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Easter01's Father Michael's Saga

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Easter01
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PostEaster01 on Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:35 am

Sam,

Chapter 16 was included. That pic of the zombie was perfect for this chapter.

I finished part three of the saga and I'll be loading the pics into imgur tomorrow. Twenty five chapters! That's a lot of pics to find and load.

I posted a new story for Anidup's Legacy Challenge today. I'm looking for bare bone content for my down and out sim. It's slow because I get lost in the downloads so easily.

Easter01

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Easter01's The Father Michael's Saga can be found: Here

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Samantha61
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PostSamantha61 on Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:45 am

That's funny Joanne..lol
I'm not going to read any of the Legacy stories until I can be on here to concentrate on them while I am reading..I hate when I am reading and my brain is somewhere else..then you have to read the page over and over again..or that one sentence..don't you hate that..lol..

I can't wait to read everyone's stories..this is going to be awesome..


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
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PostEaster01 on Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:35 am

Sam,

I'm exactly the same way. For instance, I can't read if the tv's on because my attention is divided.

I understand completely.

Easter01

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Easter01's The Father Michael's Saga can be found: Here

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Postszanne7000 on Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:24 am

What people do... all the wrong things because we can't let go :(



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Easter01
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PostEaster01 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:21 am


THE ZOMBIE EXPERIMENT
A Father Michael Story
by Joanne and Richard Easter (c) 2016



Part 17

It was just before sunrise on the next day, and the Dassault jet was on its way back to Lyon. All of them desperately needed sleep, but Michael had believed it to be important to get Dr. Saint-Just out of British jurisdiction as quickly as possible. It had taken a phone call directly from the Secretary-General of Interpol to the Commissioner of Scotland Yard to persuade the Met to remand Marie Rose to their custody, and they had subsequently made haste to get out of town before anyone could change their mind. The fallout from this particular operation was going to be heavy and unpleasant. The London police were in a rage, with three out of the six CO19 officers having been killed on the raid, and a fourth seriously injured.

Marie Rose was sitting at a window seat at the rear of the plane, with Simone directly across the aisle, both to keep her company and to keep an eye on her, although Michael seriously doubted that she really needed guarding. He had mixed feelings about her. Certainly she had broken numerous laws in her country, and creating zombies was a serious crime in the eyes of Directorate 14, but she had not killed anyone. He had questioned her thoroughly about the events of the previous day. She had given no orders for the zombies to attack, and the presence of the monsters in her lab had been as much a shock to her as it had been to the Directorate agents. He believed she was telling the truth. One thing was certain; she was no hardened criminal but a grieving wife whose loss had led her down a dangerous path. Michael had no desire to see her spend the rest of her life in a British prison. More importantly, any magic-using offender belonged in the hands of the Directorate, not in the custody of any civilian authority.

Her fate would be in the hands of Interpol, and in the meantime he would follow protocol.

The jet landed at Lyon just as the sun was peeking over the horizon, and again the usual Renault van provided transportation to the “warehouse” headquarters of Directorate 14 on Presqu’ile. Everything seemed normal when they arrived at the building, but when they rolled past the overhead door to the inside of the warehouse, the door quickly descended and steel posts shot up out of the floor to front and back of their vehicle and they found themselves surrounded by four grim-faced men pointing MP-5s at them. The occupants of the van exchanged surprised glances, and then slowly raised their hands.

One of the guards rapped on the driver’s window, and motioned for him to roll it down. When the driver complied, the guard ordered, “Everybody out.”

The doors of the Kangoo van opened and the driver, the three agents and their prisoner climbed out and stood in a small huddle as the guards switched the aim of the weapons to cover them. One guard, a woman Marcel knew as Colette, unsmilingly demanded their identification cards. As they dug into their pockets, Father Michael asked, “What’s going on? What’s this all about?”

“No questions, please,” she said. If she was impressed by the battered condition of the returning warriors, Marcel with his arm in a sling and all of them sporting assorted purple bruises and butterfly bandages, she gave no sign. She examined the cards minutely, carefully comparing the photo ID on each with the face of each person, and slipped them, one at a time, into a handheld electronic device that verified the authenticity of the card and the accuracy of the information it contained. As she was engaged in this process, another of the guards reslung his weapon across his back and went among them with a portable fingerprint scanner as a second, and more definitive, means of assuring their identities. Marie Rose, of course, had only her British passport and driver’s license, which were being held by Father Michael and were produced by him when the guard came to her. Another man opened up the van and began to go through all of their possessions, opening up their bags and checking the contents, and this accomplished, inspected the bottom of the van using a mirror on a pole. The final man continued to hold his semiautomatic leveled at them.

Colette, having been given an affirmative nod by the man with the fingerprint scanner, came over to stand before Marie Rose. “This is your prisoner?” she asked, looking over to Marcel. When Marcel nodded, she addressed the black woman. “Hold out your hands,” she said briskly, and secured them with a zip-tie. “We’ll take her from here,” she told him. “If you need to see her later, she will be in a holding cell.”

The guards had lowered their weapons once the identities of the visitors had been confirmed, but there was not a welcoming smile among them. It was obvious that something was very, very wrong at the Directorate. None of them had ever experienced this level of security, and the attitudes of the guards spoke volumes that something must have occurred to put everyone on edge.

“Has something happened?” Michael ventured to ask. The guard Colette, who was obviously in charge of this squad, looked him over. She did not know Michael, but he had the right credentials. “I am not at liberty to say, Monsieur. The Director wishes to see you immediately. I will take you to him now.” Michael looked over to Marcel, who shrugged his shoulders in that expressive Gallic way. Simone was obviously tense, as were they all under the circumstances.

“Of course, madam,” he said, turning back to the guard. “If you would be so kind…?”

Minutes later, they were in the outer office of Bjørn Kriger, the Director of the agency. Having seen them this far, Colette turned without another word and went out into the hallway to wait with the two guards stationed there until it was time to escort the agents somewhere else. Leclerc showed them into the inner office, where they found the enormous form of the Director seated behind his desk, focused intently upon the screen of the computer before him, his hands flying over the keys. He did not look up at their entry nor utter a word of greeting. All he said was, simply, “I understand you have brought a prisoner back from London. Report, please.”

Marcel could restrain himself no longer. "Monsieur! All due respect, what is happening?”

At this, the Director stopped his activity at the keyboard and looked up at his agents for the first time. His expression was grim. “In due time, gentlemen,” he said, his glance including Simone but for the moment not overly concerned with the political correctness of his form of address. “Right now I need to hear what happened in London.”

Michael, as team leader, immediately said “Yes, sir,” and came to stand before the Director’s desk. Quickly he filled him in on the events of the past two days, and his assessment of the character of Marie Rose, based on the hours they had spent with her recently. He concluded by saying, “There can be no doubt that she is guilty of resurrecting the dead, of creating zombies, but I do not believe that she is a coldhearted criminal, or that she poses a continuing danger. I would hope that the agency would not be unduly harsh in their treatment of her.”

The Director neither agreed nor disagreed with Michael. “We will evaluate her situation at a later date,” he said, waving his hand dismissively, “but right now we have more important matters to discuss. I am particularly interested to hear more about these creatures that you encountered, and also about these newly discovered properties of your sword.”

“They were like nothing in our catalog of supernatural beings,” Michael said thoughtfully. “There were two of them. The larger one was truly massive, a couple of metric tonnes at least and more than three meters high, slow-moving but incredibly powerful. It was all but invulnerable to our conventional weapons, having a hide as hard as stone. It was only Tizona that stopped it, or it would probably have killed us all, even without the help of the zombies.”

“I’ll want to hear about the second demon in a moment. The zombies. Were they particularly difficult to deal with?”

“No, sir. If it had not been for the monsters, we could have handled them with little problem.”

“Tell me more about the sword,” the Director asked. “It started to glow, you say? When did this occur, describe the circumstances?”

Michael took a moment to consider, recalling the battle. “It seemed only to be a normal sword during most of the fight. It was when I started directly after the monster that the blade began to glow…it was as if the sword, as if…I’m not sure I can explain this, sir.”

“Try,” the Director said, leaning forward on his elbows, hands clasped, keenly intent on what Michael was saying.

The warrior priest released a deep breath. “It was as if Tizona somehow knew what was needed. As if it recognized the nature of the creature, and knew that only by releasing whatever magic was contained within it could the thing be defeated.”

The Director drummed his fingers on the desktop, thinking. “I believe that this is very important. The creature was entirely destroyed?”

“I plunged the sword straight into its chest. Even though buckshot had just bounced off of its hide, the sword just seemed to slide in. The monster went up in flames, and in seconds was just a pile of ashes.”

“That is intriguing,” Kriger observed. “Now, the second creature. What did it look like?”

“It was only a little taller than a man,” Michael recalled. “But it bristled with spikes from top to bottom, sort of like a hedgehog or porcupine, but the spikes were thicker, stouter. Also, they were crystalline, or metallic in appearance, and razor sharp, based on what it did to the Met officers. I really did not get a good look at it,” he admitted, “because I ran out and saw it attacking one of the officers, and I just stuck it in the back with my sword.”

“With the same results as for the first one?”

“Yes, sir. Exactly the same. It burst into flame and was consumed.”

The Director mulled this information over for a moment. “This tallies with information I have received. Gentlemen, you were not the only agents who were attacked yesterday by creatures unlike anything we have ever encountered.”

He slammed his hands down flat on the desktop. “The agency is at war!”

Kriger now had their undivided attention, and his tone was grim, indeed, as he continued. “At 2105 Greenwich standard time yesterday, a coordinated attack was made with surgical precision on our field agents across the world. Reports are still coming in, but preliminary estimates are that perhaps three-quarters of our strength was lost in a single day.”

The agents in the room were visibly rocked. "Dios mio!" Michael whispered.  

“And it was not just agents in the field. Several of our smaller regional offices were also hit. Brussels is gone. So is Prague, St. Petersburg, Brisbane, Bogota, and Hong Kong. Casualties at these offices were nearly one hundred percent.”

“Did they strike here?” Michael asked quietly.

“No. It has been quiet here in Lyon. I expect that our enemy, whoever it is, perceived our defenses and security as too strong, same for the other major offices such as London, Rome, Moscow and Beijing.”

They were all reeling from the news. “How is this possible!” Marcel asked, shocked to his very core. He was almost trembling with the effort it took to hold his emotions in check. He had been an operative for a long time, and it was certain that many of his friends would be numbered among the dead.

Simone had turned as pale as a sheet, and closed her eyes for a second. She opened them again and glared at the Director. She was so upset that she momentarily forgot her English, and fired off an angry question in French, “Sir, why are we just now hearing this?”

Kriger sighed. “It was hours before any reports came in from survivors. By the time we grasped the magnitude of the assault your team was already in the air. I have since placed all our offices on high alert, and instituted tight security across the board.”

“Who did this?” Michael asked. This was the question to which they all wanted an answer.

“We’re still trying to determine this,” the Director said, calmer now. “There were actually very few who survived an assault, and we are piecing together the few first-hand descriptions we have received. Many of those who escaped attack were simply in transit from one place to another at the time when these incidents occurred. Many of our agents have been out of contact with us for some time, and we do not know their fate. One common thread: all survivor reports state that they were attacked by strange and powerful creatures that no one recognized.”

“But what were they? I ‘ave never seen anything like these monsters!” Marcel was becoming increasingly agitated. Kriger understood that their frustration stemmed from the lack of information; his people were warriors, and needed an opponent to vent their anger upon.

The Director opened a drawer in his desk and took out a very large, leather-bound book, which he slammed down on the desk. The title, embossed in gold letters, read Codex de Contra Naturam Animalibus. “Of Unnatural Animals,” Kriger translated the Latin for them. “Written by Albertus Magnus, alchemist, magician, and Dominican friar, in the middle of the thirteenth century. Magnus studied the natural world and wrote a great many volumes on minerals, plants, animals, and such, but this is one of his lesser known works. It is a compendium of the supernatural creatures of his time, both known and legendary, and so on its pages we will find vampires, shape-changers, spirits and other beings. This particular volume is one of a handful of hand-written copies that were made two centuries after the author’s death, and is on loan to us from the Vatican. When the reports started coming in about the strange creatures attacking our people, I had it brought up, and I have been studying it.”  

Kriger opened the heavy cover and carefully turned several pages of brittle parchment until he came to the page he wanted. He turned the book around so that it faced the three agents gathered before his desk, and then tapped the page with his finger. “Does this creature look familiar to you?”

There on the page before their eyes was a meticulously drawn and colored rendition of the spike demon that had wreaked so much carnage in the abandoned tunnel of the London Underground. The opposite page was filled with ornate Latin text. Michael took one look, and sucked in his breath. “That’s it. That is definitely the second creature that I killed with Tizona!”

The Director began leafing through the pages, stopping at intervals to show illustrations of other bizarre creatures, all possessing long claws and mouths filled with fearsome teeth. Many were roughly humanoid, but some had horns on their heads, some had extra arms, some had bat-like wings sprouting from their shoulders, and some possessed tails. Some of them were covered with fur, some bore naked skin, but most were covered with scales. Each time Kriger focused their attention upon a particular creature, he informed them that it fit descriptions provided by agents who had survived an attack.

It was Simone who finally asked the question, in a very small voice. “But…what are they?”

He closed the cover of the book with a bang. “My dear friends, they are demons.”

Michael reached out to touch the cover of the book, lightly resting his fingertips on the leather surface. “Director Kriger, I thought demons had vanished from this world long ago.”

“True enough, Father Michael. There have been no reports of demons for centuries.” His voice became stern. “But make no mistake, they are here now. Whether they spring from Hell or the Underworld or whatever name we wish to give it, is immaterial. What matters is that we must seek them out and destroy them by whatever means necessary.”

Marcel started to speak, but the Director raised a hand to forestall any further questions. “I need time to analyze the information we are receiving, and to meet with my staff and plan our response. I will meet with you all again in a few days. Until then, I would prefer that you remain billeted here in the safety of our headquarters. We have lost too many agents this day.”

Kriger personally escorted them to his office door. Before they left, he addressed them one more time. “I am proud of all of you. Your success in London is perhaps the only bright light we have in this tragedy. It is a sad day for our agency. We have been struck a fell blow, but we will recover, and punish those responsible.”

He shook Michael’s hand first, and the priest felt a piece of paper secretly pressed into his hand. He gave no outward indication of his surprise. The Director shook all of their hands in turn, after that, and as they walked through the outer office stood looking after them for a moment before closing the door and returning to his desk. He dropped heavily into his chair, which creaked alarmingly under his great weight, and sat with his head in his hands. When he raised his head again, the fire was back in his eyes. He had work to do.

Later, in his room, Michael unfolded the paper given to him by the Director, and read the words penciled upon it. “Parc de la Tête d'Or. Tomorrow 1500.  North side lake. Come alone.” He debated whether he should share this with his companions, but decided against it. If the Director had wished them to know about this meeting, he would have told them. Michael did not like keeping secrets from Marcel and Simone, but nothing about this situation was normal. He would tell them as soon as the Director allowed him to do so. He crumpled the paper into a small wad and flushed it down the toilet.


THE ZOMBIE EXPERIMENT
Conclusion
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Last edited by Easter01 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:58 pm; edited 2 times in total




Easter01's The Father Michael's Saga can be found: Here

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szanne7000
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Postszanne7000 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:55 am

Ooooo!!!! Can't wait for the rest - then the new story! :D



Thank you, Crissi, for my beautiful signature <3
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PostSamantha61 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:37 pm

I'm with you Suzanne watermelon watermelon :goldstar: watermelon watermelon


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
~hugs and smiles my dear, dear BFF's~
I am so proud of all of you..
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Easter01
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PostEaster01 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:53 pm


THE ZOMBIE EXPERIMENT
A Father Michael Story
by Joanne and Richard Easter (c) 2016



Conclusion

He found the Director the next afternoon sitting on a park bench next to the lake. It was a sunny spot, but there were some majestic old oaks nearby. There were other people in the park, joggers and cyclists on the pathways and in small paddle boats on the water, but none were nearby. A long white sack was on the bench beside him, and he held half a baguette of fresh-baked bread in his lap. From time to time, Kriger would pinch off a piece from the end and toss it out onto the water where a swarm of graceful white swans had gathered to take advantage of his largesse, aggressively jostling and shoving as they fought for the tasty crumbs. Although it was a May afternoon, there was a coolness in the air today, and the Director was wearing a loose-fitting brown sweater and beret. Given the apparent secrecy of this meeting, Michael had abandoned his cassock and was dressed simply in denim jeans and a turtleneck sweater, pulled up to conceal his priest’s collar. He had left his sword behind, but carried the dagger beneath his sweater.

He sat down on the bench next to the paper sack and broke off a chunk of the bread and began to feed the swans with the Director. They sat in silence for a while, Michael wondering as to what this clandestine meeting was all about. After a bit, the big man nodded in the direction of the busy swans. “You see that big fellow there? The one with the broken wing feather? He’s a greedy one, he is. Ah! Look at him!” he said, as the swan in question delivered a savage peck at a competitor who was closing in on a bobbing chunk of bread. He turned to Michael. “The strongest take from the weak. That is the natural order of things. But our job is to interpose ourselves between the weak and those who would harm them.”

He turned his attention back to the water. “I know you must be wondering why I asked you to a secret meeting. The sad truth is that I don’t know who I can trust in the agency. There is a traitor in our midst.”

Michael was visibly shocked. “How can this be?” he asked, and then, his anger rising, “Do you know who it is?”

Kriger shook his head. “I do not, but I have my suspicions. The attack on our field agents was too well coordinated, too precise, to have been accomplished without inside information. Someone who had access to our databases.” He paused now for a long time, and then sighed. “My heart tells me it cannot be so, but the traitor could only be Edouard or Renée in my office. No one else had complete access. That is why I could not speak openly in my office, and why I asked you to meet me here today.”

“What will you do?”

“I will find out which one it is, of that you can be sure!” Kriger raised his enormous hand clenched into a fist, and then lowered it and relaxed. “We must find out who the traitor reports to. There is a guiding hand behind this, although we do not yet know his purpose.”

“Someone who can control demons?” Michael asked.

“Much more than that. Someone who can summon them to our world and bend their will to his.” The swans, now that no more offerings of bread had been forthcoming for some time, had begun to disperse, sailing elegantly across the water. The sound of laughter came across the lake from a young couple vigorously pedaling a boat.

They watched as a nearby swan upended and dived beneath the water in search of snails and water weeds. The Director continued, speaking almost as if to himself. “We had thought the arcane art of summoning demons lost for all these centuries. But someone has rediscovered it. We must find him, and put an end to him. Whatever his agenda, he intends no good for this world.”

Softly Michael asked. “How can I help?”

The agency boss placed a hand on his shoulder. “Your part is yet to come. We need more information before we can act. We will question this woman, this necromancer, to see if she knows anything of value.” He stood up, and then leaned down to pick up the paper sack with the remains of the bread. Michael also stood up, and they faced each other. “I have some ideas as to how to ferret out who is responsible for the leak. For now, tell no one of this conversation but your team, and only when you are certain you cannot be overheard.”

Michael nodded. “Be careful, Director.”

“And you, Michael.” The huge man walked away down the lakeside path, moving easily despite his bulk. Michael stood a moment longer, staring out over the water, and then turned and walked in the opposite direction.

On a long branch of the ancient oak nearest the park bench, a pair of yellow eyes blinked, and a toothy smile slowly spread across the features of the small creature perched among the leaves. There was a faint popping sound, and the messenger demon disappeared.


(c) 2016 Joanne Easter and Richard Easter. All Rights Reserved.




Coming April 4, 2017


Last edited by Easter01 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:04 pm; edited 1 time in total




Easter01's The Father Michael's Saga can be found: Here

Easter01's Short Stories can be found: Here

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Samantha61
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PostSamantha61 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:58 pm

I can't wait to read the next one on this..omgosh..awesome job Joanne..when will you have the next part of The Father Michael's Saga.. HappyDay


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
~hugs and smiles my dear, dear BFF's~
I am so proud of all of you..
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Easter01
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PostEaster01 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:08 pm

Sam,

The next Father Michael story starts tomorrow! YAY!!!

I added the pic and note to the ending of the Zombie
story so our members will see the good news.

Joanne

HappyDay




Easter01's The Father Michael's Saga can be found: Here

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PostSamantha61 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:11 pm

Yippee cutehug I got to thinking..that last paragraph it sounds like there could be a sequel to it..is there going to be a sequel..I really hope so..omgosh.. :Spring2


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
~hugs and smiles my dear, dear BFF's~
I am so proud of all of you..
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Easter01
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PostEaster01 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:22 pm

Sam,

oh my goodness, yes. Part 3 of the saga is about the Warlock, who is full of all kinds of nasty. Remember he is the one whose demons attacked Father Michael and his team in the old tunnels under London.

Yep, he's bad....

Joanne
runcircle




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PostSamantha61 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:53 pm

You have ymd


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
~hugs and smiles my dear, dear BFF's~
I am so proud of all of you..
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Postszanne7000 on Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:58 am

:D

Can't wait, Joanne!



Thank you, Crissi, for my beautiful signature <3
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Easter01
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PostEaster01 on Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:36 pm




The Father Michael saga continues!
The story so far…

Part One: “The Vampire King”

Father Michael Mendez is a most unusual priest. While serving as parish priest in a small American community, he is also an operative of Directorate 14, a clandestine agency formed as a partnership between Interpol and the Vatican. Headquartered in Lyon, France, the agency’s mission is to hunt down supernatural felons who commit crimes against humanity. Michael, Spanish by birth and a descendant of the great hero, El Cid, is the proud possessor of a family heirloom, the Cid’s legendary sword Tizona.

The priest is being haunted by an ancient evil from his past, the world’s oldest vampire, who has sworn revenge against him from a previous encounter and is committing atrocities against members of his parish. To combat this threat, he enlists the aid of two friends, Marcel and Simone, French agents of the Directorate who have some VERY unusual abilities, able to transform into powerful were-panthers at need. Together, the three friends, with considerable difficulty, are able to hunt down and put an end to the evil vampire.
 
Part Two: “The Zombie Experiment”

At St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, bodies are disappearing from the morgue. They are being transformed into zombies by Dr. Marie Rose Saint-Just, an eminent physician on the hospital staff, who recently lost her husband to a brutal murder. She has preserved his body frozen in a cryogenic unit, and seeking a way to restore her beloved to life, traveled to the island of Haiti to learn the necessary magical rituals from an ancient bokor, a practitioner of voudoun. Her actual goal is not to create zombies, but to conquer death. Each zombie she thereafter creates is actually a failed experiment, a mockery of the true life she hopes to return to her husband. Unknown to Marie Rose, a demon has co-opted her efforts, because its warlock master desires her to produce an army of zombies for his nefarious goals.

Father Michael, along with Marcel and Simone, are charged by the Director of their agency to investigate the alarming appearance of zombies in London. Their investigation leads to the discovery of a secret laboratory hidden in the subway tunnels of the London Underground, and an unexpected clash, violent and bloody, with its demon guardians. Only the sword Tizona, wielded by Father Michael, allows them to overcome the monsters, by displaying a hitherto unknown power to destroy demons, consuming them with fire. In the meantime, however, the agency itself has come under attack! The same demon master who was corrupting Marie Rose’s efforts sent his demons out across the world to murder Directorate agents wherever they could be found.  

And now, the story
The Warlock Executive


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PostEaster01 on Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:19 pm


The Warlock Executive
A Father Michael Story
by Joanne and Richard Easter (c) 2017




Part 1

Klaus Dortmund stood before the vast expanse of tinted glass that took up the entire outer wall of his office on the thirty-fourth floor of the high-rise office building that bore his name, gazing out at the city of London with his hands clasped behind his back. The sun was setting over the buildings of the cityscape, tinting the scattered cumulus clouds in shades of pink, rose, and orange. The Dortmund Building was the headquarters of his company, the Dortmund Power & Automation Group, which had come into existence only a decade before but had quickly risen to prominence as one of the world’s economic powerhouses. Originally specializing in automated manufacturing systems, or robotics, as the company grew it became increasingly diversified and its portfolio now included a major presence in a variety of high-tech industries including artificial intelligence, computer electronics, telecommunications, aerospace and automotive electronics, along with anything else that had attracted his interest.

Fortune 500 had ranked Dortmund’s company as one of the top ten players in the global marketplace, and he had a personal fortune of billions that made him one of the wealthiest men in the world, a remarkable accomplishment for a man not yet thirty-eight years old. Although Dortmund had taken the company public not long after its founding to provide a substantial infusion of cash for rapid expansion and to limit his personal liability, he retained ownership of sixty-two percent of the stock and for all practical purposes, it was his personal fiefdom. He had ensured that the board of directors was composed of pliable individuals who would rubber-stamp anything he wished to do.

Klaus Dortmund cultivated a fashionably modern appearance, on this day wearing an expensively tailored black shirt from Turnbull & Asser of London, spurning the Saville Row houses in favor of the elite establishment which tailored shirts for the Royal Family. Over this he wore a charcoal gray single-breasted Armani suit in virgin wool with notched lapels. On his feet were custom-made Italian black oxfords from Stefan Berner of Florence, and on his left wrist was a Rolex “Sky-Dweller” watch in 18-karat gold, for which he had paid more than 25,000 pounds sterling. Dortmund was a handsome man of 181 centimeters’ height with an angular face, and his clothes emphasized his natural good looks. He took particular pains with his grooming. He wore his black hair in a casual cut, rather long on the top and shorter along the sides, and a short beard trimmed close along the cheeks. He employed a stylist twice a month to keep it all immaculate. Altogether, his appearance projected an image of a man of wealth and power, exactly as he wished.

Yet despite the great pains he took with his appearance, Klaus Dortmund was a very private man, and was seldom seen in public. His office took up half of the thirty-fourth floor, and very few persons other than the highest executives in his organization were ever admitted into the inner sanctum. Just above his office was the penthouse suite where he made his residence, and no one but Dortmund and some carefully vetted cleaners had ever been inside since the day the building had been completed and his rooms furnished and decorated. He almost never left the building for any reason. If he required something, people were summoned to his office to tend to his needs; his tailor, stylist, manicurist, personal physician, caterers and solicitors, always carefully investigated and the very best in their professions. Dortmund was the sole client of an old and reputable London legal firm, the members of whom had all become quite wealthy from his retainers. He took most of his meals in his office, delivered from standing orders placed with first-class restaurants in the city and laid out for him on the glass-topped dining table that occupied one corner. He had no living family, and had never been known to be intimately involved with any woman.    

This Howard Hughes-like lifestyle had naturally led to a considerable amount of office gossip, but none of his employees were ever so rash as to voice such speculations where there was the slightest chance of being overheard. The general consensus was that Dortmund was as cold, calculating, and heartless as one of the robotic machines manufactured in his factories. Employees who failed him at any task did so only once; he did not believe in second chances. Yet most of the people who worked for him had been with the company for years, because their employer made a point to pay top salaries, almost astronomical, and as Dortmund had risen in wealth and power, so had they. If it was not a cheerful office, it was nevertheless one filled with loyal and dedicated professionals who gave their best efforts because it was in their personal interest to do so.

He valued his privacy, and having a personal wealth greater than the gross national product of many countries, was quite willing to take extreme measures to assure that he remained out of the spotlight. When one of the numerous London tabloids, lacking any verifiable facts, published a wildly speculative and rather scurrilous story about the mysterious and powerful Dortmund, he simply purchased the news organ, discharged all the employees, and had the building demolished and the space paved over as a parking lot. Afterward, the media adopted a hands-off policy where he was concerned, save for the few press releases he chose to make available.

Dortmund had but a single identifiable vice, and that was a passion for chess. Every Sunday afternoon, when the weather was agreeable, he donned more casual clothing, took the elevator down to street level of his building and walked to the nearby park where there were usually a number of chess games in progress at tables scattered along the length of the central promenade.

Walking among them with his hands in his pockets, looking very much like a well-dressed university don, he would evaluate the competition to see if there was anyone worthy of his personal attention. As often as not, the players in the park would not measure up in his estimation and Dortmund would simply leave without offering a match. Upon occasion, however, there would be a competitor whose style of play intrigued him, and so he would take the opposing seat at the conclusion of the current game. Dortmund would play only a single game, which he almost never lost, exchange the usual compliments at the end, and return to his office. On days when the weather was inclement, he would sit at the end of his dining table and work out chess problems using the expensive hand-carved set that resided there.

Dortmund was known by few but his reputation was feared by all, a strategic thinker who verged on genius, a man who used corporations, indeed nations, as chess pieces in the power games he played.

He was also a warlock.

The sun had now disappeared behind the buildings of the city, and the brightest stars were beginning to appear in the twilight sky. Dortmund stood gazing outward a moment longer, and then turned and walked back to the corner in which the dining table had, twenty minutes earlier, been laid out with a fine meal. He pulled out one of the chrome-trimmed chairs and sat down before his dinner. He picked up a crystal wineglass filled with a deep-red Burgundy, and sipped carefully, but instead of picking up a fork, he turned his attention to the business card and small, gift-wrapped package that lay beside his plate. Earlier in the day, his personal assistant, Naomi, had brought the items to him, informing him that a “Mr. Velli” had sent these by courier and had requested an evening appointment, preferably this same day, if possible. He had not yet opened the little box in its gold wrapper, thinking the man rather presumptuous. With his forefinger, he pushed them off to the side and turned his attention to his dinner.

When he had finished the meal, he dabbed at his lips with the linen napkin provided by the caterer, and laid it carefully beside his plate. Still ignoring the package, he studied the layout of pieces on the chess board to his right. The board was set up in the “Plaskett’s Puzzle” problem, which had been contrived by British Grandmaster Jim Plaskett in 1987 at the tournament in Brussels and could not be solved by any of the grandmasters present, save for one, who studied it for a few minutes, went for a walk in a nearby park, and came back with the solution. Dortmund was familiar with this particular puzzle, but had been attempting to develop an alternate solution for several days. He picked up the white bishop in position D1 and started to move it, and then set it back down in its original place.

There was something about that box. He could not pin down exactly why it made his senses tingle, but it did.

Ever since he was a young boy, he had possessed a special gift that no one else seemed to have. He was not able to read minds, but often he could pick up a sense of what people were thinking or feeling, could influence the weak-minded to do as he wished them to do. More than that, he could affect physical objects, could make things happen to his benefit. This had been a great advantage to him in school, and ever since had given him a weapon he could wield in the corporate world, unknown to his competitors.

His parents had provided him with a comfortable middle-class lifestyle, but did not possess the means to send him to a private school. In the public school, with his slim build and reticent manner, he had, at first, been a natural target for bullies. Few of them ever tried to torment him more than once, however, because they always seemed to fall victim to some sort of accident whenever they confronted him and so quickly learned not to trifle with young Dortmund. An attacker would be laid out by books mysteriously tumbling off shelves, or trip and fall for no apparent reason, often breaking an arm in the process, or be suddenly confronted by an instructor or an even larger bully with a grudge. The whole thing was as strange to Klaus as it was to his oppressors. It was as if whatever he wished to happen, would do so. Although he did not quite understand what was happening, he was grateful for this almost supernatural intervention that seemed to make his life easier.

Dortmund was as naturally introverted as a youngster as he would be in later life, having no interest in sports or school activities except for the chess club. He was a highly intelligent boy, and found school to be rather a bore, on the whole. He was able to grasp concepts almost immediately that his schoolmates labored over for days or weeks with little comprehension. So it was that, whenever he left the school grounds, he would head immediately for the precincts of the British Library, there to wander through the labyrinth of musty bookshelves, selecting whatever caught his interest. Often he would simply slide to the floor, book open in his lap, and read it from cover to cover there in the dim privacy of the library maze. He was an avaricious reader, and the books he liked best he took home and added to his growing collection, finding little difficulty in stealing them from the library. His tastes ran to science and engineering, as he avidly absorbed the workings and wonders of the natural world and the cleverness of human invention.

A few days before his sixteenth birthday, he found himself in the lowest level of the library, down in the basement where the lighting was sporadic and dim, and the custodians seldom bothered to brush away the dust. Klaus had never before been into this section, which was not open to the public but was used as storage for seldom-read books and a variety of clutter. He was not sure exactly how he had ended up here, save that he had felt a sense that he should come this way. The same sensation had guided him to a particular aisle and shelf. As he sat on the floor examining the titles on a row of dusty books, he thought he saw something hidden away behind the row. It was the source of the attraction he had felt, and quickly he began pulling books out of the shelf and piling them to either side on the floor.

Behind the books was a large and heavy volume of evident age, bound in a strange pale-colored leather. He seized it in both hands and dragged it out onto his lap. The gilt-embossed words on the cover were not in any language he comprehended, and before he could open the book, he was gripped by a surge of power, almost like an electric shock, that raced up his hands and throughout his body before dissipating without harming him.

He breathed in and out heavily, not yet understanding what he had experienced, and began to turn the pages in the book. It was ancient, beyond doubt, the words handwritten in brownish ink in a language, that like the title on the cover, he later learned was Latin. Scattered among the pages were numerous carefully-drawn illustrations, some being strange and exotic symbols, some of creatures like none he had ever seen in the numerous natural history books he had read. Many of the figures were human-like in general form, but of savage appearance with horns and fangs.

The boy closed the cover and slipped the heavy book into his backpack. Klaus knew that he had something unique here, and it was something that he had been meant to find. He could not read it, not yet, but in the years ahead he would carefully translate the Latin text that accompanied the illustrations, and he would learn that the rust-colored ink was human blood and the strange leather covers had been made with human skin. It was a grimoire, a book of magic written centuries ago, and it would become the source of arcane power that, combined with his superior intellect, would pave the way for his rise to power.  

Dortmund returned to the present from his musings, and then suddenly pushed his dinner dishes to the center of the table, out of his way, and reached out to take hold of the gift-wrapped package and accompanying business card. Saving the package for later, he first carefully examined the card. It had a broad border of scarlet, and the words were embossed into the surface of the paper. It said only:

M. E. Velli
Consultant
Tactical and Strategic Planning

At the bottom of the card was a London phone number. He tapped the edge of the card on the tabletop, considering, and then turned to the package. It was about three inches long, an inch high, and wrapped in a golden metallic paper, with a thin red ribbon around it tied into a simple bow on top. Dortmund studied it for a moment without touching it, wondering if it represented any sort of threat. He had made many enemies, and no doubt few would be displeased if he were to come to harm. He extended his senses into it, probing, the same gift that had continued to serve him so well all these years, but detected no danger in the contents. At last he made a decision, and quickly unwrapped the box.

Inside was a single chess piece, a king. Like his own set, it was hand-carved, but not of wood. He recognized the piece as having been crafted from elephant ivory, and very old, judging from the network of nearly microscopic cracks over the surface. The making of an ivory piece today was highly illegal, of course, international trade in ivory having been banned for years. He studied the piece, turning it in his fingers as he considered the implications. Whoever had sent this was sending a message, that the sender knew enough about him to be aware that chess was his private passion. That was very disturbing. He would set an investigator upon this tomorrow, to determine if the leak came from within his own office. If so, there would be unpleasant consequences for the person involved. Nevertheless, he was intrigued. It would be an interesting diversion, at least, to discover just who had sent this chess piece to him. If there was a threat involved, well, he had his own methods to deal with that.

He rose from the table and crossed the office to his desk, addressed the voice-activated phone, and ordered it to dial the number on the card.

THE WARLOCK EXECUTIVE
continues with Part 2
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Postanidup on Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:39 pm

Oooh nice, intriguing begining Joanne.
I am looking forward to the next chapter.
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Postszanne7000 on Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:26 am

What an excellent introduction to an extremely complex character!

Kudos to you and your hubbie, Joanne!



Thank you, Crissi, for my beautiful signature <3
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PostSamantha61 on Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:58 am

I finally got to this story..omgosh..I'm still your biggest fan ymd awesome job Joanne f watermelon watermelon :goldstars: watermelon watermelon


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PostEaster01 on Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:09 pm


The Warlock Executive
A Father Michael Story
by Joanne and Richard Easter (c) 2017




Part 2

An hour later, Klaus Dortmund sat behind his desk in his comfortable executive chair, sipping whiskey slowly from an after-dinner glass of Bailey’s Irish Crème, savoring the rich chocolate flavor, his back to the wall of glass windows that overlooked the bright lights of nighttime London. He surveyed the interior of his office as he awaited his visitor; Naomi would let him know when this Velli person arrived. He routinely worked long hours, and he expected no less from his personal assistant. His office space was larger than most of the flats in London with a starkly monotone décor in black and white. The room was floored with black Italian marble and furnished simply with a few ultra-modern pieces in glass and chrome and brilliant white, emphasizing the sweeping spaciousness of his personal domain.

His large, glass-topped desk was situated directly in front of the window wall, allowing him the opportunity to turn in his chair and contemplate the city. A single touch-screen computer monitor occupied one corner of the desk and a telephone on the other; centered between them was the ivory chess king, sitting atop Velli’s business card. There was nothing else on the surface, no papers or file folders or writing implements. On the side wall, close to the windows, was a credenza with a large painting in geometric abstract by the Russian artist Kazimir Malevich, for which he had paid 3.5 million pounds at Sotheby’s. The painting provided the single touch of color in the room, and concealed a fireproof safe in the wall behind it.

On the same wall, in the corner to the right of the entry, was a small grouping of furniture upholstered in white fabric that served as a comfortable conversation area for informal meetings. On the opposite wall was a long bank of twelve LCD televisions, arranged in a double row. Each was tuned to a different station with the sound muted, providing him with local and world news from several sources, weather information, and stock quotations. Below the television screens on the side near his desk was a wet bar, and further down was the dining table with its hand-carved chess set. The center of the room was empty.

There was a quiet tone from the phone on his desk. “Answer,” Dortmund directed the voice-activated device, without looking at it. He set the glass of Irish whiskey down on the desktop.

“Sir, Mr. Velli is here to see you,” Naomi informed him.

“Thank you, Naomi,” he said. “Please show him in, and then you can go home.”

“End,” he told the phone, and it obediently disconnected.

A few moments later, one of the black double doors from the outer office opened, and a man walked in. Dortmund leaned back in his chair and studied the man as he approached the desk. Velli bore a rather strong resemblance to the American actor George Clooney, slim in build with touches of gray in his hair, penetrating brown eyes, but a very pale complexion. He was impeccably dressed in a dark gray business suit, obviously tailored to fit well. Dortmund placed his age at somewhere in the middle fifties, with a lean but athletic build. He walked briskly and confidently across the expanse of black marble.

Dortmund gestured toward one of the chairs before his desk. “Please, have a seat, Mr. Velli.”

Velli gave a short nod. “Grazie, Signor,” he said, and carefully sat down. “I appreciate that you are willing to see me.” His Italian accent was slight, but noticeable.

“You are a vampire,” Dortmund observed mildly. It was a statement, not a question.

Velli again nodded, in acknowledgement. “I am that, Mr. Dortmund.” A faint smile played on his lips. “I see you are a man with highly developed powers of observation. I expected no less.” He smiled again, and this time allowed the tips of his fangs to show briefly.

Dortmund did not offer a smile in return, but continued to gaze at his visitor with cold eyes. “Let us not waste any more time in pleasantries.” He picked up the king piece from its place beside the computer keyboard and reached across the desk to set it in front of the vampire. “Obviously, you have been watching me. I am displeased by this; I value my privacy. What is your purpose? I warn you, I can be a very dangerous man if crossed.”

Velli shrugged. “I am but a man who collects and analyzes information, and provides advice to my clients. I would like to provide this service to you.”

Dortmund was not mollified. “I use vampires. I don’t take advice from them. I don’t need any more vampires.”

“Ah, but I am no ordinary vampire!” Velli raised a finger. “I have been doing this for a very long time, and I am quite good at it, I assure you! Where else can you find an advisor with five centuries of experience?”

“I see. And are you collecting information upon me for one of your clients?” There was quiet menace in his tone. Casually, Dortmund propped his right elbow on the desktop and spread his fingers; he concentrated briefly and a green fireball appeared in his palm and expanded to the size of a grapefruit.

“Signor Dortmund, you misunderstand me.” Velli appeared completely unruffled by the glowing fireball as it crackled and hissed. “I have no other clients at this time. I have studied you to find out what you want, what you need, so that I could better serve you.” He reached out and lightly touched the top of the chess piece. “And to get your attention, so that you might invite me to have this conversation with you.”

Dortmund let the fireball wink out; it disappeared with a faint pop and he lowered his hand and laced his fingers together on the desktop. “A John Calvert piece, is it not?”

Velli shrugged, apologetically. “Lund, actually. About 1820.”

The warlock nodded. “Hmm. Exquisite work. Very well. Let’s assume that I believe you, at least for the sake of our conversation. Why me? Why are you offering your services to me? What do you expect to get out of it?”

“You are a most interesting man, Mr. Dortmund. In the world of humans…and yes, also for those of us who are…different…you have become a force to be reckoned with. I have watched your rise in the corporate world with great interest, these last few years. You have come a long way, and I believe you will climb still farther. I would not wish to waste my talents in serving any lesser personality.” Velli spread his hands, palms upward. “As for myself, I simply wish to maintain the lifestyle I have become accustomed to.”

The warlock was not impressed. “Words, and more words. Tell me, Velli, about your clients. Who was your last employer?”

Velli shook his head. “Now, Mr. Dortmund, you know it would not be appropriate for me to tell you this. My previous employer’s secrets are his to keep, not mine to give away. But, as I said, I have been on this earth for a very long time, and I see no harm in speaking of men long dead.” He leaned back in his chair, completely relaxed even though Dortmund’s cold gaze gave him no encouragement. “When I was a living man, I was a resident of the city-state of Florence, Italy. This was more than five hundred years ago. My first employer was Lorenzo de' Medici, also known as Lorenzo the Magnificent, who was the ruler of the Florentine Republic. He was a great man, a capable administrator, and although I was still young, I learned much from him.…”

“Skip the biography,” Dortmund growled. “I know who you are. I doubt there is an executive on this planet who has not read your books. You were later imprisoned and tortured and pardoned, and then spent the rest of your life writing about politics. So, you were turned into a vampire. It happens. Tell me about the men who benefited from your great wisdom, someone from this century.”

“Ah, so many centuries, so many men! You want to know of someone of recent times. Very well.” Velli looked thoughtful. “In November of 1917 I traveled to Moscow and offered my services to one Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, whom history now remembers as Lenin. He was a brilliant man, but utterly ruthless and without mercy for enemies of the Party. It was a pleasure to work with such a man, to devise the strategies that would in time propel a rather backward nation into world prominence as the Soviet Union. Ah, those were interesting times! I stayed with him for seven years, until his death in 1924.

“The very next year, I went to America, and found a place as consigliere, or advisor, to a rising young Chicago businessman of my own nationality, one Alphonse Gabriel Capone. Another ruthless man, who was not afraid to exercise his power, although I did find him a bit…flamboyant. I provided him with my services until 1931, when the FBI, unable to pin anything else upon my client, convicted him of tax evasion and sent him to prison.” Velli now frowned slightly. “I found America and the American people rather to my liking, and decided to remain for a while. So it was that, after taking a bit of a vacation, I next found myself on the political team of Richard Nixon, beginning in 1951.”

“Yes, we all know how well that turned out,” Dortmund observed dryly.

Velli spread his hands again and shrugged. “I must be honest with you, Signor Dortmund. Not my best work, I admit. But Nixon was always a very suspicious man, very paranoid, and would not listen to advice. My talents were wasted upon him.

“We are now to the point where I must exercise discretion. For the last fifteen years, until just recently I have been advising one of the wealthiest men in America, in the world, in fact, and one with political ambitions. But I can say no more on this.”

“So why did you leave America?” Dortmund asked, genuinely curious.

Velli now smiled widely, displaying his fangs. “The Americans are fine people, but they eat poorly, all sorts of fatty fast foods. Signor, quite frankly, they taste bad!” He quickly became serious again. “But in truth, I came to London hoping to become part of your organization.”

“Do you play chess?” Dortmund asked suddenly.

“Ah, Signor! All of life is a game of chess! Of course I play.”

Dortmund led Velli over to the glass-topped dining table and bidding the Italian to sit at the end, took his own seat before the chessboard, and turned the board diagonally between them. Quickly Dortmund took down the Plaskett puzzle and set up the board for play. He concealed a white pawn and a black in his hands, and allowed Velli to make his choice. Dortmund opened the indicated hand to reveal a white pawn. “Opening move is to you,” he said, as Velli reclaimed the pawn.

Velli immediately moved a pawn to the E4 position, and two moves later it became clear to Dortmund that his opponent had launched the Sicilian Dragon Variation attack, a very aggressive strategy that had the potential to turn into a blood-curdling free-for-all. Eight moves later, Dortmund sourly contemplated the board and wondered how he had managed to land his king in such a trap. Seeing no way out, he grunted and said, “Mate in four,” and reached out with a forefinger to topple his king. He looked up and said, “Velli, I am beginning to find you interesting.”  A pause. “Set them up again, will you.”

Sixty minutes later the score was two games to Velli, one to Dortmund, and the Italian vampire had a job.

“Call me Mack,” the dapper Florentine said with a broad smile, and the two shook hands, the warlock and the vampire.


THE WARLOCK EXECUTIVE
continues with Part 3
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PostSamantha61 on Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:58 pm

Nice..this is going to be very interesting watermelon can't wait to read the next Part watermelon
Thank you Joanne ymd


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
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Postcharmful on Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:21 pm

Lol, I read this most recent chapter and Loved the references to powerful men in history and their downfalls. Their power with a twist of the supernatural is a very interesting concept. And a big LOL about Americans not tasting good anymore because they keep eating fatty foods. I like your writing. I will read more (sometimes I read stories backwards)
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PostSamantha61 on Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:42 am

Rachel have you read the whole saga..you have to..omgosh.. :Spring2 summerB7


Last edited by Broomhilda61 on Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:07 pm; edited 1 time in total


Thank you so much Crissi, it's beautiful
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I am so proud of all of you..
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Postanidup on Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:14 am

A very interesting chapter, Joanne. I too found the reference to important people quite funny. then also, it causes the story to come alive!
Loved it and looking forward to the next one.
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Postszanne7000 on Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:01 am

"The Americans...they taste bad!"

lol... but, unfortunately for Vampires, probably true...

...at least that would make me safe! heheheheh



Thank you, Crissi, for my beautiful signature <3

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