Magnifica: Tears of the Fallen Revised!

Hi All,

I’m happy to announce the Magnifica Tears of the Fallen has been revised, a few small changes have been made and is in the process of being re-released. Hope you all enjoy the improved book!

Thanks!
Jim

Book info:

ISBN: 978-0615942612
First Printing: December 2013

Cover Art by Helder Olivier

Editing By Meghan Harrington

Copyright © 2013, James Harrington

Amazon Listing.

 

Sample Chapter:

|

“Ariel, what is it? What has happened? Our world…”

“Oh my God… why… this was not supposed to happen!”

“Ariel, I don’t understand. It’s like an outside influence affected them.”

“Yes Roselyn, I can feel it, the ebb of time. There was an inter-dimensional shift… something terrible has happened.”

“What should we do, sister?”

“I have a feeling I know what caused this… I think it’s time for us to check in on our friends.”

“Ariel… you know the laws…”

“I know sister, but it’s a risk we have to take. The influence of our kind is what sent their world into chaos in the first place. We have to see…”

|

 

Chapter I

 

Come on Toby, get up!”

Toby groaned as his dream world gave way to a light blur. His eyes opened as he spoke, “All right, I’m awake…”

Lia’na glared at him with an annoyed look, “Ever since Hawaii you’ve been getting lazy! Come on, we’ve got stuff to do today.”

Toby shook his head as he sat up, “Yes… I know, don’t remind me.”

“I already did. We’ve got to go check on your uncle’s house to make sure that the lock was repaired and the cleaning crew did their job, and then you promised that you’d take me somewhere fun.”

“I know…” Toby replied. “I guess I’m just dreading it. I haven’t set foot in that house since before… well you know.”

“Yeah… look if it’s that big of a deal, I can just go and look for you.”

She crawled onto the mattress until her face was right in front of Toby’s, “I’m sorry. I guess I’m just anxious. Classes start on Monday and I know we won’t be able to go out much when things pick up.”

Toby turned to the side and put his feet on the floor, “Don’t worry about it. I know we need to get this done at some point. It might as well be now.”

Toby looked Lia’na over as he stood up. She was once again sleeping in his Red Sox jersey instead of the pajamas he’d bought for her. The white shirt complimented the tan on her skin from the weeks they’d spent in Hawaii.  Her hair was a mess and her braids were coming out, but she didn’t seem to care.

Toby liked this look on her much more than when she got all dressed up. He took it as a sign that she was comfortable and relaxed around him. Why she preferred his jersey to cotton pajamas was anyone’s guess, but the one time she wore the pajamas he got her, she tossed and turned all night.

Lia’na smiled as he pulled himself up, “All right, shower time.”

She grabbed his hand and led him into the bathroom. Toby followed close behind and shut the door. He quickly turned the dial and activated the fan in the bathroom to prevent the moister from building up.

Lia’na reached down to the bottom of the uniform and pulled the end up over her head. All she had been wearing underneath was a pair of white bikini bottoms. Toby watched her undress as she got ready for the shower. It was something he’d seen several times before, but he never tired of it.

 

Lia’na noticed him staring and slowed down a little with a coy smile on her face. The moment Toby realized what she was doing he stopped watching her and quickly stripped off his own t-shirt and boxers. Once they were both ready, Lia’na stepped into the porcelain tub and bent down to turn the water on. It took her a moment to find a comfortable temperature, but once she had, she pulled the level and activated the shower head.

Toby got in behind her as the water poured down her body. She stood up straight, closed her eyes, and released a deep sigh as the heat caressed her skin. The water made her skin shimmer as Toby pulled her close and let the water fall around them.

Lia’na nuzzled her head into Toby’s chest as he squeezed her and wrapped her arms around him. She was breathing deeply, allowing the water to sooth her nerves. Her back arched as Toby put his hand over her spine and her skin broke out in goose bumps.

Toby’s body began to glow and little wisps of light appeared around them in the shower. Lia’na looked at them with worry, “Spirit embers… this is the third time in two weeks.”

Toby nodded as he looked at his skin, “I know. I don’t understand it either. The radioactive properties of the Lux Mundi are gone. By now, the residual energy should have worn off. Shouldn’t my powers have at least weakened by now?”

“I don’t know, ta arshana. From what I know from elven tradition, when the Lux Mundi was destroyed, enchanters saw an immediate dip in their powers and over time they became more and more like regular people. You powers haven’t dipped at all though. In fact, it feels like they’ve gained strength! We need to figure this out… and soon, otherwise you’ll become a target.”

“How do we figure that out?”

“Masarabi might have been able to tell us, but we’re not allowed to go back there. I checked every historical piece I could find on the Lux Mundi online, but they didn’t have anything either. Maybe when we get back to campus the library will have something.”

“All right.” Toby replied. “Then we’ll check the library when we get back. For now though, can we just not worry about it? It’s been bothering you since we got back from Hawaii and I would just like to have a day or two where we don’t worry about things.”

Lia’na nodded as the embers slowly vanished and gave him another squeeze, “Deal.”
Getting out of the shower was agonizing for both of them, but they had a long day ahead of them and knew they had to get started. Toby would have been okay with staying in the room and relaxing, but he knew that Lia’na was still getting used to her new home closer to the city, so he decided to do things her way.

Lia’na slowly rinsed herself off by turning around a few times under the water. Finally she stepped out from under the shower and wiped the water from her eyes. She smiled as her eyes met Toby’s.

They stayed in the shower for a few more minutes before Toby twisted the handle and turned it off. Once the last drops of water had fallen from the shower head, Toby reached out from behind the curtain to the rack above the toilet and grabbed two towels. He handed the first one to Lia’na and wiped himself down with the second one.

Toby quickly brushed his teeth and hair and left Lia’na to tend to her own hair. He headed over to his dresser and grabbed a clean black shirt out of the drawer with a decent pair of khaki shorts. Unlike college, his underwear drawer was full of clean shorts, so finding a decent pair was easy.

Toby dressed quickly as Lia’na worked on her hair in the bathroom. When he was done, Toby quickly went through the closet he’d given to Lia’na for her clothes. He found a nice pair of flats and a black dress that he had bought for her, but she had yet to wear. He went back to his own drawer with her clothes in hand and grabbed a black collared shirt and a pair of longer pants from his drawer. Now’s my chance…

Once Toby had everything he wanted, he snuck out of the bedroom, through the living room, and down to his bike in the garage. He moved quietly, hoping Lia’na wouldn’t notice he was missing.

A familiar purr came from the garage as he opened the door. Toby shook his head, “Shh…”

The bike quieted down as Toby slid the clothes into the leather side bags on the motorcycle. He quickly threaded the straps back together, concealing the bags’ contents as he looked at the bike’s headlight, “Don’t say anything okay? I’m taking Lia’na somewhere special.”

Vroom!

“Thanks buddy. I’ll be right back.”

Toby quickly made his way back upstairs to the condo. He opened the door, walked back into the bedroom, and sat down on his mattress. Thankfully, Lia’na was still in the bathroom. He was about lay down when his phone went off. The loud music made him jump as he turned to his nightstand. The display was lit up and a horrible picture of his dwarven friend appeared.

Oh God… what does he want? Toby asked himself as he picked up the phone, “Hey buddy, what’s up?”

“Nothing,” Gishan replied, “just checking in. How you guys doing?”

“We’re fine. Lia’na’s pretty much all healed up. The Ulium is gone and the emotional damage seems to be going away as well. She seems to be getting more used to living here.”

“That’s good… really good.”

Toby rolled his eyes, “Seriously dude, this is the fourth time you’ve called in a few days, what’s going on?”

“Ah I don’t know.” Gishan’s voice replied. “I guess I’m just bored. Giselle is out of town for another few weeks and God only knows where she is.”

“Comes with the job, you know?”

“Yeah I do… Doesn’t make it any easier.”

“I didn’t think it would.” Toby admitted as Lia’na came out of the bathroom. “Don’t worry about it though. We’ll all be on campus in another day or so.”

“Yeah I know. It just won’t be the same having to share my place with a new roommate.”

“Matteus is a good guy. You’ll do fine.”

“Did you get all of your crap out of the room?” Gishan asked.

“Yeah. We rented a van a few days ago and got both mine and Lia’na’s stuff before turning in our keys to the office.”

“Don’t seem right dude…” Gishan said softly.

“I know Gishan. Look, if it gets that bad, you can always come here and shack up in the spare bedroom. You’ve got a key, you know?”

Gishan’s voice perked up a little. “Yeah I do. All right thanks Toby.”

“Don’t mention it. I’ll see you on Monday.”

“Looking forward to it, see ya man.” Gishan said as he hung up the phone.

Lia’na turned and looked at Toby as he put the phone down, “Gishan again?”

“It’s a big adjustment for him. This will be the first time we’re not living together in a while. I guess he doesn’t like having to let go.”

Lia’na rolled his eyes, “He doesn’t have to, you know? He can always move in here! Now that you’ve bound me to you, I don’t mind giving it up. I never sleep there anyway.”

“I know, I offered it to him… but he’s stubborn. I’m sure after a few weeks with Matteus, he’ll come around.”

“I hope so. I don’t think Giselle likes the idea of hanging out on a college campus now that she’s not posing as a student.”

“Probably not. Come on; let’s go out for some breakfast.”

Lia’na’s eyes lit up, “Oh, the Tumble Inn Diner?”

“Why not?”

“All right!” Lia’na cheered, “Give me a minute to get dressed.”

Lia’na quickly threw on a pair of black bikini briefs and a matching bra, jean shorts, and a green lace top with spaghetti straps. It was still warm out, so she thought that would be sufficient. She quickly looked at herself in the mirror and nodded in approval.

Once Lia’na was convinced she looked presentable, she turned to Toby, “Okay I’m ready! Let’s go!”

The couple left Toby’s condo and headed down to the garage. The moment the door opened, Lia’na was startled by the loud roar of a motorcycle engine. Toby’s bike was powered up and ready to go.

Lia’na shook her head as she looked at it, “I still don’t understand how she still has powers. That’s a little worrisome.”

Toby frowned with a hurt look on his face, “I like it. The bike is much more fun with a personality, though it can be a little too pushy at times!”

Vrrr…

“Aw, Toby, you hurt her feelings!”

“And how do you know it’s a girl?” Toby demanded.

Lia’na ran her fingers across the seat as the bike’s engine purred appreciatively, “Women just understand each other, Toby.”

Toby’s eyes rolled as he sat on the bike, “Oh whatever, let’s go!”

 

 

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

 

Stardust: Being a Review Within the Realms of Faerie

The book, turned into a very popular movie that has quickly achieved cult status, was published in 1998. Originally it started out as a written story that was published in comic book form (sort of). Neil Gaiman, the author, wanted artwork displayed with the book and from what I read, convinced his friend Charles Vess to do the illustrations. It was published by… of all people, DC Comics!

Keep in mind though, this is NOT a comic book. Far far from it. Given the layout, the way the illustrations tend to flow around the words, and the drop cap, illuminated caps at the beginning of each chapter… I have to say that its closer to looking like a medieval book (See book of hours for further reference.)

It’s written in a very old world form of English and will require a slightly more expanded vocabulary to fully appreciate the writing. I personally love that Gaiman chose to do this as it fits in with the type of story that it is. This is written as a very traditional fantasy, paying homage to the pre-Tolkien styles and stories that many of us grew up with.

So I just finished the book… and… honestly I’m kind of on the fence about this one.

Why? Well… maybe because I saw the movie first… ill-advised, I know, but my introduced me to it. I didn’t even know a book existed until about a year later. So in typical collector fashion, I sought out a first edition… and found one that was Autographed by Charles Vess.

So going through this book, it reads fairly similar to the movie. It starts off dealing with Dunstan Thorn and then follows the adventures of his son Tristran (Not Tristan) Thorn as he searches for the fallen star to bring back to his true love.

Overall, the book definitely delves a lot more into the world of Faerie (Not Stormhold). The book starts off kind of slow, as most traditional fantasies do. In fact, the star barely makes an appearance until about half way through. We’re also introduced to many characters, including a nymph tree, a rabbit-like hairy man, among others.

The artwork is also sort of a fairy tale, old-world style, which compliments the book nicely and is unexpectedly dazzling to look at:

20170410_075615.jpg

Keeping in mind though… THIS IS NOT A CHILDREN’S BOOK AND I MEAN BY ANY STRETCH!

20170410_075540.jpg

However there are several things that I don’t like about this story, and again, this may be more the movie’s fault!

Spoilers ahead folks, be ready!


So what did I like about the book?
As I said, the artwork, the expansive story, the overall writing style, and a completely original world that we haven’t seen before. The character development was great, the relationship between the main cast was very well fleshed out, and motivations behind everything they did were clearly established.

What didn’t I like?
The sky pirates aren’t as developed as they were in the movie and the captains hobbies are not explored either as they are in the movie. The movie took quite a bit of dramatic license.

The ending… my God the ending… This is one of those rare books where its strong enough to survive an iffy conclusion. Again, this is partially the fault of the movie. Where the movie ends with Tristran and the Star living many years together and then leaving for the Heavens to live together forever as stars… in the book the star can NEVER return to her domain. After Tristran dies, the immortal star becomes the lady of Stormhold and rules by herself. The book ends by saying that she spends her nights up in the highest tower looking up at the heavens, sadly.

Ugh!!! Maybe I’m just a pampered brat, but this is not my kind of ending. It left me unsatisfied and really just looking at it like ‘…. what the heck!?’

I might recommend skipping the Epilogue.

Now again, maybe I’d feel different if I’d read the book first, but I didn’t.


So with all this in mind, what is my overall rating?

4/5 Stars.

I can’t in good conscience downvote the book because of the movie. As far as I’m concerned, they are not the same story. Where one expands, the other cuts back. The book covers more time, but the movie really gets the character better. The relationship in the movie feels rushed and almost cliched and is explained far better in the book.

Do I recommend it? Hell yes! It is an amazing story in its own right and is one that fantasy junkies like myself will love for years to come. This gem of a book is going on my shelf right next to my first edition NeverEnding Story and Silmarillion.

Have you read it? Let me know what you think in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Beneath the Surface (Chapter 10)

X

 

Alex woke up in his mother’s bed. He felt disgusting and his joints were all sore like they hadn’t been moved in days. He was in despirate need of a shower. He sat up, ready to start the day, when he looked outside to see that it was completely dark. What time is it?

The clock next to his bed said 9pm. What the hell?

At that moment, his mind began to clear, “Tersa!”

Alex struggled to get out of bed. His knees ached as he tried to apply weight to them. He was unable to find his balance. Had he been drugged?

At that moment, two men in black and red robes burst through the door. Alex’s eyes went wide, “Who the hell are you?”

The leader, an older man with a gray beard, stepped forward, “I am Father Benson, and this is Father Paul.”

He eyed the two preists suspiciously, “You’re here from the Vatican?”

“Officially, no. We don’t even exist. We are part of an ancient order within the church. We are Papal Knights.”

“The Papal Knights were disbanded back during the 16th Century. They don’t exist anymore.” Alex fired back.

“As far as the public is concerned, that’s true.”

On their black robes, both of them had a small pendant on the collar. It was two sword, one red, one white, in the form of a cross. They each also had a sword at their side, for ceremonial purposes, no doubt.

Alex didn’t know their intentions, but didn’t trust them, “I suppose you two are the ones who have been following me around over the last few days?”

The two priests looked at each other for a moment before Father Benson spoke, “No.”

“You weren’t following me in black hodded cloaks?”

“No.”

“Then who was?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know.”

Alex was growing even more suspicious, “What happened? Where is Tersa?”

“She’s safe.”

“I need more than that, what happened after the exorcism?”

“There was no exorcism. You failed. What were you thinking?”

“I beg your pardon?” Alex asked.

Father Benson pointed an accusing finger at him, “You are not ordained. You went to the church, they turned you down, so instead you go about trying a seat of your pants exorcism? Are you out of your mind?”

“Father Moran’s view was way off.” Alex shot back. “He wouldn’t even consult the bishop on it. She clearly was exhibiting all the symptons of a power possession. There is no way that she would have lasted long. Where is she?”

“Here.”

“Here? In my house?”

Father Benson nodded, “Yes, we took up residence here. Her parents agreed to leave her in our care while we sort this out.”

Alex shook his head, “Sort what out? This struck me as a possession, not unlike any other.”

“Oh but it is different.”

“How.”

“Because, Tersa isn’t the only one possessed.”

“What… then who, Sgt. McConnel?”

“No. Think harder.”

That’s when it hit Alex. The voices he’d been hearing, the hallucinations, the man in the black robes, the nightmares… “Me?”

Father Benson nodded, “That’s correct.”

“Well… that would explain a few things, but how…?”

Father Paul stepped forward, “The failed exorcism that you were a part of. That girl left something with you, didn’t she?”

“No. Nothing.”

“No?” Brother Paul asked. “Tell me, when did the nightmares and your smoking habit start? Almost immediately after, didn’t it?”

“Well… Come on, that’s just post traumatic stress disorder.”

Father Benson nodded, “Spoken like a true psychologist.”

“It’s the truth.”

“Is it?” Father Benson asked. “How long do you think you’ve been laying here?”

Alex shrugged, “I don’t know, 17 hours?”

“It’s been four days.”

“Four days?”

“Afraid so…”

Alex couldn’t believe it, “How… that’s not possible! I was unconscious for three days! What did you give me?”

“Nothing, we knocked you out. We didn’t drug you… and you weren’t unconscious the entire time either.”

“What do you mean?”

“You were up, walking around, speaking in tongues.”

Alex was barely able to process this information, “So why didn’t you exorcise… whatever it is?”

“We tried, twice. It will not leave. We were even able to identify it, but it still remains attached to your soul.”

“What are we dealing with?”

Father Paul lowered his eyes as he spoke, “Adramelech.”

Alex couldn’t believe it, but it made sense. That would explain why Rachel referred to him as such, “But… that demon…”

“Yes we know. It killed that poor girl in Rome.”

“But it was with her after the exorcism.”

“No.” Father Paul replied. “We believe that it did the damage to her that killed her during the exorcism. She died because of those injuries, but that doesn’t mean they were inflicted at that point. It would appear that your exorcism wasn’t a failure after all. You ripped the demon from that poor girl, but you didn’t successfully send it to Hell.”

“So it attached itself to me.”

Father Benson nodded, “Yes… I’m afraid so…”

Alex rubbed his forehead. Suddenly things started to fall into place. Unfortunately, it still left too much unanswered, “But why haven’t I ever lost control? I’ve had hallucinations, but up until now, the demon has never taken control of me.”

“That you know of.”

Alex stopped in his path, “Yes… that I know of.”

“For all you know, it could have taken you while you slept. Or perhaps it was lying in wait for the right moment to strike.”

“Why would it do that?”

“Who knows? Maybe it wanted you to bring it somewhere before trying to take over?”

That made Alex very suspicious, “Somewhere as in here?”

“Possibly.”

“But why?”

“No idea…”

Alex shook his head, more questions that didn’t have answers. He stood up and turned to the priests, “Can I see her?”

The two of them nodded as Father Benson spoke up, “She’s out on your back porch, but for your own safty, we’d ask that you not leave the property. We can’t guarantee your safty or the safry of those nearby if you do.”

“I’m surprised you’re not trying to force me to stay put.”

“We’re preists, not armed guards.”

Alex nodded as he turned to the door and stepped out of the bedroom. He proceeded past the priests down the hallway to the living room. Everything was as it had been before in the living room and the dining room.

His house was very similar in layout to the McConnel’s. Their dining room and slider to the back porch was in the same place, though his mother preferred a different setup of the furnature. Their table was off to the side, giving anyone in the living room an unobstructed view of the porch.

Alex made his way to the back slider when he saw Tersa standing out back, wrapped in a black blanket. He pulled the slider open carefully, trying not to disturb her, but his efforts were in vain. She jumped the moment that she heard the slider open.

A sign of relief exited her body when she saw that it was just Alex. He paused at the door when he saw her, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“You didn’t.” She responded. “I guess I’m just a little tightly wound at the moment.”

“Yeah, I can understand that.”

“Well it’s not every day you find out that you’re the reincarnated mistress of some ancient Aztec God.”

“Aztec?”

“Quetzalcoatl. He was the Aztec God of light. Some say he was one of their Sun Gods. I looked it up when I found out who Rachel worshipped.”

Alex scratched his head, “But I don’t get it, why you?”

“I was born at the right time.”

“Yeah you and how many millions of others?”

“I also lived nearby.”

“Still, there has to be a bit more to it than that. I mean why you, why wait three hundred years?”

Tersa shrugged. Alex saw the sad look on her face and began to worry, “There’s something you’re not telling me, isn’t there?”

“Maybe.”

“Maybe?”

Tersa nodded, “It could be nothing… odd coincidence.”

“What?”

“My mother’s maiden name, Proctor.”

Chills ran down Alex’s spine, “You’re kidding?”

“No, and my mother’s family has lived in this town for as far back as our history goes.”

“Now it makes sense.”

Tersa nodded, “Yeah… Rachel was too young to have children, but according to what I read, she had brothers and sisters, some of whom survived to adulthood.”

“So that would make you her great, great, great, great… great grand niece.”

“Her blood descendant.”

Alex sighed, “Well that does make sense.”

“So you believe?”

“Yeah, I believe you, why wouldn’t I?”

“That’s not what I meant.” Tersa replied. “I was asking if you believe.”

“Then my answer is still no.”

“How can someone who has seen a demonic possession and even now is dealing with one of his own, still not believe in God?”

“Did I ever say that I didn’t believe in God?”

Tersa’s racing mind stopped dead in its tracks. It’s true, he never did say that. Then what did he mean when he said that he wasn’t a believer? This made no sense to her, “Then what don’t you believe in?”

“I don’t believe he cares.” Alex replied. “I don’t believe that he’s infallible.”

“So… what you think he just created us for sport or some kind of entertainment?”

“Exactly.”

“That’s a pretty dismal outlook.”

“Yup.”

“You really have changed. The guy I used to know would never have said anything like that.”

“A lot can happen in six years.”

“I guess.”

Alex’s eyes narrowed, “You sound disappointed.”

“No, not at all.” Tersa insisted. “You may not be the charismatic person you were back then, but you were still the kind person who took a complete stranger in distress in off of the street. That’s the guy that I remember.”

“Well at there’s one person I didn’t disappoint.”

An annoyed look appeared on Tersa’s face, “You know, you put way too much stock in what happened in Rome. Small towns like this aren’t a good place to keep secrets.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that everyone here knows that something bad happened to you over in Rome, not everyone knows what, but we all know that you left the seminary because of something you saw. Rumors spread quickly about what it was…”

Alex rolled his eyes, “Oh great…”

“Alex, we were worried about you. You could have come home, but you were too ashamed.”

“I couldn’t save that girl. She had a family and life before all of this.”

“Yeah she did, but so did you and you still do. Look, from what you told me, you were a student. You shouldn’t have even been put in that situation. You did what you could.”

“It wasn’t enough.”

“No, but you gave it everything you could. It wasn’t for you to save that girl. She was doomed the moment that your teacher was killed.”

Alex couldn’t argue anymore, or was it that he didn’t want to? Instead he feigned a smile, “You sure know how to suck the wind out of an argument.”

“It’s easy when all you have is the truth.”

Alex nodded, “All right, well I’ll think about.”

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Beneath the Surface (Chapter 9)

IX

It was only 3 in the afternoon. Alex had some time to spare. He would have rather stayed with Tersa to dissuade his fears, but he knew that he needed some time alone. If he was ever to be of any help to her, he needed time to prepare himself.

At first, Alex headed home, but then he had a sudden urge to go somewhere else. He turned the car around and headed towards the center of town. He drove down Main Street and then turned into the cemetery on the outskirts.

After pulling onto the winding road of the cemetery, he stopped his car and got out. There was a gentle breeze that was off set by the warm October sun. It was comfortable enough weather that normally Alex would have been outdoors with some friends, but this was not the time for it.

As he closed the door, he noticed the cigarettes on the passenger’s seat and realized that he hadn’t had one that day. He grabbed the pack and looked at it for a moment. A sudden urge came over him to light up. He was about to open the pack when a feeling of disgust came over him. He threw the pack back on the seat and closed the door. Oh fuck it.

Alex walked slowly up the hill to the grave of his mother. The fresh soil had not yet had grass planted over it. His mother’s stone was in place with her name, Gloria Hendrickson, carved into the center. He felt like her caring eyes were looking at him at that very moment.

Alex wasn’t ready for what he was about to do and needed help, “Mom… I just wanted to say that I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I’m such a failure, I’m sorry that I haven’t been home in two years, and I’m sorry that you didn’t have a better son. I tried… you know I really tried, but after what happened in Rome, I just couldn’t bring myself to face you again.”

Tears filled his eyes as he spoke, “I’ve got something to do now… something big. If I fail… I don’t know what’s going to happen. You remember the girl, Tersa? You were friends with her mother. She’s in trouble now and I’ve been asked to do something I swore that I’d never do again. I don’t know how to handle this, Mom. I’m scared. I wish you were here right now. You always knew what to say to make even the worst situations not look that bad. You’d probably say something like ‘just do your best and let God handle everything else’ right?”

Alex closed his eyes as the tears began to flow, “I miss you… Whatever happens tonight… I hope you can forgive me.”

Alex bent over and kissed the top of the gravestone before turning and heading back to his car. He drove home and got to work preparing what he needed. He hoped that he still had everything from the old days.

After closing and locking the front door, Alex ran to his room to look for a specific book that he knew he’d need. He went through his bookshelf and opened all of his drawers, one by one. Come on, it has to be here. Please Mom, you can’t have thrown it out.

Alex opened the last drawer to his nightstand and found exactly what he was looking for. Inside was a small black book with golden letters embossed on the cover. The Roman Ritual… thank Goodness!

He’d had that book since he first entertained the idea of going into the seminary. It should have everything that he needed to perform the ritual. It was an older copy, but it should still work.

With the book in hand, Alex went out to the living room, flicked on the TV, and switched to the News. He wasn’t really watching it, he just wanted some background noise while he centered himself. Ordinarily, this would have been the time for prayer and reflection, but he no longer saw any value in either, not for himself.

After a few minutes, he drifted off to sleep. He wasn’t tired, but perhaps it was withdrawal from not smoking at all that day. He sucked in one last deep breath before losing consciousness.

Alex was immediately surrounded by darkness. His sleep was dreamless for hours until something appeared in the voice. It was a woman, clad only in a white nightshirt that was almost see-through. At first, he thought that it was Tersa.

She walked in a seductive manner towards him. He felt paralyzed and unable to back away. Her face revealed itself to him. It was Tersa, but at the same time, it wasn’t. He couldn’t explain it. Some part of her was in that face, but not all of it.

As she moved, the shirt disappeared, revealing pale skin that was barely any darker. She moved close enough to press her body against his and rest her head on his chest. When she finally spoke, her voice was little more than the subtle hiss of a snake, “Come to me…”

Alex couldn’t move and couldn’t draw enough breath to respond. She lifted her head off of his chest, “Take me…”

Her body rose against his so that she was able to kiss him. Alex couldn’t move, but he felt his body begin to light up against her touch. He was almost completely powerless.

He had to get away. He knew that this wasn’t right. When she began running her hands up his back, Alex focused his mind and pushed hard against his paralysis. Finally, he was able to break free, “Ugh, no!”

Alex opened his eyes and found himself back in reality. He breathed heavily as he looked at the TV. The bottom right hand corner said that it was almost 2:30am. Shit, they’ll wonder where I am!

After quickly changing his shirt, Alex quickly grabbed the book, ran outside, and got into his car. It was raining again and the wind was picking up. The weather beat down on his car as hard as it could as though it were trying to stop him from getting to Tersa.

Alex shook his head, “Throw as much of a tantrum as you want! You’re not stopping me!”

At that moment, a massive tree branch fell in front of his car, causing him to swerve off the road. His car came to a stop in a small muddy ditch. The tires spun as it tried to free itself.

Alex put the car in park and got out. As the wind blew by, he could detect the faint sound of whispering. He couldn’t quite make out the words as they appeared to be in a foreign language that he wasn’t familiar with.

After inspecting his tire, Alex realized that there was no way he could get it out of the ditch right now. He would need a tow, but he didn’t have time to wait for one. The clock on the dash read 2:45.  Not much time!

Having no other choice, he abandoned the car and began running with the Roman Ritual under his arm. It was raining heavily, but he did the best he could to keep the book safe. Thankfully, he was not too far away.

The rain stung Alex’s eyes as he finally arrived at the McConnel house. Sgt. McConnel met him at the door, “Alex, thank God you made it. Are you all right?”

A drenched Alex took a moment to catch his breath, “Yeah… fine… we need to get started.”

Alex tried to push past Sgt. McConnel, but the officer stopped him in his place. Alex looked at him oddly, “What is it?”

Sgt. McConnel shook his head, “Just so there are no surprises… Tersa has taken a turn. It looks like the demon has control now.”

“Then we have no time to waste, come on.”

Alex looked around as they stood outside of Tersa’s bedroom, “Where is your wife?”

“In our room. She’s been through enough.”

“Fine, are you ready?”

Sgt. McConnel nodded, “I don’t know what you need me to do, but I’m there for my little girl.”

“It’s not her that you’re going to be facing in there.”

Alex’s words sent a chill down Tersa’s father’s spine, “What do you need me to do?”

“Stay close, if she tries to harm herself, restrain her. Whatever you do, do not interfere in the ritual, if you feel like you can’t handle it then remove yourself. Don’t engage the creature, ignore it and don’t speak to it in any way.”

“Understood.”

Alex nodded, “All right, let’s go.”

Sgt. McConnel’s fingers curled around the door knob. He worked the door open slowly. On the other side, Alex could see Tersa handcuffed to both bedposts. Her knuckles were red and she was covered in sweat.

Alex saw the crucifix above her head and the holy water on the table near the door. The McConnels had done everything he’d asked. Now it was his turn.

Tersa, or whatever had control of her hissed, “So Adramelech, you came. I thought after you pushed me away earlier, you were going to stay away.”

Adramelech? What was she talking about? It doesn’t matter. Demons will do anything they can to throw you off. Ignore it.

Alex began by sprinkling Holy Water in the shape of a cross on Tersa, her father, and himself. Tersa winced in pain as though the water burned her. Oddly, Alex also felt pain, albeit not as badly. Again he chalked it up to the demon trying to play tricks on him and opened the Roman Ritual.

The first section was the Litany of the Saints. First came the invocation of the trinity, and then the invocation of the archangels and the saints. Finally, Alex asked for deliverance from evil.

Tersa laughed through the entire thing, “Your words are meaningless. You don’t even believe them! How can you possibly call on the powers of Heaven when you yourself don’t believe in their worth?”

She had a point and Alex knew it. His own lack of belief could spell doom for this attempt, and for Tersa, but it was the only chance he had to save her, so he once again ignored the demon’s words and continued, “Dwell not, O Lord, on our sins or those of our parents, nor take vengeance on us for them!”

He then continued on to recite the psalms. Tersa’s laughing became even higher pitched. She was clearly enjoying this, “Silly poems and meaningless words won’t save her this night!”

Alex shut out the demon’s relentless taunting and continued to pray. He had to do his best to remain stoic, but his patience was failing. An exorcism was supposed to be a test of wills and he was losing this fight.

The reading of John 1 didn’t help, nor did the blessing of the sick. The demon kept relentlessly taunting him. As he continued reading, it turned to Tersa’s father, “Look at this pretender, not a true defender. He can’t save your daughter! It fills me with laughter! Adramelech won’t harm me, he doesn’t even know who he is!”

That was all that Alex was going to tolerate. He doused her in more holy water. The demon fell back in pain and went silent as though showing some form of obedience.

Alex nodded and began the exorcism rite, “I cast you out, evil spirit from hell, you and all your foul companions. In nomine Criste. Begone from our daughter Tersa and stay far from this creature of God.”

The demon spat at him, “Never!”

Alex ignored her and continued in a louder voice, “For it is he that commands you, it is he who cast your being from the heights of the Heavens into the depths of Hell, he who once stilled the sea and the wind and the storm. Tremble in fear, Satan, you enemy of the belief, you foe of all things living, you bringer of death.”

The demon fought back, “I am not Satan! You use words without embracing their meaning! You fool!”

“Why, then, do you defy God, you must know that Christ brings your plans to ruin? Fear him, crucified as flesh, yet claimed victory over the powers of Hell.”

“Your words are meaningless!” The demon roared. “You invoke the name of someone you do not believe can help you. How dare you think to bring me down!”

“Begone, then, in Nomine Patri, et Fili, et Spiritus Sancti! Give place to our lord Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, our God, forever and ever.”

Alex closed the book. The demon was panting as it stared him down. It was as though their eyes were waging their battle for them.

“What is your name demon?” Alex demanded.

“You’re too late.”

“What is your name?”

“You can’t save her, only a man of faith could!”

“Identify yourself, ancient serpent!”

“I was alone in the sky… I will return… or is that you?”

“In nomine Criste! Give me your name!”

The demon threw its head back and cried out, “I am Rachel Proctor, mistress of Quetzalcoatl! I was imprisoned, but I was released, and you my love, you have set me free!”

Alex’s eyes widened and he stepped back while Rachel let out a scream that no human vocal chords could possibly make. Chills rolled down his spine as he processed her words. Thunder and lightning outside her window added to horror that was unfolding in front of them.

Sgt. McConnel looked up confused, “Alex, what is she talking about?”

Rachel forced Tersa’s body to lie back, “Take me, oh lord, as is your right.”

Alex shook as he tried to continue, “D… depart then…”

“That is enough!”

Alex and Sgt. McConnel turned to see three men in black and red robes enter the room. The leader spoke up, “In Nomine Criste, this ends now! Lord God forgive us!”

Alex was about to say something when he felt a sudden and pain strike to the back of his head. His eyes blurred and he fell unconscious. The exorcism was over.

 

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Beneath the Surface (Chapter 8)

VIII

A few minutes later, the scene at the McConnel house was one of defeat. Tersa’s parents were researching psychiatrists that she could go to, though they all knew it wouldn’t help. Alex had been invited to stay for dinner, which he accepted, but he spent most of the time on their back porch with Tersa as she tried to contemplate her bleak future.

“I was set to move out in a few months… finally.”

Alex turned and looked at her, “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah, my artwork had been picked up for publishing in a new children’s book that was coming out. They wanted me to do the illustrations for an entire series.”

“That’s exciting.”

“I guess. It’s giving me enough money to rise above the starving artist status.”

Alex smirked, “Who says you still can’t do that?”

“What, go off on my own now, with this?”

“It can’t last forever. Maybe it’ll just go away.”

Tersa shook her head. She knew that Alex was just trying to cheer her up, but it wasn’t working, “You really would have made a good priest.”

“No I wouldn’t have. I should have realized that it wasn’t the life for me. I let my sense of adventure get the better of me.”

“Therapist then?”

“Maybe… but not anymore.”

Tersa bit her lower lip, “What did Father Moran say to you?”

Alex didn’t want her to know. He knew that the priest had suggested more therapy, but not specifically why. Still she had him cornered and he had a feeling that she wouldn’t let him avoid the question, “He basically said that you made the whole thing up.”

“What, why?”

“He said that… maybe you might be a little obsessed?”

“With what?”

“Well… me…”

A look of anger like nothing Alex had ever seen appeared on her face, “Are you serious? No offense Alex, you’re a nice guy, but you’re no Chris Pine or Orlando Bloom!”

“Wow… none taken,” said Alex sarcastically.

Tersa lowered her eyes and released the air from her lungs, “What I mean is that you were a nice guy and I liked hearing about your successes, but I wasn’t pining for you after you left. When you joined the seminary, I moved on and realized that I had lost my chance and I got over it. It was a high school crush, we’ve all had them. I have my own life now and I’ve worked hard.”

“He didn’t think that it was a coincidence that you happened to be outside of my house the other night.”

“Great… so now he thinks I’m an obsessive nut and a stalker? Let me ask you something, Alex.”

“Shoot.”

“Do you think I know how to sabotage a forty year old car in a way that you couldn’t easily have fixed or identified?”

Alex thought for a moment, “Well… no…”

“There you go.”

“You don’t have to convince me. I didn’t buy his reasoning either.”

Tersa nodded, “Well at least I know that you still believe me.”

“Not that it matters.”

“It matters to me.”

“Well you’re the only one.”

“Isn’t that enough?”

Alex looked at her oddly, “What are you talking about?”

At that moment, Sgt. McConnel came out the back slider door to talk to them, “So we’ve got a few recommendations of good psychiatrists that you can go to.”

Tersa shook her head, “You know it won’t do any good, Dad.”

“I don’t think so either, but I don’t know how else to convince Father Moran.”

Tersa clenched her fists, “I don’t think I want to go back to that church, or see him again. He thinks I’m some kind of obsessive fangirl.”

Alex smirked as she looked at him. There was a look of desperation in her eyes that made him quickly hide the smile, “Alex, isn’t there something that you can do? Anything?”

Alex sighed, “No.”

“But according to your books, in ancient times, lay people performed exorcisms. Obviously…”

“There is no way to know if those cases were actual possessions.” Alex interrupted. “We don’t even know how many were actually successful.”

“But you know the rituals. You know what we’re up against.”

“Yes, I know enough not to mess with something like this. I don’t have that kind of faith anymore. I am not the person you want. I told you what happened last time. I can’t…”

Tersa didn’t know what else to do. She was frustrated, frightened, and annoyed at the same time. She fought back the tears in her eyes as she glared at Alex, “What do you want me to do, beg? I don’t want to live like this. If theirs even a chance…”

“I killed that girl.” Alex blurted out.

“The girl in Rome?”

“Yes.”

“No you didn’t. That creature you talked about did. You said so yourself.”

“But I was the one that empowered it. I should never have stepped in to finish the exorcism. I wasn’t experienced or even finished with my training. All I did was make it stronger.”

Tersa kept her eyes on Alex as she spoke, “By the sound of things, that demon already had what it wanted and was fully capable of carrying out its wishes. You can’t be blamed for that.”

“I can and I do… God didn’t help me that day. Who am I to think that he’d help me now? You’d be gambling your life.”

“It’s my life.”

“Yes,” Alex replied, “and it’s my decision. You should go see the psychiatrist and when he says that theres nothing he can do, Father Moran…”

“Will do nothing and you know it.” Tersa said in an accusing tone.

Alex sighed. She was right. Father Moran was too much of a skeptic, especially for a priest. Tersa looked him in the eye again, “I don’t believe that you killed that girl. I don’t believe that at all. You shouldn’t have been in that situation in the first place. You reacted the only way you could have in that situation and you did the best you could. It was not your fault.”

“Maybe, but it happened.”

“Yes it did, but this is different. You’ve had more time. I… I know that you can do it. I believe in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself. That girl in Rome was not your fault.”

Alex tried to look away, but Tersa grabbed his head and looked into his eyes, “Please?”

Alex looked up at Sgt. McConnel, “And what’s your take on all of this?”

“Like I said, I’m not a man of faith, but what I’ve seen over the last few days has begun to turn my head. If you can help my daughter, please do.”

Alex looked up at the sky and then back at Tersa. He was trying to find a way out. He wanted to say no. A simple no would have put an end to it. Two simple letters put together and he would avoid the issue all together, but it wasn’t that simple. A no would likely spell doom for Tersa if the church wouldn’t intervene.

He finally gave in, “Fine, though I be damned for this. We’ll do it after dark. 3am.”

Tersa smiled and gave him a peck on the cheek, “Thank you, I know that you’re going against your better judgement.”

Alex was about to say that she was welcomed, but a sudden thrust to the side and a sharp pain in his cheek cut him off. He looked at Tersa to see that it was no longer her standing there. Her eyes were black and her lips were twisted into a hideous smile.

Alex didn’t back down this time, “Qui estis?”

“Ego sum, illa qui fuit incarceratus.” (I am she that was imprisoned.)

“Et ejiciam vos.” (And I will throw you out.)

The creature smiled, “I welcome you to try.”

At that moment, her eyes turned back to their normal color. A look of shock came over her when she saw the red mark on Alex’s face, “I… I did that… didn’t I?”

“No… not you.”

“I can feel it in my hand.”

“It was the creature.”

Tersa shook her head, “Do you see? I could really hurt someone… I…”

“I know,” said Alex.

He didn’t want to admit it, but it looked like he was doing the right thing by getting involved. She needed help sooner than Father Moran was willing to provide. So now it was a question of getting everything together.

Sgt. McConnel grabbed his daughter and held her tight by the shoulders as he spoke, “What do you need us to do?”

Alex thought for a moment before responding. He’d need the perfect setup if this would have any chance. He’d also need all the right tools, “I need you to put a crucifix above the head of her bed.”

“I can do that, anything else?”

“Yeah, go to St. John’s and fill a bottle of Holy Water, they usually have concecrated water in a pot near the door.”

“Will do.”

Alex sighed, “And make sure that Father Moran doesn’t see you!”

“Got it.”

Alex turned and headed for the door to get to his car. A worried look came over Tersa, “Wait, where are you going?”

“I have to go back to my mother’s. I need to reflect and center myself and… theres another tool there that we’ll need.”

Alex looked back and saw the expression on Tersa’s face, “I promise that I’ll be back to do this.”

“I believe you.”

Alex turned and headed out the front door. Good, because I’m not sure that I do…

 

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Beneath the Surface (Chapter 7)

VII

The interview took over an hour. Alex got up and began pacing around the room. Every minute that went by felt like an eternity. What could he be asking her? Does her believe her? More importantly, would he be able to help her if he did.

The door finally opened and Father Moran appeared, “Forgive me, Tersa doesn’t want to come inside.”

Sgt. McConnel got up and headed for the door, “How is she?”

“I need to talk to Alex before I make any judgement, but I think you should join your daughter.”

The police officer nodded and stepped by the old preist. Father Moran turned to Alex and nodded, “It’s best if you come into my office.”

Alex got up and followed Father Moran into the next room. As the preist closed the door, Alex studied his surroundings as he stepped inside. The office had the same wood paneling and blue carpet as the sitting room. He saw pictures on the wall of family members as well as degrees and certificates. Aside from religious studies, Father Moran had also earned a Master’s Degree in psychology from the Boston College.

Alex felt like he was entering a shark’s tank as the old priest sat in his chair and looked up at the young man, “Please sit down.”

“Sure.”

Alex took the seat in front of the desk. Father Moran moved his papers and took off his glasses. His thin hair matched the white color of his beard, which he brushed trimmed down to stubble along the sides. “So Alex… how do you know this girl?”

“We went to High School together.”

“Were you two close?”

Alex shook his head, “No… we were two years apart. I don’t think we met more than once or twice.”

“So you didn’t really know her then.”

“No.”

“So why are you here now?”

“She was walking by my house earlier in the week during that huge storm. I let her hang out there until the storm passed.”

“Why was she out walking during the storm?”

“Her car broke down.”

“I see…”

Alex noticed the unease in his voice, “Father, what is it?”

The priest sighed, “Alex, I spoke with the psychiatrist who saw her and then to her parents. You were brought up quite a bit.”

“So she had a crush on me in High School, so what?”

“You don’t see it, do you?”

“What?”

“She still does, Alex.”

Alex rolled his eyes, “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Come on, Alex, you’re smarter than this. Think about it. She just happens to show up outside of your house the first night that you’re back in town after two years, she’s read your books, and she’s had eyes for you.”

“What exactly are you saying?”

Father Moran sighed. He clearly didn’t want to say it, but knew he had to, “I think she may have underlying psychological issues. I think she’s playing the damsel in distress to get your attention. She read your books, which go into great detail on the Church’s view of exorcisms, so she knew what to do.”

Alex was almost in shock, “What? You can’t be serious! How do you explain her voices, her knowing Latin, and the faces she’s made?”

“Latin can be learned, none of the voices described by her parents were outside the range a human can make, and the same with her faces.”

“Father, I have a degree in psychology too. You can’t seriously think that this is the case?”

The priest frowned, “I have doubts about what you’ve brought forward. I can’t take her case to the bishop when I don’t know that I believe it.”

Alex rubed his forehead with his right hand, “Tersa is not obsessive. She is not psycotic, narcoleptic, or any combination of the afflictions. I know what they look like. I know how terrible each of them can be but…”

Alex lowered his eyes. He didn’t want to say it. A sympathetic look came over Father Moran’s face, “Take your time.”

Alex sucked down a deep breath, “… they don’t frighten me.”

“Her afflictions did, I take it?”

Alex nodded, not looking up, but offered no other response.

Father Moran got up, walked around his desk, and put his hand on Alex’s shoulder, “I can understand your wanting to help. She is a fascinating woman.”

“It’s not like that.”

“Isn’t it? You know, despite my recommendation, I never thought that you were right for the priesthood. You were a steadfast believer of course, but you had a certain joviality about you that wouldn’t fit in. A priest’s life includes some level of seclusion that you would not have been able to thrive under. Your uncle was really the one pushing this on you, wasn’t he?”

Alex shook his head, “My uncle helped me choose a calling, leave him out of this.”

“As you wish… but Alex, look at it from my perspective. If you were in my shoes, would you really bring this case to the bishop, as it stands?.”

Alex shook his head, “No…”

“Of course not, his Excellency would probably give me a long lecture about due diligence.”

Alex was becoming despirate, “But Father, you didn’t see what I did. I think… I believe her case meets the criteria. What about the crosses? We put on in front of her and she almost jumped out of her skin, and…”

“And what?”

Alex didn’t want to say it. He knew what Father Moran would think, but he was running out of evidence, “My nightmares…”

Father Moran sat back down, “What nightmares?”

“I see her in my dreams now. She’s possessed and suffering like…”

“Like the girl in Rome.”

Alex looked up at Father Moran with a surprised expression, “How did you know about that?”

“I kept tabs on you.” Father Moran replied. “I know what’s been troubling you and why you left the seminary.”

Alex shook his head, “Great…”

Father Moran smiled, “Alex, what you saw is something that no human being could see without being affected by it. I think you might also want to go see a therapist. You may be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. If you’d like, I’d be happy to…”

“No thank you.” Alex replied. “I’ve done fine on my own.”

“As you say… but as for your claims about the cross, I tested that. She reacted fine to being around crosses.”

“That doesn’t mean anything when she’s in control.”

“Yes I know that.” Father Moran admitted. “However, like I said, you’ve given me very little in the way of convincing me that this isn’t the machinations of two very troubled minds.”

Seeing the disappointed look on Alex face, Father Moran adjusted his tone, “Look, if it’ll make you feel better, I’ll keep this matter open. If Tersa starts going to see a psychiatrist on a regular basis and they can’t resolve this, then I will reexamine her. If then I determine this to be a legitimate case, I’ll recommend the exorcism.”

“I just hope she survives that long.”

“The doctors won’t let anything happen to her. Give them a chance.”

Alex had run out of patience. It was obvious that he was not going to help them. He got up to leave as Father Moran looked over the papers one more time, “And Jesus said to him, ‘You believe because you have seen, but blessed are those who have not seen me and yet still believe’.”

The preist looked up and smiled, “John 20:29… But as for you, blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.”

Alex turned away, “Matthew 13:16… Good day, Father.”

“Good day.”

Alex left Father Moran’s office and joined the family waiting for him outside. Tersa looked up at him, “He’s not going to help us, is he?”

“No.”

“He thinks I’m crazy, right?”

Alex didn’t answer her, “Come on, let’s get out of here.”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Beneath the Surface (Chapter 6)

VI

“Alex…”

“What, who is that? What’s going on?”

Alex found himself in a dark room, all alone. He had no idea how he had gotten there or why. A dark voice beckoned him forward.

As Alex slowly walked, the floor became less and less stable. It was extremely muddy and what looked like vines were coming out of the wall. Ahead, Alex could hear whimpering, like someone was in pain. He didn’t know what to expect, so he pressed himself against the wall of the muddy cave as he moved.

Slowly and cautiously, he moved into the next chamber, not knowing what to expect. He had no weapons and feared that an attack was coming. It was an eerie feeling as he moved.

His feet treaded as lightly as possible to prevent making noise, until he kicked something metallic on the ground. He looked down to see a flashlight on the tip of his right foot. Convenient…

Alex picked it up and continued moving into the next chamber. He didn’t turn the flashlight on, not at first. Letting whoever or whatever was waiting for him know exactly where he was, was ill-advised when he was heading into a potentially hostile area.

As he entered the room, the voice called out to him again, “Alex…”

Alex recognized the voice and immediately flicked on the flashlight, “Tersa?”

The light illuminated a pale body in front of him. She was clad in torn clothes and it looked as though she had been stabbed all over her body by what looked like vines hanging from the ceiling. It was a grotesque image that he could barely stand.

The flashlight moved up to her face. Her eyes were soaked with tears and completely bloodshot. He didn’t know what to do or how to save her. He had nothing to cut the vines with. In a panic, he looked around for something, anything, sharp enough to cut through the vines, “I’ll get you out… hang on…”

“You’re too late.”

Alex’s eyes turned back to Tersa as the sound of giggling came from her direction. Her eyes began glowing orange and her teeth had been replaced with sharp fangs. She was hideous.

Alex stepped back, “You… I know you… you’re not Tersa…”

The creature cackled as it flicked its wrists, causing the vines with withdraw from its skin. At that moment, Alex realized that they weren’t vines at all, they were roots! Where was he?

Before Alex had a chance to comtemplate the horror unfolding in front of him, the creature broke loose of its bonds and jump at him, screaming in an almost reptilian voice, “Surprise!”

Startled, Alex opened his eyes and found himself in his childhood bedroom, once again in a puddle of his own sweat. His hands were shaking and his eyes were filled with tears. My God… my God… what have you done to me?

Was it a dream, a premonition, or some sort of twisted imagery that was being inflicted upon him? This was not the first time that he’d experienced dreams like this before, but why were they now all revolving around Tersa? What was he missing?

Alex got out of bed and looked at the clock.

 

9:00 am.

 

He’d successfully slept through the night for the first time in a while. Unlike most mornings, he felt energized. He hoped the feeling would last.

Looking at himself in the mirror, it was clear that he needed a shower. His skin was a slimy mess and his hair was greesy. He quickly stripped off his boxers and headed to the bathroom.

The steam soothed his tainted lungs as the water cleansed his skin. When he was finished, he grabbed a towel and turned off the water. As he slid back the shower curtain, his eyes widened. His mirror had completely fogged up. The words ‘leave now or die’ were written into it.

An annoyed look appeared on Alex’s face as he wiped the mirror clear, “What more do you think you can do to me?”

No response. Alex had nothing left to lose, so he certainly wasn’t about to be intimidated by hallucinations, if that’s what they were. He still had too much to do.

Alex got dressed and headed out the door. He really didn’t want to go to the McConnel home. He was afraid of whatever was going on with Tersa. He was convinced that something evil was at work there and he didn’t want to be party to another tragedy. Still, like a moth to the flame, he went outside and got in his car.

Within minutes, he pulled into the McConnel’s driveway. He got out of his car and looked up at the house. It was a raised ranch, not all that disimilar from his mother’s, except that this one was painted a mustard color with black shudders.

Alex made his way up to the door. How was he going to do this? Armed with neither a piece of scripture or a crucifix, or even the faith needed to combat evil, he believed that he was walking into a spiritual trap.

Alex stood on the front stoop and rang the doorbell. The door immediately opened and Alex found himself looking atTersa. Her face showed a blank stare until she realized who it was.

At seeing Alex, her eyes lit up. Immediately she put her arms around him, placed one hand on his back and the other on the back of his neck, and kissed him on the cheek.

“Thank you.” She whispered.

“I just did what I had to.”

“You saved my life.”

She closed her eyes and squeezed Alex tightly as though she were too scared to let go. Alex wasn’t used to this type of affection. At first, he refused to touch her. Getting too close could open him up to more pain, which he didn’t need. However, Tersa was persistent and the beating of her heart against his chest slowly wore down his resistence.

Alex ran his hands over her back and gave her a slight squeeze in return, “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

At that moment, her father’s voice could be heard behind them, “Ah Alex come…”

When he saw that Alex was unable to move, he quickly turned away and sighed, “Take your time.”

After one more surprisingly strong squeeze, Tersa let go and beckoned him inside. Alex was led up the stairs, into the kitchen, and offered a seat. The room was all dark wood paneling, with a sort of galley style stove and sink off to one side. It really showed the age of their home.

Tersa sat next to him on his left while Sgt. McConnel sat on the opposite side of the wooden table. “Can I get you anything?”

“No thank you, I’m fine.”

Sgt. McConnel nodded and turned to his daughter, “You want to tell him what’s been going on?”

Tersa lowered her eyes, “I’m hearing voices at night when I try to sleep. I have a hard time eating, it’s like my stomach just tightens up so I can’t keep much down. I black out for hours at a time, only to come out of it and realize that I’ve somehow still been active.”

“Have you heard anything back from the doctors about possible mental problems?”

“No… we’re still waiting. They did several tests, but the results haven’t come back yet.”

Tersa’s mother, who had been in the next room over, came in and joined them at the table. She remained silent as they spoke. He faced had a very detectable amount of worry and her eyes looked bloodshot as though she had been crying.

Alex shook his head, “Look, all of those are symptoms of potential psychological problems. I think maybe we should wait until…”

At that moment, Tersa’s mother placed a small, golden crucifix on the table in front of her daughter. Tersa immediately smacked it off the table and glared at her mother, “Accipe a me!” (Get that away from me!)

Alex stopped in his tracks and sat backin shock. Tersa’s eyes were black and she was breathing heavily. Alex repeated a question he’d asked before, “Qui estis?”

She looked up at him, this time, electing to speak English, “You’re too late.”

The voice wasn’t hers. Alex’s blood ran cold as he looked at her. The malicious grin was so wide that it must have been straining Tersa’s face. He partially expected to see fangs in her mouth. The tears in her eyes were the only way he could tell that she was still in there at all.

Alex couldn’t stand it, “I asked you a question, who are you?”

“Someone.”

“Who?”

“Someone from below, looking for someone from above.”

“Give me a name.”

“You know…”

Tersa’s body fell limp. Alex shook his head as he quickly stood up, “I’m sorry… I don’t think I can help you.”

Mrs. McConnel immediately got to her feet, “You’re giving up?”

“No, but she needs a priest, not a reject like me.”

Alex knelt down next to her and tried to wake her, “Tersa, Tersa, can you hear me?”

Tersa’s body immediately came to life. She jumped at Alex with a growl. Alex jumped backwards, out of the way, narrowly avoiding her teeth hitting his left eye. She fell to the ground on top of him. He could hear her crying as he moved to grab her, “Alex, please help me.”

Alex shook her head, “This is… way beyond me… We need to get her to Father Moran. He’s a good man, he’ll know what to do.”

Sgt. McConnel stood up, “All right. We’ll all go. My SUV is in the garage. Let’s get her downstairs.”

Alex picked her up and allowed her father to lead him down the stairs and into the garage. A large black Chevy Suburban was waiting for them. Alex quickly pushed Tersa on to the seat behind her father before going around to the other side. Her mother was about to climb in to sit with her daughter, but Alex spoke up, “Perhaps I should sit with her… if she has another episode…”

Her mother paused a moment and nodded, “All right.”

As soon as everyone was in, Sgt. McConnel started the car and backed out of the garage, heading for the church. Both Alex and her mother kept an eye on Tersa. She remained motionless with her eyes closed the entire ride.

They arrived at the church a few moments later. Alex dashed out and ran around to the other side before anyone else got out. He quickly opened the door and picked up Tersa.

The front doors of the church were shut, but never locked. Alex, followed by Tersa’s parents, pushed the doors opened with his side and ran in. He proceeded quickly down the isle and placed Tersa on the front pugh. An uncomfortable look came over her face. Alex had a feeling that this was the demon that they were dealing with and not Tersa herself, though he also did not feel comfortable there.

Father Moran appeared from the back of the church to see who was there. His eyes focused on Alex as he was the first one the old man recognized, “Alex what can…”

His eyes focused on Tersa, “What’s going on?”

Sgt. McConnel stepped forward, “Father, we need your help. Tersa isn’t well we think… well…”

“We think she’s possessed.” Alex said, finishing his sentence.

Father Moran’s brow furrowed as his eyes examined the sickly looking girl resting on the chair. He scratched his white beard gently as he spoke, “It looks like she needs a doctor.”

“She’s been to the hospital.” Mrs. McConnel replied. “They can’t find anything wrong with her.”

Father Moran knelt down next to her and put his thumb against her eyelids to see her pupils. He shook his head, stood up and turned to Alex, “My friend, I recommended you to the seminary. I know that you were fascinated by cases like this, but I hope you’re not…”

“Father, that was two years ago. I’ve seen too much in that time. Believe me, I don’t even want to be here right now.”

Father Moran sighed, “Very well, bring her back to the rectory. She can rest on one of the couches.”

He then beckoned to Sgt. McConnel, “I assume that you’re her parents?”

Sgt. McConnel nodded, “Yes sir.”

“Has she been seen by a psychiatrist?”

“Yes.”

“Do you have his name and number?”

“Yes.”

Father Moran nodded, “All right. Let’s go into my office.”

The old priest led them back behind the altar to the residence. It was an old apartment with an odor of must and cigarette smoke. The walls were dark wood paneled and looked like they were in serious need of updating.

Father Moran beckoned Alex to rest Tersa on the couch. He then turned to her parents, “Come back with me. Let’s give this doctor a call. Alex, you stay with her. I’ll speak to you seperately.”

Alex nodded as they disappeared, “Yes Father.”

Christ, Alex, what the hell are you doing? He thought to himself. He meant it when he said that he didn’t want to be there. Every saintly effigy, every crucifix, and every single concecrated item made him feel uncomfortable.

His thoughts were interrupted when Tersa began to stir and slowly. A wave of relief overtook Alex when she opened her eyes and they were brown. “Hi there.”

“Hi…”

“How are you feeling?”

“Weak… I feel like I haven’t slept in day.”

She quickly looked around the room with a confused expression on her face, “Where am I?”

“St. John’s. Your parents are talking with Father Moran.”

A look of fear came over her face, “I can’t be here. It won’t like this…”

“What are you talking about?”

“Alex, I need to get out of here. Being here is making it angry. Please get me out of here before it punishes me.”

“What, what is it?”

“I…I…”

Before she could answer, the door to Father Moran’s office door opened. Her parents came out, followed by the priest himself. Their faces brightened up when they saw that she was awake.

Father Moran smiled, “Tersa, good, you’re up. Mind if we talk for a little while?”

Tersa shivered as she looked at her parents and then Alex, “Can we talk outside, please?”

Father Moran looked at her oddly for a moment before nodding, “Of course, follow me. The back porch will suit our needs.”

Tersa stood up and followed Father Moran to the back door. Alex sat quietly as he waited to hear what was about to come of these interviews. Tersa needed help and if there was a priest that could, it was Father Moran. Would he believe her though? The looks on her parent’s faces made him uneasy. It looked as though they had just been through an intense dressing down and weren’t sure that he would help.

 

 

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim