A SHORT EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK:
We stepped out of the vortex into the middle of an open field filled with waist high grass. I took a moment to adjust to the sudden darkness of night and my new surroundings. A gust of wind blew past me and over the tall blades. It created a wave that seemed to go on forever. There was nothing around to break up the vastness of countryside before me, except a few hills up ahead.
I could smell the salty air. I knew we had to be near one of the coastlines but which one I wasn’t sure. I didn’t see any lights to a major metropolitan area in the distance, so I knew we were off the beaten path. The silence of the area confirmed it. What I did see were tons of stars, a few clouds, and a quarter-moon that reflected off distant waters.
“Oh James, look!” I said, amazed at the sight of billions of stars overhead, clear as diamonds.
James took a moment to appreciate the artistry above his head. “They are beautiful and should give us enough light to get there.”
James took my hand and guided me to wherever we were going. He created a small path and we hiked to the closest hill. It was impossible not to gaze at the stars on the way. They were mesmerizing. I stumbled and lost my balance a few times when I gazed a little too long at them. He would catch me and bring me back down to earth.
It was very peaceful. Except for some crickets that sang in the night. I felt safe with James by my side. Occasionally, I would hear a faint echo of something the wind blew in our direction, but I ignored it. James would look at me for my reaction, but never said anything. Then the sound grew louder and began to intensify as we ascended the steep hill. That’s when I knew something was wrong and tried to figure out what it could be. When we reached the top, there was no mistaking what it was – someone screaming. The screams seemed to hit us all at once. It was unbearable! I quickly covered my ears to diminish the shrieking, as a strong wind blew it closer. James immediately pulled me into him and placed a barrier around us.
“What was that?” I asked, as I stretched my jaw and plugged my ears to get my hearing back.
“That was a mental shockwave. The closer you get to the source the stronger it is. Since we are close to Joe right now, it’s very strong.”
I was surprised, “That was Joe?”
“No, I think that was Trent you heard. Unless he encountered someone else since I saw him.”
“James, we have to stop him. Torturing is wrong!”
“I don’t think we can. Once Joe gets it in his head that someone needs to pay, he gets so involved that he loses himself. That’s why he comes here.”
“Where are we?”
“We are in the Atlantic Ocean south west of Bermuda,” he said, as we continued with the force field still around us. “I found this island a long time ago and claimed it. There is an energy shield around it that only Joe and I can penetrate. It prevents someone from surprising us. No one can come or go without one of us with them. Still, demons try. A few actually succeeded, but I plugged that hole right away,” he added under his breath.
He kept talking about the island until we arrived at the top of the next hill, where I had to take a much-needed break. I looked out into the valley below and could see a very large stone structure in the distance surrounded by waving fields. As the clouds parted, the heavenly light and water’s reflection outlined the immense structure. It made it look like a castle in the middle of nowhere.
“Is that where you live?” I asked, astonished.
He nodded and smiled.
“Did you build that?”
He chuckled, “No, it came with the island. It was in such poor condition at the time that we had to put some effort into cleaning it up. We also made a few modifications to fit our personal needs. Still, I think it turned out all right.”
I was surprised to hear him call a castle merely all right. For most of my life, my dad struggled to get the money we needed simply to pay the rent. Now, I was headed toward a castle and about to see what wealth looked like. I felt privileged.
The enormity of the structure in the moonlight was awe-inspiring. As we got closer, I could feel my heart race from the excitement of being near something so affluent. He began to apologize for the way the place looked. He said it had been awhile since they were there and felt embarrassed by how the vegetation seemed to take over. I wasn’t paying attention to the landscape. The elegant building before me impressed me more.
When we reached the forecourt, he took my hand again and guided me up the stone path to the portico. He opened one of the double doors to the front entrance and warned me about the step up. As we walked into the grand entry, I froze. A stream of moonlight shown through the window above, giving me a hint of the area. I was overwhelmed by the splendor and opulence, even in the dark. I gazed at the white marble that glistened on the floor. I knew James was talking to me, but I was so awestruck by the beauty of the floor that I had no idea what he was saying. He placed his hand on my shoulder to get my attention. He asked again to install my own force field. He wanted to remove his so he could turn on a few lights. He kept his hand on my shoulder while I did. This gave him access to penetrate it and to eliminate any breach in protection, while he removed his.
During that same time, a cloud covered the moon and blocked the only light into the building. He walked away and was immediately swallowed up by the darkness. I was alone and nervous. I knew James was nearby and trusted him, so I patiently waited for his return. He startled me when only his head appeared in the shadows. It was surrounded by the glow of firelight from his fingertips. He reached up, lit the wall sconce on my right, and glanced at me. He smiled and then lit another and another until most of the foyer was drenched in fire glow.
My jaw dropped open when I saw the enormity of the room. It was like a ballroom! I glanced around and noticed two beautiful white marble staircases against both walls up ahead. The hallway between the stairs seemed to branch off to the left and right. Then I looked up. The ceiling went clear to the top of the third story where a domed skylight appeared. Almost as if on cue, a few stars popped out from behind a cloud and glistened in the dome.
There were rooms to the left and right of us with double sliding pocket doors. The carvings on the doors were very ornate and whimsical, but it was difficult to see their exact beauty without more illumination. It looked like they could have been made of a rich cherry many years ago, but now appeared to be showing signs of age and neglect.
“Sorry for the lack of electricity. Out here we work off gas and oil. There is no way to hook up the electric and still be off the grid. Besides, we’re not here that much. I can show you around the manor in the morning when we have natural light to show off some of the…”
A loud bang, interrupted him and startled us both.
BISAC: Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Love & Romance
Publisher: Twin Guardian Publishing
Distribution: Amazon, Createspace eStore, All Bookstore Websites
Print: Black and White on White
Trim Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″
Retail Price: $15.00