Link

Demon Hunters Pt 4 Chapter 46

Sadly, this will be the last entry for this book this week, as there are only four parts. But take heart, loyal readers (few that you may be) tomorrow is Free Book Friday, and a new book shall be offered. Stay tuned! And if you want to full story, just follow this link and enjoy!

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

Part 4

Chapter 46

 

He’s been staring at me since the last stop. I admit he’s a cut above the others. At least he’s not some bug-eyed freak with no hair and bad skin. I just don’t know how they can even pick me out of a crowd. It’s not like I have some big tattoo on my forehead declaring I’m the daughter of the so-called Savior. I’m just plain old Larissa Corba, wage slave by day and woman of mystery by night. It’s not my fault my old man founded some crazy church and it’s really not my fault anyone with less than half a brain believes him. I heard the story from my mom so many times before. She just didn’t want me to forget about him. Kind of hard since he stepped out on us before I was even ten. I have to admit, what I do remember of him is good, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that he chose his church over his family. How long before we get to East Fifth Street? This train is taking forever.

He’s still staring too. He’s kind of cute actually. Nice face. Good hair. Hard to believe someone that well put together would fall in with the cult crowd, but then you can never really tell how dumb people are by just looking at them. It would be such a nicer world if you could, though. I could take him out. Maybe even have some fun. No. Stop. No way. I’m not going through that again. Once, a year ago, I let my guard down and it just turned into a big bloody mess. I still don’t know what I was thinking. You see a stalker so, of course, you invite him in for coffee and before you know it, you’re lashed to your bed with dried pig intestines and surrounded by a bunch of Goth priests waiting for him to come and make you a vessel for the next Savior. I was so lucky the intestines broke and I had that knife under my pillow. These days, you can’t be too careful. Another lesson from dear old mom.

I can feel the train slowing to its stop and finally the doors slide open. I push through the people in front of me. Not that I’m scared, but experience tells me to put as much distance between this freak and me as I can. I zigzag along the platform toward the stairs. There are too many people to stop and look around to see if I did lose him, but I’m pretty sure I have.

I walk out onto East Fifth Street and the cool air hits me hard. The sky is as dark as ever. A thick, billowy cover of gray and black clouds has floated over New York and apparently likes it so much it won’t leave. I’m just glad the rain has stopped. It was raining since I got up this morning. It’s actually been raining for several weeks now. Days and days of solid rain with a few breaks in-between. I noticed a couple weeks ago how it’s affecting people. Normally Herb, the guy I get my paper from, always has a smile for me, but three Mondays back, he was as sour and angry as most everyone I know. It was too bad. I myself skew a bit on the dark side and it’s always comforting to have a few smiling faces around. Takes the pressure off me to be happy.

I feel a drop of chilled liquid hit my cheek and soon it’s followed by all his friends. I whip out my umbrella quickly just as the icy water crashes down on everyone. A few slowpokes are still struggling with their umbrellas as I walk by. Must be tourists. Only someone who’s just visiting would let their guard down that easily. I turn my head a bit to get a better look at how bad the poor sucker gets soaked, but instead, I see my train buddy a few yards behind. I turn back quickly and focus on getting through the crowd. My building’s just a few blocks away. This guy isn’t good enough to keep up with me that long. I disappear into a flock of commuters. I purposely cut through the middle to ensure my friend has as difficult a time as he can possibly have in tracking me. I’m tempted to run, but if I run, he runs. I can get more distance between us if I just keep cool.

I’m just a few steps from my building and I feel a wave of relief. I quickly brush past my doorman, Will. He tips his hat to me as I walk by, as he always does, and I blurt out a ‘thanks’ out the side of my mouth, as I always do. I make a snap decision to take the stairs. I’m only on the third floor and I don’t have any heavy luggage. I can make it. I veer a sharp right just before the elevators and find the entrance to the stairwell. I start up, feeling a wave of comfort as I think about my stalker, stuck out in the miserable rain while I am safe and dry. I get to the third floor and open the door. The coast is clear. Not a soul in sight. I start down the hall to my door. I pass the elevator and as I do, it opens. There he is! I feel my spine stiffen. I curse myself just a little bit. I thought I was playing it safe with the stairs. Either I’m losing my skill at avoiding psychos, or this guy is one of the best. He’s closer behind me. I can hear his footsteps. I think I can even smell his aftershave. There’s my door at the end of the hall. It’s so close. Don’t run. Just keep walking. Eyes forward. Pretend you’re a laser burning through a wall of butter. Just cut through. He’s getting closer. I can hear the rustle of his pants as he steps. Okay. There’s no more time for running.

I stop suddenly and pivot fast. I barely recognize the look of surprise on this nutjob’s face. I grab his arm, spin him around and slam him into the wall. He tries to speak, so I shove his face hard in order to impede speech. I don’t really want to hear how I don’t understand and he didn’t mean anything by following me all the way from the subway. He bucks a bit under my grip. Pretty cheeky, if I do say so myself. I throw him to the floor and grind my knee into his spine.

“I live here!” He screams out.

“What?”

“Three twenty three! Over there! I’m Mike Barnes!” He barks, looking over to the door a few away from mine. I feel sudden coolness erupt in my heart. I jump up from him quickly. I see he’s got his keys in his hand.

“Oh my god. I am so sorry! I didn’t know!”

“It’s okay.” He picks himself up and smoothes himself out nicely. He looks at me and smiles a bit. He seems to be a better sport than I would be if the tables were turned. “I’ve got a couple younger sisters. I know what kind of world it is.”

“I just thought you were following me. In my defense, that happens a lot.”

“I’m sure. Considering who you are.”

“What do you mean by that?” My guard goes back up quickly.

“Well, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t know about your father. I saw you on that bit on the news a few months back.”

“Oh. Right. I was hoping that would have put an end to all of this. Just because my father is the founder of the Great Church of Corba doesn’t mean I’m any closer to God’s ear. Their editor chopped the whole piece up so badly though, now I’ve got more people coming up to me, hoping I can deliver them to The Savior.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault. I just got dealt a lousy father and now I’m paying for it.”

“That’s a little harsh.”

“What do you call a father who would rather run off and start some crazy church than be with his family? I don’t think I ever spent any time alone with him after they started filling his head with crazy ideas. He always had that creepy advisor with him. Couldn’t make a move without him. Mom couldn’t take it anymore and asked for a divorce, which he gave her just like that. No arguments. No fights. He just bolted out the door and never thought of us again.”

“Okay. Maybe it wasn’t harsh.”

“So, you live over there? I can’t believe I’ve never seen you in the building before.”

“You may not have seen me, but I’ve seen you a couple times. You always seem so focused and in your mind. I’d say hi, but you never replied.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I understand. If my life were like yours, I’d be exactly the same way.” He smiles again. Seeing him closer up, I can see how good looking he really is. His eyes are deep and a crisp shade of blue and his hair looks soft.

“I still feel bad about this. Maybe, if you want, you could come over for a drink sometime? We could get to know each other. I don’t really know any of my neighbors.”

“I’d be honored to be the first. Would tonight be okay?”

“Tonight? Uh, sure. Yeah. Why don’t you come by around eight?”

“Perfect. I’ll see you then.” He smiles again and trots off to his door. I watch him closely as he puts the key in and pushes the door open. Just had to be sure he really did live there. As his door closes, I feel satisfied and I go on to my home.

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

Link

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

Link

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

Demon Hunters Chpt 1

I’m changing things up this week. As I said, I would post the first few chapters of the book I offered for free the previous Friday for #freebookfriday but since I’ve offered this book so many times before, I think it may have become over saturated, so what I’m doing this week is putting up the first chapter of each part of the book. Just  trying this out. Enjoy!

Part 1
Chapter 1

 

My name is Jake Corba and I spent my twenty-fifth birthday baking away along Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, California. I wasn’t homeless, as such, but it was a lot more pleasant for me to camp out along the street than be at home, which was nothing more than a glamorized roach motel which enjoyed frequent visits from bill collectors and repo men. My creditors had become aggressive in their attempts to squeeze the last bit of blood from my veins and I didn’t want to make their job easier by being a stationary target.

I sat along the street and begged for change when the mood struck me, but mostly I just sat there and thought. I tried to keep my thoughts away from the past. I realize many people reflect fondly on their histories, but I’ve never found any comfort in mine. I never could see any point in dredging up a painful life in order to figure out exactly where it all went wrong, when I already knew. I could pinpoint my first and biggest mistake to the day I was born.

I didn’t remember much about my parents, as they didn’t last very long. There was a fire in the church on the night of my baptism. A fire, I have come to understand, that I started after I was possessed by some otherworldly force. A demon to be exact.

 A demon had infiltrated my small, fragile body and I was filled with its power. I didn’t know what I was doing and I don’t recall much of the experience, but apparently I caused the death of my parents and nearly every single soul in that church. That’s about all I can remember from my childhood. I have flashes of growing up, being tossed from one foster home to another.  I didn’t have many good memories to hold onto so I never tried.

Over time, I learned to control the demon on my own. It became a part of me and I learned that I was a lot better off on my own than with any family. No one could possibly understand who I was or what I had become. The demon inside me gave me strength. It helped me to survive on the street.

I saw a wealthy looking woman approaching me on her way to one of the boutiques along the boulevard. I looked up and mumbled a request for some spare coins. I expected her to just walk by but to my surprise she stopped and dug out some coins from her purse. She dropped them into my backpack and hurried on her way. When I was sure she was out of earshot, I rifled through my bag and found the money; a couple quarters and a penny. I shoved the coins into my pocket to join the others I had collected that morning. I almost had enough for a small cup of coffee. Happy birthday to me.

The day dragged on. I sat and watched the usual parade of life pass by. I walked along the block and mingled with my fellow street people. Once you get past the crazy, they have some real interesting stories to share. As I was heading back to my usual spot, I stopped in my tracks. I could see him across the street.

There was a very weird looking dude who seemed to have gotten into the habit of stalking me. He was a big guy too. Built like a brick wall. I had seen him staring at me a couple times over the past few months. At first, I just thought he was a local. I’ve seen a lot of people more than once around here. It wasn’t that unusual, but when I realized every time I saw him, he was looking at me, I began to worry. His gaze was penetrating. It was as though he were expecting me to do a trick or something. I turned away from him. When I looked up, he was gone. I was rather surprised by my reaction. I’m not the kind of guy to scare easy. I wasn’t sure why this freak was making me feel so uneasy.

I decided then was as good a time to pack it in. I could feel my skin burning, but I didn’t mind. The demon inside of me helped to keep me healthy and well. Any wounds I suffered, it would heal. Any ailments I had, it would cure. The voices in my head were a small price to pay for that kind of coverage.

I could tell it was getting late. Nearly time to eat but I didn’t have enough to get anything. I went over to a nearby trashcan and did a quick scan of its contents in case someone had tossed some leftovers or a half full soda cup. Nothing, but I had a theory that I did have some stale potato chips in my pantry back at my dump. I grabbed my bag and threw it over my shoulder and headed down the street.

The next day I came out at my usual time and camped out as always. It was a bit cooler and I was able to stake a claim on some sidewalk that had some good shadow coverage. I sat just watching for a few minutes, but I got bored. I went to my bag and pulled out a pen and paper. I started to write. Nothing deep or profound. I would sometimes just write down what came into my head. I wasn’t always sure if it was coming from my head, of course, but that wasn’t the point.  It also helped to have something to focus on other than myself. It really helped pass the time.

I was tearing through the pages for what seemed like only a few minutes, but when I finally came up for air, I saw three hours had passed. I felt my stomach begin to rumble loudly. The potato chips from last night weren’t quite as filling as I had hoped they’d be. I set the paper down and considered my options. It wasn’t even noon yet, and the foot traffic was unbearably light, so I didn’t have much more than the money I had collected yesterday. I double-checked my bag in case I missed something. I then decided to drown my hunger in my writing. I grabbed the paper and went back to my words.

The shade I had been luxuriating in for most of the morning was fading and I could feel the heat spreading. My forehead was moist with sweat. As I was starting a new line on the paper, I thought about taking a break to find a new spot when suddenly, the shade returned. I looked up and the brick wall freak was standing right over me. He had never gotten so close before. I could smell something coming off of him. Either his cologne or soap. It was subtle at first but soon it was all I could smell. Some sort of mix of animal musk and Old Spice.

“Hello.” His voice was like thunder. I snagged my bag and tried to slide away as slowly as possible.

“Hi.” I said.

“Jake Corba?” I felt a shock come over me. It had been so long since I had heard someone say my name. It almost seemed like hearing a foreign language. I wasn’t sure how to respond. I had made ducking creditors into an art form, but I wasn’t getting that kind of vibe from the guy.

“Yeah.” I said as I got to my feet. I began inching away, just in case.

“It is you, isn’t it?” He sounded relieved somehow. A smile, or what I thought was a smile, began to form on his lips.

“It’s me all right. Do I know you?”

“My name is Ivar.”

“Ivar? Ivar what?”

“For now, just Ivar. I have come a long way to meet you, sir.”

“Sir?”

“I am what some might call a student of the universe. I have traveled the world studying from the greatest religious and Philosophical minds on Earth. Holy men from every corner of the globe.”

“Okay, that’s great. Your passport’s full. Congrats. Can I go?”

“I’ve come here to study from you.” His tone was so sincere, I nearly believed him.

“From me? In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not a holy man. I don’t even go to church.”

“But you are a Corba.”

“Guilty.”

“The day you were to be baptized, you were taken by a demon that still dwells in your soul to this day.”

“How do you know that?”

“I have insight.”

“That’s great,” I had thought he was creepy when he was just looking at me, but hearing what he had to say raised his creep factor by a million. By the look in his eyes, I could tell he really believed it all. I knew I had to get out of there and fast. “This has been interesting, but I think I need to get home now. Bye.” I said and turned away.

I took the long way home but as I was walking, I could sense someone behind me. I turned and saw that Ivar was following me. He wasn’t chasing me, but keeping pace with me. Clearly asking him to leave me alone wasn’t going to work. I turned a corner onto a small street a few blocks from my apartment and spun around to face Ivar as he approached.

“What is your problem, man? I don’t want to talk to you! I don’t know how you know so much about my life, but it doesn’t impress me. Just leave me alone! I’ll go to the cops if I have to.”

“I realize how strange this may seem to you. I have come to learn from you because I feel my teachings have become limited. It doesn’t matter how many religious leaders and figures I speak with. They are just devices chosen to deliver a message, but you are as close to the very essence of the living energy of this universe as any living thing can get. You are not a representative of a higher spirituality. You are a part of it. You have experienced a higher plane of existence and became one with it. You have knowledge that I could never hope to attain. I want to know all I can learn from you. I want to know how you came to be and why and…”

“Hold on there, dude. You want to learn about me from when? When I was born?”

“That’s right.”

“Well, you know about as much as I do. After that church thing, it’s all a blank until my first day at my first foster family.”

“Surely, you have more information than that. Your soul is bonded to a demon. Your family has been hunted and persecuted by demons for centuries. You are a perfect example of the functionally cursed.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Don’t you know about your family?”

“No, I don’t. I never really cared to look into the whole family tree. Being stuck with the demon has been bad enough.”

“You don’t know the story?”

“Don’t know it. Don’t care to.”

“Come with me then. I will share with you what I have learned.”

“Thanks, but no thanks. I never knew my family, and that’s been a fine arrangement so far. They seem to be too much trouble. Especially if they’re cursed. This has been freaky and disturbing and I think you need to go. Now.” I said and turned away from Ivar and continued on my way home.

“Don’t you even want to know why you live under this curse?” He barked at me as I got further from him.

“Not interested!”

“Even if I can help you cure yourself.” I stopped. The world stopped. His words echoed in my head. I had heard the word cure thrown around carelessly. Before I learned to control the demon, I tried to expel it. I talked to everyone I could about it. A few offered hope and promised they could save me, but they were all wrong. I decided it was better to just live with the damn thing and close the door on any hope of being cured. I wanted to turn back to Ivar and agree. I wanted him to show me some miraculous procedure or remedy that all the others had overlooked. The one silver bullet that would finally free me forever, but before I could utter a word, I remembered the disappointment I felt each time one of those saviors had let me down. I couldn’t do it again. I wouldn’t. I braced myself and continued on down the street without a word. I could hear Ivar behind me, begging me to come back, but I kept forward.

The House Of Stolen Light #freebookfriday

Another week gone by and another free book Friday. I have decided that I will post the first 5 chapters of the book I gave away the previous week, if only to give those who failed to get a copy a little taste of what they missed out on. This past week’s offering was a tale of mystery and mysticism in a small Northern California town. I wrote this one years ago and rediscovered it recently. I dusted it off and have since put it out for the world to read. As I went through the manuscript, I began to see how the story and characters nearly reflected current situations in the world today in concern with the economy and employment. I think it gives clear voice to my own personal struggles with unemployment, and maybe someone out there may see this as well. At any rate, enjoy.

Chapter 1

Carson was alone in the elevator. He could feel a slight, chilled jet of air coming down from above. He felt the lift of the car beneath his feet as it began rising through the shaft up to the twenty-fifth floor. As it approached the twentieth floor, it began to slow and his stomach began to lurch up. As the elevator eased itself to a stop, he had the same roller coaster feeling he got before the first big drop.

The doors opened slowly and he stepped out into the hall. It seemed endless, stretching out to infinity. Bright, white lights lined the walls and created a ghostly glow. He slid on his sunglasses and began to walk. The only sound he could hear was a dull thud with every step he took. He looked down at his watch. It wasn’t even noon, but it felt to him like it was the dead of night. As he passed by each door, he tried to listen for any sounds behind them but they were all silent, although he could hear the television in a few of them. He finally stopped at suite 2576. He slid his card key through the lock and opened the door. The cool air of his room shot out at him like a gust of new life. The unmistakable smell of nothing filled his senses. The beds had been made and all the little niceties had been returned to their original state as if by magic. Even the pens on the nightstand were positioned exactly as they had been when he first checked in at the beginning of the week. The pen caps were turned to face the north end of the room and the name of the hotel printed on the body of the pen was clearly visible.

He laid down on the bed and his head fell down upon the firm, freshly dressed pillow. He reached for the remote but as he was about to turn on the power, he suddenly was overtaken with his own fatigue. His eyes became heavy and the previous night’s events began to catch up with him. He dropped the controller and soon was adrift in his eyes.

The phone’s ringing shocked him back to life. He bolted up and soon got his bearings. He looked down to his watch and saw that nearly two and a half hours had passed. He was still tired beyond all reason, despite that.

“Hello?” Carson asked as he picked up the phone.

“Are you still asleep? Check out is in fifteen minutes!” Errol whined over the connection. Carson fell back upon the pillow.

“Don’t remind me.”

“I’m sorry, bud, but the real world beckons. The sad reality is vacations do end.”

“I know. Just one more day?”

“No. We were stretching it by staying the week.”

“I got lucky last night. I won almost a thousand dollars in Blackjack.”

“I drove and I need to get back to my life.”

“You don’t have a life! You’ve got an aquarium full of fish you got at Wal-Mart!”

“Hey! They are still quality pets. I need to get back to them. I don’t like leaving them to Trish’s mercy.”

“She’s taking great care of them. One more day.”

“No, I just would feel better if I was back with them. Besides, I have to be back at work Monday.”

“It’s Saturday! We could leave tomorrow morning.”

“No! I need at least a solid twenty four hours to decompress before I go back to work.”

Carson threw his head about in a fit as he realized he was fighting a losing battle. He had been surprised Errol hadn’t petitioned to leave earlier.

“Fine. I’ll meet you in the lobby.” Carson said through gritted teeth.

A few minutes later, Carson trudged down to the lobby. He carried only a small leather bag that contained a few shirts, his toothbrush and toothpaste and a few select thongs he had liberated from some exotic dancers earlier that week. He saw Errol standing amidst a sea of people. He stuck out quite plainly as he stood among his large, bulky suitcases wearing a rather gaudy Las Vegas t-shirt with his clunky camera slung over his neck. Carson walked over to him; half hoping he would just become invisible before anyone drew the connection between them.

“Ready?” Errol asked.

“Barely.” Carson adjusted his sunglasses. Errol grabbed his bags and began to lead the way to the exit. Carson followed along at least two full yards behind him. He was beginning to actually look forward to the trip home. It was dawning on him as they weaved and bobbed through wave after wave of people that he couldn’t spend the rest of his life in Vegas, as much as he wished he could. Reality was calling and it had to be heeded.

The crowd became less an obstacle when they reached the parking structure. Errol zeroed in on the car almost instantly. Carson stood by as he watched Errol carefully load his bags into the trunk. He had barely been able to fit them all in when they left and somehow it seemed as though the trunk had shrunk. There didn’t look to be enough room for even a rag much less Carson’s modest bag. Errol examined his configuration carefully and his brain began to pulsate.

“It’s okay,” Carson said, knowing full well how long it would take Errol to figure out a perfect arrangement. “I’ll just toss it in the back seat.” Errol agreed with a shrug and walked over to the driver’s side and opened up the car. Carson threw his bag into the empty back seat and then settled into the passenger side seat. Errol had his seatbelt adjusted and was sifting through his CD collection in the arm rest compartment between them. Carson would have suggested something to play but Errol only had classical and new age CDs. He needed to put himself in a Zen-like state when he drove long distances. He soon settled upon a disc and popped it in. He twisted the key in the ignition and the car hummed to life. Carson’s eyes had closed before they even hit the street outside. He could hear some piece of classical music that he thought any self-respecting college graduate would be able to identify by composer and year, along with Errol’s humming to accompany it.

Carson’s eyes opened. The music didn’t sound like it had changed, although he knew it was a different song. Errol had stopped humming though. Carson looked down to his watch. It was nearly six and it seemed they were driving through a large stretch of desert. He looked out the window at the passing scenery. Cacti and brush whizzing past his tired eyes in a blur before a perfect blue sky that stretched out as far as the eyes could see. He kept trying to get back to sleep but his eyes wouldn’t cooperate.

“You okay?” Errol asked. Carson sat up and looked over to him. His glasses were steadied on the tip of his nose as he looked intensely through the windshield to the horizon before them.

“Yeah. I’m fine.”

“You’re kind of quiet.”

“Sorry. Just tired.”

“Look, I understand why you aren’t exactly happy to be going back. It’s not easy I know. Unemployment never is.”

“It’s been a month. I’ve already burned through my severance pay. I don’t even know what I’m going to do about rent.”

“You said you won a thousand dollars.”

“I did, but I’ve got bills to pay. It won’t take the whole thousand, but it’s not going to leave much.”

“Well, you know if you need any money, I….” Errol began.

“No. I’m not borrowing any money. I learned a long time ago; never let money enter into a personal relationship.”

“It’s not a problem. I’ll give you the money. Don’t even worry about paying it back.”

“You say that now, but what about later? No. I can’t do it.”

“Fine, but if you change your mind…”

“I won’t. I’m no one’s charity case.” Carson said in a rare glint of self-righteousness. He slumped back over to his window. The scenery hadn’t changed much. Still miles of desert and lots of dried out dead plants. He looked down and saw the asphalt below.

“What is with you?” Carson sat back up and shot a hard glare at Errol that nearly bore a hole into his head.

“When we get back home, you go back to your job and your nice condo. I go back to unemployment and my crappy apartment complete with annoying roommate,” Carson barked. “Not much to look forward to.” Carson settled back into his slump.

“I’m sorry.” Errol’s tone was timid.

“No. I’m sorry. I’m being an ass and I’m sorry. I appreciate you taking me on this trip. I really do. I’m just not in a good state of mind right now.”

“It’s okay. I realize this isn’t a good time for you. I just thought this trip would kind of get your mind off everything.”

“It did. Going home is kind of ruining it though.”

Carson heard a small chuckle escape Errol’s lips.

“This is one of those bumps in life that turns into a good memory eventually.”

“You’re a good guy, Errol,” Carson said. “You’re full of shit, but you’re a good guy.”

New Review!!!!!

The new review. Maybe this my entice some. NOTE: I did not write this review. It was posted by a new reader, and FYI, I got a new good review for the sequel. Just sayin’. So if you’re a fan of ‘Supernatural’ or ‘True Blood’, maybe this would be of interest to you. Book 4 is coming soon btw.

Demon Hunters: ASIN: B006LBQXKS

‘The hero is a bit of a slacker, but is a decent guy with a horrible upbringing filled with loss. He is also possessed by a demon. Well, he is partially possessed in the sense that he controls the demon and enjoys the benefits of strength and healing. His ancestors were cursed, and it takes Ivar, a mystic and researcher, to track down Jake Corba and fill him in on a little family history. Jake must face the past and deal with the present, thus an adventure begins. There are demons, angels, zombies, fae, and other creatures in this book. Oh yea, Heaven is misplaced for a spell, too. There are a couple jump points in the book, but the story all makes sense. Ivar is absent from the book for a bit (no cliffhanger or spoiler on this) and that part of the story was interesting as well. The book is pretty clean for you discerning types out there.’

Check the book out here : http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Hunters-Jason-K-Melby-ebook/dp/B006LBQXKS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1384234000&sr=8-3&keywords=jason+k+melby