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When I think back on writing Dreamwalker: The Second Plain, I’m amazed that it took me so long to finish it, especially with how my process is today, but I guess five years isn’t bad for the first book. People always ask what inspired this book, well besides Nightmare on Elm Street, some of the encounters in the Second Plain come from dreams/nightmares that I’ve had; I’m one of those lucky people who have the gift a remembering them. Now, on to today’s excerpt.

Love is a Stranger – Chapter 31

The redhead man walked through the crowd of men dancing, with his target in view. As he proceeded, the dancers moved chaotically making his passage challenging, but his determination didn’t allow them to stop him from reaching his goal. Steps away, he began dancing with the crowd, continuing toward his target.

He reached out, groping the hairy-muscular man dancing closely with the smooth blonde. Pinching the hair-encircled nipple, the hulking redhead gyrated his hips into the hairy-chested man’s thigh, who smiled faintly at him, then returned his gaze to the smooth, blond man, ignoring the advances.

Not giving up, he rubbed his crotch against the other’s butt, grinding to the beat. The inseparable couple turned slightly, removing the unwanted third to continue his maneuvers alone.

No rejection would stop him, not with the amount of money the older man had promised him for the simple task; the man had said he’d pay him one-hundred dollars if was able to get the hairy-chested man away from the other.

He shoved his hand between their pulsing bodies, massaging the dark-haired man through his jeans. Saul felt his skin tighten as the redheaded man leaned closer to his dance partner and spoke in his ear, “Come with me. I can show you a better time than this twink.”

In the din of the driving bass, Saul heard what the man said, and he felt the room begin to spin. In seconds, it spun out of control like leaves in a storm drain. In the distance, he heard Gappé calling out to him to maintain control, but it was too late, and darkness took control for a moment as they transported from the dance floor.

It had worked. The man had provoked him. The tremble in the air caused a shiver to run across Michael. Shoving through the knot of men, he reached the trio. Gappé glared at him, knowing he had set the event in motion. The Space Between pulled at the quartet, plucking them through its vortex. He had to be quick when they arrived, so he wasn’t seen. Knowing Saul, there would be plenty of darkness to hide. Gappé shouted something, but neither Michael nor Saul heard his words.

Around them in the cavern, abandoned apparatuses, apparently used for torturing unsuspecting souls, lay on the ground. Great Pig cautiously backed into one of the darkened passages leading away from the chamber. Glancing around, he remembered his first visit to this dungeon and wondered where the merry torturers were. The fire in the pit burned dimly, lighting the cavern in its warm glow. Shackles hung from the darkness of the ceiling, and whips of barbed-wire lay unattended on the floor.

From the shadows, he observed his magnificent Saul embracing the man he had danced with. His height matched Saul’s height, as his other-self did. A tuft of white fur grew down the center of his back, and a tail hung between his legs. As they relinquished their embrace, his pale chest was revealed; it was bare and muscular. White fur grew, shorter to longer, from his wrist to elbow. The large, strong hands appeared rough and callused as were his bare feet.

The white creature turned to Saul. His gleaming-white eyes focused intently on him. Pointed ears, standing from the sides of his head, turned and flicked, searching for sounds in the distance. Stepping back, he assessed their new surroundings. Whining came from deep in his throat. Hearing the noise scared the wolf, and he took another step back.

“Where the fuck are we?” he half growled from behind his large white teeth. Turning his hands over in front of his face, he asked, “And what the hell happened to me?”

“The Second Plain,” Saul answered nonchalantly. “That guy pissed me off, so my anger brought us over, revealing your other self.” Saul stared into the shadows, looking for the man who had disturbed them on the dance floor. “I wonder where he is. Sorry, we can go back.” A gurgling noise echoed in the cavern.

“What’s that noise?”

Something scraped against the wall in the shadows on the opposite side of the pit. As the pair approached the pit, the scraping sound quit. The gurgling began again, only to end quickly. On the other side of the hole, they scanned the shadows but saw nothing in the murk.

“Looking for me?” a gravelly voice asked from behind them.

They turned around quickly. Standing before them like a giant ‘S,’ the worm faced them. Its pink flesh glowed in the light of the pit. Underneath its skin, large bluish veins and white tissues quivered as the worm maintained its position. The gurgling came again as the muscles of the worm moved it forward, undulating up and down, and then settling when it stopped its forward propulsion.

“Why do I revolt everyone?” it asked in a childish tone. When it spoke, the tip of its sharp snout opened and closed in quick movements. From his vantage, Great Pig saw the worm’s detail and was impressed. “At least someone is interested in me. What a delightful change.”

The worm lowered itself, one-quarter of its body remained off the ground, and it advanced to their right toward the shadows. Great Pig panicked; he couldn’t be found. He didn’t want Saul to know he had set this up. He reached behind himself, and his hand brushed the jagged wall, but no further depth. His arm grazed across his corkscrew tail. He grasped his tail, pulling it with all his might.

The thud, thud of the music filled his head. He opened his eyes. Around him, men were dancing. In the center of the floor, three men stood, two embracing each other, the other with his hand between them. Joining them in the throng of men, he found them fast asleep, but no one noticed. Fascinating. Michael thought. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a one-hundred-dollar bill. He carefully tucked it into the redhead’s pocket. A quick smile darted across his face, realizing, that after all the years that had passed, they had reunited with Mitch. Returning to the bar, he waited for them to wake from their slumber. Gappé paid no attention to Michael’s actions, but kept his eyes on Saul, muttering to himself.

The worm began to giggle and writhe around on the floor. They looked at each other, then back at it twitching on the floor. It silenced. Saul squatted, and reached out to touch the worm.

“Keep your dirty hands off me!” It shrieked. It jumped up, recreating its ‘S’ shape. The worm pulsated toward them, angry for the attempted trespass.

“I meant you no harm,” Saul defended.

“Of course you don’t, no one ever does, and they all say the same things. Then the next thing I know, I’m hangin’ from the end of a hook over the water, but not this worm.”

It balanced on its posterior, then began squeezing its segments down to the floor. Its flesh piled on the floor in great, pink and wrinkly rings. Once the pile reached its clitellum, it stopped. It stayed fixed in puddle-like position for a few seconds as though it were contemplating what to do next. Then, with a gush of power, it shot straight up, striking the ceiling of the cavern with great velocity, showering Saul and the wolf with rocks. It bore itself through the hard ceiling quickly, and in minutes, the glowing pink body of the worm had disappeared, and the darkness resumed cloaking the ceiling.

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