Thousands of years ago when Evil would rise, God would raise up a mighty warrior to protect his people. Warriors like Moses, Joshua, David, and the Mighty Samson were called to save the Israelites from certain destruction. However, to save the Earth from annihilation, God will have to raise up another, something he hasn't done since the Old Testament Prophets. Who will answer the Lord's call and stand against the Kingdom of Darkness? As unlikely a choice that he is, John Summers will.
About the Author
Hicks, who is also a performer going by the stage name "Saint James," has a Christian rap album to his credit called "True Story: The Saint James LP
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John Summers sat at his computer in his cubicle and looked at the time. He hated his job but it was Friday, so he was eager to get out of work and go home. Five o'clock was quitting time, but he still had forty-five minutes left. He closed his eyes and tried to take a small nap because he had finished his work early. Even though he felt like fifteen minutes had gone by, when he looked at his clock again it was only 4:17. He frowned and sighed. He worked as an entry-level accountant for one of the largest accounting firms in New York City. He had only been there for two years, but he knew this wasn't what he wanted to be doing with his life. Today, though, he had decided that nothing was going to get him down because it was his birthday.
Turning thirty is a big deal for anyone, even for a man with few friends and no girlfriend. John tried to waste time by going to the bathroom, even though he didn't have to go. He ran the water and cupped it in his hands, splashed it on his face, and looked in the mirror. What he saw was a very short African American man with short, black hair sprinkled with a little bit of gray that came from his father's side of the family. He wasn't very athletic, and he was a bit scrawny; he also wore thick glasses, and he wasn't exactly being chased by women to get married. John wasn't an ugly man; in fact he would be quite handsome if he only chose to wear contacts and dressed a little nicer, and he was most attractive when he showed off his charming smile. All in all, John was still grateful to God for his job and for his folks, who were currently living as missionaries in South Africa. John felt most grateful for his best friend, Camilla Adams.
Thirty minutes had gone by, and he figured now was a good enough time to escape this dreary work week. He took the elevator down, climbed on his nine-year-old bike, and rode it home as was his routine for two years now. It was his attempt at killing two birds with one stone, saving the environment and keeping in shape. He arrived at his small studio apartment and greeted Mrs. Roundtree, the old widow who lived on his floor. He took out her garbage whenever he was able because he was a "nice young man," as she put it, and she was a "sweet old lady," as he put it. Just outside his door was a package from his parents for his thirtieth birthday with a card attached. It read: "Happy Thirtieth Birthday, John. Sorry we couldn't be there, but God is really moving down here. We love you so very much. Let's video chat tonight if you can. To: Our favorite son, From: Your favorite parents."
I'm your only son he thought and smiled. On this unusually hot spring day inside his drab one-bedroom apartment, he stripped down and put on the AC. He tried to video chat with his parents to no avail so he watched TV for three hours and had decided he was going to call it a night, when his smart phone rang. It was Camilla Adams.
"Hey, Cammy, what's up?"
"Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, dear Johnny," she sang, which made him giggle. "What are you doing tonight?"
"Ah, I just got in and I was going to relax here for the night," he responded.
"Yeah right, you were probably watching old reruns." She caught him in his lie. "Why don't you come out and meet me at O'Riley's? We'll have a drink or five and celebrate. You just turned thirty ... that's a big deal."
"Gosh, ya know I would, but I just, it's been such a long day, and I'm really tired maybe tomorrow or something."
"Jonathan Michael Gabriel Summers," she scolded.
"Wow, my whole name?" He was completely stunned.
"If you don't get your lazy tail out of bed right now, I'm going to come over there and drag you out myself, and it's not going to be pretty," she reprimanded.
"Alright, alright, give me a minute. I'm coming."
Satisfied with his answer, she let him go so he could get ready for his birthday night. He rummaged through his closet to find something, anything, to wear, maybe something that might even impress the young woman. He chose to wear a plaid shirt buttoned all the way to the top, white sneakers, and the cargo pants and jacket he wore to work earlier. He wasn't impressed with his wardrobe, but it was the best combination he could come up with.
He rode his bike and by the time he arrived at O'Riley's, it was close to nine o'clock. He walked in and looked for his friend, who was already on the dance floor. The music got louder as he walked closer to the center of the dance floor, and he had to scream just to get her attention.
"OH HEY, YOU MADE IT. YOU WANNA DANCE?" she yelled back and hugged him.
"NO, THEY'RE OLD PANTS BUT THANKS," John screamed.
"WHAT?" she screamed back.
"THE MUSIC IS REALLY LOUD."
"YEAH, ISN'T IT GREAT?"
"YOU WANNA GO?"
"WHAT'S A NO GO?"
"WE SHOULD GO TO THE BAR," he shouted.
"YA KNOW I CAN'T HEAR YOU. LET'S GO TO THE BAR," she shouted back.
They finally left the dance floor, where the music was eardrum shattering, for the bar, where two people could have a normal conversation.
"Happy Birthday, John, I'm so glad you decided to come out," Camilla exclaimed.
John looked at her and tried to not say anything stupid. He looked at his best friend of twenty years. She was taller than he was by two inches, four inches when she wore heels, like she had decided to do tonight. She was a very beautiful woman in her late twenties. Camilla was athletic and toned, with almond-shaped hazel eyes, and big, black and brown, curly hair that flowed around her face and shoulders. Her caramel skin was a gift given to her by her Caucasian American father and South African mother. Her father, Dr. Richard Adams, was a medical missionary who traveled to South Africa, where he met Abri Kagiso. They were married, and Abri traveled back to New York with him, where she gave birth to their daughter. Camilla worked for her parents in their private medical practice in New York City and was currently a medical student at NYU. She was obsessed with living a healthy lifestyle, both physically and socially, which is why she urged John to join her and was pleased to see him sitting next to her at O'Riley's Pub. He was absolutely smitten with her and she knew it.
"Yeah, I'm glad I came out too. You look really nice today."
"As opposed to other days?" she added with an incredulous look.
John quickly backtracked and tried to recover from his poor choice of words. "Yes, I mean, no, you look great other days too, it's just you —"
"John, relax I was only kidding," she interrupted. "I got you something ..."
She pulled out a brochure for a brand-new McFadden folding bicycle. The one every cyclist was riding in the city.
"What is this?"
"What does it look like?"
"It looks like you got me a new bike."
"Not just any bike, It's a brand-new McFadden. The one that folds, it's —"
"The best bike in the city ... you did this for me?"
"Yeah ... you're my best friend."
John stared into her big, mahogany eyes and fell even more in love with her than he already was.
"Wow ... thanks."
She gave him a big hug and the brightest smile.
"You're welcome ... now let's drink."
"Cola is fine."
"Rum and Cola? Got it."
"No, please no rum."
"Don't be such a wimp, Johnny, it's your birthday. Bartender, can I have a rum and cola for the lady, and I'll have a Green Apple Martini please," Camilla said.
In about twenty minutes John was on top of the bar, dancing like a wild man, and having a great night, even though it was still very early. He simply wasn't used to hanging out at bars or partying. He was a homebody and most times when he hung out with Camilla they were either at each other's apartments, special events for their parents, or at church. Camilla had never seen John act this way but was happy to see her friend let loose. She often told him that he was going to "explode" if he didn't find a way to let off some steam. When he fell from the bar, she laughed so hard and helped him up. This was clearly way too much for him to handle, and she decided now was as good a time as any to get him home. She helped him out of the bar as he was high-fiving new "friends" and "happy birthday" well-wishers.
"John, how did you get here?" she asked.
"I rode my bike and I locked it up riiiight ... hey, where is it?" he slurred.
"Right here? Where this broken chain is?" Camilla asked.
"Aww man ... somebody biked my stole," John answered, clearly intoxicated.
"Well, good riddance to that old busted thing. Your present is at my place. You'll get it tomorrow, okay?"
"This is the best birthday ever ... and you're so hot ... like a hot ... potato."
Camilla laughed out loud at his response and fielded questions from other drunken strangers asking if he was okay. She offered to pay for a cab ride home but he refused, insisting that the walk home was just through Central Park and that he'd be fine and would call her as soon as he got home. She gave him a hug and kissed him on the cheek, hailed a cab for herself, and went home. John began his long walk from Central Park East to Central Park West, walking slowly through the majestic park that could be quite dangerous at night. John grew up in the great city of New York so he wasn't afraid, just cautious, as he made his way.
* * *
Ahadiel had been investigating Ornias for six months per his orders from the archangel Michael. Those orders were handed down from The One personally to Michael, who in turn chose the low-ranking, heavenly peace-keeping officer to find the demon and bring him into custody. Ahadiel had tracked Ornias from continent to continent and was hot on his trail when the demon entered into the United States. He finally caught up with Ornias over New York.
Ahadiel stood nine feet tall with blond hair and blue eyes. He was extremely beautiful, and he was very muscular with a tenfoot wingspan that resembled white eagle wings. He was shirtless with a big golden belt that held up his whiter than snow pants. The gold belt housed a sheath for his massive double-edged sword with a gold-plated and jewel-studded handle. He was a warrior angel that was always ready for battle. He rarely questioned his tasks, even if he felt one was beneath him. He was just happy to be in the service of The One. His only complaint was that he felt underutilized, but here was a chance for him to possibly earn a promotion and be useful in bringing in a fugitive demon. He didn't know Ornias personally before the Great Rebellion. To him this was just another demon that "came across his desk," and he was more than happy to bring him in.
Ornias was also a spiritual being of low rank. He wasn't given the "privilege" of torturing the guilty in hell. In fact the demoness that he worked for thought it was beneath her and thus it was beneath him. He was charged with a simple mission: Find a woman who wants a child but has none. It was these menial jobs that Ornias had to perform at the discretion of his master. He was short by demon standards, just over six feet tall and with gaunt features. He wore a tattered black robe with black bat-like wings protruding from it.
He was completing the mission given to him by his master, but Ahadiel tracked him down in Kansas, and he had been running from the angel for four days now. When Ahadiel finally caught up to the demon, he tackled him in midair and they both fell, tumbling to the ground. Falling through the clouds, Ahadiel managed to direct them away from any buildings to a small clearing in Central Park, where they landed in a grassy area. Ornias was in pain from the long fall and could barely get up, let alone fight Ahadiel — an angel that he couldn't beat on his best day or the angel's worst day. Before the Great Rebellion, Ornias was a messenger angel under the leadership of the archangel Gabriel; physical confrontation was simply not his strong suit.
Ahadiel, being the warrior angel that he was, landed softly on his feet with his wings spread to brace for the impact. Once he landed he was instantly on top of Ornias, not giving the speedy, shape-shifting demon a chance to recover.
"Who are you working for?" Ahadiel said in an easy tone, which sounded like he was singing, but as if there were three other voices speaking with him at the same time, each at a different pitch.
Ornias, fearful of what would happen to him if he didn't speak up, was more terrified at what would happen if he did, so he spoke in circles.
"Please, why are you following me? Is it the time of my torment?" he asked.
"Don't play coy with me," retorted Ahadiel. "I have observed you stalking women who are barren. What do you want with them? What is the connection?"
"Sir, I have no recollection of what you are talking about. I'm but a lowly demon going to and from earth ... is that a crime?"
"You would do well to not consider me a fool, demon," Ahadiel warned him. "I'm placing you under arrest. I will get to the bottom of this."
* * *
As John walked through Central Park he saw something falling from the sky, bright white and red lights. He wondered if anyone else had seen what he saw, but there was no one around to ask, which was odd considering it was slightly after ten o'clock at night. Usually there were late- night joggers or pedestrians walking their dogs, maybe a passing car in the streets that cut through the park, or maybe even a horse and buggy with a dating couple kissing or holding hands. He looked around and saw none of the busy activity that he was accustomed to seeing in this beautiful park, so he slowly continued in the direction which the object, or objects, had fallen. Being a little inebriated, he wasn't really sure if he was imagining things or if he really had seen two lights fall in the middle of the park.
He jogged across the street and stopped just behind some bushes where he was just far enough out of view but close enough to hear bits and pieces of a conversation. When he thought about what he was seeing, he was surprised he could hear the lights speaking at all. They were bright in and of themselves but not bright enough to light up the surrounding area, not enough to draw much attention anyway.
He could tell the bigger, white light was the aggressor and was dominating the smaller, red light. Beyond that he could not tell what they were or what the confrontation was about. So he decided to gain a better vantage point, and the nearby tree provided a perfect view. The last time John made any attempt to climb anything was in high school approximately thirteen years ago. He needed a physical education class to graduate, and to pass the class, he had to climb the rope and "ring the bell," which was rough for him because of his irrational fear of heights. Yet John's curiosity ruled over his fear, and he summoned the courage and began climbing the tree.
He couldn't have picked an easier tree to climb. There were grooves and steps on the tree that seemed to encourage him to press onward. He made his way up the tree very awkwardly, slipping several times and even being rewarded with a splinter for his efforts. In fact, had the tree not been an easy one, he would have never made it up there at all.
He finally reached a branch that grew in the direction of the lights and decided it was the best limb to climb. As he continued onto the branch he could hardly believe his eyes. It looked almost as if the lights were people. At least they looked like people to him. Not aliens with big bug eyes or four fingers who spoke in a strange dialect, but people. He knew they weren't American because they weren't speaking English, and as he continued to look upon them he noticed that they had wings. One had what appeared to be very large white eagle wings, and the other had smaller bat wings, though they were large in their own right. He also noticed that the white being on top had a large sword adorned in gold, was shirtless, very handsome, and very well built, almost as if he was a part of some sort of royal brigade. The red being on the bottom looked nothing like the white being; he wore shabby, disgusting, black garments and appeared to be a sick old man.
John carried 150 pounds on his 5'5" frame, but it was just enough weight on the particularly weak tree limb to snap under him. He tried to make his way back but before he could, the limb gave way and he fell some twenty feet straight to the grass and had the wind knocked out of him.
* * *
Ornias was trying to talk his way out of the predicament he was in, but nothing seemed to be working and the weight of Ahadiel was causing him to become short of breath.
"How ... can I give you ... answers ... with your knees in my chest?" Ornias said, gasping for air.
"You will do plenty of —" before Ahadiel could finish his sentence, he heard a noise that distracted him long enough to lose focus on his prisoner. "OOOOOW, MY LEG!!!" Then Ahadiel saw the human who made the pitiful yelp.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Seraph: The Guardian Angel"
Copyright © 2015 James Hicks.
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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