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
AGAINST ALL ODDS
Bart made slow progress, fighting back the overgrowth on the path. It returned as quickly as he knocked it down.
Richard Pantino materialized and grabbed for him. “You are a loser, will always be a loser,” he chanted.
Bart barely managed to sidestep the fleshless fingers.
“You stupid fool! You’re in my world now. I can and will take you!” Pantino shot forward.
The twins, ghosts of Jonathan and Joseph Northan, materialized between Ken and Bart.
“We love fresh meat!” they said. “You have to be better than those tiny ravens would have been.” They moved in on Ken.
Ken willed his feet to move, to run. They didn’t.
Lightning flashed before Ken and Bart.
The twins and Pantino sizzled and evaporated into the path.
Bart and Ken fell to their knees, shaking.
“Bartholomew Nelson Anderson, Kenneth Charles Melbourne, do not be afraid. I am Uriel, an archangel of the Most High. You have mighty prayer warriors interceding for you against this immutable evil. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, has heard their prayers. He has sent me to aid you.
“The evil spirits here will trouble you no more. The evil in the ground will trouble you no more. I will open your eyes to the spirit world.
“But I cannot intervene with the one named Katrina Agnes Tovslosky. She has free will to make her choice. You are her hope. Go to her!”
The brilliance dimmed. The path lay bare of underbrush everywhere Uriel’s fiery light touched.
Ken shook his head. “Bart?”
“Yeah, I saw it. You okay?”
“Yeah, physically, anyway.”
A short laugh escaped Bart. “Ditto.”
“Seems our little group’s praying. I’ve never been one for talking to God, but I might start,” Ken said.
An eerie song floated on the dead air toward Ken and Bart.
There’s a summer place where it may rain or storm yet I’m safe and warm. . .
Ken stared at Bart.
“Yeah I heard it. It’s Kat’s voice. Almost didn’t recognize it.”
“Me neither. The tone is both airy and dead.”
Bart pointed. “There she is!”
A spine-chilling Kat lookalike faced them, yellow glinting from her eyes. She talked to a pitch-black rock in her hand.
“Do you see what she’s holding, Ken?”
Ken squinted in an effort to focus on the ink-black arrowhead.
Purple tendrils snaked upward from the sharp rock. Long, misty fingers shot out from the semi-transparent chords and circled Kat’s head like a dirty halo.
“It’s got arms! It’s holding her head! Kat!” Ken called.
“God help us!” Bart said. “Katrina! Drop the arrowhead! It’s a demon. Drop it now!”
Kat tried in vain to look up from her newfound treasure. The spirit world enveloped her, breaking her will. The more she beheld this beautiful arrowhead, the more it drew her in.
“I feel so good; so relaxed. I never want to feel fear and anxiety again. Never. I don’t want to go back,” she said.
“You don’t have to,” Pet pulsed in reply.
“Kat.” Ken this time.
Who was that? She felt a tingle of excitement but couldn’t understand why. She lifted her eyes from the stone, saw nothing and returned her gaze to her new friend.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“Pet,” it responded.
“Why does that sound so familiar? Have we met before?”
“Maybe in your dreams. I have been waiting for you a long, long time. But my master has been waiting for you even longer. We should get going. He is not a patient one.”
Katrina Agnes Tovslosky, stop now!” Bart yelled.
“Kat, no!” Ken screamed.
Kat continued her journey down the path.
Josiah slipped away from Alese and Paul. “Your will, not mine, Lord,” he said and grabbed hold of the underbrush beside the ravine path and descended, caution in every step.
He hadn’t gone far before Miggie appeared before him.
“Leave now, old man, or I’ll take you to Iconoclast. He’ll eat you alive.”
Fear grew inside Josiah, as he looked into death’s—no, Hell’s eyes. He shook himself. “Be gone, evil one. You have no power over me. I am the Lord’s.”
Angered, Miggie lunged forward, teeth bared.
Josiah stood his ground.
“The Lord Jesus Christ rebuke you!” Josiah yelled. He thrust his arms forward.
Miggie fell backward, mouth agape, fury on his eyeless, bloody face.
Josiah bowed his head. “Thank you for the victory, my Lord.”
“Amen!” Alese and Paul answered.
Josiah turned and smiled. “So be it, we go as one!”
“So be it,” they responded.
Bart and Ken stood helpless. Neither knew how to prevent the woman they both loved, in different ways, from heading through the ravine archway.
“How do we get her attention?”
“I wish I knew,” Ken answered.
“God, you know I’m not a praying man. Not much of a believer, either. Tonight is changing me. If You will, please help us!” Bart said.
“Amen!” Ken responded.
“Kat!” Bart yelled again.
Kat felt a tug at her heart. She stopped short of the opening and looked back. Who’s calling my name? I know the voice; I miss the person. Who are you?
An overwhelming sadness blanketed her heart. Tears welled in her eyes and streamed down her cheeks.
“Silly, no one else is here,” Pet said. “No one loves you like I do. No one will love you like the Commander. Step in, Kat.”
Josiah, Alese, and Paul reached Ken and Bart.
“Bart! Ken!” Paul called out.
They turned, losing focus on Kat.
When the group came together, an angel army appeared. Their blinding light shattered the darkness.
The brilliance forced the hag trees to shrink into the ravine walls.
Kat stood inches from the entrance to the cavern’s opening.
“It’s now or never!” Ken lunged forward.
Josiah jumped in front of Ken, with the agility of a man half his age and grabbed Kat’s arm, pulling with all his might.
Ken gripped her other arm.
Kat’s demon possessed supernatural strength kept her in place.
Josiah noticed her hand closed in a fist. “Katrina, open your hand!”
“No, it’s mine!”
“Katrina dear, open your hand. Let me see what you have there.” Alese cooed to the confused child before her.
“Where did she come from? For that matter, where did they all come from?” Bart whispered to Ken.
Kat’s soulless eyes sparked in response to her grandmother’s voice.
Grandma cupped Kat’s head in her hand and lifted it. She looked Kat in the eye. “I will not steal it or take it unless you allow me to; but let me see your new prized possession, my sweet one.”
Kat blinked twice and squinted at the woman before her. Her grip loosened around the rock.
Gambogian materialized in front of the cave opening. He opened his leathery wings and flew at Alese Bricken. The crack shattered the ravine’s silence.
“She is ours!” his razor-sharp claws snapped open and he lunged at Alese’s neck.
“Surround Alese Bricken!” Uriel commanded his angel army.
The angel army rushed to Alese Bricken and created a wall of light around her.
Each angel pointed a fiery sword toward the starless night sky.
Gambogian floated to the ground and snapped his wings shut.
“You do not belong here!” he roared.
“We belong where the Almighty God sends us!” Uriel replied. He leveled his sword at Gambogian.
Gambogian extended his arm toward the sky. Crimson red sparks flew from his hand. An ebony sword materialized.
The deafening clang of ethereal swords filled the ravine.
Gambogian and Uriel shot up into the night sky, thunder and lightning danced above the group as the battle continued.
“You are scaring me!” Kat said. She stepped backward toward the arch.
Josiah yelled. “God, help us!”
“Our ways have failed, O God. You are our only hope,” Paul said.
“Please, God, hear our prayer,” Alese pleaded.
“Amen,” Bart said.
A frigid gust of wind blew up from the ravine floor. A voice, more a growl, thundered, “Leave here! This is MY domain!”
“You’ll have all of us and more if we do, Iconoclast,” Josiah answered.
Atramentous materialized, wrapped clawed talons around Kat’s neck and squeezed. “Leave or she dies now!”
Kat gasped for breath. Her hands flew to her neck, clawing at her assailant.
Pet fell from her hand, bounced and stopped short of the archway.
Paul picked up the sick tarry thing Kat guarded a short while ago. He pulled a handkerchief from his back pocket and wrapped it up.
Kat lost consciousness, limp in the clutches of the dark mist.
Atramentous was so intent on controlling Kat, he did not see Josiah step backward through the archway into the darkness.
Alese noticed and watched in horror as he disappeared.
“I have come to slay you, slayer of my family!” Josiah roared.
“I will deal with you later.” Atramentous released Kat and flew into the blackness of the cave.
The laughter rose, then a growl.
“I will send you to the abyss!” Josiah threatened.
Only silence came from the hollow.
“What are we doing here?” Kat asked, rubbing her eyes like a small child waking from a nap.
Grandma grabbed Kat and pulled her close. “My baby, my baby.”
Bart put his arms around both women and pulled them into a huge bear hug. He rested his chin on Kat’s head and smiled.
Ken stood back. I want to grab you, yell at you, then hold you forever.
Paul, elated by the victory moments before, glared at the archway. “I don’t hear Josiah; I don’t see him.”
Ken, Bart, and Alese turned to the cavernous hole.
Kat snuggled closer in her Grandmother’s arms.
The earth groaned, and small rocks bounced to the ground.
“Now what?” Bart’s eyes grew saucer-sized as the arch shook and collapsed. A mountainous rock, as tall as the ravine itself, took its place.
“Where’s Josiah?” Kat asked.
Grandma lifted her head, pointing with her chin to the boulder.
Tears filled Kat’s eyes. “Crazy old man,” she whispered.
“Crazy, but oh so brave,” Grandma answered.
Kat nodded, then looked at Ken. It was his voice that she heard above that beautiful music.
She smiled back, then put her head on Grandma’s shoulder and sobbed.