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a n Unwelcome unwelcome An d iscovery Discovery

J

onah Stone was defending a New York street all by himself. Fallen angels, their wings withered and charred, swooped in, attacking him from all sides. There wasn’t anyone he could call for help. He was on his own. He tried to fight them, tried to turn away or run, but he couldn’t move and he couldn’t look away. He was surrounded. Everywhere he looked, there was another fallen angel crawling out of a manhole, leaping from a window above, or materializing out of thin air. He looked up but saw only a crush of dark feathers there too. There was no escape. Jonah struggled to move down the street. It was as if he were trying to pull his feet through thick sand. The harder he tried, the worse it became. His feet began to ache, a dull throb, like a feverish flu, moving up into his legs. His stomach, his arms, and all the way up his neck and into his head—everywhere he felt the aching, and it made it almost impossible for him to move. 3

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Just when he was sure they were going to kill him, Jonah woke up, the vision shattered. He blinked a few times, reminding himself that it was just a dream. His body wasn’t aching. He didn’t seem to have a fever. He’d been having vivid, frightening dreams ever since the prophet Abigail had revealed to him that he was a prophet too. He breathed in and out until he felt his heart rate begin to slow again. His eyes scanned his darkened bedroom in the convent. These rooms sure haven’t changed, he thought. The room held the same simple wooden furniture—two beds and two desks against the wall, a worn circular rug on top of the old hardwood floor, and a small window with a view of a brick wall. It wasn’t much, but it was comforting to be back in his familiar room after two weeks in Greece. Jonah looked around for his roommate, David, the only quarterling taller than him, but he wasn’t there. His bed was already neatly made, and he was probably down at breakfast. David and his sister, Ruth, were from Uganda, where their parents ran an orphanage for hundreds of kids. David knew as much about the Bible as anyone Jonah knew, including his sister Eliza. Jonah hadn’t known there were others like him, other than Eliza and his brother Jeremiah, until they’d rescued their kidnapped mother from underneath the dark New York City streets. After all, they were what they were because of her. She was a nephilim—her mother was a human and her father was a fallen angel. When they rescued her, they also found and rescued others like her. That was over a year ago now, though it felt more like a lifetime. Back when their eyes were just opening to the reality that there was so much more to life than what they could see, and that the darkness of the battle between Abaddon and Elohim was going on behind everything. The war between good and evil was invisible 4

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to humans, but very, very real. Fallen angels could be around any corner, ready to twist minds and hearts away from Elohim. Last year, Jonah, Eliza, and Jeremiah had met not only the other nephilims’ children, but also had begun Angel School together. Jonah still cringed when he thought about what could have happened to them all if Abaddon’s recent attack on the school had been successful. Thanks to the prophet Abigail, the angels, and most of all, Elohim, they had managed to push back the evil. His friend David had been beside him every step of the way, helping and encouraging him, especially with the realization that Jonah, too, was a prophet. Jonah grabbed a towel, shampoo, and soap and walked down the hallway to the boys’ bathroom to shower. There were three shower stalls and a sink with a mirror over it. When he emerged from the shower, he stood in front of his reflection and did a double take. “What in the world is that?” he whispered, touching his face. There was a red spot just above his left eyebrow. He touched it and immediately wished he hadn’t. “Owww!” It was a giant zit and it hurt. He studied it in the mirror from all angles. “Well, this is just great,” he muttered. He tried to pull his shock of hair down far enough to cover it, but it didn’t help. Jonah tried to shrug it off as he headed down the steps and into the dining hall. Most of the other quarterlings, with the exception of Frederick, noticeably absent, were already sitting at the long wooden table in the middle of the room, talking loudly and eating breakfast. Jonah walked over to the buffet line, grabbed a plate, and filled it with everything that caught his eye. “Morning, guys,” he said, sitting down between David and 5

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Andre and across from Rupert and Carlo. Jeremiah was down beside Eliza and the rest of the girls, and, as usual, he had everyone around him in giggles. “Good morning, Jonah.” David smiled, taking a huge bite of biscuit. Andre simply nodded, barely looking up from his enormously stacked plate. It truly was awe-inspiring to see the Russian eat. “Good day, Jonah,” said Rupert, glancing up at him. “Hey, what is that on your forehead?” He pointed his knife toward Jonah’s face as he asked the question. Jonah pulled at his hair a little, trying to make it drop farther onto his face. “What are you talking about? And hey, how about getting that knife out of my face?” “Oh, sorry,” Rupert said, lowering his knife but continuing to stare. “It’s just . . . that’s quite the spot you have there, Jonah.” David turned and studied Jonah’s face too. “Wow. That’s enormous!” Andre glanced over, and when he saw it, even he stopped eating. Carlo’s eyes widened, and he touched his own forehead sympathetically. “Stop it, okay?” Jonah said, beginning to panic at the sight of four sets of eyeballs pointed at his forehead. “You guys are creeping me out. Haven’t you ever had a pimple before?” “Yes,” Carlo said, swallowing a bite of pancake. “But not like that.” “Yeah,” David agreed. “I’ve just never seen one so big. It’s like Mount Kilimanjaro.” Jonah rolled his eyes and stuffed a bite of egg in his mouth so he didn’t say something he might regret. His friends finally, mercifully, changed the subject to who their favorite soccer player was. 6

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 That night, just before nine o’clock, thirteen kids disappeared from sight in front of the door of the convent. All of the quarter­ lings had entered the hidden realm. The hidden realm, a place that humans could sense only within their hearts and souls, was a place the quarterlings could actually see and enter into. In the hidden realm, they were invisible as they walked several blocks to the New York Public Library. The early November air was chilly. Jonah led the way, trying to keep them in the shadows as much as possible, even though the people they passed couldn’t see them. He didn’t want to walk through anyone—that was for sure. It was not only weird; it was shocking—literally—for everyone involved. Mainly, though, they needed to be cautious when it came to the nonhuman elements they might encounter on the street. The city streets were always teeming with fallen angels. They had been safer when their hideout at the convent had been a secret, but the Fallen had discovered their location during their last battle. This made Jonah even more thankful for the angelic guard flying above them and the angels who walked in front of and behind them. Jeremiah was at the front of the line and was kicking at the heels of the angel walking in front of him, trying to trip him. The winged creature kept glaring back at him as if he were angry, but Jonah saw him wink. It was hard to get mad at Jeremiah. “You need to stop that,” Eliza said, coming up behind her little brother. “What if you tripped him and caused a commotion? That much noise could attract some of the Fallen, for sure.” 7

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Jeremiah grinned up at her and kicked the angel’s ankle one more time. Eliza raised her hand and was about to punch him in the arm, but Jonah grabbed her wrist. “Enough, guys,” he said. He eyed his mischievous younger brother. “Eliza’s right, Jeremiah. Settle down out here. This isn’t the place to goof around.” The side door to the library had been left open, as usual. Jonah glanced around to make sure no one was watching and then slid the door open, motioning for everyone to go through quickly as he held it. But as soon as he shut the door, he heard a scream and a dog barking. He turned, and directly in front of them, a German shepherd had cornered Hai Ling against the wall. The security guard holding the dog’s leash was staring at the Chinese girl.

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Shadow Chaser  

Join part angel Jonah Stone as he faces his biggest challenge yet! Many months have passed since part angel siblings Jonah, Eliza, and Jere...

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