BOOK DETAILS

Hell Beckons [Kindle Edition]

Hell Beckons [Kindle Edition]

by Richard L. Becker

ISBN: B00NX63R3K

Publisher Midnight Frost Books

Published in Mystery & Thrillers/Mystery, Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

Sandy’s a witch who violates the Wiccan Creed by casting harmful magic. Johnny’s a rock singer driven to kill. They cut a bloody trail across America aided by Ravagers – demons feeding on pain.

After a terrorist attack, the President asks Sandy for help. Former lovers, they are linked by an unspeakable act.

Sandy, part-demon and part-angel, is a woman desired by many and feared by all, taking anyone who will follow on a journey steeped in violence and lust, to a destination known only to her.

And if Sandy knows anything, it’s that using magic can lead to unforeseen and tragic results.

Sample Chapter

The first bomb exploded in New Jersey. The minivan had been one of many vehicles stretching away from the elementary school, and the detonation occurred just as the van reached the main entrance at dismissal time. The blast wave tore through students and teachers and parents. Above the school on a pole, an American flag fluttered in the warm breeze as metal and glass sliced open flesh.

****

She grasped at her stomach, staggering in pain.

The plate glass windows of the diner shattered inward, becoming daggers that stabbed at the helpless customers. Blood streaked the walls and people lay sprawled among the tables, bleeding and butchered.

She blinked.

“Sandy?” One of the other waitresses took hold of her arm.

The vision faded. Wincing, she straightened. “I’m okay, really.” She forced herself to smile at the older woman. “That time of the month for me. A cramp. I’m fine.”

A customer beckoned from a booth and the older woman hurried for a pot of coffee.

The pain built. She knew it was not a pain that one could survive.

She didn’t bother to remove the apron or nametag. The diner’s manager chased her into the parking lot, threatening her job. She gave him the finger.

As she drove, she struggled to concentrate on the road and ignore the pain building inside her. Fire trucks and ambulances raced past her car.

She parked several blocks from the elementary school on a neighborhood side street. A few people stood on front porches, crying. Many others rushed towards the sirens. She hurried with them onto school grounds.

A wall of air shimmered and she stepped through it. The line of vehicles stretched away from the main entrance. The van slowed. Children with backpacks streamed from the school, some holding art projects. Parents milled about on the warm spring day. She studied the license plate and walked up to the driver. He was young and thin, with dark hair and a trace of a mustache.

She could watch, but not intervene, in the past.

“We will meet someday,” she told him, as he reached to the seat beside him and threw a switch.

The van buckled and inflated like a balloon, rose off the ground and then popped. The driver’s face melted as he was incinerated. She watched each piece of metal and plastic and glass as it tore free of the van and hurtled through space.

The kindergarten teacher had been walking away from the entrance, leading a few of her tiny charges to a waiting bus. The shock wave flung her backward and slammed her into the brick wall of the school building. Metal shards drove into her guts.

The air shimmered. Paramedics hunched over children and adults, tending to grievous wounds. A man sat on the grass by the flagpole, most of his left arm and leg gone. Blood flowed onto wet grass. He held a woman’s severed hand.

The air reverberated with screams.

Sandy knelt beside the kindergarten teacher.

“I thought of you,” her friend whispered, blood spraying from her lips and coating her teeth. “In my mind, I called out for you. My kids?”

Sandy looked at the tiny, broken bodies on the grass. “They are gone,” she said. “I’m sorry.” Her friend began to cry.

A rescue worker examined the wounds and caught Sandy’s eyes. A negative shake of the head, and he moved to aid another victim.

“Can you help me?” her friend asked, her time so short. “Please - so that I can see him again. Help me. Please.”

The blade sprung from the handle. Sandy leaned forward as if to listen to last words, and no one saw the blade passing between ribs and finding her friend’s heart.

The pain faded from the schoolteacher as her final tears rolled down her cheeks. “Thank you,” she whispered, and died.

Sandy palmed the blade. From the people around her, she felt confusion and sorrow and death.

2.

He left the others in the Situation Room, debating options.

Everyone had something to say. None of it made a damn bit of difference.

Upstairs, the President of the United States hunched over the toilet in his private bathroom off the Oval Office and vomited. He clutched his sides and continued to puke until he was coughing up just spittle and air, and tears blurred his eyes.

When he was sitting at the conference table in the Situation Room, listening to the most powerful officials in the country babble, he had been thinking of her.

On the computer screen that dominated one wall of the Situation Room, blinking white lights pinpointed the bombing sites. Next to each blinking light were two numbers: the number of dead in red, the number of wounded in yellow. Each time the President had looked at the screen, the red and yellow numbers increased.

The President wondered if she was still pretty.

He rinsed out his mouth, rubbed water on his face and left the bathroom.

The Oval Office was empty. He sat at his massive desk and turned on one of the flat-panel televisions with the remote control. It showed CNN, reporting on the attacks. He watched the coverage, his hands folded before him on the desk.

Facing him on the desk were photographs of his wife and daughters, a pen set adorned with the seal of his Ivy League alma mater, and a telephone. There were no papers, nor a computer of any sort; he had no calendar – his aides directed him from appointment to appointment and place to place.

He had been in office for three years; unlike his predecessors, the office had not yet aged him.

CNN continued to report from the scenes, but there was no new information. Instead, there were just the ghastly images, endlessly repeating. The suicide bombers had struck in seven different states; all of the bombs detonated within the span of a few minutes in front of seven elementary schools as the pupils were let out, hurrying to their homes.

Over two hundred were dead, and the toll mounted with each passing second. Hundreds more suffered in hospitals, many beyond hope. Some were adults – teachers and parents waiting to pick up their children. Most were students, all of whom were younger than twelve.

The television crews were at each of the scenes, in some cases even before the ambulances. One or two cameras at each site fed the carnage to the nation, while other video crews waited at hospitals. There were not enough ambulances for all of the wounded, and medical personal had to be rushed in from surrounding communities. Minivans clustered about emergency room entrances, leather seats splattered with blood and skin, people begging for help, and there weren’t enough stretchers to bring all of the injured inside, or doctors to treat the maimed.

So scary, he thought. CNN had as much information as the professionals in the Situation Room.

Since the Second Mideast War began, hundreds of suspected terrorists had been questioned in overseas detention facilities. According to his legal experts, the interrogations conducted by U.S. armed forces and intelligence personnel bordered on torture.

But the terrorist attacks continued.

Maybe we’ve tortured the wrong people, the President thought. Maybe we haven’t tortured enough people.

I have to make hard decisions, he thought. I have to stop the slaughter. This is for our national defense.

It had been a month to the day since the fatalities on the Golden Gate Bridge. Three months since the hospital bombings.

All eyes in the nation would soon turn from the carnage to him.

What the hell can I tell them? he wondered.

Bruce Davidson entered the Oval Office. He had gained almost a hundred pounds since college, a marathon runner’s frame bloating into a middle age of long days and nights, bad food and little sleep, and no exercise.

“The words of wisdom from my advisers?” the President asked.

His Chief of Staff took a deep breath and looked through the patio doors to the wide expanse of lawn. “We have the license plates of five of the vehicles used by the bombers. Most were bought for cash above their blue book value within the last few weeks. They were all older vans with lots of miles on them. It’s early. Our people are working on it.”

“What about the schools?”

“No connection found yet, other than they’re elementary schools on the east coast with dismissal times at 3:20. We’re going to ask all public and private schools to remain closed for the rest of the week, while we come up with guidelines to protect them. How far to keep cars from the buildings, establishing a minimum police or National Guard presence for a few weeks, things like that.”

“We can’t protect them,” the President said. “This is a nation of targets. Schools, hospitals, office buildings, apartment complexes. Nuclear power plants and chemical factories. We can’t defend everything.”

Last May, a factory worker had walked into a one-room schoolhouse in rural Kentucky and shot eleven students to death. Last October, a teenager brought an AK-47 assault rifle to his high school and opened fire in the hallways. Two teachers and six students were buried a few days later.

Those were not terrorist attacks. That was just daily life in America. No one expected the President of the United States to stop that kind of violence. But one foreigner detonates a car bomb and the entire country demands action from him.

The fucking media makes fun of me, the President thought. They call me a simpleton, an idiot. They think I’m dumb. They think I started the Second Mideast War without justification, and that all of the dead and dying, on foreign shores and at home, are my sole responsibility. My fault. All my fault.

He resisted the urge to bring his hands to his head and instead kept them folded on the desk, with no expression on his face.

All my fucking fault, according to the media.

What would they say if they knew what I am about to do, to try and stop it?

The enemy is evil, the President believed. Good cannot wait for evil to strike. Good must seek out and destroy evil. It is the only way.

He thought of her, and felt his stomach roll again. He swallowed hard to hold back another surge of vomit.

I am the President of the United States, he thought. The decision is mine.

“We can’t protect them,” the President said. “We can’t defend all of the schools. We can’t defend every hospital and every building.”

“I agree. But we have to make it look like we’re trying.”

“I don’t want to defend. I want to attack.”

“The Joint Chiefs are going to be presenting military options in a few hours.”

“We’ve done that. We’ve hit the nations that sponsor these bastards. That’s not enough. This isn’t about nations. It’s about good and evil. We need to fight this another way, with other means.”

Davidson’s face turned white.

“Find that bitch,” the President ordered.

The decision was made. He felt suddenly calm, and turned off the television.

“You’ll bring down this government,” Davidson said. “Do you understand?”

“Find her,” the President ordered. “Find her now.”

Continues...

Excerpted from "Hell Beckons [Kindle Edition]" by Richard L. Becker. Copyright © 2014 by Richard L. Becker. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Richard L. Becker

Richard L. Becker

Richard L. Becker graduated from Lehigh University and Yale Law School, and writes fiction and practices family law in the Kansas City area.

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