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RavensRage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

” Raven’s Rage”

Order of the Claw

 

Chapter 1

             This evening was one of those bitterly cold, late January nights.  It was the kind of steel-blade cold that can nastily grab hold of your body like an evil hand clutching your shivering bones with monstrous intent.  Puffs of white steam exploded from the horse’s quivering nostrils like an old time steam locomotive crawling up the tracks of a long hill, coughing out painfully “I think I can, I think I can…..”  The steady clip-clop of hooves on the lonely pavement echoed with intense apprehension.  Accompanied by a nervous whinny now and then, the horse’s acute senses were on high alert for something dangerous, possibly deadly.  The animal was simply not aware of why, or for what terrible reason.  It somehow sensed that death was out there in the darkness waiting to strike violently from some unsuspecting direction. 

             Inside the small, one-seat buggy rode Adam Yost and Hannah Klinefelter.  They tightly clutched frigid hands, a thick woolen blanket covering their legs.  Even though quite tired, they were still beaming over the wonderful day spent at their closest friend’s wedding.  The adoration this young Amish couple had for each other was strengthened even more after seeing the happiness of new-found wedding bliss displayed by their long time friends, Jacob and Abigail Neff.  Their special moment could not happen soon enough.   Hannah was already planning the loving dinner she would prepare on some future Sunday for Adam.  At that time they would announce their plans of marriage when their parents returned from the normal Sunday gathering of families.  It was traditional for the Amish, ‘plain folk’ as they call themselves, to make their intentions known in this fashion and then have it broadcast to the entire community during church services.  They had talked in hushed tones all throughout the day, giggling and whispering their own versions of sweet nothings.  Proud parents gazed at them with fondness, aware that sometime in the near future their children would be starting a family of their own.

             Hannah squeezed Adam’s hand and smiled lovingly.  She stared up into his strong, yet soft and dreamy, brown eyes with feelings she had never experienced for anybody else.  He was a wonderfully considerate man from a proper, well respected family.  It seemed as if they had been together already most of their lives, meeting each other as young children in school and then spending a number of amorous, exciting moments in the barn hidden amid dark shadows in the hayloft.  Hannah had been courted by a handful of other boys her age, but none ever compared to Adam, tall with a strongly chiseled face, compassionate and so concerned for her happiness.  He would be a deeply devoted, honorable husband and such a loving, thoughtful father.

             Adam leaned down and kissed her lightly on the forehead.  He stared into her sky-blue eyes that sparkled in the light of passing street lamps, doll-like porcelain skin shining with just a touch of crimson on her cheeks.  In one way it was from the January cold, but mostly from the love she felt for Adam.  He knew, and rightly so, that he was without a doubt the luckiest young man in their surrounding Amish community, though at the moment he realized he shared that right with his best friend Jacob.  His lucky friend would soon be spending that first nervous night with the woman he had just wed.  

            “I wonderful luff you,” Adam whispered softly, his lips brushing hers.

             Excitement streaked through her body as she murmured back, “You’re my Adam, I luff you so much too,” her heart beating madly with the feelings she held for him.

             Staring at the long expanse of empty road, he clucked a few times to his seemingly nervous horse.   Gently snapping the reins, he felt a razor sharp edge of concern.  It was darker than normal since the new moon cast off no light making those areas between street lamps relatively dark.  A new moon occurs when the sun, earth, and moon are all in alignment, with the moon positioned between earth and the sun.  As a result, the moon cannot be seen on these nights, unless there happens to be an eclipse.  And for many, the new moon beckons a time of rebirth, especially monsters.  Thus, Adam was thankful for the glowing street lamps along this lonely stretch of Route 322. 

            He also noted how sparse traffic was and then realized it was in fact bordering upon the stroke of midnight.  Both of them had decided to spend a little more time with Jacob and Abigail in order to reveal their own plans for the coming year.  He knew their parents would be extremely worried that the young couple had stayed out so late.  They would be scolded upon their return home and would have to promise they would never be so inconsiderate in the future.

             Yet feeling warmly aglow deep inside, he was also aware of a very evident nervousness in his horse.  A very trusting animal, he had painstakingly raised the spirited foal with loving care and patient tutoring, always his normal course of action.  It took a long while preparing a horse to become fearless enough to pull rickety buggies and trot along these busy, congested roadways.  They had to get used to being passed constantly by roaring trucks, diesel-smelling buses, and honking, inconsiderate drivers who seemed far too damn impatient to get nowhere fast.  Unfortunately, all roads in the area had claimed lives, Amish as well as their horses.  The shoulders and road-side fields were scarred with shattered debris from splintered carriages due to careless and stupid drivers.

             Tonight would be no exception.  Death now hovered mere seconds away.  It would not come from a careless driver either, but rather an evil which Adam or Hannah could never have come close to imagining in their wildest nightmares. 

            The horse suddenly shied to the left with a frantic snort of fear, veering away from a dense thicket of brush off the road to the right.  Adam frantically tugged hard on the reins, trying to calm down the frightened horse with a few sharp whistles.  Silly really, as if a whistle could abate the panic now nearly paralyzing the crazed animal.

             “Adam, vas is los?” cried out Hannah, clutching his arm in alarm with both hands.

             Adam, however, was much too concerned in attempting to control the horse and keep them from tipping over.  He was just grateful there was no oncoming traffic to avoid.  It was not a vehicle he had to be alarmed about though as a huge shadowy form leaped from the bushes.  A deafening roar tore the night apart.  This nightmarish apparition struck the frightened horse with the force of a tractor trailer, raking the screaming animal’s neck open as easily as a hunter slices into the underbelly of a slaughtered deer. 

             The horse was dead before hitting the ground with a nearly severed head lying at a most unnatural angle.  The momentum of the attack spun the buggy around in a violent, hair-raising slide on two wheels.  Tipping over completely, it broke free from the dead horse and then tumbled several times in a dizzying, grinding crash.  Black pieces of wood and shards of glass were flung in an exploding shower of debris.  As was Adam’s body, striking the ground with a loud, sickening thump, arms and legs bent at angles only meant for a Raggedy-Ann doll.  His damaged body slid across the pavement where it violently struck the post of a road sign that claimed ‘No Passing’.  Even then, his only thought was for Hannah’s safety.  He peered through a reddish haze of blood streaming from a horrible, ugly gash across his forehead, searching frantically for the woman he loved.

             The buggy laid upside down, crushed and broken, wheels spinning like a carnival ride in the chilly, midnight air.  Hannah’s stunned and broken body was securely pinned underneath a pile of debris.  Her screams still echoed across the empty fields, praying that somebody would hear their plea before she and her beloved Adam were dead.  Surprisingly, she was still semi-conscious, though gripped in terrible, agonizing pain from a fractured leg and a broken back.  She could see the horse lying crumpled on the pavement, two legs reaching up towards the nighttime sky in silent supplication.   It’s nearly severed head was surrounded by a pool of blood appearing like a dark, jet-black pond of hematite beneath a streetlamp’s severe glare. 

             Another terrifying roar violently shook the night as Hannah let her frightened gaze peer through several openings in the destroyed buggy surrounding her.  Suddenly, through one of the larger holes, a menacing shadow slithered across a thin shaft of light.  She prayed it was a passing motorist who had thankfully stopped to give assistance.  Sadly though, prayers aren’t always answered.

             “Help me please, I beg thee,” she croaked, unable to move, surprised that the initial pain was now succumbing to a grateful blanket of numbness. 

             But life saving assistance was nowhere near, only a violent death the young, innocent Amish couple could never have imagined.  Suddenly she felt the buggy being angrily lifted, dumping her to the pavement in a broken heap.  Her pretty head struck the ground in a sickening thump like an overripe apple falling from a tree.  Thankfully though, her beseeching prayers of assistance went unanswered since she would be unable to realize the nightmarish evil that had befallen them.  The concussion was such that she gratefully did not notice the long, hairy feet which had moved up to straddle her body.  Even though she was still somewhat quasi-conscious, the ground and surrounding landscape had a surreal, alien feel.  It felt like a dream, as if she was floating above the ground looking at the accident scene. 

             Adam numbly witnessed the entire, horrifying event through a nearly black, crimson curtain of blood that still flowed from his badly lacerated head, total surrender of life possibly minutes away.  He was able to slowly slide his arm towards his beloved Hannah as she was lifted off the ground.  She hung clutched in the massive claws of a devilish beast.  Whispering her name for nobody to hear but himself, Adam watched in horror as the young Amish girl he dearly loved was lifted towards a nightmarish, wolfish head.  Through eyes that were now barely open, he saw that monstrous mouth open to unveil huge, slobbering fangs, horrid teeth which no living creature should ever possess. 

             Before passing out Adam stared with a horrified gaze as the beast stuffed pretty Hannah’s thin neck between vile, frightening jaws.  The young Amish man felt anguish in that he could not protect his beloved.  He prayed that death would sweep him away towards a darkness he hoped to never escape from.  To go on living and remembering this night would be like existing in a living nightmare.  Thankfully, Adam did not see the creature crawl towards the barren, empty field, dragging his beloved Hannah behind.  Her dead feet bounced roughly across the skeletal remains of broken corn stalks, tattered long black skirt flapping in the icy breeze.  Her blood-splattered bonnet lay alone upon the pavement.  It was all that remained of her youthful existence. 

             Through the dense quiet which had quickly settled over the accident scene, a spine-tingling howl splintered the stillness.  Lights in nearby farmhouses quickly blinked on.  Adam fortunately did not hear the cry of the beast for he seemed demonically lost in the oblivion of his own ongoing nightmare.  He not only had lost the woman he loved, but also the will to go on living.

             Before total darkness overtook him, he reached forward with bloody fingers and whispered, “Hannah, I love thee…please…forgive….”

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From the author of the book Ravens Way, comes the much anticipated followup Ravens Rage! After avenging the death of his unborn child and wife killed in the first book Johnny Raven is back in this furious continuation of Johnny’s struggle to survive, and his new love, Kathleen’s struggle with her new found transformation!

Set in the darkness of historic Philadelphia, this story will take you deeper into the realm of the the city’s rulers of the night. Their blood lust is more terrifying than ever — and Johnny Raven intends to give them more than they could wish for, in the climactic battle set in the ruins of one of Philadelphia’s most eerie and infamous institutions.

This is a must for the lover of Horror, Kerry’s books grab you from the get go, with great characters, lots of blood filled action, and just enough comedic relief thrown in along the way!

Order your copy today, and get it just in time for Halloween!

FOLLOW SEVERAL ENTRIES EARLIER AND READ THE FIRST CHAPTER OF “RAVEN’S WAY”.

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Raven's Way Raven’s Way
Available at:  www.soulasylumpoetry.com
A sampling of novel – Chapter One

 

CALL ME WOLF

To those who have no choice

but to howl at the hungry moon.

  

 

A rabid, howling moon reaches out to grab
my strangled throat with craving, hungry claws,
 intensity of lunar midnight now driving me insane.
Fingers curl into nervous, anxious paws,
the curse of being once bitten by infected teeth
bathed in angry, yellow-hooded wolf’s bane.

Searing pain shrieks violently through skin and bone
while beseeching moonbeams scratch and rip away
all straggling shreds of lost humanity.
The sharp echo of altering joints with a scream
of stretching sinew blend together as
call of the wild howls a sad farewell to society.

Nostrils widely flared in anticipating delight,
as hunter’s golden eyes search for wary prey,
ears twitching forward at the mewling cry
of frightened beasts now cowering in the night.
Oh…..I can feel the dizzy rush of desire

for the taste of hot, sweet blood
from torn flesh once vibrant and alive.

The ravenous moon has called my name once more
as I stand in regal silhouette on grizzled hillock,
bathed within the glow of silver moon glow.
I toss my head skyward, gleaming fangs
snapping angrily at grinning stars
lost in heavens’ angry roar.

A growl of primal terror builds to soulful lament as
man and wolf combine to sing in lonely harmony.
The wretched mind of man now locked inside
the shadow of a beast, to rip and claw and tear,
but to forever cry and pray for
everlasting peace. 

 

RAVEN’S WAY

 

Written by:

© Kerry L. Marzock

2006

 

 Chapter 1

             There was death in the air.  Pure evil!  Other than the occasional nervous chirp of an anxious cricket, the loudest sound in the restless air was the wayward call of a lonely owl echoing off the bleak darkness.  A silky whisper of brittle leaves warily danced across the forest carpet, adding a peculiar spookiness to this scene ripped from the pages of any first-rate horror novel.   However, this was real and hell was near.

            It was obscenely quiet!  Danger grabbed the night in a strangle hold of ominous ferocity.  Animals that normally romped by day now huddled shivering in their tiny dens this very night, and not from the bite of winter winds, but rather the heart-stopping scent of death within their midst.  Creatures that usually hunted underneath the veil of darkness knew enough to stay safe and not to venture out for fear they would become prey themselves. 

             And so the deadly quiet persisted!   

            Moonlight slithered through small cracks in the sheltering canopy above this quivering world.  Sporadically, a piece of moonbeam would reflect off two feral, yellow ovals – eyes of the beast.  It could easily be said this was not just any beast.  The creature that stared with unblinking gaze was beyond the ken of human thought.  Legends had been created about monsters that prowled underneath a full moon.  Frightening tales whispered around flickering campfires, nightmares for those who believed in them, sheer terror for those who did not.  For these nightmares to become reality then death would surely ensue.  There were no enemies this insidious creature had to fear for he and his kind were the ones to be frightened of.  Its world was the underbelly of humanity.  His prey; those foolish enough not to believe in monsters and the cast-offs that society had all but rejected.           

              But under tonight’s moonlit spell, this obscene creature itself was the prey.  Harried voices broke the nighttime stillness, mingled with the frenzied baying of scent hounds whose bravery alone came from the manic urges of the pack and that of a firm master’s hand.  Scathing beams of flashlights, like an army of drunken Cyclops, sliced through the haunting, inky darkness.  This frightened search party sought an unknown killer with a sickening picture of the mangled bodies of two young boys still etched horrifically upon their minds.  Their slaughtered innocence had been discovered by a startled jogger in Fairmount Park beneath a sobbing moon.  The beast they searched for was a destroyer of unspeakable savagery whose killing fields lay below a shivering heaven.  Sadly, these brave men truly had no conception of what horror lay in wait for them, only the stark realization they could be slaughtered next.

             A low rumble erupted from the beasts’ massive chest, enough to cripple with fear the staunchest of men.  And, if someone was unlucky enough to hear this menacing growl, it would most likely be the next to last sound they heard before listening to the snapping of their own bones lost amidst a final death rattle.

             The creature suddenly moved and slid like a mysterious shadow into the swirling fog.  Death had now entered the arena and there was not a prayer to be spoken that would prevent it from happening.  No weapon in their puny arsenal, or faith and belief in a higher power, could help them this night.  Blood would be shed because they dared search for a creature from their darkest nightmares.

             In a spastic eruption, the dogs suddenly went berserk as they were assailed with the scent of a most dangerous prey.  Quickly, barks of anxiety became cowardly whimpers and yelps of terror.  Two frightened beagles broke free from their long tethers and sped off, hoping to see another sunrise, their master yelling obscenities and threats, but to no avail.  Tango, a very misguided coon dog surged forward though, either extremely brave, or just too stupid to realize what lay in store for him.  His older brother Charlie just stood his ground and growled a tepid warning, tail no longer wagging as nervous slobber dribbled from his quivering jowls. 

             Tango rushed forward and charged into the brush, anxious to please his handler and claim bragging rights.  He stopped quickly, nose pointed to the ground, nostrils flaring as he picked up a scent never encountered before.  But deep down, passed on through generations of hunting dogs before him, his brain registered danger while his fear screamed wolf.  With his frantic barks and mournful baying now ceased, the stillness was even thicker than before.  Lonely crickets no longer chirped.  Wary, observant owls were too alarmed to hoot a warning from their lonely lookout posts.  Frightened dogs had completely lost any desire for the hunt. 

            Well, all but for that crazy Tango.

            “Tango, Tango, hey boy,” his handler yelled, followed by a sharp whistle.  “You crazy coon dog, whatcha’ got boy?”           

            Tango knew he had possibly heard the voice of his owner for the last time as he raised his head and stared at two bright yellow, murderous eyes.  The coon dog’s head dropped low as he curled his tail securely between his legs, falling to the ground in what he hoped would be a life-saving sign of submission. 

           It didn’t work!  The dark shadow with the ferocious glare moved at breathtaking speed.  With a mighty swipe of massive claws the monster severed the coon dogs head, sending it sailing through the moonlight like a spinning football heading for a game winning field goal.  It landed no more than three feet in front of Nestor, Tango’s handler, and then rolled awkwardly to lie at the quivering toes of a frightened Charlie.

           “Holy shit!” Nestor screamed out loud, both in shock and rage.  “Oh my God, Tango.  It killed my Tango.”

             A roar of unspeakable horror split the night, sending icy shivers up and down the spine of every policeman.  Nestor couldn’t pull his eyes away from the severed head of his beloved Tango.  He felt his arm yank up and back, his hand releasing the other leash.  Charlie knew enough to turn and tear ass from whatever creature was out there.  Nestor, however, was not that smart. 

            Hearing another roar and then a wild thrashing of brush, he glanced up and came face-to-face with a heart-stopping vision of evil.  A mouth full of slavering fangs and fetid breath was no more than six inches away from his very frightened face, the beast staring at him with maniacal hatred and a monstrous need to kill.          

             Nestor, with warm urine pouring down his pant leg, had but a few seconds to whisper “Dear God, forgive me for I have sinned ….” before his throat was savagely torn out and death viciously yanked him away. 

             Suddenly, the night erupted with frenzied shouts of nervous policemen, followed by a rapid volley of panicky gunfire.  Flashes from urgent rifles lit for a second the terrified eyes of each shooter.  Bullets whizzed and crashed against innocent trees, with an occasional scream of pain when one impacted soft, human flesh, jellied from fear. 

             “Hold your fire!  Damn it, stop shooting,” yelled a frenetic voice.  

             Echoes repeatedly bounced around like a soccer ball as Captain Ganz tried desperately to minimize the damage from friendly fire being inflicted by his own men.  As the crescendo died down the only sounds Ganz heard were the rapid breathing of Officer Leightman to his left and the unsteady pounding of his own slightly damaged heart.  He figured this was not good therapy for the newly inserted stents that now resided in two of his arteries.  Suddenly, he was startled as a frightened coon dog nearly bowled him over, Charlie racing by to follow the paw prints of his deserting beagle brethren. 

             “Nestor, hey Nestor, you okay?  Can anybody out there see where Nestor is?”

             Getting no response from his good friend was not the answer Ganz had hoped to receive.  Then he heard a startled voice and glanced to his right.

             “Captain, over here ….. holy shit,” followed immediately by loud, rapid heaves resulting in the violent eruption of an earlier dinner of chicken pot pie and mashed taters.

             Ganz grabbed Leightman by the shoulder and, after pushing the officer’s rifle away from his own face, moved towards the direction of where the vomiting was still coming from.  He thought this night was just becoming more and more of a nightmare.  What kind of unspeakable hell were they stalking?  Lord, for that matter, what now monstrously hunted them? 

             He felt Leightman stumble and fall forward.  Ganz immediately swerved and pointed his flashlight toward the ground.  Quickly, the cheeseburger and fries he had eaten around seven o’ clock almost roared back up his throat. 

             Leightman lay sprawled across Nestor’s savaged body, his flashlight beam shining garishly upon dark blood still spurting wildly from two evenly severed carotid arteries.  Off to the right, with tongue lolling from the side of an open mouth, stared the black, unseeing eyes of Tango.  Ganz felt himself reeling backwards before he was held up by someone closely behind him.         

             “Jesus H. Christ, what did this?  What kind of monster is out there?” whispered Captain Nathan Ganz.  He had spent nearly thirty years on the Philadelphia police force and had never in his entire career been this terrified of anything in his life.  But he clearly knew that what they now faced was not taught in any classroom at the academy, or faced on any street corner with some gun-wielding assailant.  Monsters like this were not ever meant to exist outside of nightmares and movie screens.

             With a silver moon glittering off the tranquil, black water of a peacefully meandering Schuylkill River the distinct, savage howl of a rapacious wolf vibrated the stark Philadelphia skyline.  Captain Ganz instinctively made the sign of a cross as he stared down at the mutilated body of Nestor Shirreck and the head of his beloved Tango. 

            Thank God tomorrow was Sunday because he desperately needed to talk this one over with the big guy upstairs, along with Father Joseph who thought Nathan was a little crazy anyway.  Especially since wolves, or monsters, were not supposed to exist in his wonderful City of Brotherly Love.

 

 Look for the release of “Raven’s Rage – Order of the Claw”

around October 13, 2009

on www.soulasylumpoetry.com

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