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Warped by Karen Boliver

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Title: Warped
Genre: Adult Horror
Format: eBook
ISBN: 978-1904976-12-7
Price: 2.95
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Karen Boliver

As she lays dying after a merciless beating by her brutal Victorian husband, Elizabeth Bradstone-Royce is given the chance of everlasting life. Her saviour, a beautiful raven-haired vampire, gifts her the means to gain her revenge as one of the undead.

Constantly searching for her husband, she comes across many other wife abusers just like him. And she deals with them all in the same fashion. She seduces them erotically before sending them to their graves. She becomes a serial killer with a mission - a warped mission that will last for more than a century.

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Promised Land"Am I dying?" she asked.

She found it difficult to utter those few simple words through her bruised and swollen lips. She could taste the blood as it seeped from her gums where two of her teeth were now missing. Her left arm laid limply at her side, twisted at an impossible angle and she again felt the searing pain across her abdomen. Through blackened eyes, she tried to focus on the face of the raven-haired beauty as she answered, "Yes but I can give you a new life. If you are willing to accept the gift."

11th June, 2000.

The warm water trickled soothingly down the contours of her body, washing away all traces of him. She dipped her head under the shower and reached for the little bottle that teetered precariously on the narrow soap shelf. She poured a little shampoo on her palm. As she began to massage the creamy substance into her red tresses a fruity scent permeated the steam-filled air around her.

The delicate perfume filled her nostrils and reminded her of the friendly little seaside boarding house where she had spent so many peaceful years. She rarely, if ever, ate, but the owner, Mrs Brice, had mothered her, thinking she looked too slim and too pale to be healthy. She had encouraged her to eat a vitamin-filled diet of fruit and vegetables in an attempt to bring colour into her cheeks and she had developed a taste for the fruit salad that always contained juicy chunks of fresh watermelon, strawberries, and apples, topped with the delicious home-made ice-cream that was Mrs Brice's specialty.

That had all happened long ago and had ended when Mrs Brice succumbed to the ravages of old age. When the old lady passed away in her sleep, Beth had known it was time to move on.

Reluctantly, she rinsed off the last of the lather and turned off the taps. 'Back to the business at hand, Beth,' she scolded herself.

She grabbed the towel and rubbed her hair until it stopped dripping then she dabbed her body dry. Still naked, she walked into the bedroom, the soft lighting giving her flawless milky-white skin an almost luminous glow. She trailed her finger tips along the pillow on the bed and licked the nearly congealed blood from her fingers, savouring every last sickly sweet drop. A strange calm wafted over her and she sighed contentedly.

Every time - every single time she played out this scenario, all the hatred and loathing she felt for him transferred into an all-consuming act of vengeance. It didn't matter that the twisted corpse she always left behind was not him; it was merely another man who had believed any woman was his playground.

This one, and all the others - they were just like him. Cruel, vicious, calculating, money-loving sons of bitches who had ripped out every shred of her humanity and dragged her down the dark tunnel to hell, clouding her vision with a reddish hue. Blood red: the colour of the pain she had carried inside her muddled brain for almost a century.

She bent and kissed his blood-streaked cheek and smiled. "Thanks for dinner, honey," she whispered, running her tongue down to the gaping wound on his shoulder. She took the half-empty whiskey bottle from the bedside table and poured the remaining contents over the crimson stained sheets. She picked up the card of complimentary matches that hotels always seemed to leave lying around, tore one out and struck it, tossing it onto the alcohol-soaked bedding. It fizzled softly then went out. She struck another, holding it between her thumb and forefinger until the flame had burned half way down the cardboard stem, then she dropped it next to the first and watched as the linen began to smoulder. As the flames appeared, she ran her hand through the dead man's matted blond hair. "Now you really are hot in the sack, lover," she smirked.

His naked body was spread-eagled on the mattress with thick cord securing his arms and legs to the bed frame. His unseeing eyes still bulged with terror. She peeled the tape from his mouth. At the time, it had stopped him screaming for help, or worse, begging for mercy. Now he couldn't. It was too late!

As the flames began to lick across her victim's lacerated belly, she slipped on her dress, collected her purse and left the room, locking it behind her. She stole along the marble-tiled corridor towards the elevator and pressed the 'down' button. Moments later, the silver door swished open and she stepped inside and pressed 'ground' just as a thin haze of smoke drifted under the bedroom door. The elevator began its descent and the fire alarm pierced the air at the same instant the sprinklers clicked into action. By the time she passed through the lobby and the revolving glass door that led to the street, she could hear the sirens of approaching fire trucks. Guests and visitors were being ushered out of the building around her and she melted into the confused crowd.

The taxi rank queue was surprisingly short considering it was the early hours of Sunday morning. Normally, it would be full of drunken teenagers who had emerged from the night clubs as they closed but, for once, this was not the case and she was in the back of a black cab within five minutes.

She settled back against the shabby seat after instructing the driver where to take her. The voice only she could hear said, "This has to stop! You destroy yourself by doing this thing!"

Beth closed her eyes and stifled a sob.

Once the first flush of triumph over the terror and suffering she inflicted on her victims had ebbed away, the futility of her actions brought her overwhelming sadness. It was true she had killed many times to survive but they were quick, clean deaths, and for that she felt no remorse. But memories of the deaths doled out to men who had done nothing to her personally hung around her neck like a lead crucifix.

She had been right all those years ago but why did she continue to seek revenge? She constantly asked herself this question. She wanted to believe she was the bringer of retribution for all of those women who had not been in a position to exact it themselves but, though her victims were all wicked men, the real reason she did this thing was to punish the memory of one man. And he was long dead.

Beth vowed, as she had after each and every victim met his end, that it would be her last kill. Marianne was right! Maybe this time she could keep her vow.

"It won't happen again, Marianne," she said. "I promise."

The cab driver glanced in his mirror. "You alright, love?"

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Rowland McKenzie
Ellie Bowdery
Julie Hathway
Mike Carver
Karen Boliver