Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Reading Trail

Here's Chapter One of a book I'm planning on self-publishing later this summer, involving superheroes titled POISONED TOUCH. I hope you enjoy!

Chapter One

Arachnia watched Jade Man battle her nameless minions, which she’d sent out to stop him. Well, perhaps not stop him necessarily. Frankly, she was becoming bored of this existence and couldn’t figure out why Jade Man was here. She had been quiet for months. Still, as she watched him from behind her mask, her blood heated, her body quivering with desire, lust and the unquenchable need to be possessed. To be fucked. All Arachnia wanted to do was to reach out and touch him.
But she couldn’t.
She let out a heavy sigh, fidgeting on her perch. I’m so tired of being alone.
It was her curse, her lot in life. It was why she took on the name she did, why she hid behind a shadow of black. Midnight latex covered her from head to toe, keeping her skin from coming into contact with others—for like a black widow’s bite, her touch would kill.
She had slaughtered many a Super before with just a simple press of her lips or brush of flesh against flesh, but the first time she’d laid eyes on Jade Man, her lonely, fatal existence became all the more bitter.
At night she’d fantasize about him. Naked. Aroused. All vestiges of their façade peeled away so nothing was between them except his ebony skin pressed against her pale white body.
She longed for human touch, for warm flesh. Any time she came close to another person she only experienced the briefest sensation of warmth, before she siphoned the heat and life from them.
Arachnia shook her head, dispelling the screams of those who’d died from her touch, as the last of her henchman crumpled against the floor, right at the toe of her stiletto heel. Remembering Jade Man’s presence, she kicked the lackey to the side, sending his unconscious body tumbling down the steps, which led to her chamber in her hideout. Jade Man had no right to be here. She’d been compliant lately—quiet, even. It was the first time in a long time she’d not been up to her usual exploits.
She was trying to disappear into anonymity.
So the question remained…why was he here?
“Jade, this is not a pleasant surprise. Why are you disturbing me?”
Jade Man’s eyes narrowed the green mask obscuring his face. “Arachnia, you know why I’ve come.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She sauntered down the steps toward her arch nemesis, all the while fighting the urge to reach out and press his muscle-honed body against hers.
An image of him pistoning in and out of her made her heart skip a beat, her stomach stir with butterflies and her panties wet.
Jade Man’s emerald eyes, hidden under his mask, tracked her movements as she circled him in a wide birth, the clicks of her heels against the cold cement of her surroundings keeping in time with the erratic beat of her pulse.
She never wanted him more than in this moment.
“Come now. Don’t play coy. Only you would stoop so low as to send out a virus which is infecting Supers. Only you have the power to suck the very life out of another human.”
Virus? A tingle of dread traveled down her spine. A virus like her affliction? It was too horrible to contemplate. She may be a heartless Villain, but to eradicate Supers with a virus that mimicked her poisoned touch was just not sportsmanlike. Besides, she never intentionally tried to kill the Supers; they were what kept her going. She enjoyed making them jump through hoops and watching them try to foil her evil schemes. Only when she had to did she remove her gloves and touch someone.
She cleared her throat and then smiled. “I confess, though it sounds like a brilliant idea, I’m not the instigator of the crime.”
He snorted. “I find that hard to believe, Arachnia. Or, should I say, Miss Winters.”
“So, you finally figured out who I really am. I’m impressed.”
“It was easy to deduce.” He crossed his arms. “You are a brilliant biochemist, although the world thinks you’re dead from a freak accident, but I knew better. Only Kelli Winters had the know-how to create a virulent plague to wipe out the Supers. But your plan failed. Not only are you killing the Supers, you’re killing off your own allies.”
Arachnia froze. A plague? She may have been a biochemist, but she would’ve never created a plague. Not then and not now. “What are you talking about?”
“Why don’t you admit it?”
“Admit what? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“You…” Jade Man’s knees trembled and he put his hand against the wall to steady himself.
Arachnia watched in disbelief as he began to shake, and it was then she noticed sweat seeping through his light green disguise. The man looked absolutely feverish. In all her years in bio chem she’d never seen a fever take hold like what was currently inflicting her arch nemesis. Jade Man began to convulse, his mouth frothing as his legs gave out.
“Jade Man!” Arachnia threw caution aside and ran to his side catching him as he collapsed. Carefully as to not brush any of her exposed skin against him, she laid him gently against the cement floor as he writhed in delirium tremens. She heard thrashing behind her. Glancing over her shoulder, the pit of her stomach dropped as she watched her fallen henchmen having violent fits around her. So this virus obviously had a more devastating effect on a normal human and it worked fast. Quicker than she’d ever seen.
What’s going on? Why am I not sick?
She had to find out what was going on, and fast. She wasn’t going to be held responsible for a deadly superbug when she had no hand in creating it.
She would never create a virus such as this. In fact, the day poor good-natured, naïve Kelli Winters had her accident and turned into a living, breathing venomous creature was the day she gave up biochemistry forever. Besides, it was no virus that made her poisonous. Her accident altered her DNA and her condition was not contagious.
Arachnia stood. Just leave him. He was here to kill you for something you didn’t do. Just like the State wanted to execute you for Bruce’s death.
Her mouth went dry and her body shook. She’d been tried and convicted for murder, until Dr. Destructor saved her from the electric chair, as the lethal injection had done nothing to her.
Society had turned on her then and now blamed her for this virus. Why should she help this Super?
Help him, the other part of her screamed, the part of her conscience she’d buried for so long. Help him, Kelli.
She shook her head. “I’m sorry, Jade Man.” She turned to walk away, to do as her mentor Dr. Destructor had taught, but she couldn’t leave him. Her conscience was winning out. Glancing back over her shoulder, she saw him lying there, unconscious, drenched in sweat.
“Damn,” she cursed. She ran back to his side and helped him stand. “It goes against the Villain’s Code, but I can’t let you die this way.” Arachnia bent down and picked him up. Jade Man mumbled some incoherently, his body vibrating against hers—and not in the way she wanted. Arachnia thought she heard a mumbled thanks as she led him down the hall to her small, abandoned laboratory.
The door to her lab slid open with ease. The fluorescent lights lit up the room with their gentle click and hum. She guided Jade Man to the gurney off to the side of the room. Delirious, he protested.
“None of that,” she chastised, forcing him to lie down. It was the easiest battle she had ever fought against the man.
Arachnia slipped on a white lab coat and peeled off her black gloves. Her pitch-colored nails always made her stomach turn, the testament to what flowed through her veins.
She found a pair of surgical gloves and slipped them on. One of her minions did the lab work and tended to the wounded, so the laboratory was always stocked. Her stomach twisted at the thought of her men in the antechamber. They were likely all dead by now.
It was for the best. Better to be dead than end up like her.
A freak.
And that posed an interesting question. Why Jade Man still alive?
Opening a drawer, she found a syringe. She would draw his blood and analyze it. Perhaps she could identify some of the markers of the virus. What did she have to lose? The virus wasn’t affecting her…yet. She could still succumb. She’d been exposed to it.
Arachnia rolled her shoulders and grabbed a pair of surgical scissors; in the other hand she held the syringe. With measured steps she approached Jade Man. He was conscious again, his emerald eyes boring into her as if to ask why? When he saw the glint of metal from the scissors he flinched. She kneeled beside him.
“If I wanted you to die, I would’ve left you in the antechamber. I just need a sample of your blood.”
“What does it matter?” he whispered, his voice cracking. “You’re the one responsible. You know how the virus works. You created it.”
“No.” She shook her head. “I’m not the creator.”
He snorted. “I find that hard to believe.”
“I’m not. But I’m going to find out what is causing this virus. May I take a bit of your blood?”
His eyes flew open in surprise, as if he was stunned she’d asked him. Well, she may be a Villain but she had manners. Arachnia waited with bated breath. Weakly Jade Man nodded, acquiescing to her request. Deftly she cut away his Super disguise to bare his ebony flesh. Her heart skipped a beat and she swore she could almost see, almost feel his blood moving through the veins of his muscular arm.
Was she really this desperate for the caress of a man’s flesh?
Yes. She was. It had been far too long.
She wiped his skin with alcohol swab and then fashioned a tourniquet around his upper arm. With a few quick taps on his arm she found his vein and gently pushed the syringe in.
The moment the blood began to fill the vial, Arachnia’s heart stuttered and the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end.
His blood was not red. His blood was black.
As black as hers.