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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Flash Fiction And Book Excerpt Day: The Curse In The Chest

It's another weekend, one I've been looking forward to after a really, tiring week. Today's plans? Lie back, watch Supernatural Season 8. (And I have final semester exams starting on Friday but hey, I just need to relax and live a little bit of life. I'm not coming out of it alive anyway). I'm where Kevin (the Asian-American prophet) has told Sam and Dean about the quests to undertake in order to permanently lock Hell's Gate. So far, Sam has killed and bathed in Crowley's Hellhound's black blood. Enjoying the season so far.

Today, I want to share the excerpt of a supernatural-ish novella I wrote and published last year's March. I was pretty new into publishing then and it was my second published work.

Enjoy.


TODAY'S EXCERPT: THE CURSE IN THE CHEST By Artie Margrave

“It’s seen him,” Marcus announced. They looked to see the heavy mass drift forward. It corrupted the river with thick, slow moving ripples and pushed heavily soaked
clumps of weed that stayed in its path below the surface. It had changed its course from towards the boat to towards Matt.

The clergyman purposely decided not to take notice. Whatever he’d seen beyond those patches, he regarded with greater importance than what was coming for him.

“Matt! Hey, Father or…” Fisher shouted.

Matt stopped reluctantly and turned to fully analyze the extent of the situation he was caught in. The dark-brown mass stopped too. The distance between himself and it was considerably safe. He was in no immediate danger and he wasn’t ready to forgo his quest on account of the questionable strip. He was suspicious of what it was but Fisher, back on the bank, had told him otherwise. More to the point, about the same time they’d spotted the floating, irregularly shaped mass while on the boat, a glint from the patch that was now his prime target had stung his attention. He’d noticed something hidden behind the wet reeds and had made for it.

Now he forced a halt out of himself and reckoned his level of safety. As he considered the living, locomotive mass, he bore the grim feeling out of nothing extraordinary that it was trying to keep him from pushing forward, or monitoring him closely, the latter reason more than three-quarter percent proven right. He hurriedly discarded the feeling and took a wade to attend to his quest, simply to find that the thing moved too, simultaneously as he. He declared himself right and unsafe. He remembered Fisher’s rifle. Now was a good time to put it to use.

He turned his face over his shoulder to see the two of them, Fisher and Marcus, casting nervous glances at him and at the creature. Marcus kept the rifle aimed at the mass.

“Good,” he said, quite alertly, “keep it in your crosshairs. If it gets too close you know what to do, don’t you?”

Marcus nodded. Fisher still looked agitated.

Assured Marcus was very well on guard, Matt continued to the reeds, slightly ignoring the mass. It however did not ignore him. Silently, stealthily, it crept forward. It took him a few effortful lunges forward to get to the outer boundary of plants. He easily pulled the long branches far apart, almost letting their entire length drown in the water and his eyes fell on the chest.

It was as grim as its surrounding was. It was wide open too and contained emptiness. Its weight was doing a swell job at pushing it below the surface. Had it been noticed far later, it would completely have disappeared, swallowed by the dead water, probably never to be seen again or at most, for a long, long time. Its jewels, the many of them, blinked with dull grace. One of those blinks was what had caught his eyes from the boat. He was glad he hadn’t missed it. He with two hands raised it fully out of the water and inspected it. And his fingers ran over the Latin words inscribed on it:
Teloque animus praestantior omni
He read the words in his mind over again and instantly realized what it meant and what the chest was supposed to keep. A powerful sealing spell had been placed on the chest, which meant whatever had been sealed inside was on a high level of evil. The bodies of the girls flashed across his mind surreptitiously. This was what was responsible for the murders.

He glared around. Nothing was in sight that wasn’t unexpected. Now he understood why the sun was darkened, why the deadness around him was grave. The demon, because he was now entirely certain that it was, that had been released from this chest was a highly feared demon, one that called for an intervention from the forces of nature. It would’ve taken a measure of the beast’s personal nature to have unlocked and released it and then probably the recital of the spell.

Having the knowledge that it was a demon, he believed whoever had released it had been automatically possessed. That person was now the demon’s vessel. It could be anybody. It could’ve been someone he’d passed on the way to the bank. It wasn’t those two on the boat though. They looked lethargic enough.

He plucked the chest out of the water. It was almost weightless, probably as dense as Balsa. It had no handles but that didn’t give him a problem lifting it. He knew the only way to keep the monster from further rampaging was to first find its vessel, like that was easy, exorcise whoever it was and trap the demon in the place that had once held it.

As he picked it up, he momentarily flinched as a shadow ran past him over the water. A raucous squawk filled the air. He looked up and caught a brief glimpse of a black bird. It resembled a crow. The instant he saw its outline, it disappeared into the rolling clouds.

He was brought to by a similar high-pitched note, only this time human, followed solidly behind by a gunshot. He turned around sharply. And found the large mass right in front of him, only inches away. He stumbled backwards against the reeds. Now that it was close, it was definitely scary. Staring at thick lines of wet scales, he knew what it was. And the others knew too.

“It’s a crocodile!” Fisher shouted. He was right

He meant to turn at Fisher and say “Thanks. That was extremely encouraging” but he flashed a scowl instead. He shifted to the right, freeing himself of the tight corner he’d placed himself in.
The reptile was still half immersed. On its left side, blood oozed, turning the blackened water into a deep shade of red. It stayed still, so still that Matt believed it was dead. He turned and made for the boat and saw Fisher yell.

“Behind you!”

He swirled and saw the animal making for him. Glum, yellow eyes flared. It revealed more of itself. This thing was monstrous. The huge body that was hidden beneath revealed itself. Large, puffy flesh, designated by thick scales pumped out of the river. Another gunshot rang. The water spurted upwards as if in panic. The crocodile swayed backwards. Its yellow eyes disappeared beneath the surface once more. More blood flowed. This time it came from beneath the surface to clog the top.

Matt waded backwards, keeping the crocodile in his line of sight. He knew he had to be mindful now. He clung to the chest tightly like it could conciliate his fear.

“Is it dead already?” He heard Marcus ask, not sure that it was to him or to Fisher.

Fisher fired home an answer first. “Not sure.”

Matt stopped when he found himself out of close attacking range. He sighed. For the first time he noticed the goose pimples that had broken out on his skin. He looked up. The bird he’d seen previously did not reappear.

A long piece of cane (he almost thought it was a water-snake) was floating past him. He picked it up, holding the chest under his left arm, to his ribs. The cane was flexible and about a foot long. Just perfect.

He moved forward a bit, towards the near sunken beast, armed only with the cane. The water around the beast was fast becoming bloodied. He still had to be sure that it was dead. The way the thing had come for him before, that moment would go down as the hairiest moment of his life. His skin was still white with the fear, blood drained from his face.

“What the hell are you doing, Matt?” Fisher said, noticing. His voice was on edge.

Matt heard Marcus reloading cartridges into the rifle. Yes, what the hell are you doing, Matt, he wondered.

He stretched the cane in front of him till it was nearly poking the beast. It had not moved yet.

“I simply want to be…”

You can download The Curse In The Chest for free on Smashwords with this link... or on Barnes and Noble with this link... or on Kobobooks with this link...

Have a more productive than mine weekend.

Quote Of The Day
"That is exactly why our lives suck. I mean, come on, we hunt monsters! What the hell? I mean, normal people, they see a monster, and they run. But not us, no, no, no, we search out things that want to kill us. Or eat us! You know who does that? Crazy people! We are insane! You know, and then there's the bad diner food and then the skeevy motel rooms and then the truck-stop waitress with the bizarre rash. I mean, who wants this life, Sam? Seriously? Do you actually like being stuck in a car with me eight hours a day, every single day? I don't think so! I mean, I drive too fast. And I listen to the same five albums over and over and over again, and I sing along. I'm annoying, I know that. And you, you're gassy! You eat half a burrito, and you get toxic! I mean, you know what? You can forget it. Stay away from me Sam, OK? Because I am done with it. I'm done with the monsters and the hellhounds and the ghost sickness and the damn apocalypse. I'm out. I'm done. Quit."
~ Dean Winchester


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