“What is that?” Luis asked, trying to compose himself while his body seemed bent on bringing up the remaining undigested contents of his stomach.
“One of our brothers,” Nathaniel stood and said.
“What?” Luis managed to ask. “But how? Who?”
“I am uncertain.”
Nathaniel was out of sorts. He was as confused as he had ever been in his life, going back all the way to his home in Cimpulung, Romania. The object at his feet was clearly a burned human form, and one of the monks of the monastery. How he had been dispatched was unclear. There was no wind about them, though the monastery was high in the mountains. It was as if everything was dead - human, animal, plant, atmosphere – everything.
“What’s that other terrible odor?” Luis asked.
“Sulfur,” Nathaniel answered. And then he began to wonder.
“Yes. It used to be called brimstone.”
Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. *glances around, sighs* Still summer, huh?
This is the traditional end of summer weekend, and how I wish it were Halloween already. At least then the heat would be long gone. If you enjoy summer then I hope the season finds you enjoying all that is left. Me? Not so much. That's central California for ya'. *grins*
I led off with a snippet of book 2 in my Dance on Fire crossover vampire series. The series that begs the question whether a vampire can be used by God. It's not a Christian novel, necessarily, but it does ask those questions and plays along those lines. The reviews have been good for Dance on Fire and Dance on Fire: Flash Point. I'm sitting on book 3 at the moment, patiently awaiting word from my betas as to how I'm doing so far. I've actually heard from one of them already, and she couldn't be happier. She says it's my best so far. That's always great to hear. It does have a title that I am not yet ready to reveal. The amazing Maria Zannini is also whipping up her cover magic at the moment. I'm still taking my time and hoping for an early 2015 release. We'll see...
Cautiously, they walked inside the monastery. The sound of the door opening and closing behind them was loud. The monastery, which had always been a place of quiet reflection, now reminded Nathaniel of a crypt.
He would soon hate himself for having thought so.
When they turned a corner they stumbled upon two more smoldering heaps of human remains. In the candlelight they could make out more of the details, but it did nothing but succeed in making them further sickened in both stomach and heart—and for good reason. Not only did Nathaniel fully expect to see more of these, but now he was certain that Luis might be the last of his brothers left alive.
At the end of the corridor, there was another.
They walked through a doorway and were met by yet another. Luis covered his nose with both hands. They began to walk faster now. Their footfalls echoed harshly against the stone and wood building.
Outside the sanctuary, they found another. They had to slide it out of their way in order to open the door. When they did, they found precisely what they expected to find. The place was filled with rolled up charred remains. In the light of the sanctuary, the smoke and heat could be seen wafting off.
“My God!” Luis whispered.
“No, it isn’t.”
At the front of the sanctuary was a figure. At first glance, he appeared to be a tall man with a medium build, although he stood with his back to them, his hands clasped behind him. “I know you’re not referring to me,” he laughed. “But I appreciate the sentiment.”
The man wore slacks and a dress jacket. His dark hair was slicked back. The candlelight reflected off gold jewelry on several of his fingers as well as his left wrist.
“You know,” he continued, but still didn’t turn around to face them. “There’s something about this architecture that I’ve always liked. I don’t know what it is. I guess it’s familiar.”
“Whatever happens,” Nathaniel instructed. “Do not speak.”
Luis turned as if to ask why, but Nathaniel gave him a sharp look. He turned back just as the figure before them turned. He was still holding his hands behind his back.
“That’s right, dear Luis. Don’t speak. Truth be told, none of your brothers said anything either and it didn’t save them. Who’s to say what may happen?”
The reason I'm offering up what happens at the end of book 2 is because it is a fantastic tease as to what will be the entirety of book 3. Satan is not pleased that there is a vampire seeking God and thwarting his plans at seemingly every turn. It gets under his skin, as it were. And he will not put up with that...
“What do you want?” Nathaniel asked.
“What do I want,” the figure mimicked. “Hmm? I wonder. No, wait. I know. I want you to stay out of my affairs!” With those words, he swatted a smoldering ball of remains that was on the pew beside him. It rolled along the pew and collided with another, causing both to fall onto the wood floor. “I want you to quit killing my creations! How’s that? Is that clear enough for you to understand?”
“I have only become involved when it had to do with my friends.”
“Not true,” he said, and his voice was suddenly lacking the vile anger of just a few moments before. “When you leaped through that nursery window and interfered with my son, they were not yet your friends.”
Nathaniel saw Luis out of the corner of his eye. The man looked awestruck, but he couldn’t worry about that now. It was obvious, however, that Luis knew who this was.
The devil walked up the center aisle and stood before them in all of his twenty-first century splendor. He was impeccably dressed in a double-breasted grey suit, grey slacks and black Italian dress shoes. He removed his hands from behind his back and clasped them before him.
“So,” he said. “You boys have done well: four vampires dead. And let’s not forget about Angie.”
Nathaniel said nothing.
The devil looked away as if remembering something. “Make that five vampires. I forgot about Mark.”
The devil tried to tempt Nathaniel into reacting negatively. He wasn’t taking the bait.
“I mean, those were your bite marks on his neck, right?” he sarcastically asked.
“Yes,” Nathaniel answered through clenched teeth.
“I’m sorry,” the devil asked. “What was that?”
“Just what is it that you want, Devil?” Nathaniel asked, trying to get the conversation away from that nerve that the devil had begun to scratch.
The devil straightened up his posture. “I really don’t like that name,” he said. “I prefer Satan. You may call me that.”
Nathaniel said nothing. He knew enough about the devil from what he had read in the Bible to know that he needed to speak as little as possible. Anything more and he risked getting drawn into something that this evil force might be able to use against him, or risk becoming angered such that all of his control might be lost. As it was, things were tenuous at best.
And Satan knew that.
“What may I call you, is the question.” The Devil walked up to Nathaniel and didn’t stop until he had come before him, nearly touching his nose with his own. “I created vampires. You are a vampire. I imagine that you won’t quibble with this. That must make you my son. What do you say?”
So there you have it. I took a break from the series and these characters I have known so long when I wrote Seeing Ghosts. I was pretty burned out. It was such a wonderful break that I came back to my series, renewed. I wrote 143k words in four months. Soon I will take another pass at it before sending it off to my fantastic editor, Natalie G. Owens. If you have yet to sink your teeth into the books, I hope you'll take a look at them and give them a chance. Perhaps you'll like them enough to get caught up before Satan steps out of the shadows and attacks the vampire Nathaniel and his extended family with all that he has up his diabolical sleeve. Get the e-book that starts it off for only 99 cents.
Have a great September.
We'll talk soon.