Carl Prescott and the Demon Queen
Excerpt from Chapter 13—Walking along the Rope Bridge
After Carl, Barbie, and Sylvia walked several hours in the inky darkness, the sun rose over the desolate horizon. A large walled city sat not far in front of them. Carl noticed he and the others were again dressed as they had been when they met Joshua at the Jordan River. The Rope Bridge descended into a rough roadway and then continued along it. Sylvia stopped in front of the others and sighed. “I’m very sorry about what I said before.” She wiped a few tears from her face. “I just get so angry sometimes. Nobody takes me seriously, and my dad treats me like the spoiled brat you both said I am. I guess maybe he’s right.”
Carl smiled. “Are you still going to destroy the universe?”
She groaned and then stared upwards. Finally, she looked at him and shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know what I want anymore. Being God seems cool and would definitely get even with Dad, but now I just don’t want you two to hate me.”
Barbie smiled and patted the demon on the shoulder. “I don’t hate you. I just hate the idea that you might actually destroy everything to get even with your dad. All dads piss off their kids. It’s just part of the job.”
“I don’t hate you either, Sylvia. What we saw was a possible future, not the only one. Maybe you’ll change your mind, or maybe Barbie and I can stop you. Let’s just get this adventure over with, okay?”
Instantly, the two were back inside Carl’s head. He then joined a throng of people heading up a hill. No one spoke, and a heaviness filled the air around them. When they reached the hilltop, Carl understood their moods. Three crosses were inserted in holes in the ground. The men on the outsides were gasping for breath and begging the nearby soldiers for help. The man on the center cross was already dead. He had been stabbed and a line of blood flowed down his body.
A younger woman was capturing the blood in a chalice of some kind. An older woman was on her knees crying. Several others were standing around, and three men were on their knees praying. Joshua’s head hung down and a crown of thorns rested on it.
Carl walked over to the three kneeling men. They all turned their heads to face him. All three looked like Manny at different ages. Carl got on his knees with them. Each of the men touched his back with their hands as tears from Carl’s eyes fell into the dirt below.
Carl knelt there for a long time. Finally, he felt a hand on his back. He turned to see Joshua standing before him. Carl looked around the area and realized he was no longer on the hilltop. He appeared to be in the center of a grove of olive trees. “Come with me, Carl.”
He stood and followed the other man. “I’m so sorry, Josh.”
Joshua put his arm around Carl’s shoulders. “I’m not. I agree that particular part of the story was not pleasant; however, each person’s story must have a beginning, middle, and an end. In case you didn’t notice, endings tend not to be positive experiences.”
“Did I fall off the Rope Bridge?”
Joshua removed his arm. “No, this is another of those stops along the way. This time, I thought it would be better if it were just the two of us, so the ladies are still asleep. Besides, I don’t think the demon queen likes me.”
Carl nodded. “I’m not sure if she likes anyone.”
Joshua laughed. “No, I think it’s clear that she has a crush on a certain Hand of God.”
“Carl, it’s obvious. She’s teasing you constantly. I wager if you think about it, you’ll remember more than a few lip-locks with her too.”
Carl shook his head. “No, she’s just trying to manipulate me or make me join her.”
They walked over to a fallen log and both sat. “Think about it. She’s a woman and a demon. Of course, she wants to control you, but she also wants you to love her. Now, I’m not saying that you should, but it’s something you should give some thought, okay?”
“Okay. I’ll think about it. What happens now?”
“I’d really like to hang out some more, but I have a meeting at the RBS.”
Joshua smiled. “The Rope Bridge Society.”
Carl blushed. “Oh yeah, oops.”
Joshua stood and opened his arms. Carl stood and hugged the other man. “Just close your eyes for a few seconds. When you open them again, you’ll be back on the bridge.” He released Carl. “See you soon.”
* * *
Carl Prescott may have saved the world from the Beast, but the duties of the Invisible Hand never end. The story begins when a medieval castle is discovered hidden beneath the Thorndike Institution. While the professors search for clues, our hero is summoned to Hell to meet the demon Sylvia. She once ruled a satanic kingdom in Eastern Europe from that castle, and will do so again.
There is much more to this beautiful woman than evil intentions. To stop her plan, Carl must first understand why she is so focused on him. To learn the truth, he must face God, Satan, and Death. In this nonstop action-packed adventure, he must stand at the Crossroads of Existence and cross the Rope Bridge to meet his destiny.
If he succeeds, life can return to normal. If not, the galaxy and every soul therein will be devoured by a voracious black hole, which even God will be powerless to stop.
* * *
Karl Morgan has a lifelong fascination with stories in the science fiction and fantasy genres, whether it was the Tom Swift novels by Victor Appleton he read as a young boy, or television like Lost in Space and Star Trek, and especially films like Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. All of those tales put the protagonist in terrible situations where the odds are against them and, yet, somehow they prevail. The reader/viewer is always left with a sense that something greater than ourselves is watching over us.
In his new Carl Prescott young adult fantasy series, the journey continues as our hero faces terrible danger and odds to help his friends and family. At the end, he will learn new things that will change his perspective on life.
Karl lives in the San Diego area with his best, four-legged friend, his toy poodle Chachis.
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Until next time……………………… Happy Reading!