The Killers Amongst Us:Chimera Dawn Chronicles(2)

By: Declan Conner

The high priest stepped over to him. Akhenaten embraced him with one arm, then thrust his knife into his body. He held him close, the blade embedded below the priest's rib cage. Akhenaten waited for the last gasp of life’s spirit to escape the priest's lips, then hauled his body onto the bed. He covered the corpse with a bed cover, turning his head to the sound of a commotion outside his chamber. He sniffed the air, then stepped behind the drapes hanging at the entrance to his balcony which overlooked the temple. The chamber doors burst open. Through a gap in the curtain, Akhenaten watched his enemies enter and gather around his bed, striking at the bed cloth with their scimitar blades.

A large black dog skirted the shadowed walls of the chamber toward the door. The dog turned his head, looking over at the robes of Akhenaten poking out from under the hem of the curtain. The dismemberment frenzy continued, Akhenaten’s assassins paying no attention to the animal as it skulked through the doorway, then turned in the direction of the temple.

With Akhenaten making good his escape in the shadows of the courtyard, his mind was consumed with thoughts of retribution.

In the name of Aten, I will have my vengeance and rid this earth of mankind.

Chapter 1

Friday, 6:45 a.m. July 11, 2008. Beverly Hills.

THE girl could have been excused for not noticing she was being watched; today was her eighteenth birthday. Her thoughts drifted, immersed in the plans she had made for her party later that evening. Jogging through the park gates on her daily route, she turned up the volume on her iPod. Her head filled with the sounds of the Pussycat Dolls.

Life was candy. School still out. Her head swayed. The sun bobbed on the horizon, dancing between the trees. A smile developed from within at the group singing her favorite song, “When I Grow Up.”

An image floated through her mind. What would Dad say if he knew she’d seen the car he had bought her and hidden in the garage? It was a dead giveaway, with the hood tied with a pink ribbon, and ‘Happy Birthday Gail’ scribbled in felt tip on the windshield. She’d have to feign surprise for sure. Her mind hovered elsewhere; on her mother’s promise to take her shopping for a party dress on Rodeo Drive. Something low cut and tight fitting would do, to snag Jimmy Reagan at her party. She thought that would make her day akin to dipping a strawberry in the chocolate on the fondue fountain that the party planners had supplied.

Gail stumbled. Her sneaker stubbed on a tree root. She fell headlong to the ground, her face contorted.

“Damn.” She pulled out her earphones, and turned off her iPod. Using the tree trunk for purchase, she dragged herself to her feet. Gail hobbled to a park bench, then sat. She removed her sneaker, and rubbed her toes. “Oh crap. Why today of all days?”

In her peripheral vision, a shadow darted between two cherry trees. She looked around. There were no critter sounds, no birds singing.

“Is someone there?”

She stood, hopping on one foot, fixing a gaze toward the cherry trees. A large dog appeared from behind some low shrub. Its head was huge and out of proportion to its body, with paws as big as a mountain lion. The animal sat on its haunches, staring at her, with its turquoise eyes unblinking. Its black and white coat was bedraggled and matted with dried mud. Her vision transfixed on the animal’s menacing gaze. She tried to figure out its intentions, wondering if it would attack or if it would it lose interest and walk away.

The dog panted, its tongue hanging loose to one side. Its upper lip twitched, then it growled in a low rumble. Saliva drizzled from its mouth. She clutched at her abdomen, knotted with cramps. White patches around the crossbreed’s snout glistened with reddish-brown streaks. The animal’s pointed ears rotated independently, scanning the area, before settling in her direction. She looked over at the area behind the dog for an owner. The landscape was empty, save for trees and shrubs. She looked left and right and then over her shoulder at the lake. When she turned back, the animal had moved onto the path, blocking her return. Her chest tightened. She clasped her crucifix on the gold chain around her neck.

“Good, boy. Nice, doggy.”

The dog snarled in reply. Baring its teeth at one side, the dog shuffled on its backside, with its body quivering as though some force was holding it back.

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