Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Excerpt from Facets-Darkness Falling

Hello, Gentle Readers.
I'm sure some of you wonder why I have so many stories featuring characters from the Nightshift universe.
Putting it shortly, I have a lot of love for them. Especially, Rachelle. There are so many of their stories that I want to tell and I've barely scratched the surface.
The Nightshift is a comic book series I'm currently writing and the first book is a collection of key points in Darquewatch history called Chronicles with Season 1: Face The Strange following shortly after.
In the meantime, here's a sample of Darkness Falling, which will be adapted into Chronicles, and I hope you enjoy it. Take care...

Facets is available on the Kindle Market!

I smelled sulfur.
That’s not right.
I was in the middle of doin’ my nightly meditation with vanilla candles to help me get into the mood. I shouldn’t be smellin’ sulfur. As I went to my workroom to grab some sage, the lights flickered and my house computer system did a quick reboot.
My amulet glowed with a bluish-white light. It did that when anythin’ magickal, anythin’ not from this world’s in my presence. A threat, heavy with malice, was in the air and the smell of sulfur got stronger. I called a couple o’ defensive spells to mind. It wouldn’t be the first time I got attacked at home. Night had already fallen. It should be ‘round sixty degrees, but it felt like high noon on the hottest day in the summertime.
“Computer: current temperature.”
“Ninety degrees, Fahrenheit,” the pleasant female voice told me.
Nope. Definitely not right.
            “Computer: activate phone tools. Call Kenneth Djange.”
            “Invalid command.”
Damn.“Computer: current temperature.”
            “Ninety-seven degrees, Fahrenheit.” Sapristi.
            My cellphone rang. It was an unknown number and the ringtone sang out the chorus of “Sympathy for the Devil.”
            “Abracadabra” by the Steve Miller Band is my ringtone. I knew I was gon’ regret it, but I answered the phone.
            “Hello, Rachelle.”
            “Hullo, Azmordel.”
            “I didn’t think you’d recognize me, since we haven’t spoken in so long.”
            “What d’you want?” I asked.
            “What I’ve always wanted, Rachelle: You.”
            “That’s not gonna happen.”
            He chuckled, a gruesome, dark and foreboding sound that raised the hackles on my neck.
“Not right now, but it will. The Darquewatch has stood in my way for far too long. I’m going to break it, break all of you into nothing and feast on your souls.”
I’ll say this for Azmordel, he does have a way with words.
“Big talk, Azzy, since, as I recall, you haven’t won a decisive victory against us.”
            “That is going to change.” The flat, utterly confident way he said it chilled me to the core; like he knew somethin’ I didn’t.
            “You sound awful sure ‘bout that, ne c’est pas?”
            I could hear the smile in his voice. “I would tell you what I have up my sleeve, but that would spoil the surprise; and I so want to see your face when it unfolds.”
            That’s when I heard what sounded like a rake being dragged accross the carpet. I tuned out Azmordel’s voice and stretched my awareness around me. Something was in the room with me. I couldn’t see it, but it was there; my amulet was still glowin’.
I closed my eyes and started to focus on my brow chakra, what’s commonly known as the third eye. I raised my hand in front of me an’ said, “Revelations…Into the Light…Suddenly, I See.”
Yeah, they were song titles, but they helped me channel and focus the magick.
When I opened my eyes, there was a demon standin’ in the corner. It had large clawed hands and feet, ash grey skin stretched tight over elongated bones, glowing red eyes and a razorblade smile.
            Azmordel’s darksome chuckle bubbled out of the phone. “You can beg for your life now. I might even spare you, if you’ll join me.”
            “What makes ya think I’d wanna do that?” The demon began to move, trying to circle around me. I kept it in front of me.
            “Because things are going to get worse,” he said matter-of-factly. “If you should survive my minion in your house, that will be child’s play compared to what will come.
“I want St. Alisdare, Rachelle, and I will have it. You can save yourself needless pain, end this pointless battle and join me. We could rule this city, this world together. None of the people in St. Alisdaire takes the Darquewatch seriously. The police barely tolerate you. If they had their druthers, they’d lock the lot of you up themselves.” The demon licked its’ chops with a long frog-like tongue and smiled, as if it could hear its master on the phone.
 “They don’t think spirits or demons are real. Even when it’s right in front their faces, they don’t believe.” Azmordel drawled. The velvet tones of his voice caressed the doubts and anger buried deep in my heart.
“Why risk your lives for people who hate and distrust you? Why not make them your slaves? I could give you the power to control this city, make all of them call you their master. All you need do…is submit.”
I shivered at the thought of that.
I found myself considerin’ his offer. Why not? It’s not like people are linin’ up to thank me an’ mine for the work we do. Fact is, those same normal people came cryin’ to the Elders all those years ago when they needed our help, ‘cuz they had no one else to fix the mess they made through ignorance and neglect.
In 2010, Hurricane Minerva swept through St. Alisdare and left it in ruins. FEMA responded a l’il quicker, but it still took years before the city was able to take anyone back in again. The mayor and the city council knew that, eventually, another hurricane could come and sweep away every bit of progress they‘d made. In 2015, the Mayor asked a group of twelve wizards to construct a shield along the sea walls surrounding the city to keep the disaster from ever happenin’ again.
They got their fondest wish, but, there was a cost: the walls between this world and the spirit world became paper thin. Things from the other side of the veil were able to walk the earth again. Spirits, poltergeists, demons and the like, started to come and make their presence felt. There were all kinds of advances in technology, but nobody came up with a way to combat the rising tide of spiritual activity. To make matters worse, Azmordel started to forge all the restless spirits into an army lookin’ to take over St. Alisdare an’ possibly the world. When those same wizards realized this, they decided to band together and fight to keep Azmordel in check.
Thus, the Darquewatch was born. Since then, we, the descendants of the original twelve wizards, have continued the work of keeping St. Alisdare safe.
For the skillionth, time, I asked myself why? Nobody appreciates what we do. There’s a whole world behind the one everybody lives in and only the Darquewatch an’ other practitioners of the Art are privy to it. Me an’ mine risk our lives against things that would happily tear our bodies into so much pasty goo, cast our immortal souls to the outer dark and drive normal folks into therapy from chronic nightmares.
We opened the door, now we have to guard it.
The words came to me all of a sudden. Maman used to say them to me whenever I asked why we do what we do.
When our ancestors built that wall of magickal force, they were messin’ with forces that worked to keep things in balance. As a result, they’d knocked all manner of things outta balance. The First of us left the door wide open with a neon sign advertisin’ a way back to the world of the living and unintentionally invited harm to come to the people they were trying to protect. All the members of the ‘Watch abide by this one unbending rule: Do No Harm. Was it worth it to turn my back on everythin’ I believed, everythin’ I was taught, just to teach some people, who were ignorant of the true peril they were in, a lesson?
            The point almost became moot when the demon grabbed my shirt sleeve.
I screamed and lashed out with a side kick. Thank God, it wasn’t expecting that and it tumbled into the wall and took my sleeve with it. I moved behind the table and fought to bring my breathing back to normal. There had to be something I could use to slow my l’il visitor down.
The demon sprang back up and jumped at me. I swung at it with a chair and caught it in mid-air. It hit the floor, momentarily dazed. The door to my workroom was open. Inspiration struck and bestowed a way out of this mess unto me, thank God.
I smiled. “Azzy, you might want St. Alaisdare, but you ain’t gon’ get it so
you can stick your sweet deal where the sun don’ shine.”
The demon chose that moment to attack. I barely moved in time an’ it slashed my right shoulder. It hurt like hell, but I ignored it and shouted the words to a wind spell. The magick burned in me as a gale force wind sprang to life and blew the demon into the kitchen. That wouldn’t stop it for long, but all I needed was a few moments to get to the workroom.
I got inside an’ stopped in the middle of a circle of runes and copper laid into the stone floor. The clackin’ of claws quickly changed to heavy thumps. The bastard was quicker’n I expected.
I waited until the last possible second and dove for the outer edge. The demon swung an’ cut my leg as I slapped a hand down an’ willed the circle closed. The demon howled as it ran into an invisible wall. I lay there for a few moments, amazed that I was still alive an’ that my arm an’ leg were still attached.
“Well—“, I said to no one in particular. “--That was fun.”

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