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Authors: Vijaya Schartz

Tags: #Contemporary, #Fiction, #Fantasy, #General, #Angels, #Human-Alien Encounters

Archangel Crusader (3 page)

BOOK: Archangel Crusader
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Michael wasn’t ready for the anger that swirled in his chest. He thought he’d dealt with it long ago, but he still resented the runaway junkie. "Damn! Girl, you never make it easy for your old dad, do you? I don't even know if she wants to see you..." Hell, he didn’t know if she was still alive.

Jennifer frowned as if the thought of rejection had never occurred to her.

Michael forced a reassuring smile. “But you’re right. Even though I still want you to be my little girl, you're probably responsible enough now." Jennifer was growing fast. “I’ll tell you what. We’ll make a deal. I'll call Dave and find out where she lives and how she's doing, if that’s so important to you."

Jennifer broke into a radiant smile. "Oh, Dad... I thought you'd never let me see her. I always wonder about her. Thank you, Dad. I love you." She threw herself in his arms, scaring the cat away.


Wait a minute... I make no promises...but if she’s clean, I let you see her.”


That’s all I ask, Dad." There were tears in her eyes when Jennifer turned and started up the stairs.

"Sweet dreams, honey. I love you," he called to her retreating back.

"I never dream."

"Sure you do, you just don't remember."

"I love you too, Dad." Jennifer disappeared up the stairs.

Now she wanted to see her mother, as if his life wasn't complicated enough! How long could he keep his family together without losing his mind? Deciding he had better stop drinking for the night, Michael went straight to bed and promptly fell asleep.

 

 

Chapter Three

 

 

The crimson glow of the dying star bloodied the devastated landscape of the red planet. Underground, in the circular sanctum at the heart of the secret city, green flames crackled on the sacred stone in the center of the checkered floor, while the smoke released a bittersweet scent.

In a quiet shuffle, hooded silhouettes in long silver capes filed in orderly ranks along the smooth white wall to their appointed places in the temple. In unison they struck an eerie tune, high-pitched and punctuated by hisses, rattles, shushes, and clucks.

As the vibration of the shrill notes intensified, hollow claps paced the harmony of the chorus with dry consonance. In alien words, the chant spoke of Krastinios, son of Lufriec, who would soon fulfill the prophecy and open a new world for his people. An electronic gong reverberated, changing the tone of the unfamiliar music.

Meanwhile, in a thick rain forest of Central America, concealed by the vines invading every crack of the venerable stones, the ruins of a long lost Mayan city stood among the songs of multicolored birds. There, lurked a threatening presence.

Oblivious to the tropical stench of rotting vegetation, scaly patches of brown and black slithered up the collapsed steps of the truncated pyramid. The huge anaconda flicked its purple tongue and climbed with purpose, answering the call of the strange symphony. When it reached the sacrificial stone stained with ancient blood, the snake coiled up at its center, basking in a pool of sunlight. Content, the reptile then veiled its eyes.

When the vibration escalated in intensity, the birds stopped singing. A chilly wind rose, blowing the vegetation away from the gigantic Mayan sculptures. Stone statues of plumed serpent-gods decorated the corners of the temple.

While the alien chant gathered power, the anaconda smiled in its sleep. Black strands of hair unfolded, smoothed, lengthened and straightened at the head of the sleeping snake. As if obeying the same tide, the green forest cover receded further, revealing more and more of the Mayan architecture.

The creature on the top platform uncoiled and thickened, changing shape. Extremities grew where there were none before. More swelling and bulging of skin and muscles occurred. Slowly, a roundish head formed under the length of jet hair. Protrusions and depressions appeared under the skin, sculpting brows, eye sockets, nose, lips, chin. Bones strengthened and lengthened. Hands and fingers grew out of human limbs. The scaly skin smoothed and warmed, taking on a healthy, tan glow.

For a moment, a beautiful male body lay there, naked and clean. All the vegetation vacated the stone structure, and the man now lay peacefully in the morning sun while the chant praised the birth of Krastinios. As the man turned in his sleep, for an instant the reptile lingered, but it was only an image, a life-like tattoo occupying the whole back and muscular shoulders of the stranger. The snake seemed to breathe under the fluid skin.

The naked man seemed to revel in the alien chant, as if it gave him pleasure. When he sat up, luminous brown eyes opened to the morning light and graceful hands felt the tight skin of his face. As the man looked down, a black garb of supple leather dressed his body.

Krastinios tied the long shiny hair neatly into a ponytail, sprang up, looked at his hands with wonder, flexed long fingers, stretched lithe muscles, and smiled with satisfaction. He then started the descent of the pyramid's ninety one steps with the easy grace of a jaguar, a voluptuous bounce in his stride.

The alien chant stopped abruptly.

On the red planet, the ritual ended. In perfect order, the sect members shuffled out of the temple. The green flame in the center took the shape of a small reptile, which slithered silently away on the smooth checkered floor. The last silver-clad silhouette turned for a final look, pushing back the hood from his head. Huge, menacing eyes peered out of the alien face of a scaly reptile, straight into Michael's soul.

 

*****

 

Michael screamed. The draft from the open window cooled his sweat.

"Wake-up, honey, it's only a nightmare." Veronica's gentle fingers stroked his hair.

He jumped. "What? Oh boy! You scared me. Something terrible is happening."

"You were having a dream. It's over now. You're all right," she said as if trying to calm a child.

"No, it wasn't a dream. It was real. I was there..." Michael shuddered at the memory. “I could smell the stench, feel the breeze, the unnatural cold. I was there, and that monster marked me. I can feel it. Something evil was born before my eyes, and it's after me."

"Tell me about it.”

"I'm not good at talking."

"You're better than you think, if you'd only try."

"But this is insane... I must be going crazy. It doesn't make any sense. How could you understand?"

"You underestimate the capacity of love, Michael. I bet I can understand anything. Try me, really... Try me once, please." Veronica flashed him the expectant eyes he never could resist.

In the faint light of daybreak, Michael propped himself up on a pillow and painfully proceeded to tell Veronica about the hallucinations and dreams of the past few days. While she listened quietly, he recounted everything as he remembered it, describing every detail, including the proposition of helping the blue being. When he was finished, a pale sun shone through the open window.

"Do you think I'm crazy?" Michael concluded.

After a long silence, Veronica's analytical mind took over. "Either you're hallucinating, and that's scary enough, but there probably is some available therapy... Or else, this is really happening. What a frightening thought! I know you wouldn't lie about something like that. But imagine for a moment that this is for real... What will you do? That blue being wants you to help..."

"No way... What could I possibly do?"

"You are very resourceful." She sat up straight.

With the morning light playing in her hair, Veronica mentioned their plans to escape an eventual disaster, the survival packs in the garage, the motorcycle ride across the country to the log cabin in Oregon, how they would find water, grow food, watch out for each other.

"I wish it was that simple." Michael scratched his head. "But this would take someone who can deal with the political crap, someone with connections in high places, someone with a good reputation, a clean police record. Not me!"

"What about the powers they told you about? Wouldn't they make almost anything possible?"

"Look what it did for Christ... His miracles took him straight to the cross. Thanks but no thanks. Besides, I would have to shape up, change my ways. You know how hard I tried... I never could."

"Maybe all you need is a cause. You always dreamed of becoming a hero. This could be your chance."

"I couldn't do it even if I wanted to, not alone, and I'd never ask for help. Me, make a contribution to the world? What a joke! I don't even like most of the people in it. Besides, since it's confession time, I'm scared." Michael paused for a second and looked at his girlfriend for reassurance.

Veronica touched his shoulder. "I've never seen you scared before, but I'm here, and I love you."

"I know..." Michael couldn’t shake the dream. “I don't like that pretty boy born of a snake, not a bit. Krastinios... The name sounds familiar. And the snake-monster with the silver cape... Lufriec, that's it, his name was Lufriec! If that creature exists, I'd rather not face him. He gives me the creeps. I'll never forget those eyes, that scaly face and forked tongue as long as I live." Michael felt better now that he’d admitted to his fear.

Veronica stroked his hair gently. "Gee... He must be something. Still, if my life depended on it, I would rather have you in charge than a stranger." As Michael fell silent, she went on. "Now, I understand why you want Jennifer to meet her mother so soon. You believe that if the world comes to an end, she may not get another chance. I love your generosity under all that gutsy pride." She smiled warmly.

Michael reached for Veronica and drew her close. They always slept in the nude. As he felt her warm skin under the sheet, she smiled, green eyes glittering in the ray of sunshine sweeping the bed. Whether or not she believed his story did not matter right now. She trusted him and Michael felt stronger for it.

His desire hardened when Veronica caressed his hair, locking his head in a long, soft kiss. Michael's hands traveled along the smooth back, firm buttocks, and long, shapely thighs. The perfume released by the heat made his pulse race. The strength of his grip extracted a soft moan then one calloused hand probed the secret moist place between her thighs, the other fondling hard nipples.

"Oh yes..." she whispered urgently, "Now... Please..."

"Please what? You've got to tell me or you get nothing," Michael teased.

Veronica reached for his aching member and firmly pulled it to herself, wrapping her legs around his waist. Michael groaned feeling the hot silky moisture surround his hard extremity, delighting in the musky scent.

"You're cheating," he protested, all the while driving hard into her.

"Whoever told you that life was fair?" Veronica retorted. But she stopped talking, her small cries turning into groans that could be heard half a block away.

Michael enjoyed feeling her pleasure. He held out as long as he could but finally succumbed to bliss. In a mighty roar, he collapsed on her bosom, sweaty and exhausted, smiling contentedly.

Veronica laughed in a broken voice. "I hope the neighbors have their windows closed."

"If not, I hope they enjoyed it." Michael laughed.

"I like it when we talk openly." Veronica sounded serious. “So often I feel that you're pushing me away... It hurts. I wish we could always feel as we do now, without hurting each other."

"Yeah, I know what you mean... I feel good, too. Maybe we should trust each other a little more." Michael tried to make it sound like a joke, but he meant every word. “Maybe I could change a little, surprise you, make you proud of me."

"I would like that." Veronica's clear smile warmed up the whole room.

"I promise to give it my best shot." He kissed her forehead, hoping he didn't lie.

"I love you, Michael Tanner," she whispered softly.

"I don't know what I would do without you." He embraced her, answering her pleading green eyes. “Let me make love to you again, without rushing it this time...”

 

*****

 

That afternoon, driving home on Verree Road, Michael felt sick. The dark stranger from his nightmare had haunted him all day, a malevolent smile on his face. Now, something felt very wrong.

As he neared Red Lion Road, the traffic slowed to a crawl. Police cars and ambulances rushed to the intersection. From a distance, it looked like an awful mess. Michael stopped the van by the curb and, since there was no way through, stepped out and walked to the scene of the accident.

Several cars had careened off the road, but it appeared that the main collision involved a red Miata and a black Mercedes with tinted windows. Michael winced at the small convertible. Veronica drove one just like it. But it couldn't be... Veronica never had an accident. She was so careful.

Michael edged closer, heart pounding. It almost looked like her car. The black Mercedes also stirred up a vague uneasiness. His heart skipped when he recognized the little blue Smurfs dangling from the rear view mirror of the Miata through the gaping windshield. There was fresh blood on the empty seat. The black Mercedes looked intact. God, he hoped Veronica was all right!

Controlling his aversion for the police, Michael approached a blue uniform, "Officer! The woman in the red car... Is she okay? Where is she?"

BOOK: Archangel Crusader
5.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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