STRAY: Chapter Ten

STRAY: Chapter Ten

STRAY: Chapter Ten

by J.K. Hogan

The dream descends upon me like a thousand tiny deaths, pawing at my brain with slick fingers, and I can’t shake it loose.

Tonight I am a man of interminable power, something like magick, that should not exist, and I dream of nothing but burning the world to ashes.

****

Noah woke gasping as if he’d just swum forty meters on a single breath. His body bolting straight up like Dracula rising from his mythical coffin had dislodged Basti from his perch, who then let out a disgruntled yowl that made Noah laugh despite the nightmare. The cat was probably hungry, but then again, so was Noah, but he’d run off before he was able to make any money.

He’d been about to score some change off one of Tom’s customers when the guy and two others decided they should be able to sample the goods for free. Tom had been asleep while one guy held Noah down and the others fondled every bit of skin they could get their hands on. He’d woken up before anything serious had happened, but had seemed content to let things play out however they might, instead of intervening on Noah’s behalf.

Eventually he’d deemed Noah’s rage-sobbing and struggling “bad for business,” and had told the guys to cut it out. He didn’t make them leave, though, and Noah had seen it in their eyes—they’d have tried again the minute Tom was otherwise occupied. So once they were spaced out from a fresh dose of eiki, Noah had run for his life…or at least his virtue.

He’d taken sanctuary in the library, because his education, his dedication to learning, felt like literally the only thing he had left. It was all that kept him from jumping off the North Bridge instead of just sleeping under it. That and this stubborn cat who probably belonged to someone else.

Noah stroked Basti’s fur and allowed the gentle purring to comfort him. “I don’t know what I’d do without you,” he whispered.

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*NEWS* Soda has been on hiatus for the last couple of months due to family obligations, but you should see some new illustrations coming soon!



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