On January 25, 2012, Child Eater was released. To celebrate the 10th-anniversary of this amazing event, I am releasing a special 10th-anniversary edition on January 25, 2022. I will post a chapter every Saturday and Tuesday until then. You can read the first chapter here.
Tabitha awoke with a start. She tried so hard not to think about that dreadful day. Unfortunately, she couldn’t control when that memory wandered into her dreams. She glanced at the bedside clock. It was four-thirty in the morning. She knew she wasn’t going to be getting any more sleep, so she rolled out of bed.
She set the coffee to brew, and then headed to the shower. She dressed in a pair of jeans and an old t-shirt she’d picked up at some tourist shop years ago. The letters were so faded she could no longer even read the name of the town. There had been so many towns over the years; she couldn’t even name them all. She pulled her long black hair back in a tight braid down her back. The tail of it reached almost down to her knees. Her blue eyes were such a contrast against the raven black of her hair. Her pale skin made her eyes appear all the brighter. She had a speckling of freckles across her nose and cheeks.
So much had changed on that day fifteen long years ago. Her father was still considered to be a missing person. Since they couldn’t tell the police the real story of what had happened in that hotel room, he was presumed to have run off. She knew better. It was that light that had taken him. When Tabitha had awoken the next morning, her hair had no longer been blonde. Overnight it had turned a raven black. She had no longer allowed anyone to refer to her as Tabby. That had been Daddy’s name for her. She’d grown up overnight. Gone forever was the innocent little girl that had entered the hotel lobby just hours beforehand. She had devoted her time not to friends but to searching and researching, and she’d vowed she’d find the light again. And when she found it, she would destroy it.
She mentally shook herself. She always seemed to dwell on that day after one of those dreams. Not today, she had far too much to do today. She made her way back into the kitchen. She poured herself a cup of coffee, loading it down with cream and sugar. She took her cup and wandered over to the refrigerator. After examining its contents, she shook her head. She hadn’t been home in weeks. Anything that remained was probably spoiled anyways. She found a box of stale crackers in the cabinet and munched down a few. She chased them with long swallows of coffee.
She refilled her cup and headed for the living room. Her laptop sat on the coffee table. She set the cup beside it and opened the lid. She booted it up and waited. It always seemed like her internet connection was so much slower at home. Perhaps she was just far more impatient when she was here. She grabbed the phone and called in an order for a mushroom and cheese omelet and whole-wheat toast from the diner next door. So long as she tipped well, the bus boy was always more than happy to run her food up to her apartment.
While she waited for her breakfast to arrive, she checked her email. There was the usual one from her mother, begging her to come home, stop this “nonsense,” settle down with a boy, and live a normal life. Her mother hated to see her so unhappy.
“You’re such a beautiful girl. Dress up, put on a little make up, get your hair done, and I bet you’ll have a husband in no time.”
It was always the same song and dance with her mother. She sent a line back saying that she was doing great, not to worry about her.
“I’ve even been out on a few dates,” she lied.
There was also an email from her brother, Mitch. He had a beautiful wife and a hoard of kids. The email was begging her to swing into town for her nephews third birthday. It was complete with a picture of her nephew giving the camera “puppy dog eyes.”
“How can you resist that face?” the email asked.
It was complete with date and time for the party and an invitation to come early or stay late to “spend just a few days with your family.” She looked at the calendar. It was still a few weeks away. She replied with a quick “I’ll try.” Never making promises that she knew she probably wouldn’t keep.
There was a knock on the door. She grabbed her wallet, knowing it would be Jimmy. He stood there, smiling shyly. He was seventeen, still covered in that acne that plagues the teenagers of the world, but he had a sweet smile, and gentle, green eyes. He was tall and lanky. His shaggy brown hair hung in his eyes. He was constantly brushing it out of his face with his fingers.
He never met her eyes, but she’d catch him looking at her when he thought she wasn’t looking. If she ever was home long enough, they probably would have been fast friends. She knew he had a crush on her, but she always pretended to be clueless. She was afraid if he knew that she knew, he wouldn’t want to bring her food up anymore. She slipped him an extra ten for his kindness and promised to come down to the diner one of these days for dinner. He was smiling when he left. She closed and locked the door behind him.
She refilled her cup yet again. She admonished herself for how much coffee she consumed on an average day. She snagged a fork and butter knife from the drawer and headed back to the couch. She spread some jelly across a piece of toast, smiling at the fact that Jimmy remembered to grab her favorite, mixed fruit. She took a bite while she set her computer to search. She cut a bite off her omelet and stuffed it into her mouth as the search results filed down the screen.
Want to know what happens next? You can preorder Child Eater: 10th Anniversary for Kindle, now.
Give me a follow to be alerted when you can read the next chapter of Child Eater; coming January 15th.