When Hell Awakens, what's left is a very Grim World...
***This is book 2... I suggest you begin here**
Thoughts of gods and demons, witches and sorcerers, Heaven and Hell, magic and spells, all those sorts of things never seemed possible to the everyday person. The Barclays, however, were anything but average. Lord Barclay far-surpassing them all. Katherine—having come from a long line of wealth and prosperity—was never seen out of place or manners and had never been the kind of woman given to believing in fairy-tales or urban legends; she had no reason to do so, until her own life started experiencing things that could not be explained. When her mind began to explore the unimaginable, the thoughts of gods and demons and the unimaginable became imaginable.
“Shh,” Tom whispered and held his finger over his lips as he crouched behind the garden fence that was covered in vines and motioned for Henry to do the same. “If we hide here, we won’t be found.”
Henry nodded and crouched down behind the fence, hiding from their servant. “Why are we hiding?” Henry whispered, peeking his head around the side of the fence to take a look at the servant who was still searching for them along the other side of the garden, not realizing that they had gone all the way to the far end and had climbed over the border.
Tom raised his head above the top just long enough to see the servant had moved past, then he motioned for Henry to follow him into the tree behind them, and as they climbed all the way to the top, he said, “We are hiding because if we do not, Father is going to ship us off to that miserable school. I do not want to go to that school. Do you?”
Henry shook his head.
“So, do as I say and stay quiet,” Tom held his finger to his lips again as he steadied himself on a high tree branch and he pulled Henry up next to him.
“You check down by the creek and I’ll look out in the field!” the groundskeeper said to the stable servant as the twins’ father stepped out the back door of the grand house with his arms crossed and their mother wiped tears from her eyes.
“Do not worry, my dear. They certainly couldn’t have gone far,” Lord Patrick said to his wife as she paced worried circles around the largest shrub in the center of the large garden.
“How is it that my two oldest children—who should be my most responsible—cause me the most trouble of all of them?” She handed baby Amelia to the nursemaid and wiped her own eyes, trying to ease her fear.
“It’s going to be alright, Ma’am. Boys will be boys,” the nursemaid said before walking away holding baby Amelia.
Katherine stared out the back gardens for many minutes as the grounds were heavily searched, until she walked to the far end and stood underneath the tree where the boys hid and she sniffled and whispered, “Just come home, my loves. It’s a grim world out there.”
Henry and Tom looked to one another as she grabbed her temples and closed her eyes, pursing her lips together into a thin line, just standing, frozen and still as she held her hands to the sides of her head.
The two 10-year-old boys hurried to climb out of the tree to help their mother and holler for their father.
“Help!” Tom yelled.
“Someone! Please!” Henry shouted.
“Mother? Are you alright?” Tom asked.
“What’s the matter with her?” Henry looked to Tom.
Tom shook his head, unsure.
Their father was to their side in only a moment.
“Boys! What’s going on over here?! Where have you been?!”
They didn’t respond but pointed to their mother who was removing her hands from the sides of her head and she looked to Lord Patrick.
“Kate? Are you alright? What happened? What’s the matter?”
Katherine was becoming something very powerful yet had not shared it with any of her family members. As she began to age and began giving birth to children, her body had episodes of events that even the most delicate of words could not do them justice. An ability like hers—foresight—was sure to gain attention, and she had many mixed emotions going on inside herself. Having already experienced many visions, her heart felt heavy in the things she’d seen and she had a sense of urgency in wanting to protect her family.
She looked to her sons. “Everything is fine… for now.”
“This is the third vision of Henry I’ve had this week,” Katherine said to her husband as they prepared themselves for the day. She nodded to their servants who curtsied and bowed and exited the chambers to allow them to speak in private.
Lord Patrick turned to face his wife. “I think it’s time we use Charlotte.”
Katherine gasped and placed her hand over her mouth, shaking her head. “No, Patrick. She’s so small.”
Patrick approached his wife’s side and took her hand in his, reassuring her. “It will be fine. I promise. Charlotte’s powers are great and unique, but mine are greater…”
Katherine snatched her hand away and snapped, “Then you do it! She’s only a child!” Katherine stood and walked away. Lord Patrick hurried after as Katherine left down the hall, nodding to the whispering servants as he chased after his wife.
“My dear, you needn’t worry about our child…”
“Which child?” Katherine stopped in the hallway and snapped. “Henry, of whom I’ve had three disturbing visions this week, or Charlotte, our three-year-old daughter of whom you want to use her time manipulation powers to benefit Delius?”
“You know exactly what I mean, Patrick. Now leave my presence; I am finished speaking with you.”
“Why do you look so ill-humored today?” Arlington asked Abbi as she trudged down the stairs still in her pajamas early one chilly autumn morning. Glaring at him— as he stood dressed in his usual of all black and his hooded black cloak and sipped a cup of coffee— she replied, “It’s been eight weeks since Tom was sent to Hell and I fear that nothing will ever be right again. I need you to do something about it or I need some closure.” She wiped her soggy eyes and walked into the kitchen to pour a cup of Arlington’s terrible brew.
Arlington groaned and fluttered his eyes as the disgust he had for her ongoing obsession over Tom became very evident.
“I don’t know what it is you expect of me. You’re the one who sent him to this perpetual state of damnation. I don’t know how to rectify this situation.”
Abbi’s face soured at the bitter taste of Arlington’s coffee, and she reached to add more sugar as she said, “Take me to England.”
Arlington spewed coffee out of his mouth and across the kitchen counter. “Excuse me? You want me to what?”
Abbi wiped up the coffee and then perched herself on the counter next to where he stood, removing the mug from his hand.
“Take me to Greenvalley. I want to go to the Barclay mansion and visit the family cemetery. I need closure.”
Feeling very puzzled at her request, he took back his mug and moved to refill it. “You do realize he isn’t actually buried there, don’t you?”
“Of course I do, but I remember Tom saying that they had put up a tombstone for Henry when he went missing and I figured that the family had done the same for Tom.” Abigail sighed and shrugged as she hopped off the counter. “Please, Arlington. I need to do something other than sit around your house.”
Arlington set his mug down and pulled his wallet from his back pocket. He handed her a credit card and said, “I’m not escorting you. Take that friend of yours and be sure to mind yourself. I don’t want a phone call telling me you’re in some kind of trouble.”
Abbi rolled her eyes and took the credit card, setting her coffee down. “What do you think we are going to do? I mean, I can text Tom’s mother and see if I can get in touch with her if that would make you feel any better.”
“Do as you wish, but know that I’m completely against all of this.”
Abbi nodded and her eyes sparkled as she clutched the credit card in her hands. “Oh, thank you, Arlington!” Surprising even herself, she leaped forward and threw her arms around him for a giant hug.
“Alright, well, there’s no need for any of this. I am your father after all. It is my business to take care of you.” Abbi released her embrace and moved away, nodding with a smile. “I know. It’s just so… fatherly. That’s all. Thanks.”
Arlington walked toward the kitchen doorway and without turning back to look at her he hollered, “I’ve got some business in which I need to attend. I won’t be back until late this evening. I left a list of groceries if you go to the store. Money is in the drawer. Stay put until I tell you it’s fine to make the arrangements.”
“Bye.” Abbi replied as he walked out of the house.
As soon as he was gone, Abbi rushed upstairs to her laptop to check for flights and to text Lacy.
Abbi to Lacy: Hey! Want to take a trip?
Once her computer was logged on, she opened up the browser and began looking for cheap flights.
“Ugh!” she spewed after finding not one reasonable flight. “I wish I could just use Tom’s flight crew. Then I wouldn’t need to be doing any of this.”
Lacy didn’t text back immediately, and Abbi’s impatience made her feel antsy. She needed to distract her mind with some tv, eventually dozing off.
“Damnit…” Tom said when he heard a steady pounding on his front door. He stood off the couch and parted the dark curtains to look out the living room windows only to notice Arlington standing there and a sigh of frustration escaped from his lips as he heard Arlington pound on the door again.
“I know you’re home, Barclay. Open the door.”
Tom buttoned up his shirt and answered the door. “Arlington, I figured you’d be around eventually.”
EIGHT WEEKS PRIOR
Tom paced the length of the darkness wondering how he was going to use Charlotte’s power to his advantage but his thoughts betrayed him as he and Charlotte had tried numerous times already to reverse time and were coming up empty-handed.
“Are you ready? Quit acting like a baby and come sit down. I can try something else, you know,” Charlotte said, motioning for Tom to sit.
“I’m not acting like a baby. I’m thinking,” he said, sitting down in front of her, and she placed her palms on the sides of his head, focusing.
“You say potato…”
Tom sighed loudly at her remark and rand his hands over his face, resting his elbows on his knees as Charlotte knelt down to lift his chin and look in his eyes.
“Do be patient, brother. Yours isn’t the easiest mind to see into, after all. You have created quite the barrier for me to cross and for some reason, it’s especially difficult today.”
“It’s not like I do it on purpose,” he replied.
Charlotte tilted her head, disbelieving, and she closed her eyes to focus on her current task.
“See anything?” Tom asked, several minutes later, removing her hands from his head.
“I just don’t think it’s going to work, Tom,” Charlotte said as she returned her hands to Tom’s temples and concentrated once more.
“It will work. You’re not focusing,” he said closing his eyes and concentrating on the scene that he thought would turn everything around again.
“I’m trying. You need to shut up so I can think! Are your thoughts clear and thinking only on whatever I need them to be?”
“Yes. Try again. This needs to work,” he said, taking a firm hold of her hands, putting them back to the sides of his head once more.
As her palms rested against the sides of his head, Charlotte tried her hardest to tap into whatever scene was in his mind without success. “No, Tom. I give up!” she hollered out and removed her hands from his head, tossing them into the air.
“I keep trying the same thing, Tom. Why don’t I do something different?”
“Just once more,” Tom said.
Charlotte shook her head, not wanting to agree, but they were trapped in Hell with nowhere else to go and she figured she had nothing better to do with her time. After a few more attempts, Charlotte said, “It’s not working, Tom. I’m tapping into nothing. I don’t know why, but I can’t see into your past at all.”
Tom walked a few feet away and started pacing and scratching his forehead, thinking on why Charlotte wasn’t able to use her time manipulation power on him down there. Once he had exhausted his mind on thinking and pondering, he turned back to Charlotte—who was sitting and looking through a spell book she’d bargained with a demon to fetch for her—and he said, “Charlotte, you are my only hope of getting out of this pit. You’ve got to try whatever you can to get into my mind and transform my past.”
Charlotte looked up from her spell book and said, “I know, brother, I just don’t know what else to do. It’s just not working. When I try to see what you are showing me, it’s like something or someone is blocking me. Maybe it’s you.” She stood and approached Tom, taking ahold of his hand, “Are you nervous? Are you sure your mind is clear? Perhaps I can transport us somewhere else first and then try past-manipulation?”
“I don’t think that will work. Unless you are able to transform my past, there’s only one way in and out,” he said, pointing to the portal entry.
“That is usually true. However, our mother has resurrected you not using that entry. At least let me try. Maybe it’s the moment in time that you are choosing. Why are you choosing that time? Perhaps it’s become corrupt. Maybe pick a different spot?”
He wondered for a moment on why that would even matter and recalled that Charlotte could only visit each moment in time only once, and he thought for a few minutes on if it was possible she had already revisited the time he had chosen; nevertheless, they tried again. Charlotte walked over and took his hand, motioning for him to bite his finger to allow some blood to drip onto her hand and she started saying a spell while he questioned her.
“Quia sanguis est anima eius, coniungit in corpus illius. Reperio in unum super orbem ...”
Tom interrupted, thinking none of it made sense. “Charlotte! You don’t even have what our mother uses for resurrection. I don’t even see…”
Before he could finish speaking, he vanished out of Hell and dropped onto the kitchen floor of Arlington’s house.
“Nice to see you survived your time in Hell. Did you learn your lesson?”
“Arlington?!” Tom said, shaking himself off as he stood and looked around, very surprised at his whereabouts.
“Don’t be so shocked. You should’ve known you’d end up here eventually,” Arlington said as he walked away, motioning for Tom to follow.
“I suppose I didn’t realize you had this kind of power,” Tom said, hurrying behind Arlington into the living room.
Arlington paused in the wide-framed doorway and turned his head back to say, “Please lower your voice. I don’t want her…” He paused and pointed to the couch where Abigail was currently curled up with a blanket, sleeping.
“You don’t want her to know about me,” Tom said, glancing into the living room to Abbi.
“Yes,” Arlington said. He pointed to the front door and waved his hand for Tom to follow him out to the front porch.
“Then why did you bring me back?” Tom asked as Arlington closed the front door behind them.
Tom paused in his signature pacing and scratching of his forehead and looked at Arlington where he stood with his back rested on the door, arms crossed over his chest.
“Then who did?”
“Someone with the capabilities to do so. Now, move along. I’m not accustomed to guests.” Arlington gestured a wave of his hand for Tom to leave.
Tom turned to descend the porch stairs but turned back to look at Arlington as he said, “And who would that be?”
“All the way to the end of the street, make a left, and two rights; when you get to the stop sign turn right.”
“That’s Abigail’s street.”
“I believe it is, isn’t it?”
Tom turned and walked to the end of the drive but looked back to say, “Abigail doesn’t have that kind of power.”
“This is true.”
“What kind of stunt are you pulling? Abigail is here. Why are you sending me to her house?”
“I’m sending you to her street. I never said it was her house. You wanted to know how you were summoned out of Hell.”
As soon as Arlington said those words, Tom had his answer. He wouldn’t be going to Abigail’s street. Instead, he turned to face Arlington.
“Why am I back?”
“Same reason as before.”
“You don’t want her dead.”
“Right on time,” Henry said. He sat up and slipped on his jeans, walking to the door as he fastened them.
“Tom,” he said, opening the door, “Fancy seeing you here.”
“You texted me, Henry,” Tom replied, stepping inside. “What’s this about?”
“I see you brought your new love interest,” Henry said, looking at Abigail.
Tom ignored Henry’s remark and walked over to the kitchen cabinet, helping himself to Henry’s vodka, pouring a shot. “Just explain the text, Henry.”
Abigail was intimidated, in spite of Tom’s obvious lackadaisical attitude about it, and felt very uncomfortable being where she was. She positioned herself in such a way so she was standing behind Tom but was still able to see Henry and was also able to see into the living room.
“Nah. Not yet,” he said and he took a few steps closer to Abbi, “Claire!” Henry yelled, eyeing up Abbi as she hid even further behind Tom with each step Henry took.
“What?” Claire whined as she walked in. As soon as Claire saw Abigail, her whole attitude changed. “This is her…” Claire said and approached Abigail, her eyes taking in all there was to see of her half-sister.
Tom’s protectiveness heightened as he saw Claire’s interest in Abigail, though, and the redness around his eyes increased.
“Back away,” Tom said as Claire approached.
“Someone’s a little protective. Sister, you’ve got yourself your own vampire there, do you?”
“As do you,” Abigail said and pointed to a shirtless Henry.
Claire glanced next to her to Henry and blew Henry a kiss, who winked at her in return. She looked back at Abigail. “You’re not how I imagined you in person.”
“How so?” Abigail asked.
Claire moved closer. “I’m just curious how someone who comes from our father can be so… petite.”
Tom and Henry looked to each other and to Abigail, smiling in unison for a brief moment, until Henry said, “Tom has always been fond of petite framed women.”
Jealousy surged through Abigail and her eyes shot a glance to Tom at Henry’s words, knowing Henry was speaking of Scarlett.
“Just tell me about the text, Henry,” Tom said, pouring another shot, and trying to change the subject.
Henry smirked and looked to Abigail. “Did you figure it out?” he said to Tom.
“What does he mean?” Abigail asked.
After looking at Abigail and Henry, Tom said, “I’m not pissing around with you, Henry. I know you have Lacy. Where is she?”
“How about we play a fun game instead?” Henry said.
“A game?” Abigail asked. “Tom? Tell me what’s going on.”
Claire decided to play her own part in this, and she walked over to Abigail. “You know, I don’t see a likeness in us at all,” Claire ran her finger along Abbi’s cheek and played with her hair. “What about you, Henry? Do you see us as sisters?”
“Nah,” he said, shaking his head and crossing his arms over his chest.
Tom was standing near Claire and said, “Whatever you’re doing, Claire, give it a rest. Get away from Abigail.” He grabbed her by the hair and pulled her away from Abigail, tossing her to the floor, also forcing a slight growl from Henry.
“Is that anger I detect from you, brother?” Tom asked. “Have I found your weakness?”
Henry looked to Claire as she stood back up and he said, “I have the same weaknesses as all other vampires.”
“Is that so? Then you won’t mind if I do this…” Tom snatched Claire away and bit into her neck, drinking her blood forcefully.
Abigail let out a horrified gasp. “Tom!”
Tom looked at Henry and watched his reaction as he continued drinking Claire’s blood.
“Tom!” Abigail yelled again. She looked to Henry, panicking. Abbi was all hysterics— her hand over her mouth and pulling at her hair, wanting Henry to do something. “Oh, god! Tom, stop! What are you doing?!” She looked to Henry once more as Claire’s eyes closed and her body went limp.
Henry leaned against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest, as he watched Claire’s face turn pale, contemplating his actions.
Like what you've read? Buy Book One Here: Hell Awakens
Book two is coming soon!
© 2019 Meg Sechrest All Rights Reserved
This is only an excerpt. This novel may soon be purchased in its entirety in either digital or paperback version.
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