The Anvil Amulet (Book Excerpt)
by Neil Charles Cladingboel
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Jonathan Malone had never enjoyed the rain, and today was no different. The
darkness and moisture created a somber atmosphere as he daydreamed, silent and
alone, letting the gentle yet constant rain flush his tear filled eyes. The
salty rivulets mirrored those that trickled silently across the surfaces of his
It had been six years since his father had been killed then reunited with
mother in Erebus. So much had happened since, and yet so much had remained
unchanged. The elation and joy of finding Sarah alive would be forever tainted
with the constant reminder of the night his father had died. As Kronac had so
often told him, the balance must always be maintained. And so it seemed, that
Jonathan's briefest moments of happiness, there would always be sorrow, and no
truer word could describe what he so often felt. Sarah was as alive as he and
yet both were now parentless.
He seldom spoke of those dark nights in his life, yet often wondered with
amazement at the life-force that apparently shared his body. The voice had been
silent since his return from Erebus and he'd seen only Jarek, briefly, when his
father's body had been returned home. Thankfully, an autopsy had shown a death
from natural causes and no investigation had been required.
Yet in spite of all that his eyes had witnessed, Jonathan still questioned
his so-called powers and occasional embodiment of God. Only the constant
presence of a maturing Sarah quieted these thoughts and anxieties. He'd managed
to find some brief references to Erebus, and the Underworld, in Greek Mythology
reference books at the local library, but the details were at best, patchy, and
did nothing to quench his thirst for knowledge of the dimension he had
He broke from his daydreaming just long enough to look across to Sarah's
grave, smiling, as he remembered her exuberant face the night he had rescued
her. To the rest of the world Sarah Malone had died on a stormy night in
Waimerie in 1975. Her resurrection was a secret that could never be explained
and the Sarah who now shared their home and lives was, to an unsuspecting
an orphaned relative from a small town in Canada.
Her marble stone glistened in the gentle rain, reflecting arrows of distant
light that punctured the clearing clouds on the evening horizon. As Jonathan
stood with respectful silence his thoughts strayed to tonight's debutante ball
and how proud he would be to witness Sarah's debut. He could almost imagine her
face, smiling up at him from the reflective surface of the stone, as she
prepared herself for the momentous occasion.
He knew that he should leave soon or else risk being late, yet he couldn't
bear to tear himself away from the memories that both uplifted and tortured his
thoughts when he visited the family graves.
Suddenly, Sarah's headstone appeared to shatter; erupting in flame that
poured forth from the broken marble, dancing up into the air above her grave
before cooling to a smoky fog that rose slowly to meet Jonathan's startled
Stupefied, he watched the silent smoke snake and swirl as a mysterious head
manifested through the vortex of the retreating fog. Seconds later, he was
confronted by a withered face, obscured somewhat beneath the folds of a
dark-green cape. He could see very little of the creature that floated before
him. The visible skin that surrounded its mouth seemed burned or scarred,
riddled with sores and welts. What he could see of its throat and neck appeared
to be suffering the same affliction. The rest of the creature's head was lost
amongst the layers of material that enshrouded the mysterious stranger.
"You must come with me now or else all our futures will be lost," the
creature spoke with a strange, yet urgent voice, pointing a withered finger at
"What?" Jonathan replied.
"You must stop tonight's celebration and come with me, before it's too
The creature's hands came together then, as if in silent prayer, as it turned
quickly to look over its shoulder. "Please, I have very little time and I--"
"Who are you?" Jonathan interrupted. "Are you from Erebus?"
Copyright© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Neil Charles Cladingboel, sffworld.com. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.