Carl R. Merritt
Carl R. Merritt
atop a hill overlooking the town of Moore's Lake, the moonlit scene was
deathly quiet, almost as if the night itself knew what would soon transpire.
There was not a hint of wind, not a whisper of sound.
All the nocturnal creatures were hidden away in their burrows and
nests, afraid to come out even to feed. Indeed,
even Abe's gigantic bats were too terrified to venture out from the relative
safety of their cave. Their
primitive minds picked up all too easily the danger that seemed to fill the
night skies. It was like a
presence . . . a proximity of evil.
without warning of any kind, an awesome disturbance broke the false serenity
of the hill top. In a blinding
flash of light that lit up the entire countryside, two human beings suddenly
appeared. They were holding
hands, and there was a look of fierce determination evident on their faces. Without a word being spoken between them, they looked into
each other's eyes and communicated, each knowing the other's thoughts
man's name was Michael Cochran, the woman's was Christine McMasters.
They were no ordinary human beings by any definition of the term.
For one thing, they were soulmates, and their whole existence on this
Earth was destined for just one purpose - to fight evil using the powers given
to them by the Savior of Mankind.
Cochran, a man of high moral values, keen mind and strong will had one of the
most powerful gifts God has ever given one of his children - the powers of
ESP. He could not only read and
control the minds of others, but manipulate matter, dominate the cosmic forces
of the universe, heal the sick and use psychokinetic energy - also known as PK
- to hurl objects weighing thousands of pounds far into space if necessary . . .
all using the powers of the mind.
soulmate, more dear to him than life itself, had an even greater gift.
Christine had in her possession a very special item, a ring forged from
the capstone of the great pyramid of Atlantis.
To the more knowledgeable of humans, that ring represented power beyond
all imagination. For instance,
all Christine had to do was give the ring a mental command and it would
fulfill her request . . . any request. There
were very few petitions the ring was incapable of performing, even against the
immense powers of their archenemy, Lucifer himself.
the years Mike and Christine had been together, they have had more than their
fair share of run-ins with the Prince of Darkness.
Once, only a few weeks after receiving their powerful gifts, Mike had even
been forced to transport himself to Hell where he defeated Lucifer on his home
turf. Since that time, Mike and Christine had been searching the
world over for any signs of Satan's influence.
Upon discovery, they would use their fantastic abilities to right the
wrongs . . . undo the terrible disasters that Lucifer somehow always managed
to bring about. Wherever they
traveled, it was usually because trouble was not far away.
now they were just outside the town limits of Moore's Lake.
what now, Soulmate?" Mike asked verbally, preferring to hear Christine's
sweet voice rather than simply reading her mind.
"We've got less than a week before the bottom falls out of this
entire community. Abe already
knows we're here, so I think we should spend some time getting to know our new
ally. What do you think?"
your ESP, you know more about these things than I do, but I think you're
right. Let's go see Abe. I've
got a feeling we're going to need all the help we can get with this one."
Then, gazing into her soulmate's eyes, Christine mentally asked, Mike,
is this all going to work out okay?
ask questions you don't want to know the answers to,
came the reply from the powerful ESPer. I
get the feeling that there's going to be a lot of death in this poor town
unless we can think of some way to stop Lucifer's rampages. But there's always a chance, Soulmate, there's always a
liking the way that came out at all, Christine shrugged and gave her Capstone
ring a small mental command. With
another blinding flash of light, they were gone.
Lamas was on duty guarding Darlene and Vampra from vampire hunters that
evening when a voice suddenly popped into his head.
It was a woman's voice and it was, without a doubt, the strangest
experience of his life.
not be alarmed at what is about to happen.
We're the "good guys!"
without any further warning, the mute police officer became temporarily
blinded by a flash of light so intense, he wondered if he would ever be able
to see again.
see he did. And what he saw startled him despite the warning.
A man and a woman were standing directly in front of him, holding hands
and smiling. The man, lean, hard
faced, had eyes that appeared to see right through to your soul.
The woman, a brunette with a figure so perfect it was hard to believe,
began to say something, but suddenly looked at her companion and stopped.
be alarmed, Officer Lamas. Like
Christine told you a few seconds ago, we're friends.
We've come to see Abe.
wanted to ask a million questions, but being mute, he didn't know how to even
begin. He was surprised again
when he heard the voice reply to a few of his unasked questions.
can read your thoughts, Marc. There's
no need to speak. My name is Mike
Cochran and this is my soulmate, Christine.
No, we aren't angels, or demons. We're
human beings just like you. I'm
an ESPer and we're here to give you folks a hand with something that is about
to happen in Moore's Lake. If you
want, come on with us inside the tomb and listen to our thoughts as we
communicate with Abe. This
concerns you as much as everyone else. I'll even relay your thoughts along
like I do with Christine so you can be heard as well.
didn't have to be convinced. However,
instead of going inside the tomb, he stayed by the entrance so he would still
be near his post while he listened in.
we need you to appear," Christine said aloud as she and Mike entered the
HAPPY YOU BOTH HAVE FINALLY ARRIVED," announced the ghoul, appearing
without his normal show of swirling mist and stars.
"AS YOU ARE AWARE, I CAN NOT HANDLE THIS CRISIS ON MY OWN. THERE'S NO NEED TO EXPLAIN, OR EVEN MAKE ANY PLANS.
WE CAN NOT DO SO ANYWAY WITHOUT THEM BEING PICKED UP BY THE WRONG
ENTITIES. I AM FULLY AWARE OF
WHAT'S GOING TO TAKE PLACE NEXT WEEK AND HAPPY THAT YOU BOTH CAN JOIN THE
know damned well Christine and I have no choice other than to be here,
Abe," Mike said. "But
yeah . . . it'll be good to have you on our side."
don't understand! Marc
almost shouted with his mind. What's
going to happen?
you read Sergeant Baker's report two days ago?
Oh, okay. I see in your
mind that the sergeant didn't have all the facts."
Mike gave the ghoul a look of bewilderment and then went on to explain
further. "Lucifer is coming
in person to Moore's Lake next week and he's bringing with him an army of
demons. And if we can't stop him,
he'll be returning to the underworld with every soul in Moore's Lake."
know, if there was one thing I really didn't need to hear, it was that.
this way, you can't say you weren't warned," Christine replied with a
following evening, Mike and Christine were enjoying the night life in Moore's
Lake at a small tavern in the business district.
They wanted to get the feel of the town, get to know the people they
were going to fight so hard for in the days to come.
powerful ESPer, more or less just one of the boys at heart, was drinking a
beer, while Christine on the other hand, being much more sophisticated, was
enjoying a glass of red wine while listening to the 80's music playing on the
old style juke box.
were not surprised in the least when a voice called out from behind them, in
fact, they were expecting it.
some company?" Darlene asked before taking a seat uninvited.
the reason we came to this club," Christine answered as a reply.
"We knew you visited this place when you don't go to that gothic
bar, and took a chance you might be here tonight."
I figured that. Abe already told
me all about both of you. . . how Mike can read minds, make the sick better
and stuff like that. So I take it
you wanted to see me. What about?
And since I can read minds also, do you want to do this mentally, or
won't be able to read our minds, Darlene.
But if you want to do this mentally, I can always transfer our thoughts
to you," Mike stated rather flatly.
"Hmmm, I see you wouldn't like that, so I suggest we do this
really believing any mortal could hide their thoughts from a vampire as well
as this ESPer claimed, Darlene tried to read first his thoughts, then
Christine's. What Mike said was
true enough, she discovered. She
found that these two could somehow block out all thought emissions from
others. Darlene could almost
understand how the ESPer could accomplish this, but how could the woman?
She wasn't supposed to have any ESP capabilities according to what Abe
had told her.
been around me too long, little girl. She's
learned that anyone can perform fantastic feats with their mind if they know
how. You don't have to have ESP
to block your thoughts, just a strong will and the right attitude, and a great
faith in God,
Mike informed the beautiful vampress.
This is great. So you can
read my mind, but I can't read yours. This
isn't fair," Christine commented with a knowing smile.
I give up. What's so important?
I can only assume it has something to do with the devil coming next
week. Am I right?"
. . . unfortunately, you're correct," Mike said.
"To put it bluntly, Christine and I are very concerned that when
Lucifer gets here, he'll try to use you and Gail to his advantage. With you both being already of the undead, he'll have a power
over you just as he does with all other out of body souls."
thought about this for a few moments and had to concede the point, at least
partially. "Okay, we have a problem, but only with Gail, not me.
Gail is mentally unstable and Lucifer could easily control her.
With me, it's another story entirely.
I hate that son-of-a-bitch and wouldn't let him control my mind even if
it meant somehow destroying myself to prevent it."
shook her head and said, "You're wrong, Darlene.
Mike and I have met Lucifer on three other occasions and believe me . .
. he can control you if your faith in God isn't strong enough.
In case Abe didn't tell you, Mike here has been to Hell already and
he's seen first hand what that "son-of-a-bitch" as you call him is
capable of. Mike also read your
mind when we first arrived and relayed your thoughts to me.
Darlene, Lucifer can . . . and will . . . take control of you if you
don't get your head straight within the next week. I think the best thing would be for you and Gail to leave
Moore's Lake until this is all over. Hmmm,
Mike is telling me right now that Bret's in California. Maybe you and Gail could... "
wrong! I'm a good girl and I have a lot of faith in
God! I never do
wrong! Lucifer cannot
knew there was no use trying to convince this lovely vampress without a small
example. So using his awesome
abilities of ESP, Mike mentally summoned two people to enact a little scene so
Darlene would be forced to react. After
a few seconds, he finished and he replied, "You never do
wrong? You really think that, huh?
Tell you what . . . if you can still say that an hour from now,
Christine and I will leave you alone and never bother you again.
Right now, we've got about twenty minutes to kill before a couple of
people I've summoned get here. Anyone
care to dance?"
ahead and dance with Darlene, Soulmate. I
want to take some time to think how I'm going to convince this willful girl
after the show is over. Besides,
out of all the things you've done in your life, I can't ever remember you
dancing with a vampire. This will
be a first for you!
Care to Dance?"
you two are soulmates! Shouldn't
you two be the ones out there? I
me, Christine won't get jealous. Let's
led Darlene to the dance floor and was soon surprised at how well she could
perform. The exquisite creature
of the night could have melted the paint off the walls with an erotic display
that had every head in the club turned her way.
She was that hot of a dancer. Mike
wasn't a bad dancer himself, but compared to Darlene, he felt like he had two
left feet. It was everything he
could do just to keep up with her. Using
his ESP, Mike discovered that the next song up was "Black Velvet," a
tune that would soon have Darlene moving like an erotic vixen for sure.
With a small amount of mental suggestion and PK, the ESPer quickly
changed the selection to a popular song by Hall and Oates, "Sara
Smile." It was made for slow
the next song began, Darlene shook her head in bewilderment as she allowed
Mike to lead her around the dance floor.
She said, "I don't understand this.
This place just plays fast dance music and a few rather . . .
amorous . . . selections. I've
never heard this song before, at least not in here."
things can happen at the most unexpected times when you're with someone like
me. Believe it or not . . . I'm like no one you've ever met
beginning to see that," the beautiful vampress admitted, already getting
to like this powerful human. "Mike,
let me ask you a question. Why
weren't you and Christine surprised when I admitted that I believed in God a
few minutes ago? I mean, you've got to admit that sounds pretty strange coming
from a vampire."
of the undead has no bearing on your beliefs.
You believed in God before you were bitten by Vince, you hold the same
convictions now. What's so hard
to understand about that? Besides,
the way I look at it, you being a vampire just proves God's existence. If the stories are correct, that the original vampire was a
result of Lucifer's work, then you have to believe in the devil.
If you believe in the devil, then you have to believe in God.
It's only logical."
Spock, you fascinate me!"
began to relax in Mike's strong arms as they danced.
She felt comfortable, almost sedated with her head resting on his broad
shoulders. Darlene began to wish
this dance would last forever . . . it felt so right.
really enjoying this, aren't you? Do
you want me to... "
Mike suddenly stopped. He
stopped dancing and stopped talking. He
just stood there holding Darlene in his arms, staring at her in disbelief.
wrong? I'm not used to slow dancing.
I didn't step on your foot or anything, did I?"
It's just . . . aww, forget it. Probably
nothing." Mike shook his
head to clear it and took the girl in his arms once again and continued
dancing. When the song was over,
the ESPer led the way back to their table and quickly ordered another round of
drinks. Right away, Christine
knew something was bothering him.
don't know for sure, Christine. This
girl, she . . . maybe . . . I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. Let
me work this out in my head and I'll tell you about it later.
the time their drinks were finished, Matt and one of his buddies from town
arrived. By the looks on their
faces, it was clear that neither of them had any idea exactly why they were
them to join us, Darlene.
Mr. Mind-reader! How do you do
you're a good little girl, maybe I'll teach you sometime.
Unfortunately, Mike meant it.
were scooted over and more drinks were ordered.
Before long, thanks to Mike's mental prompting, Matt's friend soon
began talking about the place where he worked.
my boss says, if I want a better job, or even keep the one I have, I'd better
keep my mouth shut about what I see going on," he said, referring to the
automobile parts plant located in Moore's Lake.
was your boss referring to?" Mike asked innocently enough.
I'm not sure I should be saying anything, but . . . er, they're hiring a lot
of people without green cards, if you know what I mean.
They're hiring illegal aliens and paying them way less than minimum
wage. I don't want to say
anything because I need the money too bad and they pay good at the plant, but
I don't like what they're doing either. It's
about as illegal as you can get. Anybody
got any ideas what I should do?"
shut up and forget about it," Matt said quickly.
"That's what I'd do. Good
jobs are too hard to come by in Moore's Lake, certainly none that pay as well
as the parts plant."
do you say, Darlene? What would
you do in this young man's situation?"
Once again, Mike was trying to sound as innocent as possible.
However, even as he was putting on this little act, he was reading her
mind and already knew exactly how this carefree and very thoughtful vampress
would react in the same situation.
do as Matt suggested. I'd keep my
mouth shut, and the money rolling in," she replied.
was all Mike and Christine needed to hear.
With another mental prompt, the ESPer sent Matt and his companion away,
both totally confused.
thought you said you never do wrong, Darlene.
You just told a lie. You
would have gone to the authorities no matter if it would have cost you your
job or not," Christine stated as fact.
"And that lie proves you don't have as much faith in God as you
believe you have. You are going
to be susceptible to Lucifer's bidding next week, face it."
a little evil in you that Lucifer will take advantage of, not much, but
enough," Mike added, nodding his head in agreement with his soulmate.
you calling me 'evil' just because I told a little lie to save a young man's
job?" Darlene asked, bewildered by the powerful ESPer's attitude towards
something as commonplace as a little untruthfulness.
"You've read my mind down to the core.
I know, I've felt you prying. You
know how I feel about evil and you also know I have great faith in God.
Okay, it's true that I might go along with something that I know is
wrong on occasion simply because I believe it's not worth the hassle of saying
anything . . . maybe losing a friend, or to help someone out, but that doesn't
mean I'm evil! How can you say
that, Mr. ESP?"
Darlene's really a good person! You
know that! Don't make it sound
like you're calling her a bitch!
me on this one, Soulmate. This
gal may have a carefree and free-spirited attitude towards life, but she is
very strong willed. There's also
something about her I haven't told you yet.
If we screw this up, there may very well be some severe consequences in
the future. When your turn to
talk comes in a few seconds, tell her what you were originally going to say,
but just be a little firmer. This
gal is tough, but fair. She'll
listen if she knows she's hearing the truth.
I can feel that you're pretty sure of yourself.
All right, let's make her day!
are no degrees of evil, Darlene, only intensities.
No sin is greater, or less in God's eyes than any other.
And one more thing I want you to always remember . . . to allow evil to
happen, is to condone it."
think that needs a little bit of explanation, Mr. Cochran.
Surely you can't believe a little lie is as bad as killing someone.
Especially when that lie may help somebody.
Besides, you two will have to agree that telling lies are pretty far
down on the list of Commandments." Darlene
was intrigued by Mike's convictions, but she was indeed very strong willed and
she had her own views about right and wrong.
looked over at Christine for no more than an instant, but that half second was
enough to tell the woman that it was now her turn to try and convince the
right, Darlene. There are no
degrees of evil. Take for example
those Ten Commandments you were referring to.
No where does it say that number five, Thou Shalt Not Kill, is worse
than number eight, Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.
The higher the number doesn't make a difference.
If that were the case, breaking commandment number two, saying 'God
Damn' would be worse than killing someone.
No, Darlene, there are no 'degrees' where evil is concerned.
And when it comes to allowing evil . . . any evil . . . to flourish,
you couldn't be making a bigger mistake.
Mike's telling me now that you want an example.
Fine. Here's one. Let's
take your friend there, uh, Matt, for an example.
He's a good man, Mike and I can tell that, but what he told the young
boy was wrong. He just told his
friend to suck up to his evil boss in hopes of a better job.
Matt advised him that way because he knew the kid was afraid of losing
his income. Now, let's use the
same scenario and go more extreme, or 'intense' as Mike would put it.
Darlene, if Lucifer were standing right in front of you at this very
moment, would you kiss up to him in hopes of him allowing you an air
conditioner if you were to go to Hell when you completely die?
Or would you slap him in the face and probably go to Heaven for doing
so? Hmm, Mike's telling me right
now that you'd kick him in the nuts!"
Christine had to stop for a moment while everyone laughed. "But
the point is," she continued, "most people would be afraid of
Lucifer and want to 'play it safe.' They
would show fear and reverence in his presence and then probably go to church
the following Sunday and ask the Lord for forgiveness.
You see? It's basically
the same thing. In both
instances, a person is kissing up to evil on account of fear.
Both are wrong. And that
little lie you told was wrong also, no matter how much good was
are always alternatives to doing wrong, Darlene," Mike
added. "You've got to
remember that. You've just got to
have faith in God and trust Him enough whereas the ideas and abilities to
fight evil will pop into your head as they are needed.
Doing wrong to correct a wrong is never the answer."
he spoke to her, the ESPer's gaze was piercing Darlene down to her very soul
and she had the feeling there was something more to Mike Cochran than he was
telling her. Whatever it was, she
found herself hoping that by having faith, she would soon find out.
However, at the moment, all she knew was that this man was affecting
her like no mortal should be able to do.
It felt so good to be touching him during that slow dance, so natural.
Darlene didn't understand what was happening at all and she discovered
herself being more and more curious and intrigued with this powerful man with
each passing moment.
what if those ideas and abilities don't come to you, at least not in
time and practice, they will. But
if they don't at first, then you just don't have enough faith."
of 'practice,' you meant to say 'patience,' didn't you?"
I'm not a very patient man... "
I don't even believe in it," Mike replied, giving Christine a little
smile. "I think patience is
for those who are looking for excuses. Myself,
if something needs to happen and doesn't, I blame Michael Cochran, no one
else. I believe too many people
are waiting for God to help them when they could help themselves.
They say they must have patience.
I say they must have faith that God has already given them the
abilities to handle the situation on their own.
God doesn't give us obstacles we can't overcome."
a question popped into Darlene's mind and there was no way she was going to
continue without asking. It was
rude, impolite and a downright invasion of privacy . . . but she just had to
ask, if for no other reason than to add credibility to everything Mike and
Christine were trying to say. The
thing was though, it was just too hard to ask and Darlene found herself
somewhat at a loss for words.
smiling, looked over to Christine who soon joined him with a smile of her own.
no need to ask, Darlene. We know
what's on your mind. Yes, Mike is
married to Sally, the loveliest woman in the world, and I am his soulmate.
You're wondering, since we are soulmates, if Mike and I
had ever made love and broken the sixth commandment. The answer is no, we haven't.
I realize that judging by the way we carry on and how we react to each
other's presence, that may be hard to believe, but we haven't.
That would be evil, something Mike and I just can't let happen.
Oh, sure . . . we want to, we've dreamt and fantasized about it until
we're about to burst, but we haven't. You
see, being soulmates, we've achieved a level of awareness for each other that
is far better than just plain sex. The
pleasures of sex would last only for a short while, but what Mike and I share
gives us pleasure 24/7 and is worth far too much for us to be taking any
chances at losing." Placing
a hand over her heart, Christine continued.
"I feel Mike . . . right here . . . all the time.
If you want to check our pulses, you'll discover they are the same at
this moment. They always will be
whenever we are both calm and within proximity of each other.
Even when we are separated, Mike is still with me, in my heart, I can
always feel him. When he is
having problems, I know it. Whether
I'm in a bad or a good mood, he knows it.
And that's not because Mike has ESP either, it's because we're
soulmates. His very soul is
intermixed with mine and the sensation that it brings is too hard to explain.
It goes beyond sex, goes beyond love as much as the sun outshines a
match. To do any immoral act
would mean that we would lose everything, and we would both rather die
guys mentioned that having faith in God is the key.
I'd love to hear a lot more about that."
time again, hope you don't mind. Darlene,
when I was working my way through college in a factory, I didn't know Mike . .
. and didn't even know anyone in the world had ESP.
However, I was still able to 'know' things as a result of my faith in
the Lord. One summer, while
working in that factory, I had to turn aside the advances of one of my
supervisors who kept hitting on me. He
got angry and very vindictive. I
guess he wasn't used to being turned down.
Anyway, a few days later, I got cut by a razor blade that was
intentionally put inside my box of parts.
I figured it was my boss who did it to get even with me and at first, I
was very angry. But after I had
calmed down, I thought about some of my old theology classes and what I had
learned about having faith. So in
the days to come, I just told myself over and over that God would tell me if
any more razor blades were hidden in my parts and trusted Him not to let me
get cut if I would do my part and remember to look.
Now remember what I just said, I had to do my part.
I had to remember to look in order for God to help me...
Anyway, over the next week, I found a lot more razor blades, sometimes
just seconds before I would put my hands where I would get cut.
As the days passed, I became more and more sure that God would tell me
in advance and sure enough He did. I
found them in places I never would have thought to look!
Eventually, I had so much faith in God, I would know . . . yes, know
that a razor blade was hidden inside a part before I even opened the
container! And when I looked,
sure enough, there it was! Darlene,
I couldn't even see those parts, how could I know that a razor
blade was hidden inside one of them? That's
what I mean by having faith. You
see, God helps those who helps themselves and has faith in Him.
That had nothing to do with ESP. Faith,
And Mike and I have used that faith along with our abilities and our
soulmate relationship to do all sorts of good things for the world.
We've stopped wars that have been going on for hundreds of years,
thought of ways to feed the hungry in parts of the world that have had people
starving for generations and much more. But
none of that could have happened without that faith."
to be honest, being soulmates had a lot more to do with it than Christine is
letting on, Darlene. Christine
just reasons things out differently than I do.
We have different views on a lot of issues.
And being soulmates and knowing each other so well, we've used that
diversity in thinking to solve problems that otherwise would have gone
knew the truth when she heard it and began to develop a deeper understanding
of things. There was one more thing she was curious about though,
something Christine failed to mention. "Whatever
happened to your boss back at that factory?
Did you call the authorities on him?"
beautiful vampress was surprised when Christine and Mike both broke out
laughing. She didn't know why,
but Darlene soon found herself laughing also.
It wasn't because she wanted to go along with the others, or just be a
part of the crowd, it was sort of like a bonding between friends . . . but
somehow more. There was just
something about those two, especially Mike.
That bold, intelligent and ever so curious Michael Cochran...
Christine was finally able to control her laughter, she answered Darlene's
question with a couple of her own. "Remember
what you would have done to Lucifer in that one example with him offering to
give you an air conditioner in Hell? Well,
would you believe me if I told you that I kicked my boss in the nuts?"
the days passed and the time for Lucifer's arrival quickly drew near, Darlene
found herself more and more intrigued by Mike.
As she sat alone inside her motor home, Darlene continued to think
about the ESPer. There was just something about that man she couldn't
understand at all. Initially, she
thought she may have been in love with him, but after much soul searching,
Darlene finally decided she probably wasn't.
Maybe I'm simply fascinated by his ESP abilities, she thought.
Or maybe I'm just amazed that there's a man out there with such a
perfect character, such high morals. He
doesn't lie, doesn't do harm to others . . . at least not the good people.
He's brave, strong, kind, caring, generous . . . and very married.
According to Abe, he's been married to some blonde back in Columbus,
Ohio for almost fifteen years. Damn!
where were you when I was still mortal and could have really loved
someone?" Darlene knew her
emotions were in an uproar where Mike Cochran was concerned and for the life
of her, she couldn't understand why. She
just couldn't get this marvelous man out of her head.
"I see a man I'd like to spent the rest of my life with and as it
turns out, he's married and I'm dead! Oh,
yeah . . . this is fair!"
MORE TO THIS THAN YOU KNOW," said a voice from somewhere beyond the
What's going on with me? Why
is it I'm always thinking about that man, and even to some degree
Christine?" Darlene knew the
ghoul was someplace far away, perhaps even in another dimension, that realm of
darkness Abe calls home. However,
she also knew that wouldn't stop the two of them from having a conversation.
"I'm not in love with him, am I?
And am I jealous of Christine, or what?"
TRY TO REMEMBER WHAT CHRISTINE TOLD YOU IN THE BAR.
YOU ALREADY HAVE YOUR ANSWERS. YOU
JUST THINK TOO LOGICALLY TO ACCEPT THEM.
IN TIME, YOU WILL UNDERSTAND. TRY
NOT TO WORRY. CALM YOURSELF AND
LOOK INSIDE YOUR HEART. THE
ANSWERS YOU SEEK ARE IN THERE."
Are you still here?" Darlene asked, already knowing that he
I want answers and all I get are more riddles!
"I think I'm going nuts!"
sat in his plush hotel room, staring out the window at the lake, thinking.
He thought about Lucifer and what was to come within two more days.
He thought about what would happen to the people of Moore's Lake if he
failed. He thought about his
life, how he had accomplished so much, and wondered if that would mean
anything at all if he fell to Lucifer during the battle.
He thought about Sally, his lovely wife who was sitting patiently at
home, anxiously awaiting his return, worrying if he and Christine would
survive this next encounter with the devil.
He thought about his soulmate, Christine, the woman who has helped him
time after time and has given him spiritual advice when it was needed the
most. And then he thought once
again of Darlene, the beautiful vampress and friend. . . and very likely so
sighed and wished he could be certain of Darlene's future.
But like so many other times in his life, his ESP usually failed him
when it came to precognition. It
was obvious to Mike that the guy upstairs just didn't want him knowing about
certain things until the time was right.
powerful ESPer swiveled in his seat and turned towards the door of his hotel
room seconds before he heard someone knock.
He let his ESP do its thing and smiled when he discovered who it was.
He had been expecting this visitor for some time now.
are you busy? If you're not in
the shower or anything, come on over to my room in two minutes.
Use your ring instead of walking.
There's someone here who is going to need a little encouragement.
thing, Mike. Mark it . . . two minutes from . . . now!
at his watch to verify the time, Mike remained in his seat and called out,
"Come on in, Captain. It's
Long entered Mike's room and looked around a few seconds before saying,
"I would have thought a rich guy like you would have had your own
furnishings brought in. Instead, I find you lounging in an old hotel recliner that
must be ten years old. You
full of surprises, Captain. You
ought to try me sometime."
just bet you are... "
worried, aren't you, Roscoe? You're
worried that Lucifer is coming here and all you see Christine and me doing in
preparation is going out and partying every night.
Abe isn't telling you a thing and you came here hoping to make some
type of battle plan. How's that
for surprising you?"
You get an 'A' for that one! But
why aren't you and Abe doing anything to get ready? The devil is still coming, isn't he? Or is it already over?"
sighed again, realizing that he had been doing a lot of that lately.
Smiling to himself, he said, "No, Captain, in two days all hell is
going to break loose in Moore's Lake. A
few demons will appear before that, a sort of a scouting party for Satan, but
I don't know how many and I don't know exactly when."
why aren't we doing something to get ready?!
Why won't Abe tell me anything? And
why are you waiting until now to tell me all this when you've been in town
nearly a week?!"
of all, Captain, there's nothing the average mortal can do to prepare for a
Satanic onslaught other than pray. And
I see you've been doing a lot of that already.
Second, whatever is in the mind of one who can not shield their
thoughts, Satan can get it. So if
I told you what Abe, Christine and I have planned, Lucifer will pick up on it
and take safeguards against our plans. Any
one. Is Moore's Lake going to survive this onslaught?
I mean, can you guys handle it? Do
you have the power to take on the damned devil?"
Mike glanced at his watch and commented, "Just wait about ten more
seconds and you'll have your answer, Captain Long."
are you talking about? What the
hell kind of games are you... "
then Christine appeared in that blinding light.
Knowing she was to put on a little demonstration for someone, she also
added a little thunder and a small shock wave for good measure.
It had quite an affect on the captain, who recovered quickly enough but
still stood there staring at Christine as though she were some sort of
goddess. Never had he seen such
immense power short of watching a nuclear explosion on the television.
were about to ask something, Captain?"
I suppose I was. But that was
when I was young and stupid. Mr.
Cochran, Ms. McMasters . . . I'm going to leave before I lose my mind.
But there's just one thing I'm going to ask of you before I go.
When the time comes, I want you to let the police force help defend the
town. That's all I ask.
Let us help." Then,
without another word, Captain Long left.
take it you weren't exactly being polite to the captain.
Mind if I ask why?"
at all, Soulmate. If I would have
told him the answers he wanted to hear, Lucifer would know our plans.
If I'd been evasive with my answers, the poor captain would have been
more worried than he is now. I
didn't like treating him that way, but I couldn't see any other way to get him
to leave quickly."
knew that if Mike wanted the captain to leave, there must be a good reason.
She thought she knew what that reason was. "It's started already, hasn't it?" she asked,
fingering her ring.
the first . . . oh, 'scouting party' I'll call it.
There are two demons in town. They're
going to test Abe's powers and try to take over Vampra."
her name is Gail, not Vampra. I
found out today that Darlene prefers we call her by her chosen name.
And speaking of the two demons, are we going to do anything about them,
or are we just going to stand here shooting the bull?"
don't know if we should do anything, Christine.
Lucifer sent them here to see how strong we're going to be.
I think we should go watch, of course, but we should stay out of it and
see how well Abe and Darlene handle things.
If they need help, then we'll jump in.
Abe is agreeing with me right now, as a matter of fact.
But what do you think?"
think I have a wonderful soulmate!
with nothing more than a mental prompt, Christine used the Capstone ring to
transport them both to Abe's tomb.
wasn't about to take any crap from the demon that entered his tomb.
He materialized to see the grotesque creature sifting through his old
bones, scattering them around the tomb. The
ghoul was furious. He sent a wave
of cosmic energy into the demon's chest and sent him straight back to Hell,
his little butt on fire.
the time Mike and Christine arrived, just an instant after leaving Mike's
hotel room, it was already over. All
they saw was Abe hovering a few feet off the ground shaking his skeletal head
in sadness at the mess the demon had made of his mortal remains.
is only the beginning, Mike
said to the ghoul using telepathy.
KNOW. IT WILL GET MUCH WORSE.
Darlene making out?" Christine asked, her ring glowing with power, ready
for instant use if needed.
DEMON HASN'T MADE ITS PRESENCE KNOWN TO HER YET.
BUT I'M AFRAID SHE WILL HAVE A TOUGHER TIME DEALING WITH IT THAN I DID
WITH MINE," Abe replied, using some unknown force to rearrange his
skeleton once again. When he
finished, the bones were laid out the way they were over a hundred years
before when Abe, known back then as Captain Abraham Wilkes, had died.
"YOU WERE RIGHT IN NOT INTERFERING MICHAEL.
YOU CANNOT GIVE AID TO DARLENE EITHER.
YOU WILL WANT TO, BUT YOU CANNOT.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY? AND
DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP TO YOU THAT SHE REPRESENTS?"
think so, but I'm not sure. But I
don't want you to tell me. If the
relationship I suspect is indeed a fact, then there's only one way it can work
out, and that's if Darlene figures it out by herself and she comes to me
first. If she doesn't reason it
out, or if she is afraid, then it wasn't meant to be."
"UNDERSTOOD. YOU ARE WISE."
I don't understand!" Christine said.
"Is someone going to tell me?"
a small chance, Christine, that Darlene may be a soulmate of ours...
Lord! One soulmate is enough of a headache! Two will put me in a padded room for sure!"
was still trying to sort out her thoughts when she heard Gail scream.
Jumping to her feet, the vampress burst out the door of her motor home
and ran as fast as she could to the cage where Vampra was incarcerated.
What she saw terrified her.
face had changed to that of an evil mask . . . it was the hideous face of a
demon. The creature now
inhabiting Vampra's body had transformed her from a young beautiful woman into
an evil, ugly monster.
as Darlene watched the creature rattle away at the bars in an attempt to
escape the confines of the cell, she realized the demon had made a terrible
mistake. It had taken over Gail's body while still confined.
Evidently, the creature had lost some of its abilities after inhabiting
Gail. It couldn't escape the
reinforced steel mesh cell.
out of my cousin, you sick piece of garbage!
Leave her alone and try and take me on!
Come on! What's the
matter? Afraid? You're
nothing but a stupid moron! Only
a follower of Satan would be dumb enough to take over a body
that was trapped inside a steel cage!"
Verbally abusing and insulting the demon was the only way Darlene could
think of to get it to leave Gail's body.
She could only hope it worked.
if that demon leaves Gail's body, won't it try to take over Darlene?
sure will. I'm reading Darlene's mind right now to see if she remembers
anything we said about having faith. So
far, those thoughts aren't coming to her.
THE NAMES OF JESUS, MARY, JOSEPH AND GOD WILL ALSO HAVE DETRIMENTAL EFFECTS ON
THE DEMON, JUST AS THEY DO WITH LUCIFER.
That's right, Abe! Christine
and I forgot to tell her about that the other night! Maybe I should...
WE REMAIN INVISIBLE AND WE WATCH.
WE WILL DO NOTHING MORE!
the creature with words had the desired affect.
Within a minute after Darlene began insulting the demon, it departed
Gail's body and walked right through the steel mesh and bars as easily as if
they were nothing but air. Darlene
was just thankful the steel mesh was still intact.
Otherwise Gail could escape and everyone would have even bigger
problems on their hands.
Darlene watched the demon approach her, her stomach began to churn as she
slowly backed away. To say the creature from Hell was ugly would have been a
gross understatement. For one
thing, its red skin was transparent in places and Darlene could see what
looked to be small insects crawling around through the muscles and fatty
tissue. The demon was short, no
more than four feet tall at most, but very powerfully built.
What passed for a face was also hideous. It looked like a cross between a hairless cat and some type
of monkey with horns. Its long,
bony fingers, now poised to strike, had inch long nails that dripped some
thick, greenish fluid. Darlene
couldn't even begin to guess if the substance was poisonous, or not.
knowing what else to do, Darlene prepared herself to fight the demon, hoping
beyond hope that her inhumanly strong vampire strength would be enough to ward
the creature off.
the creature from Hell attacked.
not remembering anything we said! We've
got to help her!
I WILL ATTEMPT TO STOP YOU IF YOU TRY.
You can't stop me! I can...
right, Soulmate! You yourself
said we should let Darlene handle this on her own!
Let her try . . . please!!
inside, Mike knew they were both right. But
that still didn't stop him from wanting to help Darlene.
As he stood invisible a hundred feet away from the beautiful vampress
and the ugly demon, all he could think about was going to the aid of someone
who was in all probability . . . another soulmate.
However, Christine's plea also had an affect on him.
Mike knew that she was thinking more clearly than he was at the moment
and he forced himself to relax. Still,
he found it difficult to stand by and do nothing.
Come on, Darlene! he thought to himself.
Remember to have some faith, damn it!
nearly gagged as the demon landed on top of her.
Its strength was incredible, but worse was its breath and body odor. The stench was more severe than vomit and feces put together.
Using all the energy she could muster, Darlene tried to push the thing
off her, but found that its strength was much greater than her own.
It was that instant when Darlene knew she was going to lose this
battle. Her only means of defense
had been her powerful immortal muscles, but now that she knew they were no
match for the demon's strength...
on, Darlene! she heard a
voice inside her head say. Remember
to have some faith, damn it!
she gasped, unsure of how or why the voice had entered her mind.
It wasn't telepathy, that much she was sure of.
It felt like something more . . . much more.
Have faith, the voice had said.
Have faith. Isn't that
what Mike and Christine had been trying to tell me the other night?
To have faith in God?
"God will give me the strength to beat you, you ugly bastard! God will help me!" Darlene screamed at the grotesque being atop her. "You hear what I'm telling you, you dumb shit? God will help me!" And Darlene began to believe it. Even as she was yelling at the beast, she noticed that something was having an affect on it. Using all her strength, all her willpower, using all her love for God, all her love for humanity and whatever it was she held in her heart for Michael Cochran, she shoved at the creature . . . and watched in amazement as it flew twenty feet into the air to impale itself on a stalactite hanging from the ceiling of her cavern. It instantly vanished as it returned to the depths of Hell.
Mike! She did it!
She remembered and beat the demon!
MICHAEL HELPED HER EVEN IF HE DIDN'T MEAN TO. SHE PICKED UP ON HIS THOUGHTS AS ONLY SOULMATES CAN DO.
ALSO, DARLENE WEAKENED THE CREATURE BY SAYING GOD'S NAME.
still not quite himself, couldn't believe the battle was really over even as he
witnessed the demon's departure back to Hell.
Part of him still wanted to go over and protect Darlene if the demon
should return. Part of him wanted
to go over and give Darlene a big, warm hug, reassure the vampress that he would
always be around to help her from this point on.
Mike also desperately wanted to tell her that they were soulmates.
But he knew he couldn't do that. If
sensing the thoughts of his new ally and friend, thought it best to put some
distance between Mike and Darlene. With
that in mind, he waved his invisible arm to send Michael a hundred years back
into the past. At first, nothing
happened, Mike's ESP powers were that strong, but with more effort the ghoul
managed to accomplish what he considered to be a smart move.
Cochran, the world's most powerful ESPer and the soulmate of a woman with more
power on her ring finger than that of the universe itself . . . simply vanished.
WILL RETURN YOUR SOULMATE TO THIS TIME FRAME AFTER HE HAS COOLED DOWN . . . THAT
IS, IF HE DOESN'T FIND A WAY BACK HIMSELF BEFOREHAND.
HE WAS ABOUT TO MAKE A MISTAKE THAT WOULD HAVE COST HIM AND YOU BOTH
DEARLY AND I COULD NOT ALLOW THAT. THERE
IS NO NEED TO WORRY CHRISTINE, HE WILL BE BACK SHORTLY."
Abe was about to make
Christine visible again and then depart back to his tomb when he added, "AND
I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT IT TOOK EVERY BIT OF MY POWER TO SEND MICHAEL BACK IN
TIME. NEVER BEFORE HAVE I SEEN A
HUMAN WITH THAT MUCH WILL POWER, THAT MUCH PURE ENERGY FLOWING WITHIN HIS MIND!
said that, Abe made himself and Christine visible to Darlene.
Seconds later, he departed to regain his strength.
Abe was happy that Michael Cochran was a friend.
As an enemy, he would be nearly unbeatable.
And that was something the ghoul didn't want to think about at the
moment. For he knew in less than two more days Lucifer himself would
be arriving with hundreds of demons just like the two that just came.
And with Lucifer having powers that equaled a thousand demons . . . well,
Abe was just happy it would be Mike and Christine that would be fighting Satan
along side of him. He could think of no better allies to have.
End of Part I
(Part II coming within two weeks)
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E-Mail the author at: CarlMerritt@compuserve.com