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
THE DARKNESS GROWS
Miggie made two trips to Ravens Ravine before sunset. On his first trip, he arrived well before the appointed time. He found the ground on corpse mound soiled from the body removed earlier
in the day. He hurried back to his shop, grabbed an old blanket and ran back to the ravine. Both times, he sneaked under the yellow tape, hoping no one saw him violate the crime scene.
Feeling a bit foolish, but not so foolish as to ignore Atramentous’s instructions, he threw down the blanket, and sat cross-legged, back to the ravine. He could feel the ice-cold ground beneath him. He shuddered at the thought of what might be seeping into his pants.
Focus, Miggie my man, focus.
He cleared his throat. “I am a messenger of your great guard. Please do not harm me, but listen to his warning. One is in Ravens Cove who means to destroy you. He is strong in God. He is working to muster God’s people. You destroyed his family and, except for this man and a few others, his entire town. O great one, no one can defeat you. Tell me how you want to proceed to guarantee your victory. I await your instructions.”
Miggie sat still, his chattering teeth piercing the otherwise silent countryside. He felt a presence.
To make matters worse, the lone hag tree appeared to be bending toward him. He used every bit of his self-control to stay immobile and to stifle the scream constricting his throat. Numb terror blanketed Miggie’s brain. He did not register the blood trickling from his mouth, or the self-inflicted wound on his tongue.
The old hag tree started to shimmer, exuding a tarnished-gold light.
Terror gave way to curiosity.
The sounds of long-dead leaves, none on this tree as long as he’d been alive, engulfed him. He covered his ears because the noise became unbearable.
“Stop,” he yelled.
Miggie heard a gallows-laugh before the clatter of the ghost-leaves died. He dropped his hands.
The pale light illuminated, and then spotlighted, a small arrowhead sitting at his feet. Arrowheads were commonplace in Ravens Cove and not a remarkable find. Still, he could not stop looking at it.
It began to kaleidoscope through purple and black and red and even the jaundiced yellow of the tree. The rhythmic pulsation of the colors hypnotized him.
Miggie inched his fingers toward the arrowhead, making sure the rest of his body stayed statue-still.
Pain seared through his left hand. He opened it to find a deep cut, so deep Miggie saw bone before blood filled the gaping wound. The pain subsided. A scar, the color of eggplant, running in a straight line from his middle finger to the base of his hand remained.
It did happen! Miggie thought.
Miggie gazed into the magical stone. For the second time, Miggie broke the rule of silence. “This charm can wound and heal! With this new find, I can run Ravens Cove. I can rule all of Southcentral Alaska, then all of Alaska, and maybe even the world! The possibilities are endless!
“You’ll all see! Reverend Plotno will be my minion, part of my new congregation.”
A sallow light snaked from the arrowhead in his hand, dancing toward his chest, the macabre rhythm set to his heartbeat. A long tendril of ochre mist shot through his body, then pulled out.
Miggie stood, turned, and faced the ravine path. A wind, laced by the stench of decay, smacked him in the face. Instead of acting as a repellent, it acted as a magnet and drew him to the head of the path.
Breaking the rules emboldened Miggie. He took a step onto the path.
The anemic glow brightened and exposed once-invisible hag trees along the trail’s edge. The trail ended at a treed archway.
A gnarly, misty finger shot down the pathway, pointing to the door.
“I can’t go down there! It’s forbidden!”
“Run!” his mind commanded.
Desire overpowered his fear and collapsed under the relentless craving to know the guardian’s secret of knowledge and power.
“This is why the guardian told me not to go! Well, turnabout’s fair play, as they say. I know the secret now, and I will be free from the wretched fiend who proclaimed himself a friend, and is nothing of the sort. I will destroy him!”
Miggie advanced to his destiny, a smile on his face at the revenge he would exact on Atramentous.
Atramentous snapped alert. The deep, golden oak door of the Congregational Alliance began to bleed. Small, uniform tendrils coursed down its ornate top to its elaborate threshold. A roar of rage, smelling of burnt flesh and thousands of decaying, murdered souls, issued from the dark mist.
Miggie existed no more.
“The stupid mortal should have been my reward! Now, I won’t taste the sweet nectar of the terror and pain when I drain the life from the pastry bag of flesh. Stolen. My prize stolen.”
To make matters worse, Atramentous could not retaliate. The Commander would not abide even the appearance of rebellion.
He quieted. The blood crept back up the door and withdrew into the overhead.
Better him than me, thought Atramentous while he settled again over his post.