Excerpt from Chapter 1
Dreams of Deception
It was 3:13 in the morning. The sound seemed to come from outside. In a place like this, you could never be sure. When there was a manhunt going on, and you were the focal point, it was good to be sure.
The room in the church’s bell tower glowed a dim orange, the fire all but spent. Naked, she slipped out of bed. Aaron, asleep next to her after another athletic night together, snored the snores of the well-laid.
The nights were colder now. Her robe remained on the floor in the spot Aaron had peeled it off of her. She swung her legs from the bed, picked it up and threw it over her shoulders, cinching it tight at the waist.
Under one of four openings in the topmost room sat a rickety wooden bench. Mondra mounted it, then leaned through the opening as far as gravity would allow. Bats flitted about, hunting for their night’s meal. Pinched sonar squeaks bounced off brick, tickling her eardrums.
It was one of them. How a guardian found their location, she hadn’t a clue, and it wasn’t important at the moment. Dealing with the guardian scaling the outside wall was priority one. When she saw glowing red eyes closing fast behind, she breathed a sigh of relief. The demon’s eyes used to frighten her. Now, she considered those eyes, and the spirit animating them, her salvation.
Inanis scaled the wall silently behind the gray-cloaked guardian, letting her gain altitude—and confidence. Allowing her so close would make it that much sweeter when he watched her fall.
As the woman drew her sword, inches from the Red Witch, the demon sank his talons into the guardian’s calf. A scream of agony pierced the night. As she was ripped from the church tower’s wall and flailing, back-first, to the forest floor, her parting vision was a pair of glowing red eyes, and a bright, hideous smile. Then, nothing.
Henry woke with a start. The digital clock on the dresser read 3:13 a.m. Sweat covered him. His heart pounded in his chest. Why the hell does weird shit always happen at 3:13 in the morning?
He rubbed his eyes, ran a hand through his hair, and slipped quietly from the bed—careful not to wake Joanne after the night she’d had getting Delilah to sleep.
Images from the dream were fading fast, and he struggled to hold on to them. The last thing he remembered was someone falling from some place very high, and then the figure of a woman—he was almost positive it was a woman—lying dead on a dirty floor. The shape of the body didn’t resemble Joanne, at least as far as he could tell, but he’d heard Jo’s screaming voice echoing in his mind when he snapped awake.