Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
From THE AGE OF APOLLYON by Mark Carver, published by Trestle Press.
Blurb: In a grim world where Lucifer rules the nations, two estranged brothers - a disillusioned, hedonistic Satanist, and a ruthless Christian assassin - find their paths converge as the forces of Heaven and Hell battle for the future of humanity.
The members of the congregation trembled like withered leaves shaken by the wind.
Father Gregori spread his crimson-robed arms wide, his hands slicing through the quivering audience like blades. His eyes flashed and a supernatural fury filled his soul.
“I look around this sanctuary...and I see liars! Hypocrites! This temple is despoiled by imposters and pretenders! Have you forgotten what is demanded of you? Do you so easily forget the majesty, the grandeur of our Lord when he manifested himself upon our world? Do you forget who gives you life?”
A shudder passed through his body, and he gasped a wheezing breath, as if inhaling a spirit to fuel his liturgical tempest. His voice exploded through the terrifying Gothic nave as sorrowful statues and fearsome gargoyles gazed down upon the cowering flock.
“You say you believe, yet you continue to doubt! How easily are his children led astray! The enemy would have you put your trust in him, but where is he? Where are the demonstrations of his power? Where are the signs and wonders that were promised?”
Father Gregori’s eyes darted across the sanctuary in accusation, challenging anyone brave enough to meet his gaze for even a moment. He slammed his hand upon the pulpit as he poured out his torrent of condemnation.
“Lies! All lies! They call our Lord a deceiver, yet it is they who deceive! Do not let their poison corrupt your ears! Do not let the acid dripping from their sanctimonious tongues burn and scorch your soul. Remember whom we serve! He is the Supreme Lord of this world, the Almighty! Those who swear their life to him shall reap the rewards...those who do not shall suffer torment and anguish!”
The priest’s portly frame trembled with valiant restraint, and he raised his clenched fists in the air.
“Fall down on your knees!”
With a whimper, the members of the congregation jumped from their seats and knelt down upon the cold sanctuary floor, their penitent voices swirling and twirling together into a chorus of sorrow and shame.
Father Gregori’s eyes rolled white and he opened his hands as he began the concluding rite to mark the end of the service. As his ghostly voice soared through the nave, a somber procession of black-robed monks appeared from the side aisles in dual streams that converged at the center aisle. Their deep, haunting chants intertwined with the priest’s rapid-fire incantations, while the congregation wept and repented.
The hooded monks revealed neither their hands nor their faces. As the dark parade approached the altar, the stream split again, and the monks began to assemble themselves in the choir stalls behind the priest.
With a deep exhaled breath, Father Gregori closed his eyes and clasped his hands in front of his chest.
“In nomine Satanas...”
The last monk in the gloomy procession lifted his hooded visage just enough to reveal a strong unshaven chin and clenched jaw.
The monk’s arms, twisted with muscles and emblazoned with sacred tattoos, emerged from beneath his black robes as he walked with slow, measured steps towards the altar. In his hands, he clutched two sinister automatic pistols.
The assassin raised his weapons.
The priest spread his hands before the congregation.
The silenced barrels spoke forth tongues of fire.
Father Gregori’s eyes snapped open and his outstretched hands exploded with crimson blossoms. The congregation shrieked and cowered behind the pews.
The assassin brought his pistols close together and stitched two parallel lines down the priest’s chest. The inverted golden cross that dangled from his neck shattered like fireworks, and his massive lifeless body was propelled backwards into the altar, sending ancient texts, candles, and unholy icons crashing to the ground.
The black-garbed monks scattered like startled crows in the choir stalls, some sprawling amidst fountains of red as the assassin’s bullets cut them down. The screams of despair from the terrified congregation filled the sanctuary like a requiem, while the grotesque carvings of demons and monsters grinned down upon them in fiendish delight.
With a whirl of his black robe, the deadly monk spun about to face the cowering faithful, who were all but invisible behind the pews. He knelt on one knee and aimed his weapons toward the nave walls, unleashing a succession of rapid bursts that exploded two massive suspended lamps. As sparks and glass showered the sanctuary, the monk sprinted towards the rear of the nave, his hood falling back to reveal a shock of disheveled shoulder-length blonde hair that gleamed like gold.
He burst through the giant sanctuary doors and the sounds of violence disappeared with him into the dark street, leaving behind a chorus of shock and terror.
Awesome scene. I would have changed a couple words but only a couple. I'm impressed.
Thanks. I wrote those words exactly a year ago and I feel I've grown a lot as a writer since then. I've been writing for fun since I was a child but this is my first real novel, so I know I've got a long way to go. I'm 2/3rds done with my second manuscript (the sequel to The Age of Apollyon) and I've really been working on my voice and word choices. I have a tendency towards adjective overuse and over-the-top atmospherics, but I like having something to work towards (refining my writing ability) besides finishing the book. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Awesome - I wish you all the luck. If there's anything I can do to help, let me know. I know how valuable another pair of eyes can be.
Interesting piece but with a slow start. Imagine the priest already into his sermon. he looks towards the monks who walk towards him. The last monk draws out not two pistols ,don't call hem sinister, but a single machine pistol and shoots the priest. He also kills the two nearest monks in front of him. The assassin walks away, still hooded. At the last moment he sprays the church walls with bullets , races to the door and leaves. Keep it tight and don't explain anything.
In the Gemini Twins a train load of monks stop for a break.. On the train are stolen art treasures. A monk pulls out a gun and kills the driver, and then kills himself. The reader is then curious to find out why by turning the page.