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Demon Hunters Pt3 Chp 38

First chapter of Part 3 of Demon Hunters.

Part 3

 Chapter 38

 

I walked into the building that housed my office on Sunset Boulevard on an unseasonably cool June morning. It had been almost three months since my office was rebuilt after nearly being brought down by a monstrous zombie. The whole building still smelled new as I walked through the doors. The scent of fresh paint and cut wood lingered in the air like a faint ghost and the walls and floors gleamed with sharp brilliance. It was like stepping into a brand new world.

Since all the madness with the Morgan Sanguine case, my life had settled back into normal mode. Of course, normal for me was still more chaotic than most other peoples’ lives. My caseload remained steady, but despite that, and an unpleasant encounter with a rare Were-tiger, I felt rather good about my life.

My demon was still rattling around in my head and I was still a lightning rod for all manner of horror and atrocity you could think of. The one thing that made me happy above all that mess was the fact that Gwen had sold her home in Blue Haven and moved to Los Angeles to live, which put an automatic spring in all my steps.

She found a nice condo in Studio City, which was actually quite nice. I helped her get used to the area. Showed her all the points of interest, for both the tourist and native. I showed her where to get the best produce and the best places to go for a late night fast food binge. We were inseparable for weeks, but I couldn’t play momma bird forever. I had to get back to work and Gwen was set to find a career of her own. Due to the conflicting schedules of both goals, we found we had less face time to enjoy, but we did enjoy what time we had. She had said she was close to finally landing a job but she didn’t go into much more detail than that.

As I walked up the stairs to my office, I was quite impressed with the work done on the building. My landlord wasn’t burdened with a reputation for being very generous and I was sure he was going to lowball the whole job, but it looked as though he had spent real money. He not only had my office rebuilt but he gave the whole dump a makeover, inside and out. There was new molding along the walls along with brand new paint. I walked up the stairs to my office and noticed the fresh new carpeting he had installed. I also noticed how quiet it was. I felt like I was the only one in, but as I stepped inside, I saw Ivar at his desk poring over a pile of books.

“Morning.” Ivar looked up.

“Good Morning, Jake. You’re in early.”

“Yeah, I tried to sleep in, but I just couldn’t do it.”

“That is a sign of a healthy sleep pattern.”

“If you say so.”

“How is Gwen? I haven’t seen her in a while.”

“We’re good. She’s been busy looking for a new job.”

“She’s having trouble?”

“It’s tough going from a small fish bowl like Blue Haven and into an ocean like L.A.”

“I’m sure she’ll find something. She seems very bright.”

“She is. What are you up to?”

“Nothing. Just my usual referencing exercises. We had a couple of visitors.”

“Already? What did they want?”

“One wanted to hire you for a background check. It didn’t seem he understood the nature of our business. The other wanted you to gather evidence for some lawsuit he’s preparing. They both left numbers.” I walked over to my desk. It was oddly clear of clutter and papers. Gwen had taken to stopping by periodically and straightening up for me. I looked over at my phone and saw a slip of paper with two numbers and two names. One name had background check next to it and the other one had lawsuit. I picked the phone up and started dialing the background check number first.

“You’re actually calling?” Ivar asked with some level of surprise.

“We gotta pay the bills somehow. The little demons and imps of the city have been annoyingly quiet lately. I can do a quick background check. Pick up an extra check. It might just cover the electric bill this month.”

I sat down with the phone to my ear. A voice came on suddenly. It was thick and low.

“Hello?”

“Hi. Jake Corba here. Is this William Bertram?

“Yes. Thank you for getting back to me.”

“My pleasure. You came by my office this morning?”

“Yes. I spoke with your assistant. I need you to run a background check on someone I’m thinking about hiring.”

“Are we looking for anything in particular?”

“Just a general check. Prison record, whatnot.”

“Okay. I can do that. Would you be able to come in and sign some papers?”

“Of course. I could come by this afternoon.”

“Great. Any time after two will be fine.”

“I will see you then.” It sounded like he was about to hang up, and a curiosity came over me.

“Mr. Bertram? Before you go, I’d like to ask you something.”

“What?”

“Why me? There are lots of companies that do this kind of work. I’m just some no-name private investigator. How did you even find me?”

“It’s actually the oddest thing. I told the applicant I needed to run a background check, and they actually referred me to you.”

“They did? Who is this applicant?”

“Gwen Thorne. Do you know her?” I smiled a little to myself.

“The name sounds familiar. I’ll have to check. Come by around two and we’ll get you taken care of.”

“Okay. Thank you.” He said and hung up. I leaned back in my chair and just as I was about to open my mouth, the door swung open and Gwen came in.

“Good morning you two.” She softly patted Ivar’s shoulder as she made her way over to me. She was wearing a blue dress that danced gracefully with every step she took. I could sense the faint aroma of perfumed flowers in the air as she got closer. I got up quickly and wrapped her up in my arms and hugged her tightly.

“Morning.”

“Jake. I have a favor to ask.”

“I already talked to him.”

“Him? Who him?”

“William Bertram. About your background check.”

“I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t act so innocent.”

“Fine. I might have encouraged him to call you.”

“It’s fine, really. I just don’t get why.”

“I was hoping you might be able to creatively edit some of the things you find in my background check.”

“Like what? What could you have done that would raise any red flags? A nice girl from Blue Haven, like yourself.” Gwen turned away from me slowly.

“There’s a lot about me you don’t know. Not that any of it is relevant now. I was a different person then.” My interest was rising.

“Okay. You’re scaring me now. What am I going to find?”

“Nothing. Some youthful transgressions. A few black marks. A little federal conviction.”

“Excuse me?”

“It was nothing. In college, I got kind of swept up in activism and some friends and I went out on a boat and intercepted some fishing boats that were known to kill dolphins.”

“And?”

“We kind of hijacked it.”

“You hijacked a boat?”

“And then ran it aground,” Gwen looked up and caught me staring at her. “It was a small one. No one told me it was a felony. I got a year of probation. I didn’t serve hard time, but it’s still on my record.”

“That doesn’t sound, too bad.” I said with some reservation.

“I know that, but it doesn’t look so sterling to prospective employers,” Gwen said. “I just need you to kind of water it down a little.”

“Water down. As in erase?”

“If you could?”

“Gwen. That’s illegal. Incredibly illegal,” Gwen looked down darkly. I quickly put my finger to her chin and lifted her head back up. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thanks,” Gwen said with a broad smile. “Will you stop looking at me like that?”

“I’m sorry. It’s hard to digest. I can’t really picture you taking part in anything illegal.”

“You believe in ghosts, demons, trolls, werewolves, and all other sorts of things that go bump in the night, but me breaking the law is so out of reach?”

“All those other things I’ve seen. I just can’t see you hijacking a boat. It’s kind of bad ass.”

“I have a wild side.”

“That is becoming exceedingly clear.” I pulled Gwen in for a kiss.

“Before I met you I had a very interesting life.

“No doubt. So, what job is so important to get that I’m risking jail time?”

“Real estate agent.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I got my license a long time ago, but I got kind of sidetracked after I got married. I thought I’d pick it back up. I renewed my license last week and interviewed with Mr. Bertram a couple days ago.”

“And this would be a big career move?”

“Big enough. Bertram Real Estate is a huge company, at least from what I’ve learned. The important thing is he’s willing to take a chance on me. That is as long as my background check comes back clean and felony free.”

“Yes, don’t worry. I think it should be easy to bury a boat hijacking. Not much chance of you doing it again, is there?” I thought it came out rather cute, but Gwen’s expression soured and she stepped away.

“It’s not a joke.”

“I didn’t say it was.”

“This is important to me. When I was married, Henry didn’t like me working. He was always so backward about that. I got my real estate license for a reason. What better job is there than to help people find homes to raise their family?”

“Okay. I’m sold. You want this? We’ll make it happen.” Gwen beamed up at me and gently kissed my lips.

“Thank you.”

“Settled? We good?”

“Yes.”

“Great. Now get out of here. I’ve got a business to run.”

“All right. I’ll see you tonight, right? Dinner?” Gwen asked as she headed for the door.

“Absolutely.” She blew me a final kiss and disappeared around the corner. I looked back down at the phone and picked up the little slip of paper next to it. The last number was for a guy named Felix Lesidous. I quickly dialed but instead of ringing, I got an earful of a loud beep and a message stating that the number had been disconnected.

“This guy came in today, right?”

“Correct.”

“That’s gotta be a record. His phone’s been disconnected.” I said. Suddenly the door flew open and a scrawny looking guy stood in the frame. He was wearing a suit of questionable taste. It was poorly cut and seemed to be two sizes too large. His face was angular and pale with dark lines running up around his mouth. His thick brows were furrowed over his angry eyes as he marched up to my desk and pounded his fist down.

“You Jake Corba?” He asked.

“Yes.”

“I’m Felix Lesidous.”

“I was just trying to call you. Your phone’s been cut off. You know about that?”

“That’s not important right now. I need your help.”

“Fine,” I sat down. “I understand you need me to help you with a lawsuit. Is that right?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. Now we’re getting somewhere. Have a seat and let’s get to work,” Felix sat down in the chair across from me and settled in. I pulled out a piece of paper and found a pen. It had been a long time since I worked on a, as some would say, normal case, but I remembered getting as much information as was available was a good thing. “So, Mr. Lesidous, what is the nature of your lawsuit? What are we looking for?”

“I am suing on the grounds of wrongful damnation!”

Seems crazy? Well, it makes sense if you read the whole thing. Check it out.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006LBQXKS

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Demon Hunters Chpt 14

Below is the first chapter of the second  part of ‘Demon Hunters’. If you feel you’re missing something, you can always buy the book. Just sayin’.

Chapter 14

 

I looked up at the clock on the wall. It was half past two in the morning. I was sitting at the table in the briefing room. That’s what the arresting officer called it. I had been left there nearly a half hour earlier and still I waited. I looked across the table at the mirror on the wall. I checked my hair. It was a little messy, but I liked it like that. A few scars on my face here and there, but I liked having a face with character. It was hard to stifle a little laugh, though. Did the cops really think that fooled anyone anymore? Anyone who’s seen Law & Order knows the deal.

The door suddenly opened and someone came in. The suit registered as a man, but I looked at the face and saw it was a woman. She had very short, black hair and she sat down across from me and slapped down a large folder onto the table.

”Hello.” She said.

“Hi.”

“I’m Detective Samantha Reynolds. I believe we have things to discuss,” Her demeanor was difficult to read. I knew she wanted to bust my ass, but she seemed to be holding back. Her glare kept on me as if I was a small child and she was a Rottweiler who hadn’t been fed in three weeks. “Well?”

“What?”

“It’s late. I’m tired. I don’t think I have to tell you exactly how much trouble you’re in right now,” I looked down at the stained floor and the events that have transpired recently dashed across my brain.

“You might have to,” I said. “I was already in some before this,” She leaned back in her chair. Her face became easier to read. Angry. Definitely angry. “You mind if I smoke?” I reached into my coat pocket for my last cigarette.

“This is a non-smoking facility. There’s a hundred dollar fine.” I pulled out my wallet along with my cigarette.

“Here,” I dropped the money down. “Two hundred. I had an extra one.” I then proceeded to light up.

“I’m sure you think you’re being very clever and funny, but that is not the case. We have your accomplices. We’ll get the information out of them if we have to.” I let out a breath, unleashing a faint cloud of smoke.

“Your hair is short.”

“I like it short.”

“You a lesbian?”

“That’s none of your business.”

“In other words, yes.”

“No. As a matter of fact, I’m not.” She said and then wiggled her ring finger at me. “Married two years.”

“Great. Congrats.” I took another drag.

“The only time you’re wasting is yours.”

“I beg to differ. I’m sure you have a lot of better things to do than sit here with me.”

“I do, but I’m getting paid for this. Are you going to talk?”

“I really don’t even know what you want to hear.”

“Fine. I’ll talk,” She opened up the envelope and pulled out some papers. She held them up in front of her face and began reading. “Jake Corba. Correct?”

“It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.”

 “Age thirty five. It says here you run a paranormal investigation firm. Interesting work?”

“It can be.”

“Now what leads a man such as yourself to such a unique career path?” I knew the tone. The same pandering attitude I always got from people when I told them what I did for a living. Ninety nine percent of the world seems to refuse to believe in the existence of anything that can’t be found in either the Bible or an encyclopedia.

“I have a demon in me.”

“Do you drink a lot? Take any drugs?” The usual follow up.

“No. Just possessed. It’s been swimming around in my soul since I was born.”

“Could you elaborate on that?” She kept up her game face, but I could see through it as clear as glass.

“I was only a few months old when it happened. My parents took me to church to have me baptized. They brought me up and the pastor said his words and as he dabbed me with holy water, that’s when it happened.”

“When what happened?”

“The creature entered me. My soul was taken over by a demon. The church burst into flames, killing my parents and the rest of the congregation. It was all pretty much downhill from there.”

“And you believe this?”

“I didn’t at first. I knew I had a demon inside of me but a lot of that night was something I didn’t care to remember. I remember the screams. I remember seeing my mother being pinned under a large beam from above. I remember her face. She was so beautiful. Her face was so serene and peaceful, despite the situation. She looked into my eyes and I looked back into hers. That’s the last thing I can recall clearly.”

“Sounds intense.”

“It was.”

“And because you were possessed?”

“It’s as good an explanation as any. I was young. I couldn’t control the thing. Are you trying to pin a thirty five year old arson case on me now?”

“No. I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on now and you are not helping me. What about your partner?”

“Ivar? What about him?”

“What do you know about him?”

“Plenty. He’s kind of weird, but he’s a good guy. Smart. He knows just about everything. He’s also very spiritual. I think in some parts of the world, he’s a shaman. He told me that.”

“Does he have an address? A phone number?”

“I don’t know.”

“He works for you.”

“I know, but I’ve never had to call him or mail him anything. He just kind of shows up.”

“Is he a citizen of this country?”

“That, I admit, is embarrassing that I don’t know. It’s never really come up.”

“Tell me about the case you’ve been working on.”

“Is that what you want to know?”

“It would be a start.” I plunged my cigarette into the palm of my hand to put it out. It sizzled upon contact with my skin but I didn’t feel a thing. I could see the look on Reynold’s face. I casually dusted my palms clean and lit my last stick up.

“The last case. Fine. I’ll tell you all about this last case. Get comfy.”

 If you’re enjoying it so far, it only gets better. Get a copy of the book (hardcopy or digital) now!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006LBQXKS

Spotlight : ‘Demon Hunters: Second Coming’

ImageThis week I throw the spotlight upon ‘Demon Hunters: Second Coming’. ASIN:B00960TL6Y for the digital or for the paper back: ISBN-1478386126. Available on Amazon.com.

In anticipation of another free offering of the first book, I would like to share some insights on the sequel. I will try not to give too much away because the first book ends with, in my humble opinion, a pretty good cliffhanger and it is resolved instantly in the second book.

First, I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a sequel but once I finished the first book I began to see the potential for deep, compelling stories within the Demon Hunters mythology. Once I began writing the second book, I was seeing how rich the material really was and I began to see further. I’ve always enjoyed writing stories that kept building the characters as it went on and I kept seeing new paths to follow with every character I introduced. I started to see their pasts mingle together and a continuity that felt as real as my own life began to take shape.

I found that as I reached the middle of the book, I had created a world where anything could happen and I was free to take the characters anywhere I wanted. I could bring them to the very brink and return them if I so chose. Demon Hunters has given me the chance to really take some big chances and the second book, I feel, exemplifies that better than the first; And that’s saying something.

At the risk of digressing too far, I’d like to mention that as I make notes for the fourth book of the series, I feel the world of Jake Corba is going to become even bigger and the other characters are going to figure in more prominently. I’m rather excited actually. There are so many more twists and turns ahead, and the seeds of those twists were being planted in the second book as well as the third, but I’m sure I’ll be talking about that one later.

That’s it for this week’s spotlight. I do however want to take a moment to tell you all that someone pointed something out to me over the weekend. I talk about my books, but embarrassingly enough, I’ve failed to tell people where they can be found. I left the ASIN and ISBN numbers for this book at the beginning of this post. As for previous books I’ve mentioned:

Demon Hunters ISBN: 1461130433

Jason Of The Valley: ISBN 147822830X or ASIN B001JEO44E for the digital version also available on Amazon.com. In fact, go to Amazon.com and put Jason K. Melby in the search engine and all of my books will come up for you.

I’d also invite anyone who buys my books to share your thoughts either here or on Amazon.com. LIke I’ve said in a previous post, I would prefer positive feedback (but who wouldn’t?) but if you must be critical, I only ask you to be constructive. We’re all friends here, after all.