Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.|
New Berwick, Illinois--a mystic place where witches rule under the watchful eye of the Dominions.
(I'd like to thank all of my fans who kept up with the book and gave constructive feedbacks. This book is ready to undergo some tough professional editing and, if I know my editor, lots of rewriting. But the core of the book will remain the same. And my signature style of writing will remain also. I won't be posting for a long while, but will be reading. So, I'm not going anywhere. Again, thank you.)
ATTENTION: A synopsis is located below in blue for those who are new or fans who need to revisit past chapter highlights.
Using a locator spell, Jewel and Ward have discovered that demon possessed Jessie is hold up in or near some unexplored caves not far from Ironforge--a very dangerous area for mortals. At the end of chapter 26, Jewel has promised Ward that not only will she get River, Dex and the wolves to help find Jessie, but also to help his nephew, Karl recover from his injuries.
Karl coughed up yellowish mucus; despite that, he was showing great improvement thanks to a smelly, brown liquid Jewel had given Ward to pour under Karl’s tongue. Because ICU patients were constantly monitored, it was impossible to get near Karl unnoticed. So, Jewel made Ward an invisibility cloak to wrap around himself. After visiting hours, he had entered Karl’s room and administered the potion.
Ward enjoyed being invisible. However, the magic was only good for ten minutes after he’d wrapped himself with the cloak, so the timing had to be perfect. He had performed the task in about seven to eight minutes. With a two minute window left, he was tempted to plant a wet one on the lips of a cute nurse he'd seen on his way out, but thought better of it.
It was an hour after Ward had left, that Karl sat up in a daze. The doctor was called immediately and was equally as astonished as the ICU staff. Karl was coughing up an awful lot of mucus, but after each hour continued to improve. What they didn’t know was that the substance wasn’t just mucus, but infirmities pouring out of him. The staff assistants worked steadily throughout the night changing Karl’s wet hospital gowns, bed sheets and covers. By morning, the excessive mucus had diminished and Karl had completely recovered.
Ward pretended to be ecstatic when Nancy called him the next day with the good news. He had his nephew back, and his sister had her sanity back. Now, if he could only find Jessie, the world would seem so much nicer.
A team of doctors, buzzing among themselves, left Karl’s room and went back to their separate units. Karl’s recovery was the talk of the hospital. Two of his doctors—Dr. Covington, a surgeon and Dr. Stover, an MD headed for the elevators.
Dr. Covington pushed the elevator button. “This one is definitely for the medical books,” he said.
“I’ve been practicing medicine for nearly twenty years and never seen anything like this.”
“I was on my way to lunch before I was called to Mr. Burgess’s room. But now, I think I could use a drink. Care to join me?” There was a three second silence. “I’m buying.”
Dr. Stover grinned. "What are friends for?” The floor number lit up over the elevator and the metal frame parted.
River and Dex picked up the last of the wolves who had eagerly volunteered their services in the search for Jessie. River pulled his black Durango SXT out of the last pickup’s driveway followed by Dex in a red Chevy Silverado. A train of several cars and trucks lined up behind Dex and headed for a place no mortal had ever gone. It was a place near Ironforge—a demonic place called Necropolis, a cemetery world of the evil dead and undead. The only difference between the two was that the evil dead stayed put; if you didn’t disturb their grave, they didn’t bother you. The undead, however, needed no incentive.
The short caravan of vehicles journeyed through black mud and thick foot-high fog, crushing dead animal bones and human skulls under its wheels as they traveled closer to the dark caves. The stench caused Dex to roll up his window and place a handkerchief over his mouth and nose. He turned to Matthew who sat in the front passenger seat.
“Damn, I hate the smell of death.”
Matthew stretched his eyes and fanned the odor away from his face.
By mid-day, the wolves had traveled well inside of Ironforge and parked their cars and trucks several hundred feet from the nearest cave. There were seven caves within fifty feet of each other. Doors swung opened, and each wolf got out with a handkerchief tied over his nose and mouth--giving them the appearance of 1800s western bandits. Many carried ropes as a safety precaution and pepper spray for possible encounters with reptiles, large wood rats, or bears. Because of the spread of civilization, many animals had made those dark underground dwellings their home. The wolves were instructed to be mindful of sink holes and discouraged against squeezing through tight openings inside the cavern; sometimes it was easier to squeeze through, but often impossible to squeeze back out.
River waved his arm at them. “Spread out in groups of threes or fours and search each cave,” he said, his words muffled by the cloth. “If you see anything, one of you come out and shoot a spark into the air.”
Spark guns were their only means of long distant communication. Phones were useless in that area. One of the older wolves was to stand by the vehicles and wait for the signal that Jessie was found or that someone was in danger. Then he was to run in and get River.
Dex, Matthew and River entered a cave together. The entrance was engulfed with impenetrable blackness. River watched their shadows dissolve into the black, and the musky taste of the air clogged his throat. He and Dex carried old fashion bronze carbide lamps used decades ago by miners. Matthew wore a light mounted to his helmet.
The red, dirt path snaked a quarter of a mile into the underground. The cavern that had never witnessed sun or moon looked as if time had stood still. Its shape was ovoid—the walls smooth from the floor to a ceiling that stretched a hundred feet up to giant stalactites and the bat roosts. River’s boots hit against loose stones that littered the floor. Stale air filled his lungs; yet, the darkness beyond his senses felt intriguing. Water dripping into water, and crickets chirping surrounded him like a noisy blanket as the chilling gloom appeared to swallow everything within. Large cones hung from the ceilings and even hard hats were no guarantee against injury from falling rocks.
As they journeyed further, they came across frigid pools of stagnant water. River wondered what was around the next boulder, and just how far did the path go? Under Dex's boots, loose stones shifted making the noise of the disturbed rocks echo against the stone walls. The lights caused some parts of the cave to come alive—snakes flashed under rocks, insects scattered, small mammals scurried, and the light bathed the path up ahead in a glimmering orange glow.
A great shout came from behind.
“River! River!” the old wolf yelled out of breath. “Come quick, they found that guy, Jessie and he’s meaner than a grizzly bear woke from a nap.”
River, Dex and Matthew followed him to the exit. Outside, River saw the wolves pouring into one of the middle caves.
“In there,” the old wolf said pointing.
River ran in with Dex and Matthew right on his heels. A little beyond the mouth of the cave, mounted lights on the wolves' helmets flickering against the cavern walls made Jessie's shadow look like a ten foot black monster. The wolves had him surrounded and he was growling like a dog and hissing like a pissed off cobra.
Before River could give a command, one of the wolves charged Jessie who stood wide-legged, his body leaning forward, arms bent at the elbow and fingers spread apart. When the wolf came within reach, Jessie lifted him over his head and threw him against the wall. Other wolves charged and one-by-one, they were batted several feet into the air, some went crashing into the dense walls--many landed hard on giant boulders, while others were sent skidding across the jagged rock floor.
River’s voice had been drowned out by the commotion; now that many of the wolves lay nursing their wounds, they heard him clearly yell, cease your attack. He inched towards Jessie with his palms facing out--a no threat sign. Jessie stood foaming at the mouth, his eyes blood-shot and wild, following River’s every move.
“Jessie. No one’s going to hurt you. We’re here to help you.”
River began to move in closer, but Jessie shot into a fighting stance and River backed off.
“Okay. Jess. Okay. I’m going to stand right here. But I need you to listen to me. I know you’re still in there somewhere, Jess. This thing isn’t you.”
“There is no fucking Jessie!” several voices echoed from Jessie's mouth.
“You’re in there, Jess. We know you’re in there. And we know you want to come out, but you've got to fight it, Jess. You've got to fight it.”
“THERE IS NO FUCKING JESSIE! ” the voice thundered against the walls causing the entire cave to tremble like an earthquake—and the wolves to tumble over like duck pins. Giant cones and rocks fell from the ceiling, injuring some wolves, and barely missing others.
Recovering from the fall, River started to rise, but flopped back down and gasped at the sight of Jessie's face that began to melt. His nose and mouth washed into each other, and his eyes oozed out of its socket like lava. His head waved into his neck and neck into his shoulders and torso, and legs and feet, until he was nothing but viscous goo. Then an eerie silence hung in the air, and all eyes remained fixed upon the pool of goo--when a woman rose out of it and stood majestically.
“Who the hell are you?” River shouted.”
“No need to get up,” a male voice rang out from the blackness. Gunner, Hollie and Amber strolled into view.
“Yes, at her feet is where you belong,” Amber said.
“You pathetic two-footed beasts," Hollie scolded. "Look upon the queen of darkness."
They strolled over and stood next to Corina who appeared the very image of her tall, slender shadow; she was dressed in long-flowing black--from her neck to her wrist, to her feet and out into a long train. She raised her hand, the cave lit up like a day sky. And behind her, fifty feet away--stood a vast army of the undead.
River's face dropped. “Holy, Mother of earth.”
***** The End of Book One *****
The prologue... The 1562 Witch Act forced witches to flee Europe and come to America. With their magic, they cultivated the land. Humans moved there hundreds of years later, forcing the witches to hide their identity. The 1800s...Covenant witches are not evil, but those who consort with the dead are evil sorcerers and covenant witches kicked them out of the coven. The sorcerers got revenge and turned human men into werewolves by sacrificing a human boy. The covenant witches got revenge on the sorcerers by casting a spell that confined them to their castle for hundreds of years.
The 1900s...Covenant witches refused to undo the werewolf spell because it required a human sacrifice. So the men decided to kill themselves off by killing their male off-springs. Some wolves refused to kill off their males, causing a split between the packs, creating a northern Pack and a southern pack, which also divided two werewolf brothers... River Porter and Dex Porter.
The late 2000s...A southern pack wolf kills a young human girl--this threatens to bring demon hunters down on the packs and start a civil war between them. River's wife Jewel Porter, a covenant witch, found a spell to break the moon curse by sacrificing a boy's soul after a werewolf bite to his neck then bringing him back to life, but now the boy is a werewolf but doesn't know it. The spell works, but a hospital worker discovered the boy's inhuman blood that could expose them all. The worker is ambushed by werewolves on the way to the laboratory. They chase him into a dark wooded area where they terrorize him and steal the blood sample. All seems quiet in New Berwick for a while until a succubus seduces Jessie Carter and has sex with him. Jessie is later possessed by that demon and attacks his best friend Karl Bergess who is now in ICU and not expected to live.
New Berwick, Illinois is comprised of four regions: Falcon Haven, Northern and Southern Greyscott Falls, Sheerfield County and Ironforge.
Northern Greyscott Falls:
River Porter....... Main Character
Jewel Porter....... River's wife
Their daughters....Chelsey, Abby, Dria, and Becca
Southern Greyscott Falls:
Dex Porter.........River's brother
Matthew (Matt) Porter... Dex's son
Jan Porter ....Dex's wife and Jewel's cousin/sister-in-law
Raymond Carter.. Dex's neighbor
Debbie Carter... Raymond's mother
Beatrice ....... Jewel's best friend
Kayla Morrison.. Beatrice's niece
Wayne Tilbert....... Sheriff of Sheerfield County
Reece Tilbert....... Wayne's wife/Sheerfield Bank president
Veronica (Ronnie) Tilbert...Wayne daughter/Kayla's BFF
Christopher Tilbert.........Wayne and Reece's son
Christa......................Veronica and Kayla's BFF
Bob Wilson..................Sheerfield County Coroner
Hollie Brewer...............Corina's sister/Sorcerer
New Berwick residents
Art Work: Her Eyes by Diane Azdamar at dianae.cgsociety.org