Below is the first chapter of Book Two of the Heaven’s Raign Series titled The Sha-Li. See what Rain and her family are up to now. Enjoy.
1 New Beginnings
Rain spins and cleanly beheads a demon while in her ears plays The Roots’ Next Movement, the bass thumping with each beat of her heart. Her sixth smoke as she has begun to call it lately. She quickly looks around as she stalks her prey. A dozen demons surround her, pacing, shrieking, hissing, ready for battle, for war. She doesn’t flinch. Their attempts at asserting dominance fail as Rain looks on unimpressed. These fallen and broken ex-angels are not given the benefit of any physical reaction other than a wry smile and a steel glaze. Their return to their pit is coming.
Elsewhere. “Do you know where Rain is?” Father Thomas asked SMC seemingly out of nowhere. “I haven’t seen her all day.”
“You know where she is,” SMC responds before kissing Father Thomas on the cheek as she lays in his lap on the couch watching a movie he has no interest in. But she’s his wife and he loves her so he tolerates the non-action, non-life and death situations, sappiness they’re watching on the television in front of them.
Rain takes the Archangel Sword and moves like a cartoonish whirlwind cutting down demons returning them to their unholy place of non-rest. She cuts through the neck of the first demon as it charged recklessly at her. She spins, beheads the second one rushing at her, pivots, cuts the wing off the third, drops to a knee and cuts the legs off the same demon. She moves slightly to her left, stands and beheads the fourth demon relentlessly advancing on her position, bends over, beheads the third demon, the one she just cut the legs off of, then turns to face the rest of the demon horde as the black smoke from the four demon she’s vanquished rises and dissipates behind her.
David Allen walks into the room where Father Thomas and SMC are watching tv. “Are you guys finished unpacking? Do you need anything else?” he asks.
“David we’re fine. You don’t have to keep asking,” replied SMC. “We just needed a break. You know a little down time. Are you done with the security system check?”
Rain spikes the Archangel Sword into the ground. She then motions with both hands for the remaining demons to come and fight. A demon, suckered into her ploy advances on Rain. She quickly grabs the Archangel Sword from the ground.
“Yes. It’s all configured, installed and up and running,” replied David Allen. “I hope this place is starting to feel like home for you two?”\
As the demon closes in Rain doesn’t move.
“It is. Camp Samitah is great. We’re all moved in. Everything feels like home. Thanks again for the move,” said Father Thomas.
The demon horde all rush towards Rain taking the lead of the first.
“No problem. You’re good with the camera system and all the security protocols, how everything works?” asks David Allen.
“David!” said SMC sternly yet lovingly as only a parent could as she stared at him. “We’re good, you can relax. Everything has been taken care of. You’ve crossed every t and dotted every i. We are fine.”
“Ok, if you say so. And I like what you’re calling your new home, Camp Samitah, a throwback to the old covanese. Feels warm, welcoming. I like it.”
As she waited to the very last millisecond to give the charging demon a false sense of hope, and so quickly the naked eye could barely register what happened Rain took the head of the demon at the front of the swarm.
“Thanks. I’ll give Father Thomas some credit here, the name was his idea,” said SMC as Father Thomas tried to hold back his smile.
“Cool. You know I had to make sure everything was ok,” said David Allen. “Not ok. Perfect. Now, since you’re all good here do you know where Rain is? She’s not answering her phone.”
Rain looks over the empty battlefield, which appears as if it was exhaling the black smoke itself, black smoke which was slowly disappearing with every second. Her victory cigar.
Father Thomas looks at SMC and smiles before turning his head back to David Allen. “You know where she is. She’s where she always is these days.”
“I checked there first. She wasn’t there,” said David Allen.
“She was there,” said SMC. “She just didn’t want to be seen. She’s always training even when you think she’s not.”
“Stealth mode?” said David Allen both questioning and stating simultaneously.
“Stealth mode,” replied SMC.
“One of these days she’s going to turn invisible,” replied David Allen. “I’m going to go get her then. If you’re all set up here then we need to talk. All of us. We’re going to make that move we talked about pretty soon.”
“What’s pretty soon?” asked Father Thomas.
“Tomorrow?” asked SMC.
“Yes, tomorrow. Larry’s dad has it all set-up. He has a contact who will take us to the Sha-Li. But first we need to do something for the contact,” said David Allen.
“What is it?” asked Father Thomas.
“That’s why we need to get Rain. I’ll answer your question but it is best if we all have this conversation at once with everybody in the same room. I’m going to go get her now and we’ll be right back.”
“Remember stealth mode,” said Father Thomas.
David Allen walks out the front door of Father Thomas and SMC’s new home. The juxtaposition of the two sights still astonishes him. Their home is about twenty minutes outside of Philadelphia. After the bomb went off in their covanese, while they were away in Italy, Larry Kreith called in another favor from his dad. It wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last. Neither of the two, Larry Kreith nor his father knew who owed the other more but they both knew they owed each other more than they could count so the son’s request was immediately taken care of. SMC, Father Thomas, and Rain would not be returning to St. Samitah’s Covanese. As they packed and left their previous home, the Covanesium only knew they were on a holy sabbatical with no set in stone end date due to the bombing of their covanese. The Covanesium was told they would check in with their whereabouts once a month but no one really knew nor cared when or if they would actually return thanks to a little help. They were still part of the Covanesium while effectively being off the grid.
Their new home is set-up on acres of an old long vacated farm, the land still dotted with dandelions and multiple buildings in various states of disrepair. This land hasn’t been used for anything other than a horse stable for many years. The outer façade of the main house still has the look of a worn-down old farmhouse. But that’s just the façade as looks can be more than deceiving. Underneath, every wall, every beam, the entire structure has been redone, rebuilt, and fortified. They’ve transformed the inside of this old battered building into a warm home for Father Thomas, and SMC, complete with a top-notch state of the art security system. Rain has her own separate building which has been transformed into her own apartment though she rarely stays there. She spends most of her time in the main house with Father Thomas and SMC where they keep a room for her when she wasn’t training. There is a third building which has been restored and updated. A guesthouse holding four bedrooms for four people; namely David Allen, Larry Kreith, Matieus and extra room for a guest if it is ever needed. The location worked out perfectly as David Allen and Larry Kreith have their own homes within a mile Camp Samitah which leaves Matieus alone at times with free roam of the house.
Rain is training in one of the old barns. It is the last building completely transformed and rebuilt. Once you open the barn doors, the building looks like a bigger version of her old dojo in the old covanese. All four of the buildings in Camp Samitah connect by hidden underground passageways though only Rain tends to use them. For privacy’s sake.
“Rain, I know you are here,” said David Allen as he carefully opens the barn door.
Rain sneaks up behind David Allen and takes the knife she has in her hand and sticks it in the back of his neck making sure he feels the pinch of the blade but makes sure she doesn’t cut him. “Do not move. You need me for something D.A.?”
“When did you start calling me D.A.?” he asks as he tries not to move.
“I just thought of it. Everyone goes by initials now. You don’t like it, I’ll go back to go back to calling you David,” she said as she stepped away from him and slipped the knife into a sheath inside a hidden pocket. She then took off the virtual reality goggles she had been training with.
David Allen turned around to face Rain. “D.A.’s cool. I like it but it is old. Now it is first names. LeBron. Steph.”
“What about KD?”
“Touché. Question. How many did you black smoke this training session?”
“It’s just smoke not black smoke and two dozen or so.”
“Did you take any deaths?”
Rain looked at him cross-eyed.
“Just asking,” he said with Rain looking at him as if dying even in training was unacceptable. “Ok, on to what I came here for then. Right now we all need to meet back in the main house. We need to talk about the thing for Larry’s dad. It’s finally time.”
“I’ll be right there,” replied Rain.
“Ok. I’m going back then. See you in a few minutes,” replied David Allen. As he started to walk out the barn he turns back to Rain, “So you were here earlier too?” he asked. “Why didn’t you do your reappearing act then?”
“Of course I was. You didn’t say anything so I figured whatever you wanted could wait. And you’re getting complacent. I never would have been able to get that close to you before without you knowing. I was ready to pounce if need be.”
“I’m not getting complacent. You’re getting better. Scary better. Almost invisible better. Now this can’t wait anymore. Meet us in the living room. And who said I didn’t know you were there?”
“It’s okay to admit it David Allen. Are we going to wait for Matieus?”
“Don’t have to. He and Larry are already back. They’re going to meet us in the house.”
“The whole band is back together again. Great, I’ll be right there.”
“And you might want to keep these barn doors locked.”
“Don’t worry if anything comes through those doors that isn’t supposed to, I’ll handle it and they’ll regret it.”
“I’m sure you will,” says David Allen before he exits out the barn doors. Once outside he takes a few steps to the right of the entrance so Rain couldn’t see him and lets out a deep breath, a semi sigh of relief. He runs his right hand across the back of his neck where Rain held the knife. “Damn she’s fast,” he says to himself. He then looks up at the sky. “Sorry God, I didn’t mean to curse. I’m still working on it. But that girl, You picked the right one. Not that You didn’t know it already but, whew.” David Allen takes another deep breath and gathers himself then walks to the main house shaking his head along the way. “I wouldn’t want to be the demon trying to face her in some dark alley. They have no chance. I’m glad she’s on our side. They have absolutely no chance. And if they were a human being.” He shakes his head. “I don’t even want to think about it.”
Rain walks in to the living room of Father Thomas and SMC’s new home to see everyone is already gathered together. To her right is Father Thomas and SMC. To her left is David Allen, Larry Kreith and Matieus. Sensing the feeling in the room she sits right down in the first seat she reaches on the couch.
David Allen speaks, “We’re all here and you all know why we are here. Larry’s dad has a mission for us and no one in this room, none of you would let me and Larry here go on our own so here we are. It is finally time for us to go down this Sha-Li rabbit hole.”
“Of course you weren’t going by yourself,” says Rain. “We’re a team. More than that we’re family. We couldn’t let you two guys go running off to the unknown, to whoever these Sha-Li are.”
“Princess we’ve been running off to the unknown since the day you freed us,” said Larry Kreith.
“Well the stakes are higher now,” says SMC. “We all know both of you would lay die your life for Rain if need be, we all would and not just for her but for every other person in this room but right now we can’t afford to lose you two. It’s not as if we could before all of this but at least then it would have only crushed our hearts and our souls. Now it would crush us and may mean the end of the world on top of it. We need you two especially since we don’t know what Annastas is planning. We couldn’t let you go off on your own all half-cocked. You know she won’t let the capture of her grandson go quietly. Even though we haven’t heard from her in a while we all know she is going to think up something. His dear ole dad has probably cooked up his next plan already. Make sure you keep that in the back of your mind as we go on to this Sha-Li job.”
“SMC is right. We are on to the Sha-Li but like she said we all need to be aware. Keep your antennas up. Now, what is it we need to know about this next mission, to thank Larry’s dad for his generosity?” asks Father Thomas.
“As you all know the task is to get a painting which was stolen from my father,” says Larry Krieth. “It was taken from a secure building with a state of the art security system and armed guards patrolling the floors twenty four seven. And it was taken by a member of the Sha-Li.”
“How does your dad know it was the Sha-Li who stole the painting?” asked Matieus. “Most people outside of Nepal or Tibet haven’t even heard of the Sha-Li to even know of their existence. Shoot, even there most people haven’t heard of them outside of maybe a few whispers in the wind. They are ghosts.”
“Even in their homes the Sha-Li are a secret,” said Larry Kreith. “Now curiously enough though, the Sha-Li are the ones who told my dad it was they who stole the painting. And even more curiously they paid him for the painting. The night of the robbery, before the painting was even discovered missing my dad received a phone call. The person on the other end of the call told him they had taken the painting. That they were the Sha-Li. They told him to never mention their name but as payment they left him a bag with three hundred thousand dollars in it. That’s at least ten times what the painting was worth. It’s old but it isn’t from one of the well-known famous master painters so it wasn’t worth a fortune to the art world. It was probably the painting with the least amount of monetary value in the entire building. My dad liked it though. Now the person on the phone told him not to report it stolen and told him he would never see it again. This was over a year ago. Now if you know my dad he wasn’t going to just let this go, even if he made out better than he could have any other way he isn’t the type to tolerate being stolen from even if he was able to bury the theft from getting known. It was the principal of the matter. So on his own he began to quietly do some digging into the Sha-Li. That research, of what little scant information there is, which most is based on myth and fairy tales, it’s what led him to ask us to recover his painting when I called about the plane to Italy.”
“There’s always some truth to myths and fairy tales,” replied Rain.
“Why would your father ask you to get the painting back?” asked Matieus. “Does he actually know what you two do?”
“We’ve never spoken about it but he knows,” replied Larry Kreith. “He knows more than he’ll ever let on. But only in reference to me and David. I’m sure he’s looked into you all but he knows nothing about Rain being half-angel or any of the other more supernatural aspects of this family. He knows Father Thomas and SMC helped me and David through a rough time and for it we are eternally grateful. He’s knows your family to us both. Matieus, he probably knew nothing about you until you stepped on his plane, and he probably doesn’t know much more since your history isn’t trackable. Which most likely, no which definitely made him more curious but he doesn’t know anything. Now back to the Sha-Li. My father didn’t give me any details back then when he initially asked us to take this on but since we’ve been back from Italy he’s had a lot to say. And luckily or maybe unluckily David and I have had some dealings with the Sha-Li before.”
“What kind of dealings?” asked Rain. “And just so you know those dealing weren’t luck, they never are.”
“You don’t believe in luck Rain?” asked Matieus.
“No. Luck is a person’s way of rationalizing something they can’t fully understand or comprehend. Or something they don’t want to fully understand. There is no such thing as luck. You may not know why things are happening but it isn’t because you got lucky. I’ve learned there is always a reason why even if the reason has nothing to do with you per se.”
“You’re right about that princess,” replied David Allen. “And to answer your question about our dealings with the Sha-Li, a few years back we were tracking this demon who possessed this little girl. We tracked her to some house in the suburbs in the Midwest and to keep the story short we exorcised the demon out. Once the demon was gone the little girl told us where to find her parents so we took her home to them and happily reunited a family. We didn’t stay long but as the mother took the daughter inside we had a short conversation with the father. Mostly thank you’s for bringing his daughter back safely and we were happy to do it, that kind of thing. Now as we were about to walk away the dad stopped us dead in our tracks. First he tried to give us all the money he had in his pocket. When we refused he said he had another payment for us. He said the girl we rescued was a daughter of the Sha-Li. The father then told us we were now members of said Sha-Li. Up until recently we haven’t even heard the name Sha-Li mentioned again. At the time we didn’t know what it meant and we thought nothing of it. We thought he was saying we were members of his family. As we were about to walk away from the house the second time the daughter stepped back out the house. She walked up to both of us and hugged us. Again we thought nothing of it until she looked us both in the eye and said one day her father would come calling and when he did we would need to answer. She then ran back inside. Her father didn’t say anything. He had no response to what his child just said like it never happened. He shook our hands and went inside and joined his wife and daughter. We didn’t even get the dad’s name. As time went on we would hear whispers every now and then about the Sha-Li. And when I say every now and then I mean maybe once or twice over the past decade. So whenever we had some free time which was almost never, we did some digging into the Sha-Li but we never came up with anything substantial other than stories saying they exist and those same stories say they are very secretive to the point very few have even heard the name uttered. To the point most people either believe they have died off or were just never real in the first place.”
“But you know different,” said Rain.
“We do,” replied Larry Kreith. “And now so do you.”
“You guys tell me everything. Why didn’t you tell me this story before?” asked Rain.
“No reason princess. We just never got around to it. We have plenty of stories you haven’t heard yet,” replied Larry Krieth. “And truthfully, this one didn’t have much action besides the exorcism part which was uncommonly easy itself. It didn’t seem like a good story to tell. It was kinda boring to be honest with you. Until lately we never actually thought about it all that much.”
“Does your dad know any of this?” asked SMC.
“No. No one other than the two of us did until now. The only thing he knows of the Sha-Li is whatever he found out doing his own research after they called,” said Larry Kreith.
“After they stole his painting,” said Matieus.
“Right. We would have told you all this earlier but under the circumstances of our last re-acquaintance we never had time.”
“We also wanted to wait until we had more information to give you to make it at least make some kind of sense,” said David Allen.
“Then how did your father track down the Sha-Li?” asked Father Thomas.
“He didn’t,” replied Larry Keith. “He has no idea where to find them. We had no idea where to find them. Finding their whereabouts was part of the job he gave us to get back his painting.”
“Was?” said Father Thomas.
“Yeah was,” replied Larry Kreith. “This is where it gets interesting.”
“This is where,” said Matieus rhetorically.
Larry Kreith responded, “Early today I received a phone call from the Sha-Li.”
“From the father of the little girl you saved?” said SMC.
“One and the same,” replied Larry Krieth.
“How did you know that?” asked Rain.
“Like you said, nothing is luck,” replied SMC. “As I’ve learned everything is tied together somehow someway.”
“What did he want?” asked Rain.
“He said he called because he knew we were looking for him. All six of us. Then he called us by name.” Larry Kreith looked around the room at each person and pointed to them as he called out their name as the Sha-Li did. “Myself Larry Kreith. David Allen. Matieus Gordo. Father Thomas Walker and his wife Sister Mary Catherine Walker. He didn’t call you Shane so he, they, somehow they absolutely know you are married. And Raignai Jariel. He said he would take us to the Sha-Li as we two are already Sha-Li, but before he could take us all, first we would need to do something for them.”
“What do they want done?” asks Rain.
“They need us to rescue one of their members. She was kidnapped by a devil worshipping cult who call themselves the Children of Heylel.”
“Heylel being the Hebrew word for Lucifer,” said Matieus.
“Correct,” replied Larry Kreith. “There’s more to this kid than meets the eye.”
“Right you are sir,” replied Matieus.
“Now this woman is being held captive in one of their follower’s homes by a group of demons,” said Larry Kreith getting back on subject.
“She is being held by demons?” asked SMC. “Why would demons hold someone? Keeping someone, waiting, it’s not what they do. They steal bodies and use them for their own pleasure. They kill. They torture and infect people but they don’t kidnap people and just hold them. What’s so special about this lady?”
“I asked the same question,” replied Larry Kreith. “She is supposedly blessed by God Himself. The Sha-Li said she is some kind of future see-er, seer type of woman. He said she has ability to hear God’s voice. That He, The Big Guy talks to her. Now the kicker is this woman is completely deaf, born with a birth defect which caused her lack of hearing. But she is able to speak normally as she has listened to God’s words her whole entire life. And that’s why they took her. According to the Sha-Li God has been feeding her information and the Sha-Li have been ruining the plans of this Children of Heylel and the plans of other cults and devil worshipping entities around the world from the shadows. Now since this cult has her the Sha-Li’s line of information is broken but the cult hasn’t been able to infest her, or kill her, or harm her in any way.”
“How do they know she’s not being harmed?” asked Father Thomas.
“They wouldn’t say, only that they know she was ok and unharmed so far,” replied Larry Kreith.
“So the Sha-Li are religious people?” asked Matieus.
“We don’t know,” replied Larry Kreith. “It seems like it but we truly don’t know.”
“If this woman has the ability to hear God’s voice then it’s probably safe to say she also has his protection. It’s why this cult can’t have the demons possess her,” said Father Thomas.
“But if she is really protected how was she able to be kidnapped?” asked Matieus.
Rain answered. “Just because He says you won’t get burned doesn’t mean you won’t go through the fire.”
“Truer words never said,” replied David Allen.
Larry Kreith spoke back up. “There is a catch to all this. The building where the woman is being held, per the Sha-Li, only Rain can enter.”
“So this is a test,” said Matieus.
“It seem like it is. The question is, is it worth the risk?”
Rain stood up. “Before you all even think about arguing the point back and forth. Yes. Yes it is worth the risk. This moment has been set up and put in motion long before today. However long ago David and Larry exorcised the demon from this little girl it was the beginning and who knows what transpired to get them there at that specific moment in time. Two men who were themselves possessed which led them down this path in the first place. It’s no coincidence they were the ones to do it. It’s no coincidence they happened to be in the right place at the right time. Then the same two people, they exorcise a demon out of the Sha-Li’s daughter. Then the same group of people steal a painting from one of their fathers, etc., etc. until we get to this point now. Like I said there is no such thing as luck so yes it is worth it. We are going to the building to rescue this lady. I may be the only one going in but we are all going. Everyone in this room.”
“What type of building is it?” asked Matieus. “Some old and abandoned warehouse or some loud club? Either way is it a place where loud noise and screams can’t be heard? That would fit the game plan for demons.”
“Actually it’s neither,” replied Larry Kreith. “It’s a house. A very expensive house. A multi-million dollar house in of all places”
Rain cuts him off, “in Chestnut Hill?”
“Ding, ding, ding. You win the big prize. You got it, Chestnut Hill. Rain I guess you get to go back home.”
“I guess so,” Rain replied. “How is it so much evil hides behind the façade of so much beauty?”
“Because people have been conditioned to not look below the surface,” replied Matieus. “It is one of our major frailties as humans.”
“Definitely more to this kid than meets the eye,” said Larry Kreith. “Now we have little to no time so let’s get to work and formulate a plan.”
Everyone in the room looks at Father Thomas as the gears in his head were already spinning.
Thank you reading the preview. Heaven’s Rain the Sha-Li can be purchased beginning Feb. 1 with pre-orders of the ebook available soon. A link will be posted as soon as one becomes available.
You will be bale to find this and other books on my website at www.DerrickMarrow.com.