If you lost everyone you loved, would you still fight to save the world that destroyed them?
The world has been promised to the demons, once the last human is gone, but even they must adhere to the rules set down by the monarchs of heaven. True to their nature, the demons decide to speed thing up a bit. They are reanimating the mortal dead with the most evil of demon society, interfering with presidents, emperors, terrorists, and the media to create havoc on earth and ensuring Armageddon. A demon calling himself “The Boatman” leads the clandestine war against mankind.
Manny Rapier receives a phone call that shreds her perfect life. Her sister has walked off a second floor balcony, falling to her death. Far worse, she carried her infant daughter with her. From the depths of her darkest grief, Dr. Rapier must turn inside herself, and find the hero she was born to be—the only person alive who can save humanity from the clutches of The Boatman.
Many offer their allegiance to Manny, but when demons and angels all look the same, whom do you trust?
Sharron lives in West-Central Florida with her husband and three cats. Since her earliest days, she loved story telling. She wrote her first novel more than twelve years ago and her love for all things dark and scary has taken her work into the deepest realms of the paranormal.
Agatha Farnsworth stood in the marble foyer, her twisted fingers fumbling the buttons of her red trench coat. Each movement stabbed white-hot pain through her joints. With tears stinging her eyes and exhausted from the effort, she sat heavily in a worn parlor chair between two giant potted ferns, and curled her hands against her chest until the throbbing subsided to a dull ache. At last her breathing returned to normal and she bent to hike up her support hose before slipping her feet into black orthopedic shoes.
“I’m trying to be quiet,” she whispered to her husband.
Her daughter and son in law slept in the bedroom above the entrance hall of the garden district mansion, the same bedroom Agatha once shared with Harold, until his death a few years earlier.
Silly old fool. Sixty-two years old and he had stayed behind to protect their historic French Quarter hotel and restaurant after hurricane Katrina. He had promised Aggie he would meet her at their daughter’s Chicago condo as soon as the storm passed. She hadn’t wanted to leave him, but he’d insisted.
Armed only with an aluminum baseball bat, he hadn’t stood a chance. Less than a week later, a National Guard unit had found Harold’s crumpled body pushed up against the commercial gas stove like so much trash in the restaurant kitchen. He’d been shot by looters, who, not seeing the value of the precious antiques, instead took flat screen TVs, silverware, and food.
The night was cool and damp, and Harold had told her to dress warmly. Gloves were out of the question, her hands were too bent and unmoving, but she managed to pull the black broad-brimmed hat firmly over her short gray curls and tie a matching silk scarf around her neck.
She pushed herself up from the chair, gritting her teeth against the searing pain in her knees, and moved slowly across the mosaic-tiled entrance hall to the front door. She sucked in a breath and raised her hand to peck in the security code. With an agonizing twist of the ceramic knob, the door swung inward.
A blustery wind chased dried leaves past her feet, into the foyer. She stepped out onto the sweeping porch, breathing in the sweet perfume of honeysuckle. Colorful bougainvillea blossoms dripped from the crisscross trellises, even this late in the year.
“They are beautiful, aren’t they, Aggie?”
She smiled as her husband took her elbow and gently guided her down the wide marble staircase, each step jarring sharp pains through her hips and knees. He helped her over the uneven flagstones beneath the midnight shadows of the towering, ancient magnolia trees that led to the driveway. The chilly dampness worked its way through her thin canvas coat. Despite the cold, she paused a moment to look back at the stately two-story colonial. Fifty years of memories. Summer tea on the back lawn by the pool while Dory and her friends splashed in the cool water.
Wide gothic columns supported the second floor balcony, where she and her husband had spent many nights enjoying the sights and sounds of their beloved New Orleans. She could almost see them—the younger ghosts of themselves sitting near the rail, waving to neighbors out for a stroll on sultry summer evenings, and her heart filled with bitter regret for the years stolen from her, for memories never made.
Harold gently tugged her from her reverie and led her across the driveway of crushed white quartz glittering beneath a winking winter moon. She paused at her son-in-law Wally’s powder blue Cadillac to extract the keys from her pocket and she depressed the unlock button. Harold opened the door and helped her into the passenger seat, then came around to slide in behind the wheel.
“Are you sure this isn’t a sin?” she said, worried, despite the excitement of seeing her husband. Not a mummified corpse with patches of skin clinging to a hideous grinning skeleton, as he should be right now in the crypt at the cemetery, but her dashing young lover before time and gravity had ravaged his body inside and out.
“Sweetheart, we’ll be together again—forever—and you’ll be young like me.” He patted the dusty lapels of his dark gray funeral suit. “And imagine, Aggie, free from pain. Do you really think God wants you to suffer? Why else would He have sent me?”
Aggie nodded. That made sense. Everything she had read praised God and His infinite love and mercy. Every Sunday Reverend Montague preached fervently of salvation and freedom from the pains of mortal constraint. Maybe this was a test of her faith. God sent her a messenger—her own beloved husband—and she dared to question His perfect wisdom.
She opened the glove compartment, extracting Wally’s Ruger .22 pistol, feeling particularly gratified about the mess she was about to make all over his precious white leather seats.
“I can’t lift this, it’s too heavy.” She held the revolver out to Harold with trembling hands. He leaned over and kissed her, then wrapped his hand around hers, holding the shaking gun still as he raised it to her head.
The kiss...the lips, cool and hard.
Agatha had kissed her husband thousands of times during their marriage. His lips were always warm and supple. Oh dear, she thought, fear gripping her heart as tightly as this young man gripped her hand. “You’re not really Harold, are you?” she whimpered as cold steel pressed painfully against her skull.
“No, my dear, I’m afraid not.” A strange deep voice whispered in her ear just before her temple exploded and the tiny bullet shocked her brain into blackness.