Sample Sunday ~ November 18, 2012

The following sample is from Book 30 of the Assassin Chronicles, Epic Fantasy Series, The Red Cross of Gold XXIX:. The Perfect Sun. It is available from Amazon for Kindle $3.99, Smashwords and other venues including paperback from Amazon.

The ragged band of Fox Soldiers stood waiting skittishly in the shade of the flapping canopy they had erected against the merciless sun. It was winter, but the seasons were skewed. Nothing had returned to normal since the floods and their hurried escape from New Babylon. They wore everything they owned on their backs and they held their automatic rifles ready to take out whatever this new threat might be.

Lucifer waved to them with his left hand and pulled the canvas bag gingerly from his sore shoulder.

“Greetings, fine warriors!” Lucifer called to them when they did not respond to his waves and Ernst grabbed his arm.

“Hold on, Luke,” he said in a low voice. “You’d best let me handle this. They don’t look very friendly.”

“Advance and be recognized!” One of the soldiers shouted to them and raised his rifle a bit.

Lucifer jerked his arm from the General’s grip, but allowed him to go in first.

“General Ernst Schweikert, Central Command Fox, Babylon!” Ernst answered the challenge and held up both hands, allowing his own rifle to hang from the straps.

“General Schweikert?” The soldiers looked at each other nervously and the name was said several times.

“Come on in, sir!” The soldier called. “We will need proof of your identity.”

“I have my papers, Corporal.” Ernst looked back at Lucifer and smiled. “Follow my lead, friend. Just keep cool.”

“Cool, yes.” Lucifer smiled and raised his own arms in the air. “A very strange greeting ritual.”

“Whatever,” Ernst mumbled and they walked into the camp.

After a tricky exchange of identification cards, orders and other official papers that now meant nothing, they settled down around the fire to share the men’s meal with them. They drank and ate and talked about nothing in particular until the Corporal asked Ernst how long before they could return to the city. Ernst had no idea what had transpired in the city. He had no idea where Omar, the Prophet, had gone or how he had found himself running for his life along a deserted highway. The last thing he remembered was being in a boat off of the coast of Ireland with Omar Kadif and his wife, Ruth.

“It might be some time before we can get the situation under control,” he told them vaguely. “Where did you say you were heading?”

“We thought to rendezvous with some of the companies that left the city ahead of us, but we are beginning to think they went north instead of south,” the corporal explained and the others nodded their agreement.

“Well, we should try to connect with Colonel Bardsley’s battalion. Is he still in Jordan?”

“Jordan?” The Corporal frowned and the others fell quiet.

“We have no battalions in Jordan, sir,” another of the soldiers answered quickly. “We don’t even know if Jordan exists anymore.”

“Yes, of course, but we have to make some sort of plan.” Ernst nodded thoughtfully. “I suppose you’re right. Well, perhaps we should head north when the sun goes down. What mode of transportation do you have?” He looked around and saw nothing, but empty rocks and the flat landscape of formerly rich farmland.

The corporal laughed and held up one foot.

“Boots, sir. That’s how we got here. Same as you.” He laughed sarcastically. “We ran out of gas before we got out of sight of the city. There weren’t many supplies left. By the time we decided to run, the good stuff was taken.”

“Then you have no command structure? No contact with HQ?” Ernst’s frown deepened.

“Are you kidding?!” One of the men burst out and then fell quiet. “No disrespect intended, sir,” he said after a moment.

“Then it would seem we are all in the same boat, sir,” the Corporal added. “We have no orders, no communications network, no transportation. No mission.”

“We are not all in the same boat as you put it, young one,” Lucifer spoke up for the first time. His strange accent and inflection caused them all to gawk at him. “I have a mission, which is quite clear from the Most High Command.”

“Oh, really?” The Corporal eyed the sergeant’s bars on Lucifer’s collar. “What mission is that, Sarge, if you don’t mind my asking?”

Lucifer stood up and held out both arms. He looked up at the sky and a beautiful smile spread across his face.

“Lo, I bring glad tidings of great news! A son will be born to you and He will be a sign unto you from the Most High. And He will be called Michael Emmanuel, the Deliverer, the Savior. You will find him lying in a manger, and He will bring a sword to cast down the Ancient One.”

The soldiers sat staring at Lucifer with mouths agape.

“He’s been affected by the sun,” Ernst shrugged and broke the silence. “It’s all right, Sergeant Ramsay. They already know that story.”

“They do?” Lucifer looked very disappointed and dropped his arms to his side.

“Of course we do, Sarge,” the Corporal said and leaned toward the General. He lowered his voice to a whisper. “Say, General, sir. Is Sergeant Ramsay a guy or a girl?”

“He says he’s a man,” the General answered in like tones. “But it’s hard to tell, isn’t it?”

“Hmmm.” The Corporal nodded and then smiled at Lucifer. “Say, Sarge, we have some time before we bed down. Would you care for a shower? Bennett’s rigged one back there in the rocks.”

Lucifer frowned and glanced toward the rocks.

“A shower? You mean rain?” He asked. “I’m afraid I can’t do those anymore. At least, not yet.”

“Oh, I see.” The Corporal sighed and circled one finger around his temple in the universal sign for ‘wacko’. “Well, we’d best try to get some rest before nightfall. It’ll be too hot to sleep soon. General? We have a few bedrolls. We can share.”

Schweikert glanced at Lucifer, and then at the soldiers who were staring at him. The ‘Sarge’ seemed oblivious to them as he frowned at the water in the bottle and then made a terrible face.

“What is wrong with you?” Ernst stood up abruptly.

“I don’t know,” Lucifer looked up at him. “I think I have the same disorder Michael and Galen had.”

“Oh? And what disease was that?”

“The running off disease.” Lucifer frowned again and clutched his stomach.

“Oh! Diarrhea. Yes, well. Probably the water.” Schweikert helped his companion to his feet. “Corporal, do we have any facilities here?”

“Are you kidding, sir?” The Corporal shook his head. “We just go in the rocks like always.”

“Oh, well, then, Sergeant, just go in the rocks like always,” Schweikert said and pushed him toward the nearest likely cluster.

“Wait. Here you go!” The Corporal tossed a roll of toilet paper toward him. “Be my guest, Sarge.”

Lucifer caught the paper out of the air as a dawning realization took hold of him and he began to sweat. Another terrible thing he had to suffer in his present form. Humans were certainly messy creatures. Within the space of a few moments, the Heavenly Messenger had three lessons in human anatomy he could have done without for eons. He lost a great deal of weight and lot more dignity before it was all over, but he gained an enormous measure of humility.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00926BCG4 

Smashwords:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/220048

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