came into the living room. Destiny locked eyes with her mother. The man moved to shove the girl into an armchair, but she bucked, slamming the back of her head into his face. She heard and felt the crack as his nose broke. Sami yelled at her to run. Destiny didn’t; she jumped onto the hearth and took up a defensive pose. Still, Sami begged her to run.

Sami ignored Daniel’s demands to shut up one too many times. With an overhead swing, he heaved the poker toward her head. She lashed out, catching the would-be weapon in her left hand. Her shock at her own strength overshadowed the searing pain as the bones in her hand and fingers shattered under the impact. She moved her right hand to the poker to steady her grip. With all of her newfound strength, she wrenched the poker from Daniel’s grasp. “Now,” she said. “Get the fuck out of my house.”

Sami was momentarily distracted in the confusion of George and a number of other policemen storming into the house. Daniel tried to move behind her, but she swung the poker wide, striking him in the upper arm and knocking him to the floor.

“Sami!” George yelled. “Don’t move!”

All she wanted was to put down the poker—sit down and not move—even though fire still raced through her veins. She took a step forward, but Daniel reached out and forcefully grabbed her ankles. Unbalanced, she pitched forward. Her head struck the side of the coffee table as she fell.

“MOMMA!” Destiny screamed, poised to rush to her mother.

A policeman shouted, “Nobody move!”

Even so, Destiny’s attacker lunged toward her. He was caught by a policeman. Daniel staggered to his feet and ran, stepping on Sami’s broken hand. Two officers grabbed Daniel, handcuffed him, and took him outside. Another knelt to check on Sami; he immediately called for one of the medical teams.

George looked deeply into Destiny’s eyes. He implored her to please go to him. The girl shook in her shoes with anger and fear. “Destiny, come on now. It’s me. George,” he said.

Steve skidded into the living room. “Destiny!” he cried, running to her and pulling her into his arms.

“Momma’s hurt,” she stuttered against his chest.

He turned his head to George, who looked toward the family room. George said, “But I’m sure she’ll be just fine.”

“Are the men gone from the yard?” Destiny asked, clutching Steve.

“Yes, honey. They’re gone,” Steve said.

One of the medics looked up at Steve. He said, “We’re going to have to take her to the hospital. She’s unconscious.”

Destiny burst into tears when Steve moved away from her. “Destiny,” he told her firmly, “Stay here with George. I’m going with your mother.”

“You can’t leave me!” she yelled, grabbing at his arm.

“I’m not leaving you, Destiny.” Back at her side, he hugged her. “I’m not leaving you.” He kissed the top of her head. “George is here. And your father will be here shortly if he’s not here already.”

“Steve!” Tears spilled down her panic-stricken face. He picked her up, and she wound her legs around his waist, and they went outside with George where she saw Jeremy in the yard speaking with Derek. She jumped from Steve’s arms to run to her father.

Steve left with the ambulance.

George followed Destiny across the yard. Over her head, Jeremy asked George, “Well?”

“I can guarantee that Daniel and the fucker we took out of the house with him won’t be coming back out of the jailhouse,” George replied. “I’ll have to take a statement. Let me get my board.”

After Derek and George walked away, Jeremy asked Destiny what happened. She was unable to speak. “Oh, Destiny,” he said.

“Is Momma okay?” she murmured a few minutes later.

“I don’t know, honey. I don’t know what happened to her.”

“Her head hit the coffee table.”

“Fuck.” He took her hand. “Let’s talk to George and go to the hospital.”

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Mari Adkins grew up in the foothills of southeastern Kentucky. Her poetry and other writing has appeared in the e-zine “Whispers of a Stone Circle”, the e-zines associated with the Sacred Triskele network, and in Apex Digest online. Her first novel, Midnight, is currently available from 3Sides Publishing. Her second novel, Destiny, is nearing completion. Work has begun on the third novel in the “Harlan Vampire Trilogy”. Mari is a reviews editor for Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest. Mari maintains a writing blog and a personal blog. E-mail: mari.adkins[at]gmail.com.

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