A sudden, shocking silence

A quick excerpt from the upcoming Martuk … the Holy:  Proseuche

In my desperation for peace, for a rest with gentle dreams, I focused my thoughts on pleasant memories, leaving the ghosts behind as I drifted into sleep.

And I dreamt.

Jesus was speaking.  And Mary stood near.  She watched me.  And, still, He was speaking.  But the words were hushed, and tumbled off His tongue.  They were too quick.  Mary glanced over her shoulder into the dark that surrounded us.  And He continued to speak.  She had done that before, Mary.  Glanced over her shoulder.

In this dream, she had done that, though when, I couldn’t tell you.

Her brow was furrowed.  Her heart was worried.  Her hand rested on her breast over her heart.  And Jesus’ hands were on me now.  He held me by the shoulders, His voice rising.

He yelled now.  Jesus was yelling at me, the spit flying from His lips as His face contorted in rage.  But His words were lost.  I could see them leave His mouth.  Could see the lips open and the words come forth, but in that small space between the words spoken and the words heard, they were lost.

Mary looked over her shoulder.  She stopped. This was not a glance.  This was a look, the hand from her heart rising to her throat and then her mouth, as if silencing a scream.  And then she reached to Jesus, her head still turned, still watching.  He continued to hold me.  His hands gripped me.  He shook me.  He screamed now, the tears falling, His nose running, His face blushing red, the spit rolling from His lips and staining His chin, His eyes wide and desperate and afraid.

I feared He would strike me in His rage.

Her hand was on His shoulder.  She clutched the thick fabric of His mantle in her fist, pulling Him away from me.

But His words!  I couldn’t hear them.  I so desperately wanted to hear them.  But even though screamed and shouted in a panicked rage, I heard nothing.

Behind her, the dark thickened.  Grew darker, deeper.  Inched forward.

She pulled at Him still.  She was desperate.  She was frightened.  She screamed at Him as He screamed at me.  I could feel His fingers dig into my flesh.  Those long fingers bruising my flesh.  And her fingers gripped and dug into Him.  Pulled and pulled.

His hand raised now, the palm up as it faced me.

He had grown silent.  A sudden, shocking silence.  A sudden, shocking stillness. His words, His rage, dying a sudden death.  And she had grown still and silent as well, Mary, her head bowed, her eyes closed.  Her hands rested on Him, but no longer pulled.

They had both stopped.

They both watched me, silently, as the shadows drew close and fell first on her, on her head, her shoulders, darkening her brow and then her nose, and then the hand that rested on His shoulder, the darkness then moving to Him, taking Him, both of them soon lost.

It swallowed them.

His hand, the palm facing me, came from the dark then and, with a movement that was gentle and slow and calm, He placed this open palm on my face, over my eyes.

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demons, angels, and another 5 star review

The Martuk … the Holy Blog Tour rolls on with an amazing 5 Star Review.

If you enjoy books with a new twist on a familiar plot similar to Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code”, then you will most certainly love “Martuk . . . the Holy” by Jonathan Winn.  This intense, gripping tale will keep you turning pages, biting fingernails, and re-evaluating your beliefs until the final sentence.

I’m not sure if Winn’s book can be classified into a single genre . . . or even a sub-genre. It’s multi-faceted and that’s part of the appeal. The fact Martuk . . . the Holy is a debut novel is impressive beyond words.

Martuk is a tormented immortal with roots in ancient history. Before you start thinking Adrian Paul and the TV series, “Highlander”, let me assure the differences are vast. Martuk . . . the Holy is a dark story filled with demons, angels, beastly abominations, …

And that’s just the beginning!  You can read the rest over here.  Plus there’s also a very generous Excerpt.  One of my favorites, actually.

Seriously, guys, this review brought tears to my eyes.  Not that praise should matter, but … hell, sometimes it just does.

This was one of those times.  🙂

the drip, drip, drip of the blood

An excerpt from The Elder, the second book in The Martuk Series, an ongoing collection of short fiction inspired by Martuk … the Holy:

 

I found him gazing at the small cistern.

The water in the basin waited, clear, calm, powerful.  The polished stone of its base as smooth and dark as the shadows that surrounded it, the charred and broken bones trapped within its perfection feeding its power.

The water would speak.  Would foretell that which was to be.  Would show this man, this Tall Priest, my beloved, the nightmare that awaited him.

It must not.

He circled it once, twice, three times, the ritual begun.

“Please,” I implored him, “don’t.”

I stepped toward him.

A blade came from his sleeve then, the metal at his wrist, his slender arm over the shimmering basin.

“The Gods wish to take me from you,” he said.  “And for what?”

“The Darkness,” I whispered.

He paused, his eyes on mine.

“The Darkness,” he repeated.

“It knows my heart.”

“And is your heart so easily bought?”

I couldn’t respond.

“Tell me,” he continued, “what does your heart say?”

The words on my tongue, the ramifications of my choice clear, I hesitated.

This man, my beloved?  A man who shared my secrets, my laughter, my terrors and worries and dread.  My happiness.

Or power.  Life everlasting.  The chance to rule for countless generations and sit for an eternity with the Gods.

My heart wept as my head, my ambition, my greed, spoke.

“You must go.”

“Then let the Gods tell me themselves,” he said as he sliced his wrist, the drip, drip, drip of the blood staining the clear water.

 

The Elder Final-cover

 

 

churning and turning and whipping

An excerpt from The Wounded King, the first book in The Martuk Series, an ongoing collection of short fiction inspired by Martuk … the Holy:

 

I ran.

The shadows followed.

It had dropped me, the Darkness, Its strength not yet great enough to hold me.

But I had climbed to my feet, the dark unbelievably dark, my ankles stained by the moist heat as I tripped and then stumbled and, tumbling down the hill, ran.

She was on the ground, Mother, oblivious, the dirt against her cheek, her hands buried in the earth, the shadow rolling and twisting around her as It ate her whispers, her sighs, her tears.

And now I sprinted toward the city under the glare of a bright sun as It chased me, churning and turning and whipping in the dust.

My heart pounded in my ears as the rocks cut my feet, the Darkness’s desire for me inflamed by the blood staining the ground.

The city drew near, the thick walls and heavy gates in sight.

In the quiet calm of morning she had urged me to leave the city with her.  Had insisted on passing through the gate to climb the small hill so we could speak away from those who would see, our secrets unknown to those who would hear.

She had lied, my Mother.

I stumbled and fell.

The heat was on me, the moist fingers wrapped around my ankle, my calf burning in the heat, the flesh raw under Its touch.

I kicked It free as I crawled, my hands pawing at the dirt as I climbed to my feet to run again.

It reared back, the shadow lunging forward like a snake before It followed, the Dark rolling on the ground like a wave.

I was close, so close, to the city.  To safety.

What if the Darkness followed me beyond the gates?, I suddenly thought as my heart beat in my ears.  What’s to stop It were it to slip into the city and torment me there?  Is there anything to keep It from swallowing me while I sleep?

What if this monstrosity were inescapable?

The guards recognized me, the brawny men in a rush to open the gates for the Almost King.

I darted through.

The Darkness followed.

I felt It on my heels, my calves, the back of my thighs, my back, my neck, the fingers around my skull as I ran and ran, the pain a constant sting, the burn excruciating as the Darkness took hold of me.

I had lost.

 

The Wounded King Final - cover