Blood Angel Rising

Every week I participate in this great little experiment called Weekend Writing Warriors, wherein authors from all over post a snippet of no longer than 8 sentences from one of their works and share it with the community.  Everyone participating then makes the rounds and reads each other’s work, offering advice and leaving comments.  It’s a wonderful way to learn about other Indie authors you may have never encountered before, as well as a great way to share a Work in Progress.

For the past three months I’ve been sharing my horror novel “Blood Angel Rising”, a project of mine that’s been lost in Limbo as I’ve worked on the Blood Skies novels and The Skullborn Trilogy.  This week on Guild of Dreams I thought I’d share everything I’ve published of the piece so far.  Blood Angel Rising will eventually be released as an actual novel (hopefully with a better cover than the mock-up I threw together below), though at this point I’m enjoying publishing the tale as a serial fiction piece.  Gives me something to look forward to every week. ;D

So , without further ado, I present the unabridged Parts 1-12 of Blood Angel Rising.  (Be sure to check out my site every Saturday if you’re interested in Part 13 and beyond…)  Enjoy!

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blood angel rising

BLOOD ANGEL RISING

Chapter 1: Then Fell Blood Rain

The thing beyond the door wouldn’t rise again.

It better not, Monica thought.  I’m almost out of bullets.   

It was raining outside, but the storm was silent, and there were no clouds.  What fell from the sky was dry and hard and as red as blood, and it had been pouring down for what felt like hours.  Monica King knew she probably wouldn’t live long enough to see it stop.

A trail of blood led from Monica’s shoe to the door at the far side of the room.  The old wooden floor was riddled with rusty nails and clumps of wet earth.  Stubborn vestiges of ancient yellow paint clung to the walls, and an old wooden chair sat lonely and forgotten in the corner of the adjacent room.  The corpse’s feet jutted out from around the corner to her right, resting in a sticky pool of blood.

Monica’s head was killing her.  Her back was propped against the kitchen doorway at a painful angle while she kept her shoulders locked and her SIG trained on the door at the end of the burned and gore-stained hall.  Her blood-spattered shirt was bathed with sweat and her eyes stung with fatigue, but there was no way she was taking her gun off the door, not yet.

She watched, and waited, because as much as she wanted to believe the thing on the other side of the door was gone she expected it to rip through the wood and come after her again at any second.

Real pretty shit you got yourself into here, Hon.  Nice job.  Monica took some small comfort in knowing the situation hadn’t been her fault, at least not entirely.  Maybe she’d been a little too doggedly pursuant, but that had always been one of her better traits.  One of only a few, I guess.  At least I can die knowing I did the right thing. 

The rain fell, smelling of rot.  It was all she could do not to retch, even though by that point she’d already been living with it for several hours.

So what now, Hon? she asked herself.  Are you just going to sit here and wait for it, or are you actually going to stand up?

The gash in her thigh stung like hell, but she wasn’t about to complain since she knew she was lucky to have feeling in her leg at all.  The house was quiet aside from the sick rain outside, a welcome relief from the bodiless screams that had been waiting for her when she’d first arrived.

Dirty light the color of tarnished gold bled through the broken windows.  The air in the hall tasted like bad meat.

She blinked, shaking off the darkness at the edge of her vision.  It had been nearly forty-eight hours since she’d last slept, and Monica’s pounding headache and stiff joints reminded her that she wasn’t twenty anymore.

Hell, I’m not even thirty anymore, she thought.  And now it looks like I might not hit forty.

A peel of thunder shook the house.  It was going to rain, and with any luck it would be real rain, not the crimson bile that had been falling ever since she’d arrived.

Good, she thought, maybe it’ll help with the smell.

Monica’s breaths were the loudest thing to be heard in the still and silent building.  Her eyes were raw and tired, and her body was covered with grime and sweat.  Her leg felt cold, and she decided that couldn’t be a good thing.  Monica took a deep and calming breath, and as if in answer the floorboards all over the house suddenly started creaking.

Moments later the air filled with the sound of screams.  The door at the end of the hall rattled violently on its hinges.  The deafening screams ripped through the walls and floor, so loud they rattled Monica’s teeth.  She aimed the SIG and pulled the trigger, and though she couldn’t hear the shots she watched as a half-dozen slugs tore into the wood.

The screams stopped just as abruptly as they’d started.  The sudden silence was jarring.

Monica peered through the gun smoke.  She heard something heavy slump to the ground, and a thick stream of blood poured into the room from under the door.

Her chest felt like it was full of concrete, her head hadn’t stopped pounding, and Monica had to pee so bad she felt like knives had been shoved into her bladder.  The bloody rain pounded against the roof like a horde of nails, but Monica still heard the wooden floorboards creak behind her.

She took a deep breath, blinked the sweat from her eyes and rolled onto her chest, swinging around to aim the SIG down the hallway at her back.

A tall and broad shouldered man, probably somewhere in his forties with a Clark Kent haircut and a ski jacket that looked entirely unsuited for northern Washington, stood in the hall and aimed a Beretta PX4 Storm directly at her.  His eyes were set and determined, and he had the same kind of angular jaw as the guys who modeled polo shirts for J Crew.  A badge wallet hung at his waist.

“Drop it,” he said, and Monica almost laughed.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” she said.  “Do you have any idea what’s going on here?”

“I said drop it!” the cop shouted, but Monica kept her weapon trained on him.

Had he heard the screams? she wondered.

“You really don’t have a clue what’s happening here, do you?” she asked in her driest tone.

“I have a pretty good idea,” he said.

“I doubt it,” Monica replied with a wry smile.  “If you did, you wouldn’t be here.”

Neither one of them lowered their pistol.  Monica wanted to look back behind her and make sure the door at the end of the hall hadn’t opened, that the bleeding thing wasn’t coming at her again, but she knew if she even blinked this idiot Sheriff would turn what had already been the worst day of her life into something even shittier.

The cop nodded back towards the human remains in the dining room.  “Friends of yours?”

“I don’t have friends,” Monica said, “but if you’re wondering if I killed them, the answer is ‘No’.”

Something stirred at the end of the hall.  She heard an ominous creaking sound, like a ghostly ship at sea.  Monica felt that presence coming — the distortion in the air, the sudden onrush of rancid and icy breath.  The walls shuddered, the lights flickered, and the entire house seemed to close in on her.

The cop’s eyes caught on something behind Monica, and he raised his pistol and fired.  Monica jumped up, grabbed the cop by his coat and hauled him around the corner and into the sick-smelling dining room.

“Move, God damn it!” she shouted.  They ran past the remains of torn bodies whose greasy innards had been splayed across the walls and floor.

The air darkened behind them as they ran, a rush of shadows.  The bleeding wound in Monica’s leg burned.

They passed through the kitchen door and slammed it shut behind them.  The thing smashed into the wood from the other side with a growl, sending out splinters and dust.  Monica hit the floor and the cop fell with his back against the sink, and they both emptied their guns into the door in a deafening blaze of gunfire and smoke.  They stopped firing, and the roar of gunshots echoed through her ears for a moment before everything went quiet.  Blood ran down the splintered wood and pooled on the kitchen floor.  Monica didn’t even realize she was shaking until she sat up and pulled the empty magazine from her smoking SIG.

“What the hell is that thing?” the cop gasped.

“Got me,” Monica said.  Nothing moved.  She considered barring the door with something, but she didn’t want to get that close to it.  “So…aren’t you glad you stopped by?”

The cop looked ill, but he retained enough composure to reload his Beretta, and he didn’t take his eyes off the door.

The crowded kitchen was pale and old, with cracked tiles over the wide sink and rusted knives and measuring cups strewn all over the dusty counters.  A thick stream of blood ran from the open window and spilled onto the linoleum floor.  The crimson rain was coming down harder, and Monica heard the sick drops spatter outside.  She looked out and saw the lone and leafless tree in the backyard; its lonely tire swing dripped with gore as it blew back and forth in the dank wind.

“Where’s Vincent Moretti?” the cop asked as he pointed his gun at her.  It took Monica a moment to realize where she’d heard his voice before.

“Shit…you’re Rike, aren’t you?”  

****

Steven Montano is the author of the Blood Skies series, The Skullborn Trilogy, and numerous articles and blog posts that haven’t amounted to much.  He lives a shiftless existence in the Pacific Northwest, searching for Bigfoot and eluding his children.  Check out http://bloodskies.com/ for more.

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