The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic

The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic

Monday, November 30, 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

Quote of the day 11-27

Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash

 

George S. Patton

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Quote of the day 11-26

 

Life is just action and reaction, rationalizations are added later on

Ibn-e-Safi

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Murmansk! Chapters 86, 87, & 88

As I promised months ago, here are some more chapters from my new International Thriller...Murmansk! Hope you enjoy this week's offering! New posts every Friday!

Available now at Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble and priced at only $3.99! (See links at the bottom)

Murmansk is part of The Adventures Of Gabriel Celtic series.






Chapter 86
December 17, 2000

“Where are you?” Severus asked excitedly.
It was the only verbal indication that he had heard Noon’s exciting news, but the quick inhalation of breath Noon heard when she mentioned the infant told her he was indeed excited at the news.
“Just outside of Nellimo, in Finland.”
The phone was quiet for a few moments as Severus located her location on a map.
“Make your way to the airport in Ivalo,” he came back suddenly. “I will have a plane there for you within two hours.”
“Make sure you send someone that can handle changing the diapers and feeding the thing,” Noon added quickly.
Severus laughed into her ear. “You feel you are not up to the challenge Lilla?”
Noon was in no mood.
“If that were my only option,” she countered, “But she is your package…she is your need. I would hope that you would want her in the most capable of hands.”
Severus laughed again. “Do not take offense my Lilla; I was only having some fun…something that you should get used to now that you have obtained the unattainable.”
A shiver of joy ran down Noon’s spine. “I should expect full reinstatement?”
“It should be a mere formality at this point,” Severus replied with a smile in his voice. “I can’t of course get into the particulars on the phone…let’s just say you have captured our future.”
Another chill ran through her as joy seeped into her veins. “But I have yet to obtain the book.”
“The book will be found and reclaimed eventually, and any that have read it will be summarily eliminated,” Severus reassured her. “We of course have made copies throughout the centuries to work with…so our only concerns are discovery, as well as the preservation of our history. It is, however, the original text revealed to Agmundr, and as such is considered sacred to many in the Brotherhood…especially within the Clan.”
“While not having the book in our hands is not ideal,” Severus continued, “It is a manageable situation that will take only time to rectify.”
“But I was also the one that lost it…” Noon started.
“Enough!” Severus exclaimed with anger in his voice. “You were on a mission for us…missions sometimes do not end well. This is a fact of life. And yes…you were punished for it…it is the way of these things within the Brotherhood. You of course know there are more severe punishments meted out by us all of the time.”
“Yes sir,” Noon replied contritely.
“I want to hear no more of the book from you,” Severus demanded, “You have more than made up for it with your current actions.”
Once again, Noon’s heart beat wildly in her chest.
She had been forgiven!
She had been reinstated!
“I will speak no more of this over the phone,” Severus ordered, “But I look forward to personally rewarding you when you arrive at the enclave.”
“It will be my honor,” Noon sputtered before the line went dead.
Dropping the phone on the seat, Noon glanced back at the baby again. “I do not know why you are so important little one,” Noon cooed toward the infant, “But our futures are now irrevocably tied together.”
The noise released into the cab of the truck at that moment sounded more like cackling than laughter…but Noon had many, many years of a determined, yet joyless life devoid of that particular action to overcome.

Chapter 87
December 17, 2000

Josh had given the all clear a few minutes before we followed the other cars into the lot of the old warehouse.
We watched from the window as the others exited the cars.
“I think we’ll be leaving you now Nick,” I spoke to our adventure-seeking driver.
Nick looked back over the seatback, his face a mix of emotions.
“No more spy shit?” he asked, seeming a little let down.
“No more spy shit,” Preacher answered quickly, offering Nick his hand. “Thank you for coming to our aid Nick, our ass wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for you.”
Nick beamed as he took Preacher’s hand in his. “The pleasure it is mine to have Mr. Preacher. Is best day I have in long time!”
Preacher nodded before pushing the door open. “Nice to meet you Nick,” added May as she too followed Preacher out the door.
“Can I get your phone number in case something else comes up?” I asked before leaving the car.
“It could be my pleasure,” Nick grinned, pulling a cheap business card out of his shirt pocket and handing it to me. “You need anyting, I be your man…but you do me favor too…yes?”
“I’ll try,” I responded warily, not knowing what to expect.
“My email on card…send me message when get home…let me know how spy shit went down…yes?”
I laughed while pocketing the card, “Yes, we will send you an email.”
Offering him my hand, he took it in his and shook it excitedly. “You really were a life saver to us,” I continued, “I am glad that we met.”
Nick grinned, “I will be telling my children of this day for long time Mr. Gabriel…a long time indeed.”
Smiling with a nod, I slipped out of the seat and closed the door behind me.
As I stood there, watching him turn around in the lot, May came up beside me. “He was extremely interesting,” she said while threading her arm through mine, “Sounds like finding him was a bit of good luck.”
I nodded solemnly, “We had more than our share of good luck since we’ve arrived here May.”
Turning toward the warehouse, we started walking toward the door.
“I just hope it can continue until we find Ya Su.”

***

When we reached the door, we were met by Josh and Snake dragging something heavy out of the door, wrapped up in a carpet.
“Previous owner,” Snake mentioned when he saw us watching them.
May sucked in a breath as she brought her hand to her mouth, watching them sadly as they drug the carpet out into the yard and stashed it behind the skeleton of an old truck.
“Good guy?” I asked her when I noticed her reaction. Shaking her head, she looked up at me.
“Not really…it’s just that…we barely got out of here before that woman arrived…”
I pulled her to me, wrapping my arms around her to comfort her. It was not lost on either of us that the same woman that had killed this man now had our granddaughter.
“Let’s go in,” I coaxed, turning her toward the door and laying my hand lightly on her back.
When we entered the room, we found everyone spaced out in little groups. Raven and Preacher were off to one side talking in low tones. Abby was on the other side of the room, sitting by herself on a stack of pallets and staring forlornly off into space.
Ahead of us, McGruder and Michael Montana were having a discussion with Joe Bright and Beth Montoya…who’s hand still held little Juliana’s.
Seeing me enter, McGruder and Michael broke away from the others and walked toward me.
“I’m going to check on Abby,” May said before squeezing my hand and moving away from me.
I nodded in response, but my eyes held on the facial expressions of the approaching men…and it didn’t look good.
“Gabriel,” McGruder spoke as he got near, “How are you holding up?”
I shrugged, “I’m still numb I guess.”
McGruder nodded in understanding but said nothing else.
“Gabe,” Michael spoke next, “I know this is bad timing…but we’ve got to go.”
My eyes slowly moved toward Michael, but there was no comprehension in them.
“I don’t understand,” I replied suddenly, anger building within me, “She still has my granddaughter!”
A pained look crossed Michael’s face before he spoke again. “And I sympathize, but Joe and I have an op that we’ve been working on for a year. It’s set to begin next week and we still have a ton of stuff to finish up on it.”
“And Juliana’s been away from her family for over ten days now,” McGruder added soothingly, “Someone needs to take her home.”
Once again I had forgotten about little Juliana, and once again I felt terrible about it. I wasn’t even sure why I was so upset about Michael Montana leaving. He seemed competent enough, but I didn’t really know him, having only met him a few hours ago.
I blew out a nervous breath, nodding. “Sorry, I guess I overreacted…Juliana definitely needs to get home.”
I looked up at Michael then, “It sounds like you’ve been here for awhile looking for us anyway. I appreciate everything you’ve done.”
Offering my hand to him, he took it graciously, a stiff smile on his lips.
“I’ll leave Beth here to help for as long as you need her,” he offered then. “And now that I’ve seen you guys in action, I’m fairly certain that this Noon Byrk will have her hands full.”
“Once we’ve located Ya Su,” McGruder added confidently, “Montana has any number of well-trained operatives he can send back if we need additional manpower.”
Michael nodded enthusiastically, “Besides, you have a secret weapon in Abby,” Michael added, “I’ve seen her in action a couple of times now…and to tell you the truth, I’d offer her a job anytime she wanted it.”
All three of us glanced over toward Abby. Josh had returned sometime in the last few minutes and was now trying to comfort her…with little success.
“She’s not on her ‘A’ game at the moment I’m afraid,” I replied in a low voice.
Turning to face the men again, “But she’ll end up working harder than any of us…as soon as she gets over the shock.”
“I have no doubt,” McGruder nodded, “She is an extraordinary individual.”
“We need to get back to Murmansk and gather our equipment,” Michael Montana spoke again, “Then Beth and Patrick can bring the car back here when they return.”
“I’m going with you!”
I was shocked to see Abby now suddenly standing beside me.
“I was going to bring the computer back with me if that’s what you’re worried about,” McGruder offered.
Abby shook her head emphatically. “I need the book…it’s got something to do with all of this.”
We all glanced at one another before I turned back toward Abby. “What book?”
“It’s an ancient manuscript written in runes,” McGruder offered quickly. “I originally obtained it from Noon on a previous mission…she had demanded its return as part of the ransom for your freedom.”
“It’s more than that,” Abby added quickly, her eyes suddenly intent on me. “It holds predictions…you were in it Gabe.”
Michael rolled his eyes, “Not this mystical shit again.”
I was sufficiently stunned to remain speechless.
“There’s something about the page I was on yesterday before we left,” Abby continued, her eyes seeing something far off, “Something that kept bothering me all the way out here. I didn’t even know what it was talking about…until a few minutes ago…”
“The book talked about our battle?” McGruder asked in confusion.
“Not a battle,” Abby mumbled, her eyes focusing as they turned toward McGruder.
“It talked about a person…specifically…an infant.”
Gasps sounded from behind me. I turned to find that May and Raven had at some point also joined our group, and their faces now shown with fear.
“It really didn’t make sense to me at the time,” Abby continued, a single tear making its way down her cheek. “Of course I had no idea that Ya Su was here at the time.”
I heard May let out a sob. Noticing this, Abby rushed around me and pulled May and Raven into her arms.
“I’m not blaming you,” Abby whispered to them, “I would have done the same thing…you couldn’t just leave her home.”
Staying like that for a few moments, Abby finally pulled away and wiped her face with the sleeve of her coat. “Besides,” she continued, taking a deep breath to calm down, “It was mostly just some mystic mumbo-jumbo…nothing that made any sense until now.”
“What was it?” I coaxed, pulling her gently to me. “What did it say that makes sense now?”
Taking another breath, Abby looked at the floor before continuing.
“I think it was saying,” she started while working to reign in her emotions, “And I could be wrong…I hope I’m wrong…” Sniffing some more, “It indicated that an infant…the offspring of someone powerful…would be the Brotherhood’s savior.”
As tears sprang once again from her eyes, Abby looked up at me defeatedly. “It points to them raising her within the Brotherhood…ultimately to be the leader that will move them to the greatness they seek in the 21st century!”

Chapter 88
December 18, 2000

Noon slid out of bed, turning to gaze at her companion.
Although now much older than the last time she had slept with him, Noon marveled at Severus’ still-lithe body.
  Last night had been the epitome of all that her dedication had wrought, and the homecoming she had worked toward for years. Add to that the bedding of Severus again, and she now had the culmination of her every fantasy.
Wrapping a soft, terrycloth robe around her, she cinched up the belt and moved toward the window at the side of the room. Although bathed in cold darkness, the grounds below were her domain…the place where she had been raised. To her it seemed now a somewhat idyllic childhood, although she had little else in her life to base such feelings on. Happiness and contentment weren’t things that were treasured or taught in Die Bruderschaft.
Nevertheless, it was the only childhood that she could call her own, and it definitely wasn’t the worst place she had ever lived.
As she looked out the window, her thoughts moved back to her arrival the day before. Exiting the plane within the Brotherhood’s private hanger, she had been taken aback by the scene below her.
Every member of the Clan had assembled in the hanger to meet the plane!
Dressed in white robes, six to a side, the Clan members had lined the red carpet laid out on the floor from the gangway. At the end of the carpet, Severus stood also clad in white, smiling at her as she moved down the stairs. Following the runner, Noon had been more than surprised when every member of the Clan bowed curtly to her as she passed.
Returning each bow with a nod, she continued making her way toward Severus, once again surprised when upon arriving before him he took her hand and kissed it for all to see.
Public displays of affection were seldom exhibited within the society.
But it was what happened next that surprised her the most!
As the woman who had been brought to Noon to handle the child’s needs started down the gangway carrying the infant, all of the clan dropped to one knee…staying in this position until the baby had passed each of their positions.
Seeing Severus also drop to his knee in the presence of the baby, Noon had felt compelled to also lower herself…even though it went against every fiber of her being.
Although she had reclaimed the respect of the Clan, the unabashed worship that had been heaped upon a mere baby by the venerated members had nearly sickened her.  
Not to mention the fact that her own value to the society had seemed suddenly diminished somehow!
Severus had been disinclined to share the meaning of it all with her last night, saying all would be revealed soon. Instead, he had revealed his own revived interest of being with her, whisking her away to his bedroom as soon as the celebration was over.
She of course hadn’t objected…she had always known she belonged with Severus. Sitting there now however, her objectivity was clouded by an unfamiliar emotion.
Jealousy!
Jealousy over an infant!
Closing her eyes, she shook her head in frustration at the ridiculousness of her thoughts. She had reclaimed her rightful place in the Brotherhood by doing the impossible! She had also reclaimed her lover in the process…showing him above all others her value to the society.
So why was she feeling so vulnerable?
Noon looked once more out at the darkness of her past, searching for an answer to her conflicted emotions.
The answer when it came was not a sudden thing, but instead slowly enveloped her in a mist of realization. And with that meandering realization came the return of the iron-will that had driven her for years.
She knew not of the baby’s power over the fools of the Clan, but she instinctively knew that it could easily overshadow her own value to the Brotherhood.
Shaking with the realization, Noon’s fists clamped together tightly.
This can not happen! She hissed quietly to herself.
If this small being was to be a threat to her standing in the Brotherhood, then she would treat her as such!
And those who offered threats to Noon didn’t live long!
Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she looked over at the sleeping Severus.
She realized that she would need to bide her time. The deed, if and when it could be arranged, would have to be done covertly so as not to affect her standing within the Brotherhood.
A sneer formed on her face…the sneer that always formed when she had a plan of action. She would not let anything stand in her way of living out her remaining life right where she now stood!
Slipping the robe off her shoulders, she strode once again toward the bed.
Time for Severus to get another reminder of what he had been missing all of these years…

Copyright 2015 J.T. Lewis

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Quote of the day 11-20

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves

Ray Kroc

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Quote of the day 11-19

One only dies once, and if one does not die well, a good opportunity is lost and will not present itself again.

José Rizal

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Quote of the day 11-18

The past is a candle at great distance: too close to let you quit, too far to comfort you.

Amy Bloom

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Terrifying Tuesday!

Welcome to another installment of Terrifying Tuesdays! 

Every week I will try to bring you heart-stopping action from some of my works...as well as a few pieces from other authors.

My overriding goal for Terrifying Tuesdays is to get the reader's blood flowing...and their mind working...and their skin tingling...well...you get the point (grin). I will attempt to do this by delving into various genres, including action, mystery, suspense and even horror (Especially around Halloween!).

Today I offer a look at the prologue for Nick Behr's first adventure...kidNAP Inc. I like it a lot (although I may be just slightly biased.) Purchase links follow the excerpt.

  


A Nick Behr Mystery

kidNAP Inc.
By
J.T. Lewis
Copyright 2014 by J.T. Lewis



Wednesday, April 3

She can hear her heartbeat… she is still alive.
She wills herself to take a breath.
She is only eighteen. She thinks this to herself as she stares at the ceiling. Her luxurious blonde hair is surrounding her head like a halo as her firm breasts move up and down with every strained breath. If it wasn’t for the deep red patch on her shirt, one might find her current disposition very captivating.
She can hear the blood dripping off of her elbow into the puddle beneath it. She thinks about that for a few moments as if it is happening to someone else.
Remembering to take another breath, she realizes that it doesn’t hurt quite as much to breathe. She is not sure whether to take that as a good sign.
She thinks about what went wrong, and then thinks about how very rational a thought that was for this moment. She had always been very rational in her thinking.
It would seem that had not turned out to be such a good thing.
She forces herself to take another breath.
It had been a mistake to back out…she could see that now. She should have stuck to the deal.
She again thinks about how very rational she had been when she made the decision.
Thinking about the dripping, she removes her hand from the hole below her ribs and reaches down to the floor. Bringing her hand back up, she can see the deep red blood pooled on the tips of her fingers.
She remembers to breathe.
As she gazes at her hand, her rational brain comes up with a sudden thought.
She should warn somebody.
Reaching for the wall beside her, she runs her fingers down the wall. Her hand drops once more into the puddle, and she immediately brings it back up to make another line.
She wonders why her task is so hard, then remembers to take another breath before dropping her hand once again.
Her energy is waning as she nears the end, but she is determined to finish the task. When her willpower finally leaves her however, she stares at the incomplete warning with regret.
She realizes that she can’t hear her heart any more, her time is running short. With every last ounce of effort she has, she raises her hand one more time. All she can manage this time however is to slap her hand weakly against the wall before it falls once more to the floor.
She has forgotten to breathe.

The eyes linger, but they no longer see as a single tear winds its way down her cheek.

Copyright 2014-15 by J.T. Lewis

You can purchase this book here:

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Quote of the day 11-17

If you don't like someone's story, write your own.

Chinua Achebe

Monday, November 16, 2015

Another Minute Mystery Monday! ~ A Sudden Bankruptcy

A man pushes his car up to a hotel... and realizes suddenly that he is now bankrupt.

What the hell happened that had such a profoundly devastating effect on his wealth?

Find the answer HERE!




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Quote of the day 11-16

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering

medicine to the dead

 

Thomas Paine

Friday, November 13, 2015

Murmansk! Chapters 83, 84, and 85

As I promised months ago, here are some more chapters from my new International Thriller...Murmansk! Hope you enjoy this week's offering! New posts every Friday!

Available now at Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble and priced at only $3.99! (See links at the bottom)


Murmansk is part of The Adventures Of Gabriel Celtic series.





Chapter 83
December 16, 2000

Startled by the voice suddenly behind me, I rolled onto my back and brought the pistol to bear on the dark figure.
“Preacher? Is that you?”
It was Abby!
The shock of seeing my daughter suddenly standing behind me was quickly replaced with an overpowering fear.
Tossing the gun aside, I rolled forward and quickly clawed my way up the embankment. Diving the last foot, I wrapped my hand around the ankle of her boot and jerked it to me with all my might.
Caught off guard, Abby immediately lost her balance and dropped down the snow-covered embankment…crashing into me as she slid while the snow above us exploded with bullets.
“Gabe!” she screamed, nearly breaking my neck by wrapping her arms around me as she did so.
I closed my eyes, saying a silent prayer at having my family all back with me when another noise from above had me glancing up. A man suddenly leaped off the edge of the embankment and slid down its face, landing into a squat right in front of me.
Acting instinctively, I seized the gun lying beside me, pushed Abby behind me and brought the gun up to the man’s face…all within a matter of seconds.
But I was still too slow… his gun was already pointed between my eyes.

***
Squatting across from each other with guns ready, the next few seconds were some of the longest of my life. We were well hidden from those in the house that were trying to do us in, so our total attention was on one another.
“Michael…this is Gabe,” Abby said suddenly from behind me.
In a flash the man had the gun back in its holster and his hand held before me. Amazed at his speed, I was too dumbfounded to move.
“Gabe…this is Michael Montana…and you should put your gun down now.”
Looking dumbly at the forgotten gun like it was in somebody else’s hand, I then quickly took it in my left hand before grasping Michael’s in my right.
“Pleased to meet you Gabe,” Michael said with a smile, “McGruder brought us in when you went missing. We’ve been looking for you for awhile now.”
As another loud explosion filled the air, Michael brought his sleeve to his mouth and said something into it. While he talked I glanced around, finding that Abby was now busy crawling toward May and Preacher.
“We’d thought you were inside.”
It took me a few seconds to realize that Michael was talking to me. “Me? Oh…no….we just got here,” I replied distractedly.
“Amazing!” Michael replied, seeming totally relaxed while crouching in the middle of a battle. “So do you know what’s going on here?”
Shaking my head, “We followed the man that had abducted us here to this place, hoping to get some information…”
“And now he’s not talking,” Michael smiled as he glanced over at the corpse a few feet away.
“Who’s in charge of the attack?” Michael continued conversationally. I once again marveled at his coolness under fire before answering. “I assume Snake Black…but I can find out.”
“I think it imperative that we have a powwow and work up a new plan of attack considering the increased manpower he now has at his disposal,” Michael replied. “As it is, we could sit up here all night trading lead back and forth. It’s not a good use of our resources.”
I nodded, “Good point. Let me see what I can arrange.”
Moving to my stomach, I started crawling toward May so she could contact Snake.  Abby was ministering to Preacher’s wound beside May, announcing “just a scratch,” before I laid down next to them. As the sky lit up once again with another explosion, I realized that my hoped-for reunion that I had been working towards for days had never played out quite like this in my head.

***

With everything arranged, Michael, Abby and I crawled back up over the ridge above us and slid down the other side. Clear from enemy fire here, we quickly made our way around the back side of the hill.
After a hundred yards, we came upon the others that we had arranged to meet.
Snake immediately shared a hug with Abby and I when we got close, smiling like he had unwrapped a Christmas present.
“Great to see you boss,” he grinned.
“Gabe, this is Beth Montoya and Joe Bright,” Michael started, pointing out the other two at the meeting and bringing our reunion to a screeching halt.
“And Snake, This is Michael Montana,” I continued the introductions.
“It’s my understanding that we still have the little girl to rescue?” Michael asked then, getting right to the point.
Snake looked confused at the statement, but he had had no knowledge of our original mission.
“That’s correct,” I replied to Michael before turning back toward Snake. “Our original mission was to deliver a ransom in exchange for a little girl that had been kidnapped.”
“Understood,” Michael replied thoughtfully. “I’d like to propose a new plan of attack…one that hopefully will end this standoff swiftly.”
“I’m all ears,” Snake answered quickly, relief plainly showing on his face. “What have you got in mind?”

***

Lying between May and Preacher, I watched as our team made their way toward the back side of the building. When they reached the predetermined point, I touched May’s arm.
“Now,” I whispered.
Clutching her throat with her hand, May repeated my order, bringing to life every rifle on the hill surrounding the building.
Our plan was to increase the attack on two sides of the building, sending a constant barrage in through the windows on two sides.
The third side, the back of the building, was left as either an escape point for those inside, or an entry point for our team.
“Moving in,” Michael’s voice suddenly spoke in my newly acquired earwig. I watched as they slowly moved toward the back entrance, Abby bringing up the rear of the four.
Abby had offered up her communication device to me to use for coordinating the attack. In exchange, I had made her promise to stay to the back of the group when they moved toward the building.
“Remember, I want Noon alive if possible,” McGruder’s voice suddenly interrupted, once again reminding us of his one demand for the operation besides getting the girl out of course…the primary objective.
“We’re a little busy here,” Michael shot back quickly, sounding annoyed.
They were now positioned against the wall on the back side.
“Ready to enter,” Michael’s voice alerted me.
Touching May’s arm again, “Tell Josh it’s a go.”
Touching her throat, May relayed my message. Almost immediately, Josh sent an RPG into what was left of the car closest to the house, sending it barrel rolling into the side of the structure.
Distracted a moment by the explosion, when I looked back down at the building, our team was no longer there.
I said a quick prayer as I held my breath.

***

“All clear!” I heard in my earwig less than a minute later.
Grinning, I turned to May. “They did it! Hold fire!”
After the firing stopped, we all rose and started making our way toward the building.
“We’re coming in,” I informed the crew inside so we didn’t surprise them.
“Roger that,” Michael replied.
Grabbing May’s hand as we walked, I was grinning from ear to ear. “It’s finally over!” I said happily. “I’ve never been so glad to be done with something in my life.”
Even Preacher had a smile on his face as he walked beside us. “I’ve never been so cold in my life,” Preacher informed us then. “I may sneak back to Arizona for a month when we get back.”
We were all laughing at that when we entered the building. The first person I saw was Abby, who turned and ran at me full speed, nearly knocking me over when she wrapped me in a tight hug..
“I was so worried about you guys,” she spoke with her face in my shoulder. Pulling away, she looked up at me questioningly.
“Where were you guys, anyway?”
Glancing at Preacher before I spoke, “It’s a long story…better left for the plane ride home I think.”
Nodding in understanding, she kissed me on the cheek. “Mine too.”
Her face then took on a strange look…a sadness mixed with anger and fear for just a few moments. After shrugging slightly she was gone, moving away from me and on to May and Preacher, giving them their much delayed greeting.
I watched her as she moved away…frightened…
What had they done to her?
“Hello stranger,” Raven grinned, suddenly before me. Leaning her rifle against the wall, she then also enveloped me in a hug. “You wouldn’t believe how worried we were about you guys.”
“I’d have been even more worried if I’d known all of you had flown over here,” I admitted. “Whose hair-brained idea was that anyway?” I grinned.
Raven laughed, “We pretty much all had the idea at the same time, but you surely didn’t think we would just sit back and wait did you?”
“No, I guess not,” I admitted before she moved off to greet Abby.
I moved toward Snake, who had just entered from the front of the building. “Thanks for everything Snake,” I greeted him again, offering my hand.
“It was interesting,” he admitted thoughtfully as he shook my hand, “Definitely one for the autobiography.”
I grinned as Abby cut in, giving Snake his own just-deserved hug.
While they were busy, I looked around the room. There were four of the enemy left alive, and they were all sitting against one wall, their hands and feet securely tied. Beth Montoya had Juliana in hand, seeming somewhat uncomfortable dealing with a small child. Joe Bright, Michael, and McGruder were huddled together in the middle of the floor, seriously discussing something that had them all looking worried.
Walking up to McGruder, I offered him my hand.
“I must admit, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see you again Patrick. In fact, for awhile there…I wasn’t sure I’d ever see anybody again.”
McGruder grinned sadly. “I can’t apologize enough for the way this operation went south Gabriel,” he spoke softly, worry in his voice. “I am nevertheless happy for your safe return and that everybody concerned is relatively healthy. We accomplished almost everything we set out to do.”
“Almost?” I asked, confused.
Nodding, McGruder seemed distracted. “Noon Byrk has not been found within the building…she apparently made her escape sometime during the siege.”
“Has anyone seen Josh?”
It was Abby standing beside me again.
“He went to see about bringing the truck up to the house,” Snake mentioned as he passed us. “He should be here any minute.”
As if on cue, Josh made his way slowly through the front door…helping an older, redheaded woman into the room.
I would later find out that her name was Georgette O’Hare, and that she had been hired to care for Ya Su on the trip.
Leading Georgette to a chair, he let her down gently onto it before looking up.
“Josh!” Abby cried out happily, moving swiftly toward him.
She pulled up a few feet from him however, the look of sheer panic on his face holding her back.
“Josh…what’s wrong?” Abby questioned, her body tensing up just from his demeanor.
“Abby…” he started, looking down at the ground before continuing. “I’m…I’m sorry…but she’s gone.”
Abby had no idea what he was talking about, but his words shot through her like an arrow.
“Who’s gone?” Abby insisted worriedly, “Josh…what the hell are you talking about?”
Taking in a ragged breath, Josh raised his eyes to her, tears now streaming down his face.
“She’s taken her Abby!” he cried out, his voice filled with sorrow. “Noon’s taken Ya Su!”



Chapter 84
December 17, 2000

Noon pulled away from the Rayakovski border crossing with a smile. The thousand-dollar bribe had been enough for the border guards to overlook the small matter of her lacking a permit or a visa, both requirements to cross the border into Finland.
Not to mention having an unidentified baby in the back seat!
Although now less than a kilometer into the country, Noon rolled down the window and inhaled a deep breath. She knew it was crazy to think so, but the air always smelled better to her in Scandinavia. It was like the Russians had erected a cold, gray wall all the way into space to block out the fragrance.
Finally rolling the window back up because of the frigid air, Noon then turned the blower up to full. Glancing behind her, she saw that the baby was still asleep.
Turning forward again, she worried what she would do when it did awake. Having had little or no childhood of her own that she could remember, she had absolutely no idea how to take care of an infant, much less want to.
With a nearly eight hour drive ahead of her, it seemed unlikely that the child would sleep that long without wanting something.
As a thought slowly worked its way into her head, her lips drew up in a smile.
It was Severus that wanted the child…let him help!
Pulling out a cell, she punched in the number.
“Hello Lilla…I am somewhat surprised to hear from you tonight considering the report I’ve just been handed.”
Noon was once again taken aback by the reach and efficiency of Die Bruderschaft.
“Apparently the report isn’t complete Severus…at least if it mentions that I was captured.”
“It does not mention that as a certainty…it was of course assumed…”
“You more than most should know never to assume anything when it comes to me,” Noon snapped. “Your lessons on being a survivor were taken to heart Severus,”
A few moments of silence followed, enough time to cause Noon to almost wish she hadn’t spoken so bluntly.
Almost.
“Unfortunately, your ultimate survival may matter little to the Clan this time Lilla. You have lost your base of operations, not to mention the cost of your lost house and equipment we have funded. Additionally you have failed to retrieve the book…as well as any other targets we have spoken about.”
Despite actually having completed one of her tasks, the fact that the Clan was personally scrutinizing her actions sent a cold knot to the pit of her stomach. Those in the Clan were the ruling class within the society, and claimed their right to hold the position through centuries of their ancestors’ unbroken service.
The Clan also didn’t delve into the day to day workings of the Brotherhood…That was Severus’ job. As one of the thirteen Clan members, it was his job to oversee the daily workings of Die Bruderschaft…as if he were the CEO and they were the Board of Directors of a corporation.
“In fact,” Severus continued dryly, “A small faction within the clan are calling for your immediate elimination. They feel that your usefulness to us has been completely compromised.”
“And you?” Noon replied acidly, “Is that also your thoughts on the matter? That I am of no further use to the society?”
Although she spoke with fire in her voice, Noon nervously hung on every breath until she could hear his reply. In the mere seconds since Severus had given her the Clan’s opinion, she had come to a realization.
Although she knew that the baby in the back seat would undoubtedly bring her back into Die Bruderschaft’s fold once again, it was no longer enough.
She had given her life to the Brotherhood! Her dedication to the cause knew no bounds, and if her loyalty could not be returned in kind…
Severus sighed. “My opinion is but one of thirteen Lilla, but I do hold some sway in these matters. As I told you before…I have always believed in you…and I will always fight for your permanent reinstatement.”
Noon exhaled, the smile returning to her lips.
“Then I have good news for you Severus,” Noon cooed, enjoying the feeling of true victory.
“I have obtained the infant.”

Chapter 85
December 17, 2000

I have never felt so helpless.
Holding a sobbing Abby in my arms, my mind was blank as to what to do next.
“Gabriel, may we see you for a few minutes.”
It was McGruder standing next to me, the sadness on his face at having to interrupt me plainly evident.
Nodding, I glanced over at May and Raven, who immediately encircled Abby as I pulled away.
Following McGruder as he clicked across the room, he led me outside to where Michael Montana was scanning the darkness with night-vision goggles. Hearing our approach, he pushed the goggles onto his forehead.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” he spoke quickly, “But we’ve got another problem to deal with.”
I jerked back in surprise. My mind couldn’t grasp what else there could possibly be to do except to get Ya Su back.
“What the hell do you mean?” I snapped back in reaction.
McGruder quickly laid his hand on my shoulder. “Gabriel, I know this must be overwhelming for you, but we have a more immediate problem to deal with first.”
I looked down on the little man wearing a hat and long coat like he was an alien before looking back up at Michael. Nodding my head, I finally got out the words.
“What is it?”
“The Federal Militia,” Michael spoke rapidly. “With all of the noise we made earlier, it could be only a matter of minutes before they show up.”
“Shit,” I mumbled, the realization hitting me like a speeding car, “What do you recommend?”
“We need a place to regroup,” Michael immediately responded, “And now!”
My mind went blank again. In all the time Preacher and I had spent in this country, we hadn’t ever settled in one place for very long…besides the shack of course which was out of the question.
“Hold on a minute,” I finally said, turning and striding back into the building. Catching Snake’s eye, I waved him over and stepped back outside. Once he stepped out of the door, I swiftly caught him up to speed, asking him if he knew of a place we could go.
“I just might,” he responded quickly, “Although there may be a mess or two to dispose of there…and that’s assuming the militia hasn’t already found it too.”
“Sounds like our best bet,” Michael responded, “We may be a little shy on transportation...”
“We can get a few more in our cars,” McGruder offered, “Five or six at least.”
“Preacher and I brought our own car…sort of. We can get a couple more in there as well.”
“I’ll send Josh ahead on the motorcycle,” Snake added while turning back toward the building. “He can scout it out before we arrive.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Michael said then, sounding relieved. “We’d better get a move on though.”
We all turned to reenter the building. I wasn’t looking forward to breaking the news to Abby…

***
As it turned out, Abby had already made a move, deciding to accompany Josh on the motorcycle.
The rest of us then moved out of the house and toward the cars, leaving the prisoners in the building for the militia to find.
Taking May with me, we headed back to the taxi, finding it abandoned.
“You think Nick would abandon his taxi?” I asked Preacher.
Preacher hummphed at the idea before calling out.
“Nick! You here?”
“I is here,” we heard from somewhere in the trees beyond the road. “I be there temporarily.”
May looked at me questioningly. “Temporarily?”
I shook my head, “He probably meant momentarily…his English is…”
“I back!” Nick shouted as he popped up beside the car. “I thought good idea to be not in car with major battle at hand.”
“That was wise,” Preacher said as he opened the door.
The other two cars went by us then and sped down the darkened road. “We need to go Nick,” I said then, “Follow those cars.”
“This I will do,” he replied determinedly, running around the hood to the driver’s side. “I see I have also another customer,” he mentioned as he slid into his seat.
“My wife, May,” I said in introduction as I slammed the door behind me, “May this is Nick.”
“Hello,” May offered quietly.
“You are very beautiful Miss May…I thinks you be maybe too good for Gabe.”
His humor was not lost on us, but no one was in the mood for banter.
“Let’s hurry up there Nick,” Preacher prodded. “We don’t know where they’re going and don’t want to lose them.”
“All joking beside then,” Nick responded, “Off we go on spy mission.”
Spy mission…
I mulled over the words as we sped down the narrow road, wondering if myself or my family would ever be the same after this ‘mission’.

Copyright 2015 J.T. Lewis

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Quote of the day 11-13

Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.

Mary Shelley

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Quote of the day 11-12

Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see

Martin Luther

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Quote of the day 11-11

Facts are like cows. If you look them in the face long enough, they generally run away.

Dorothy L. Sayers

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Terrifying Tuesday ~ The Rise of The Retailer

Welcome to another installment of Terrifying Tuesdays! 

Every week I will try to bring you heart-stopping action from some of my works...as well as a few pieces from other authors.

My overriding goal for Terrifying Tuesdays is to get the reader's blood flowing...and their mind working...and their skin tingling...well...you get the point (grin). I will attempt to do this by delving into various genres, including action, mystery, suspense and even horror (Especially around Halloween!).

Today we look at a terrifying Dystopian Horror of the future...or at least a future that might be! I collaborated on this story with Byte...a new author who I also featured in a post on Halloween day.

So settle back and enjoy the story...but I wouldn't take it TOO seriously...it MIGHT not happen...



Rise
of the
Retailer

Copyright 2015 by Byte ™ & J.T. Lewis


It Came!
Wrapped in a manila envelope for your personal privacy, Stan Medford could feel the CD case within just like the man had claimed.
His world was about to change!
Stan’s hands shook with excitement. Should he go to work, or slough it off? This was, after all the first day of his independence…shouldn’t he just go ahead and get started?
It was only noon after all…his wife wouldn’t be home until five. He should have a good start by then. Lifting the phone, he called in to the plant, feigning sickness with a laryngitis-filled voice.
He would be there tomorrow, he promised.
No need to burn his bridges just yet.
But Stan had confidence now…a confidence born of his newfound knowledge, the secret knowledge passed down to a select group of intellectuals from an ancient Magi.
He couldn’t believe his luck!
It had been so simple!
***
Scouring the internet a week ago, he had happened across the posting while searching out something for his wife.
Flowers! He scoffed. The stupid flowers that his wife had nagged him to find for weeks had ultimately lead to the discovery that would change his life!
The words on the posting were simple…too simple…but they had stopped him in his tracks!
What is the meaning of life?
Stan had studied the post for twenty minutes. Those were the only words…it offered nothing…no get-rich-quick schemes, no promises of treasure or enlightenment…just the simple question…
What is the meaning of life?
After studying the post, he then gave some thought to the actual question.
Clicking on the email link below the question, he stared at the blank page as he formed his answer.
Such a simple question, yet so hard to put into words.
He gave some thought to that too as he watched the curser blink on the page…why was this so hard to put into words?
When the answer hit him, he smiled.

The meaning of life is different for everyone, he wrote.
We must all form our own definition to life as we see it. Whether that be wealth, happiness or even just a nice meal once a week, it is a personal endeavor that must be felt and acted upon by the individual.
That is the meaning of life.
Stan Medford

He hadn’t given the email much thought after that as he had realized it was time to leave for work. Slapping a sandwich together, he had to rush out to his car and head off for the twenty minute trip to zombie land.
Standing aside a line of soda bottles as they flew by on the production line for the next eight hours didn’t leave much room for actual thought after all. When nine o’clock finally rolled around, he was too tired to think of anything as he slid into his car and made the return trip home.
His wife was already in bed…as usual…and she hadn’t made him anything for supper. Grouchy, Stan popped a frozen dinner into the microwave.
As he stood next to the humming machine, he thought about the travesty that was his life. His wife and he hardly talked anymore, and that was probably for the best as they had forgotten anything they had in common ages ago. All he did was go to work, come home, and eat lousy food. Even on the weekends, when they were both off of work they seemed to use any excuse to stay away from each other.
Taking his steaming tray of Mac and Cheese into the living room, Stan plopped down in his chair and clicked on the TV. Nothing was on worth watching of course, but it didn’t really matter…the noise helped him forget why he was there.
It was the best he could hope for.
Finishing his meal, he set the empty tray on the floor and raised the foot of his recliner. Most nights he slept there, as it was often more comfortable than lying beside his snoring wife.
As his eyes were just starting to close however, his laptop pinged beside him.
Rousing himself a little, he pulled the laptop off of the side table and onto his lap. It was seldom that he got an email, at least one that wasn’t some sort of spam. Not really hopeful that it was anything more than an ad for erectile dysfunction, Stan enlarged the email software on his screen.
Right on top was a message that made his heart skip a beat.
What is the meaning of life?
Opening the email, he started to read.

Dear Mr. Medford (Stan)
I was pleased to receive your email earlier. Not only do I usually not get many answers to my post, very few of them contain the correct answer.
For you see Stan, I hope it is ok to call you Stan, this is the way that the invitation is designed…to weed out those that are unworthy of the wisdom.
Yes, I said invitation, for in reality that is what my posting was in actuality.
Let me explain…
First, my name is Jupiter, and I have been tasked with the mission of seeking out those of high intelligence and understanding by my masters. We belong to a secret organization that holds the knowledge and wisdom of Barcus, an ancient Magi.
Before you spend any time searching out his name, let me warn you that you will not find it. He, as well as his accumulated wisdom are but a whisper in the wind to most of the world. Only those few of the chosen that have demonstrated the innate skills are even allowed to hear his name.
You Stan, are now one of those few. Your answer to the question has ranked you as a man with unusual mental skills, skills that show a unique understanding of the world around you.
Because you are now a new initiate, I would like to welcome you to the fold and send you some secret materials that will get you up to speed on how to expand your mind. With this imparted wisdom, you will no longer have to be tied to the drudgery of modern life. People will pay you for your knowledge.
You will be able to set your own hours as you help the world. As our organization grows, we will be a force to contend with. Governments will bow to our wisdom and seek us out to repair the world.
Unfortunately, you presently live a few thousand miles from me. If you would be so kind as to forward $20 US to me to cover my overhead, I will send you your information. It will be sent in a plain manila envelope to protect your…as well as our privacy.
Once I have your money in hand, I will email you the user name and password needed to open the packet.
PLEASE! Do NOT share this with ANYONE! If someone of a lesser intelligence were to get a hold of this information…well…lets just say that the world as we know it could easily be in jeopardy!   
I look forward to hearing back from you Stan…just hit the link below to send your payment.
Thank you for revealing yourself to me Stan. Our organization…as well as the world around us has just taken a stellar leap forward from your actions!

In highest regards,
Jupiter

Stan’s heart beat wildly in his chest! Even knowing it could all be a ruse, the thought of belonging to such an organization staggered his mind.
Besides, what’s twenty bucks?
Clicking the link, Stan quickly entered the credit card information. He was immediately rewarded with an email containing his username and password, the email further explaining that the username was his new identify within the group.
Cepheus!
Stan let the name roll off of his tongue.
Cepheus…Cepheus…Cepheus…
A name full of wisdom and wonder…

***
Now it was here!
Taking the packet into the living room, he carefully slit the envelope so as to not damage any of the contents. The CD case slid out in his lap, as well as a short note on a piece of thick, vellum paper.

Thank you again Stan, the note said in a fine calligraphy, just insert the CD into your drive and the wonders of the world will be revealed to you. Please make sure that your computer is connected to the internet as this is an interactive program.
Jupiter

Snapping open the case, Stan then tapped the button to open the CD drive, carefully placing the CD into it before closing the drive once more.
Stan’s tensions ramped up in synch with the drive’s whine. As the sound leveled out, Stan noticed a low noise emitting out of his speakers, so low it rumbled into his bones through his legs.
An image suddenly popped up on the screen…the image was of a vine-covered tree.
This is the Tree of Wisdom of one of our members, the words imparted to him as they appeared under the tree.
He is a great leader in the world, it continued. This is your goal, to bring your own Tree of Wisdom to this height…or greater!
The image faded away, only to be replaced with a short, thin, vertical stick. Stan also felt the frequency of the noise change through his legs, and could now also sense a higher frequency in the air.
This sapling represents your current state of knowledge, the words communicated as the panned across the screen. Are you ready to start building your own Tree of Wisdom?
“Oh hell yeah!” Stan nearly shouted at the screen as he fumbled with the touchpad to move the curser over the Yes button.
Immediately, his ears were inundated with a loud, mid-frequency sound. Finding it initially annoying, Stan soon forgot about it as a quiet symphony started playing in the background, the first question simultaneously appearing below the sapling.
Answering it quickly, he watched as the sapling grew a limb, the symphonic background growing in intensity.
Another question appeared, followed by another answer, and yet another limb.
Stan was beside himself with joy! The answers were flowing out of him like lightning from a cloud as his tree grew rapidly, already approaching the size of the tree in the example.
At this rate, he would easily surpass the world leader’s wisdom…
“Holy crap!” he exclaimed when it first happened.
The last answer had started a vine growing up from the now gigantic trunk. As he watched, it slowly wound up the tree and started to follow one of the biggest lower limbs.
When it had finally stopped…it had extended two inches outside the screen!
“Holy crap!” Stan uttered again.
His mind reeled at the implication!
He was wiser than the wisest of the wise!
Another question posed itself on the screen. Stan’s hands literally trembled as the moved toward the keyboard.
There was no stopping him now!
Faster than it takes a meteorite to cross the sky, Stan’s fingers now flew over the keys. As his mind sank into itself with the accumulated wisdom, he watched the vine grow exponentially with each keystroke, the music filling his soul with cadenced wonderment.
Soon the constructed vine wrapped around him, seeming to comfort him as it gently squeezed him with each new answer. Parts of it were spilling off the chair, crawling across the floor and winding themselves up everything they came into contact with.
Stan watched in wonder, his body, mind and sight now three distinct entities, each working separately but harmoniously together.
The headiness of the moment enthralled Stan, his heart rate also increasing exponentially with every new answer, every new inch of vine, every new squeeze of his loving construct.
Abruptly, he found that he couldn’t breathe as the cognitive construct squeezed harder. Innately knowing he had complete control over the creeping plant due to his now-expanded wisdom, he simply closed his eyes and ordered it cease with his thoughts.
Nothing happened…the vine continued to squeeze as his heart rate, now fueled with panic also continued to escalate. Glancing around the room, he nevertheless took solace at the extent of his mind’s expansion.
As the life ebbed out of his body, Stan watched with awe as a new tendril grew in front of him, the end of it morphing into the head of a snake as the symphony ramped up to its finale.
Mouth open now, Stan tried to scream, but there was no breath left in his lungs for sound. Convulsing as he watched the last moments of his life ebb away, Stan’s eyes finally closed when his chin fell to his chest, the final movements of the music stamping out its insistent Coda, bringing the piece to an end.
Moments later, smoke filtered out of the CD drive as the enclosed software disintegrated.

***

At five o’clock, an arrogant Sabrina Medford entered the house. She had noticed the car still in its spot…Stan had sloughed off work…again!
“You had better be sick or dead,” she called out as she entered the kitchen door. “You know the mortgage payment is due next week!”
Hearing nothing but silence, Sabrina huffed and moved toward the living room.
“Stan! Where the hell are you?”
Her breath caught in her throat as she entered the room.
Now silent, the room was no longer filled with the vine-cover construct of Stan’s mind, nor that of the strange noise, the symphony…or the convulsing.
All that was left was the lifeless body of Stan Medford, hunched over the melted remnants of his laptop.

***

The man known as Jupiter smiled when the man’s inputs quit appearing on his screen. Sighing happily, Jupiter tapped a few keys to send the destruct sequence to the man’s computer before severing the connection.
He wasn’t worried about anyone backtracking the man’s last connection, as it was hidden in layers of Virtual Private Networks and a special browser.
Pulling up the man’s page, he glanced over the accumulated information.
“Well Stan Medford, you have indeed graced me with a treasure trove of information.”
Jupiter now had to get to work. He only had a few hours at best to safely use the accumulated credit card information. After making a few needed purchases, he would then set up some additional credit using Stan’s Social Security number, birth date and home address.
“All information freely given to me by poor Stan before he so suddenly passed,” Jupiter giggled.
All the time thinking he was answering questions to save the world, his thoughts continued as he grinned.
Jupiter sighed contentedly. “The things I must do to compete in this cutthroat retail environment.”
Amazingly, Jupiter had obtained the software from just such an ad as he himself had placed. Another retailer had sold the sound-based, mind control software to him by placing a mysterious ad on a message board. Of course, he had forked out much more than $20 to obtain it…but it had been worth it!
Oh…how it had been so worth it!

A pinging on is computer caught his attention. Bringing up the email software, he noticed another interesting email.
What is the meaning of life?
Smiling, Jupiter clicked on the email and started reading.

What is the meaning of life?
As far as I’m concerned, it’s to take care of yourself first. Yourself, your family, and if there’s anything left, maybe give a little to charity.
But that’s just me.
Barry Long

Jupiter grinned as he hit the reply key.

Dear Mr. Long (Barry)
I was pleased to receive your email earlier. Not only do I usually not get many answers to my post, very few of them contain the correct answer.
For you see Barry, I hope it is ok to call you Barry, this is the way that the invitation was designed…to weed out those that are unworthy of the wisdom.
Yes, I said invitation, for in reality that is what my posting was.
Let me explain…


Copyright 2015 by Byte ™ & J.T. Lewis

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