EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
by Monica Millard
As a senior in high school, Samantha Heman’s too busy trying to avoid getting stomped by a moose at the bus stop and keeping her grades up until graduation to put much thought into angels or demons.
That all changes on the day she is kidnapped by notorious serial killer, Christopher Hainsely. It’s a day she finds herself confronted by both evil and good, because her savior appears in the form of an avenging angel come to strike the monster down with a single stroke of his flaming sword.
Though she’s trying to get on with her life, she cannot get the angel out of her head. It isn’t the burning wings, fiery eyes or the flaming sword that keeps her searching the internet for proof one way or another of his existence, though.
The feeling of warmth she experienced when she witnessed that sad smile just before he vanished in a wash of golden light, haunts her nights almost as often as the nightmares.
If angels exist, then demons must too, and they’re about to wage a war for her soul.
There is a rustling sound, like the swish of fabric or the sound of a light wind blowing through the leaves. I hold my breath, straining my ears to tell where it’s coming from, which direction. I turn and the only thing I see is a flash of silver. It moves so fast it’s just a streak, a blur really. This is it, I’m dead. The guy has found me and now that I am out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but woods, he is going to take his time and make me suffer for fighting back, for escaping. For the knee to his boys.
A gurgling noise slows my panic. I’ve seen enough movies with the blood and the gore. It’s the sound of blood bubbling up and escaping a person’s body. There’s a horrible wheezing, a wet cough and then... A thump, softer than you’d think, but unmistakable. It’s the sound of a body hitting the ground, knees first possibly, then slumping the rest of the way down as gravity does what it does to things that can no longer fight it.
I’m too afraid to hope. What if the monster that was chasing me has found someone else, what if they have taken my fate. I don’t think, I just react.
“And then what did you see?” The trooper’s question brings me back out of my head, out of the memory.
“I’ve already told you this three times. It’s not going to change. No matter how many times I tell you. It’s not going to sound any less crazy town, either.”
“Humor me, Miss Heman. Sorry. Samantha.”
“You’re sure asking a lot of me, but you can’t even find the courtesy to address me as I’ve requested. I’m underage. You shouldn’t even be speaking to me without my parents present. I think we’re done here.” I hope my bravado and sounding professional will do what eons of answers haven’t—get me out of this room.
“I’m sorry, Sam. What my partner is trying and failing to do, is to help you navigate back through the memory. You were in shock, but you saw more than you realize. When a person is in a life or death situation, their mind stops filtering and picks up every detail it can, even if you don’t realize it. We’re trying to help you find the hidden clues in what you experienced. Those clues could help us piece together the real picture.” The older officer, who has remained quiet up until now, sits forward, laces his hands together and places them on the table in front of him. Normally I would think the gesture a sign of irritation or intimidation, but coming from him it just seems like he is getting comfortable, opening himself up even.
I nod and resign myself to a long night of recounting the loony bin details of how I escaped Christopher Hainsely, serial killer. A monster with a predilection for rape and torture of petite, young girls. Petite. That’s me alright. Standing five-foot-nothing is how I made it onto the sick freak’s radar.
“So, you pulled aside the branches and what did you see?” the older one, Rick Torrey, asks.
“An angel. Not the fallen kind. Not the choir of kind. He was the avenging kind. All muscle and sword, and blazing, fiery eyes like looking straight into the sun. It almost hurt to look at them.” The younger one, Trooper Tommy it’s-not-worth-remembering-his-last-name, rolls his eyes. I ignore him and continue. “I only saw him for a second and I’m certain he is just a figment of my imagination, a defense mechanism. My mind providing me with something safe, something divine to give meaning to what happened to me, to make me feel protected.”
“What makes you say that, Sam?” Rick Torrey asks, leaning forward further so his face hovers over his outstretched hands.
“Because what I went through, what that man would have done to me if that angel hadn’t showed. How could anyone go on after that? I want to crawl into a hole and hide just thinking about him. But if God sent someone to save me from him, then maybe...” I can’t really say maybe I’ll be okay, because I can’t even blink without seeing him looming over me or feeling his hand on my ankle, dragging me under him. I look down and realize I still have his blood on my hands, on my clothes. I gag and then retch. I just get my head turned enough not to get stomach acid on myself.
The door behind me bangs open and a woman comes in. She gives both the cops a sharp look before kneeling in front of me. Her eyes are full of compassion. She says something, but I can’t really hear her over the ringing in my ears.
My throat feels funny, sort of tight, but it also burns like I’ve swallowed a jar of jalapeños. I suddenly can’t catch my breath. I cough, trying to get oxygen and my hand comes away bloody. Fire blazes in my veins, feverish and excruciating. My eyes roll up in my head and my back arches so sharply, it feels like I’ll snap in half, then, blissfully, everything goes black.
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About the Author
Monica Millard was born and raised in Alaska. She doesn’t own a dog sled team, but has worked in a place where there are buildings with caged exterior doors to keep employees from being eaten by polar bears.
Monica’s favorite quote is, "People do not see the world as it is, they see it as they are." She is not sure who said it but it is a quote that has always stuck with her. She loves to read because it allows her to see the world through someone else’s perspective and experience something she would otherwise never be able to. Sharing that same experience with others through her own writing is a possibility that makes her excited to get out of bed in the morning.
She lives in Wasilla, Alaska, with all her critters, some four-legged and others that stand on two. She writes Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Paranormal for young adults.
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