Excerpt: Temperature: Dead & Rising by Adam Santo

dead and risingEarlier while waiting for the pizza to arrive, Sally and Bo had alternated taking showers. They both needed it needed it badly, what with her blood on him and the grit from the road all over her. Now that the pizza was delivered they had wasted no time setting up a fake pizza bar across the dresser top with the two boxes Bo ordered. With Sally occupied by hot melted cheese trying to escape the rest of the pie, Bo took the opportunity to start the conversation back up. “Exposure to full daylight can drain the powers of the undead substantially in the newly converted. You’ll have something to work with, but not much,” he carried on in a lecturing tone. He would not be around after a day or two, so she had to be crammed to the brim before then. “So I can do magic, not just be magical?” Sally asked with eyebrows raised. “Well, yes. Practicing magic is a learned skill, whereas your body is magical itself and will take care of you without your intervention. The magic you can weld comes from all around. If you have to picture it you might think of a giant sea, ebbing and flowing, always in moving in relation to the sun instead of the moon; like the coastal tides. Also think of your body as a battery holding a given amount of charge. That battery can and will be depleted with use and will have to be recharged similar to a trickle charge a car generates. For you the magic will start out small and grow as time passes.” Clearly frustrated by her interruption, he went on, “Let’s stick to what can hinder you before covering anything else, OK?” “OK, mouth shut from here out—or I’ll do what I can with stuffing the pizza in my gullet.” He relaxed a little by the way she spoke. Bo hoped flashing a smile would let Sally know there were no hard feelings. He paced the room’s small walkway between the door and bathroom gathering his thoughts once more. Apparently satisfied she would keep quiet he continued, “Graveyards are a place to stay well clear of altogether. They have the power to pull in the undead. Once an undead sets foot past the gates, they will be put in a state of endless sleep, or to the outside world they appear dead, until they’re removed from the grounds.” His voice had the sternness of a father speaking to a child. “Just getting close to one will make you wish for sleep, which is a good warning sign a cemetery is close.” “I promised not to interrupt again, but graveyards? Really?” Sally refrained from laughter as best she could at the thought of undead and cemeteries. Everything Bo said to this point was out-of-this-world, but graveyards knocking out undead sounded a bit extreme. “As funny as it sounds it’s true,” he replied, throwing a dismissive look her direction. “The Powers-That-Be have had many names down the centuries, but the one thing to remember is that they represent both good and evil. The graveyards are just one of the gifts the evil side gave for some semblance of balance to the immortal world.” For the remainder of the day Sally did not hold to her bargain and asked questions about everything Bo said. Anything from how the magic other creatures used worked to the different species that lived among and around human kind. She could not believe that the stories about folklore were really a kind of historical text of what once roamed openly. No evidence was ever left behind to substantiate the existence of such creatures, helping in hiding the truth. As Bo told it, vampires turned to dust when killed, werewolves reverted back to human form, and dragons burned from the inside out in a vain attempt at striking back, leaving only ash in their wake, just to name a few. It made perfect sense that stories became fables used to scare children into behaving; nowadays a parent was hard-pressed to scare a child into anything unless it was to take the cell phone or mp3 player away. Sally’s head was swimming to the point of overflowing with all the information he had shoveled into her. Bo suggested a break and she gladly took it. Without them realizing it, dusk had set in when they took a break from his endless lecturing. The room was constantly lit by various lamps and the shades were always pulled shut in case someone recognized Sally. She made her way for the bathroom to wash off pizza grease all the while resisting urges to lick it right off her fingers, again. It was so good she wanted more, but her stomach said otherwise. Thinking back to what Bo had already talked about drew a shiver down her spine. Knowing he still had more to tell her made her visibly shake. In the midst of her wandering thoughts she began to feel dizzy and grabbed the sink for support. A strange sensation came over her as the dizziness faded, starting from the pit of her stomach and working its way outward. It sort of felt like the days back in college when she was young and experimental, leaving her energized to take on the world. Prickling spread across her skin in waves, followed by goose bumps, while she finished regaining her balance. On top of it all a need grew stronger within her each passing second, something that she could not control or deny. Bo sat in a chair making notes for Sally when he noticed the room get warmer. Reaching a hand over to the air-conditioner proved it was still running; that was when he felt her presence. She stood there at the bathroom door with arms crossed beneath her breasts, head slightly tilted down in a come-hither tone, eyes locked on him. When she saw him looking back, she strutted slowly towards him taking in the room as she went. The sun! he frantically thought. He had felt the power surge of a setting sun so many times that it had become second nature to him—but to forget now? Now Bo would have to face the consequences of that failure. As power from sundown filled the undead they took on different attributes of human life, running the gambit from lust to hatred. Bo had just lucked out with a woman with the yearnings of a succubus. Sally moved towards him meaningfully and with determination, which left few choices. The magic was potent in her from the way she held herself, putting him in more danger of being raped or worse if he did nothing. Jumping from the chair, he rammed an arm outward and flicked his wrist, followed by a string of incoherent words that brought her to a standstill a few feet away. Sally stood frozen in place mid-stride, the prior intent rushing out of her in visible waves of heat. Keeping his distance as best he could behind the second twin bed, Bo circled around her. Energy crackled along Sally’s skin with streaks of translucent green running the length of her body. Satisfied his magic would hold, Bo made his way to the door and to the car. Returning from the trunk, he stood at the entrance to the room, backlit by parking lot lights squashing the darkness of night, a duffle bag held in both hands. Bo dropped the bag on the closest bed to the door and unzipped it, pulling on a pair of gloves he removed gold-colored handcuffs from it. Reaching back he closed the door and secured the locks. He heard behind him in the silent room Sally trying to speak, but it wasn’t possible with the spell he put on her. She shouldn’t be able to do anything until he released her. Handcuffs were the only thing in his arsenal guaranteed to snuff out the magic building in her. Movement from Sally’s arms drove him to act fast with the restraints. She fell to her knees when the golden handcuffs touched her skin. Bo bent down on one knee as fast as he could to catch her shoulders, preventing Sally from performing a face plant on the floor. Confusion riddled her face for a fraction of a second until she noticed where they headed. Bo guided her by the elbow after getting her to stand up again, leading her to the empty bed to rest. Sally was breathing hard as he laid her quivering form down, not noticing her hands near the top of his shirt until it was too late. She pulled him in for a deep kiss with longing written across her lips. He tried to defy her, but Sally had a hold of his neck powered by the influx of magic still in her, pinning him to her. At first he resisted by pressing his lips firmly shut to avoid her searching tongue. But with the strength he had Bo didn’t want to hurt her by forcing himself away. She made it futile to continue refusing so he fell into the kiss. Sally let up on her hold of him as they kissed passionately until she released his neck to stroke both sides of his face—and that was when he found the chance to pull back as fast as he could. She stopped the moment he had pulled away trying to see what he was up to, and noticed the rope Bo had brought into the room with the cuffs. A squeak of glee bound out of her as he began hooking it to one edge of the bed at the top and wrapping her in a zigzag pattern to the bottom. After finishing his work he sat down on the opposite bed and glared at her. “What is it with women and sex? I know men want it all the time, but women…” He trailed off as Sally attempted to break free. “If I were alive there would be no stopping me after the way you acted. That was a long time ago, and being dead kills the urge. Don’t take it the wrong way, I’m not giving in, but I never got the chance to tell you about sunsets and what might happen. I’m stepping out for a moment to give you time to cool off; after I see you’re better from the window I’ll come back in.” “Now you want to tell me? Are you sure you forgot, or did you just want to see me in the throes of a good sex meltdown?” She waited for a response but continued when there was none, “I thought that was why you brought cuffs and rope, but you decided to sit on the other bed…” Bo opened the door and slammed it behind him. How stupid he had been to miss the sun going down. At least he could take the time to work out anything else she might need to know before something like this happened again.



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