2,000 followers… I… Honestly I am speechless. I didn’t think my blog would ever get that popular. I think it’s party time. Never thought I’d do this, but… take it Pinkie Pie:
Okay in all seriousness (Sorta), I really want to tip my hat to all of my readers, fans, and advice seekers. I do this for all of you as I really don’t make much (if any) money off of my writing and/or tend to break even in the amount that I actually put into my books.
You guys are awesome. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
As a special treat for everyone… I’m going to do something I never do with books that I plan to publish…
Ladies and Gents… the rough draft to Chapter 1 of The Path to Hell, Book 2 of the Vengeance Doctrine.
(Cover still in the works)
“Hello, can someone help me, please?”
Lucy ran across the Boylston Street in downtown Boston, trying to find something, anything that could help her. She’d woken up on a back alley a few blocks away. Clad only in tattered clothing, she was desperate to find some comfort. She was freezing and had no idea what had happened to her.
Not helping matters was how cold out it was. The sting of frigid air in the early February morning was a rude awakening to Lucy. Her wet blonde hair was matted to her head. The cold air made it freeze, causing a stiff feeling on her head. She had found herself covered in a thin sheet of snow. I need to get out of here… I need to get somewhere safe… s…so cold…
The temperature was completely frigid. Any flesh out in these elements could easily freeze within minutes. Lucy didn’t have time to think. She stumbled forward, crossing through the Boston Commons, but it was early in the morning and no one was around. She could barely feel her bare feet as they touched on the pavement. Even so, she did everything she could to avoid the large banks of freshly fallen snow.
Lucy’s breath was like a continuous cloud in front of her as her breathing became more and more rapid. On the other side of the road, she saw cars going by and made her way to Tremont Street. The pain in her feet went from dull to excruciating. She knew that she didn’t have long.
Lucy stepped off of the sidewalk and attempted to wave down passing cars, “Help… please someone, help?”
God, please let someone stop…
But no one did. One car even honked to let her know that she was too close. Lucy yelped and pulled her hand back. No one was going to help her. She didn’t even see a police car nearby. Her only chance would be to get across the street and hopefully make it to one of the buildings nearby.
Having few options, she waited until all of the cars had gone by and ran across the street. She was so determined that she had not noticed a large Ford pickup turn onto the road. The truck came to a screetching hault in front of her and honked. The man opened his window and yelled, “Hey, are you fucking crazy? You trying to get yourself killed.”
The man eyed her tattered clothing and his expression softened, “Are you all right? Hey miss, do you need help?”
Lucy didn’t respond. The cold was begining to take over and she was desperate to get warm. The man called after her while pulling out his cell phone, “Hey miss!”
She made it across the street and ripped open a door to the closest building. No matter what happened, she needed to get out of the cold. She could barely feel anything and soon the cold would take her if she didn’t.
Michelle Ramirez was not having a good week. In fact, it was one of the worst. She’d just started a new job as a secretary. She’d worked for the company for several years and thought that joining the front end was the right career path, but it turned out to be a dredge job that was nothing like what she thought.
She pushed the glasses tighter on her nose as her eyes focused on the screen. Yet another progress report needed to be filed and she had been rewarded the dubious task of putting it in. Another suit upstairs needed to cover his ass. Lucky me…
Her desk in a small reception area that was completely deserted as the morning rush had not yet begun. The entire room looked fairly fancy with antique dark wood linings on off-white walls, and a mahogany secretary’s stand to welcome people in.
Michelle had to admire her surroundings, but that was pretty much the only perk of her new position. She sat back, questionning her lot in life, her decisions, and everything that had led her to where she now was. Oh well… seems I’m doomed to this kind of shit for the rest of my days. What I wouldn’t give to shake things up a little.
At that moment, the door burst open and a woman stumbled though. Michelle jumped to her feet, startled by what she saw. This woman’s clothes were badly torn to the point where they barely covered her. The blue shirt that she wore was ripped at the stomach, and her pants had been ripped at the waste. They ony stayed up because the fabric hugged her hips so well. What had happened to this poor woman?
Michelle rushed out from behind her desk and approached the woman, “Ma’am, are you all right? What happened to you?”
The woman panted, “Please… please… help me…”
That was all the poor woman had a chance to say. Michelle reached out her hand, “Ma’am what…”
Before Michelle could finish her sentence, the woman fell forward and closed her eyes. She collapsed on the ground. He body shook like she was being jolted by electricity and her breathing was heavily labored.
Michelle’s heart raced as she went into action, “What happened to you?”
Michelle had taken a first aid certification course back in college. She’d never had to use it before and let her certification lapse, but she still knew what to do in these situations. She quickly grabbed her jacket off of the back of her chair and spread it over the woman to try to warm her and stop the shaking. She quickly checked the woman’s pulse. Her heart is racing. She’s running out of time. Gotta get her help.
Michelle pulled her cellphone out and quickly called for help. As the phone rang, she gently brushed a few strands of blonde hair away from the girl’s mouth, “Be careful what you wish for, huh? Poor thing…”
Lucy woke up in a small bed with an IV in her arm. Her skin was warm and per the beeps on the monitor next to her, plus the sensation in her chest indicated that her heart was beating normally. I’m alive… for now. I have to get out of here!
She gasped as she looked around. This was clearly a hospital room. She was surrounded by equipment that was making beeping noises. Her clothing had been removed and replaced with a blue gown that tied in the back.
The room looked very clean, almost to the point of sterility. It wasn’t what she was expecting, but then again, she really didn’t know what to expect, “What… what happened.”
“How are you feeling?”
Lucy flinched as she realized that she wasn’t alone in the room. She turned to see a young brown haired woman in white and blue scrubs was smiling at her, “I’m Lisa, the nurse on duty and I’ll be looking after you for today. Can you tell me your name?”
“Where am I?” Was all Lucy could say.
“You’re at Massachusetts General Hospital. You gave quite a few people a scare when you ran into one of the buildings along Tremont Street. Can you tell me your name?”
“How did I get here?”
“You were delerious and suffering from hypothermia when you were brought in. It also seems like you haven’t had anything to eat in a while. We were able to bring your body temperature up and give you some nutrients intraveniously. Do you live around here?”
“I don’t know.” Lucy replied.
The look of concern flashed over Lisa’s face, but she quickly hid it as her warm smile returned, “That’s okay, you’re probably still a little hazy. Can you tell me your name?”
“It’s… Lucy. Lucy Apollyon.”
“That’s great, thank you.” The nurse replied, relieved. “Now do you know your date of birth?”
Lucy thought for a moment, but couldn’t remember it. That was a complete blank in her memory. No matter how hard she tried, it never came to her, “Why do you want to know all this?”
Lisa frowned, “Well you weren’t carrying any ID. We don’t know who you are and have no way to identify you. We really need that information in order to properly treat you.”
“I don’t remember… and I don’t think you’re going to find anyone to call.”
“Okay, no problem. Why don’t you rest a little while longer? Maybe it will come back to you. Are you comfortable, do you need anything?”
“No… I…” A sudden chill in the air made Lucy shudder. Could it have been from the hypothermia? No way, the hospital blankets were nice and warm, and the temperature in the room was too high for that. Perhaps it was a draft. No, the window was on the other side of the room and again the heat would have prevented it from ever really getting to her.
A sudden and ominious feeling came over her. Something wasn’t right. She couldn’t reconcile how she knew, but she was certain that something had gone horribly wrong. She shouldn’t be there. She was supposed to be somwhere else. The problem was that she didn’t even know where.
Lucy sat and turned to stand, “I need to get out of here.”
Lisa moved quickly to attempt to restrain her, “Whoa, that’s not a good idea. You need to rest!”
“No, I can’t stay here. It’s not safe!”
Lucy broke free and ripped the IV out of her arm. It hurt, but she couldn’t be worried about that right now. She needed to get out of there.
Lucy lurched out into the hallway before Lisa could react and looked around. She only had a second to figure out where she wanted to go. She saw the elevator at the other end of the hall and commenced running towards it.
“Wait, please wait!” Lisa’s voice echoed behind her.
Lucy ran as fast as she could. She had to get out of the hospital quickly. It was the only chance she had to save herself.
Her hopes were dashed when the elevator made a ringing sound and three men dressed in police uniforms got off. She was surprised how quickly they responded. Were they even there for her or had it been an unfortunately coincidence? It didn’t matter. Her luck had nearly run out.
She turned back before the police spotted her and saw Lisa, as well as a few orderlies, run up behind her. Not wanting to get caught, she quickly turned and ran down a small corridor to her right that led to another group of beds.
An older man with white hair, dressed all in black with a white collar appeared in front of her. She recognized that outfit, “Father, father, please help me!”
Father Darren had been providing religious counseling services to patients who wanted it for years and today was no different. He went from room to room at the hospital, offering prayer and communion to patients who had requested it. It was fullfilling, albiet very depressing work. Often he was called on to provide last rites, or trying to help calm a stressed out patient.
He had just finished offering communion to a patient who had spent the last few days in traction after a serious car accident downtown. He checked his watch as he placed the small brass case containing the host back in his pocket. 11am… should be lunch time soon.
The tapping of bare feet on the tiled floor, coupled with heavy breathing drew his attention. He quickly turned to see a young woman running towards him with a group of nurses and orderlies in hot persuit. One of them called after her, “Lucy, please stop! We’re just trying to help you!”
Lucy dropped to her knees as she reached the priest and grabbed his hand, “Father, sanctuary, please help me! Give me sanctuary, please!”
The startled priest looked down at her, “What’s wrong, what happened?”
Before she could respond, two orderlies grabbed her by the arms and picked her up. The old priest’s brow furrowed as he confronted them, “What’s going on here?”
Lisa stepped between them, “I’m sorry, father. This woman is delirious.”
“Please, help me!” Lucy screamed over Lisa.
Lisa turned back to her, “We’re going to, but you need to come back and lay down.”
“No, it’s not safe! You’re all in danger, please!”
The hospital staff was about to drag Lucy off when the priest raised his hand, “Stop!”
The orderlies froze in place and looked at Father Darren as he stepped forward and brought his face to level with hers, “You have my attention, what do you want to say?”
Lucy was about to speak when she saw the large golden crucifix around the priest’s neck. Her eyes widened and she drew in a deep, labored, breath. Father Darren looked on in horror as black lines began to appear on Lucy’s forehead. She looked like she was in excruciating pain, but she didn’t cry out. Her eyes closed and her face creased as she endured the transformation on her forehead. The lines darkened and converged, forming a star.
Lisa placed a hand over her mouth and stepped back as more and more details began to appear. Father Darren took a fearful step back as a pentagram appeared in a circle on her forehead, and the malicious face of a goat appeared inside of it. Father Darren touched her skin just above the mark with his , “Signum autem diabolo…”
His expression became stern as he looked deep into Lucy’s eyes, “Who are you?”
Her eyes rolled over black, “Ego sum unus qui est infra.”
The priest nodded, “Then I am the one who speaks for our lord, God.”Lucy shook her head, “So you think.”
A loud hissing noise flew from her lips as her head fell forward. The orderlies were able to get a good grip on her as her limbs had fallen limp. The priest breathed a sigh of relief that the first confrontation with… whatever that was, had ended. He suspected that this would not be the last one. The room felt lighter now. Whatever it was, it was gone for the moment.
Lisa stood next to the priest as an unconscious Lucy was carefully carried back to the room, “I’m sorry about that Father…”
“Darren.” The priest replied.
“Father Darrin. Can you tell me who she is or what’s going on with her?”
“We don’t know, Father. She says her name is Lucy, but we don’t know much else. After what I just saw… maybe you should stick around, though.”
Father Darrin shook his head, “I don’t think I’m the right person to help with this. Excuse me, I think I’m going to need to make a phone call.”
Lisa’s eyes narrowed, “Oh… of course, Father. What should I do if she wakes up.”
Father Darrin shrugged, “If she’s normal, treat her normally.”
“And if she’s… whatever that was?”
Father Darrin looked her over before responding, “Do you believe in God, Lisa?”
She nodded, “Catholic, sir. Born and raised.”
Father Darrin looked slightly relieved, “Don’t ask it any questions. Try not to even engage with it. Do whatever you have to in order to keep that young woman safe, but otherwise don’t give it any information to use against you.”
“Did you call her an ‘it,’ Father?”
“There’s nothing else to call it right now. Whatever that was, it wasn’t of this world.”
(Just remember that this is a REALLY rough draft. I haven’t spell-checked it or anything and will probably be subject to change before I’m done.)
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