Shaper of Stone – Preview

Man, I didn’t want to get out of bed. What the heck did I do last night anyway? A guy should be able to sleep in on the weekend. Crap, I really have to pee.

With that last thought I opened my eyes, threw back the covers and immediately started to freak out. Not like running in a circle and screaming freaking out, but the drop your jaw, look around in awe and maybe a little fear, as you realized you didn’t recognize anything.

Well recognized wasn’t the right word. I knew I was sitting on a bed with a heavy wool blanket half hanging on the floor. A white pitcher covered with purple flowers rested on a side table within easy reach. On one wall hung a curtain with black and orange diamond shapes, and it looked like a pair of oil lamps flanked the arched door across from the foot of the bed. They burned steadily with a low flame.

I recognized those things. It didn’t feel like amnesia either. I knew my name was Devin Symms, but this wasn’t my home, and these weren’t my things. I lived in a one bedroom trailer. One of those silver tubes that old people love to tow behind their cars. I’m pretty sure this room was bigger than the entire thing.

I didn’t drink, do drugs or even hang out at parties, so waking up someplace strange was a new concept to me. The last thing I remembered was locking up the bookstore where I worked after staying late to stock some new books.

Oh crap, maybe it was amnesia. The short term localized type.

What if I got mugged, or kidnapped and now I’m being held prisoner and… Wait a minute. I didn’t feel like a prisoner. The place looked pretty nice actually, and while my head hurt it felt more like I stayed up too late playing video games and not like I got hit over the head with something.

The urge to pee reminded me that I had a more immediate concern than how I got here. I wondered where the bathroom was? Crap! I wondered where my pants were! I was naked!

A woman! That was it. I must have met someone and ended up… Nah. I was sure I would remember something like that. At least I hoped I would. And besides, it didn’t look like anyone else slept here.

Getting out of bed, I winced as my feet touched the cold stone floor, and I began the quest to find my clothes. It wasn’t like there were a lot of places for them to hide. Besides the small table next to the bed, there was a wooden trunk at its foot and a high wardrobe against the wall behind me. A desk with a high backed chair sat next to the wall as well.

Careful not to stub my toe on anything, I decided to check out the wardrobe. Well, at least I think that was what you would call it. It was taller than me and twice as wide. It sort of reminded me of a locker from high school except that it was made of dark red wood and had two doors with polished brass handles.

Of course, it was empty. Maybe the trunk. Nope, it was empty too. And, now I was hopping back and forth on my toes doing the pee-pee dance. Screw it. I pulled the blanket from the bed, wrapped it around me, and immediately smacked my big toe against the trunk at the foot of the bed.

“Son of a…!” Continuing to mutter under my breath I sat on the chest and took a look at the blood pouring from my ripped toenail. “Isn’t that just freakin’ great!”

Trying to ignore the throbbing in my toe, I limped over to the door leaving a bloody trail where my right foot touched the floor. Pulling open the door I saw a brightly lit hallway, and this room was at one end. A guy at the other end stood there with his back to me.

I stepped into the hallway and shouted, “Hey buddy! Where’s the bathroom?”

I figured I’d take care of important business first. I could work out the rest of this when I didn’t feel like I had an exploding bladder.

The stranger turned and said something I didn’t understand, and this time I did freak out. I screamed and ran back to the room, slamming the door behind me. My bloody toe hit the corner of the door, and I screamed again.

Crap! Crap! Crap! I needed to hide. Where… The wardrobe? No. That was one of the first places he would look. That ruled out under the bed and in the trunk too. Great! I was trapped here with no where to run and no place to hide.

I saw the pitcher on the night table. I grabbed it and dumped the water onto the floor. Okay two maybe three pounds. Not much, but it felt better than nothing.

I clutched the improvised weapon in my hand while moving back to the doorway. With my back to the wall, I shifted the pitcher to get a better grip. I didn’t play baseball, but I intended to swing like an all star at the first thing that came through that door.

Because whatever it was at the end of the hall, that guy didn’t look human.


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