Warping the Mind [Arbiter Series Book 1] [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Matthew L. Schoonover
eBook Category: Horror
eBook Description: He's not your average cop. These aren't your average criminals. Book One of the Arbiter Series. Agustus Pilot, a detective assigned to Special Services, is not a new kid on the block. in fact, he's an Arbiter, a supernatural being assigned to solve any paradox between God and Satan for the disposition of contested souls. 243 pages. Click here to read an exerpt from thisi book!
eBook Publisher: ebooksonthe.net, Published: 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: April 2005
This eBook is part of the following series:
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Robert Briskem looked around the room with a wicked snarl on his face. The room had gleaming white walls, and windows scrubbed to the point of invisibility; the furniture was the newest and brightest Ethan Allen had to offer, dark rich wood with green upholstery. The stereo, TV, DVD player and VCR were all the best or most expensive money could buy. The all of it was overcrowding the small living room with its bulk and shiny black newness. The room looked even smaller with everything in it, but more than the furniture and electronics, the room was festooned with plants and ferns, blending almost magically with the green of the upholstery, waving with leaves so rich in color they almost glowed.
This was his castle, his sanctum sanctorum, his manly domain. Robert looked down at his wife, a king scolding his subject. She stared back with a nervous, frightened look on her face. She was a petite woman, still beautiful and young and firm, and despite the frightened look, there was the glow of love in her eyes. Even as she physically feared him, she mentally adored him.
"Nothing!" he said again, waving a hand around the room.
"But you just bought it," she said in a bird-like voice. There was no challenge in her words as she tried to placate him.
"It means nothing to me now," he snarled, and she stepped back involuntarily. "I thought this was what I wanted but it's not. Do you understand! It's all nothing!" And then he stared at her with a fixed gaze. "You! You are nothing to me. Not anymore."
She couldn't take her eyes away from his. She found herself mesmerized by his blazing stare. "Nothing," she agreed.
"You have never been anything to me."
"No, I haven't been anything to you."
"So this is what you're going to do. In half an hour--no, make that an hour--an hour from now, you're going to take my Blackhawk and load it with hollow points. Do you understand?"
She looked at the thin Cartier watch on her wrist, the one he had just bought her. "In an hour, yes. I understand."
"Then you're going to place the barrel here, next to your temple." He motioned where and she mimicked his motion, placing a finger against her left temple. "Then you're going to pull the trigger." He snickered as he added, "Three times. Pull the trigger three times. Do you understand?"
"Yes," she said in a calm voice. "I understand. But Robert, who will take care of your plants? Who will tend your garden in the back yard; your carrots and tomatoes?"
He looked around the room again, this time eyeing his plants. They seemed to glow in response, leaves wider and brighter on the side facing him, as if reaching out to him.
"Leave them," he said. "I may be back and I may not. I haven't decided yet."
"Then you're going out?"
Again he sneered at her, leaning down and pressing his face against hers. Her nose crinkled automatically as she caught a whiff of his body odor. "Of course I'm going out. I need an alibi, Stupid!"
"I'm sorry," she said, stepping back again. "I don't know what I was thinking. Of course you need an alibi. How foolish of me."
"That's okay," he said, straightening again. "Besides, there is something I want to try. Something I've got to do, or at least, I've got to know if it can be done."
She reached out to touch him with a gentle caress. He moved his arm out of her way. The thought of her touch repulsed him. He couldn't believe that only 48 hours before he couldn't get enough of her. Or she of him. At the time he'd been proud of that fact. Now it disgusted him.
He turned away so he wouldn't have to look at her. Seeing the front door and realizing that he had nothing else to say, he moved through it and down the garden-like path to the garage and his brand new, shiny black Trans Am.
She came running out after him. "Good-bye, Sweetheart." She waved as he drove off into the night, then turned back toward the house, checking her watch as she did. "Fifty-eight more minutes," was all she said as the door shut behind her. * * * *
Robert squealed tires as he fishtailed around the corner. He looked through his rear view mirror and tried to gauge the skid marks. It was dark and there was no street light, but this did not hinder his view. "Not long enough," he griped, and then smiled. "Maybe next time. Then again, maybe there won't be a next time."
There was a straight stretch of road for the next fifteen miles and then an intersection where the Expressway cut across their subdivision and led inexorably toward the city and that curse of the working man: Work.
He smiled. He would never have to worry about work again. Not now. Nor would he ever have to worry about money, even if the insurance company refused to pay on his wife's forthcoming suicide. (Had he thought about it sooner, he could have gotten someone to break in and murder her, but for spur of the moment, he didn't think it was too bad of an idea.)
In forty-five minutes, he planned on being at the Lucky Lady Bar, siting with a few friends and sipping a beer--neither of which he considered important any more--and making sure that he was seen and heard.
But there was something he had to do first, something he now believed in his heart he could do. Something that would get him to his bar in record time.
His eyes took on a strangely mixed glowing and glazing look, like glass in a furnace, as he began to concentrate. He went through the breathing exercises, focusing his mind on the middle. His foot went slowly down on the accelerator, and the engine roared as it picked up speed.
"Fly," he whispered. Sweat began to exude from his forehead and upper lip. "Fly."
He imagined the power flowing through him as he pictured a funnel in his mind. His knuckles turned white as he gripped the steering wheel.
And then he felt it: A familiar tingling along his cerebral cortex. He sensed the Trans Am, the road, the speedometer, everything, as his eyes began to close.
The car began to shimmy.
He didn't open his eyes--didn't have to. His elbows raised slightly as if suddenly becoming light and the car shimmied again.
The Trans Am began to rise, ever so slowly, until the front wheels were off the ground.
There was a wicked, demonic smile stretched taut across Robert's face as he finally opened his eyes. "Fly!" he shouted. His voice spoke that single word with the conviction of something that had already been accomplished.
And in response, the rear wheels lifted off the road!
Now two feet, now four, the car rose in flight.
Robert began laughing. It was true! He could do anything he wanted. There was no limit to the power he'd been given. He wouldn't even need a car the next time.
He was coming up fast on the intersection.
Then he saw the eighteen wheeler stopped at the stop sign.
And he wasn't high enough to fly over it!
He saw the flash of green letters stenciled on the back of the trailer as the car continued to rise at too slow a rate.
His front wheels hit the top of the trailer. Then the rear wheels.
Robert put both feet on the brake and jammed down on it with all his might.
There was a screel as tires bit into the thin aluminum structure. It caved, crumpled and accordianed under his tires. For a split second he thought he was going to make it.
And then he saw two things simultaneously that sent a chill through his spine. The first was the concrete overpass directly ahead and on an even plain with his Trans Am.
The other was a man standing on the overpass. An extremely emaciated old man with long scraggly gray hair and beard.
As his headlights hit the overpass, the old man turned his head and smiled. In the headlights, his eyes glowed a wicked gray, blazing like a cat's eyes.
There was a blinding flash of understanding in his mind that exploded like an atomic bomb; words from his past came back to him in that split nano-second before hitting the overpass: "When you talk to them and treat them with respect, they respond. They grow and flourish ... There's nothing that tastes better than something you've nurtured to its fullest, cared for and, yes, even loved."
The car crumpled against the concrete of the overpass and Robert felt his body crushed and torn apart.
Before he died from the impact, he felt his thoughts, his emotions, his very essence being sucked from him, ripped and torn and twisted just as grotesquely as the metal and concrete did to his body. He was in the vortex of his own soul and he tried to scream.
But even that was ripped from him.
The old man nodded to himself in approval. "Now that's what I call food for thought." He laughed as he sucked up the released energies in the flux.
Then he flew away into the night.