Saturday, September 17, 2011

Angel Board - Sneak Peak

So for those who are dying for a glimpse into the pages of Angel Board (there has to be at least one I'm sure) I give you this.  Enjoy.  It will not be up very long.  The eBook is released October 4th, and remember you can pre-order it right here:  Order me!  The trade paperback will be released in January.  

“He was once the Angel of Light and created as the most beautiful and perfect cherubim (Angel) by God.” (Ezekiel 28:12-14)

     His ear glued to the door, Father Cockren waited outside the bedroom. The screams and growls coming from inside were unlike anything he’d ever heard. Thirty years old, he wasn’t greatly qualified in what to compare them to; however, he’d seen enough horror movies as a kid to understand that a monster dwelled in there.
    Cockren took the cross-shaped pendent hanging around his neck in a trembling hand, and kissed it. The crucifix, along with his bible, were the only means he had of protecting himself against whatever atrocity he was about to face head-on. He hadn’t set eyes on the woman yet, but her husband had told him enough to fear what was waiting.
Father Dublin, his adviser, was certainly expecting his help, probably wondering why he hadn’t come in the room yet.
    He was scared. Terrified.
When Dublin had explained their mission, he’d taken it in stride and with a pint of incredulity. He never would have guessed there was a true threat in their mission. Now the confidence had all but fled from his posture. Hunched over like a man twice his age, the bible clutched to his chest with his right hand, the crucifix being strangled in the left, he wanted to cry.
    Willing himself to open the door, he released the pendant. It swayed back and forth like a pendulum, dangling above his hand as he reached for the knob. Before he could twist it, the door jerked away from his grasp. Jolted, he yelled out in fright. What he saw fighting Dublin and the husband inside the bedroom that he shared with his wife, was not human… It was not a monster…
    It was an…angel.
    Dear God, thought Cockren, give me strength.

Chapter One
     Tonight David Barker planned to kill himself.
    As he stood in the bathroom, gawking into the fingerprint-smudged, toothpaste-dotted mirror, his reflection gazed back through eyes a vacant shell of white. He didn’t recognize this person. The haggard, soundless face inside the glass showed signs of a soul suffering, and not the wholesome thirty-year-old man he was—or used to be.
    That wasn’t David in there, not anymore.
    Who was that guy?
    The October wind gusted outside, causing the old apartment to creak and pop. He slowly exhaled through his nostrils, fogging up a small patch on the mirror. He wiped it away with a finger.
    A few months earlier, he couldn’t have been happier. Things changed drastically in a short span of time. He’d gone from being in love with life, and a special girl like Samantha Corben, to hating everything affiliated with all of it. Being stuck in the same miserable routine day in and day out, not doing anything about it, had only made his condition worse. Drained him. Put him in front of this mirror, giving himself once last look at the pathetic inflammation he’d become before cashing in his chips.
     David Barker is clocking out for the last time.
    He glanced up at the brown splotches sprinkled across the ceiling and shook his head. Sam had been right all along. The bathroom really was in desperate need of a makeover. The paint that hadn’t peeled was fading fast. The floor was warped; the boards were loose and springy and sunk under each step. He often imagined himself one day crashing through the rotting wood and landing somewhere in the apartment below.
Sam had been after him for months to either fix up the place or move. She tried convincing him he could do much better. As she would sheepishly say—shack up with her, but when she’d discovered he wasn’t ready for that obligation just yet, she’d argued that if he was going to remain in that clammy apartment, he should at least make it livable. Sam had even gotten the landlord’s permission to do just that. The old man had agreed with all her grievances, going so far as to promise that if she kept the receipts he’d deduct it from the rent and also added an extra bit of news. He was planning to remodel the entire structure anyhow. So David had more than just his permission to revamp the apartment, he had his blessing.
     What had stopped him?
     Everything. And nothing. He’d never seen the point in fixing the place up because he hadn’t planned to be there long enough to enjoy the refashion. At the time, he was planning to move on to a better job, a bigger place, and a healthier life for the two of them. Now he realized it was a form of premonition, foreshadowing what he was meant to do.
     Die, he thought, and felt the misting in his eyes.
David stepped away from the mirror and over to the bathtub. Much like the rest of the place, a cleaning was in order. Mildew lined the tile of the shower walls, and mold caked in the corners. It wasn’t quite an infestation yet, but was getting close. Leaning over the tub, he gripped the knob labeled Hot. It felt cold and clammy in his palm. He turned it. Water erupted from the faucet, the pipes groaning from inside the walls as they heated.
     Almost immediately, the water was scorching. He twisted the Cold dial to help adjust the temperature to his liking. Why he was taking these extra measures, he had no idea, but it felt like the right thing to do. Finding the right balance, he stoppered the drain. Briskly, the water began to rise.
He stood up, flicking the excess water off his fingers. On his way back to the mirror, he removed his jacket and winced at the haggard appearance he saw in the reflective glass.
     “That is the mug of a looker, ladies and gentlemen,” he muttered.
     Dangling his jacket in front of him, he searched the pockets for his cigarettes. He found them in the left pocket, then tossed the jacket on the toilet. It slid across the lid, falling on the floor between the commode and wall. He cringed. His favorite jacket, a black, zippered hood, had landed in the dreaded pee spot. The area his streams would wildly spray while he tried to find the bowl in his groggy, middle of the night bathroom trips.
     Not like he’d ever wear it again.
     Hope to God I’m not buried in it, he thought. Buried in a jacket that smells like old piss.
Someone would wash it first, they’d have to. Then he realized how ridiculous it was to consider he could actually be buried in that old jacket, anyway. It is my favorite. He’d heard of people being buried in sports-themed coffins, old school jerseys, so the idea he could be buried in a jacket he liked to wear wasn’t too farfetched. Oh well, someone would surely smell that stench and toss it in a washer first.
     David plopped a cigarette between his parched lips. They felt brittle and weak against the filter. He lighted it with the Zippo lighter Amber had given him as a thank you present. After a long day of accompanying his sister while she shopped—a dreadful task he wouldn’t wish upon his enemies—she’d repaid his humanity with a gift. The lighter. That was four years ago, when Amber had turned twenty, and he’d used it every day since.
     Stainless steel, a Celtic emblem embroidered on the front. It was sad how much the lighter had become a part of him, a part of his life. He cherished the damn thing more than most would a pet. It had been just as loyal, and by his side more than most. Maybe he even loved it.