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Rex and his phone with the power to control minds through texting scare up a horrifying tale of revenge in TXTme Book 2. Rex has used the power of the device to wipe his memory of its existence, but its power lives on in his subconscious, tormenting him with the understanding of why his first attempts at exacting revenge met with such painful results:
(Excerpt from TXTme Book 2)
Rex dropped to his knees and dragged his fingers through the tightly packed dirt. Then he scraped harder and scooped handfuls of soil into his palms. He pushed the loose dirt aside and plunged his hands back in. He dug until his fingertips met something solid. The light of long-dead stars pinpricked the sky.
He cleared the dirt from around the object until his fingers could slide under it and free it from its earthly prison. It was a thin, solid slab of crafted stone and fit neatly in his palm. He wiped it clean on the leg of his jeans and raised it close to his eyes to see the surface was like obsidian, reflecting his face back on him. When he tilted the surface away, the stars above came into view as if he held the ancient sky itself.
What was it? Why had it called out to him?
Something rose in the silence of the night like a distant voice carried on the breeze. He almost thought there were words.
He studied his find. The surface was the same on both sides.
Then more words. Words, but not words. A chill danced up the curve of his spine. The light of the stars began to fade in the sky until a black canvas hung overhead. Clouds passed over the moon, giving it a wink, and the world dimmed around him.
He waited, ears straining against the silence, listening. Then it came again on the ether, a cold gust against his skin accompanied it. Goosebumps erupted. This time the words were words, a soft voice on the air.
“I know,” it said.
Rex turned around in a circle quickly, searching in the night for the source of the words that must be meant for him. He was met with nothing but the mute landscape.
Then he heard it again, more clearly this time.
“I know what you’ve done.”
He stared at the object in his hand. It sounded as if the voice were coming from it, but that was impossible, it was as solid as stone.
“What do you mean?” Rex said with a hollow inflection, certain there were no ears to receive his words.
Another gust blew across the flat basin and the whisper rose in the air to become words once again.
“Fate bequeathed you great power, and you squandered its gift on petty conquest.”
“Who are you?” he said, eyes darting from the stone to the dark brush around him and back. “How are you doing this?”
“You know who I am.”
“No, really, I don’t. How are you doing this? Is it a trick?” He ran his fingers along the edges over the front and back faces of the stone looking for a speaker or a microphone.
“The power you were given is no trick.”
“What power? What are you talking about?”
“You know the power of which I speak.”
“No — no, I don’t. Why do you keep saying I know? I don’t know.”
“The power to have everything you ever wished for.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You must reclaim that which you have given away.”
Rex held the stone so he saw his face in its reflection once more and watched his mouth move as he gave in to his disbelief.
“Okay, so let’s say I had, as you say, the power to have everything I want. Why would I give it away?”
“But if I had everything I wanted, why would I be weak?”
“In the human family there are two forms of man. Those beset by compassion, caring, and sympathy, those with love in their hearts — the weaker of the species — the other form is unburdened by these traits — the dominant strain, the ones who rule others, those who shape the world, mold history. You are of the first group.”
“Because I have feelings?”
“It is within my power to relieve you of this weakness.”
“And how is that? What’s this power you keep talking about, anyway? You still haven’t told me — other than just having what I wish for. What power can make that happen?”
“The power to control others.”
“Control them how? How did I lose it — and how do I get it back?”
“I am forbidden to answer these questions.”
“Forbidden? What? Why? You started this and now you’re going to shut up on me?”
“I am bound by my own power not to say any more.”
“Your own power? This doesn’t make any sense.”
“By my master’s command I am bound.”
“Who’s your master?”
“You would not remember even if I told you.”
“Okay, so tell me, then. I have to know — even if I won’t remember.”
“Is it not obvious to you?”
“No, it’s not. Tell me: Who is your master?”