Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween

Quick bonus material that ties Submerge and Recede.

*** Warning, contains spoilers and won’t make sense unless you’ve read Submerge ***

To the spoiled rich kid who now owns the second love of my life,

Notice I said second because the title for first love belongs to the reason you now call my car yours. You see, unlike you, I don’t have an endless stream of money that I could just hurl at shit I don’t need. My parents work hard, but I work harder because I want to be able to give the girl I love the life she deserves. She doesn’t think she deserves more, and that’s exactly why I know that she does. She’s perfect without even trying to be, has a beautiful heart which doesn’t even compare to the outside package I have the great pleasure of looking at, and has the most giving soul that I’m lucky to be on the receiving end of.
If you haven’t already picked up on it, I’ll let you in on a secret: I haven’t made mention of her name because some entitled prick like you would probably search her out just to see what exactly made some shmuck like me sell what you would assume is their most important possession. But maybe I’ve misjudged you, unnamed bastard with your perfect driving record. Maybe if you did find her, you’d realize what it is about her that makes me willing to give up anything to be with her, and you’d try stealing her away.
I’m not sure what scenario pisses me off worse: you searching her out just to settle some curiosity because you were bored and had money to throw away, or you searching her out to buy her affections for yourself. Either way, shit luck for you because she’s mine and has been since we were kids. Besides, she isn’t the type who can be bought; which is something you – someone who’s eaten off of solid gold plates and uses imported water to flush their shit – most likely couldn’t understand, so I won’t bother trying to explain it.
Anyway, this is turning into more of a rant, anonymous person I’ll never meet, so I’ll do you a favor and get to the point if you bothered reading this far. I love this car, but I love the girl more, so Loretta had to go. And, yes, her name is Loretta and Loretta it is going to remain. Trust me, don’t piss off the machine, they can be temperamental and refuse to work if you don’t treat them the way they want to be; sort of like the materialistic women you probably deal with on a daily basis, so this should come as no surprise. Loretta demands oil at every 2,000 miles, don’t dare surpass it. She likes having her coat buffed at least once a month, more so in the winter, so don’t put it off for a blizzard. Spend some money and have your butler, or whatever the fuck kind of servant you have, park her in a climate controlled garage and let her relax while the storms rage outside. Never run her tank on fumes, you have the money to keep her constantly full so there are no excuses. And last but not least, treat her well. Don’t speed around corners, burn her tires like a showy dickhead, or put off maintenance because you’re too ‘special’ to think of the little things.
Daddy dearest spent a pretty penny on Loretta, so make sure you don’t wreck her or else I’m sure he will be as pissed as I am that some ungrateful piece of shit can’t take care of their possessions. More so me because I painstakingly built her from the ground up. So, unless you want to meet the business end of a 6’4” guy’s fist who defends the women in his life like Chuck Norris hyped up on speed, I suggest you heed my warning and love Loretta as you’ve never loved a car before or after. She’ll be the number one woman in your life, until she’s dropped to second; and if you’re half a decent man, you won’t mind that one bit when it happens.

The man who will glare at you every time you speed by,

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Release Date

Submerge will be going live tomorrow. It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon, but will be released September 7th. I hope you guys enjoy the next installment in the series. It’s longer than Surge, and quite a bit darker, so be prepared to jump into Crazy-Land.

Copies are available here for now, and once Smashwords sends them out, other sites as well:

Friday, September 1, 2017

Long Time, No Speak

Hello world,

To those who are wondering, I am not...
1.   Dead (thanks for checking on me, Sabrina. I really appreciate a fan who remembers that I’m a human- a very flawed one, but human just the same)
2.  In a rehab facility.
3.  Member of a cult.
4.  Part of the witness protection program.
5.   Kidnapped and never reported missing.
6.  Vacationing in the tropics and purposely leaving all my readers to suffer without their Jared fixes.

What am I, exactly?
1.   A mortal girl with a superhuman imagination, and not enough time to master her craft.
2.  Someone who suffers from migraines if she looks at a screen for more than 30 minutes.
3.  That same someone who will down Excedrin and tape an ice pack to her head if need be so she can keep typing away.
4.  A human being who deals with losses in the real world and needs some time to grieve just like everyone else.

Still, if there’s one thing I am, it’s persistent. When life knocks me on down, I brush myself off and dare it to try again. Hell, the fall usually leaves me with inspiration, so bring it on, asshole.
With that being said, there will be more from the Wheezer series in the very near future (I’m talking weeks, if that). I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get to this point, but some losses of people who were very dear to me; along with some major life changes, have forced me to prioritize. While I would love to be able to type away at my keys all day long, and bring life to the worlds that are constantly swirling around my head, that doesn’t pay the bills or keep me from living in a refrigerator box. Life isn’t always good, regardless of what LG claims, and I’d much prefer not having to look at their mocking logo for the rest of my life while scribbling stories out on discarded paper scraps with pigeon-doo for ink.
Anyway, I am back in action, new technology shall always prevail!!! Long story, lots of tears and anger, sigh. I’m diligently picking apart Submerge to make it what I hope to be is perfect, this time around. Again, LONG story - damn you, obsolete gadgets, but I am really pushing hard to get this published soon so my readers will have something to tide them over until Recede is finally finished. I never dreamed it would take this long when I released Surge, and I assume a lot of you are placing bets on which procrastinating author will press the publish button first on their next novel: me or George R.R. Martin? I’m not a betting woman, unless it’s a sure thing, but I’ll give you a hint and say my money’s on me. 😉

For those of you who are still vested in my characters, thanks for sticking with me this long, I can only hope you’ll think it was worth the wait when you finally have your copies in hand.

Best wishes,

Thursday, January 8, 2015

B-day Hooray

   Ive always been more of a giver than a receiver. In honor of this, I decided to write up a quick snippet for my birthday. Its from Olivia’s point of view and takes place just after she arrived at Jareds condo. Enjoy.

Dedicated to my own fat cat, Chaos, who is my favorite birthday gift of all time, and the inspiration for Morris.
Displaying IMG_0175.JPG
(Notice theIm gonna cut you glare.)

 Bang. Bang. 

  Bang. Bang. 
  Bang. Bang. 
  “Oh God, right there!” 
  Bang. Bang. 
  “You’re the fucking king!” 
  Sweet fucking Christ, did the contractors of this building ever hear of insulation? I’ve half a mind to write them a strongly worded letter of complaint, but I’m afraid none of the incompetent bastards will receive it. 
  Bang. Bang. 
  Speaking of bastards, I glare at the wall, and wish I had heat vision so I could melt my way through and incinerate the noisy assholes on the other side or at least maim them enough to get them to stop their fuckfest. It’s been going on forever, how the hell are they still going at it? Okay, it hasn’t been that long, but it was enough for me to clean and patch the hole in my arm where whoever shot me from the window, so that’s still pretty damn long.
  Even while I question the superhuman stamina, that racket is enough to drive anyone up a wall. Normally just the idea of sex would have me rocking in a corner, but the over-the-freaking-top, live-action porno soundtrack makes it ridiculous enough that even I find it obnoxious. Poor Sarah’s been subjected to it for who the hell knows how long, and just the thought of her having to live with this night after night makes me want to avenge her abused eardrums. 
  Bang. Bang. 
  “Mmm, yeah baby. Harder!” 
  That’s the fuck it. I can’t take another minute of this, or I’ll be forced to commit whoricide. And yes, that applies to both parties, the moaner and the banger. 
  Bang. Bang. 
  Especially the goddamned banger. He gets double blame for contributing to the noise factor, but more so for not gagging the bitch he’s on top of for committing crimes against humanity with her ear-piercing wails. If Sarah’s cat wasn’t sitting next to me, being my partner in glaring at the wall containing the offenders, I would have thought he was being skinned alive. But alas, it isn’t Morris, and I guess I can’t leave the guy behind when I make a break for it. I might not have been able to save his mother from suffering the fate of wishful deafness, but I’m here now and the least I could do would be to rescue her obese kitty. 
  I don’t know what they feed the thing, but he’s in the running for being the cat with the heaviest udders. I’m pretty sure cats don’t even have udders, they have nipples, but this cat could prove my theory wrong since I can’t think of another name for the fat sacks that droop from his stomach. I’ll really need to talk to Sarah about his diet before I leave because the poor thing won’t be able to walk soon, but at least I could give him some exercise before I go as payment for providing me with her room for my jail cell. 
  “What’d ya say, boy? How about you and me make a break for it?” I scratch the fluffy beast under his chin, and a hear a purr in response, so I take that as a yes. “Good, me too.” 
  Ignoring the continuous ‘bang, bang’ coming from the neighboring room, I glance around at my options. The door would be pretty easy to pick, and then there’s the window with the fire escape. The door’s ruled out since I don’t know how many people they have out there, and if I’m to infiltrate them to get some answers, then I can’t very well go storming into their territory when I’m being ‘quarantined.’ It could be a test, and I need to pass it for them to trust me enough to spill the goods. 
  For now, the cat’s the only one I trust, but if there were food involved he’d probably slice me to ribbons, so he isn’t my best ally. But a hostage could work just as well, and having an ignorant hostage will be even better. Turning to hide my grin lest the cat catch on, (Christ, I really am bonkers if I think a cat can read motives and understand them), I reach inside my bag and pull out a can opener and some tuna. Meatball’s naïve cousin immediately perks up and brushes the length of his body along my arm, and trust me, there’s a lot of body for him to brush. So much that by the time he turns around to rub the other side against me, the can is open and he dives right in. 
  “There’s a good boy,” I say in a friendly voice, allowing him to get three massive bites from the can, before removing it from reach. 
  Morris meows in protest, but I stand up and move toward the window. Setting the tuna down on the windowsill, I push the lock free and pull it open. I close my eyes to relish the fresh breeze that comes pouring in, and open them again just in time to see a black shape out of the corner of my eye. Morris wiggles in preparation of leaping from the nightstand, but I snatch the can from the windowsill just as his paws touch air. His massive weight makes a loud thump when he lands on the floor, and I almost laugh when I think of how that noise could have been a decent competitor if we were to run against the banger next door. Shaking my head, I lean down to give Morris a consolatory pat on the head. 
  “Nice try, fat cat, but you’ll have to be faster next time.” Straightening again, I climb out onto the fire escape, but lean back inside enough to wave the tuna under Morris’s nose. “Come on, if you want it, you’ll have to come get it.” 
  Turning away from Sarah’s window, I check left and right to see which way I should go, trusting that Morris’s love affair with food will tempt him to follow. Seeing as the banger’s to the left, I choose the right. Hopping the railing that separates the escape stairs from a balcony, I glance over my shoulder to see a black shadow stalking me. I drop a chunk of chicken from the sea on the ground as a reward, before scanning the balcony. 
  There’s only one way to go, a double door with curtains blocking the view from both sides, so I take a second to observe what they have for supplies out here. Several barrels with hoses entering and exiting the lids are connected, and by following the chain I can see they lead to a makeshift downspout to collect rain. It’s similar to the one Cory built at our house, but larger to supply more people. The gardens are the same story, constructed to conserve space, but at the same time utilizing as much surface area to produce the most that they can.
  It’s a smart strategy, and it’s been working for them this long, but I’m still not positive that their continued survival is strictly due to accommodation and scavenging. I’ve seen too many people steal and kill to get what they want to just assume that this pack is part of the minority of good left in the world. I need irrefutable proof, and if I see it, then I’ll give them an option to better their chances. If not, they’ll be dead my morning. I may not enjoy killing, but I’d much rather get them before they get someone else, and who better to do it than a fellow monster? 
  I glance down at Morris, and then back at the additions made out here, making a decision. The fact that they have this is a sign in their favor. This took hard work, time and consideration; three things Cole’s lackeys don’t possess an inkling of, so they can’t be completely rotten. 
  “Alright, they’re okay for now, so I guess you can have some more.” I crouch down and place the can in front of his paws. His back end plops down at the same time his face dives in, making me laugh. “Easy, I don’t have much more, and I still need you.” 
  “Need him for what?” I startle at voice, but instincts have my hand retrieving the knife from my boot and me spinning around in seconds. My eyes dart around for the source, and I just about snarl when I spot the sidekick’s grinning face in the window off to the left. 
  “It’s just you,” I snarl, reaching down to tuck my knife away. Stupid maybe, but I trust this bastard enough that I don’t need to hold the blade. I could still kill him with my bare hands, but he don’t know that, and it works in my favor if my judgment of him is as screwy as the rest of my brain. 
  “Just me? As if I’m just one of many? That hurts, Olivia, that really freaking hurts.” He lifts a hand to wipe at an invisible tear. “And here I thought you were my friend.” 
  “You’ll get over it,” I tell him with a careless shrug. “Your ego’s too big to die from one tiny jab.” 
  “Tiny?” John pointedly measures me from head to toe, his brown eyes dancing as a wide smirk spreading his lips. “It sure was tiny, and made even smaller when coming from you.” 
  “Watch it, I could kill you from here and make it look like an accident,” I warn, nodding my head at the ground far below his window perch. John follows the move, and his smirk vanishes. 
  “Who let you out?” 
  “I did. Why, is that a crime?” 
  “You aren’t a prisoner,” he says, and I raise a brow. “You’re in quarantine.” 
  “Was in quarantine,” I correct him. “Not that I needed to be in it to begin with. I told your dumbass friend I wasn’t bitten or scratched.” 
  “He’s just being safe. We’ve had people tell us the same in the past, only to find out a few hours later that they were infected when they tried to bite our faces off. One almost got Sarah, but thank God Jared’s a good shot.” Well, when put that way… Still, I don’t like confined spaces, so I can’t forgive them completely. 
  “It’s good to be cautious,” I say to show I won’t hold a grudge against it since it was for a good reason. Doesn’t mean I’ll sit complacently in a locked room for hours on end when I know I’m not sick. 
  “How’d you get out here anyway?” I hike a thumb in the direction I came from, and John leans out the window to see the fire escape. “Are you crazy, what if you missed?” 
  “I didn’t,” I reply, adding a shrug to answer his question about my mental status even if it was just a figure of speech.
  I don’t know if I truly am crazy, or if I just think I am. I’m not the expert on such matters, and I’m too chickenshit to sit through the session with the quack at the compound to find out. Realizing that I’m busy analyzing my own head (as a crazy person would, so I guess I really am) while John’s staring at me, I add on to my answer.
  “It’s not like it was that far of a jump.” I point down at Morris, who’s licked the can clean but is still lapping at the metal as if it will make more appear. “Even he made it, so that should tell you something.” John huffs out a laugh as he shakes his head. 
  “I guess it does.” I nod in agreement. “Do you want to come inside at least? I promise I won’t squeal on you.” 
  “That’s really nice of you,” you scheming son of a bitch, thinking I’m stupid enough to fall for that line. “But I really should get back.” 
  I jerk my chin in the direction of Sarah’s room, all the while thinking that as soon as he pulls his blonde head back inside, I’ll book it down the ladder, rapists be damned. Just how many heard me escape and are waiting inside that room for John’s friendly face to lure me inside before attacking? Five, ten, do I even want to know? Hell fucking no, I won’t go. They’ll have to kill me first, if I don’t hurl myself from the balcony when they get within ten feet. 
  “John?” I hear a woman’s voice call out, drawing my full attention back to the window as opposed to the crazed plans circling my head of turning myself into a bloody pancake on the sidewalk to avoid being someone else’s plaything. John turns away from the window, and footsteps follow. “Who are you talking to?” 
  “No one,” he answers quickly, and I see him push away from the window. “Just myself, you know how I love the sound of my own voice.” 
  “Sure you were,” the woman says, her voice getting louder as she comes closer to the window. 
 “Wait,” John says, just as a face appears where his was just moments before. I only catch a glimpse of sky-high, dark hair before John’s back blocks her from view. “I really need your help with something, Marissa.” 
  “It can wait,” she replies and I can see her hand push his shoulder. 
  “No, it can’t,” he counters, but he’s removed just the same. Dark brown eyes appraise me, before she scowls up at John. 
  “That is not ‘no one.’” 
  Oh shit. She knows who I am, and she’s going to turn me over to Cole. That sweet, innocent face is nothing more than a mask to trick people into trusting her. I guess he’s found new methods of exploiting people’s instincts since even I almost fell for that one. Almost, because I’m already on the move before I hear John shout my name. 
  Morris leaps out of the way with a startled hiss, as I dive over the railing and land hard on the fire escape, my shoulder taking the brunt of the assault. Hissing out a breath from my teeth, I quickly push myself up and ignore the burning in my shoulder as I sprint down the steps. I can hear pounding footsteps and cursing coming from behind me, but it only pushes me to go faster, to use the railing to propel myself around each landing to get to the next set of steps faster. 
  I’m only one flight away before I reach the ladder that leads to the ground and am home free, when I trip on my shoelace. Of all the things to take me down, I didn’t think this would be it. Tim gunning me down in broad daylight, a wheezer herd surrounding me, hurling myself from various heights and surfaces; all of these I’ve thought about and considered, but never a freaking shoelace.
  My mother taught me from the time I learned how to tie my shoes to always make sure my laces are tied up before walking so that I don’t trip, and here I am, twenty years old and have neglected the concept. For that stupidity, I deserve to have the hands clutch my shoulders and pick me up. I deserve whatever fate awaits me because all of that training was for naught if I can’t even keep track of the basics. 
  “Christ, you were like a freaking gazelle,” John says, making sure I’m steady on my feet before removing his hands. I step away and glare at him just the same, more pissed at myself than I am that he’s the one who caught me and is blocking my way. “How the hell’d you move so fast when you’re two feet tall?” 
  “Fuck you.” 
  “Okay, that was mean and I’m sorry, but I wasn’t expecting someone your size to be able to outrun me. It’s kinda embarrassing that I only caught up because you fell.” Thanks for reminding me, douchebag. Want to rub a little more salt in the wound? “You are alright, aren’t you? Just a few bruises and scrapes?” Shaking my head to concentrate on his words, I furrow my brows at him. 
  “I asked if you’re hurt, that was quite the nasty fall you took.” 
  “I’m fine,” I snap, pissed at his fake concern when he’s no doubt planning to participate in whatever horrible things they have planned. 
  “You sure?” 
  “I said I’m fine.” 
  “Good, Jared would’ve killed me if you got away.” So, he’s Tim in this castle of creeps. 
  “Glad I get to see your pretty face another day, then,” I tell him, sarcasm dripping from my every word. John’s eyebrows come together and a wrinkle forms between them in mock confusion, and I gotta give it him, he plays the part well. Well, but I’ve had practice with psychos, and there’s only one of him while there’s eight cracked up versions of me trapped in this one body, so one of them is statistically bound to outsmart him and escape. “I’ll give you one shot.” 
  “One shot for what?” 
  “To try and drag me back, so you better make it count ‘cause you won’t get another chance.” 
  “How the hell do I get myself into these situations?” John moans at the sky as he rubs his forehead. “Look, I’m not trying to drag you back, if you want to go, then go, I won’t stop you. Jared will be pissed, but he’ll get over it. He’s got enough to hold him over for now. At least until he finds the next one, anyway. But you don’t need to worry about that, since you’re leaving.” 
  “Enough what?” I demand, ready to stab this fucker and run upstairs to execute a rescue mission. Was that girl being raped by the banger, but was so well taught that those fake-ass porno noises were forced? Fucking Christ, I was making fun of them while that poor girl was being tortured. 
  “You said he has enough for now, enough of what?” 
  “Oh, strays. He’s a collector. Well, more of a hoarder because he really can’t house as many as he does, but he keeps bringing them back anyway. Doesn’t he, Marissa?” 
  “He does,” a voice says behind me. I turn my body slightly so I can keep John in my line of sight but also bring the woman into focus. She’s of average height, and if I had to guess, around Corys age. “But Jared’s a sweet guy, and can’t seem to stop himself from offering help even if he has none to give. His heart’s big even when he pretends it’s small.” 
  “Pretty words, did you write them down and practice in a mirror?” I ask, leaning back on the railing and appearing bored as my fingers inch their way to the knife holstered underneath my jacket. 
  “No, why do ask?” Marissa asks, her face a look of genuine curiosity, and maybe it is. Maybe she is really curious to see what about her act tipped me off so that she can improve it for the next victim? If so, I don’t plan on giving her pointers. 
  “No reason,” I reply with a shrug, using the shift in my posture to pull the knife from its sheath. I measure the threats, contemplating if I should just push John over the railing or stab him first to make sure he’ll be dead if the fall doesn’t kill him. Probably best to be safe than sorry, and if I do it quick enough, I’ll still have time to kill this Marissa chick before she runs and warns the others. “When did you pair up with Cole?” 
  “Cole?” Marissa repeats with another damn expression trying to trick me. 
  “Yes, Cole, your leader.” 
  “I don’t know who Cole is, but he certainly isn’t our leader.” I wave a hand at her words, not really believing them, but pretending I do. 
  “Fine, you aren’t working for Cole, but I doubt you need him anyway. After all, you’ve got a fortress,” I nod at the building we’re attached to, “Muscle without much going on upstairs…” 
 “Hey!” John protests when I hike a thumb his way, but I ignore him and focus on Marissa since she’s presently the brains of this operation. 
  “…and, how many men was it, John? Ten including or excluding yourself and the lead dick upstairs?” 
  “Including,” he mutters, still ticked that I poked at that precious ego again. 
  “Right, ten men including the ones I met, but I bet it’s the women here that pull rank. Six of them here, and I’ve met some vicious ones, but I bet you’re worse. The sweet, quiet ones are always the ones who stab the hardest and cut the deepest.” I narrow my eyes at her. “What kind are you, the one who does the dirty work or orders others to do it for her?” 
  “N-neither,” she stutters out, appearing flabbergasted. I nod, still playing along to her game. 
  “You’re lower on the totem pole then, but don’t you worry, bringing me back to him should gain you some brownie points.” 
  “May I interrupt and ask what the fuck is going on?” John questions, and is trained enough that he even raises his hand to do it. 
  “Sure, but first I’d like you to hazard a guess,” I say, waving my unarmed hand at him as if giving him the floor. 
  “Um, I saw you on the balcony,” he starts, and I nod to say that he did indeed catch me on the balcony because I was paying more attention to my ‘hostage’ than my surroundings. Yet another mistake, but one I won’t make if I get out of this alive. “We were talking, exchanging some playful banter, if you will?” I shrug, he can call it what he wants, he’ll be dead in a matter of minutes anyway, so I might as well let him win that small victory. “Then Marissa came in.” 
  “And then Marissa came in,” I confirm, glaring at the woman in question. 
  “Holy shit, this is all about jealousy,” John says, making both mine and Marissa’s heads snap to him in confusion. “I’m right, aren’t I? You were playing coy by saying you had to get back and were going to make me work for it, but then Marissa came in and spoiled your plan.”
  He slaps his thigh as if he’s just put this amazingly complicated puzzle together, and I raise a brow at Marissa to ask‘is he for real?’ To which she replies in girl talk with an ‘unfortunately yes’ type of shrug, making me almost smile until I realize that just because John’s as dumb as a stack of bricks, doesn’t mean that she is.
  “You really don’t have to be jealous, John continues. I would have tried talking you into coming inside anyway.” He steps closer, not close enough to touch me, just enough to encroach on my space and lowers his head to my ear before continuing in what he probably thinks is a seductive whisper. “I can be very persuasive.” 
  “And I can be very violent,” I whisper back, my tone purposely throaty as I press the tip of my knife to his abdomen. Not enough to sink into his skin, just make its presence known and his body to freeze. “You should have just let me go, but none of you give up. You never fucking give up, and I have all this worthless blood on my hands because you’re all too freaking stupid to use your brains and tell your boss ‘no.’ It’s such a simple word, too. Go on, say it with me, ‘no.’” He tries taking a step back, but I follow him, making it so that his back’s pressed to the railing, but ensuring my back won’t be to Marissa. “It’s easy, just two letters, N-O.” 
  “N-no,” he says, and I grin at him. 
  “Very good, now say it again.” 
  “No,” he repeats a little louder. 
  “Good boy, I bet you’ve never heard that word before. Or maybe you have, and just ignored the girl when you had her on her back.” 
  “I’m not a fucking rapist,” John retorts, his tone forceful, and he even dares trying to push himself upwards, but I put more pressure on the knife to show that any movement from his end will equal hurt. 
  “No, you probably just like to watch. I’ve met a few of those, too, and they’re no better. Just because they aren’t the one doing the touching doesn’t mean they’re no less responsible. If anything, it makes them worse because they did nothing to help when they were in the best position to do so.” I lean into him enough that he has to grip the railing to keep from tipping over.  
  “John!” Marissa yells, and he must be her favorite pet since her tone sounds frantic. 
  “It’s alright, Marissa, we’re just talking,” John tells her, locking his eyes with mine, and white knuckling the rail. “Aren’t we, Olivia?” 
  “Of course,” I agree. 
  “Why don’t you go inside? We’ll finish this and be up in a bit.” 
  “She’s not going anywhere,” I counter upping the ante by pulling a second knife from inside my jacket and pressing it to his throat. “Are you, Marissa, if that even is your real name?” 
  “It is,” she says. “And I’m not going anywhere without John.” 
  “Good, because John here wouldn’t like seeing hell alone, now would he?” John shakes his head. “Didn’t think so, it’s such a scary place. Trust me, I’ve been there, and I’m not going back. You hear me, I’m not fucking going back!” 
  “I h-hear you, now put the knife down,” he says. I shake my head furiously. “Please, Olivia, you’re scaring Marissa.” 
  “She doesn’t know what scared is.” 
  “She does, and you’re the one doing it.” 
  John nods for me to look, going as far as to nick his skin on the blade, and even when my better judgment tells me not to do it, I caution a quick peek at her. And regret I did. Her eyes are red rimmed with actual tears streaming down her cheeks as she stares at me like I’m a monster. I snap my head back around to see John, pinned against a railing, a trail of blood leaking down his neck and with two knives in killing positions but still remaining still even when he has the strength to overpower me if he really wanted to. If he really wanted to. 
  If he really wanted to hurt me, wouldn’t he have done so already? He’s had plenty of opportunities to do so in the last ten minutes, plenty of opportunities yesterday and plenty of chances last night when we stayed at Aunt Cuntface’s house. He even tried covering for me being on the balcony by blocking me from Marissa’s view, and here I am holding him at knife point and scaring some poor girl I’ve never laid eyes upon. I truly am a monster. 
  “I-I’m sorry,” I say, immediately lowering my weapons and stepping far away from John. “I just…” 
  I can’t even think of words to try and excuse my actions because there’s no excuse that would be sufficient. Neither of them did anything wrong, I’m just fucking psychotic and think the entire world’s out to get me. They aren’t, only a select few of the whole are, and I need to stop treating them all like they’re the enemy. 
  “You were just scared,” John finishes, slowly straightening as if worried I might attack him for moving too fast. The thought makes me drop my eyes because I put that mistrust in him, and I deserve it. 
  “I’m sorry,” I repeat the worthless words, but they’re all I got. 
  “You don’t have to apologize,” he tells me. “I don’t know what we did to scare you, but we’ll try not to let it happen again.” 
  I shake my head at the ridiculousness of it all, there he is, trying to make me feel better when I just threatened to kill him when he’s offered me nothing but friendship. Friendship that I threw right back into his face the moment I had doubts instead of talking it through. This is why I avoid people. All people, because I’m too fucked up to trust my own judgment. My paranoia fills my head with doubts, doubts I spin into guilt, and guilt I turn in death sentences without a second’s hesitation. 
  How would I have felt after John’s lifeless body hit the pavement and I heard Marissa’s blood curdling scream? A real scream of pain and terror; the same kind that came from me when Cole killed Travis mere feet away from me. A scream that I would have caused and had someone wishing my excruciating death like I do for that monster. Or should I say fellow monster? 
  “I’m just gonna…” I motion at the stairs. 
  “No you aren’t, now get your tiny ass back upstairs,” John says, acting as if I didn’t just threaten his life. 
  “No, I really think I should go.” I glance over near Marissa’s feet, too cowardly to get another look at her face. “I’m sorry I scared you.” 
  “It’s okay, I’ll get over it. My libido wouldn’t have liked you if you followed through with it, but you didn’t, so we’re good.” 
  “So glad you would have been heartbroken over my death,” John says, with humor in his voice. Christ, these people may be more fucked up than I am. How the hell can they make jokes right now? Do they not understand the severity of what just happened? I threatened to kill him, not give him a freaking paper cut. John must see the confusion on my face, because he shrugs. “We’re pretty resilient; it takes more than one little threat to knock us off our game. And I do mean little.” 
  “You are a dick,” I tell him, but he just grins at me, and I have to fight an answering one of my own. 
  “I am a dick, and I do have quite the magnificent one, too.” John shakes his head and sighs. “It’s just too bad that you aren’t interested in testing it.” He furrows his brows as he looks at me. “You sure you aren’t interested? It really is quite the specimen.” 
  “I’m good, but thanks.” 
  “Your loss,” he says with a careless shrug. 
  “And my gain,” Marissa adds, blowing a kiss at John. 
  He mimes catching the kiss and tucking it into his pocket, all the while I stare at the pair of them wondering what planet I just landed on. On what planet would a woman, who’s blatantly interested in a man like she is in John, indifferently stand there while he tries coercing another woman into sex? It may be a joke, but still. It’s madness, complete and utter madness. But maybe it’s the madness I need? Maybe I need to surround myself with these crazy people so that I appear less so? Or at least I won’t recognize my own crazy because I’ll too busy observing theirs and wondering what the fuck is wrong with them that I won’t care what’s wrong with me. What a refreshing idea, I just wonder how well it will actually work. Guess there’s only one way to find out. 
  “I better get back inside before the hoarder finds out I’m gone and replaces me with six more.” 
  “Awful high opinion of yourself,” John says with a smirk. 
  “Nah, if I had a high opinion, I'd have said he needed more like double that to replace me. Six is lowballing.” John laughs, and points at me while looking at Marissa. 
  “I think he’s finally met his match, what do you think?” 
  “We’ll see,” she says. 
  Those same eyes that were teary and terrified moments ago are now measuring my worth for some weird ass competition with John. Shaking my head at the pair of them, I head back upstairs, more than willing to listen to the banger with Sarah’s fat cat for company than sit here and try analyzing the psyche of these two whackos. Like I said, these people are fucking crazy, and I’m certifiable for deciding to stick around.

The End, for now.