Damian's Oracle (Chapter Three, page 2 of 8)

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Phone, police, help. Slowly Sofia stood. Her first step was disastrous. She careened into a table and heard glass crashing as the table corner tore a stripe down her forearm. Her eyes hurt too much to make sense of the world around her.

Voices prevented her from losing herself to her pain. They came from the same direction as the phone. Whoever had brought her here was coming for her.

Dr. Czerno. The monster in the corner.

Fear flew through her as she recalled the disjointed dreams. She turned, slammed into something twice her size, and fell backwards. Her hand dropped from her eyes to reveal a furry, fanged monster from a nightmare framed against the light.

Sofia screamed. It swiped at her, and she backpedaled, hopping to her feet. She ran into a blurry wall, shoved herself off, and smashed into another monster. With another scream, she bolted and careened into a door that gave.

The room was dark aside from curtains opened to allow the moon to shine through. She staggered up, cursing the drugs and Jake for her inability to balance, and slammed into several pieces of furniture as the monsters chased her. The lights went on. Blinded, she tripped over a stool and hauled herself into a corner, chest heaving and body slick with sweat and blood.

"What happened?" a muffled voice asked.

She hugged her knees to her chest and peered through her fingers. One of the monsters pulled off its head to reveal a man. She squinted, realizing the two furry brown monsters were men in costumes from Where the Wild Things Are. Several more men entered the library, all staring at her in nothing short of total surprise. Either they were all huge enough to come straight out of an action movie, or her drugs had not yet worn off.

"Gods, are you all right?" one asked finally, moving toward her.

"No!" she shouted. "Don't touch me, don't touch me, don't touch me!" The last thing she needed was more of the gruesome visions!

"Sofi?" Jake's stunned tone drew her attention. While surprised to see him there, she was struck by how well Jake fit in with the other men. He was built from the same mold-large and muscular, the kind of man more fitted to military special forces or UFC prizefighting than financial planning.

The man approaching her had nearly reached her, and she huddled into a tighter ball.

"Han, don't!" Jake called. "Leave her be."

"She's bleeding to death!"

"Trust me. She'll go ape shit."

Sofia wanted to pound Jake's face in. Her heart raced to the point of pain, and she felt sick enough to puke.

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