Sunday, December 9, 2018

Death Cult Chapter 1: Blowback from Hell

This is it.

Death Cult's official release is this Tuesday, December 11th.

But you don't have to wait that long.

Because here it is, Chapter 1.

Be warned, this one starts a little faster than book 1.

Chapter 1: Blowback from Hell

I was awoken from sleep to the sounds of my son screaming.
I pulled my service weapon from under my pillow. It wasn't procedure, but I'd had a strange year. My wife Mariel had also drawn her handgun. Large, human shapes appeared in our bedroom doorway. No one had shouted police, nor had they given any indication of who they were.
In short, we shot first, and aimed high. The first one went down easily. Mariel's bullet grazed his head, twisting it around. It made his ear the 10 ring, which I hit. The second one took three bullets in the chest and barely lost a step. The fourth bullet made him drop forward.
By this time, we were both on our feet and heading for Jeremy’s room. We hadn't practiced this often, but it had been a rough few months, and we were already hardwired.
I wheeled into the doorway of Jeremy’s room at a crouch. Mariel was at my back, watching for any other incoming from the stairs.
The man held my ten year old son off the ground with one arm, a gun to his head. The man was tall and narrow, swathed in brown leather. His hair was slicked back and slightly mussed from holding my struggling son.
Jeremy held his plushy Ninja Turtle, and seemed to be clutching it with both hands, though I couldn’t see his right hand. When we thought he was too old for stuffed animals, he argued that one is never too old for Donatello.
The man cocked his Beretta, and I knew there would be no discussion.
All I said was, “Please don’t hurt my family.”
The turtle exploded. So did the man’s knee. He lurched to one side. Most importantly, his gun went one way, and Jeremy dropped to the floor and rolled out from between me and the perp.
I fired. I didn’t shoot to kill, since I wanted him alive. (IA liked living perps). I was prepared for this, so I stitched a line of bullets into his gun shoulder. His arm dropped, and the gun tumbled from his fingers. I charged off the floor and caught him with a flying knee. He didn’t scream once, even when we crashed into the radiator and his other knee buckled.
I ended up on top of him, but he wasn’t discouraged. He threw an uppercut, driving his fist deep into my gut. The impact lifted me off the floor. I’d been lucky, he caught me on the exhale, otherwise the fight would have been over. (Trust me. You don’t want the wind knocked out of you. Ever) The terrible strength was familiar from the first, and only, supernatural creature I’d battled. It was why I shot for his shoulder joint. I knew firsthand that immobilizing the joint would disable even someone on PCP…Or one possessed by a demon.
With the first hit, I knew I didn’t want a second. I jammed the muzzle of my pistol into the crook of his elbow as he cocked his fist back for another blow. Then I blew his elbow out with a nine-mm jacketed round.
Without a sound, he stopped struggling.
I pushed myself to my feet and backed up, gun ready.
I didn’t take my eyes off the invader. “Mariel. Is Jeremy okay?”
“He is. I have him.”
I nodded and backed up. I kicked the exploded turtle to one side. I’d worked out plans with my wife and son, since the previous monster had tried to kill them both. We just executed scenario 1, variation B. One meant attack in the home. “B” was always a variation with Jeremy held, with his turtle. On my signal, Jeremy was to distract the felon holding him hostage.
The signal was Please don’t hurt my family.
At that point, Jeremy was to fire the .22-caliber pistol hidden inside Donatello.
Yes, a pistol for a ten-year-old. It wasn’t uncommon for seven-year-olds in some areas to have a .22 rifle, and wait a spell before a pistol. But it was mostly a matter of maturity. After Jeremy had directly encountered a demonic infestation, and a possessed serial killer and never throwing the first punch in all the schoolyard fights that followed, despite more than sufficient provocation. He didn’t even have nightmares. Think he’s mature enough?
We secured the threat, called it in, and got backup (even though village security was probably on it already).
As we went through the motions, one thing kept bugging me. The invader we captured had had his knee, shoulder, and elbow utterly destroyed. I’d slammed into him, adding my weight to his on his knee, and driving the wounded knee into the radiator.
He had never even screamed. Not once.

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