“I saw the earth from the moon, Brother.” Simon looked up at him. “It is just as Nostradamus told. Great fires fell from the sky and the land was burned up. The earth turned to liquid and the seas boiled away into space. The surface of the earth looked like the surface of the moon…”
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.
$3.99 The Red Cross of Gold I & II Both books, one price or buy just Book II if you already have book I.
Here is a short excerpt from the Book II:. The King of Terrors
“Brother Lucio?” The face of the Mystic Healer appeared to float above his face, disembodied somehow and he wondered how Simon had managed to leave his physical body and become a ghost. “Can you hear me?”
“I am innocent,” Dambretti whispered in answer, expecting to receive more blows in return for the three simple words.
“It is over, my Brother,” Simon’s soft voice was full of pain. He placed his hand on Lucio’s forehead. “I have given something to Volpi which will let you rest easier. He will take you home now. I am sorry, Brother. They have forbidden the use of the mystery.”
“It is the Will of God, Simon. Do not weep for the dead, for they suffer less than the living,” Lucio whispered and blinked in confusion at the dreamy sound of his own voice and then tried to sit up, but this was not possible. He could not move. It seemed he was wrapped in layers of wool batting. Strangely enough, he felt no pain. In fact, he felt nothing at all. “Giovanni is here?”
“Yes, Sir. I’m here.” The graying man stepped into view and looked down at him, causing him to wonder where he was. “We can go home now, Sir.”
“Home,” Lucio repeated the word. “I didn’t recant, did I?”
“How many?” He asked.
“One hundred and two.”
Giovanni Volpi reached down, picked up his Master like a sack of potatoes and threw him over his shoulder. Strangely enough, this did not hurt either and he could see grass and then the tiles near the pool area passed below him. It should have hurt like hell even at the best of times. He could see down the back of the tall apprentice and watched in fascination as trails of blood ran down his arms and dripped onto a marble floor at the man’s heels. He turned his head and saw Simon walking beside him, up-side-down, as they made their way out of the administration building to the waiting car. Simon opened the back door and slid into the seat to wait while Giovanni lowered his Master into the blanket on the seat beside him.
“You would do well to sleep now, Brother,” Simon told him as he leaned against his shoulder. “I gave you something which will help.”
“Sleep?” Dambretti looked up at him dreamily. “That sounds good, Brother Simon. Do you have your telephone with you? I need to make a call.”
“Shhhh, now,” Simon told him and turned his attention to the driver.
He awoke from a terrible dream some hours later as a great crash of thunder rumbled through his apartment. He had been falling into a pit. A great yawning pit full of screaming, severed heads. They were calling to him. Welcoming him to hell. When he tried to move, the pain he had missed earlier in the evening did finally come and it was incredible. He could do nothing but scream for Giovanni who appeared magically above his bed to give him the medicine the Healer had left for him. The medicine was strong and quick. Soon he was dreaming of hell again and this time, he could not wake up.
$3.99 The Red Cross of Gold I & II Both books, one price
My apologies! This blog was written and supposed to be published yesterday while I was out, but I see that it was not. So here it is, out of order and a bit late. Please forgive! Do not disassemble Johnny Five!
This topic, “Extra Duty”, is supposed to be a minor sentence for breaking minor rules or multiple minor rule infractions Behind Bars. I say ‘supposed to be’ because, in order for “Extra Duty” to exist, there must first be “Duty”. I was particularly amused by what passed as “Extra Duty” in the prison system where I worked for over 23 years.
Since most prisoners/inmates soon learn how to live Behind Bars or perish, one of the things they learn, is how to ‘work the system’, in other words, they look for all the cracks and crevices in the rules and regulations and like so many bugs looking for hiding places in your kitchen cabinet, they have a way of disappearing when it comes to work or duty. You know the ones I’m talking about. They even have a term for this disappearing act: Ghosting.
Now, you might wonder how in the world a prisoner can disappear while he is locked up in prison and I understand why you might wonder. Let me tell you, it is easier than you think. There are multiple methods of doing so. Some are more effective than others and some can get you deeper in trouble, but whatever the case, the pay-off is generally outweighs the risks.
If an inmate plans ahead, he might avoid “Extra Duty” by scheduling a visit to the prison infirmary immediately before his disciplinary hearing and get what is called a “lay-in” for as many days as he can get, by faking injuries or illnesses long enough to get past the “Extra Duty”. They might figure out how to get into full-time classes because ‘schooling = rehabilitation’ and class hours outweigh everything except the most severe disciplinary action. If you have class, you can’t show up for “Extra Duty” and classes take precedence. However, if you do incur severe disciplinary action, such as confinement in Solitary Status or Administrative Segregation for say…. Protective Custody purposes, you not only get out of “Extra Duty”, you get out of everything and you get a whole cell to yourself. This can be a perk since you don’t have to share you cell space with a loud, stinky, obnoxious stranger, who might have you for breakfast instead of pancakes, syrup and biscuits.
Summing up, I must tell you that “Extra Duty” causes more problems for the Officers and Staff than it does for the offenders. Sadly enough, this situation is often encountered Behind Bars.
Everyone knows (or, at least, I hope they do) what “Fishing” is. Fishing involves a hook, a line, a sinker and a water hole, right? Plus a little bait, a little faith and a lot of luck. Include a bit of patience, a bit of repetition and bunch of beers.
The above formula, if you hold your mouth just right and the wind don’t blow and the fish are biting, you might just end up with supper on your stringer.
If you knew some or all of the above, you have a fair idea of what “Fishing” is, but there’s another kind of “Fishing” and I’m not talking about the kind spelled with a ‘Ph’ instead of an ‘F’. There’s another kind of “Fishing” that goes on Behind Bars.
Fishing Behind Bars is a little different from fishing for cold-blooded, scaly creatures that swim in the water and put big smiles on millions of people’s faces every day whenever they show up at the end of a ten pound test mono-filament line. Fishing Behind Bars actually does involve hooks, lines and sinkers, but that is where the similarities to something that Gramps used to do every Sunday except Easter, but the line might be made of a strip of cloth from a bed sheet or an unraveled or braided potato chip bags or a piece of purloined string from the laundry or their job in the field office or some other ingeniously engineered material and the hook is often made of a sock. The sinker can be anything with weight ranging from a rock ripped off from the rec yard, a pencil pilfered from the Law Library to a bottle of hot sauce bought from the commissary.
The offender, sitting in his cell during a shakedown, has little to do other than watch the growing heap of contraband piling up against the wall as the Officers went from cell to cell, searching for contraband (illegal goods, weapons and/or hoarded items). Whenever they saw something they might want or need from the pile, they would hopefully throw out their fishing lines, using the same faith, patience and repetition as Gramps, he might be able to land the item he wants, his ‘fish’, and drag it back to his cell.
There are other forms of ‘fishing’ that go on Behind Bars, depending on the size and shape of the prison unit, itself, and how the Officer’s conduct general shakedown operations, but for the sake of keeping this blog post short, I’m only describing one. I think you get the picture, if not the catch of the day.
Thank you for stopping by! Leave a comment, please.