New Justyce (Book 1 / Episode 2)

Book 1: Justyce Begins

Episode 2: The Zodiac Club

Bryson Indiana stepped out of the shower, still thinking about the strange fires he saw last night. Bryson felt there was an interesting story there that he had to investigate. After getting dressed, Bryson checked his appointment calendar. No clients were coming in today, but he did have a meeting with a reporter later that morning. Bryson’s private investigator business had finally started to take off last week. Three new clients! He didn’t need a new problem to solve, but his curiosity wouldn’t let him not check out those mysterious fires. Bryson wanted to walk to Starbucks to get his morning coffee anyway. He finished tying his shoes, pulled on a hoodie, grabbed his favorite beanie, and ran out the door. Autumn had finally started to take hold in northern Virginia.

            Carl Chambers woke to the sound of a crash. When he opened his eyes, his vision was unfocused and blurry. Carl stood on shaky feet and stumbled into the union hall bathroom. His body felt weird, and he couldn’t concentrate. Carl’s head ached, and he put one hand up to massage his temple and felt a massive amount of thick curly hair. Hair that hadn’t been there just the night before. Carl looked down at his arms and saw them covered with golden fur. The muscles in his arms were rippling and appeared to be growing right before his eyes. Carl rushed to the mirror and saw a face that he barely recognized. Carl’s appearance was warping and changing. He ran to the doorway and called out to his best friend and top assistant, Rick Myers. “Rick! Rick, get in here! Something is happening to me!”

Carl heard the same clip-clop of hooves on the wooden floor that he heard last night just before he blacked out for the second time. Then, Carl heard Rick’s voice, but it was deeper and gravelly. “Something happened to all of us, Carl. Something strange and powerful.”

Rick turned the corner, and Carl jumped back in surprise. What Carl saw, he barely recognized as his best friend. Carl could still make out Rick’s facial features, but that face was covered in brown fur, and horns were growing out of the sides of Rick’s head. The new Rick was around seven feet tall, and his shoulders were broad enough that Rick would have to turn sideways to enter most doors. As Carl gaped at his friend, he noticed that Rick’s legs ended in massive hooves.

“Oh my God, Rick. What is happening?”

Rick waved a hand at Carl. “You tell me, boss.”

“I think it was from the meteor last night. I felt it pulsing, but I never expected these physical changes. I don’t know what is happening, but I feel powerful!”

“Carl, I have horns growing out of the side of my head. It’s weird, but you’re right. I feel powerful!”

“You said it’s happening to everyone? Are they all still here? I want to see.”

“They’re still here. Some are just waking up. Some are happy, but not everyone. We may need to finish that meeting that was interrupted last night.”

“You’re exactly right, Rick. This could be the best thing to ever happen to us.” The two best friends strode out into the union hall meeting room to assess what had happened to the rest of their friends.  

Bryson walked to the edge of Newville Park, noting scorch marks on several trees. He knelt down to get a better angle to take some photos, and his trained eyes noticed a couple odd looking blue stones. He picked them up to look closer and nearly dropped them again. Peering at the rocks in the palm of his hand, Bryson saw that they seemed to glow and pulse with energy. He felt a surge of energy rush through his entire body. He looked around to make sure no one was watching, and then he slipped the two blue rocks into the pocket of his jeans.

Bryson stood next to one of the scorched trees and oriented himself to look straight at the part of the docks where he had seen the fire last night. Spinning around one hundred and eighty degrees, he faced the high school baseball field. He still needed that coffee, but he was in an investigative mode now. Starbucks was too far out of the way; he’d settle for the Dunkin Donuts next to the school. He walked slowly, scanning all the buildings he passed for signs of fire.

‘Brett’s Antique and Thrift Store’ must have been the destination of some of the firetrucks that passed his house in the night. By the time he reached the antique shop, Bryson had four blue rocks in his pocket. He was just about to continue on toward the school when he got a text message from Erik Reilly.

Erik: “Bryson, I need to come over and talk to you about something. It’s kind of important. Are you home?”

Bryson: “No. I’m on a case. Can it wait?”

Erik: “I don’t know. Something weird is going on. Did you see all the fires last night?”

Bryson: “Yes. That’s what I’m investigating. I’ll go home now. Come right over.”

Bryson slid his phone back into his pocket and nearly ran home.

            Obadiah woke up lying on a wooden floor in front of a big fireplace. He was disoriented and couldn’t remember where he was at first. Then the events of the night before played out in his mind. Obie stumbled away from the muddy field and walked towards the only light in the distance, this house. He didn’t know what else to do, so Obie knocked on the door. A lady answered, and then Obadiah couldn’t remember anything after that. He must have passed out, but Obie couldn’t remember. When Obadiah tried to recall anything before last night, all that came to him was the feeling of falling from a great distance. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. He also remembered that his name was Obadiah, and he recalled another name, Logan. It felt like Logan was important. Obie needed to find Logan, but right now, all he could do was lay his head back down and fall asleep.

As soon as Logan was up, showered, and dressed, he ran downstairs. Logan wolfed down a quick breakfast and threw a couple pieces of fruit and some trail mix into his backpack. Logan wasn’t sure where he planned on going yet, but he could still feel Obadiah’s presence nearby. Logan slipped on his shoes and slung his backpack over his shoulder. Logan poked his head into the living room. “Harvey, I’m going for a walk. I don’t have a class until ten. Tell dad and Gavin for me, please.”

Harvey glanced up from his phone. “Really? Ok, bro. See ya after school.”

Logan left the house and started wandering up and down the town’s streets. It’s not like the feather was a GPS that gave him specific directions. He could only get a vague sense of direction and distance. About ten minutes later, Logan heard police sirens. Soon after that, he saw two army helicopters fly towards the city’s center. Thankfully, the feather was leading him in the opposite direction. Logan had been walking for another fifteen minutes when he passed by the high school baseball field. Like last night, the feather started glowing, so Logan turned and walked into the field. Everything looked burnt, and he could still smell the smoke.

Logan found a massive crater in the center of the field, right where the pitcher’s mound used to be. He saw footprints leading away in the mud, but Logan didn’t see any footprints leading toward the crater. He crawled down into the hole and saw the muddy imprint of a body. The feather pulsed and flashed in his hand. Did something happen to Obie here? Logan was now even more determined to find his friend.

Logan crawled out of the crater and followed the footprints. A blue glow off near the edge of the field caught his attention. Logan walked over and looked down. He found two small rocks that glowed with the same blue light as the feather. Logan picked them up and felt the stones pulse in his hands. A wave of energy washed over Logan’s entire body. He felt different. Changed somehow. Maybe Obie could explain what happened when he found him. Logan put the two rocks in his pocket and followed the muddy footprints.

Carl walked out into the union hall’s meeting room and scanned the room. The creatures, his closest friends, were all spread out. Carl leaned his head back and let out a ferocious roar. Everyone spun toward him, and he spoke, “Friends, gather around the table and let us continue our meeting.”

“You’ll excuse me if I don’t sit at the table,” quipped Lisa Jensen.

Carl turned his head to speak, “I expect…” he stopped when he saw Lisa. Lisa looked the same from her head to her waist, but where her lower torso and legs should be now stood the body of a beautiful chestnut-colored horse. Carl began again, “No. Take the end of the table across from me.”

Brent Irons pounded his fist on the table, more claw than a fist, actually. His hand was bright red and hardened into a shell-like substance. Brent’s fingers were fused together, and his thumb was elongated and had a serrated edge. “Do you really expect business as usual, Carl? Look at us! We’re freaks! How can we even go out in public? Jayden was suffocating for no apparent reason. I’m not even sure if he’s still alive, and you want to continue a business meeting?!”

Carl looked around. “Where’s Jayden now?”

“Luke took him into the kitchen,” Brent answered.

Carl tapped Rick on the shoulder, “Go check on them.” Then he turned to the rest, “Let me address the questions Brent brought up. Can we go out in public? Yes, I say, and let them fear us! We are not freaks. We are amazing and powerful beings. Do I expect business as usual? Hell no! I expect that now instead of ruling Newville Heights… we can rule the world!” When Carl finished speaking, the rest of the assembled group pounded on the table and cheered.

“Time to get ready for school,” Harvey grumbled to himself. When he turned the game off that he was playing on his phone, Harvey noticed a text from his dad. The text was also sent to his two brothers. It read: “Boys, they activated my unit this morning. There are reports of strange activities and possible terror attacks in the city. I may not be able to come home tonight or possibly for a few days. Watch out for each other. Stay safe. Dad.”

Harvey flipped the television on and turned to one of the twenty-four-hour news channels. He could hardly believe what he was watching. Could this be real? They showed amateur film clips of glowing blue meteors racing across the sky and fires raging all over the city.

He was still watching when his oldest brother, Gavin, walked in and stood behind him. “Harvey, did you get a weird text from dad?” Gavin looked up from his phone. “What the hell are you watching?”

“The news, I think. Weird, right?” Harvey said.

“With this text from dad, I’d say it must be accurate, or the army thinks so. It sounds like they think it’s more than just meteors.” Gavin said.

“Should I go to school?” Harvey asked.

“Yeah. Go ahead. I’m sure the school will cancel classes if this gets worse. I don’t have class until this afternoon, so I’ll keep an eye on the news and watch for dad’s texts. Keep your phone on in case I need to contact you. Where’s Logan?”

“He went for a walk a while ago. He said he doesn’t have class until ten today.”

“Ok. I’ll try and get a hold of Logan; you go get ready for school.” Gavin sat down and texted Logan while Harvey finished getting ready for school and left the house.

Rick Myers walked into the kitchen of the union hall. Whatever he was expecting to see, what he saw wasn’t it. Luke Adams was standing by the sink with his arm outstretched. Luke’s hand was held out, palm facing upward, and his fingers were extended. Luke had a look of intense concentration on his face. The first shock for Rick was that the water that ran from the faucet arched upward and rained down on Jayden Stone. Jaydon sat on the floor, leaning against the sink.

Jayden, himself, was the second shock, though, at this point, nothing should shock Rick, considering his own transformation. Jayden’s skin was now bluish-green scales, and his eyes were narrow and a deep amber color. There were two slits on the sides of Jayden’s neck that were slowly opening and closing. Rick guessed that they must be gills, which must be the problem with Jaydon’s breathing. Rick cleared his throat. “Luke, Jayden, is there anything I can do to help?”

Rick’s voice distracted Luke, and he lost concentration. Water started spraying all over the room. “Rick? Is that you? What is happening to us?” Luke got the water spray back under control, but Jayden stood up from the floor, looking not entirely out of breath.

“Shut the water off, babe. I think I got this under control now.” Jayden said, between deep breaths.

Luke’s green eyes shone with concern. “Are you sure, Jay? What about the gills?”

“Yes, I’m sure. My body got confused when the gills formed, and I tried to breathe through them. I can switch back and forth between the gills and my lungs. It’s kinda cool now that I know how to do it.”

Luke switched off the water and rushed over to wrap his arms around his boyfriend. Luke tried to pull Jayden close, but Jayden took a step back and pushed Luke away. Luke had a look of shock and confusion on his face. “Jay, what’s wrong?”

“Look at me, Luke! I’m some kind of grotesque freak! I have gills and scales. You don’t have to pretend to still want to touch me.” Jayden said with tears streaming down his face.

“I’m not pretending, Jay. I love you. You are still you, and that’s the only thing that matters to me. You are still the most beautiful man in the world.”

“Can we talk more about this later?” Jayden looked over at Rick and motioned towards the meeting room. “What’s going on out there with everyone else? It sounds like a party.”

“Carl restarted the meeting from last night. He’s getting everyone fired up. We should get out there and find out the details for ourselves.” Carl turned and walked out of the kitchen, followed closely by Luke and Jayden.

Harvey decided to take the shortcut through the park on his way to school. On his way there, he noticed burned trees and scorched grass. “Weird,” Harvey thought. “All the burned trees are in a straight line.” Coincidentally, the line of burned trees was right along Harvey’s route. He noticed a bright blue stone in the center of a burned patch of grass. After seeing the news reports about meteors, Harvey bent down to take a closer look. Harvey tentatively picked up the stone, and it began to glow and pulse in his hand. Harvey’s whole body felt weird. He shrugged and stuffed the rock into the pocket of his jeans. By the time Harvey got to school, he had found and pocketed three more stones.

Gavin prepared a quick breakfast for himself, then sat down to channel surf. He wanted to see if he could find out what was going on in town. Gavin became engrossed with the news reports of the strange meteors and fires causing damage and the conspiracy theories about the army taking over the investigation. Gavin grew tired of watching the same video clips over and over. He looked at his phone for any new messages. It was odd for his brother to not answer a text right away. Gavin could not sit still and wait with everything happening, so he got up to go looking for Logan.

Carl glanced over when Rick re-entered the meeting room, followed by Luke and a third figure who must be Jayden. “Good. I’m glad you three could join us. We were discussing plans for taking over the docks and then the entire town and beyond. We should first search the city and find as many blue rocks as possible. No one else must be allowed access to them.”

“What if others have already found them?” Lisa asked.

“Kill them. We can’t allow anyone else to gain the powers that we have. We should even name ourselves to strike fear into the people.” Carl said.

“Like individual names or the group?” Luke asked.

“Both,” Carl answered thoughtfully. “Let me think.”

“How about The Freak Show,” Brent said with a laugh.

“No. No. Look around. It’s obvious now that we’re all here.” Carl said, looking from face to face. “We are The Zodiac. Literally. Look at us. Leo the Lion, Taurus the Bull, Cancer the Crab. We all fit the zodiac. That’s who we are… The Zodiac Club.” Everyone at the table looked around and nodded in agreement.

Erik Reilly rolled out of bed and turned on the television. He saw the news on every channel about the meteor shower and the fires, but, oddly enough, there were no reports of any meteors being recovered. Erik thought that was bizarre. If he found one, others must have as well. Maybe they kept it quiet for the same reason Erik did, the strange behavior of the rocks. He didn’t have any classes today, so Erik decided to text his friend, Bryson Indiana. Bryson loved mysteries. He even had his own private investigator business. Bryson answered his phone right away, and as soon as he found out it was about the meteors and fires, he was interested. Erik turned off his television and practically ran out the door.

Gavin drove up yet another street in his search for Logan. Finally, he spotted him. Gavin drove past his brother and pulled off the road right in front of Logan. Gavin got out of the car and walked right up to his brother. “What the hell, Logan? Are you trying to worry Harvey and me? With all that’s happening, you decide to just wander off and not answer your texts?”

Logan looked confused. “What are you talking about? What’s happening?”

“Didn’t you get the text from dad? Or the texts from me? Have you seen the news?”

“No. I left the house early. I didn’t watch any news, and I don’t have a text from dad. What time is it?” Logan looked down at his phone. “Dang. I didn’t turn my phone on this morning. I guess I was too preoccupied, Gavin. I’m so sorry. I meant to go to my class. I didn’t realize it was almost ten o’clock already.” He said while turning his phone on. “Here’s the text. What does this mean? What’s going on, Gavin.”

“There was a weird meteor shower last night. The meteors were glowing with a blue light. It was odd, but I wouldn’t have been too concerned. What’s got me worried is that the army must be worried. With the text from dad, I just don’t know.” Gavin said. “Your turn. Why are you out so early and not in class?”

“They were glowing blue, you said?” Logan’s voice trembled. “You might think I’m crazy, even with what you told me.” He pulled the feather out of his pocket and showed it to Gavin. “My friend Obadiah gave this to me. It also glows with a blue light. Gavin, Obie plucked this out of his own wing. He’s an angel. Well, more precisely, a seraphim. That’s what they call themselves, but yeah, Obadiah is an angel.”

Bryson rushed home to turn on the news and catch up on the stories about the meteors while he waited for Erik. He didn’t have to wait long. Less than ten minutes later, there was a knock on his door. “Come on in,” Bryson yelled.

Erik rushed in and closed and locked the door behind him. “I see you’re watching the reports about last night. Have they said if any meteorites were recovered yet?”

“No. Maybe the meteorites were too small to find or were destroyed in the fires.”

Erik grinned. “I find that hard to believe. I found one right behind my house last night!”

“Show me! Did you see it fall from the sky? Are you sure what it is?”

Erik took the blue rock out of his pocket and held it in his open palm. “Before you touch it, I need to tell you something. Yes, I saw it fall from the sky. I pulled it out of the charred remains of that big maple tree in my backyard. My dad is gonna be pissed. He loved that tree! But, anyway, as soon as I picked it up, it started giving off energy. The stone pulsed throughout my whole body. I feel different, Bry. I feel stronger. Hell, it even changed the color of my hair! Weird, right?”

“I noticed the hair. Bright red looks good on you.” Bryson winked.

Erik blushed. “Thanks. You just don’t give up, do you?” Erik smiled shyly.

“You’re even cuter when you blush. Give up the straight life, bro. Bisexuality is the only way to go! So many possibilities!”

“Can we please get back to this?” Erik waved the meteorite in front of his friend.

Bryson smirked. “Ok.” He reached into the pocket of his jeans and pulled out his own four blue stones. “I went for a walk to investigate the fires, and I found these. I felt the energy pulses that you described. I haven’t experienced any physical changes like you with your hair, but you’ve had yours since last night, and I just found these an hour ago.”

“What do you think it means? What’s happening to us, Bry? I’m scared, but I’m excited at the same time.”

“I have no idea, but it’s obviously my top priority to find out. A reporter friend of mine has helped with a lot of my cases. Grace should be able to help. I’ll call her. She has a lot of contacts in the government that I don’t have.”

“Reporter? Government? Can you trust her?” Erik thought for a moment. “Do you think we should turn these rocks over to the authorities?”

“To answer your first question, yes. I trust Grace as much as I trust anyone. To answer your second question, no. I can’t tell you what to do with yours, but there’s no way I’m turning mine over to anyone until I find out what they are and what they’re doing to us. If we give them to the army, the best-case scenario is we won’t find out anything. The worst-case scenario is that nobody ever sees us again. We’d be lab experiments forever once they find out about the energy pulses.”

“So, what do we do now?”

“Let me investigate and get Grace involved. You carry on with your everyday life. Go to class. Have fun. I’ll be in touch.”

“I knew you’d know what to do. That’s why I came here first. Thanks, Bry. I’ll text you if I notice any other physical changes or feel any effects.” Erik said as he left the apartment.

Bryson was on the phone with Grace Santos and headed for her apartment before Erik had been gone five minutes.

Carl Chambers sat in quiet contemplation. So much had happened since last night. Most of the twelve members of his group experienced at least minor physical changes, and, for some, the changes were dramatic. They all felt different. After their strategy session this morning, Carl sent ten of his friends out to search for the blue meteor stones with orders to kill anyone who had already touched the rocks. Carl wanted their group to be the most powerful beings in the town and the world. He glanced over at the other remaining person in the room, Danielle Gordon.

“Dani, have you figured out how to balance and properly move with that.” He pointed at the six-foot-long tail that curved up and over Danielle’s head.

“Yeah. It pretty much just came naturally. It is surprisingly maneuverable.” She swung the tail around from side to side.

“If you’re sure, then we have a job to do.”

“Collecting rocks like everyone else?”

“No. If we are going to rule this town, and eventually, even more, we need cash. What do you think about robbing the Newville Community Credit Union?”

“That sounds perfect to me, boss. Let’s go.”

Carl stood, shook out his golden mane, and led his scorpion-tailed companion out the door.

Coming Soon – Episode 3: Heroes and Monsters

New Justyce (Book 1 / Episode 1)

Book 1: Justyce Begins

Episode 1: Angels and Meteors

Logan Kastala’s eyes widened in fear. He saw the car speeding right toward him, but he knew he didn’t have time to get out of the way. Logan lifted his arms to try and shield his face, and then everything went black. Someone or something lifted Logan off the ground, and then it felt like he was rolling. Logan stopped moving but could not see a thing. He was still in total darkness. Logan moved his arms and felt a soft barrier like a blanket of feathers. He tried to push his way out, but Logan felt another person in the darkness with him.

“Hey! What’s going on? Who’s there? What happened?” Logan asked.

What Logan thought was a blanket pulled away from him and parted, letting in the light. Logan blinked and saw his friend, Obadiah. “Obie? You’re always helping me out of tough spots lately. It’s good we met! Thanks for the save!” Logan laughed, but he cut his laugh short when he got a better look at his friend. “Obie?” Logan said, backing up slowly. “You have wings! Am I dead, Obie? Are you an angel?” Tears welled up in Logan’s eyes.

Obadiah reached out and grasped Logan’s arms. “Don’t be scared, Logan. You’re not dead. Yes, I have wings. But I’m still the same guy you’ve become friends with over the last few weeks.” He tried to give Logan a reassuring smile.

“What are you, though? Are you an angel? A mutant? Something else?” Logan didn’t pull away from Obadiah, but he was still nervous.

“I am what you call an angel. We call ourselves Seraphim. We are not religious spirits from a place called Heaven. We are a race of beings from an alternate plane of existence. Our doorway into your world opens in the space between Earth and Mars. Many years ago, a human saw one of us coming to Earth. They saw him “descend from the Heavens,” and the myth of angels sprang up from that sighting.” Obie guided Logan into the park while they talked. They finally settled at a picnic table off by themselves.

“Why me? Why would you befriend and help me? And I can’t see your wings anymore. Where do they go?” Logan peered around behind him, looking for Obadiah’s wings.

“The wings are always there. I can control when people see them and when they can’t. As far as helping you and making you my friend? I genuinely like you. I sense great and special things in your future, Logan. You will do amazing things. I’m sure of it.” Obie said.

Logan blushed. “I’m nothing special.”

“Oh, but you are. I know it.” Obadiah’s smiling face turned suddenly serious. “I will get in big trouble for revealing myself to you. You probably won’t ever see me again. My father sits on the Council of Judgement, though I doubt if even he can get me out of this mess. If I never see you again, I want you to have something.” Obie’s wings reappeared for just a moment. He plucked one bright silvery feather, and then the wings vanished again. He handed the feather to Logan. “Keep this close, and you will always feel my presence when I am on Earth, and I’ll be able to sense if you are in danger.”

Logan’s head was reeling. He was still trying to absorb everything that was happening. First, a car nearly ran him over. Then an angel saved his life, an angel who happened to be his friend. Now, that friend gave him a magic feather plucked from his wing. Could things get any weirder? Logan reached over and took the feather. “Thanks, Obie. Everything that is happening is overwhelming, but I mean it when I say thanks. I’m just trying to wrap my head around all this.”

Obadiah reached across the table and took ahold of Logan’s hands. “Logan, everything will be ok. I promise. Even if I can’t come back, I sense remarkable things for you. You’re special, Logan. I knew it from the first time we met.” Obie leaned across the table, staring intently into Logan’s eyes.

Logan blushed. “I am not special in any way. I barely know what I’m doing from one day to the next. How am I supposed to have an important destiny? You must have me confused with someone else.” Logan huffed out a laugh.

“I could never confuse you for anyone else,” Obadiah smirked. “I can’t exactly see your future, Logan. I can only sense that you have an important destiny. You will overcome many difficult challenges very soon. You will not be alone. Others will gather around you, but you will be a central figure as the events unfold.”

“Well, that’s frightening. Are you sure you won’t be around to help and guide me through whatever happens?”

“If I can be here, I will be. I fear that if my actions today are known to my people, they will call me home to face judgment.” Obie frowned, his eyes downcast.

Logan reached over and lifted Obie’s face. “Your actions today were heroic. You saved my life. You didn’t do anything wrong. They have to see that.”

“We are forbidden from interacting with humans in any way. They won’t care that my intentions were good.”

“Let me talk to them. I’ll make them understand.” Logan reached across the table and took Obadiah’s hands in his own.

“That would only make things worse. I hope I am wrong, but I may never see you again after today. Please know that it wasn’t my choice to abandon you.”

“I pray that you are wrong! I’ve grown to care a lot about you in the short time that I’ve known you, Obie. So, if I might never see you again, I better do this now.” He closed the remaining distance between them and kissed Obadiah.

A bright flash of light caused both boys to pull back from the kiss quickly. Logan grinned and said, “Wow. That kiss made the sun brighter.” But then his smile faded. Three angels were standing around them. Two wore bright, shining armor, and each one grabbed one of Obadiah’s arms and pulled him to his feet. The third angel wore a suit and tie and was obviously in charge. Logan could see their wings. The two armored angels had silver wings like Obadiah’s, but the other one had golden wings.

The angel in the suit spoke first. “Obadiah, son of Samael, I hereby place you under arrest by order of the Council of Judgement. I order you to go with me to the Council Chambers for your trial.”

Logan sprang up from his seat. “No! He didn’t do anything wrong! He saved my life! How can that be a crime?”

Abathar glared at Logan. “Your words have no bearing on the business of the Seraphim. Obadiah knows our laws, and he chose to break not one but three of them. Forget you ever saw us, human. Especially forget you ever saw him.” Abathar pointed at Obadiah.

“I’ll never forget him. We’ll find a way to be together again. You can’t stop us.” Logan scowled, then looked at Obie, and his smile returned. “I’ll wait for you, Obie. No matter how long it takes.”

Abathar scoffed. “Let us be gone.” He motioned toward the other two Seraphim.

Obadiah reached out toward Logan but looked at Abathar. “Wait! I….”

He started to say more, but Logan never heard what Obadiah would say. All four angels disappeared in a flash of light. Logan waited around for a while but gave up and went home. He hoped that Obie was telling the truth about the feather. He clutched it tight and prayed that someday it would lead him to Obie.

———————————————————————————————————-

The two Seraphim Law Keepers half dragged, half carried Obadiah through the Council chambers before pushing him down into the Judgement Seat. The Law Keepers fastened the restraints and left the room. Obie’s face contorted in rage as he turned to look at the third Seraphim. “You could have let me say goodbye to him, at least. Two more minutes would not have mattered to you, Abathar.”

“If you want mercy, speak to Zadkiel. I seek only to see you judged for your crimes against our society. Crimes which you added to just before our arrival.” A look of disappointment and disgust crossed Abathar’s face. “With these new crimes, even your father won’t be able to help you, Obadiah. You held such promise.”

Obadiah sat straight up in his chair and stared directly into Abathar’s golden yellow eyes. “I did what my heart commanded of me. If the Council judges that to be a crime, then so be it! I would do everything the same all over again!”

The doors at the end of the Great Hall opened, and six more Seraphim entered, all with golden-hued wings. Abathar joined the other Council members. Three sat on each side of the table. The last, the High Judge, stood opposite the Judgement Seat. The High Judge, Azrael, spoke to the accused. “Obadiah, your father pleaded with the Council to show you mercy. We were inclined to accede to his wishes until news of your added crimes reached us. Your crimes have tied our hands, and our decision is final.”

Obie glared at each member of the Council. His father wouldn’t even meet his gaze. He clenched his teeth and looked directly at Azrael. “I did nothing wrong. Not one thing I did hurt anyone here or on Earth. I saved Logan’s life and fell in love with him. He has an important future. I’m sure of it. Earth benefits from what I did. I committed no crimes!”

Azrael shook his head. “You know that interfering in a human’s life is not allowed. You also know that engaging in sex with a human is a crime. And just for your crime of same-sex activity, the punishment is banishment. All three of these crimes individually are serious offenses. You committed all three. We cannot ignore that.”

Obie blushed in embarrassment and anger. “I did not have sex with Logan! And besides, none of those things should be crimes. Love is not a crime. Humans are a lot like us. If we interact with them more, we can help them. They can even help us in some ways! Your views are ancient and bigoted.”

“My views are the views of our people. My views are the law. You kissed that human boy. If we allowed it to continue, you would have gone further. Obadiah, you know why we passed these laws. The last time a Seraphim became involved with a human, he impregnated her. The humans called it a miracle birth. Hell, they still have wars over it over two thousand years later! The Council cannot excuse your actions, no matter how much we’d like to.” Azrael walked over to where Obadiah sat. “Obadiah, son of Samael, you are forever banished from our kingdom. If you return, your sentence will be death.” Azrael pushed a button, signaling the Law Keepers to return. Azrael and the other six members of the Judgement Council left the room. Samael never once glanced back at his son.

Obadiah’s screams echoed throughout the Great Hall as the Law Keepers removed his wings and dragged him to the Plains of Judgement. Obie saw his father in the crowd, “Father! They took my wings! Father! Help me!” Samael merely turned his back and walked away.

The Law Keepers opened a rift to the blackness of space above the Earth. They forced Obadiah to stand, then pushed him through the breach.

As Obadiah fell through space, his Seraphim power leaked out of the wounds on his back, mixed with his blood. The power attracted space dust and rocks that gathered around the young Seraphim like a meteor shower. Obie entered the Earth’s atmosphere as part of the most massive meteorological event ever recorded. There were so many rocks surrounding Obadiah that no telescope caught sight of his body at the storm’s center. The meteors, glowing with a bluish light, streaked through the warm August night sky on a collision course with a small town on the east coast of the United States. Newville, Virginia would never be the same. The entire world was about to change forever.

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Erik Reilly glanced away from his computer and looked out the window. A flash of light in the sky caught his attention. As he continued to stare, Erik saw what, at first, looked like a shooting star. He was puzzled. Erik knew he shouldn’t be able to see any star, shooting or not, through driving rain. Then there was another bright flash of blue light. Specks of blue fell like rain in the meteor’s wake. Erik watched in awe as, just as the shooting star or whatever it was broke through the clouds, it exploded into several pieces. One reasonably large chunk fell towards the docks, while the biggest one and many little ones continued over Erik’s house and towards Newville Park.

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Carl Chambers pounded his enormous fist on the table. “Full house? How do you have another hand like that, Myers?” Carl threw his cards into the air.

Rick Myers shrugged his shoulders. “Lucky night, I guess.”

“No one is that lucky,” Carl grumbled.

“I don’t know why we all even play. The two of you argue every single week.” Lisa Jenson complained.

“We’re here for more than poker. That’s why. You know that, Lisa. Now that Rick has all our money, we may as well get down to our real business. We need to tighten control of our territory. I’m sick of these piddly street thugs thinking they can come to my docks and rob people. If anyone is getting robbed, it’ll be by us!”

Carl was just getting warmed up with a speech about his plans for their next moves to take over more of the town. “First, we put a stranglehold on the docks. Every business must pay! Then, we take over the city, working out street by street, block by block.” Carl nearly yelled.

“Yeah! Let’s do this! First Newville, then the world!” Rick cheered.

Carl smirked as he looked around the table at his friends. He had them all convinced of his plans. Carl was ambitious and wasn’t satisfied just running Newville Heights and the docks. Carl wanted it all. Then, as fate would have it, a massive meteor smashed through the union hall roof ending the meeting abruptly with a loud, literal bang that would change their lives forever.

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Logan Kastala woke up screaming. He had the worst nightmare he could ever remember having. Logan felt as if he had been falling for hours, and his back felt like it was on fire! The pain subsided now that Logan was awake, but he still felt it. That’s weird, Logan thought. He could never remember a physical reaction to a dream quite like he was feeling now. Logan was about to fall back to sleep when he noticed the glowing blue light. Logan leaned over towards his nightstand to see what it was. The feather that Obadiah gave him was glowing! Logan picked up the feather and felt Obie’s presence nearby. Obadiah was somewhere on Earth for sure. Logan desperately hoped that Obie had not gotten into too much trouble with the other angels or Seraphim. Logan clutched the feather close and drifted back to sleep. Tomorrow he would begin his search for Obadiah. Logan never looked out the window, or he would have seen blue streaks falling out of the sky right over his house.

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Erik went outside to get a better view. He ran to the top of a hill right behind his house. Drenched in seconds, Erik brushed the water out of his eyes and watched as tiny meteors fell and hit the ground. Suddenly, a tree not twenty yards behind Erik exploded in flames. In his excitement, watching the small meteors hit, he lost track of the big one, but he thought it was still heading toward the park. 

“Wow!” Erik thought. The rain put the fires out quickly. Erik ran over to the remains of the tree. A small, glowing blue rock sat right in the center of the blackened and burned tree. Erik waited for the rain to cool the stone, then he reached in to pick it up. He thought better of it at the last minute, and he continued to stare at the rock.

The meteorite was about the size of a marble. Erik finally threw caution to the wind and picked it up. He almost dropped it as soon as he picked it up. It looked harmless. The stone wasn’t hot anymore, but it started to pulse in his hand. Erik could feel waves of energy coursing through his body with each pulse. He wasn’t sure what was happening to him, but Erik immediately felt different, more vital. He liked the feeling. Erik put the rock in the front pocket of his jeans and ran back into his house.

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The meteor at the center of the storm hit the baseball field behind the high school with enough force to leave an impact crater and rattle the windows of nearby houses. A shockwave was sent deep into the earth, awakening an ancient supernatural force. The shadow peeled itself away from the wall. It could sense the power of the being directly above, but more importantly, it could smell a world full of delicious evil. Evil that the shadow was eager to devour.

The shadow swirled upward, sliding through the cracks and crevices in the earth. It had been over a thousand years since the shadow was free to roam the land. The scent of evil was nearly intoxicating. The shadow needed to bond with a host, but it could sense that the being that had awoken it would not be suitable. The shadow had waited for a long time. It could wait a little longer.

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Everyone in the union hall jumped to their feet and backed away from the glowing blue rock. Part of the ceiling collapsed, and the wall caught fire. Carl felt waves of power emanating from the stone, and he leaped into action. He grabbed a fire extinguisher and yelled to his friends. “Don’t just stand there! Grab the rest of the extinguishers or buckets of water. We have to put this fire out and cool down this rock. I feel that it’s important!”

“Carl is right!” Yelled Rick. “Cool that rock down and put out the fires as soon as possible. And do not call the fire department! We have to handle this ourselves.”

Anyone with an extinguisher sprayed water or chemicals on the already glowing and pulsing meteor rock. The chemicals began to bubble and boil then the entire rock exploded. Steam and dust enveloped the twelve people in the room from head to toe. They all started coughing as they breathed in the mist. Carl dropped to his knees and then collapsed onto the floor. He looked through blurry eyes and saw all his friends on the floor around him.

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The boy groaned as he tried to lift his face out of the mud. He felt disoriented by the overwhelming number of sensations he was feeling. The most immediate was the almost unbearable pain in his back. It felt as if someone was ripping his muscles right off the bone. He could not remember ever feeling such pain before. As that thought crossed his mind, it occurred to him that he could not remember anything at all. The boy had no idea where he was, how he got there, or even who he was.

The boy, with significant effort, sat up and tried to clear his head. The pain in his back made it nearly impossible to concentrate. He opened his eyes and wiped the mud, rain, and hair out of his eyes. The cold, driving rain that pelted his face and body helped ease the burning pain in his back just a little and helped him clear his thoughts. He was cold and wet. His clothes were torn, dirty, and smelled of smoke. The smell of smoke was also thick in the air. The entire field was empty, burnt, and, in places, still smoldered. The rain helped to put out some of the small fires.

He got up and stumbled off in the direction of the one light that he saw. He hoped to find help, or someone might know who he was or how he got here. All he knew right now was that he needed to leave this field and get out of the rain.

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Bryson Indiana woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of sirens. He stumbled out of bed and out onto his patio. The first fire trucks Bryson saw were racing toward the school. The fires were past the school when he looked closer, maybe at the baseball field or a nearby house. Just as Bryson turned to go back into his house, he noticed the other fires. There were small fires in what appeared to be a nearly straight line from the school in the south to the Newville Docks in the north. Bryson’s curiosity was piqued, but it would have to wait until morning. Right now, all he wanted was more sleep.

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Carl rolled over and pushed himself up to a kneeling position. He felt weird. Strong. But weird. It was challenging to understand all the feelings that coursed through his body. Intense pain nearly caused him to blackout again. He looked down and saw tan hairs sprouting out on his arms and hands. His hands were growing and changing, nails turning into claws. He tried to look around for his friends, but the blue mist still hung over the entire room. He called out for help, but his voice sounded like a growl. He heard other growls answering his own, and just before he blacked out again, he perceived the distinctive clip-clop of hooves on the wooden floor.

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The boy stumbled away from the crater, and toward the light he saw in the distance. Words and images kept flashing through his foggy mind. Tree. Road. House. Logan! He immediately knew that Logan was important, but he did not know why. The boy crossed the street and walked through an empty parking lot. The boy walked to a dimly lit building at the far end of the lot. The doors would not open, but the boy saw a reflection of himself in the glass.

“Obadiah? Is that who I am?” He touched the face of the reflection, then drew his hand back and felt his face. “Logan would know if that’s my name. I must find Logan.”

Obadiah turned and once more headed in the direction of the only light in the distance. The glow belonged to a house. Obadiah walked past a metal box with writing that said, “C. Justyce.” He continued past the mailbox and stood in front of the blue wooden door. Obadiah raised his hand and knocked.

A woman opened the door, and her eyes went wide with shock. “Who are you? What do you want?”

Obadiah started to speak but became dizzy and fell to the ground. Obadiah looked up at the woman with pleading eyes just before he passed out. “Help me. I need to find Logan.”

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(Coming Soon: Episode 2 – Monsters and Heroes)