Expect the unexpected when dealing with the devil.
By Dennis Scheel
Denida and Nina grieve their son’s murder differently. She lashes out, while he seeks to change the past. An insatiable need to right the injustice drives Denida to consider Lucifer’s offer to keep the Darkness from targeting anybody else he loves. Armed with only a powerful ring and Holy daggers capable of killing gods, Denida vows to break into Heaven to rescue Lucifer’s son and lost love. Denida’s task gets complicated by demons who don’t want him to succeed, as well as the pervasive Darkness assailing multiple worlds.
Meanwhile, Nina’s quest for vengeance leads her into danger.
Will Denida and Nina survive their quests with their souls intact, or will the Darkness destroy them?
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“★★★★★ It will leave you wanting more.”
-- Lindsay, Goodreads ARC revewer.
“★★★★★ Fans of the first two books will certainly enjoy the third.”
-- Jeremy VanTassel's review on Goodreads
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Chapter 1- Realizing
Jack walked through the forest, tiptoeing and glancing about before finally arriving at the Gate. After months, he’d finally found it. He ducked as a man walking his dog strolled by. To ensure no one else was around, he checked the surroundings.
Jack raised his palm and Darkness swirled around it. “Sleep,” he muttered.
The man slumped down next to his dog.
Jack sauntered over to them and peered down at them lying on the ground. A branch cracked in the distance. He shot a ball of Darkness in the direction of the sound and squirrels scurried away from the blast. He stood ready for anyone to appear, but when no one did, he relaxed.
Damn. Jack shook his head and ambled over to the Gate, which stood in a clearing. Approaching one side, where the main unit was, and he mumbled some words with his hand over it. A small bit of Darkness enshrouded the main unit.
‘Should work now… it should look as if we went the other way,’ a voice whispered in his thoughts.
He glared at the machine. Denida ruined everything; hunting us, forcing me escape. Picturing Denida, his eyes glowed with fury.
Jack scanned 360 degrees, then thrust his arm forward, sending a stream of Dark magic toward the Gate.
The Gate lit up.
Jack ran through as fast as he could, emerging from another Gate, which powered down as soon he exited it.
Nothing but trees surrounded him.
Most of the Gates are in forested areas. I need to look further…
Jack trudged out of the forest and saw a young couple sitting in front of a lake.
He walked over to the couple. They kept making out, not noticing him.
“Hey!” Jack yelled.
The couple kept on making out as if they couldn’t detect his presence.
They can’t see me. Jack peered around. I’m on Earth, where Lucifer can never appear. Jack laughed hysterically. I’m finally free to create my own Hell!
Denida sat silently in his headquarters’ office with all the curtains drawn. He sighed, staring into the Darkness. He sighed again, even heavier.
Dan burst through the door without knocking. “Denny, are you in here?”
“Yes…” Denida didn’t move a muscle, instead remaining as still as the rock he had been before Dan entered.
Dan strode over and pulled the big curtains apart, letting daylight in, but even with the room illuminated in the bright glow, Denida remained seated in his chair like a statue.
Dan sighed. “Daniel’s gone. Life goes on…”
“Does it?” Denida shook his head.
Susan paced into the room and stared at Dan and Denida, before tilting her head backward to look at Dan.
Dan sighed and walked out.
Susan knelt next to Denida and met his eye. “Daniel wouldn’t want to see you like this. It’s been months since his death; you need to continue living for his sake!”
Denida raised his head and licked his lips. “Maybe you’re right.” He tried to force a smile
but failed. “Let’s go see Nina,” Susan helped Denida up.
Denida ground his teeth as he impatiently waited to pass through the first checkpoint since Dynasty was very well-guarded nowadays.
Susan put one hand on Denida’s. “Don’t worry; she’ll be happy to see you.”
I’m not so sure about that…
When they finally arrived at Dynasty, the Butler greeted them.
The Butler tried avoiding Denida’s gaze. “I-”
“Where’s Nina?” Denida stared him in the eyes.
The Butler turned his head toward the house. “Daniel’s room…”
Denida nodded and patted Susan on the shoulder before entering Dynasty.
Nina lay on Daniel’s bed with one of his shirts covering her face.
Denida stood in the doorway, clenching his jaw, just watching her. He lowered his head. No. Denida turned and walked back out.
In the front hall downstairs, Susan and the Butler stood talking.
Denida walked into the sitting room, pouring himself the most potent drink he could find in the bar cabinet and swallowed it in a single gulp.
Susan glared at Denida. “Done already?”
Denida finished another drink. “I couldn’t talk to her; it’s my fault… Medusa would never…”
Susan rushed over to Denida, grabbed his hand, and squeezed it. “No, it’s not your fault! Don’t think that.”
“… but it is!” Nina yelled from the doorway.
Denida walked toward Nina and lifted his arms to pull her into his embrace.
Nina shoved him away and stepped back, farther away from him and shook her head dismissively. “Don’t touch me! Daniel’s gone- forever.”
“No!” Nina held up her hand. “Michelle- no- Medusa was here because of you!”
“No one could’ve known she was a demon,” Susan came to his defense from across the room.
Nina glared at her.
Nina spun toward Denida. “Lucifer?” She spat. “He caused this, too!” She scrunched up her nose in revulsion at the sight of Denida, then stormed out.
“Make sure she’s okay; I need to go take care of something…” Denida ordered Susan before walking out the door. Denida strode into the forest behind the stables. He continued deep into it until he reached the cabin.
Denida examined the room. His eye fell on the kindling in the fireplace, which he lit with a flick of his finger.
Everything’s ready. Denida chanted ‘Reficul’ three times in succession.
A black mist appeared and faded away, revealing Lucifer, who looked around perplexedly, until he noticed Denida. He smiled broadly. “Denny, my boy.”
Denida grumbled. “I’m not your boy…”
Lucifer chuckled. “This is the room you caught Claus in, isn’t it? How is he?”
“He’s fine. We’ve locked him up. We’re not sure what to do with him…” Denida wrinkled his forehead and licked his upper lip. “But enough about that; you mentioned a way to keep those dear to me safe from your meddling… and God’s?”
Lucifer nodded. “In exchange for a favor, yes.”
Denida’s eye widened. “And what would that be?”
Lucifer grinned deviously. “You can enter Heaven freely. Get to Heavani and Daniel and bring them to me!”
Denida stood in shock, unsure how he should respond. “The Darkness promised you to…”
Lucifer shrugged. “Really? You think the Darkness will ever help without me killing God? I heard from Daniel that you were in Heaven, near Heavani, right?”
Denida sighed. “I don’t know about that… going to Heaven, where Peter hates me, to kidnap them.” He shook his head.
“Not kidnap,” Lucifer insisted. “You’re bringing them home!”
Denida waved his hand dismissively.
“Gabriel never will,” Lucifer said. “He’s stuck in between God and me, but you-” Lucifer smiled with a hopeful glint in his eye. “You can do it, in exchange for me leaving everyone you know alone forever!”
Denida stumbled into his chair, rubbing his face.
Lucifer sat down in the chair by the fireplace.
“No!” Denida jumped out of his chair.
“I can tell you my story, it might convince you…”
“You want me to trust your words?” Denida smirked.
“Not my words, my memories!” Lucifer stared into Denida’s eyes.
“Fine,” Denida turned his head away and sat down.
“To understand about Heavani and me, you need to see what it was like with God when I first knew him…”
Denida rolled his eyes. “Why?”
“You’ll see.” Lucifer put his hand on Denida’s shoulder and they reappeared in Lucifer’s private chamber within his mansion in Hell, the one room where the Darkness couldn’t eavesdrop.
Lucifer strolled to the middle of the room and stopped at an old well with ancient inscriptions on the side.
Denida stopped on the other side of the well and glanced into it. “The ‘Well of Memory,’ huh?”
Lucifer nodded. “I told you I would show you my memories. At Dynasty, you have a shield against Dark magic, which means I can’t show you there, but I can here…”
An image started to form in the well.
Denida stared at Lucifer suspiciously before he focused on the image forming in the water.
The suns in the sky baked the ground, as some children ran around playing.
The eldest boy wiped his hand across his forehead, looking up at the two suns, one to the left and the other to the right. Shade was sparse.
The other two boys ran under a tree so tall that even the suns’ light couldn’t reach everything underneath it.
“Shaddai!” one of the boys yelled and waved his hand, beckoning the one baking in the hot sun.
Shaddai ran over to his friends. “It sure is hot today!” He peered at them, appearing intrigued by something. He turned to see what they were looking at. “For Henna’s sake…” Shaddai rolled his eyes.
“It’s Odin… he’s been told to go somewhere the mother foresaw will be essential to our future.”
Shaddai rolled his eyes. “Please! Don’t make me laugh, Azal.”
“Shaddai, Azal, Gabriel, your parents are looking for you!” one of Shaddai and Azal’s neighbors hollered.
“Man,” Shaddai threw up his arms.
Shaddai and Azal waved goodbye to Gabriel and walked toward where the prominent families lived.
“You could come with me for a while…” Shaddai glanced nervously at Azal.
Azal jabbed at Shaddai. “Is somebody worried?” He grinned.
Azal and Shaddai’s fathers came outside and ogled at the boys discontentedly.
“We… were… just…” Shaddai stuttered.
Shaddai’s father shushed him. “We’re going to see our queen; you two get ready!”
Shaddai and Azal nodded and scurried into their respective houses, next door to each other, to get ready.
“Kids…” Shaddai’s father shrugged.
Denida sighed and turned away from the well. “I don’t think this matters. Why the hell are you showing me three kids in some distant world-” Denida shook his head. “Who is Shaddai, Azal, even …Gabriel, is that God’s Gabriel?”
Lucifer chuckled. “Yes. I was not always known as Lucifer; as a child, I was Azal.”
Denida wrinkled his nose. “… But it’s not Heaven?”
Lucifer shook his head. “Shaddai, Gabriel, and I were from that world. Not Heaven…”
“Gabri-” Denida returned to the well. “That Gabriel is Gabriel as a child?” He stared intensely at Lucifer. “Shaddai must be God, then!”
“Do you understand now, why it’s important that I show you this here, where no one but us can see?”
Denida scowled. “Yes,” he muttered. “You ‘Azal,’ Shaddai, and Gabriel visited your queen?”
Lucifer shook his head. “Not Gabriel, only the highfamilies, which Shaddai and I belonged to were allowed…”
Shaddai, Azal, and their parents entered a ballroom with walls, floors, and even a ceiling, made entirely of glass. Shaddai and Azal’s mothers walked over to a crowd of other women to start mingling, while their fathers stood looming over them.
The moon had a cloud surrounding it to restrict its light to a staircase leading up to a second floor. It shone in all the colors of the rainbow and a woman appeared, shining, in the center.
Everyone in the room applauded.
Shaddai’s father smacked his son across the head. “Clap!”
Shaddai sighed and peeked over at Azal, as he joined the applause.
The queen descended the stairs until she was surrounded by the women anticipating her. The men, including Odin, stayed back. He stood next to Shaddai’s father, applauding her.
“Hi David,” Odin patted Shaddai’s father.
David smiled. “Why are you here?”
Odin chuckled. “I was selected as a servant to become a god for a world.”
“Not just any world,” the queen giggled.
Everyone bowed as the queen passed by them.
Shaddai just frowned defiantly.
David slapped him on top of his head. “The Great Mother, Henna is here; bow!”
Henna held up her hand and knelt before Shaddai and smiled. “One day, you might be like Odin. You can be a god yourself.” She straightened up and turned her smile to him before facing the crowd with Odin accompanying her.
Shaddai glared at them. “Someday,” he said under his breath.
“Go mingle,” David instructed Shaddai.
Shaddai took Azal by his hand and stomped off into the crowd.
David ran up and yanked Shaddai back. “Not near the ladies; we’re below them. Remember your place!”
Shaddai sighed and nodded, showing Azal a stern face. He led Azal out of the ballroom, then turned and stuck out his tongue at his father’s back. “It’s a woman’s world, why should we be a part of it!”
Azal raised his eyebrows.
Voices sounded down the hall.
Shaddai nodded and his eyes sparkled. “Let’s go check it out!” They tiptoed down the hall, finding Odin and Henna.
“We’re all your subjects, my Great Mother.” Odin bowed down.
Azal and Shaddai giggled.
Henna laid her hand on Odin’s head and light emanated from it until it encircled Odin’s body.
“You’re ready.” Henna crossed her hands. “Get up, my son. You are a god, now!”
“But, if you don’t mind my asking, why have you chosen this little place in the middle of nowhere?” Odin wrinkled his forehead.
“In the Milky Way, I sense something great to come…”
Wow. Azal’s eyes lit up. “Let’s hurry back to the party,” he whispered.
Azal and Shaddai ran back to the party before they were spotted.
Henna? Denida squinted his eyes. “You want me to believe that a queen you called the Great Mother, could make anyone a god?”
Denida rolled his eyes. “I think we’re done!”
“Wait!” Lucifer yelled.
Denida stormed out the door and, as he stroked his ring, vanished into the air, reappearing at Dynasty, where Susan was still watching Nina.
Nina was tending to her horse, Angel. Susan stood, trying to talk to her, but Nina focused only on Angel.
Denida bit his lip, then returned to Dynasty.
He walked into Dynasty and down the corridors, making his way to the stairs that led to his hidden chamber. He smiled at the maids he passed.
He stopped and checked the hall. It’s clear! Entering the code for the secret door under the stairs, Denida rushed in and closed the door behind him. He descended the stairs to a concealed room.
“Dan?” Denida peered at the research equipment littered about.
Dan looked up from his microscope. “Denny!” He waved before returning to it.
Denida ran his tongue over his lips. “How’s it going? Found anything?”
Dan stood, appalled. “Making a time machine doesn’t happen overnight; it took them thirty years in the other Underworld!”
“Didn’t you get the report about how they built it?”
Dan sighed. “I did, but it’ll still take time. Their report has very few details… no schematics or anything…”
Denida narrowed his eyes. “Do you need the ring?”
Dan shook his head. “It’s too soon. I just need time-” He ran his hand across his face. “- if you want me to try this because of what happened to Daniel-”
Denida’s eyes flickered dark red. He patted Dan on the shoulder. “I just want to see how it works.” He smiled reassuringly, the way he had been taught in Hell. “Just let me know when you get somewhere!”
Denida spun around and climbed the stairs, leaving Dan to his work.