Excerpt From "Blood Bound" by HK Savage
From Blood Bound:
When she reached her unit Sam saw how Bill had gotten out. The steel door stood ajar, the light from inside visible through the crack. Bill started struggling in her grasp. Believing she was holding him too tight Sam relaxed her arms, yet he continued to wriggle.
“Stop it Bill,” she scolded sharply.
Carefully, she pushed open the door and entered her apartment. The growling ball of fur in her grasp was having no part of it. Clawing at her with his sharp back claws, Bill took a few chunks out of her forearms as he finally leapt free of her, racing down the hall and out of sight. Sam didn't give chase or even turn her head to see where he went. He wouldn't go far, he never did on the rare occasion he got out. In a few minutes he would be beating at the door with his soft, declawed front paws. Her focus was on what had incited such panic in her even keel pet. Why was Bill so scared to go inside? He liked Paul. Even more unsettling was the feeling crawling down her spine. Something was very wrong. She could feel it.
There was no sound or movement coming from inside. When Paul was over he always had the television turned on a game whether it was football, basketball, soccer, whatever. He always had to have background noise. Unlike Sam, he liked noise.
“Paul?” Sam realized she was crouching. Telling herself she was being ridiculous, she forced herself to stand up, pushing the door open and peering inside. There was no answer. Maybe he was tired and had nodded off she told herself. It did nothing for the now painful gooseflesh covering her body. “Paul?” she called his name again, whispering it this time. He wasn't in the living room or kitchen. She pushed a cabinet door closed with the back of one hand as she walked past. He had to have been here, she never left drawers or cabinets open. Glancing around, she noticed a piece of mail hanging over the edge of her sorter. What had he been doing in here, snooping? With considerably more effort, she forced her feet toward the bedroom, stepping over one of Bill’s toys lying in the middle of the floor.
“Paul?” His name died on her lips as she walked past the open bathroom door and froze. Without knowing what she was doing, Sam drifted inside and stopped just inside the doorway. Her hand flew to her mouth too late to stop the scream.
The hammering of her heart in her ears drowned out her ability to hear herself as she sank down to her knees and pulled her phone from her pocket. Sam didn't hear anyone answer when she dialed 911. She pushed the buttons, waited a few seconds, and spoke. Her voice felt rough, jagged as she recited the necessary information for help to come.
“This is Samantha James. I live at Pheasant Ridge apartments in West Bloomington, unit 309. My boyfriend is here. He’s dead.” She dropped the phone and heard nothing of the woman’s requests for more information.
Time passed, it had to, though nothing registered until someone’s hands grabbed her under her arms and hauled her, stumbling to her feet.
A man’s voice spoke softly to her. “Here Miss, come on out. This isn't something you need to see.”
But it was too late, she knew it. The image of Paul’s once tan body gone dusky blue, dangling from the showerhead, his face splotchy with dark purple marks under his bloodshot eyes and glassy stare were frozen in her mind forever. The likelihood of that image ever leaving her was doubtful. She knew the guilt never would.