Authors: Susan Reid
I dedicate the many sleepless nights, cups of coffee, massive migraines, indecisiveness, anxiety dreams and nightmares that went into bringing this saga to life--to the two people that I live each day for---I love you La’Bria and Andrew Jr. Thank you son for your creative vision, talent and assistance.
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Copyright © 2013 by Susan Reid
All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this E-book may be redistributed, copied, downloaded, shared or sold
without written permission by the owner.
©Susan Reid 2013
This book is purely fiction, any and all events, pe
rsons, places or names mentioned in this book relating to or resembling anything, place, event or person existing or dead is purely for fictional purposes and strictly coincidental.
“. . . And he said unto them, "I beheld Sa'tan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke: 10, 18, & 19)
“From the spirit realm, know that they are always watching.
As you read this text right now, you are being watched.
They see you, we
Darkness and the beings within are perceptive to emotions.
They pick up on anger, hate, doubt and loss of faith very well.
We all can hear every breath and whisper right down to each swallow and we’re experts on distinguishing the beating of a heart in love, lust and fear …human frailty can be both an advantage and a disadvantage.
Unless you are a divine chosen, know that they see you but you will never see them — they are everywhere — always.”
Former Chief Angel of all Powers
he time was nine fifteen p.m., according to the scrolling LED at the bank across the street. I hurried across the parking lot from the Barnes and Noble where I apparently hadn’t bought anything let alone remembered how, when and why I had gone there in the first place. Wait, why I was walking anyway? I had a car but as I scanned up and down the curb amid the other parallel parked cars for my black Honda Civic, I didn’t see it anywhere.
I should be panicking
, because I think I parked it here, but its absence strangely didn’t seem to bother me. The sidewalks were busy, and the stores continued to carry on with business as usual; alive with the sounds of mostly laughter, the chatter of conversations and the blaring of a car horn every now and then. The smell of exhaust, cinnamon rolls, Chinese and Italian food all intermingling together, created a unique nostalgic aroma that rode in with the breeze of the cool night air. This district was deemed the college student Mecca, but tonight —I didn’t recognize any of the people that I typically saw out and about.
I didn’t give the scenario much thought. In fact, I wasn’t really sure where I was going now. I glanced around at all the unfamiliar faces that paid me no special attention but there were def
initely things that abruptly caught mine. There was only one other time that I had seen so many of them prowling in hordes like this.
I froze and gaped in shock and not so much in fear, but uncertainty because I knew the reason they were here, they were searching, and they were coming… for me.
Among the clueless, nameless faces of people, I saw dark shadows snaking in and out on the hunt. They were Soul predators…lots and lots of twisted shadows, moving like some covert malevolent army, liberally spreading what they brought best…disaster, violence, death and destruction.
There was a sudden flash of bright red that bathed the entire scene in a hellish, flickering glow and within a split second of time immediately after that; the familiar college town scene of deli’s, store lights and pedestrians out for a bite to eat, heading to classes or walking their dogs were left awed and in complete stunned stupors.
I remained paralyzed, my backpack sliding off of my shoulder and hitting the ground without a sound as ice needles stabbed at the surface of my skin all over. I dreaded that I knew exactly what was happening, and it was as if time, sound and all movements slowed to a crawl, and then ceased altogether.
Suddenly, nearly all traces of artificial man-made light failed and plunged us into darkness save for the moon and its freakish red glow. That was when ch
aos, confusion and fear broke out like a plague. Blinded, people were screaming, panicking, praying and hurting themselves in futile attempts to escape or hide.
There would be no point. . . I knew better.
Confirmation came when the last natural remaining sources of light fell from the sky in glittery trails, and the moon began to bleed. Beneath my feet, the earth rumbled violently, angrily splitting into one enormous rift that pulled everything in its path into its smoldering, reddish yawning mouth, and adding tangible, fierce heat to the already eerie and fiery red illumination.
The cacophonous beating of what sounded like a million wings
, followed by the shrill, unearthly growling, howling and shrieking pierced the darkness — coming from inside of the rift and everywhere at once it seemed.
I lost my balance, fell and was stepped on more times than I could count until I spied a nearby car parked along the curb, using the red illumination of doom radiating from the new moon. People were crying and screaming, as I maneuvered my way through the mayhem of legs, feet, falling glass and debris in the darkness. I felt my way and crawled along as swiftly as I could pull myself on my elbows against the burning rough pavement that left my forearms raw. I ignored the pain, pushing my way towards the shadow of the Cadillac, and hurriedly rolled beneath it as if that would really offer protection and safety from what was happening and about to come.
It was dark under here, but I could clearly see around the outer edges of the Cadillac, through the glimmer of the raging fires in the distance. My heart continued to hammer wildly, being fueled by fear and adrenaline. The asphalt was hot beneath me
, and the thunderous rumbling, which was growing louder, continued from within the earth and reverberated throughout my body. I cocked my head to the right. Someone was praying, but I could only make out a few words.
a mans voice; his words were choppy, “. . . forgiveness of my sins . . . faith. . .” He was abruptly cut off followed by diabolical, mocking laughter and after his short scream of terror, I heard something wet, like flesh being ripped, bones breaking and then…suckling
Bile burned my esophagus. I wanted to scream as my body went numb with terror. It was too dark to see what had happened to him, thank God, but I did see dark silhouettes morphing and dancing over his lifeless form— laughing in triumph. I had wanted to pray myself but would it even matter?
It hadn’t for him.
Mewling or what sounded like crying turned my attention upwards above me towards the front of the Cadillac. Though I didn’t want to see…didn’t want to know what was making that sound, I looked anyway
, because I had to help if I could manage to this time. A stroller had been tipped over, and a baby screamed, wrapped inside the bundle of blankets that tumbled out.
My gut wrenched, but I didn’t even pause to let my fear paralyze me. I turned over onto my belly to crawl towards the baby
, in order to grab and pull it towards me quickly; offering my own body as a shield…but I was too late.
Something dark and wicked, looking like a m
utant vulture with glowing green eyes swooped down swiftly and snatched up the bundle just as my fingertips grazed the blanket to my frozen horror, and I couldn’t even make a sound to scream or cry out myself.
Terror and heartbreak were an understatement. I felt both gu
ilt of failure and hopeless —now awaiting my own doom. Would I be snatched like that too? Would I be crushed under the Cadillac? Torn apart? Torn apart by what? What had that thing been?
The sudden, rancid combination of wet feathers, feces, rotten flesh and fur mixed with burnt earth made me retch, and I could taste it in the back of my throat. It was tortuous since I a
lready couldn’t breathe amid the acrid smell of smoke and the reek of the dirty engine and old gasoline above me.
A sudden whoosh of fire brought on the sickly smell of burning flesh this time. Hearing all the tortured screams around me made me b
elieve this was truly, Hell. The Earth had literally turned inside out. This nightmare was nesting the horrors of what lie waiting for us in its core since the dawn of time. I didn’t want to see or hear anymore as I shut my eyes and pressed my hands over my ears.
Blinking the wetness and irritating dust from my eyes I turned my head to the left, barely able to make out silhouettes of movement ou
tlined by the distant flaming fires and thick smoke. What I did see stilled my breath, and my blood turned to ice. Against the background of more bloodcurdling scream, a pair of bare feet and calves stepped slowly, unblemished but streaked with a black substance and trailing behind — were the tips of what looked like a shadowy cape? No… I heard birds screeching and smelled wet feathers…black feathers…Wings?!
I tried to force my legs to move, but they b
etrayed me with a mind of their own, feeling like cold, dead and useless stumps. I was shaking, my heart thundering erratically, practically in my throat.
If I thought fighting to stay alive would be an o
ption I’d at least try, but I don’t think I would have lasted long. I then began to ruminate over my lackluster life and all the accomplishments that would never be realized just as the Cadillac was flipped over in one swift motion— completely exposing me. My eyes widened in both horror and awe at what towered above me.
Seven feet of chiseled muscle, nearly naked, grand immense white wings spread wide open but r
uined with black plumes of feathers marked with sinister streaks of blood. He wore a dark loincloth against his copper-colored skin and the wicked fanged smile on his animalistic, contorted, inhuman face threatened malevolent intent as if in victory down at me. The odor of sulphur, burnt earth, decaying flesh and moldy, wet feathers became more defined now, and it made me cringe and gag.
His voice was ethereal yet wickedly grave and resonating. He said something in a strange language that I had never heard before, but he clearly said my full name at the end as he reached out a large hand for me.
“Staaarrrlliiing?” He lingered the sound of my name in more of a question, and though it was hard to understand him through his vicious, shark like teeth— my name had been pretty damned clear. He lifted me up by the front of my shirt as if I were a broken doll. The rough, putrid smell of his flesh, right beneath my nose as his knuckles rested just beneath my chin, was sickening. His large fisted hand made my head tilt back forcing me to have to look up at his terrifying face.
Though I didn’t even try to fight or attempt to wriggle free of his grip simply because I couldn’t bring myself to touch his flesh willingly; I refused to
verify or give away who I was, show fear or scream. Screaming was pointless once he raised me up high enough to level my face with his. He was huge.
The fear and the stink of him was so real and strong I nearly projectile vomited right into his face in reaction to the nausea that gripped my stomach like a vise.
Then again, he may just enjoy that as foul as he already was to me.
He was a giant, and every detail of his monstrous fe
atures were real enough that all I could do was stare at the dark angel in silence, the sound of my heart hammering its own death March song.
“Why do you cower Starling? You will never be able to hide from any of us even in darkness. Remember that!” the dark angel chortled. His face then grew enraged with impatience, and he shook me hard this time. His breath was foul like the odor of a thousand, rotting dead animals crammed into an old heating vent.
I was going to puke now. I felt it rising into my esophagus.
I purposefully rendered myself catatonic as I closed my eyes, not wanting to look at this hid
eous, evil angel this close up any longer. I didn’t want to give him a reason to continue to threaten me.
Then he shook me hard once again, and I couldn’t help it as my eyes snapped open-just as the dark angel displayed an evil, rictus smile across its vile face.
“You wanted to save the baby?” He asked in a mocking way with a lecherous smirk, and then he laughed.
“Don’t worry-you will soon make many of
your own with him… or maybe all of us.” He then grinned even bigger, showcasing his jagged, shark like teeth.
I swallowed. My mouth was as dry as cotton as another powerful wave of nausea hit me for more reasons than the obvious. It made me over-salivate, dragging a feeling of dread behind to warm and churn in my stomach.
I finally found my voice and even as small and trembling as it emanated from my throat, I managed to speak.
“Just kill me please,” I managed to spit back in a d
efiant whisper as I shut my eyes once again and turned my head away from him.
He laughed maniacally.
“Kill you? No, not you…death is final…torture is eternal. We would never kill you.” He growled and grinned shaking me one last time to force me to look at him, but I refused.
A sudden, surging heat began to sear and course throughout my veins followed by a burst of some strange energy deep within me. It forced me to snap my head back and face him on my own and open my eyes. I purposefully locked my eyes directly into the flat, onyx orbs that were his eyes and they began to glow like bright, nuclear embers. I felt instant hatred as a powerful defiant will begin to morph my fear i
nto rage; the rage to attack and fight-to destroy this dark being… all sinister beings and the shadows alike. What guided my sudden action was something that didn’t feel quite a part of me though it compelled me as second nature, something I’ve always known.