Death's Mantle: An Urban Fantasy Novel (Revelations Book 1)

BOOK: Death's Mantle: An Urban Fantasy Novel (Revelations Book 1)
2.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Death's Mantle

Revelations Book # 1




J.A. Cipriano

Copyright © 2015 J.A. Cipriano



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I beheld a pale horse and upon it sat Death with Hades following after him. – Revelations 6:8

Amy 01:01

“Jesse is that you? Are you playing a trick on me?” Amy asked, wondering what would possess her boyfriend to scale the side of her house and cover her second story window with ice. Then again, he’d been known to do crazier things, like the time he burned ‘I love you, Amy’ into his parents’ front lawn with weed killer.

She swallowed down the apprehension rising in the back of her throat and scurried across the room toward the open window, careful to avoid the assortment of art supplies and makeup littering the pink carpet. She stepped into a heap of clothing piled under the window and gripped the sill with both hands, peering outside into the gloom. Not only was there was no one there, but it didn’t feel that cold outside either.

“This isn’t funny,” she murmured, poking her head outside for one last look. “I’m closing the window now.” Amy took a step back and tugged the window down as hard as she could. It didn’t budge. A chill swept through her, less from the cold and more from apprehension. Why wouldn’t the window close?

She pulled on it again, straining so hard her fingers turned white with effort and the muscles corded in her arms. A moment later, she gave up and sighed as a sudden realization struck her. Normally, she would be able to see her neighbor’s veranda through the window. Even late at night, it was always lit up. Power bills never seemed to mean much to them, especially during the Christmas-light-a-than, and while it was almost spring, they still hadn’t taken down their lights.

Tonight, she couldn’t see anything through the darkness beyond her window. Teeth chattering, Amy rubbed her hands together before snatching a blanket from the pile at her feet. Wrapped in pink plush, she watched the darkness. What was going on?

The eerie sound of the wind whistling through the trees cut through the silence of the night and a thin smile crossed her lips as her heart beat furiously in her chest. “I need to stop watching scary movies… well, ever…”

A sigh escaped her as she ran a hand through her auburn hair and took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. The window was just stuck. Nothing to worry about. Tomorrow, when her dad got home from his turn on the night shift, he’d fix it. She’d just use two blankets tonight. She turned, spinning lightly on one bare heel to see a man standing by her desk, brandishing a large knife, its silvery blade glinting in the light of her desk lamp.

His body rippled beneath the confines of his skin-tight black clothing as he smiled at her, pulling his perfect face into a mask of god-like condescension. His pale grey eyes sparkled with mischief as he slowly lifted his free hand and ran it through his hellishly red hair in a gesture that struck Amy as exactly like the one she’d made only a moment before. Had he been standing there this whole time, silently watching her? She tried to scream, but as soon as the sound started to leave her mouth, he waved his hand. Her scream died on her lips. What had he done? Her eyes widened as her heart nearly exploded in her chest. What was he going to do now?

“I’ve got a magic knife.” His voice was that of someone who would rip the wings off a butterfly simply to watch its vain attempts to fly. “I’m told that if I cut someone very special, she’ll bleed a river so hot and deep, it will cover the Earth in blood.” He took a menacing step toward her, his free arm swinging casually by his side as he held the knife out in front of him. Horses etched into the crimson blade glinted along the surface, casting a scarlet hue across the room.

“Wha-what d-do you want?” Amy stammered, backing up until she touched the frame of the window. A sudden burst of cold struck her between the shoulder blades, and she shivered. The hairs on the back of her neck stood at attention as his eyes crinkled, his smile stretching to his ears.

“I’m trying to find my special girl.” He waved the knife in front of him and sanguine shadows of horses leapt across the walls. “Do you think it’s you? Do you want to find out?”

She tried to speak, to say anything, but her head swam, and she forgot how to make her mouth enunciate words. Her heart thundered inside her, and the room swayed as his stormy eyes swallowed her thoughts. He took a step toward her with seamless, catlike grace, a devilish smile plastered on his lips. His muscles tensed under his clothing like those of a pit fighter circling his prey as he rendered the distance between them moot and reached out to touch her cheek. The moment he touched her, it was like he pressed an icicle to her flesh.

He exhaled a breath of mist that licked across her skin, threatening to swallow her entirely. As he trailed his fingers lightly along her mouth, her knees turned to jelly and it was all she could do to keep from collapsing to the carpet. “You may not realize this,” he cooed, breath like winter fog in her ear. “But you are very special, Amy.”

“Please… please let me go.” Amy swallowed. Her throat was so dry she couldn’t believe she’d managed to get the words out. “I won’t tell anyone you were here.”

“No one would believe you anyway.” He pulled back, smiling at her with teeth so white they were like hewn marble. Before she could react, he struck her. Pain shot through her body and white light flashed across her eyes.

Amy collapsed, her body sliding to the carpet in a boneless heap. She lay there, struggling to move, but finding it impossible as the man glanced around the room appraising its contents before grabbing hold of a lamp and tearing it from the wall. He coiled the cord in his hands, his eyes glinting darkly.

“Trust me, Amy,” the man said with a small chuckle. “One day, you’ll look back on this and realize this was the moment when everything changed…”

Amy squirmed as he straddled her chest, pinning her arms to the floor beneath his knees. He wound the cord around her arms, tying her to the leg of the desk until she couldn’t move. Tears filled her eyes, blurring her vision.

The knife lay on the floor next to him, and he gripped it in one hand, pulling it up in front of his face. It loomed in front of her eyes, so huge and all-encompassing the only thing she could see over the edge of the blade were his pale grey eyes.

“I won’t lie. This is going to hurt.” He leaned in, pressing the point of the blade against the hollow in her neck. “Thankfully, you’ll heal.” He touched her naked cheek once more with the knuckle of his other hand. “Unless, of course, you’re the wrong girl.”

“Please…” she whispered as he pressed the tip of the weapon into her flesh. She sucked in a breath as pain shot through her and blood pulsed from the spot.

“I’m sorry,” he said, and though his voice was hard, there was a tremor beneath the surface. He traced a line in her skin and scarlet welled to the surface, filling in the lines as he drew a series of concentric circles on her throat with his knife. She tried to scream, tried to cry out in pain, but found she could make no sound.

Horrible sobbing overtook the man as he stood what felt like hours later. Her flesh burned like fire, pain distilling down her senses into an endless stream of agony. The edge of a smile crinkled the corner of his mouth. “I am only a messenger, and it is time you awakened, Bellum.”

He reached into his shirt and pulled out a small silver medallion of two snakes joined together in an S-shape. He knelt one last time and pressed the object to her cheek. White flame raged along her skin. The symbols drawn across her body glowed with deep, red light that cast the man’s face in shadow. “When they come for you, and they will come, Amy, tell them my father will have his vengeance.”

He stood, leaving her to writhe on the floor as he snapped his fingers. The sound was like crashing thunder, and she shut her eyes against the sound of it. When she opened them, he was gone and a soft warm breeze whistled through her window, carrying with it the scent of springtime daffodils.


Malcom 01:01

In just fifteen glorious minutes, French class will end
, thought Malcom with a crazed glee in his eye,
and then I will be free! Free like the whale in that movie!

He really hated French. It was what he liked to call an exquisite hatred. It started with his distaste for complex verbs. Soon after, it progressed to including, but not limited to, all the stupid little rules. Then, for a while, it settled upon the tongue exercises needed to pronounce the words correctly because it felt like he was enunciating every last syllable through his nose. Now though, what he hated most about French was the several minutes still remaining in class.

Malcom ground his pencil into the paper, desperately trying to focus on what his teacher rambled on about. After what felt like forever, he glanced at the clock and shuddered. It had been less than two minutes. The pencil dropped from his hand and landed on his desk with a near-inaudible thud.

Their teacher was a huge elderly woman with breasts so large it was like she was trying to smuggle beach balls under her shirt. It was sort of sad because they, along with her belly, and well everything else, had gotten steadily bigger over the last four years. It was almost like each year left her with a few extra inches around her waist and the need for a whole new wardrobe.

Her French was slathered across the whiteboard in near-unreadable blue print. She seldom spoke in the classroom, which was for the best anyway because her French wasn’t what one would classify as, well, elegant. She turned and faced the class, her black-as-coal ponytail swinging behind her like a pendulum. She pointed at the board with one purple-nailed finger. This was his cue to copy whatever had been scrawled on the board. Malcom sighed and began to write it down even if he failed to understand it.

“Mal, do you know what happened to Amy?” When Malcom failed to respond, Ian flicked him in the back of the ear with his finger. Instead of leaping to his feet and throttling him, Malcom merely glared at the boy sitting to his left.

Like usual, Ian’s frumpy, blond hair was in its perpetual state of disorder, and his navy blue shirt was covered in white cat hair. This matter made their relationship tense at times due to Malcom being highly allergic to cats. It was a little weird too because despite going over to Ian’s house multiple times, he had never actually seen Ian’s supposed cat, Missus Snuffleupagus.

“You know it’s polite to respond when people talk to you right?” Ian watched him carefully for a moment before cracking a smile. “Or do I need to ask you in French?”

“Please don’t,” he responded, shuddering at the thought of trying to decipher the words in French. “What’s up with Amy?”

“She missed class today.” He pointed at the empty desk across the room.

Malcom was unimpressed. Why did Ian care that Amy missed class? Then it slowly dawned on him, Amy never missed school, not in the last few years he had known her at least. In fact, she had once come to school with a hundred-degree fever because she had insisted missing class was for wimps.

“I wonder what happened,” Malcom replied, still staring at the spot as a bad feeling wormed its way into his gut. “She was so close to the school record too…”

“Not sure. I have biology with Jesse, maybe he knows something? Want to come with?” Ian asked, a twinge of hope straining his voice. “He’s her boyfriend after all. He should know something.”

Malcom wasn’t sure why, but it almost seemed like Ian didn’t want to talk to Jesse alone even though the two of them were good friends. Then again, Ian wasn’t the type of guy who relished complicated human interaction either. His social coping mechanism was much more like an ostrich with its head buried in the sand than not.

BOOK: Death's Mantle: An Urban Fantasy Novel (Revelations Book 1)
2.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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