Absence makes the heart grow fonder….

or forgetful. I know I said I would try to put up a chapter a week for Forever Lost and I have failed miserably. Let’s just say the holidays have been a bit stressful this year. I had surgery planned for the 18th of December which meant I needed everything to do with Christmas done before that. Then there is the fact I work in a petri-dish, aka a school, and spent a great deal of effort trying not to get sick. So my husband brings home sickness from Asia and, after my surgery being cancelled because my doctor was sick (go figure) along with taking everything I could that was non-herbal to try and stay well and sleeping in different rooms, I caught his sickness two days before the rescheduled surgery. Move past the surgery and I and my husband were diagnosed with pneumonia. Yeah Me! Do you know that coughing and stitches in tender places do NOT get along. Ugh!

So fast forward to today. Where I am still a ways from 100%, I do feel better. Upside, since this whole thing started I’ve lost 20 pounds. 😀 I’m hoping that part of it keeps going. So as part of regaining my strength I am going to start pushing myself to do more. Part of that is working on the next chapter for Forever Lost. (BTW, I am not married to that title, so if anyone has a suggestions I would love to hear them.)

As for now, I am going to run some small errands, rest a little, then work on editing. Have a wonderful day! 🙂

Heidi

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Forever Lost – Chapter 2

Chapter 2

When Gideon was first told what his next assignment would be, he refused. He was a warrior, not a babysitter. His place was alongside his brothers fighting their never-ending war of good verse evil. Of the Angels from Paradise against the Demons from Hell, the Fallen, the damned. With his mismatched family whose unyielding loyalty to each other had been forged on the battle field, saving the humans from horrors they did not believe existed outside of fairy tales and myths.

Unfortunately, the powers that be did would not take no for an answer.

Vehemently – yet respectively – voicing his displeasure, Gideon transitioned down to the small tent where the child he was charged with keeping safe slept in the bundle of furs on an worn woven rug. The small caravan was quiet as it was late in the cold desert night. Deftly stepping over the parents who slept by the door, Gideon took notice of two older children who slept only a few feet away from his charge towards the back. Lying next to the babe was another toddler no more than two blinking up at him with a small smile on his lips, instinctively knowing the stranger in their midst dressed as one of their own in a black robe belted at the waist, long open coat and headdress that covered his blonde hair and most of his face, leaving only his blue eyes visible, and wearing enough weapons to slaughter a small army was of no threat to them.

Innocence is wasted on the young, Gideon thought with a grimace.

Their ability to sense danger adults were too caught up in their own angst to see. To be able see mystical creatures hidden in this wondrous world during a time they were too young to remember.

Removing the cloth that covered his lower face, Gideon smiled at the young boy as he knelt down next to the infant that called to him. Turning his eyes to the little one he frowned. It was not that he did not like babies; it was that they were fragile little things, and his hands were made for wielding a sword and breaking necks, not taking care of a creature that would break if he sneezed too hard on it. He wondered what was so special about someone small and innocent that he was charged with guarding it with his very existence.

Are you here to take care of my baby sister? the two-year-old’s thoughts broke into Gideon’s.

Yes, little one, Gideon answered looking at him.

She’s very special isn’t she, he frowned, his eyes grave as he looked at his sister.

Yes, youth was wasted on the young. Even though he had no information, the toddler instinctively knew something was special about his baby sister. Probably knew more than Gideon. Before he left, Gideon had tried to glean information from his superiors. All they would tell him was that if any harm came to her, he would not like the repercussions. That was when they opened a window into hell, showing him what was instore if he failed. Not that he needed an incentive. As much as he disagreed and let them know his objections, repeatedly, he would do as they asked with everything in him. It was what he was created for.

Yes she is. What is your name little one?

Aaron, the toddler thought proudly.

And your sister’s? he asked looking down at the babe.

Zahara, he answered with a smile. I will help you protect her from the bad people. His expression grew grave as he gazed at his younger sister. They have been hunting her for a long time, searching. Longer than I can…. The toddler stopped, as if he was about to say something that he knew he shouldn’t. You protect her? he asked again, his tone a plea.

Gideon frowned at the boy, a chill creeping up his spin. I will protect her with my life.

Looking down at his sister, Aaron nodded. Okay. Suddenly he smiled brightly at Gideon, the graveness from a moment before gone, and chimed, Night!

Once the toddler was settled down and asleep, Gideon turned his attention back to the infant. She was awake now, and as he looked down into her dark chocolate eyes, all his questions grew. How could one so young have a soul so old? So…pure. And what did Aaron mean they had been hunting her? She was only a few weeks old. Nothing made sense.

Tentatively he reached out his hand, his finger extended to touch her cheek. The baby cooed and wrapped both of her incredibly tiny hands around his finger, squeezing it before bringing it to her mouth to suck on. In that instant, Gideon was lost.

In the thousand years that followed, Gideon realized what Aaron had meant by a long time, and that if he wanted to survive the hell that had been unleased on the small child, he would need help. Enter his brethren. Some of the fiercest, deadly warriors known in the universe, their souls forged in the fires of Heaven and honed from centuries of fighting whatever foul creature Hell spat out at them, they were loyal to him to a fault. These men he trusted, no other. Not even those who claimed they were Heavenly Divine.

From that first day, it seemed as if every demon in existence tried to either take the girl or kill her. Yet it was not until the tenth year of her third life Gideon realized why they wanted her.

They were living in what is now known as Mayan Ruins deep in the Honduras jungle. Beloved daughter of the chieftain, Ixazaluoh was rarely left unguarded due to the attacks from what the natives thought were a roving tribe that had made it its mission to steal the princess for their own. Gideon and his comrades new the truth. They were Fallen, come to take what Heaven was so zealously guarding. What their enemy, Gideon was holding so close to his side.

Gideon had made sure he was the head of her personal guard, and that his men were dispersed throughout the grounds. Usually he had at least two of them close at hand at all times, but they had been pulled away to take care of a disturbance on the other side of the city. So he was alone with Ixazaluoh when they were attacked in one of the fields. Trained to defend herself by Gideon, she did not hesitate to join in the fray. What stunned Gideon, and he’s pretty sure those who attacked them, was as Ixazaluoh turned towards one of the demons who was disguised as a human male, she recognized it what for what it was and did not run screaming in terror. Snarling its name in Mayan as if his very existence disgusted her, she stared the demon down until it shrank back in fear. Somehow, even though they knew she was special, the demon saw past the mortal shell of the soul of a slip of a girl and saw her for what she was. Old and pure and powerful. It was also when Gideon realized, whatever the Fates had designed for her, it would change the universe as they knew it.

Zahara, Ixazoluoh, and in this new life time Sara. Different variations of the same name throughout her lifetimes, and where it sounded so simple, when it rolled off Gideon’s tongue it made his heart skip a beat and always brought a smile to his lips.

With each death and each rebirth, Gideon’s feelings for his charge grew and changed. Each death had become harder to endure, each rebirth a relief that she was not gone from him forever.

Number one rule for what mortals called guardian angels is you do not fall in love with your charge. Being as old as he was, Gideon was very well acquainted with the dangers of falling in love with a mortal, no matter how old the soul was. But he found that arguing with one’s heart was a losing battle. Still, if the powers that be found out about how he felt about Sara, they would pull him away from her, and that would not do. To not be able to see her smiling eyes every day, watch her sleep at night. Ease her nightmares with a brush of the back of his hand on her cheek, or whispered soothing words in her ear. To allow someone he did know or trust to keep her safe was unthinkable.

On those rare occasions when Gideon was called away for some other business, or tracking the demons who were rumored to be hunting her, there was only one angel he trusted with her safety. Talon, his most trusted sometimes obnoxious friend. Well, if Gideon was truthful Talon was always obnoxious. Because his inability to keep his temper, or mouth, in check, Talon would have been exiled a long time ago if Gideon had not reminded his superiors of Talon’s bravery and loyalty, or his skill on the battlefield. Of the atrocities they had all endured in this never ending war. And while Talon grumbled about what he called “babysitting duty”, Gideon knew he would give his life to keep Sara safe. Not only because of his unwavering loyalty, but because Talon saw what Gideon saw. That there was something about his mortal that was special, powerful. They just could not figure out what.

Today Gideon was hundred miles away checking on a lead he had been given about a powerful lord from the hell realm plotting to kidnap Sara. A false lead, as it turned out. He was about to go find the bastard that gave him the bad information and slowly gut him, when a wrenching deep in his soul that was so powerful it took him to his knees and left him gasping for air. Something had happened to Sara. When he could finally concentrate past the pain he tried to sense her.

Nothing.

It was as if she never existed. She was just…gone.

Pushing himself weakly to his feet, Gideon stamped down the growing terror threatening to disable him further, pulled in his strength and in a flash was standing next to Talon who was glaring at something in a store window. Around them the mortals walked by, unable to see the two six foot five armor clad warriors, continuing on with their day without a care in the world while Gideon felt as if his was ending.

“What the hell happened?” Gideon gasped leaning heavily against the side of the window. Why was he so weak?

“I’m not sure,” Talon answered his voice stiff with anger. He did not like it when something happened right in front of his nose, and this he never saw coming or was able to stop. It just smacked of sloppiness, and sloppy he was not, but that was exactly what had happened. There had not even been a hint of demonic presence or use of magic. He blinked and Sara was just…gone. “One moment she was standing here looking at something in the window and the next she vanished.”

“What do you mean vanished! How can she just vanish?” Gideon snapped standing straight. The world abruptly tilted, bringing a groan from him as he closed his eyes slumping back against the brick wall.

“What is wrong?” Talon asked his anger replaced with concern when he saw how pale his friend was.

“Not sure.” Bending over at the waist, putting his hands on his thighs, hanging his head, Gideon tried to suck air into his lungs. “Hard…to breathe.”

Talon studied his friend for a moment; an errant thought he quickly dismissed flitting through his mind. After the last betrayal, the one that had hardened the angel’s heart to stone, Gideon had sworn off women. Something only Talon knew. Nevertheless, the way Gideon was acting….

Again Talon dismissed this thought. Gideon never broke the rules. Bent them every once in a while to the point of breaking, maybe, but never broke them. Especially this one. Falling in love with a charge was the biggest taboo of their kind, and it meant immediate exile from heaven if caught.

Pushing that disturbing thought aside, he pointed to the window and said, “The bigger question is, how Sara is in there?”

This time taking it slow as he straightened, Gideon looked where Talon was pointing. Inside the store were different sizes of TV’s. All flat screen, all high definition, except for one. It looked like one out of the 1950’s. Big, bulky and everything in black and white. Even the movie playing was old. Something about a circus.

“I don’t under….” Then he saw her. Inside the black and white, dressed in tight crop pants, canvas shoes, button down shirt that was tied at the waist and a wide headband holding her long brunette hair from her face was Sara. She was talking to someone who looked vaguely familiar. On closer inspection Gideon sucked air in through his teeth. “Lizza,” he snarled.

“How the hell did she pull Sara in there? She doesn’t have that kind of power,” Talon snapped, completely stunned.

“She must have had help. Either way we need to get Sara out of there,” Gideon growled. Placing his hand against the glass, magic tingled up his arm. Yes, a very powerful spell. One he had never seen or felt before. “There is only one place Lizza could have taken Sara. I want you to gather the others and meet me at the doorway into His realm.”

“We can’t go in there without permission!” Talon gasped.

“Don’t tell me after all the wrong you’ve done in your existence, you’re going to balk at this one misdemeanor?” Gideon asked in disbelief.

“Even I have my limits,” Talon snapped. After a moment of watching Gideon stare at the black and white as if memorized, Talon voiced his concern. “But I’m starting to wonder where your limits are.”

Gideon’s head snapped towards him. “What do you mean by that?” he asked, his voice harsh, but his eyes told a different story. There was fear there. Something Talon had never seen in his friend’s eyes.

After a moment of hesitation Talon looked away, shaking his head. “Nothing,” he muttered dismissively. However, as far as he was concerned the matter was not over. Gideon had saved his ass more times than he could count, and Gideon was the only one Talon counted as family. Whatever was wrong with his friend, however far Gideon decided to bend or even break those rules he always quoted at him, Talon would not abandon him. Even if that meant exile. “I’ll gather the others and meet you at the gates. Give me ten minutes.” Then he was gone.

Gideon stood stock still, staring at the spot that Talon had just vacated, the same dangerous thought going through his head. Just how far was he willing to go to save his charge? And the unasked question, why?

Turning back to the screen he watched as Sara began to realize something was not quite right with her surroundings. As he had learned through the ages, Sara Cantrell was important enough to have the most dangerous ruthless warriors the heavens possessed assigned as her guardian. He did not think those who gave him this assignment would chastise him for going into His realm without asking them first. A little voice in the back of his head asked if it really mattered, because if he was honest with himself, he knew would have gone after her even if they forbade it.

As the creatures around Sara started to change into their true forms, time for questions and misgivings were at an end. He had to get her out of there before it was too late.

For everyone.

Chapter 1                                                                                                                    Chapter 3

 

Copyright © 2017 Heidi Barnes

Forever Lost – Chapter 1

Chapter 1

 “Hurry Sara!” Lisa called, her eyes twinkling with mischief. “We’ll be late!”

Laughing, Sara allowed Lisa pull her away from the store window, the movie on the black and white television all but forgotten. The county fair started this weekend, and it promised entertainment no one would soon forget. What that entertainment was, was still a mystery.

As they neared the park, the two girls slowed, moving into the crowd as it made its way onto the fairgrounds.

“I wonder what the entertainment will be,” the excitement Lisa was projecting running throughout the crowd in a shiver of anticipation. “It’s weird that they wouldn’t tell us. Maybe it’s some kind of magic show and the not knowing what kind of magic is part of it.”

“Maybe,” Sara grinned. To be honest, she had no idea what it could be. Music, magic, whatever it was, it was drawing a big crowd. There had to be people from neighboring towns because she knew this many people did not live in their little town in the middle of nowhere USA. They were so far off the grid that tourists were a novelty and gawked at by the townspeople more than the tourist gawked at them.

Trying to see everything at once, Sara looked around her. People dressed in costume in front of brightly colored pavilions tried to lure customers in to see their shows. Vendors selling cotton candy, corn dogs, peanuts and popcorn mingled with the crowd yelling out their wares. Cages with exotic animals pacing behind bars lined the walkway, men on stilts towered over them, a man swallowing a sword, the bearded lady, but everyone ignored it all as they headed towards the big tent where the real show would be held. The one that promised mystery and excitement.

They were almost to the tent when Sara realized something was not quite right. There was a vibe in the air that made her skin crawl, and not in a good way. She always had a sixth sense when something was about to go wrong. Too many times of that feeling proving true, she decided not to ignore it. Looking closer at the people around her, she realized that the smiles on their faces seemed…wrong. The expressions of joy and excitement did not match the haunted, hungry look in their eyes.

An elderly woman jostled Sara as she passed, almost falling over in the crowd. Sara instinctively grabbed her to keep the old woman from being trampled.

“Thank you, dearie,” the old woman’s honey sweet gravelly voice cooed. “I’m afraid these old legs aren’t what they used to be.”

“It’s alright, ma’am,” Sara smiled. “It is a bit….” Her words died in her throat as the old woman looked at her, a smile plastered to her face, her eyes flashing the color of blood, the sickening red completely engulfing her eyes. Sara immediately let go and stepped away, blinking, not believing what she saw. When she focused on the old woman again, she was smiling pleasantly at Sara, her pale brown eyes full of concern.

“Are you alright?” the woman asked.

“Sara! Hurry!” Lisa called grabbing Sara’s hand and pulling her away from the woman before she could form an answer.

Telling herself she was just seeing things, Sara shook her head at her ridiculous imagination and followed Lisa through the crowd towards the big tent.

The two girls finally managed to make it into the tent. All around them people talked excitedly about the show they were about to see. Eyes kept glancing Sara’s way, that same strange flash of red she saw in the old woman’s in some of them, others seem to bleed inky black. As Sara and Lisa moved slowly to the seats, Sara glanced down at a young girl and she knew something was definitely not right. The look the girl gave Sara was one of such hatred and hunger that it took her back. Gasping, Sara put her hand to her chest in an attempt to keep her beating heart from jumping out of her chest in fear. Unable to stop herself, she looked around her again.

This time she concentrated on the clothing. The men wore suits, ties, slacks, shiny dress shoes and Stetson or Straw Porkpie hats. The younger men and boys wore button down short sleeved shirts, slacks, canvas shoes, and hunting caps. The women wore dresses, stockings, with hats and handbags. Some of the younger ones had crop pants or poodle skirts with button shirts. Their hair was in a ponytail held with scarves and saddleback shoes. All normal clothing for the fifties.

Wait!

Fifties?

Sara stopped in her tracks. Lisa let go of her hand and they were instantly separated, but Sara was too stunned to care. As she looked around at what people were wearing, what they were doing, how they were acting, she realized with a jolt what was wrong. She was not in the right time. She was from 2015. What the hell was she doing in the 1950’s?

Better yet, how did I get here?

Her mind raced back to the store front where Lisa had found her. Something had caught her eye and she stopped to look. What was it? That’s right. A TV. An old bulky TV amongst the new flat screens playing some movie in black and white. Sara thought it was strange seeing it there in-between two HD flat screens. Who watched black and white anymore?

As she looked around her, she tried to remember what it was she was watching. Something about a county fair. Some old time horror movie where nobody was who they said they were, and surprises were around every corner. That was the draw of the fair. It promised fun and excitement, but once the excitement started there was only one way to leave.

When you were dead.

“What’s wrong, Sara?” Lisa asked walking slowly towards her.

Looking more closely at Lisa, Sara could see the flaws. Places where Lisa was…incomplete. As if the pixels on a TV screen were dying out. Her voice was different too. There was no emotion in it, just like her expression. On closer inspection Sara saw that Lisa’s eyes were the same as the people around her. Hungry, angry…flashing red.

“What’s going on, Lisa?” Sara asked taking a step back from her friend.

“What do you mean? We’re going to watch the show. Come on,” Lisa urged, raising her hand for Sara to take. Something in the inflection of her voice rose the hair on the back of Sara’s neck. “We’ll miss the show if we don’t sit down.”

“I don’t think I want to see the show anymore,” Sara said taking another step back.

The smile that slid across Lisa’s face was not reassuring. It was cold and hungry, like her eyes.

“In fact, I think I will go home,” Sara announced with more courage than she was feeling.

“I’m afraid that will be impossible,” Lisa scowled, her voice lowering, growing raspy, demanding, angry. “Once you cross through the Gates of Hell, there is no returning. You are forever bound to the pits of despair. Forever at the mercy of the demons you have created.”

Suddenly everything was in vivid color. Until that moment Sara had not realized everything had been in black and white. What the hell? The fair dissolved into mist as the people around her began to change. Each moaning and screaming as their bodies contorted into hideous creatures of various shapes, sizes and colors.

Demons, came unwelcomed into her mind. That was impossible. Demons did not exist.

Slowly, as one, they turned their eyes towards her, all different shades of the spectrum, all burning with fire, and she realized she was very wrong. Demons did exist.

In front of her, Lisa stood defiantly, her skin black as night, her long hair red as fire, her eyes green like emeralds. Absently, Sara thought she was beautiful. Then Lisa smiled, showing her razor sharp teeth.

“You belong to us now,” she hissed. “Welcome to the realm of pain and horror.”

Prologue

Chapter 2

Copyright© 2017 Heidi Barnes

Just a little side note: Where we are going into the realm of angels and demons, the creation of this particular universe is not what some might think the conventional way of thinking. I hope you’ll keep reading as I veer away from popular belief and create my own.

When Words are Not Enough

What do you say when you know in your heart there are words that will uplift, show compassion…heal, yet they do not come? When the emotion that you feel inside cannot not be conveyed in words, but words are the only way you can express what you are feeling? When the words “I understand”, “I have been where you are”, “I love you” is not enough? How do you say what you cannot show when words are not enough.

Copyright 2017 Heidi Barnes

Forever Lost: Explanation

Okay, so I added a page to my site for this story, but for whatever reason it will not show up for people to click on so I thought I would at least post what I put on it so you would understand where the story came from.

Forever Lost started as a free write given by Kellie Elmore on her website http://www.kellieelmore.com around 2010.

For those who do not know what a free write is, it is when you are given a prompt and you write to that prompt. For example, an image either photo or drawing can work. A word bank, which can be made up of around five or six random words that you put together in a story or poem. Or it can be a phrase, poem, short story. There are probably hundreds of types of prompts out there, I have only listed a few. The one rule is you write until to you stop and that is what you post on her website. (I will admit to going back and fixing typos, maybe a comma or two, but what is there is what comes to mind as I write.) Kellie has given many prompts that have interested my muse and sparked pieces of stories, a couple that have grown into more than just the free write it was suppose to be, which I put on my old website An Author and her Muse. Once I started to write here I decided to take it down because I could not keep up with two websites. It’s been pushing at me to repost it for sometime and I finally gave in.

Forever Lost sort of wrote itself. Under the original title Angels & Demons, as an experiment I put the rough draft on my website and wrote at least a chapter a week. I have never written something this quickly. I also showed my writing process which shows just because it is written in chapter two, it does not mean it is necessarily written in stone. I learn my characters as I write, just like you learn about them as you read. They grow as I write and even surprise me with some of their decisions. Decisions that make something that happened earlier in the book not work. So in come the edits.

This version is the last edit of book one. Hopefully the final edit, but knowing me…. 😀 Some things have changed since that first rough draft, some have not. Since I have not read this story in sometime, we will see what happens. I’m hoping not much because I hate throwing out pages. I will try to post a chapter a week.

Here is the prompt that was given to us on the day Forever Lost was born.

You’re young. You are standing in front of a shop window watching something on the black and white television inside. A woman grabs your hand and runs down the street, pulling you along…

I’d be interested to see what your story your muse weaves. Now, enough talk and on to Forever Lost.

Now if I can ever figure out why the page won’t show and get it up and running, I will add a link to each new chapter as I post it on here. As for now, it’s been one of those evenings where everything that could go wrong has so I am going to call it a night and go to bed before I burn the house down! 😛

Goodnight. 🙂

Prologue

 

Copyright © 2017 Heidi Barnes

Forever Lost: Prologue

Prologue

 

A few eons after the birth of the universe as we know it, on a planet far from prying eyes:

“You can’t be serious!”

“Do you have a better plan?”

There was a moment of silence as the two angels stared at each other unable to come up with something, anything that would not end in exile.

“No,” he sighed.

“It is the only way,” the second repeated, his own voice showing how much he disliked the idea. At least that was one thing they agreed on.

“When are they supposed to come for us?” the first asked sitting heavily on a nearby chair, absently playing with the gold band that circled the third finger on his right hand. The exact same band that his brother wore.

“Soon,” the second answered as he paced, one hand on his hip the other rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “No matter what they do to us, we must keep our silence or we will never find her.”

“There is only one way this will end and he will never believe we did not betray him,” the second reminded grimly.

“It is not him I am worried about,” the first confessed quietly, finally stopping his pacing to look his brother in the eyes.

There did not have to be words spoken between them to know what the other was thinking. If they did this, the one woman they had been guarding with their lives since the beginning of their existence, that held far more than their hearts, along with her mate might be lost forever to them.

“If we do this and the Unspoken One finds her first,” the second frowned, “we will not be there to defend her.”

“Or he may not be able to find her. More times than not it is us he comes for knowing our hands will be tied as to what we can do to protect her. We are not only her strength but her weakness. If we do this, become Fallen, we can come at him without worry of consequence.”

The second stood, his anger and fear mixing into one emotion. “But is it worth the cost? The entire universe could unravel and then chaos will reign, which is exactly what he wants.” The angel hesitated, imploring his brother to see reason. Then he spoke what he knew they both feared the most, his eyes filled with anguish. “I can’t lose the part of her I do have. Can you?”

The first stared at his brother, his own fear filling his eyes.

“No, but if we are to find her, save her in time, it is our only choice.”

*    *    *

Six cycles of our earth around its sun later:

Blood covered the once white walls and floors. An angel hung limp from his chains in the middle of the room. Another hung against the wall his eyes on his brother, worried. They had done so much more to him to get them to talk, and he was afraid it had been too much. Yet they stayed quiet. Even though their tormentors had left, they both knew the walls had ears and they stayed quiet.

A low chuckle filled the air, instantly cooling it. The angel in the middle of the room stirred at the sound, his swollen eyes opening slowly. That voice. How is he here? the angel thought.

“Do you really think you can save her this way?” the voice hissed through the air.

Both angels looked towards the sound. A darkness began to grow, filling the blood soaked wall until it spanned from floor to ceiling, well over twelve feet tall. Then the last being they ever thought to see in the heavens stepped into the light. Another would recoil at the sight before them, but they had had too many dealings with this…creature to be afraid. Even in their weakened state.

“You do not belong here,” the angel chained to the wall snarled.

“I belong where I chose, and lucky you I chose here,” the creature smiled. The straight white teeth, shoulder length black hair, designer clothes that fit his well-defined body and GQ features, did not match the ugliness and hatred that surrounded him or the evil in his black eyes. “I will say, though, I did not think the two of you had it in you. To give up that which is everything in order to try and save her. Such…idiocy,” he finished in disgust.

The creature stopped in front of the angel hanging in the middle of the room.

“You will never win,” the angel rasped his eyes blazing with hatred.

“But I already have,” the creature smiled sweetly. “And you two have made it so easy. You who are her strength, her heart, her weakness. Without you she will be vulnerable and when I find her, she will once again be mine. However, just to make sure you do not interfere again.”

Reaching up he took a hold of the right wrist of the angel in front of him. With the other hand he slowly reached towards the finger that held the simple gold band. The angel struggled to get free, but he was bound and weak and no match for the creature in front of him. Without much effort at all, the creature pulled the ring off, the blood making the skin slick.

“That is not yours to take!” the angel against the wall snarled, his chains rattling as he strained against them.

“No, I suppose not, but without this you will not be able to see her even though she stands before you,” the creature mused as he studied the gold band. Such a simple trinket that held so much power. Power over the angel it was given to. His eyes moved to the angel in front of him who hung frozen in his chains, eyes blazing with hatred. “There will be a time when you will lose all hope and you will call me. Then you too shall be mine and you will bring her to me.”

“Never!” the angel growled.

“Never say never, my friend. It is a long time, and time has a way of eroding what was once grand and noble into dust.” Slipping the ring onto his own finger, the gold tarnishing at the touch of his skin, the creature turned to the angel on the wall. “You are much more of a concern,” he frowned walking slowly towards him. “You, who have never wavered, not even in thought. Who has done what others refuse to do in order to keep her from me. I think something a bit more drastic is needed for you. And I also think you will both need to be separated,” he finished looking back at the angel behind him. “I cannot have you pooling your resources to find them before I do and change the destiny I have planned. I still have some sway in what the punishments will be given to our kind. I think a little talk with my sister will be in order. Until we meet again.”

With a flourished bow the creature disappeared, leaving the two angels with a cold dread that would last many eons to come.

*    *    *

Hours later….

“Your punishment will be as written,” the ageless woman with piercing blue eyes announced into the quiet room. There were only the two traitors, her and one other present for the sentencing. Her brother had wanted as few as possible to know what transpired in this room so to keep it secret. As much as she despised doing as he asked, they were in this together and this was the only way.

Turning to the one hanging on the wall, she said, “You will remain in the heavens, demoted into the rank soldier while labeled a traitor. You will also have any memory of your life with our God and Goddess erased, in which case you will not be needing her favor any longer,” she finished, a slight hint of disgust in her voice. With a wave of her hand, the gold band around the angel’s finger disappeared as did the glow of his magnificent white wings.

“You cannot do this,” he hissed slumping against the wall, suddenly weaker. Empty inside.

“It is already done,” she responded dispassionately before turning to the one hanging in the middle of the room. “You, as with your brothers who have disgraced themselves, will become Fallen. Forever at the mercy of those you chose to protect. There will be no help from any of the realms. Unless you have decided against your silence.”

When there was nothing from either angel the woman stepped back with a sigh. “Very well. What is done is done.”

“She will not stand for this,” the angel in the middle warned.

“She is not here to say otherwise, is she,” the woman snapped, her eyes flashing with power. Once again gathering her calm around her, she continued. “You will have your memories, and search if you must, but you will never find her. Not without your brother and certainly not in the bowels of the hell realm.” She looked at the other angel. “When will you realize that they have forsaken us all and are forever lost?”

When the silence once again filled the room as the two angels glared at her, she shook her head. Looking at the one that came to carry out the sentence she ordered wearily, “Michel, you know what needs to be done.”

“Yes, mistress,” he bowed.

With one last look at the condemned she walked from the room.

Michel moved into her place. “I do not do this with a light heart, but I cannot disobey her.” He moved closer to the Fallen and whispered so the walls could not hear. “There is more here than what you see. Remember, you are not alone.”

The only show of shock the fallen gave was the slight widening of his eyes.

Putting his hand on the Fallen’s chest, over his heart, Michel closed his eyes, bowed his head and concentrated. The darkness that filled the room only a short while ago began to spread out from Michel’s hand and over the Fallen’s skin. Gritting his teeth, the Fallen raised his face to the heavens in an attempt to keep the blackness of evil from encompassing him completely. In the end he could not keep the pain inside any longer. A scream of anguish and torment shredded his throat the darkness completely enveloped him. In a flash of brilliant white light that the remaining angels had to turn their faces from, the Fallen was left unconscious, his once sandy blonde hair now black. His once glorious white wings now black as night.

Then Michel walked over to the other.

“You do not have to do this, Michel.”

“If we are to win, this must play out or all will be lost,” Michel said sadly.

“No matter what you do, I will never forget her,” the angel vowed vehemently.

“I pray not, for all our sakes,” his voice barely above a whisper.

Then everything went blank.

Explanation                                                                                Chapter 1

Copyright © 2017 Heidi Barnes

Chasing Rabbits by Suzanne Carey

Sitting on a tree branch, Suzi clutched her stomach, gasping for breath, laughing so hard she nearly fell out of the tree. The rabbits were back and Heidi was mad. All her lovely new plants… rabbit food. But the situation got even funnier when she called her dog Jack to chase away the furry varmints, […]

via Chasing Rabbits — suzannevcarey

I put a link on my original story to Suz’s post, but I thought I’d repost in case those who have already read my post missed it.

I’m Too Old to Chase Rabbits

My dog, Jack, is getting on in age. It has been thirteen years since we went to choose between him and his brother. It was and easy choice. Jack was full of energy and wanted to play. His brother found the nearest object, ran under the truck and began to chew on it. Yeah…exuberant it was! Now, where he still has energy, it’s a little more subtle and his hearing isn’t what it used to be.

In the last couple of weeks the rabbits, or stew meat as I lovingly call them through gritted teeth, have come out in force. I’ve had as many as four in the yard at once, and those are just the ones I can see. I wonder where all the coyotes have gone. Have they suddenly sworn off rabbit? I hear it’s rather tasty.

Now before I receive comments about how cute and cuddly rabbits are, I thought the same thing until they ate $200 worth of plants I had just planted. Needless to say I was not amused.

Now that you have some back story, here is what happened a few days ago.

Jack is sleeping on his bed when I see one of the vermin called rabbit in the yard eating grass a little to close to my flowerbed for my comfort.

Me: Jack! Rabbit!

No response.

Me, a little louder: Jack! There’s a rabbit!

Jack’s head comes up: Rabbit?

I head for the slider and he follows as I wind him up to chase the rabbit. Now there is an art to opening the slider and not having the dog slam into it as he bolts out the opening like a race horse. You have to time it right and be wicked fast. I brace myself. Jack crouches down, ready to spring forward. I slide the door open and…

He sticks his head out the door. Slightly anti-climactic. Although lately he has been thinking about running more than actually doing.

Jack stares at the rabbit who is now frozen in hopes that he won’t be seen.

Me, very exuberantly: Rabbit! (Because that one word says it all.)

Jack: Yes, that is a rabbit.

Me: Go get the rabbit!

Jack gives me a look that seems to say: You do remember the last time I chased one of those things. I had to be carried back because my joints aren’t what they used to be. Very embaressing.

The rabbit is still frozen in the lawn.

Me: Come on, Jack. Get the rabbit!

Jack looks back at the rabbit then very non-chalantly walks out the door and to the left, NOT towards the rabbit: I’m going out front.

As Jack disappears around the corner of the house, the rabbit resumes eating, and I’m left wondering what just happened.

Have a wonderful week.
Copyright 2017 Heidi Barnes

Here is a little side story that my friend Suzanne Carey wrote after she read this piece. We have a mutual friend/bane-of-my-existence called Suzi. She is a fairy that tries hard to do good things, but somehow they always manage to go…sideways. Here is Suzi and her attempt to help me with my little rabbit problem. Chasing Rabbits.

Distractions

I knew it was a mistake. Knew what would happen, yet I did it anyways. *sigh* When will I learn? The upside is I don’t regret it. I needed the break. The downside is I didn’t get done everything I wanted to do this summer. What is it that I’ve done? Instead of starting to write the next book, like I should have done when I finished the last one in June, I decided to pick up my Kindle and read for a bit. I love to read, and to be honest I needed the break from writing and editing. I felt like my brain was going to melt. My mistake was deciding to re-read a series that I really like. A 25 book series I might add. Not a good thing when one wants to get somethings done around the house.

What happened was a new book came out, and as I was reading it I was having a hard time remembering everyone and their stories. I don’t mind re-reading books, especially when they are good. I also like long series because if I like the world I’m reading about then I don’t really want to leave it and want to learn about everyone in it. So, I am now on book nine and I only started the re-read a little over two weeks ago. That is slow for me as I’ve had to stop myself and do some painting and other chores that I have put off until the last minute. What I should have been doing is editing the first 45 pages of the next book in my Destiny series, blogging about my garden, writing poems or short stories. None of which have been done, much. I guess I really did need that break.

Well, off to do those things that need to be done in life… or many just one more chapter…..

Have a wonderful day!

Heidi