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In Book 1.3 Charlie, a 16 year old girl pushed to her breaking point is saved by Caroline, the ethereal and strange woman she thinks of as her guardian angel. Charlie soon discovers there’s a much darker side to Caroline when she presents her with the gift of immortality, but at what cost?
Caroline explained what would happen next in plain and simple terms. Charlie accepted it all without question. Cutting through the dark Utah desert in the soft white and red glow of the Cadillac’s dash was like gliding through a fantasy world. She grew up in the desert and saw it as a vast, empty place full of dust and rocks and gnarled, unhappy plants and dirty animals scuttling across and under the ground. For the first time, slipping through the blackness, she felt the mystery of it. Anything could be out there stomping around in the darkness. She imagined great, bat like creatures circling in the sky and swooping down at them, screeching and snatching with ancient, sharp claws. In her mind’s eye, she could see a huge crack in the ground, splitting through the desolate wastes and strange, twisted creatures crawling out of it. Gollum like mutants with long, gangly arms, clouded gray unseeing eyes and black, dripping jaws.
Where was all this coming from? The window glass was cold against her forehead and when she blinked and tried to clear the fog from her head, she could see that there was nothing out there. Yet these images wandered back into her mind. Massive trolls the size of buildings, ambling across the plains, dragging truck sized burlap sacks of screaming, writhing, naked people back to some cave to skin and cook like rabbits.
She turned and looked at Caroline. Caroline, who looked like she stepped out of an advertisement for vacuum cleaners from 1960. Caroline with her perfect hair, flowing like liquid gold, a black band across the top of her head, her precisely balanced bangs landing at her immaculate eyebrows. The dress was like something June Cleaver would wear, sky blue with white accents, thin straps with lace trim across her milky smooth shoulders, like porcelain.
Charlie fell to the floor with a thud. Blood covered her face and neck and breasts. Her shaking hands were drenched with it, pattering to the floor in fat red drops. She was a mess. The robe was gone and she was naked again. The old man was a lifeless thing in his chair. Looking at his tiny, frail frame she could hardly believe that he was so recently a living, breathing person. She looked up at Caroline, who was holding the robe over her arm, her red lips the only sign that she too had fed on the dying man.
“Let’s get you cleaned up,” Caroline said with a smile, offering a hand. There was blood in her teeth.