PREACHER MAN SERIES III
By Alessandra Dagostino
VOL. 1 – All the Powers of Hell
Angelika had never felt better since the day she’d been born.
She ran along a beach white as coconut meat, smiling, a stalk of ripe bananas in one hand, her white cotton dress fluttering like wings over her perfect figure and aquamarine bikini, bare feet splashing through blue and green saltwater, men and women she rushed past staring as they admired her beauty and youth and sheer exuberance.
She was running to the man of her life, the love of her life, the hero everyone else knew as Preacher Man but who she knew as a man strong, tender, and compassionate, the most beautiful man she had ever held in her arms.
Her absolute gift from God.
How happy he made her feel.
How perfect he made her feel.
She slid open the glass door that was the beach entrance to their condo.
“Hey, Honeymoon Man!” she called, waving the bananas over her head. “It’s banana split time! And yes, you can make yours on top of my tummy like I promised, cold ice cream and all! That’s how much this girl loves her hunk!”
She stopped walking and calling halfway across the room.
Furniture was overturned and charred black.
Floor tiles had been torn up and shattered.
The walls were sprayed with blood.
Her face went to stone and the bananas fell on the broken floor.
She ran into each room in the condo.
All the furniture and flooring was ruined.
Windows were smashed.
Claw marks raked the walls.
There was more blood.
And a stench as if a sewer had been opened up in the condo.
She returned to the front room and knelt, head down, hands in her lap.
What has happened?
Images of her husband fighting hordes of dark creatures filled her mind.
Eventually they overwhelmed him and bound him and tortured him.
The images stopped.
She looked up and her eyes were drawn to a corner of the room.
In small letters there were words scrawled in Latin at the bottom of the wall.
She translated quickly.
We will turn him into one of us.
“So,” she said out loud, “Hell has invaded my life again. Unbidden, unwelcome, unloved.”
Steel seemed to suddenly make her body rigid.
Her blue eyes flickered with an eerie light.
She bowed her head again.
“Almighty God, grant me vengeance,” she prayed. “As you granted vengeance to Samson for his two eyes I ask you to grant me vengeance for my husband.”
She looked up and glanced back at the corner of the room where the Latin was written in blood and gore.
“I do not know what people mean when they speak of helpless rage,” she said. “I will not spare.”
Angelika got up and went to a closet. It was locked. The key was around her neck. She opened the door, went in, ripped up carpet with her bare hands, unlocked a trap door that was flush with the floor, and brought out a long black box painted with white cherry blossoms.
She took it outside the closet, knelt again, prayed again, and opened it.
Inside was a black scabbard with the same white cherry blossoms.
A hilt wrapped in cloth protruded from it.
She grasped the hilt and slowly drew out a sword.
And it curved.
A Japanese sword.
A samurai’s sword.
She lifted it in her hands.
A light that was not sunlight shimmered along the length of the blade.
She raised it over her head.
“Almighty God, Prince of Peace, Warrior, bless this sword with your blood.”
She laid it on the smashed tiles of the floor in front of her knees.
Then she removed her white cotton dress and swimsuit.
“Almighty God, put your strength in me, your fire in me, in the name of the Killed and Living One, let the wrath of God consume me. Oh my Lord, let me be fury and red blood and judgment in one woman’s body. Let me be archangel upon archangel upon archangel. Let me be the power of the highest heavens.”
Angelika took up the sword and glared at the corner of the room.
Her eyes were sapphire fire.
Her teeth were clenched.
Veins popped into view along her arms and legs and neck as her whole body tensed.
“There’s no way you could have taken him unless you emptied hell of your worst and ugliest and most powerful demons,” she seethed. “So you must have pulled out all the stops and endured all kinds of risks to take my husband down. And you think you have been successful. But there are a few things you have forgotten.” She drew the edge of the sword across her heart and a line of bright red blood jumped onto her skin. “He is my husband. He is my soulmate. I adore him. I love him like I’ve loved no human being in my life. Did you think I wouldn’t fight? Did you honestly think that?”
She pointed the blade at her heart.
Stabbed her breast.
And made a cut from top to bottom.
Creating a perfect Christ Cross in the reddest of blood.
Her eyes continued to focus on the one corner of the room.
“You forgot the powers I had when I dwelt in your dark halls, Lucifer. And you forget the powers I have acquired now that I walk freely in the Kingdom of Light. And not any kind of light either. A burning, scalding, blistering hell-killing like that will make you scream forever. Don’t you remember the line? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? And you have scorned me. Do you believe I am so impotent that I would let you take my man and do nothing? Do you really have so much contempt for me? I will make you regret the day you ever chose to fall from grace. Trust me, I will make you weep bitter tears. Yes, even you, who never weeps.”
She suddenly struck with her sword and a black creature with frantically flapping wings burst into view and was impaled.
With her free hand she reached out and a second creature appeared when she clutched it by the throat. It writhed and twisted and shrieked. Her eyes blazed an unearthly blue. She squeezed harder. The creature cried out as its windpipe was crushed. It drooped lifeless in her grip and its wings sagged.
Blue eyes still bright and scorching as a desert sky, she stared at the corner of the room.
“Taking from me the man I love is your greatest mistake since the Crucifixion. I will torment you before your time. I will consume you long before the season appointed for your annihilation. I have been given the power to do it. And I will have no mercy. You do not know the meaning of the word. And now, because of what you have done, neither do I.”
She drew the katana across her throat and left a thread of blood.
“I am your destruction.”