Friday, October 12, 2018

NOVEL EXCERPT~ The Judging: How can he serve God when cursed for eternity? Vampire in Denial


THE SETUP: A Vampire in Denial


Dr. Mark Corescu has long forgotten his origins and doesn’t care to know how he became as he is. In this scene, he follows his nose to a child abuser, ending the man’s life in his own bedroom. The Judging, by Ellen C. Maze. Book One of the Corescu Chronicles



Mark dragged the corpse to the bedroom window. They were only seven stories up and although he knew that the fall may not break any major bones, it would have to do. So what if they knew it wasn’t suicide. Let them investigate.

I wasn’t even here, technically, forenscially… Mark mused, peering through the slatted blinds to the road below. Ninety minutes past rush hour, and the street was practically deserted.

Six-thirty already? Hope will be waiting.

Mark realized the judging had run long, but it had been particularly satisfying. The unmistakable pull of evil reached Mark’s consciousness from a long way off, almost a hundred miles from his cozy neighborhood in the outskirts of town. Child abuser, pedophile, the call had said. A heinous crime against God. More a transgression against God than against the children themselves. These were Mark’s favorite victims; people who abused children. And this judging had gone well from beginning to end.

At 5:45, Mark stood against the wall in the dark room and heard his victim enter the apartment and engage someone else in conversation a few rooms away. A door closed in the hall and the man’s footsteps padded toward the bedroom where Mark stood obscured by shadow. The evildoer was a middle-aged man, unassuming features, with a soft medium build. He entered the bedroom without flipping on the light, although Mark was ready either way. He stood immobile against the wall directly beside the bathroom door, ready to pounce, not caring how the attack began. It would end like all the others, with his belly full and a dead sinner in his grip.

“Zip-edee-doo-dah,” the man sang gleefully across the room. He came toward Mark, still unaware of his presence, and stopped at the bedside table to play the answering machine. As the contraption beeped, the man removed his tie and unbuttoned his shirt. A woman’s voice on the machine, probably the wife, said she’d be home by nine.

“My, oh my, what a wonderful day…”

The man was giddy. Mark searched his thoughts and saw his evil intentions. Through this psychic link, he knew that a frightened little form in the room next door shivered in wait. Although it was this man’s daughter, the thoughts that seeped from his mind weren’t fatherly in the least. Mark’s grin disappeared and he closed his mind; he’d seen enough.

See me.

Mark pulled at the man and willed him to acknowledge his visitor. Engrossed with his evil constructs, the guilty man was oblivious to his visitor’s presence.

“Carl J. Odom,” Mark called him out telepathically, “you are being judged.” Mark opened his hands and prepared to take the man by the throat.






“Wha—?” Carl didn’t have time to go for the light switch. There was someone—no something—in the room with him, and it wasn’t human.

He lunged for the bedside lamp, but he couldn’t move. Steel-like arms wrapped around him from behind and he bulged against his attacker. A voice in his head commanded him to be still and he quieted, his mind racing with terror.

“Carl J. Odom, you have sinned against God. You have spit in the face of your Creator time and time again with your sins of the flesh. Your time is up.”

Carl wilted, the fight drained from him like water.

“You are about to die.”

Carl believed the voice implicitly, God had sent the Angel of Death to kill him. Guilt and sorrow welled in his chest and he found it hard to breathe, more from the emotional pain than from the firm embrace of his other-worldly attacker. Abruptly, he was spun around in the devil’s grip and forced to face his judge. Like a spoiled child, Carl squeezed his eyes tightly shut and refused to open them. When telepathically commanded to open his eyes, he did so and looked into the face of hell.

“Oh, God…” His voice trailed off and his attacker grinned.

“No, but close.” Speaking aloud for the first time, the Judge held his gaze, speaking just loud enough for him to hear. “God loves you, Carl. You are His son. He is willing to have you come home, if you will repent. You have made a mess of the life He has given you.”

“Oh, God!” Released by his attacker, Carl fell to his knees and closed his eyes again. Twenty-two years of his youth were spent in the Church and his ritualistic training came back in a rush. Praying as he’d never prayed before, Carl beseeched the Virgin, Christ, the Saints and the Father, begging to be forgiven. He was about to breathe his last, but not before he set things straight with God. When he had said all he could think of in his fevered state, Carl began to cry.






Mark took Carl J. Odom into his arms as a father might a small boy. This was the best part; the penitent man begging for his salvation.

Okay, maybe it isn’t the best part, Mark corrected himself, but it is way up there.

Odom’s fervent supplications faded to a low moan and he buried his face in Mark’s coat. He continued to cry piteously as Mark found his way to his throat. Brushing the man’s shirt collar aside, Mark’s eyeteeth extended as he prepared to take his portion.

Like a B-Movie Dracula.

Not amused that he had compared himself to a Hollywood fable, Mark plunged his sharp fangs deep into the neck. Then, unbidden, he heard a reply in his head that wasn’t his own.

“Or a four hundred-year-old vampire…”

Grunting, Mark shut out that voice. Once in a while, he would hear from “The Other,” an insidious opinionated utterer who spoke to him when he fed on human blood. The Other constantly belittled Mark’s work, belittled God’s work, and Mark had long ago decided that this counter voice was Satan, himself.

“Oh, that is rich. That would give you permission, wouldn’t it?”

Again, Mark ignored The Other’s remarks and focused on the task at hand. Once the fountain flowed, Mark drew Carl’s prone body closer and drank as deeply as possible. His victim did not fight, rather, his sobs slowed and stopped, until he was limp in Mark’s arms.

The night was a huge success, and with Hope awaiting him at his house, it had really only just begun.



The Judging and (Book Two) Damascus Road On Sale in print & Kindle. Links Attached.

Book Three, The Tree of Life, is expected early 2019

Final Installment, Book Four, Anathema expected Winter 2019


Monday, February 19, 2018

"Hunting children is the riskiest venture of all..." Isaac thinks it'll be fun. / THE SCENE, RABBIT REDEMPTION by Ellen C. Maze


Rakum (RAH′-kum) – a.k.a Wraith, from Heb. raca; “vain thing.” Def: From Semitic mythology; a race of vampire-like beings thought to be descended from fallen angels.



THE CHARACTERS:

Isaac Akaron, the newly arrived boy-leader of the Rakum, more powerful than the Ten Fathers and as ruthless as their spirit-master, Ta’avah, whose violence and lust for power had no limit.

Beryl, had once been a respected Captain among the Rakum, but under Isaac, everyone is reduced to nothing.
THE SCENE:
Isaac had been kept underground fifty years as a young Rakum. Now he is free, and Beryl's job is to show him the ropes, specifically, how to abduct the children Elder Canaan needs to grow stronger... 
THE NOVEL: Rabbit Redemption by Ellen C Maze, a unique and provocative twist on the vampire legend.

Ch.15




Pearl, MS

November 9th, 8 p.m.



E

merald High School’s Ray Rogers Stadium was packed with people of all ages coming, going, and cheering on all sides. Isaac and Beryl walked through the throng, heading for the darker far end. The Mississippi winter had finally rolled in and Isaac clutched his jacket collar. He flipped up the hood and glared at his companion who ignored the icy wind that lashed his face and neck. Beryl had a lot more experience being uncomfortable.

“I hate this weather!” Isaac barked and stepped lively to keep up with Beryl’s long stride. “Slow down, you walk too fast.”

Beryl slowed his pace. “Big brothers hate little brothers, Master. If you struggle to keep up, it’ll be more believable.”

Isaac frowned, but did as suggested. Beryl was infinitely more adept at hunting mortals and it was wise to bow to his skill. He had hoped that by sharing the guy’s memories he’d also adopt his abilities. As it turned out, not so much. No big deal, Beryl would teach him. He might not always have servants at his command. Life was unpredictable; Isaac learned this the day the Rabbit Beth Rider destroyed everything he knew.

“There,” Beryl said telepathically and stopped short. Isaac followed his line of sight and at the end of the crowded bleachers, three giggling pre-teens jogged into the dark shadows of the adjacent school building. “I’m going to creep up and listen to them and gauge their weaknesses…”

“Good. And hurry, I’m freezing,” Isaac replied silently. Beryl shot him an irritated glance that instantly softened; the guy was learning. Isaac was young and inexperienced, but he was the only one sufficiently empowered to run the Rakum race. Even after Last Assembly, he disappeared with Father Damien who spent every waking moment teaching him the skills he would need to take over leadership of the flailing brotherhood. Isaac smiled at nothing; he was definitely up to the challenge.

“Listen,” Beryl whispered and Isaac concentrated on the three youths speaking a dozen yards away in the shadows.

“…I spent it yesterday at Target. What about you? Your mom gives you money for the game, right?”

“I had to give it to my stupid sister. She made me promise to pay her back today and I was afraid to not do it. Last time I owed her money and didn’t pay on time, my daddy tanned my hide.”

“Well, I have three bucks. Wanna see if Gregory has any money? He usually does.”

“No, he stinks—I mean, he literally smells. Let’s go ask your mom. She’s in the stands, right?”

“She won’t give me any more money. Dad lost his job and she’s all depressed.”

The trio started walking again, heading away, deep in conversation. Beryl pulled two twenties from his wallet and handed them to Isaac.

“These kids look about twelve. They’ll spook at me because I’m older.”  

“Just tell me what to do,” Isaac sent back, keeping an eye on the kids as they sauntered away. Beryl filled him in on the plan, assuring him it worked many times for him in the past. Isaac nodded when he was ready and Beryl headed back to the car. Plan initiated, Isaac proceeded toward the kids.

When he was a good twenty feet behind them, the one in the middle, an Asian girl with long straight hair took her hands out of her jacket pockets to playfully slap one of her friends. Isaac saw his chance.

“Hey, guys,” he called and jogged up behind them. “Hey, I think you dropped this.”

All three turned at the sound of his voice and none of them seemed alarmed. The girl’s eyes widened at the sight of the two bills and she took furtive glances at her friends.

“What?” the boy on her right asked. He was the tallest of the three, but no taller than Isaac.

Isaac held the money out toward the girl. “Just now, when you took your hands out of your coat, this fell down from your pocket.”

“Oh, yeah,” the girl said and stepped closer to grasp the money. “My mom puts money in my coat all the time. I forgot.” She caught her friends’ eyes and they grinned.

Isaac put on a friendly smile and hoped it would get him an invitation to join them. The two boys didn’t like him right off, but it had everything to do with his wholesome appearance, not that he wasn’t human. The girl favored him a lot and she gave him a dimpled smile.

“Do you go to Jones High?” she asked, gesturing to the visitors’ side of the stadium. Isaac nodded. “I’m Minji, and this is Fred and Hank.”

“Hey,” he replied. “So, are you guys heading to the front of the school? My brother said there’s a fight going on there. S’posed to be pretty cool.”

“Oh, yeah?” Hank asked, looking behind him. “I’d like to see that.”

“Yeah, some kid named Gregory is getting his butt whooped,” Isaac said and started walking. “I’m on my way to see it myself.”

“Stinky Gregory’s done messed up now!” Fred said and joined Isaac. The other two fell in, laughing and making jokes about their wayward classmate.

By the time they reached the school’s quiet front yard, Beryl had parked the car and was leaning against the hood. The lot was surprisingly dark and the kids would only see his silhouette until they were closer.

Isaac touched Fred’s shoulder and pointed to Beryl. “There’s my brother. Let’s ask him what happened.”

The gullible kids scampered alongside Isaac, completely fearless. When they reached the BMW, Beryl gave them a bored look.

“What happened? Is the fight over?” Isaac asked him.

“Where’d they go? I can’t believe we missed it!” Hank said.

“How’d they disappear so fast?” Minji asked.

Isaac waited for Beryl’s signal and he opened the back door of the car. Taking one last look around the deserted schoolyard, Isaac and Beryl simultaneously rushed the youngsters and shoved them into the waiting car. Before they could begin to yell for real, both he and Beryl were loaded and the doors closed. Beryl peeled away from the school and joined the traffic leaving the stadium while Isaac silenced the kids with a powerful suggestion.

“Be quiet and I won’t kill you,” he sent the three kids telepathically. Years of watching television and horror movies hadn’t desensitized the children to a real threat as they shivered and fell silent. Isaac relaxed in his seat in the front and caught Beryl’s eye.

“Good job,” Beryl sent silently.

“Great job, you mean,” Isaac replied.

Beryl nodded. “Canaan will enjoy this gift.”

Isaac nodded, smiling ear-to-ear and looked out his window. It was in his best interest to keep Canaan healthy. The only Rakum left more powerful than Canaan was one he wanted to drink from next—Theophilus. Then he’d explore powers he’d only dreamed of. Damien said he’d be able to transport himself great distances, disappear from human view, that he would even be able to fly if he continued on his current path. Flying. That would be sweet.


Read another excerpt:  https://goo.gl/b6YM7K 
See the novel on Amazon in softcover and eBook: https://goo.gl/aBpV1T 
See the novel and the entire series on the website, purchase as a discount: www.ellencmaze.com


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Novel Excerpts: Just enough deliciousness to get you salivating...


When I'm waiting for the next book in a series I'm enjoying, I gobble up anything the author throws at me in the interim. Some authors post excerpts of upcoming novels and this is the cruelest and most delicious pain of all. Not only do I get to read a snippet of what's to come, but then I have to wait until it's published to see more.

I have been fielding emails requesting that I post a piece of yums from Book Four, ANOMALY: Beyond the Rabbit. Today, I did just that. I picked a couple of chapters at the beginning so readers will immediately recognize the action. Have a look, but note this one has spoilers if you haven't read Book Three, Rabbit Redemption. Rabbit fans have followed Elders Canaan and Kilmeade through all sorts of hell to get to Book Four, so that is why they have hopped out of the Trilogy. Their storyline must be resolved as well and ANOMALY is finished and has been sent to editing.

The final book in the Rabbit Saga is entitled CONUNDRUM: The Lost Rabbit and is being written now. I assure you, the adventure only becomes more enjoyable with each new page and each new book!

I better get back to writing. Elder Canaan is calling...


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Rabbit Chasers are Back on the Job, Book Three of the Rabbit Trilogy hits the Stores 1/15/2018 after a 4-Year Wait


It has been four years since fans of The Rabbit Trilogy have been able to re-join the chase and discover the fates of their favorite--albeit, left dangling--characters. Starting with Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider, readers hopped into the fray with Beth Rider as she ran for her life from the Rakum, a bloodthirsty race of miscreants spawned when the world was new.

Those who survived the chase, were tossed into the trap once more in Book Two, Rabbit Legacy. Beth Rider's efforts in Book One made a huge difference in the Rakum way of life, and now their new leader seeks revenge on all those who ruined the future. Book Two turns the readers' focus to the Rakum themselves and how they deal with the challenges thrust upon them by the plot twist (which I will not spoil in this blog).

NOW IT IS TIME FOR A LITTLE REDEMPTION...

Book Three, Rabbit Redemption brings the trilogy to a close as anyone left viable and strong after Book Two will need to choose a side. The great thing about the world of the Rabbit and Beth Rider? The one who is strongest is not so easily discerned by sheer muscle alone. In this world, spiritual might outdoes the flesh more times than not.

You are cordially invited to join the chase. Start with Book One, or if you're feeling punchy, grab Book Three and brave the waters up to your neck. There is one sure thing -- no matter where you begin your Rabbit journey, you will be hooked.

Have a fun down the Rabbit hole and remember to either cover your neck or bring bandages--you'll get bloody no matter what.

The Rabbit Trilogy, Top-Rated by Amazon Customers 16 weeks straight!
"A provocative new take on the vampire mythos, spiritual warfare with BITE."
Little Roni Publishers
Byhalia, MS
_ Mild Language, Sexual Situations, Vampire Violence_

www.ellencmaze.com WEBSITE SALE -- BUY ALL THREE BOOKS FOR $25 free shipping


Did you read Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider four years ago? Need a refresher?

Catch up with the Rabbit

Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider / Book One

The decimation of the Rakum began with Beth Rider seven years back at what became known as “Last Assembly,” when a woman marked as a Rabbit brought down their leaders with an amazing power the Rakum knew nothing about. After that night, the 100,000-strong Rakum population had been reduced to half.
 Rabbit Legacy / Book Two

Over the next few years, Elder Rufus—insane and bloodthirsty—rose up to lead them, destroying thousands upon thousands of the Brethren who refused to bend the knee to his psychotic agenda. By the time Isaac The Last showed up with Canaan to destroy Rufus, a mere twenty thousand brethren remained.

Now the time has come for...





Friday, December 29, 2017

The Rabbit Trilogy Gets New Cover Treatments with a Spine Image for your Bookshelf!

Do you see what's happening here? My publisher is re-releasing Rabbit Books One and Two with new covers to match the much-too-long-awaited Book Three, Rabbit Redemption coming January 15, 2018. These spines will line up on your shelf and create a new image.  There will be two final books outside of the trilogy, but still part of the Rabbit Saga, and their covers will complete the image. I find this quite wonderful!

The publisher is preparing to launch REDEMPTION so I will be posting regularly to help out. I am totally in love with my characters Elder Canaan and Elder Kilmeade. When you meet them, email me; let's compare notes on their awesomeness. 

Happy New Year!

Go and buy the first Rabbit book here: https://goo.gl/THjcbH
I have some review copies for folks who like to review books for Goodreads and Amazon...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

WRITERS, ARE YOU BOUND UP? 3 Tips to untie your hands when writer's block hits you in the nether regions.

photo courtesy kwon-ji-young-2525592_340-free-pixabay

1.    STOP THINKING AND WRITE   A tale has been conceived inside of you and now it yearns to break into our world. A writer simply can’t not write. I can’t not write. Yes, you read that correctly. This is how we know not everyone is a writer—the ones who wish they could write and never do, the ones who would like to write and never do—these aren’t writers. Writers write. If we don’t, we grow ill, either in spirit or body or both. Sound melodramatic? That’s an artist for you. Get in touch with the artist inside YOU and let him or her out to play. You put pen to paper (or typed a sentence), now STOP THINKING ABOUT STUFF THAT WILL SLOW YOU DOWN and just write. All the stuff you learned at the writer’s conference is for your edification, but when getting your story down initially, don’t stress over all the rules of engagement. The time to worry over that stuff is when you reached the end of your writing project.



2.    STOP PROOFING   Correcting mistakes as you go along is normal, but trying to EDIT before your book is written can distract you, discourage you, and cause you to quit. If you want to write a story about the “brwn doge with tha whyte tail,” WRITE IT DOWN, all the way to the end, when the doggie finally figures out how to catch that waggly tail, and THEN go back and edit, make corrections to grammar, punctuation, syntax, etc.



3.    SHARE ONLY WITH POSITIVE FOLKS   Here’s something that kills a lot of books still in the writer’s womb: negative feedback. Look back at number one and add this—if you have the desire to write, then you’re a writer. Don’t doubt it, it’s a fact of nature. If you’re surrounded by negative people when you write, and they are your superiors (parents, etc.), you either must write on the sly or nurse your creative spirit another way until you can break free of their constricting presence. Otherwise, if in a neutral or positive environment, in the beginning stages of your project, share only with people who will build you up. It’s okay if they want to help and offer constructive criticism, but BE ON GUARD—the second they say something that makes you want to quit, go back and read #1 and stop sharing your work with that person. There is a time for negative feedback (constructive criticism) and for new writers, NEVER is that time before the project has been written down.



So go and do. From one writer to another, I command thee.

Ellen C. Maze Sallas, The Author’s Mentor


Sunday, October 8, 2017

FICTION WRITERS- Getting help with a foreign character's DIALOGUE "De nada"




RABBIT FANS remember the Australian character, Rakum Cow Stuart Loudon, from Rabbit Legacy. He runs into Canaan at a Rest Area one night when Canaan needs a "buzz." In the upcoming third installment (Rabbit Redemption, Little Roni Publishers Jan 2018), he has a much larger role. Because of this, I needed help with his dialogue. I'm not Australian so my scope of Aussie dialect and language comes from Hollywood. 

HERE'S MY SOLUTION. The following is a helpful blog on what to do when your character isn't you!

DIALOGUE HELP: So what if your character is Australian and you're not? When I write fiction, my characters come as they are--I don't choose them, they arrive already formed. That means they aren't all White, Female, American, Christian, Southern Belles (touché). Thanks to social media, nearly every writer has friends around the country who they can ask for help to make sure their character sounds real and not "Hollywood."

Recently, I asked my friend and fellow author Stu Loudon for help bringing my Aussie character's dialogue to life. I know all about my character's personality, but not how he might say certain things. I asked Stu to help and he said YES.

IF YOU GET HELP, go through your novel and select portions where you need the friend to help out. Don't send the whole novel, or even the entire chapter--this will greatly slow down the response time. Send only what the friend needs above and beyond the dialogue to add his or her special native touch. Then, you should highlight the dialogue so your friend can go right to it easily. Keep in mind, no matter how much a friend or fan likes your work, he or she is busy 24/7 just like you are! Lastly, offer to pay them enough for a nice dinner. Trust me, there are a dozen good reasons to give a little monetary thank you for this help.

USING THE INTERNET: Sometimes you have to use the internet for this help. I googled "Aussie slang" in case my friend was too busy to help and dozens of sites came up. Of course, I would have bungled the job -- Americans wouldn't notice, but anyone who ever knew a true Australian would know I used the internet to make my character speak!

FINAL NOTE ABOUT GOOGLE TRANSLATE: Sometimes, your character speaks another language, or uses foreign phrases in his daily speech. For example, I have several Latino characters who may exclaim*, "Madre de dios!" or "Meirda!", or my German character may say, "jah," etc. etc. We all use Google Translate to make short sentences for our books. That is my advice--use it only for short items. It is not perfect, and if you know anyone who speaks that language, ask them to check it.

RABBIT TRILOGY
Author Beth Rider writes a vampire novel that angers a race of "real" vampires living under the radar since before Christ. Learn more at www.ellencmaze.com.

*Use proper punctuation, too. This blog doesn't support upside-down exclamation points. :)


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Can CHRISTIAN THRILLERS have VAMPIRES? Yes. Author shares why...

RABBIT: CHASING BETH RIDER is a bestselling Christian Thriller novel (Book One of Three) by Ellen C. Maze. The story contains violence, peril, horror, and heroism all viewed from a biblical point of view, giving the real-life Christian an opportunity to enjoy fiction and not have to ask, "What would I do if this happened to me?".

HORROR MOVIES -- who doesn't like to be frightened? Most of us do, especially those of us who read vampire and paranormal novels. Still, we want to shout at the screenwriters, "COMMAND THAT DEMON/GHOST/MONSTER TO DEPART!" (Insert a laugh here; they just don't write mainstream horror with Truth involved). In all of the novels by Ellen C. Maze, you will have the same peril, suspense, and yes--even blood and gore--found in quality non-biblical novels, yet the reader can watch Truth triumph in a non-preachy way. You will be able to put yourself in the novel and command those spirits in the way you want to!

TO SUM UP-- We can boss those spirits around... we know it, they know it, we're not taking any lip.

READ EXCERPT, Michele married a modern day Count, but he's possessed by demons, and they love blood and violence... (from the upcoming Christian Paranormal Thriller based upon the Baals from the Old Testament, alive and well in 2017 and ready to bring on the End! From Ellen C Maze, The Indwelling of Tori Blessing, Little Roni Publishers 2018)



...The screeches were much worse than the screams, and tonight, her husband’s voice carried ear-splitting elements of both. Michele covered her ears and shuffled down the hall at a jog. Reaching her bedroom, she double-locked the door and collapsed onto the bed. When another staccato shout filtered through the floor from the basement, Michele curled her legs beneath her and squeezed closed her eyes.
“Please, please, please don’t let him come up here. Please!” Michele prayed the same words a few more times, wondering to whom she was speaking. God? If so, which one? There were so many, how could she know which to turn to?
A loud crash sounded from beneath her room, splintering wood and breaking glass—Cedric was in the laboratory.
Michele opened her eyes and leapt to her window. It was nearly dawn; that fact alone might keep him downstairs. He was Ba-alim and unable to walk in the sun.
“MEEE-SHHH-ELLLL!”
The elongated three-syllable version of her name sent goose-pimples across her flesh. Only Ki’tarit called her that—Mi-sha’el—and of the seven spirits that tormented and possessed her husband, he was the most foul. Michele jerked her gaze to the north horizon fifty miles away where the mountains towered over neighboring Slovakia. Her east-facing windows had been painted over and sealed shut, for what purpose, she never knew. Whatever the reason, it mattered little; Ki’tarit was summoning her, and the sky was still more purple than pink.
“MEEE-SHHHH-ELLLL!”
Michele startled and pressed her hands to her ears. He would have to come and get her; she wasn’t going to him. She had learned the hard way that when one of Cedric’s Indwellers spoke her name, she should run and hide. Each of them longed to destroy her, and only Cedric’s incredible love restrained them from doing so. They did whatever else they could do, including rape, sodomy, and flagellation; in their hellish minds, the more dehumanizing the better.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Michele screamed, her fingers clutching the amulet Cedric had given her to wear. He had promised her that it had protective powers, that the ancient crest on its face would ward off negative attraction. His words gave her little comfort now that Ki’tarit was at the door. Would he be able to open it?
“OPEN UP, YOU SELFISH WHORE!” the voice bellowed, and Michele cringed backward until her buttocks bumped against the wide, protruding windowsill. Fingering the necklace’s design, she scooted onto the sill and looked to the landscaped lawn outside. The shadows had reached the shrubbery, but she was on the first floor, a fifteen-foot drop at the most. She could make it. Michele tensed, preparing to force open the age-locked latch.
“Michele?” the voice asked, softer, with a harsh accent on the first letter, sounding more like Mi’shull. It was Yuli, Cedric’s father, and therefore the most recent Indweller; Michele recognized him by his voice. He was the one who gave up his breath so Cedric could live. He was certainly no angel, but he lashed out at her the least. Michele remained at the window, and called across the room at the bolted door.
“Yuli, get Cedric downstairs,” she said, hoping she sounded braver than she felt; the tremor in her voice was difficult to erase. “The sun is coming.”
“Come sleep with us, Mi’shull. It’s been soooooo long,” the ancient voice crooned.
Michele winced as the Indwelt sent a telepathic image deep into her mind. It wasn’t unpleasant this time, but she held firm to her misgivings. They could not be trusted. Not in the least.
“Mi’shull,” the voice continued, still soft, slightly begging, “Cedric will be back. Open the door. Trust me. We will be soooo gentle with you. Not like last time. That shouldn’t have happened. Open the door.”
Last time. When they last attacked her. It was in the den, not the crypt, and she’d been left unconscious. Michele shivered and faced outside, looking as far east as allowed by the corner of the house. Of course, she’d never consent to Yuli’s request. It was too risky. She’d slept with her husband once in the catacombs below the house and nothing bad happened; the Indwelt were still. But since then, over the past year, she’d seen enough of their violence that she vowed she would never voluntarily place herself in their clutches. Cedric promised that he would never allow them to kill her, but that was little comfort when being violated in his absence.
Knock-knock. A soft rap, he’d changed again.
“Kitten, it is I, your husband.”
Michele faced the door and her hand flew to her throat.
Cedric.
When he was present in that crowd of spirits he called a body, her heart grew warm within her, and she flushed from head-to-toe. It was her husband, and he had come forward to wish her a good day.
“Cedric!” Michele breathed and reached the door in six rapid strides. Then, remembering herself, she paused, palms on the wood. “Cedric, should I open the door?” she asked, putting her faith in the true voice of the one she loved.
“Yes, Kitten, open the door.”
Michele unlocked two deadbolts and removed the iron bar atop them both. With a vigorous tug on the weighty oak, she was in her beloved’s embrace.
“There, now. Shhhh…” Cedric held her gently and kissed the crown of her head. “I wanted to wish you a good day, my sweet.”
Michele held him tightly, her face pressed into the lapel of his cool leather coat. It had been three nights since she’d last seen him. When he left Monday at sunset, he hadn’t returned until last night, and she knew better than approach him then for as she prepared her dinner, the Indwelt overcame him in the bowels of the house and began the tumult to which she’d unfortunately become accustomed.
But he was here—now—for a few minutes.
“Are you all right? I missed you,” she whispered against him.
“If you missed me, you will look at me, no?”
Michele smiled and pulled away well enough to look into his face. As usual, Cedric’s extreme comeliness brought tears to her eyes. She considered herself a mousy girl with dull blonde hair and pale blue eyes too big for her face. She had always attracted men much too old for her, but Cedric was the first one she’d paid any mind. Painfully attractive, his eyes were always at half-mast, hiding centuries of secrets. His mouth was set in a permanent smirk, which only served to convince Michele that he knew everything worth knowing, and that his wisdom would change her world.
And she never knew tenderness until she met the walking god who held her now. She was an orphan; the illegitimate product of two sketchy Americans on expired tourist visas. Her parents sold her to pay for passage back home. Because of her fair coloring and gender, the local flesh traders intended to sell her for top dollar. Fortunately, she was sold to an undercover government operative seeking to eradicate human trafficking in Central Europe. The officer deposited her in the Irme orphanage where the beatings were infrequent, and as soon as she hit puberty, she was released to work in the nearby state-regulated tavern.
The very tavern Cedric found her in a year ago.
“Who put the look of the doe in your eyes, kitten?” Cedric pierced her with his gaze, asking questions he could divine if he chose. Michele answered right away so he wouldn’t have to.
“Ki’tarit threatened me,” she admitted, appreciating the flash of anger she read in her husband’s gaze. “Yuli came next, begging me to join you in the crypt today. Then, you were back.”
Cedric nodded, still thoughtful. “Yuli and I have come to an agreement. He promised to subdue the others for me, but it appears Ki’tarit is too much for him.” Cedric brushed Michele’s hair from her cheek and pushed it behind her ear. “I will deal with Ki’tarit.”
“How did you get Yuli on your side?” Michele asked, truly curious. Cedric explained his way early in their relationship, and as far as she knew, the Indwelt could not be persuaded by anyone at any price.
“I took him on a little trip.” Cedric whispered, his black eyes sparkling with humor.
Michele didn’t ask for more. The Indwelt were bloodthirsty and murderous, so to satiate them Cedric would have been party to horrendous activities. Cedric put a finger to her chin and bent to kiss her mouth, lingering there long enough to stifle her breathing. Straightening up again, he ran both hands into her hair and held her head gently.
“I apologize that we frightened you.”
Michele smiled, and wiped a tear that had slipped out as they kissed. “Yuli said you wanted me to sleep with you today. Is that so?”
Cedric nodded his head, his shoulder-length black hair catching the light from her room in its loose waves. “You will be safe.”
Michele’s pulse increased a few ticks, but she nodded her head in his palms. “Let me change clothes. Do we have time?”
Cedric looked over her shoulder in the direction of her window, although he could sense the sunrise more easily than observe it. “Seventeen-and-half minutes, Kitten. Will that do?”
Michele nodded and backed into the room as he released her. She’d visit the restroom, wash her face, and change back into her nightgown. She normally slept from noon until sunset, but she needn’t worry about insomnia; in Cedric’s crypt, he would put her to sleep hypnotically.
Her husband leaned against the threshold and watched her prepare to bed down. It would take her ten minutes, tops, and then she’d accompany him to the basement where he slept away the long Hungarian days. As she slipped her silk nightdress over her head, she prayed to the unknown God that He would keep the Indwelt at bay.
It was worth a shot.


(Devil Man pic from  https://pixabay.com/en/users/diggersstory-407656/, used by permission)