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Copyright Š 2012 by Pirate’s Mark Press under the Authority of BecHavn Publishing and Production Group All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. First edition. ISBN: 978-1-105-74153-1

Printed in the United States of America piratesmark.com


This book is dedicated to my true family for never once hindering my creativity‌ and to the dreamers, because a single is powerful enough to change the world forever.


Prologue

It’s night in the city of Hecate Hollow and its people are sick, some even dying from a new pandemic sweeping across the world. Whether you die or evolve is all up to the disease but one thing is for certain, it’s affecting everyone. As a matter of fact, the newly elected president happens to have the non-lethal form of it, lucky for him, but not so lucky for us. Being the tyrant he is, he has passed a new law saying, anyone who does not have some form of the disease is a threat to everyone who happens to be currently blessed with this "new evolutionary advancement". In other words, the government decided if the president was stuck with this disease everyone else should be. He accomplished this by making the general public think they were the disease and the disease was a cure. In a twisted sort of a way the disease was truly a blessing to some people. It made healthy people and ill people alike; faster, smarter, stronger, and many were shocked to find they were immortal. Yet, there was a catch. The catch was many did not survive after contracting it and to add to the problem it could be spread in many ways but it was mainly spread orally. Whether it was a kiss, a sip from the same cup or strangely enough, in some cases, bites to the neck, it was like finding the Fountain of Youth and the river Styx in one location. Too bad there's always a price to pay for power but the price for freedom often rivals even that, few know this cursed truth better than a man named Zefer.


Zefer Beep! Beep! Beep! Zefer's alarm clock blares calling to his dream self to open the doors to reality and mope through his lonely existence once again. He was not actually awakened for he had not slept through the whole night. His body shivers to the beat of the rain tapping on his window. A sudden rage swallows his entire body as he shakes away the on-coming drowsiness of his long night. He wrapped his hand around the cord of the clock, that had still not stopped buzzing, and with every ounce of strength he could muster he smashed it against a nearby wall. An extra crash could be heard in the same direction after the clock made its impact. Zefer fell to his knees and while picking up the shards of glass that had fallen, he started to weep. It was a photo of his two daughters. Both girls looked absolutely thrilled to be in the photo with their father, yet there was something little off about them. Something cold about the way they stared back through the shattered frame. He grasped the shards tightly and held them close to his chest. Crimson dripped from his hand and flowed through the cracks like his own mortal vines. There was a frantic knock at the door. Zefer’s eyes rolled into the back of his skull. His nerves were shot by the sudden drop in body heat but he was ready for this. This is what he wanted. "Sleep." A whispered sound echoed through the empty house, as if it were coming from the portrait, but it didn't matter now, Zefer was no longer in the land of the living. As his soul left his body he could see a group of soldiers bursting through his door. They were getting smaller and smaller as he rose into the sky. "Wait a minute! Why do you get him?" The voice of a little girl resonated from below. Zefer's soul paused in mid-flight. At least the view was pleasant, he thought to himself, just before he zipped downward and paused again. "He belongs up here with me because this man knows unconditional love silly girl." This reply was from the small boy up above. Zefer guessed he was about six or seven years old. He levitated upward once more and the girl replied, "Oh, no you don't bugger face! This man is a cold-blooded killer!" By now, Zefer was getting tired of the whole ordeal. He almost wanted to go back home, almost. The little boy was getting extremely frustrated but he just let out a sigh. "Look, let's make a deal." the girl


suggested. "Oh no! I'm not falling for that one!" The boy said. "Come on! He is a killer and you know it. You just don't want to admit it. You're always so lenient with your precious humans. It's not fair you big cheater! Why is it when I create things everyone hates them but when you create things everyone goes out of their way to help them succeed? “Not fair! Not fair! Not fair!" The little girl whined. "Life's not fair" the boy said calmly. "We’re not alive!" she shouted. Suddenly, the boy’s voice got bolder and sterner. He no longer sounded seven; he sounded more like a 40-year-old man with a microphone. "That's beside the point! This man has never killed anyone his entire life!" bellowed the boy. "Yeah, sure, whatever … that doesn't mean he doesn't have the drive to kill another being. He just needs a little push… a chance to prove he's really a monster." The girl giggled "What? What’s so funny?" The boy said returning to his childish tone. "Oh nothing really" she said. "Just if you would take some initiative and interfere just a little more, all the killers in the world could have been stopped by now for all of time.....just saying." She had a point, not a very pleasant point, but a point nonetheless. Zefer thought the two beings were too busy bickering to pay any attention to him so he decided to speak to them. "Um, hi" he squeaked and then cleared his throat. "Hello!" he then said more sternly. "We're listening." the two children said rather calmly. "Well I would just like to point out, on the boys behalf, I have, I had…. two daughters of my own." "Get to the point" the little girl barked." "I can't say with any truth that my two daughters liked their father looking over their shoulder and telling them what to do every waking moment of every day. Most of the freedoms I gave them were very important to them and were more valuable than anything I can think to give them other than my love. So I can understand why he would want his creations to have a little bit of freedom." The boy snickered a little inside. "But on the same note, those men back in my apartment are part of a government that took everything from me. They murdered my girls for not wanting to be like everybody else. To be truly honest, I would give anything for revenge on the person who ruined my life. I would take whatever punishment needs to be given to avenge my daughters. So when it all comes down to it, the little girl is right as well." he chuckled at the thought of what he was about to say. "I guess I am a killer." Both beings were dead silent after Zefer's speech. "So I guess the real question is should I be punished for a crime I have yet to commit?" he said thinking out loud. Zefer's soul finally began to move again. Faster and faster he went, but which direction was he going? He did not know his soul was tumbling out of control. Boom! Zefer's soul smacked back into his body and allowed him to draw a much needed breath of air. It would seem he had been given a chance to make his own


choice on where he was to end up after death. The soldiers that were in his house all watched in awe as his corpse reanimated before their eyes. One of the men spoke into an ear piece hidden in his helmet. “Target is active Mr. President." A nearby soldier quickly typed something into her computer. "His name is Zefer, 37 years of age, has two daughters Rose and Gabriella, both deceased. They were all non-takers Sir. The three of them refused treatment." The president's voice came through the speaker "The one that got away, too bad his kids never made it out. All who refuse treatment must be eradicated. You all know what to do. "You heard the President boys, take him down." "Sir!" they replied in unison as they removed their safety and cocked their guns. A hail of bullets rained down towards Zefer's body. Deep inside his subconscious he could hear a voice he had heard many times in his sleep. This time was different. It didn't call him by his name as it usually did. "Shadow get the Hell up!" Zefer's eyes snapped open. They turned from a beautiful hazel to reptilian yellow. The bullets crashed into his body and turned to smoke upon impact. Then, Zefer was nowhere to be seen. "Target is still active! Target has not been eliminated! Stay frosty!" One of the men shouted. A shadow scooted across the floor and could only be seen when the lightning flashed for it had not stopped raining between the time of Zefer's death and his rebirth. "This should be fun." said the voice of the little girl from before. "You’re cheating!" The little boy shouted in a not so little tone. "First off, it's not me doing all this, secondly, you didn't even want to play to begin with so I don't think you should get a say!" she snapped. The little boy thought really hard for a comeback to no avail so he decided to watch as the event unfolded, hoping Zefer would come to his senses before it was too late. Zefer was in no mood to settle this peacefully and to make matters worse, his children's names spoken by their assailants, stung him like no other pain he had ever endured to this point. Guess it was a good thing him and his prey were both on the same page. The rain stopped and the moon was creeping out over the clouds. The dripping from the dying downpour could be heard throughout the room and a massive shadow started to engulf the moon light that flooded the floor. The closer the shadow advanced the farther back the soldiers moved until every back was against the wall. Zefer lunged out from the darkness, guns blazing loud, short sweet screams of terror, and it was all over. Zefer now stood silent in the middle of his house drenched in blood but there wasn't a scratch on him. He looked at the floor and saw his shadow bleeding


profusely from his gun wounds and the cut's from the picture frame glass he gained before the battle started. He knew it was over and he had made his choice. His eyes returned to their natural hazel and his body embraced death for a second time. Other than the cold, bony claws that cradled him, the only difference, he was no longer blinded by hate. He realized all he wanted was to see his girls again. The words "I'm sorry" wisped hauntingly across the floor to the picture of his beloved children. Even though he knew there was no way he would ever be able to see them again, he was more aware they weren't where he was going.


A Demon’s Forbidden Love

Just inside the gates of Hell lay a shade, in life, a handsome, loving, but disturbed man named Zefer but in death, just a shade. The sad husk of smoke and bones rose to find itself in a pitch black, inky darkness. From a distance he could see a faint light, beautiful, soft, lulling, light. The light grew bigger and got brighter as though he were going toward it. “My legs don't seem to be moving, yet I feel as if I'm getting closer, the shade thought to itself”. When he finally got as close to the light as possible without entering it, it seemed frightening, yet he was surprisingly compelled to touch it. He reached out his smoke laced, skeleton hand slowly and cautiously to touch it and the light began to speak. "Lost shade, it would seem to me you have forgotten who you are; you have turned your back on the light and forsaken your children." It spoke in a voice so delicate and soft it could melt even the coldest of hearts. "Do not fear for I shall be your guide in this jail for the damned as long as you do not stray from the path set before you. If you should fail on this quest for redemption, you shall suffer here for all of time and beyond." The shade smiled, "I used to take my kids to church before the world fell into chaos and I was told just about the same thing. Sometimes, I forget who the demons are." he said. "Silence your tongue sweet child of mine or I shall rid you of it." she said sweetly. He was silent, more because he was shocked that she was so kind about it than the fear she would act upon her words. "In life your name was Zefer. In death you are Shadow. You represent the shadow of your former self. Your true name can only be given after you have lived out your life, for you do not know who you truly are until then. For now I shall leave you to your darkness in hopes you will return to the light." A loud clap of thunder sounded and all went black again as the lonely shade, now known as shadow, lay unconscious in the broken world of evil. Shadow awoke to an unearthly wailing. He thought he would still be a shade when he woke but he felt as if he changed somehow. He started groping like a child learning about their hands for the very first time. He truly was different. He was now a gray reptile like creature, yellow eyes, claws, and sharp teeth. "Dude I have a tail!" he shouted with glee.


But, he did not notice the world around him changed as well. The ground under him was moving and as he shifted, it squished beneath him. He felt a pinching sensation soon after and a buzzing that over powered the groaning that was there when he awoke. Shadow shouted and stood up immediately, maggots and worms of the most horrible sort where gnashing their teeth and chomping at his newly formed corpse. Faster and faster the bugs crawled upward covering his entire body as the buzzing got closer. When the sound finally descended upon him, it turned out to be millions of hornets and wasps ripe for the stinging. His eyes were the only thing not covered by the creatures although every now and again one would casually find its way across. In the midst of all the chaos he found he was not alone. Fallen Angels and shades alike both crucified and covered in bugs surrounded him, the lost souls of limbo. The beings did not seem happy that shadow was present. "Fool! What have you done?" the angel shouted spewing chunks of worm ridden filth from his mouth as it spoke. Shadow didn't want to speak for fear of letting the little beasts into his mouth. "Errrrr?" he replied. "You lead her to us!" shouted another flapping its tattered wings in anger. "Who?" he managed to murmur. "It doesn't matter now, were all doomed! "We’re doomed! We’re doomed" they all moaned in unison. Shadow saw what he could only describe as a creature so Hellish yet so voluptuous and startlingly gorgeous even the goddess Aphrodite would blush in her presence. The creature walked with the gait of a princess through the beastly insects, parting them like the Red Sea. She crossed paths with Shadow and all the bugs departed from his body. It had taken Shadow a second to realize he was not looking at her face. He cursed at himself for his rudeness. "You're cute when you're distracted." the creature said. "I apologize." Shadow blurted. "You're just so..... Who are you anyway?" "Do you not recognize me Shadow, I'm hurt." She replied playfully. By then all the Angels got restless and agitated flapped their tattered wings and shouted curses and slurs in frustration. "I'll explain later. Looks like your new friends don't like me very much, but I will give you my name, it's Hessya." Shadow smiled, not because he trusted the girl but because she seemed oddly familiar. "Now move your ass!" she snapped suddenly. Normally, Shadow would've been insulted by the comment but the Angels, now free of torment due to Hessya's presence, were on the move. Swallowing the sky into a dead black, that seconds before was a sad blue, the fallen angels scattered like bats out of Hell. Hessya and Shadow ran as fast as they possibly could mere inches in front of the swarm. Hessya always had a few guns tucked away in case of emergencies and


this was one Hell of an emergency. "Gun!" she shouted. "What?" Shadow asked lost to the fact that they were all dead and this psycho wanted to shoot the damn things. "Gun now!" she shouted again. Shadow reached for the handgun on her thigh looking down to admire it for only a second. When he finally rose the two were headed for a seemingly bottomless pit surrounded by a cliff draped with the bodies of some of a few damned who nearly made it out of limbo. "We’re dead. They’re dead. We can't die again right?" Shadow panicked. "Wrong again my love." Hessya said smirking just before they took their dive into the abyss. Time seemed to slow as they fell. Shadow embraced Hessya for fear of another impending boom, he dropped the gun to hang on but gravity caused it to float upwards towards Hessya's awaiting palm. Hessya let out a cool breath of air just before popping off a few rounds from the handgun and managed to kill a few of the Fallen Angels. Shadow could feel the warmth from Hessya's body on his face but heard no heartbeat. Hessya couldn't stop smiling. Anyone but Shadow could tell that she liked him enormously. The two finally hit solid ground although it was a lot softer than it would have been if Hessya had not shot the few Angels who had hit the ground first due to dead weight. Hessya bounced and skidded across the ground and Shadow jumped off the Angel bodies to retrieve her. She was slowly being chewed on by the maggots and worms who must have fallen down and gotten trapped below. He picked her up and started walking down the decaying land that inevitably led to the second part of Hell. As if compelled to reach the end, Shadow trudged on. He didn't know how far he had to go or which direction to turn but he kept walking. Hessya awoke to the scorching pain of worms burrowing through her left arm as they came in view of a lake. The sky returned to a sad blue and seemed to be raining ashes onto the lake. A raven sat patiently on the bow of a small boat daring anyone to set foot on it. As they approached the boat the raven followed its visitors with its coal black eyes. "Abandon all hope." It said morbidly. Shadow placed Hessya in the boat and sat down next to her. As she started to pass out again she whispered "I love you so much it hurts." then stayed silent for the rest of the trip.


Bull!

Hessya and Shadow neared the other side of the lake and to their surprise someone was waiting for them on the shore. "Oh no" Hessya said as she was wide awake now. "That's Devil." "The Devil?" Shadow asked "No just Devil." Hessya replied, Shadow didn't quite understand but he gave her the benefit of the doubt and replied "I see". Devil, as his name rightly states, is a Devil. But unlike most Devils he was once an angel. Devil came to Hell because he got bored in heaven and you don't get much choice when it comes to after lives so he decided to stay. It’s not like heaven would take him back either way, Hell will take you no matter the situation. He became the first Angel to leave heaven by choice. "The yellow brick road ends here kids!" Devil shouted to them running his claws through his long black hair revealing his eyeless sockets and his sewn up mouth. "Beyond this point you'll meet up with Minos." Shadow helped Hessya out of the boat. "What's a Minos?" Shadow asked "Oh only the judge of the damned." Devil said nonchalantly. "He can tell your sins by just looking at you. If he really likes you he gets in real close just to smell your crimes against humanity." Shadow was getting uncomfortable. Devil could tell and was really enjoying himself. "But what do I know? I've only been around since year one." He said. The light started to fade away when Devil finished speaking. Shadows guardian light returned, but this time it was different. The light took the form of an angel. "Celestial!" Hessya and Devil said in unison. "Oh so we all know each other?" said Shadow. Devil glared at him so Shadow was quiet. "Devil my child‌ I hoped I would find you here." Celestial said softly. "That's nice." Devil responded. "I have a request. I would like you to clear the way for my Shadow. Payment will be given in advance for your service. I am only sorry that I cannot allow you back into the kingdom of light no matter what your reply." She said to him. "I don't want your pity but I will take your job. I happen to be headed that way as well." He said in return. "Then it's decided. I will take these two off your hands for the time being." said Celestial as she lifted Shadow and Hessya into the sky like punished kittens. "My payment!" Devil said rather impatiently. Celestial pulled a red orb seemingly from nowhere and tossed it at his feet. "Here! Good luck figuring it out."


She said with utmost doubt in his ability to solve the puzzle set before him. She then flew off with Hessya and Shadow, leaving Devil alone with his shiny red orb. "Guess I'll go tell Minos the good news." Devil said sarcastically continuing his descent. Devil finally reached the second circle of Hell. Just before entering, Devil could see a massive fenced in compound that almost resembled a jail or a concentration camp. In the center of it all, he knew from being there before, was where Minos sat. Originally, Minos was a bull like creature whose job was to torture those who were lost in ancient Greek labyrinths. Over thousands of years he took on the form of a half bull, half Devil abomination. Though he still had bull like horns, they were longer and a lot more gnarled in almost a spiral fashion. His face was endowed with long, knife like teeth making it impossible for him to close his lips over them. His body was large and muscular, like a pit bull on steroids, and held up by hoofed feet along with a Devils tail on his bottom. Devil was rather small in size but not easy to intimidate so he continued to the gates. There were two scantily clad female demons guarding the gate and thousands, if not millions, of shades standing in a line waiting to be sent to their respective place in Hell. As Devil got closer he remembered this was less of a jail and more like a heavily guarded red light district. Devil’s long, pointy ears could hear the sounds of pleasure coming from the other buildings but for each pleasure moan there was a disturbing shrill from the same direction. "Devil!" Minos yelled across the overwhelming line of shades. Devil crouched with the orb in his claws, launched himself through the air far above the line of shades and crashed through the front door of Minos building. Inside were demon guards, some male, some female, but each and every one of them impossibly attractive. All of them surrounded Minos who sat on a large throne in front of an even larger back door with a mural of his past life etched into it. Minos was not only the guardian of labyrinths but was once a king in life as in death. "You rang?" Devil asked in a cheeky tone. "A human just recently died. His name is Zefer but he has been renamed and now goes buy his real name, Shadow. He is the next on my list to be condemned to your circle of Hell." Minos snorted. Devil was recently assigned to rule the fifth level of Hell, home to the violent and the hateful. "On top of that, the demon Hessya has gone missing and she belongs here. I know you know where they have run off to, I can smell It." he said getting uncomfortably close to Devil’s face with his own. "This sounds like a personal problem to me." Devil said slowly pushing Minos's face back. "Don't try my patience you loathsome fledgling! Hessya is still as much of a threat to the Divine as she is to the mortals and must be kept on a tight


leash! That wicked beast has the power to...." "I know I was there." Devil interrupted. "But that does not mean I have to fear her. That would only make her stronger. But as I was saying… that’s not my problem, it’s yours! So good luck!" he said as he started to walk away. Minos was furious! "I’m tired of your games Devil! Tell me where they are now!" Minos yelled causing the ground to quake and all the shades to hide their faces. "Well it’s good to see you’re done whining. Yet, it’s too bad your barking at the one person you should be afraid of." Devil said. Devil was waging his tail back and forth hardly containing his excitement. "OK Devil! This is the last straw! You come to my house, my territory, and insult me? I'm going to tear you apart!" Minos knew this is what Devil wanted. Anger. As the guardian of the fifth circle of Hell what else would you expect? Minos charged blindly at his opponent. He knew this was a bad idea but even demons do stupid things when angry. Devil front flipped letting go of his orb and giving himself to gravity, mule kicked Minos sending him horns first into the ground. The red sphere plopped back into Devils waiting claws. Minos snarled and snapped his jaws and was stuck looking through the arch between his legs. All the shades started to clap and cheer. Devil silenced them with a sharp glance then turned his stare to the demons swooning over him in the background. In the group of attractive demons there was a newcomer sitting on the throne who wasn't a demon at all. Devil thought it was a perfect time to show off. "You know Minos, you should really see a therapist about your anger issues” He said. "You should talk." Minos said chuckling. Devil, reared back and kicked Minos in the face causing him to flip twice before crashing to the ground again. Minos was lucky to be left with just a broken horn and a crushed ego. The newcomer was getting ready to continue Minos' list, all the while trying not to laugh at Devils savage attempt to impress. Devil leaped to the throne, “If it isn't my queen to be “He said to the girl who was filling in for Minos. It was none other than the daughter of death himself! Her name was Death Jr., only because Death had hoped for a son when she was born, but every one called her Shreek. "Quit flirting with me Devil, you know you’re like a billion years older than me!” She said blushing. Unlike her father, Shreek looked more human than skeleton. In fact, the only thing, other than her extravagant black hair sticking out in all directions that would make her any different from a normal mortal would be her ruby red eyes that often glowed when all the lights were out. "Besides this is the second circle of Hell so it’s probably just all this lust speaking." she said grinning deviously. "Ok. Ok you win! Given the situation I’m in, you know this whole ruler of the fifth circle thing, I have the feeling I’m going to need your help." he said suddenly serious. "Sorry Devil! My dad would kill me if he


knew I wasn't being neutral. Death doesn't discriminate… you know that!" she replied. "Well try to keep your schedule clear anyway." Devil said. Shreek looked at the vast amount of shades before her, “Yea that’s gonna happen!” She thought to herself but replied "Of course!" Anyway, Shreek and Devil had been friends since she was born and when he needed help, she was always there. Devil walked off pushing open the massive back door and disappeared into the fog outside. As he continued his way through the rest of the compound, Devil started thinking about the orb again. “What does this thing do?” he asked himself. He chuckled in spite of his ignorance. He then noticed something about it he hadn't before. The orb had something engraved on it! It looked like the skull of a raven. He did not know whether it had just appeared or if it had been there before and honestly, he didn't care. Devil shook the thoughts out of his head knowing there were more important things to do. His job was made clear to him! Make the way for Hessya and Shadow safe. But, “Why?” he thought. “Just because someone told him to and offered payment for his services? Just because someone has wings and a halo, does that make them right?” Devil was getting frustrated with the questions harassing his brain. "I left heaven for something new and different. Even though I have condemned myself in the process, I still find myself doing heavens dirty work!" Devils heartbeat quickened, "Shut up you damn thing!" he said. Devil was one of the few demons who still had a heart from when he was an angel. It’s a gift given to all children, even ones who lose their way, or so he was told. The quickening of his heart was due to the violent drop in temperature. The terrain had gone from a city like compound to a cold sleet, hail and rainy muck that crunched beneath his shoes and soaked into the bottoms of his pants. After a short way he found himself to be very tired and just wanted to sleep. So Devil laid down on the slushy ground tucked the orb under his arm and fell asleep for the first time in fifty years.


Now it is your turn to continue the story by ordering the complete book.

Call of the Demon  

Sneak peak by Todd R. K. Horning, aka Todd Horning.

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