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Abiding Darkness

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This sweeping saga weaves a riveting tale about a young girl's battle with one of hell's minions determined to destroy her and those closest to her. This is the first volume in the Black or White Chronicles series relating stories of life in the Deep South during its most tumultuous times.

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Overview

This sweeping saga weaves a riveting tale about a young girl's battle with one of hell's minions determined to destroy her and those closest to her. This is the first volume in the Black or White Chronicles series relating stories of life in the Deep South during its most tumultuous times.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446178037
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/20/2009
  • Series: Black or White Chronicles Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John Aubrey Anderson grew up in Mississippi cotton country. After graduating from Mississippi State, he received an Air Force commission and has recently retired after flying twenty-eight years for a major airline. He lives in Texas with his wife, Nan.

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Read an Excerpt

Abiding Darkness

A Novel
By John Aubrey Anderson

FAITHWORDS

Copyright © 2005 John Aubrey Anderson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-57949-1


Chapter One

Summers were mostly reliable.

They always followed spring. They always got hot. And they always promised twelve weeks of pleasure to the three children at Cat Lake.

The summer of '45 lied. * * *

The whole thing started right there by the Cat Lake bridge.

They were playing their own version of three-man baseball when Bobby knocked the ball onto the road near the end of the bridge. Junior was taller and faster, but Missy was ahead in the race to get it. Bobby and Junior were older, but Missy was tough enough to almost keep up, and the boys usually held back some so they didn't outdo her too much.

Missy was still a few yards from the ball when it rolled to a stop near the only car in sight. A boy taller than Junior stepped from behind the far end of the car and picked up the ball; he was followed by two more boys-one younger than Missy and another almost as tall as a man.

Missy slid to a stop in the gravel and yelled, "Hurry! Throw it!" Junior jogged up behind the girl and waited.

A heavyset man in a rumpled suit was standing in the road by the driver's door; he allowed himself a long look at the girl and whispered something to the boy with the ball.

The boy nodded at what the man said and backed toward the car's rear bumper. The tallest boy moved up to stand by the man.

The fat man eyed Junior, then looked up and down the deserted road before beckoning to Missy. "Why don't you come closer, and he'll let you have it?"

Missy ignored the man, walking past him as she advanced on the boy with the ball. "Give it."

When she passed the taller boy, he fell to his hands and knees behind her and the one with the ball shoved her over his back. When Missy hit the ground, all three boys laughed. The man grinned.

In the near distance, a foursome of well-armed witnesses-tall, bright, and invisible-stood at a portal between time and eternity and watched Bobby Parker leave home plate and sprint for the bridge.

One of the group said, It begins.

Junior Washington's guardian answered for the remainder of the small assembly, And so it does.

The three guardians conferred quietly about the events taking place before them; the archangel watched the unfolding drama in silence. The quartet-guarded by the wisdom of the ages against restlessness-waited patiently for a precise instant in time that had been ordained before the earth was formed.

The middle kid was plenty bigger than Missy, but she came up off the ground ready to take him on. When she waded in, the tall kid grabbed at her. Junior got a hand on the strap of Missy's overalls and yanked her out of the boys' reach. He held her back with one hand and popped the tallest kid in the nose, hard enough to knock him down.

When the boy landed in the gravel, the man started swearing. He reached into the car, jerked a mean-looking billy club from under the front seat, and turned on Junior. "Okay, Sambo, let's see h-"

Bobby was short steps from the trouble, running wide open, when the archangel broke his silence. The long-awaited time is come. He pointed his bright sword at a point between Bobby and the man with the club and said, In the Name of Him who sits on the throne, and for the Lamb-go there and turn the tide of evil.

Bobby-barely slowing when he got to the confrontation-tripped over thin air and rammed the business end of the bat hard into the man's back. The man lurched forward, stumbled over the boy Junior had knocked to the ground, and sprawled on top of him.

Knocking the man down wasn't what he'd planned, but Bobby knew better than to back off from a pack of bullies; he was talking before the man rolled over. "You keep your hands to yourself, mister."

The red-faced man struggled to get up, cussing and pointing the club at Bobby. "Son, when a boy hits me, he steps over the line to manhood. That means you'll get the same beatin' I'll be givin' this nigger."

On the Parker place, Negro folks were called black or colored. For the children, transgression of that rule meant someone was going to get his mouth washed out with soap. Missy and Junior froze when the man said the forbidden word; Bobby didn't.

When Bobby squared his stance and drew back the bat, the man rethought his position. "You better put that down, boy."

Bobby was only twelve, but he knew serious trouble when he saw it-and he was the one holding the bat. "I reckon not." He and Junior and Missy had made a law about standing up for each other, and these strangers had chosen to be their enemies. If the man made a threatening move, Bobby was going to swing for his head and deal with the consequences later. "You're on Parker land, mister, an' you best be gettin' off."

The baseball bat had the man stymied. Exertion and frustration soaked his collar with sweat. "This isn't your land. It's a public road."

Bobby said, "That might be, but the land on both sides of the road belongs to the Parkers-an' that's us." He looked the man up and down. "You ain't from around here, are you?"

The man's wide mouth and thick lips were not unlike those of a bullfrog; small, widely-spaced teeth and flesh-draped eyelids contributed to his reptilian appearance. "What if I'm not?"

Bobby cracked a hard smile. "'Cause if you was from around here, folks would've told you not to mess with the Parker kids-that's us, 'specially the black 'un an' the girl." He pointed the bat at Junior and Missy. "That's them two."

From within the car a woman's voice said, "Let it go, Halbert. Don't be getting heated up over some white trash."

When the woman called them white trash, Missy puffed up and started for the car. Junior grabbed the strap of her overalls again. "Stay quiet, Missy."

The girl jerked loose and glared at Junior, but she stayed where she was.

The tallest boy got into the car, holding a hand to his bloody nose. The other two weren't ready to leave.

The man looked at the car and back at Bobby; he didn't want to leave either, but he wasn't going to argue with the woman. "Git in the car, boys." His tongue came out and made a circuit over his fat lips; he let his gaze rest too long on the girl, and he spoke to her last. "You'll get yours, Little Miss Blue Eyes. Just you remember Hal Bainbridge said so."

The woman in the car leaned across the seat. Facial features that had been cast to portray beauty were twisted into an angry mask. "Halbert!" she snapped, "I told you to shut up and get in the car."

The two smallest boys were the last ones to climb in. The one who had pushed Missy said, "I'll be back."

Missy made a face.

When the Bainbridge family withdrew, a creature that had been traveling with them stayed behind.

The being that remained on the Cat Lake bridge had been working his vile mischief in the Bainbridges' lives for years. His brief observation of Missy Parker, however, ignited a hatred that far exceeded anything he had ever felt toward Estelle Bainbridge. He petitioned his leader, the high-ranking villain who was assigned to the Bainbridges, to let him stay at Cat Lake and work his evil on the girl and those around her. The one to whom he answered hated to grant any request that might strengthen the position of a subordinate, but he hated humans more. So it was that the malevolent being stayed behind while his former superior and dozens of their kind moved away with the Bainbridges.

The spirit-being assayed his intended victim and was encouraged by what he saw. The girl was self-willed, self-centered, and self-confident-all traits that made her more susceptible to his influence. Early pieces of his plan were arranging themselves before the Bainbridges' car was out of sight. He would recruit his own team of underlings from the demonic realm. When he and his chosen confederates were in place, he would formulate a plan to destroy the girl's life-maybe in bits and pieces over the coming years, maybe catastrophically in a single day. There might even be a way to use the Bainbridges to help bring her to ruin. And, if the opportunity presented itself, he would do the same to the two meddlesome boys.

When the car was moving down the road, Bobby turned on Missy. "You can't be startin' fights with boys bigger'n you."

"I didn't start it. He did."

Bobby watched the car. "Well, don't be messin' with folks like that. That man had somethin' wrong with him, like he was mean or evil or somethin'."

"I ain't scared of the boogeyman."

"I don't mean like that. I mean grown men who stare at little girls like that-stay away from 'em." He watched the car disappear behind a curtain of dust. "An' if that bunch comes around here again, you head for me or Junior, you hear me?"

The girl directed her wrath at her brother. "You're not my boss, Mr. Bobby Parker, an' I'll have you know I ain't a little girl."

Bobby was still learning that he needed to tell Missy to do exactly the opposite of what he wanted done, but he knew who carried the most influence over her. "Tell 'er, Junior."

Junior picked up the ball and offered it to the girl. "Do like he says, Missy. A growed man that'd speak bad to a lit-to somebody not big as him has got somethin' wrong inside 'im. That man had the devil in 'im."

She turned her back on the ball because she wouldn't be bribed. "Well, if a' evil man shows up again, an' I can't whip 'im by myself, y'all can help."

The boys took that as a concession and followed her back to their baseball field. * * *

Amanda Allen Parker was the first girl born into the Parker family since the Surrender. Maybe they had spoiled her or maybe she knew she was special. Whatever the cause, "Missy" Parker was a young lady who didn't just give orders-she laid down the law for those who drew near.

When they didn't call her Missy, everybody on the Parker place and most people in town just referred to her as the girl. The petite picture of brown-haired Southern charm endured the company of women when she had to, but she preferred the attention of the males of her domain.

The Old Parkers and the Young Parkers lived out south of town in two nice houses set back from the west side of Cat Lake. They got good shade from a stand of oaks planted by their ancestors and the cool of a lake breeze when the wind was right. Bobby Lee Parker ran the Parker Gin; young Bobby looked as if he had been spit out of his daddy's mouth. Young Mrs. Parker played bridge, went to the garden club and Missionary Society, and tended her yard. Old Mr. Parker farmed ten sections of cotton land, played dominoes, drank coffee, and visited with his friends. Old Mrs. Parker, the genetic source of the girl's spitfire personality, stayed close to home and baked things.

The Washington family-Mose, his wife Pip, Mose Junior, and little Pearl-lived across the lake from the Parkers. Their home was set back in a stand of pecan trees planted by the same hands that put down the Parkers' oaks. Mose had been born in the cabin and inherited the house and forty acres of good sandy land from Pap, his great-granddaddy. Back behind the cabin, a full section of Old Mr. Parker's cotton land separated Mose's place from the trees of Eagle Nest Brake. Pip, her brother Leon, and her momma Evalina "did for" the Parkers during the week. Mose was Mr. Bobby Lee's overseer at the gin.

When she became old enough to walk, the girl went where Old Mr. Parker went. While he drove, she stood beside him, one arm on his shoulders, the other holding on to the seat back. When he played dominoes at the pool hall, she sat on his lap. It was the men at the pool hall who named her Missy-she and those same men called her granddaddy R. D. Trips to that establishment diminished in frequency after Pip had to switch her for "cussin' in my kitchen."

Once she started to Mrs. Smith's kindergarten, Missy's day-to-day activities became even more curtailed. She countered by playing hooky when she'd had her fill of finger painting and stories about animals made of gingham and calico and velveteen.

After the second time she was called away from her Thursday morning bridge game to hunt for the girl, Young Mrs. Parker taught Pip how to drive. For the next two years, Pip was called into town about twice a week to retrieve the girl from the pool hall. When she was captured, Missy's complaints were drawled in a little-girl bass voice.

On her first day of first grade, the girl and the staff at the elementary school encountered the first in a series of unique obstacles. The magnitude of the initial confrontation was probably connected with the fact that Missy was on a first-name basis with most of the men in Moores Point, including both bankers and both white preachers.

Missy finally came out of her chair when the first-grade teacher persisted in calling her Amanda.

Hoot Johnson, the school's janitor, attracted by the mounting sounds of battle, abandoned his dust mop and intervened to contribute his unsolicited-and uninhibited-opinion. The girl's reaction to what Mr. Johnson had to say didn't help the situation.

The teacher made a strategic blunder when she decided she would enlist the aid of the principal. The principal made the mistake of showing up, and the tension multiplied geometrically.

Someone eventually called the pool hall and let Old Mr. Parker know about the conflict.

When he got to the school, the farmer didn't have to guess where the girl was; the war in Europe could not have been heard over the commotion coming from the first-grade classroom.

The adults in the room-a smattering of teachers, the principal, and one vocal janitor-were all yelling at the girl or each other. The other first-day first-graders-joined by two brand-new teachers who had made the mistake of coming to see what on earth the noise was all about-were all cringing in the farthest corner of the room. The girl, who seldom found it necessary to yell at anyone, especially an adult, was keeping her voice down. She was, however, employing the teacher's chair in order to be at eye level with the other combatants.

There was Missy, standing in the chair, her tiny fists at her waist, leaning into the principal's face, her Dutch boy-cut brown hair popping back and forth as her miniature bass voice cataloged the things she didn't like about his institution. She took passing note of her granddaddy's presence but continued with her business. She reasoned that if R. D. needed to talk to some of these folks, he was gentleman enough to wait his turn; if he needed to see her, he'd wait until she was finished. And wait he did. Leaning on the door frame and giving himself a manicure with his favorite Case pocketknife, the cotton farmer stood by and waited for a break in the storm.

When a majority of the folks finally stopped to catch their breath, Old Mr. Parker put away his knife. He got everyone settled down, borrowed the teacher's chair from the girl, and presided over the formation of a multifaceted truce.

In the future, the school's staff would call the girl Missy; she was old enough to decide what her name was. In return, Missy would address the Truitt Elementary School's principal as Mr. Franklin, not Jimbo, for basically the same reason. Missy would address Mr. Johnson, the school's janitor, as Hoot because he and the girl were good friends and both preferred it that way. And, one of the teachers crouching in the corner would be released from her contract before the girl moved up to her grade level.

The last point of the truce was a little vague and never resolved to the girl's satisfaction. It had something to do with whether she could stand on the teacher's chair, balanced against how many adults were "raisin' sand for no good reason" when the girl needed to make herself heard.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Abiding Darkness by John Aubrey Anderson Copyright © 2005 by John Aubrey Anderson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    One you cannit put down

    This is the first in the series of great books. I have read three now and cannot wait to get the fourth. Mr. Anderson describes things so well that you will feel you are part of what is happening and wish you were not in some instances. These are such fantastically written books and the kind that make you not want to put them down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2007

    SOOO glad this book is a SERIES!!!

    ...because I can keep on reading more! :' I got this first book in a library in Fiction, so I had no idea it had anything to do with Christianity (the book I got is actually called 'Black or White', not Abiding Darkness, but its the same thing, just different covers I guess) and I was pleasantly surprised. I hadn't read any Christian fiction in a few years and I sure picked a truly fabulous book to return to the genre! I'm not going to tell what this book is about, I think others already have :' , just going to tell you that this and the next one '3rd one is due Aug 22, 2007!' are really worth your time if you are looking for something to read - actually are worth your time if you AREN'T looking for something to read! :' If you liked the 'Left Behind' Series, these are WAY better in my opinion. The scripture is there, its true biblically and if you're a bit rusty 'like I have been', it kind of encourages you to pick up your own Bible for some of your own 'quiet time' each morning. :' I highly recommend this author and all he writes!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2007

    Great start

    The book starts off great and remains strong more than halfway into it. Then it turns into a sunday sermon. If i wanted to read my bible i would read my bible. This felt like i was being preached to. I was really expecting more of a supernatural thriller when i read the back of the book and got something very different. Still even with that disappointment it is a good story. If your into religious fiction with heavy emphasis on the religion you should enjoy this novel. I'm not sure I'll pick up the rest of the series but I'll be sure to check them out at the bookstore.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2007

    Must read

    Abiding Darkness has wonderful answers for believers & it will surely sway non believers. I am a new Christian and learned so much with the help of great characters and amazing plot. I will recommend this book to everyone I know starting with my teenagers!

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    more like 4.5 stars

    It's been awhile since I've read such a powerful story it made me near-speechless. Abiding Darkness left me pondering how in the world I'd describe what made it such an awesome story...and coming up miserably short. Pinpointing one thing is impossible, so I'll list them all... or as many as I can without sounding long-winded. The only weakness in this book was occasional unnecessary head-hopping, but it wasn't enough to keep me from raving about it despite that one minor flaw. I'll start with what impacted me most. The spiritual honesty and depth in this book. The author takes many arguments used by non-believers and flushes them out through characters so real that you can see the wisdom of Christ in the uneducated men literally overshadowing the wisdom of the wise (by this world's standards). That alone makes this author a theological genius in my book. Plus he masterfully uses southern uneducated-sounding English and slang to bring out some good points. The sense of small-town community and the love between two cultures in the pre civil-rights era south is enough to make this book fantastic all by itself, but when he adds the spiritual mentoring it leaves readers...a bit breathless. Or choked up. I couldn't tell you how many times I was so caught up in the story my house could've been on fire and I wouldn't have noticed. My eyes blurred several times as I swallowed hard. Plus, there were many suspenseful moments. Many times I thought Missy would either be killed or raped and I held my breath as things played out. And so many people that she loved died, yet you could see how God used it all for His glory and how her losses started a chain of events that the enemy meant for evil, only to be turned upside down. God used the broken things in their lives to reach the lost. Sometimes successfully, other times not, but the characters in this novel had their priorities straight. They had flaws, but the integrity of their love for one another and their strong belief in the Lord made up for their mistakes. An emotionally gripping and spiritually deep novel, Abiding Darkness will impact my heart for years to come. It's just that kind of book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2007

    Southern Suspense At It's Best

    When I received my copy of John Aubrey Anderson's debut novel, Abiding Darkness, in the mail I was really excited. Anyone who's an avid reader knows the history of excellent southern writers. It's a huge set of shoes to have to walk in. I know I'm one of those southern writers still hoping to break into the market and have my own books on the self. Anderson does not disappoint with this haunting tale of angels and demons at work in the lives of some common folks of Mississippi. This are folks you know. They've been your neighbor. Maybe the still are. This is the tale of one headstrong child named Missy Parker along with family, friends and foes. It starts out innocently enough. Children at play. When suddenly some adults come on the scene and stir things up. Words and threats are exchanged. And then we're given a glimpse of the truth behind it all. Some unidentified individuals stand nearby watching. One announced, 'It has begun'. And then things ramp up. As the truth of what that innocent little event really meant unfolds we realize something bad is happening in Cat Lake. Something evil. And it wants Missy Parker. The remainder of the story chronicles her life as she grows into a young adult. She lives, stumbles and learns. She lives, loves and looses. For me, one of the highlights of the story is Mose and Pip. A black couple, strong and wise, who much like parents to Missy. They counsel and console. Teach and love. Abiding darkness is a story with my heart and soul. You'll laugh and cry. Get scared out of your mind and anger will bubble. All at the guiding had of this new author John Aubrey Anderson. He has some profound things to teach us along the way. It's well worth your time to look into this novel, enjoy and learn all in the same sitting. A book like this is rare. Thankfully we don't have long to wait for the sequel. Wedgewood Grey comes out in February 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2006

    fine inspirational saga

    In the summer of 1945 in the small Mississippi town of Mares Point seven year old Missy Parker, her twelve year old brother Bobby, and their black friend ¿Junior¿ Washington were inseparable. They built a boat and sailed on Cat Lake not knowing that demons were residing on the bottom of the water waiting for the right time to kill Missy. They inhabit the body of snakes and attack while Missy is alone on the boat. --- Junior, who came to Christ recently, saves her but before he dies from the venom, he asks his father Moses to help Missy find the Lord. She grows up a Christian and in collage dated Hull Dillworth, the leader of a Christian youth group. His outward purity hides his evil nature, making it easy for the demons to possess him. He tries to rape Missy but seminary student David Patterson stops him with the help of his guardian angel. David makes Missy promise to teach the Word to his unbeliever older brother Pat but his heart on the subject of God is closed mind. Pat wants her but resents the religion that he believes keeps them apart and only a miracle will change his mind. --- Readers who love the works of Frank Peretti will want to read ABIDING DARKNESS, Book One of The Black or White chronicles as the storyline is fast paced and exciting. The unseen supernatural angels and demons who work through humans add a mythical perspective to the plot. Missy is bright, beautiful, and unyielding in her religious convictions which make her the perfect counterpoint to Pat the unbeliever. John Aubrey Anderson is a talented storyteller who has written a fine inspirational saga. --- Harriet Klausner

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