Excerpt: Kendra’s Point of View
“Thank you for your assistance,” Derek acknowledged the man who guided us to the morgue.
“Now, I’d like this entire room cleared for at least an hour. Your morgue director can verify that order.” Derek nodded, and as he turned toward me, our guide moved away to the two working coroners, escorting them out of the room.
“Dang, this place reminds me of places in the dark plane.” Jenna stood in the center of the room and spun a slow circle. “It’s almost like I can feel Bertellia’s presence, even though I know that woman is gone forever.”
Once everyone cleared the room, I went to work crushing and mixing up the concoction of herbs in a small burning pot. “I can see the film that cocoons the body you mentioned.” I lit the herbs, allowing a quick flame. Then I blew out the little fire and left the blended ingredients smoldering. As I waved the pot over the body, I said the ritual words. Jenna and Derek joined in the mantra, repeating it with me two more times to break the bond holding Mr. Mead’s soul.
A massive pop, deep enough to shake the floor, startled me. Jenna screamed. Derek jumped in front of me, pushing my body back. “Grab your blades. Mine’s vibrating as if it wants to act on its own.” He grabbed his dagger (the one that NaNa Rosa had given to everyone on our team for protection and guidance against evil spirits from the dark plane) out of the sheath tucked into the back of his pants.
Jenna slipped hers from the sheath strapped to her thigh.
The film surrounding Mr. Mead had disappeared, and the oozing, dark entity that rose out of him charged the air with a distinct acrid odor that immediately gagged me.
I grabbed a wastebasket and threw up.
“Wow, you actually tossed your cookies, Sparky.” Jenna stared at me. “Are you sick?” She stood next to me, dagger in her hand. “Come on, woman, we need you now.”
“Rotten eggs, Kendra. Do you have your dagger in your hand?” Derek’s full attention remained on the grizzly form of leaking pustule bumps and dripping saliva.
I puked again, and my stomach continued to buck and roll. My protection sigil burned, telling me this guy came from the dark plane and would love to feed off our energy. I had tucked the blade in my bag with the herbs. Right now, that satchel lay on the floor about three feet to my right. Gagging and swallowing, I inched toward the bag to hold off the inevitable next wave of nausea.
The entity pulled itself entirely out of Mead’s body, red eyes gawking at us. It caught my movement, and a wretched toothy smile spread across its disgusting thick, slimy lips. The horrendous monster stood on the opposite side of Mead and stepped toward me through the gurney and Mead’s body as if wading through water.
“Sparky, get your dagger!” Jenna readied to throw.
“You look tasty, you’re first,” it rasped and stretched a claw at me, snapping its sharp nails.
Derek and Jenna threw their blades, hitting the evil creeper in the heart and slowing its progress toward me.
I dove for my bag, and the hilt of my dagger snugged into my hand. I yanked it out and flung it with a snap of my wrist. The blade found its mark and sunk into the entity’s heart beside the other two daggers. A vicious scream howled out, dropping Derek and me to our knees with hands covering our ears. I watched as it burned from the inside out and turned into white ash that disappeared, leaving Mr. Mead’s spirit staring at us.
“Where the hell am I?” He looked from Derek to me to Jenna and back at Derek. Then his gaze wandered around the room. “Am I inside a morgue?” His mouth dropped open when he saw his body on the gurney. “Am I dead?”
“I’m so sorry to tell you this, but yes, you died. We don’t know how. Can you remember anything that happened?” I didn’t want to force him, but his anxious shaking took a drastic turn as he stared at our daggers lying beside his feet.
“Did you guys kill me?” His image faltered into momentary static, but then he restabilized into a vivid body, appearing alive. “I want answers.” His lips pinched together, and then his eyes wandered to his dead body on the gurney. He slumped and looked at Derek. “What will my husband do?”
I glanced at Derek and watched his eyes widen.
“Let us know who your significant other is, and we’ll inform him of your passing.” Jenna stepped closer to him.
Mr. Mead huffed. “What would you say? Even I don’t know how I died.”
“We believe it had something to do with Sassy Blaze.” Derek moved beside Jenna, and I followed.
“All I remember is heading to the prison wing to check on the prisoners there. I noticed one guard sleeping beside the door, totally against protocol, so I kicked his foot to awaken him. Then I noticed a green powdery substance around his nose and wondered if he was on drugs. That’s all I recall, other than getting slammed against the wall and hearing the iron door slide open. That normally happened for my prisoner check, but I don’t remember anything after that. I blacked out.” His eyes went wide. “Did anyone look at surveillance?”
“The monitors recorded static in that cell block. That’s why I’m asking you.” Derek took a couple steps to stand directly in front of Mr. Mead. “Sassy Blaze hung herself in her cell. That got caught on surveillance and then her body disappeared. Do you know anything about that?”
“Sassy is dead?” His spine went erect, and he shook his head. “No, that can’t be right. That lunatic wants to murder the FBI Task Force team that imprisoned her. There’s no way she would kill herself.” He glared at Derek, and Derek stared back at him. “Wait a minute. You think I had something to do with Sassy hanging herself?”“Did you?” Derek’s body went rigid.