Ravens Cove, An Iconoclast Thriller (Book 1)
The Spiritual Battle for a Small Alaska Town
By Mary Ann Poll
America’s Lady of Supernatural Thrillers
Josiah Williams awoke with a start from a fitful sleep. Dread-filled memories crowded his dreams. He played with his beloved Martha and Ezra, loving, innocent children who adored him, no matter how long he stayed away from home. They were in his arms again. He smelled those sweet children, just fresh from a bath, ready for a good night’s sleep.
A murky mist engulfed them and pulled. They screamed, small arms reaching, reaching. Then, their lifeless bodies were tossed at his feet, like rag dolls. Dead where such life had been before.
Josiah’s body heaved in uncontrollable sobs. “Why didn’t you take me, Lord? Why my babies; why my wife?”
Josiah willed himself silent. He never received an answer. No matter how many times he beseeched God.
They were in heaven with Him now; Bonnie’s belief in Jesus Christ unshakeable to the end. A model example to him, an agnostic leaning toward atheism, during their marriage. Oh, how she tried to make him see the truth. She stuck with him, and by him, throughout all the years of his neglect.
She raised those babies, not me.
Josiah felt an odd comfort in knowing the children and she were together in heaven. No more pain or terror now, not for them. They were in the hands of the One who sustained them through him and his coldness. They were drenched in God’s warmth and love—a father’s love he came to know too late.
In the irony of God, the day I chose to die, in fact, the day I held a gun held to his right temple, I found life, Josiah mused.
“Don’t do it, Josiah,” rang through his head. “The living God exists. He wants you. He will avenge your children, your beloved wife.”
Of all the ideas to run through his mind, the story of Job came to mind while he held the cold steel to his temple.
“He, too, lost his family,” Josiah remembered thinking. “But, unlike me, Job continued to proclaim God’s sovereignty and goodness. And, just like Job, I prayed for death—for the misery to end. And, just like Job, I still live.”
The story was enough to make Josiah lay the pistol down beside him. What if I’m wrong? The doubts and questions made him resolve putting off death by his own hand to a later time. Maybe an hour or maybe a day.
“In my arrogance, I told God, ‘When the pain becomes unbearable, God, I will take my own life.’”
Then the thought, “And if I don’t believe in You, why am I talking to You?”
Josiah’s belief took hold. A seed in shaky, loose soil but a seed just the same.
Josiah walked to the window while consumed in the memory of his first encounter with salvation. He stared without seeing the darkness beyond.
The cold emanating through the under-insulated window sent a shudder through him, and he returned to the present.
He noted the darkness, and the absence of the forecasted full moon.
The thing has taken another victim and has grown stronger. Minister Lucas must hear me!
Josiah fell to his knees. “God, help Your servant; I have sinned. But You say if I repent You will wash me clean. Forgive me, Lord. You have ordained my days. You have ordained my purpose, O gracious God. Send Your holy angels before me; I cannot bend the ear of Paul Lucas to what is happening here, but, You can, O Lord. Please hear my prayers. In Your mighty Son Jesus’s name. Amen.”
Josiah thought, “Maybe this death will work for good, Lord? Maybe the Thing will show itself sooner rather than later? Maybe this town could be rid of it before the evil from without feeding on the evil within the town, takes hold and destroys it?”
Josiah knew these current deaths were just the appetizers. The town would be the main course and the believers the sweetest of desserts.
A sudden urgency replaced his hope. Even in his town, the thing did not move at this speed. He rose and headed for the door.
Josiah caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror. Shaggy, unkempt grey hair sprouted above his ears and around his head like a weathered bird’s nest. The wrinkles on his trousers and shirt evidenced yesterday’s attire.
“Won’t do much good to meet with Pastor Lucas if he thinks I can’t even take care of myself.”
Josiah turned to his right and into the bathroom to grab a shower and fresh clothing.