Curse of the King



It is 1655, King Dahon of the South African Hiandi tribe is a powerful leader with one flaw: an insatiable lust for power. Obsessed with his hunger for control, Dahon has been wiping out entire civilization for years. Now, as he begins sacrificing his own people in order to appease his gods, the curse from a witch doctor changes his family's destiny for generations. This curse changes him into a beast that he worshiped called a Vandara. Not only is he to be cursed but every son for generations that follow in his blood line.

In present-day Atlantic City, Eddrin Mather is the new king who has reigned since defeating his father and brothers. With his aging process slowed by the curse, Eddrin, who once used his demonic form to battle gangsters, now uses his curse to assist the police. Working as a bounty hunter he works in the shadows to capture those whom he sees fit. Everyday the curse becomes increasingly stronger and count of the mangled bodies of his victims begins to grow Eddrin fears the worst. Has the curse taken over or is it time for another Vandara King to come to try to take his place.

By the time he hailed a taxi from the police station and had it drop him at his office, he was exhausted. He trudged up the stairs, feeling sluggish and empty. Changing back to his human form always drained him. Each year, the curse got stronger and stronger. There had been earlier times when a few guys with shotguns would slow him down. Now he could walk straight through a direct RPG hit. The sudden release of all this bottled-up energy left him feeling drained and so tired that he just wanted to close his eyes and lie down in the hallway. Eddrin laughed as he leaned against the wall, actually debating it as he gazed down at the old worn hallway carpet. Eddrin stood in front of his office door, fumbling with his keys. Once inside, he found an envelope on the floor. Another job already? They usually give me a week or so before the next one. He bent over and grabbed the envelope, and then he headed toward his desk. He noticed a distinct but faint odor around it— something fresh and floral. Odd. He was too tired to care and continued toward his desk. A loud crash from his outer office startled him. He turned around, irritated, and then his eyes widened. A large creature burst through the door. was knocked off balance and fell onto his back. Eddrin grabbed the beast’s wrists and then thrust his feet into the beast’s abdomen. The beast flew through the air and slammed into the wall. It bounced right back on its feet, ready to attack again. In those few seconds, Eddrin’s body swelled and burst out of his clothes. The shreds of fabric fell to the floor. Eddrin’s pumping adrenaline accelerated his transformation. His body changes and his legs lengthened until his head nearly touched the room’s ceiling. The creature was a Vandara. It had the same dark fur, the long, razor-sharp claws, and the face of a prehistoric lion. Much like Eddrin was himself when changed. This one was smaller than other Vandara he’d had confrontations with in the past; perhaps it wasn’t yet fully grown. The mane running down its back was dark and short, indicating its age. The longer and thicker the mane on a Vandara was, the older it was. The creature lunged at Eddrin, and Eddrin sank his claws into the creature’s shoulders, slamming him down to the ground face-first. Eddrin pounced on its back, holding the head down and stretching its right arm out and down to the floor. He bit down savagely on the beast’s neck, pulling back hard while trying to tear the meat from it. The beast howled, a broken noise of agony. Eddrin heard fast footsteps echoing down the hall. A man wearing a monk’s robe appeared in the doorway, holding a shotgun, and began to unload a rapid burst of shots. The shotgun blasts had little effect, but within seconds, his wounds began to burn. The pellets seemed to be coated with something that irritated his eyes and skin. Eddrin shook his head and rose, wiping at his face. The small Vandara jumped up and raced out the door, holding his wounded neck. It knocked over the man with the shotgun, and Eddrin followed right after him. It jumped through the glass window, leaving shards of glass and woodwork on the hot pavement below. Eddrin saw it dash across the parking lot to a white van. Two men slammed shut the back doors as soon as the beast entered. The van screeched off into the street, dodging two oncoming cars. Eddrin stopped at the window ledge before jumping out into the street to pursue them. The sun is coming up it’s almost daylight. There’s no way to cover two monsters running the streets. He quickly turned around to look for the man who had been knocked down during the scuffle, but he was gone. Eddrin walked back to his office at the end of the hall, changing back to his human form. I knew it would come one day. I guess it’s finally my time to be challenged. What the hell is this? This is not the way it’s supposed to be. This is not the way the king is to be challenged. Eddrin passed an elderly woman standing in her doorway, peeking out to get a glimpse of the commotion. Her eyes widened as she watched him shrink right in front of her. “Oh, my.” She covered her mouth, looking at Eddrin’s naked body. Eddrin got back to the wrecked office, his heart still racing. Amid the mess, he found the envelope on the floor next to the desk. Eddrin opened the note. It said, “Midnight, Walher Cemetery.” He sighed and tucked the note in a drawer, puzzled. Why would they leave a letter and try to attack me at the same time? If I wasn’t so tired, I would’ve chased him. Finally calm and back to his human form, he picked up his cell phone from the rubble and dialed his friend Samuel. He snapped on the television. Eddrin watched with narrowed eyes as a newscaster spoke about the photo of the guy he’d delivered to the PD the night before. The newscaster spoke with fervent urgency, as if explaining the fate of the world. “Appears to be what police term a ‘small-time crook with ties to a human trafficking ring.’” Eddrin turned down the volume. Looked like Hyson and his team had come up with a cover story. “Hello?” Samuel’s voice was raspy. “Samuel, my friend, it’s me.” “Eddrin! Good to hear from you. What’s going on?” Samuel Thompson was a retired surgeon who lived in a small town outside Atlantic City. He occasionally filled in for the small town’s regular doctor. He was a dark-skinned man about six feet tall, with a slender build but a bit of excess weight around his belly. He was in his early sixties and balding. “Have you got on Channel 5?” “Just a minute.” Eddrin heard Sam’s TV blare on and imagined the scruffy living room filled with furniture from the ’50s and crowded with memorabilia from a lifetime. Must be losing his hearing more than he lets on. “Got it,” Samuel said. “Looks like this guy I turned in last night turned out to be a little more of a scumbag than what I thought. I just wanna give you a heads up that I might need your assistance someday soon.” “What do you mean? What’s going on?” replied Samuel “Seems to be my time for facing challengers. I think they’re coming for me, Sam. And you just never know these days.” Eddrin was surprised at how unnerved he sounded. “Well, I’m here if you need me. You know where I am. Just come see me.” Samuel lived on a pleasant ranch outside. “Thanks. I’ll be in touch.” Eddrin kept the newscast on while he microwaved two dinners. Watching the television made him think back to days in the past. That guy’s in a hell of a lot better shape than the guys I used to bring in back in the beginning. He’d changed since his early days, learned to control the demon within him more than he could before, but these days, he could feel his grasp on the demon slowly slipping away. The demon seemed to get stronger each day, and it was harder and harder every time he changed. Every day was a constant struggle to suppress it. It felt like something scratching and clawing within him, fighting to emerge. After eating, Eddrin walked to the closet, taking off his shirt as he moved. He opened the closet and gazed into the mirror. He ran his fingers over the three claw mark scars on his abdomen. The other creature that attacked him in his office made him wonder if it was his time to be challenged. The meetings were always unpredictable. They could happen in days, months, or even years, but he could always sense when the time had come. It was a knowing, a telepathic connection. Eddrin remembered his own challenge to the reigning king—Leroy Dudley, his own father. A powerful adversary, Leroy was an unnaturally sized beast who had grown strong over the years by embracing the demon and letting it control his mind and body willingly. Most anyone trembled at the first sight of his monstrous form. Except Eddrin. Eddrin had made up his mind that Leroy’s indiscretions and control of Atlantic City needed to stop. Leroy Dudley used to steal from anyone but mainly the rich and organized crime syndicates. It was good money, but over time, the body count got to be too large. Leroy murdered a lot of wealthy people and many gangsters during his reign. It was horrifying to read the headlines. “Twenty people massacred by unknown animal.” “Fifteen gang members killed by animal.” “Two gangs killed by unknown assailant.” Stealing from the wealthy, Leroy brought too much negative attention to himself and the criminals. Citizens and gangsters alike formed to track down a monster. People good and evil came to one another’s aid, because nobody wanted a monster running around the city. Law enforcement built task forces to rid the city of the monster myth. And once Leroy stopped, so did the killing sprees. Their fight seemed to last all day and night. Eddrin held his ground. Leroy, more beast than man, fought like a wild animal, attacking with all his might with each and every strike. Eddrin, though younger, was patient and more agile, and he used calculated attacks to confuse Leroy. Eddrin wore the older man down, making him tired. At last, a final swipe of Eddrin’s claws dropped Leroy to the ground, howling. Exhausted, Eddrin stood over his opponent. His body rippled back to human form. Leroy’s massive body lay on the ground, his beast shape shrinking down. Blood pooled around his body. Eddrin gasped for air, tired and worn down. A quick movement from Leroy knocked Eddrin back. Eddrin tried to restart his transformation again, but it was too late. Eddrin felt sharp pains coming from his belly. He looked down to see long claw marks dripping with blood. Leroy lurched upward again, and Eddrin jumped back. Leroy crawled toward Eddrin, dragging himself on the ground until finally his body gave out. Leroy’s face transformed back to human. He slumped to the ground and died. In the mirror, Eddrin gazed at himself. His battle-worn, rugged face looked back at him, his dark skin tone masking many of the scars from his fights over the years. From his face to chest and belly, and down his legs, scar tissue bubbled. Never again will I let my guard down and turn back to human form before confirming the death of an opponent. As long as I’m always halfway turned, I’ll have the advantage on the one that comes after me next. Over the years, he’d discovered that keeping his body halfway between changing gave him some of the positives of having the curse. It made him larger than his normal size, increasing him to six foot eight and 275 pounds. He was stronger than three men. But one important problem with being in this state was that it made him transform more often. It was a small inconvenience for a bigger convenience later. Eddrin finished changing and walked to the window. He opened the blinds and looked out as gathering twilight crept over the city. A multitude of bright lights blanketed the city streets, all glowing a different hue of bright colors: red, yellow, green, blue, and purple. The casinos along the strip had their own elaborate scheme of decorative lighting, the extravagant exterior lighting helping to draw in patrons. Multiple searchlights shot up into the sky, the solid white beams streaking across the sky in wavering patterns. The large spotlights signified the grand opening of a new business and advertised new movies and nightclubs that were très chic. The city’s night sky had a violet tone. Eddrin had to search the night sky to find a small glimmer of the stars beyond. For a moment, the flashing of the quartz beacon lights on the tips of planes high above the city resembled starshine, but soon this was a distant memory. Concern and worry flooded his mind. What would be the outcome of these battles? What was his fate? What if he died? What had he accomplished in his life? And how long was this feeling of waiting to die going to last—the uneasy feeling, day and night, that some stranger was trying to kill him? “Enough of this sulking,” he said aloud. “No more self-pity. These thoughts are so pathetic and weak, I can’t believe I’m even entertaining the thoughts of just waiting to die.” He sighed. “I guess it is my time to be challenged. Hell, I’ve got to get out of here. And I could use a drink.” A half hour later, Eddrin pulled up to the Purple Dove, a popular casino and gentlemen’s club. It was one of the best clubs in Atlantic City, home of the finest dancers. It offered top-notch service and plentiful celebrity sightings. A mixture of neon green, purple, and blue lights illuminated the interior. Modeled in the image of Greek architecture, recessed booths were spaced to give patrons more privacy. Each booth was divided by Corinthian columns. Eddrin walked straight through the casino floor to a short, pudgy man guarding the velvet rope that blocked the way to the elevator. His nametag read, “Eric.” Eric gazed up at Eddrin and his face blanched with unease. Eddrin extended his hand with a hundred-dollar bill. Eric smiled and then opened the rope. Eddrin stalked through and headed upstairs. At the solid black glass doors of the club, two large Samoan bouncers were positioned to block the entrance. Both bouncers wore black suits, and one had tribal tattoos covering half his bald head. The other had long, black, curly hair draping over his shoulders. From the looks of them, Eddrin thought they could’ve easily been former NFL players or pro wrestlers. “Sir, you can’t come in here dressed like that,” the bald Samoan said. Eddrin glanced down at his blazer jacket, T-shirt, jeans, and black sneakers. “I look fine,” he said and strode forward. The two Samoans moved together, blocking Eddrin’s path. Eddrin let his irritation allow a bit of his transformation; his body swelled more in his already form-fitting coat. The bald Samoan spoke. “You don’t want this trouble, man.” Eddrin snatched the bald Samoan by the collar and lifted him off his feet. “No, you don’t want this trouble.” He tossed the Samoan a few feet away. Eddrin turned to the long-haired Samoan, who stepped back and opened the door. “Go ahead in, sir.” Eddrin made his way over to the bar and signaled the bartender. “Double Remy on the rocks.” Once it arrived, he took a few sips and then leaned back against the bar. Waitresses walked about, taking orders and serving drinks. Scantily clothed dancers strolled around the booths, offering their services to the patrons. Eddrin spotted a beautiful woman wearing white lingerie that glowed under neon lights. She had olive skin, bright blue eyes, and dark, curly hair draping over her shoulders. Eddrin stared at her, almost in a trance. She caught his eye and he nodded, signaling for her to come to him. The woman pushed through the crowd and stood before him. “Well, hello there, handsome.” She ran her hands along his lapel. “Hey, beautiful.” Eddrin placed his drink on the bar and then wrapped his free arm around her waist. “I want you to myself for the rest of the night. What’s your name?” “Fawn.” She smiled. “I mean your real name.” “Ellany, but my friends call me Elle. Are you sure you can handle me all night?” Elle replied playfully. “Whatever you give, I’ll take. I just want your attention for a little while.” Eddrin pulled out a wad of hundred-dollar bills, letting her see that he was not just some loud-talking creep but that he actually had money. “Is this enough to cover a few songs?” asked Eddrin. Elle raised her eyebrows, clearly intrigued. “Maybe there’s more to you than your appearance, mister. Though your appearance is pretty damn good.” Elle leaned in close. “Let’s go where we can talk. I can barely hear you.” Elle smiled and led through the club to a black door. “Communications Room,” read the sign on the door, and they pushed through. Six rows of electronic racks held phone cables, audio and visual equipment, flat screen televisions, stage projectors, and sound-system wiring that laced around the entire club. Cables ran along the floor up into the wall, buzzing with power. The room was warm. Eddrin pulled Elle inside and kicked the door closed. He raised her onto one rack. It rattled beneath them. They kissed, softly at first, then harder, with an edge of violence and heat. Eddrin pulled on Elle’s hair, licking her neck and tugging at her forcefully. Elle ran her hands up his body firmly and grabbed him harder. Eddrin tugged down her panties and Elle wrapped her legs around his waist. Eddrin inched over to the wall and held her there. Their bodies moved hard and fast against each other. The sound of someone trying the doorknob didn’t stop them. Their primal motion continued for some minutes, and then Eddrin gave a huge sigh of release. The buzz from the racks continued, and the room filled with their heavy breathing and their scents. Eddrin tasted her lotion and perfume on his tongue. “Are you okay?” Eddrin asked. Elle held her head up, one arm propped on her thigh. “Yeah, I’ll catch up with you. I need a minute to gather myself.” Eddrin put on his shirt while heading to the door and unlocked it. From the hallway, he turned back and said, “See you later.” Elle waved good-bye with a shaky smile, and Eddrin 

About the author

Nyri is a retired veteran of 20 years, Property Manager, Real estate agent, writer and author. Being a military brat that's been to multiple countries but raised in San Antonio, TX. Being able to see a multitude of different cultures throughout life has helped build the colorful imaginative worlds. view profile

Published on September 13, 2013

Published by Iuniverse

50000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Fantasy