Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Cover Reveal: Revenge by @PaulaRoseauthor
Monday, December 15, 2014
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Friday, December 12, 2014
Book Blast & Giveaway: For All in the Hope by @KENowinsky
BUY & TBR LINKS
BOOK 1 (Going Off Dreams) BUY LINKS
GIFT OF ESCAPE
Opening my eyes the images surrounding me were blurry and unfocused. Not knowing where I was, made me feel sick within the pit of my stomach and threatening to escape. My heart was in competition, feeling as if it were going to burst through my chest along with my breathing; it was catching in my lungs like knives.
Surveying the scene, items started making some sense. When my eyes focused, I could make out the dark room with the help of the soft glow from the lights above me. I knew I had returned. I was back in Arden’s Hut, something didn’t feel right though, I was alone. Immediately I moved my hand to feel the sheets on the bed next to me, only feeling empty fabric and coldness where I expected warmth.
My feet met the cool wooden floor as I searched the small quarters along with the connecting bathroom. He wasn’t anywhere, no note, no sign of him ever being there. My heart plummeted in a swan dive directly to the pit of my stomach, this felt all too real and familiar. The emptiness and dread, as if the darkness would swallow me whole was threatening to entrap my consciousness. Commotion from the hallway broke the threatening fear.
Not being able to hear what was going on; I crept toward the huge thick door. Carefully, I maneuvered my toes on the floor, not to wake the creaky boards beneath me. When I heard a familiar voice say “Get Nyx, we’ll have to tell her.” The knock at the door was a little shocking, making my already erratic breathing nearly stop all together.
Drawing a deep breath in I cracked the door peaking out, my eyes focused on the dark silhouette, light that was being filtered from behind her somewhere. As my eyes adjusted more I could associate the name with the being; Arden. She was one of the first entities I met here in this realm.
While it was dark and perilous there was a sense that there could be more, quite a weird sensation of both hesitation and promise. I knew there were threats possibly lurking in the shadows and yet I also had formed friendships and allies with some unique and wonderful beings here. While the threat was prominent I also felt secure and a sense of being home.
When I first met Arden I had seen her materialize on the edge of a mystical forest, which seemed like a lifetime ago. Her hair, black as the night that plagued Tartarus, and her eyes a mystic violet. She reminded me of a Native American goddess. She had the fighting skills of Qamait; goddess of war with the Nuxalk Nation. Her body looks sculpted like a well-trained assassin, fit with curves to draw any male prey. With her enchanted bow and her whip KiKi to aid in her quests, she was magnificent and wicked to witness in battle.
Arden was more of an older sister figure. Within minutes of meeting her I felt a sense of shared spiritual security within our devotion and dedication to those we hold near to us. Plainly put, I liked Arden. She was usually in better spirits though. Now her face was serious and worried which in turn worried me further and only added to my desperation.Looking at her through the entrance to my bedroom chamber, the light flickered from the candles in the hallway flirting with her skin enhancing her natural beauty. She said, “Nyx, you’ll need to come with me.”
“What’s going on?” I asked her.
She didn’t answer as she walked up toward the main hall.
The main room in Arden’s Hut consisted of wooden walls that reminded me of the consistency and texture like beavers had whittled the wood. Complete opposite, the floors were smooth and reminded me of a clean chopped tree displaying its many rings of life. When you looked above you could see smoke escaping through a fashioned hide-stretched ceiling. In the middle of the room a roaring fire encompassed by rocks that protect the many pillows thrown about – to which Arden would resort to throwing at guests when the opportunity presented itself. Her hut was comforting and inviting; when you took a deep breath in you could detect all the wonders and smells of the forest, which to me were delightful. You could also tell that her home had been around for a long time. Arden is a direct descendent of the Arduinnian Clan, who are known as the Guardians of the Forest, direct descendent of Diana, goddess of the hunt.
Upon entering Arden’s main room, my stomach immediately wrenched into a horrid knot. Zhou was laying lifelessly on the floor. This made my insides crawl knowing how powerful a fighter he is. Immediately I started contemplating what could have caused this serious condition.
Arden must have been hurting even more so. She had developed a relationship with Zhou and this only increased my concern. Arden, the true warrior that she is, was being strong for everyone. A painful lump was pressing against my throat and my eyes were pleading to cry. If Arden was holding it together, so could I.
I always liked Zhou, and I was sad to see him like this. He was still wearing his electric dark blue pants, with an equally dark purple shirt, and with the red streak in his black hair made him look intriguing. I never understood his fashion statements. I respected him though, as a fighter, a friend, and ally. With Zhou’s New Age fashion sense, it made him seem like he wasn’t from this dimension. Tartarus was more of a realm set with foliage. His choices in wardrobe against Arden’s more naturalistic approach made them both look mismatched. Seeing them together usually made me smile but, not now—Zhou was a Fenghuang, a shape shifting fire bird, more precisely a fiery phoenix. While he was very skilled in both his forms he is more powerful when he is in his phoenix form. He’s always eager for a fight. Zhou is like that big brother pulling you in to give you a noogie to remind you of the status quo. I’m afraid this time though, the fight won.
A healer Hikmat had his hands on Zhou’s forehead and chest, his eyes closed in concentration, meditating over Zhou’s lifeless body. I didn’t know Hikmat as well as some of the others in the room, I had met him only recently, and I knew he was a healer of sorts. He was a wizard when it pertained to plants, potions, and concoctions. He was a Tobar Segais like Tobar, meaning he possessed wisdom. His eyes stayed closed while his hands remained on Zhou.
Thinking of Tobar made my stomach dive even deeper. As if my stomach detached from the warm blood circulation within my body and plummeted toward the depths of despair— my mind reconnected with another concern that had me riddled right before seeing Zhou on the floor. Tobar, he was missing from our room and if Zhou was lying on the floor defeated… Tobar was an equal opponent.
Tobar was the one that introduced me into the realm. He was the one that my heart connected with and I felt drawn toward, like no other before him. A truly deep soul connection, without him next to me I felt as though a part of my being was missing. He had given me refuge from myself, I felt safe when I was with him. Without him, the danger lurking within the darkness here seemed more prominent and threatening.
With the thought of him not in sight intensified the sinking feeling that had pressed so deeply south. It began to rise more rapidly back up. I had to place my hand over my mouth to reel in my senses.
Arden kneeled down next to Zhou as closely as she could. She gently brushed her cheek against his in an intimate gesture. The room felt as if all the oxygen leaving vacuumed sealed the room, extinguishing the fire, and even the warm inside my body as I felt a sudden chill. Suffocating, I watched as she then placed her lips upon his with a soft wanting kiss. Arden’s eyes began to fill with emotion. I felt for her, as the tears sparkling against her skin escaped their confines and splashed against Zhou’s skin below. She placed her hands on his as she prayed silently.
Seeing her in such distress only made the situation feel more dire. I too bowed my head and closing my eyes.
Desperately I began to pray for Tobar’s safety and Zhou’s recovery. Please Lord, deliver Tobar back to us safely and lay your healing hands upon Zhou; as we so desperately need You now. I pray for those that have made their move against us. They’ll wish they had never been in existence once I finish with them…
My concentration broke off when Avlov and Enki joined us then. They both had bowls in their hands that contained some healing elements. Enki took Avlov’s and kneeled next to Hikmat on Zhou’s other side. Enki and I had only met recently as well. He was known as Lord of the Earth, meaning he had control over the elements and its constituents.
A Wieven, Avlov is also known as a Wise Woman. She has a vast knowledge of healing salves, rituals and how to use the elements for their benefit. She has fierce white eyes that match her white hair and almost a hipster outfit. I always liked Avlov because she wore converses.
The group that was working on Zhou, the healers, are much like those that wield magic. They can manipulate matter and they have a vast knowledge that helps them in their aiding processes. To watch them in action definitely feels like you were experiencing magic in a true form.
Touching my shoulder, Avolv broadcasted a message using her telepathy, “Nyx, I need to talk to you, please come with me over to the table.” Leading me over, she verbally asked “Have you seen Tobar?”
I was on the verge of tears, there was still so much that remained unanswered, and if Zhou was hurt—I could barely articulate “No, I woke up to an empty room, a cold bed and I couldn’t find him anywhere.” My chest flet like it was going to combust.
Arden had joined us and she put her hand around my shoulders to give me a half-hug “We’ll get these—”
But Avlov interrupted her and said, “I think we should get Nyx up to speed with what’s going on.”
Zhou began to stir making some noises and we all ran to his side. I felt so bad that he had to suffer so much. He opened his eyes and found Arden’s first, she took his hands in hers. Then he found mine and started to speak, weakly saying “I don’t… know… what… happened.”
Enki spoke up and said that Zhou had taken Xylo, the captured dryad we were interrogating, some refreshments for when she would wake up.
Zhou continued, “I opened her door… the next thing I knew I was… laying here.”
Hikmat told Zhou that he needed to rest. We gathered pillows as they propped him up, attempting to give him some comfort. Hikmat gave Zhou another potion, this time it was clear. What was it? How easily we were to trust. After he drank it, he smiled before his eyes closed and he was back asleep.
“So where’s Tobar?” I asked plainly.
Everyone looked alarmed. The sick feeling returned and now there was an alarming amount of pressure on my chest. I could sense something bad was coming. It was just around the corner, lingering there like a poisonous snake waiting to strike, taking me down with its dread and despair.
Avlov came to my side, she could be frightening to look at in the eye. Tobar mentioned before she was also known as the White Witch, I guess when you’ve been in existence as long as someone like Avlov has been, you can acquire a few nick names here and there.
She offered me some tea but I refused it, especially since I know how loopy her tea could make me feel. No doubt she added a little something extra to the liquid concoctions to help ease the soul in times of stress or high anxiety. Which would actually be great right about now but, I need my wit about me.
Arden came over to me and put her hands upon my shoulders again. Looking me directly in the eyes she said “We can’t find him.” My chest felt like it burst into flames. My body went limp, and I felt like I was falling. Everything went black.
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Thursday, December 11, 2014
Book Blast, Giveaway & Interview: Hunters by @aoifesheri
Aoife Marie Sheridan
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Word Count: 62,000
Cover Artist: Airicka’s Mystical Creations
Abigail is nineteen, her job she hunts demons.
Her life so far has been tough, having witnessed her family’s death and her mother’s suicide she’s taken in by a priest, who believes her when she says she sees ghosts. Father Peter trains her as a demon hunter with three other members, one being Daniel, who isn’t what he seems.
But when a possession goes wrong, and ghosts start to attack Abigail, the tight rope she had on her emotions soon starts to loosen.
Abigail draws the unwanted attention of the Vatican, and she finds out a lot more then she was willing to learn.
Knowledge is power, but for Abigail it’s her undoing, and the only thing keeping her together is Daniel.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/7KT2Xy6hh7k
Available at Amazon
I sat outside her apartment like I did every night, keeping an eye on her door.
I knew the day would come and I wanted to be ready. One thing I knew, he would never take her from me, he would have to get through me first. A small smile crept over my face, how I would love to tear him apart. I growled, feeling frustrated; he was one of the main threats now and I needed to eliminate him. I pushed off the wall, pulling my black hoodia closer to my eyes, a few people were around, but none paying attention to me, they were too transfixed on their own wants; a syringe giving them a pass on reality, or an encounter with a female making the sounds of pleasure heighten. I pushed all the noises aside and focused. She was moving around, her angry footsteps hitting the wooden floor in her bathroom. The water turned on, my body came alive, the want for her was too much at times and I growled for a second time.
“You okay, Man?” a junky asked from a few feet away from me, I didn’t give him an answer, just threw him a look to silence his talk. I couldn’t understand why she lived here. Maybe the chaos made her feel more normal, but that was something she would never be. A hiss made my head jerk up and then her intake of breath. My hands balled into fists, I wanted to go to her and take the razor from her hand, but I couldn’t, she would hate it if I knew. It was her own release, I didn’t understand it fully, but it made her focus on the pain instead of the real problem. A cold breeze made me study the door that led into the apartment buildings more closely; it wasn’t just cold it was ice cold.
“Nicolas!” I whispered and moved across the thirty paces that stood between her door and me in a second. I didn’t care if anyone saw, they were too far gone to understand, they would assume it was their drugged up minds seeing things. The air in my lungs now was freezing; I could feel him coming. I felt the excitement bubble inside me, a fire raged through my veins as he materialized before me. I didn’t give him a moment, but pulled the sword from the air and swung for his neck, he was quick; ducking and coming up with his own sword, they met with a loud clang.
“Daniel, great to see you.” his hard face was set like stone, his black eyes wanting blood, not mine but hers. I let the anger boil and withdrew my sword, striking his with all my force, it met its target and he stumbled back, but he regained his footing quickly. Allowing him to come at me with his body weight behind his swing, I dodged to the side in a blur and arched my sword, swinging for his back, but it met the metal of his own sword.
“Have we been practicing?” I asked in a mocking tone while taking another swing.
“Maybe you just lost your touch,” he spat back and struck my sword, metal struck metal and small pieces of ice flew towards me, I moved but a few struck my left arm, piercing me like small pieces of glass. I ignored the pain and gave him a sneer.
“Playing dirty, are we?” I asked, letting the fire heat my blade until it grew red.
“You never play nice, Daniel.” Nicolas face radiated the hate he has for me, and I returned it, letting my sword burn before I took a swipe, knowing he would block it. So I did what he wouldn’t expect, I slide towards him on the partially frozen ground and passed his legs in a blur, cutting below his knee before flipping up and swinging my sword at his back, it sliced into his flesh and he roared in pain, falling to his knees. I raised my sword, aiming for his neck, it swung high into the air, the red flame lighting up the sky, but before it made contact, he disappeared. I stood there for a moment, my blood still boiling with adrenaline. However, it fizzled and the pain in my arm came alive. Rain started to pour, and I let my sword dissolve along with my anger. He wouldn’t be coming back tonight and I needed to rest and heal. My phone buzzed as I moved away from the door.
“Daniel,” Father Peter’s voice filled my ear.
“Yeah, you got a job for me?” I asked, pulling the hoodie over my face again as I walked deeper into the shadows.
“It’s a possession; I don’t want her doing it alone.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll pick her up, I’m in the area anyway.”
I could hear him sigh with relief; he cared about her more than I had believed at the start. I was about to hang up when he spoke again.
“Thank you, Daniel. I’ll ring her now.”
“Okay, No problem.” I said before ending the call. I hadn’t gone far before the heavy rain stopped. A freak shower. I took off at the speed of light to change and get my bike, before I picked her up, she would be pissed, I smiled. She was always pissed.
I clicked my Nokia cell phone shut while stuffing it back into my worn, brown leather jacket pocket. Slamming the door behind me, I bounded down the hard brown tiled steps out the main door. The surface outside my door made me glide and I nearly lost my balance. Ice coated the path in front of the main door, in June? That didn’t make sense. I stepped off the icy path and took the alleyway out of my apartment building. No street lights lit up the small and dirty path, which was wedged in-between the two red large brick buildings. The path was littered with beer bottles and household rubbish, and grass sprang up amongst the cracks in the pavement. It was a run-down dive.
The building on my left was home to me, number 22 is my own place, it wasn’t much, but like I said it was mine, and that’s all that mattered to me. The other building was full of unknown people, who I had no intentions to get to know. I spent fifty percent of my time here and fifty percent of my time at the base, or the headquarters for us demon hunters. In the London area, we were the only group and within it, there were five of us, including Father Peter; the man who took me in and raised me. The man who had saved us all from ourselves. We all had our reasons and stories for becoming hunters, each one as depressing as the next.
The Base became home to most of us, but I spent the least amount of time. Cathy, Zee, and Father Peter lived there permanently, but Simon stayed between the base and his brothers, he was lucky enough to still have people, who cared about him. The rest of us just learned to accept each other as a family, as our own blood relatives were either dead or didn’t want anything to do with us.
I was the only one with no living family and who chose to live by themselves. For me, being around people; having to smile and interact was too hard. I pretended to be normal most of the day, but once I was home, I could let the mask slip and be myself. I wouldn’t be able to keep the pretense up twenty four hours a day, and lately, it was becoming harder to pretend that everything was normal. My pride was becoming my weakness. I needed people really, but I refused to give in.
The noise of my black military boots, splashing in large size puddles that had filled from the recent downpour, pulled me back from my thoughts, my black jeans were tucked neatly inside my boots, keeping them dry. I shivered now against the wind that whipped at my face, pulling strands of my long, straight, black hair out of the bun that I had so tightly wound it in, it never stayed put, its shiny silky tendrils finding an escape route too easily. I pushed some of the strands out of my deep, brown eyes and pulled my jacket tighter around my small frame. The black top, I wore under my jacket, was light and the cold air raced through it, rising goose bumps in its way. I scolded myself for not dressing in warmer clothes, but Father Peter had just called and I didn’t have time to change. The job was urgent, so I would have to do as I was.
I walked faster, keeping a look out over my left shoulder. One thing Father Peter always told me with a weary look on his face, “Always fear the living more than the dead.” Some days, I questioned his theory, but on nights like these, I had to agree. I glanced to my left as soft moans from two men caught my attention. One had a belt tightened around his upper arm as the other watched with anticipated glee. The man slapped his arm, making the veins rise, before inserting the syringe full of Heroin, More bruises than I could count coated his arm, his body slumped as his drug of choice fuelled his body into oblivion. His companion took the syringe and with greedy eyes, started to prep himself but paused as he saw me pass, I dropped my eyes, and he grunted before continuing. A gunshot resounded somewhere in a distance apartment building, the squeal of sirens soon followed.
My heart skipped a beat as my phone rang loudly. My hand, now cold and blue, hurt as I reached into my pocket to retrieve it, brushing my knuckles off the steal zip that was like razor blades against my cold pale skin. I pushed the phone to my ear not looking at the caller ID; I already know who it was.
“Zee, I’m kind of busy so you’ll have to make it quick.” I already knew what he was calling for, but I was a sucker for the impossible.
“Me too, funny that is?” I could hear the smirk in his voice. I normally never worked alone, but after the nightmares that woke me up, I didn’t want to see Zee tonight, never mind work with him, he was always centered in my nightmares.
“Hilarious, I am holding my sides.” I said as dryly as possible, hoping he would catch on quick to my bad mood. That was one thing I loved about Zee; I could be myself around him and I didn’t have to pretend to be okay. My silence never bothered him; he never once forced me to speak about what was on my mind. Yet, I often felt that he knew exactly what I was thinking. I turned a corner out of the alleyway and my body relaxed, happy to be out of the danger zone. I had come across a bit of trouble at times and especially at nighttime, when a more sinister scene developed around our complex. But what did I expect? A woman or a girl on her own, well, it all depended on what way you looked at me, I was only nineteen, but I had seen my fair share in life. I was a target for loiters, they never harmed me, just shouted abuse or made suggestive remarks. It didn’t scare me, that’s why I still walked through it and used it as a shortcut, I just hoped I would never regret all the warnings that Zee gave me. However, it did save me a twenty-minute walk through the apartment complex so that was good enough for me.
The roar of a motorcycle made my body tense, but as it tore up beside me, I recognized the shining/shiny black bike and its driver. Closing the phone roughly, I stuffed it back in my pocket and took the outstretched helmet that Zee held out to me. Putting it on, I took in his appearance as I clipped it shut. He wore the usual black pants; black high neck top, boots, and a long black trench coat that I knew hide all his tools. His sharp blue eyes studied me as I clipped the helmet firmly to my head. He didn’t wear a helmet, but let his black hair that sat below his jaw line hang down across his forehead.
“Father Peter?” I asked as I climbed on while lacing my arms around him. Once again, I already knew the answer, of course Father Peter had rang him and asked him to go with me, it wasn’t a good time for me, and Father Peter would do anything to make sure I was alright.
He gave me one of his smirks, “No, my crystal ball.” He jammed down on the accelerator and we took off at full speed.
I was getting sick of this; always needing a babysitter, the sad part was that deep down I knew I needed one, as I wasn’t my usual strong self, and Zee was never one to walk away from me. If he could, he would be glued to my side at all times, but as I much as I needed Zee, I always needed my space too.
We didn’t speak over the roar of the engine or the fact that Zee was dodging cars at full speed. A flash of a speed camera glinted off his helmet, he could paper a room with all the tickets he had, but in our line of work, Father Peter had the power to make them disappear. He had warned Zee that he was no longer going to sort out his mess and that he needed to slow down, but by the way he was driving, he didn’t heed one word that Father Peter had said. Typical.
We pulled up to a rundown block of houses; all identical in structure down to the overhead porch that acted as a shelter for its occupants from the harsh rain as they entered their homes. I could see the dark pavement under some of the porches, so much for the shelter, the dripping of water from the small roof suggested plenty of cracks in the old structures. The gardens were small and no flowers or bushes of any sorts colored them. They all looked grey and gloomy. This should be fun, I thought to myself. I climbed off and left the helmet on the seat.
I moved towards number 44, the house that Father Peter had sent me too, I stood at the little rusty gate and took it in. It was a two-story, standard house, white dash that no longer looked white, and brown PVC windows and door. It was clean, but like all the rest, bland and depressing looking. I moved towards the house, up the small pavement that divided the medium size lawn on either side, Zee followed behind, his coat flapping in the wind. I could only imagine what we looked like, what people must think when they called for help, and two teenagers dressed all in black, ready for action arrived at their door.
Well, Zee’s height helped his cause, he was 6ft four so he looked older, and he acted far older than his years.
At the first knock, a man opened the door, nearly making me fall into the hall with the quickness of his answer, Zee’s hand moved to my waist steadying me. I looked up at the man in annoyance, but he didn’t seem to notice. The bags under his eyes had bags, his complexion was paler than what would be considered normal, but really, what was considered normal these days? He wore simple jeans, a shirt that was stained under the arms from sweat long dried in; his stomach bulged ever so slightly against the shirt, causing strain on the three lower buttons. My eyes moved to his feet that tapped nervously on the carpet, and I was greeted with his big toe poking out of a hole in his sock. I looked back up at his brown eyes as they shifted nervously from me to Zee, but then they stopped moving and he stood back to let us in, no questions asked.
We entered into a small hallway, a brown carpet that looked like it had its day lined the floor, and an off white was painted on the walls, with the happy family pictures hanging throughout.
“Where is she?” I asked as I laid out my roll of equipment on a hall table, it was the only piece of furniture in the hall so it had to do. Taking a cross out of my pack, I poured holy water over it, splashing some on the hall table and the carpet. A small price to pay for us saving his daughter’s soul, rolling the rest back up, I placed it back into my jacket and tucked the bible under my arm.
“This way.” The man said looking ready to bolt but thought otherwise. He stood at the third door down the hallway; Zee placed his hand on the door, and then gave me a nod, letting me know that we had the right house. I moved towards the door, but before I turned the handle, I turned back to the man.
“How long has she been like this?” I asked as Zee got himself ready, Father Peter didn’t give many details, he just needed me to get there as quick as possible.
Tears filled the man’s eyes, “A week, maybe two.” At least, it didn’t have a long time to fester. I gave Zee a nod just as I turned the door handle and entered the darken room. Light hurts them so I switched it on and let it flood the space. It was a standard sized bedroom, nothing special about it; a wardrobe rested against one wall, it once had been white but with time, it had faded. My eyes moved to the locker that was pine, it was bare of any ornaments and sat tightly against the single bed that the girl lay on. Her body was partially naked and her long blonde hair was stuck to her neck with sweat, I couldn’t make out her features as her face was no-more human looking than the hands that rested on her swollen abdominal. I turned to the man to give him a piece of my mind for leaving such a small detail out, but he had bolted, leaving us here with his pregnant and possessed daughter.
Words of another language and another time came out of the girl’s mouth, more than likely cursing us into the ground or into hell.
Zee’s hands moved robotically, taking items out of his trench coat, he placed two small white candles on the window sill, but didn’t light them, they were a just in case. He stayed close to them, but leaned against the wall, he looked so large in the small room.
“Do you want to do it or shall I?” I asked.
I always gave him the option, he did most of the work, but I hated tiring him out.
He gave me the once over, considering if I was strong enough. “You go ahead, I’ll observe,” He finally answered.
Moving towards the girl caused the demon inside her to rev up, making the girl’s body ti move at all the wrong angles.
I splashed her with the holy water, it bubbled up on her skin, the vapor rising and disappearing, a hiss left her mouth, and more words followed. Taking out the bible, I turned to the page where the most powerful prayer lay, holding the cross steadily in my hands I started:
We drive you from us,
Whoever you may be,
All satanic powers,
All infernal invaders,
All wicked legions,
Assemblies and sects.
In the Name, and by the power of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
May you be snatched away and driven from the Church of God,
And from the souls made to the image and likeness of God,
And redeemed by the Precious Blood of the Divine Lamb.
The sound of laughter made me stop. As the demon over took the girl’s face completely, my heart rate elevated. Zee, quick to act, lit two candles, knowing what was to come as the light bulb brightened, casting a blinding light in the room before it burnt itself out with a hiss, and small shards of glass flew across the room. I covered my face, protecting it from the onslaught of the flying glass. Small cuts across my hands stung and warm blood slid slowly across my fingers. I took my hands away, ignoring the pain. The flames from the small candles that Zee had lit danced across the room but gave little light. Not being able to see fully, always made a possession more frightening, no matter how many times I did it, it never got easier.
“A-b-i-g-a-i-l.” the demon hissed inside the girl, slowly stretching my name, but I heard it. My body responded, causing me to stumble back, never before had a demon or spirit spoke my name. I stood paralyzed.
“Abigail,” This time it was Zee who called my name and I could hear the warning in his voice. I needed to continue. I sucked in a deep breath, and wiped the blood from my hands onto my jeans, I started the prayer again, saying it faster, and louder, my voice trembled slightly. I felt shook up after hearing that thing say my name. The demon inside the girl roared to life and squirmed with a voracity that shook the bed savagely. The bed’s thin, wooden legs slammed into the carpet, the noise drowning out my words, but I didn’t stop, I couldn’t stop for fear of what might happen. I continued, as a few pictures fell from the walls, their frames snapping with the impact and the glass shattering across our feet. The curtains billowed now from an unseen wind, the bed continued to move rapidly, and the large wardrobe shook violently. Its doors swinging open and closed, the sharp bang lifting my heart every time. Zee stood protecting the candles from the breeze that raced through the room, carrying the foul stench of an unwashed body. I spoke louder closing my eyes, forcing myself to stay focused, even against the activity in the room. I clung to the cross. As my grip tightened, it caused my cuts to bleed, coating my hand once again with blood. I could feel the cross slipping, and soon my hand was empty. The slamming of the wardrobe doors was getting faster and louder, the bed hit the floor harder, the wood snapping against the strain, small splinters of wood breaking free, and scattering across the floor.
Then everything ceased, silence fell upon the room, my breathing moved in and out of my nostrils, sounding so loud in the dead silence.
“Dad?” The one word was filled with fear and confusion, and had come from the young girl; her voice broke through my numbness and fear.
I moved towards her slowly, looking at her face, she looked normal again; pale yet terrified, but normal. I smiled the best I could at her confused face, hoping to give her comfort. She met my eyes with big blue ones of her own, ones she must have inherited from her mother as her father had those muddy brown eyes. She was only about sixteen so young and pregnant; a ray of freckles covered her nose and cheeks.
“Hi, my name is Abigail, your dad called us, you were sick.” I said
She looked around the room for her father, I gave Zee a nod to go get him, and he hesitated, looking at the girl for a moment.
“It’s fine, Zee, she’s okay.” I assured him.
He left hesitantly at my words.
“What’s your name?” I asked, moving closer, trying to halt all the questions that I knew must be going around in her head right now. Once someone was possessed, they could never remember the ordeal. It was for the best or lots of people would never sleep again.
“Lucy.” she said, still looking around the room that was only lit now by candle light.
“Lucy, that’s a pretty name.” I said, she was looking at me as if I was crazy.
“What are you doing in my room? And why is everything such a mess?” she asked, looking at all the frames and shattered glass on the carpet. A logical question, yet I had no logical explanation.
“How far are you gone?” I asked, looking at her stomach; trying to distract her until her dad got here, and he could come up with whatever story he wanted to. She looked down at her belly after hearing my question and her cheeks lit up when she realized she was half-undressed. Fear and confusion filled her face.
“It’s okay, Lucy.” I didn’t get to finish as she started to scream while kicking her legs and pulling the remaining blankets off her, blood started to soak the sheets.
“My baby!” she screamed as Zee and her dad entered the room. I rushed forward, grabbing the blanket; I needed to stop the bleeding, her stomach rippled and I had to blink twice to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing. A hand formed, pushing its way against her stomach, reaching out to me, stretching her skin almost to breaking point. I fell back off the bed, away from the hand, while pulling the blanket with me. The bed started to levitate.
Lucy’s screams and her father’s pleas to save his daughter made the room swarm around me. “Abigail, Abigail,” the voice danced around me, I covered my ears. “No, NO!” Zee’s feet rushed past me and he jumped up on the bed, fighting the hysterical flailing arms that Lucy threw around as her stomach stretched and moved at abnormal angles. The demon had attached itself to the child’s soul. I snapped out of my daze. The cross lay on the ground, its gold surface now tainted with my blood. I grabbed it and jumped up while holding onto the cross for dear life, as Zee placed his hand on Lucy’s stomach, a gust of air ripped through the room, throwing everything into chaos, the candles hit the carpet and distinguished almost immediately, leaving us in darkness. I couldn’t move for a moment, but could only watch as light poured from Zee’s fingertips, blinding all of us. Sound ceased to exist at that moment, while everything around us continued to shake, I could feel the ground under my feet vibrate. Through the light, I could see Lucy was still alert; her mouth open as she screamed in fear and agony. Her eyes wild, the veins bulged in her neck as she continued to scream soundlessly. It was like watching a movie with the sound on mute. A large crack raced down the wall behind the bed, just stopping at the skirting board, and then the room went dark. The world stopped shaking.
“Lucy, Sweetheart, Talk to me” her father’s frightened whispers reached my ears as Zee’s strong arms pulled me into a tight embrace. His smell, his warmth calmed me. His heartbeat pounded against my ear, bringing me back. I look up at him.
“Are you okay?” he asked, I nodded, saying yes, but I was anything but okay.
I pulled away and stood on trembling legs, making my way to the bedroom door, once I opened it, light flittered into the room. I looked at Lucy, her body lay still. She looked snow white against the blood soaked sheets.
The father’s face turned to us tears stricken and red with anger. “What have you done to my baby girl?”
I didn’t reply, but took out my phone, ignoring the trembling in my hands, pausing before making the call, I turned to Zee. “Did we lose the baby?” I asked, he nodded his head, and a pang twisted my heart. “The girl?”
“She’s alive.” he answered and left the room.
I pushed the button and made the dreaded call.
“Father, we need a clean-up team and an ambulance; we have a casualty.” I gave a very short version of events and hung up. Within five minutes, the room was bustling with our fall-out team. I didn’t wait around, but left with Zee out the front door, too tired to wait for the questions that I knew would follow, this was the first casualty I had ever experienced. Well, this was the first time I had dealt with a pregnant teen.
“Abigail and Daniel, what happened here?” I cringed at the sound of Mark’s voice; he was over the clean-up team, I liked him, but I didn’t want to talk right now. Mark was once upon a time a funeral director, but soon, switched jobs when his own daughter was possessed by a demon. His hair now was snow white unusual for a fifty-year-old, but from what he had witnessed, I wasn’t at all surprised. It was a lot for the mind to take in and then to know the truth and live with it was another thing completely. His face was always tanned, no matter what time of the year it was here in London, but it didn’t erase all the wrinkles that covered his face, his eyes were green and didn’t hold much warmth for the world.
“I’m tired; Mark, but I’ll file a full report with Father Peter.” I said, he looked at me for a moment, his eyes falling on my bloody hands, he could see how shook up I looked this was the only thing that saved me, he looked me over once again before giving in.
“Fine, but first thing in the morning.” I nodded, “yeah.”
I climbed onto Zee’s motorcycle numbly, the seat now soaked from the recent rain, I could feel it seep into my jeans, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to go home; at days like this, I just hated my job.
Zee drove with more care on the way back, I wanted him to go faster as the wind was freezing, numbing my hands and face. I wish it could numb my mind right now, but no luck; the images of the blood soaked sheets would be etched in my mind for a long time. My hair scratched my cold face, making me close my eyes tightly as they watered, but each time, I could see the girl’s face and the sheets soaked in blood, I opened my eyes, and everything was blurred. I buried my head in Zee’s jacket, just wishing I was home.
The sound of the engine dying down, alerted me that we had stopped, I was home. Zee had parked just outside my apartment building; I climbed off handing him the helmet.
“I need some time alone, Daniel.” I never used his proper name, but I really wanted to be alone.
“Okay, but if you need me…” I shook my phone at him, my hands trembled slightly so I stuck them back into my pockets to hide them from his watchful eyes, but he had seen the shake in my hands and seen the blood, he wasn’t stupid. “Yeah, I know you’re only a phone call away.” he smiled weakly and turned to go.
“Zee, thanks for helping.” I said, knowing if he wasn’t there, I would have lost two souls and not just one.
“Do you want me to fix your hands?” he asked while looking at my jacket pockets where I had stuffed them in.
“No, it’s only scratches.” I turned and walked into the building. Climbing the steps two at a time, I made it to my door and kicked it shut, while moving through my dark and small apartment, not caring for light. Well, I couldn’t exactly trip over anything since not as much as a rug was in my hallway. I officially never moved in, the only thing I had that was personal was my clothes, and I wanted to keep it that way. Once I reached the small kitchen, I opened the top press, retrieving a bottle of vodka. My phone started to ring just as I was unscrewing the lid. I took a large gulp, letting the vodka leave a burning path down my throat. The persistent ringing got my heart rate elevated, it was Zee; no doubt worried, but I just couldn’t. The baby, the poor innocent child, condemned to hell. I picked up the still ringing phone, and throw it against the wall, watching as it shattered across my floor. Soon, silence followed. Silence that I hated; it tormented me, I walked to the small shelving that sat above my kitchen table that only held two. On the shelve, sat my sanctuary for now; a stereo, I blared it, some angry rock band was screaming at me but I didn’t mind; it filled my head with noise, and I filled my mouth with vodka.
No matter how much noise entered my head or how much Vodka entered my system, I couldn’t switch off. My father’s face came to mind, I don’t know why him, but memories of his face wrinkled from stress and worry flooded me. He wasn’t around much through my life, yes, he lived with us, but worked non-stop, his job wasn’t demanding in the mines, yet he always left me to take care of my brother Sam. My mother suffered from depression my whole life so she couldn’t take care of us, so I did. One memory haunted me in particular;
“What’s wrong, Abigail?” I had jumped at my Dad’s voice, he wasn’t meant to be home yet, so I didn’t hear him come in. I was standing inside my parents’ bedroom, watching my mother sleep; she often slept the whole day away, and sometimes, I would check on her.
“Why is that man always with mammy?” I had asked as I looked at the man standing beside my mother’s bed as she slept. I couldn’t see his face, he always wore a hoodie. However, I knew he was a bad man. My dad’s huge hands pulled me around so I was face to face with him; he had to kneel down so we were at eye level.
“What man?” I could hear fear in my dad’s voice.
I pointed at the man, and my dad pulled my hand down while shaking his head.
“Stop it, Abigail. Nothing is there.” He was angry now. This wasn’t the first time I had seen things and told him, but it always got me in trouble. I thought maybe my dad might see the man, but he never did.
“Yes, there is.” I insisted, I could see him, I wondered why daddy couldn’t.
“Why are you making up stories again? Do you want to upset daddy?” My dad shook me gently but his hands tightened on my arms.
I could feel tears come to my eyes.
“I’m not making them up, Daddy.” I whispered.
He lifted me up and took me to my room. Fear and anger was visible on his face.
“When you decide to tell the truth, I’ll let you out.” My dad moved to the door and looked back at me. I could see sadness there; this wasn’t the first time I had been locked in my room.
“It’s not real,” he said before he turned off the light and turned the key in the door.
I curled up in the corner of the room, knowing that the man was here with me now. I knew he stood in the other side of the room, his face still hidden by his hood, but he used to whisper my name; it became something sinister, malicious. “Abigail,” But I soon came to understand, that no one would believe me, so I stopped.
“Abigail,” I could hear him again. “Abigail,” It was becoming louder. “Abigail,” Silence. My body became aware; I didn’t open my eyes as I knew something hovered over me. A solid feeling filled my palm, heavy plastic. I didn’t think, just acted. My palm tightened around the plastic and I struck out while opening my eyes, a pair of brown ones looked back at me; alarmed. The knife just rested against his throat. The guy was around my age, his skin was tanned and smooth looking, brown hair was cut tight to his head. I swallowed as panic rose inside me; my breathing became heavy as I tried to take everything in. I was sitting on the ground with my back against the wall while this guy sat on his knees, leaning over me, he just stared at me with those eyes. His lips held ridged in a line; ones I knew if they relaxed, would be oh-so-kissable. The surprise of my thoughts must have been visible by the slight rise of his lip, a blush rushed to my cheeks, giving color to my pale complexion, this made him smile more.
“You find this amusing?” I pushed the knife deeper against his throat, wiping the smile off his face, his eyes darkened. I felt I knew him from somewhere, yet I knew I had never seen him before.
“What are you doing in my home?” I asked starting to rise, forcing him to stand up with me. I kept the knife at his throat. The reality was, this guy broke into my home and was watching me sleep. “Father Peter sent me,” He said with anger in his words.
“I volunteered to check on you.” Regret soaked his words.
“Well, aren’t you my hero! Breaking an entry and watching me sleep, that’s just creepy.” I spat back.
“Your door was open, and I thought you were dead, but I can clearly see I was wrong, you’re far from it.”
“You thought I was dead? What, you never saw someone sleep before?” I asked, causing a crimson color of humiliation to race up his neck.
“Are you always such a bitch?” He asked angrily “And could you, please, take the knife away from my throat?”
I contemplated, “You have to answer one question, if you get it right, I’ll take the knife away, but if you get it wrong, I slice your throat.” His simmering eyes allowed me to ask with a smirk “Name the six types of demons.”
My guess was if Father Peter sent him, then this guy was new and just fresh out of training, and with the clothing he wore, he was new to this. His army style green bottoms coated in pockets, along with a shirt jacket that also had loads of pockets along its arms, indicated he was new. When we were trained, we had to go through a lot of physical work. I still kept my work up in the gym, so members thought with such training, we could kick demons’ butts, but it was for our mental health more than anything. Father Peter maintained that working out released a lot of stress and also kept our minds focused. I looked at this guy again and the feeling that I knew him, never left. But I never got my answer, I was distracted for a moment and he used this opportunity by grabbing my wrist and swiftly pulling the knife away from his throat, he threw it on the floor and it hit with a loud clang. In a blink of an eye, he was kicking out my legs from under me, my face met the floor, and his weight on my back as his breath brushed my neck.
“GET OFF ME.” I roared, he leaned harder on my back, making me fall silent. “Leeches, Whisperers, Feeders, Tormentors, Disturbers, and Takers. Don’t you ever pull a knife on me again.” he finished.
“Fine, now, Get. Off. Me.” I said clearly and loudly, but not roaring this time as I was struggling to breath, the pressure left my back and I jumped up breathing heavy.
“Happy now?” He asked with a smirk. His smirk caused a growl to leave my throat.
“Get out, now.” I pointed at the door.
He raised both his hands, his smirk faltering. “Don’t worry, I’m going. It was nice to meet you, Abigail, and encase you were wondering about my name, it is Blake.” He said then disappeared out the door. I moved slowly into the hall to make sure he was gone. I got a glimpse of his retrieving form as he moved down the stairs. I shut and locked the front door after him, and checked all my windows. My head pounded and I still felt woozy. I moved back into the kitchen and stood there far longer than I thought. When I looked at my plain black clock, that was the only decoration in the kitchen, the hands read three O’clock in the morning. I knocked off the kitchen lights and moved to my bedroom. I had to fight my way to the bed as the floor was covered in clothes, my locker was coated with dust and three used glasses sat on top of it. When I finally reached my bed, I fell into it, consumed with exhaustion, but sleep didn’t come easily, I spent nearly the whole night with my heart racing at every sound.
I entered the Base, needing to get some rest, my arm still hurt and only sleep would heal it.
“Did you have to save Abigail again?” My body tensed at Cathy’s words, I hated how she treated Abigail, I would have snapped her neck in a second, only Abigail would be upset, I really couldn’t understand why she even liked Cathy.
I turned around and gave Cathy a full stare that made her squirm, she was attractive, but her soul was poisoned with bitterness and she wasn’t Abigail.
“No, what are you doing here?” I made my tone sound calm, but my hands itched to reach out and hurt her.
“Great to see you too, Daniel.” she scowled at me before turning on six-inch heels and made her way to the kitchen. She hated rejection and for some unknown reason, seemed to crave mine. Abigail said she fancied me, I think she did it to piss Abigail off. I locked my bedroom door behind me and laid down on my unmade bed before closing my eyes and falling asleep.
I woke up feeling better and looked at the clock; it was 1:30 in the morning. I should have been watching her, not sleeping. I dressed quickly and left. It was quite at the base; anyone that was here was asleep.
I pushed my bike a bit away from the building before starting it and made the 15-minute journey to Abigail’s. I stashed my bike under some bushes, the same place I left it every time, and walked to my usual spot not many were around tonight. I relaxed against the wall and focused. I could hear her door slam and the pounding of her heart. I raced as the main building door opened and a young guy walked out. I grabbed him before he knew it and pinned him against the wall.
“What are you doing here?” I kept one arm across his throat, letting him know I would crush his windpipe if he forced me. But I didn’t expect the bitter smirk on his face.
“At last, we meet Daniel. I needed to see what you turned for.” I didn’t let him go.
“So you’re one of mine? Thank God, you’re okay,” I said, but my words were laced with sarcasm.
“God doesn’t exist, but you already know that. Now, get your hands off me.” I did the opposite; I pushed my arm tight against his throat.
“Keep away from her or I will kill you.” It wasn’t an idle threat and from the look on his face, he knew it.
“Fine.” The word was barely audible, but I let him go and watched as he sucked in air.
“What did you say to her?” I was worried, but hid it from him.
“I just introduced myself.” He smirked again and I took a threatening step towards him, he raised both hands.
“As Blake; the new demon hunter. That’s it, okay? Relax.” I pushed him hard against the wall, his head bounced back and he winched with the force.
“Don’t ever tell me to relax.” his face was red with anger, but I walked away and resumed watching from my spot. He left, his hands balled into fists, throwing glances my way. I needed to get rid of him or he could ruin everything. It was only another hour before I heard her going to her bedroom.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a lot of things, like most people. First I wanted to be a school teacher, then an archeologist. When I grew up I wanted to be physiologist and then finally an accountant. LOL I settled on accountancy and qualified as an Accounting Technician. It wasn’t until later on that I started to write.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I don’t. That is the honest answer. I feel I am only finding my feet and haven’t reached the “writer” or “author” status yet. When that will be is when I am truly 100% happy with my writing, I am my biggest critic so not quite sure when I will reach the level that I have set for myself.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
It took around a year and a half. I never intended to publish my first book, I wrote it for myself, but when family and friends told me it should be published I sent it out to agents and publishers not holding much hope, so I was very surprised when I got my first yes.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My newest book is Hunters (Part one of the Demon Series) Okay 20 words:
A story of good versus evil, when things are not so black and white, grey makes everything complicated.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
Hunters is self-published and my first self-published book. So I am nervous yet excited about being on my own.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It takes about nine months to a year; sometimes I can finish a book in three months if I work very hard at it.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I have seventeen books that I wish to write and most of them are NA or YA fantasy/Paranormal/Romance but I have one sci-fi book I want to write.
What genre would you place your books into?
N/A or Y/A fantasy/Paranormal/Romance.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I love magic, I love things that we believe aren’t possible. It allows me to think outside the box, or think as if there is no box. J
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
Bellona is one of my favorite; she is the Queen in the Saskia Trilogy. I love her because she is so complicated and dark, yet every evil has a story to tell and Bellona is no exception. She had a horrible past that shaped her future, I am not trying to condone her actions in The Saskia Trilogy but I am trying to let people see exactly what shaped her. At present I am writing a Novella on her and it’s touch yet fun.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I have been writing only two years, I’m like a new author. Maria V Snyder would have inspired me to write as I am a huge fan of her work. But more so it was life that inspired me to write.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
No routine, I write when I want to or when I find time, the place doesn’t matter, as long as I have my laptop or pen and paper.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes I do, and I read the bad ones more than the good ones. I know, I know I shouldn’t but I am a glutton for punishment.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Title always comes first, then an outline and then I start the story.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
It depends; my first book was based in a world with Latin as its old tongue. So everyone has Latin names, the places are in Latin but they all have meanings. Hunters is based in England and Rome so names just came to me, I wanted names that suited the Characters.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
As I think of the character and what type of person they are then I name them to what suits them.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
O yeah definitely, I always have an outline of what way they will be, now in saying that as I write more will come to me and they will develop and grow but from the start I can picture them, and see the type of person they are.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
I like to think so, I write when life gets to hard, or a lesson that I may have learned. I can take that and bend a story around it, so I hope behind all my bending J that people can see the meaning behind my stories.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I always loved paperback but now since I have a kindle it would be e-books. But still I love the smell of a new book.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
Poison study and I have read it over twenty times and will read it again. I love how the story is so sad yet that sadness doesn’t saturate the story, it gives the main character strength instead of weakening her, I just love Maria V Snyder’s style of writing.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
My Favorite would be the Hunger Games; I think they really hit the nail on the head. The worst for me would have to be Dan Browns The Da Vinci code. I loved all his books but not a fan of the movies.
Your favorite food is?
Your favorite singer/group is?
Your favorite color is?
Your favorite Author is?
Maria V. Snyder
Aoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with mills and boon's books, given to by her grandmother her love for romances grew, by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.
Aoife had a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen. Realising she needed to get a real job (What writing isn't) she studied accountancy and qualified working in that field for many years, until her passion for reading returned and she found Maria V Snyder. Poison study one of her favourite books has been read and re-read countless times.
Aoife's first book Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy) came to be after a dream of a man and woman on a black horse jumping through a wall of fire and the idea of Saskia was born. Now with her first novel published and taking first place for Eden Forest with Writers Got Talent 2013, Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and is currently working on her third book for the Saskia Trilogy amongst other new works.