The Reluctant Demon Diaries
BY LINDA RIOS BROOK
The King Chapter 1
Help me. Somebody help me. They’re climbing up the side.”
“I’m coming, Ham. Hold on, I’m coming.” Noah struggled to stay erect against the howling wind and pounding rain that threatened to beat him down to the deck. Fighting against a storm he never could have imagined, he made his way across the slippery deck to reach his son. Ham screamed, swinging his club against the thing trying to climb onto the boat.
Don’t let them get him, God, please.
The anguished screams of the people in the rising floodwater were more than Noah could bear. Some called him by name, begging and cursing him as they flailed about in the swirling water. At last he reached his son. Ham threw down his rod, covered his ears with his hands, and closed his eyes as if doing so could shut out the pleas coming from the drowning people. “
“Help us! Noah, you can’t leave us here.”
“You can’t just let us drown. You know us.”
Noah took his son’s arm to calm him, but Ham jerked it away and berated his father.
“Listen to them. Is this what God told you to do? Let your neighbors drown?” The boat lunged violently and threw him forward. He grabbed hold of his father’s shoulders to keep from falling.
“Listen to them cursing you— cursing me; it’s not my fault. I’m not to blame.”
The cries from the water became more desperate.
“Have mercy for God’s sake, we’re human beings.”
Ham let go of his father and grabbed hold of the banister as he railed at the people in the water.
“No, you’re not! You’re not human; you’re mutants. You deserve to drown.”
Father and son watched in horror as the people began to disappear under the black water. The wind grew stronger, the waves higher, and the boat rocked from side to side. Ham couldn’t hold back the nausea from the dizzying pitch of the boat. He struggled to keep his balance with one hand and clutched his stomach with the other.
“Aaagh, I can’t take any more.” He bent over the rail and retched.
He was always the weak one; nothing like his brothers. Noah dropped his weapon to stable his son.
“It’s all right, I’ve got you. I won’t let you fall over.”
By the time Noah saw the grotesque face no more than an arm’s length away from his son’s head, it was too late. He strained to drag Ham back to safety as the giant pulled himself out of the water and tried to board the boat where Ham leaned over. The half-breed human seized Ham by the hair and jerked him from his father’s grip, drawing him down toward the roiling water. Noah went down to his knees, frantically searching search for the club he’d dropped.
“Let me go!” Ham writhed in pain and tried to free himself from the massive hand that held him.
Noah found his weapon and pounded the distorted face of the creature.
“Drop him; I’ll kill you if I have to.” Ramming the end of his club into the creature’s eye, Noah cried out for his other sons. “Shem, Japheth, help me! They’ve got Ham.”
Shem was fighting his own battle against another intruder on the other side of the boat when he heard his father’s cries for help. He swung his club like a sledgehammer and pounded the six-fingered hand of the monster holding tightly to the bow. The hybrid being yelped in pain, lost his grip, and tumbled into the water. Shem steadied himself then raced to help his father.
“I’m coming. Hold on.”
With the fervor of a man half his age, Noah rammed his rugged club again into the face and eyes of the giant until it shrieked in pain and released its grip on his son and fell back into the black water. Terrified and exhausted Ham collapsed on the deck. Shem moved his father to the side and bent down to help his brother to his feet.
“You must get up. They’re coming; can you stand?”
A sudden jolt, the boat reeled, and the wind blew open a door leading to a lower deck where dozens of terrified animals were crowded into stalls. The bellows of the frightened animals mingled with the human cries until they blended into one mournful wail as the waves battered the Ark.
“Are you alright? Can you take care of him?” Shem asked his father. “I’ve got to help Japheth before the animals get out.”
“Go, go! We’ll be all right.” Noah waved Shem on as he took his trembling son in his arms. Why doesn’t he have the courage of his brothers?
Maybe I’ve been too soft on him. If the animals get out, it’s all been for nothing. Noah dragged Ham close into the wall of the cabin and set him down.
“Stay here. You’ll be safe.”
“Don’t leave me.”
“I have to help your brothers.”
Noah set out after Shem, but in his confusion he turned toward the opposite end of the boat.
Shem reached Japheth’s side and together they thrust all their weight against the heaving door.
“The animals are stampeding,” Japheth said, “we can’t hold them.”
“We have to keep them in.”
Shem summoned all his strength and with one mighty thrust managed to slide the locking rod across the door to constrain the bellowing cargo inside. In the struggle to secure the animals, neither brother saw another giant pull himself over the rail and onto the deck.
“Get out of my way,” the beast threatened. He pushed the brothers to the side then yanked on the barred door and tired to crawl inside to hide with the animals.
“Keep him out!” Shem yelled.
Together they grabbed his bulging legs and pulled him face down away from the door toward the center of the boat. He cursed them and thrashed from side to side.
“We’ve got to get him back into the water.” Japheth cried out.
“Are you mad? We can’t lift him!”
“We have to do it; don’t let him turn over.”
With all their might the brothers fought to subdue the monster, but he overpowered them. With his super human strength he threw Shem into a wall and trampled Japheth to the floor. Just then, still disoriented and weak, Ham stumbled toward his brothers.
“Shem? Japheth, where are you?” The fog and darkening night made it impossible to see more than a few feet.
“Oh, please, no, “Japheth moaned under his breath. “How did he get over here?”
“I don’t know. I left him with father. Ham, go back. Run.” But the warning was too late. The giant lunged for Ham and caught him by the neck.
“Got you, pretty boy.”
With one enormous hand over his face, he dragged him backwards, pressing Ham’s head into his heaving chest as he tightened his fingers around his throat.
“Let him go!” Japheth struggled to his feet then collapsed on his broken leg.
Out of the fog, with the eyes of a madman, Noah charged toward the monster.
I should never have taken my eyes off him.
“Father, look out!” Shem cried. “Over there, another one!”
Noah spun around and saw the six-fingered hands of another beast hanging from the railing, struggling to climb aboard.
“Let go before I kill you!”
With a powerful blow, Noah shattered the giant’s knuckles. Swearing vehemently, he fell back into the murky water.
“Can’t breathe, help me,” Ham moaned, losing consciousness.
“I’m coming, Ham, don’t give up.”
Noah raced toward his son’s captor, his club raised to strike him, but stopped short when the monster lifted Ham by the throat and dangled him above the deck.
“I wouldn’t try it, Noah.”
Noah’s heart stopped when he recognized the voice and saw the blue face of his oxygen-deprived son. He’s going to kill him.
“You,” Noah’s voice was barely a whisper. “I thought you were dead.”
“Oh, but I’m not.” The monster mockingly kissed the top of Ham’s head and licked his lips.
“Let him go, Og. He can’t breathe.”
“That would be a shame; he would be so … scrumptious.” Lustful laughter rumbled from the beast’s throat as desperation and fear welled up in Noah. I can’t let him kill him; he’s my son.
“Let him go; drop him now. I’ll do whatever you want.”
“Give me shelter, Noah.”
Terrified for his son’s life, Noah lowered his club and looked anxiously from Ham’s captor to his other sons—injured and unable to fight.
“What about them?”
“I care nothing for them—or you.”
The screams of the drowning people continued to sound over the crashing waves.
“And them?” Noah asked. “Will you try to help them?”
“Let them drown. Deal?”
What kind of father would let his son be killed?
Noah nodded then jumped forward to catch Ham’s limp body as the Nephilim king dropped him to the floor and lumbered toward the door of the boat’s cabin.
“Hide in the rafters,” Noah said. “No one must know you’ve survived.”
Daylight was fading in Jerusalem as Samantha Yale sat at her professor’s desk intently watching her Blackberry as if she expected it might speak to her.
Maybe I can will it to ring.
Across the room sat an unpacked UPS box—unpacked except for the one scroll she had unrolled then left on her conference table. Shrugging the fatigue from her shoulders, she took a break from staring at the phone and picked up the scroll one more time. With a disdainful look she dropped it again.
Forgeries. Does he think he can fool me? She rubbed her temples as if by doing so she could telepathically summon some far away person.
Call me, you seriously disturbed man. Wonk Eman, call me this minute.
As if on cue, the Blackberry vibrated to announce a caller.
It’s him. She picked up the phone without checking the caller ID.
“Wonk is that you?” Touching the mute button she held the phone out and looked for the caller name. ID blocked.
We’ve got no time to play games, my friend. Taking a slow breath, she turned off mute and changed her tone of voice to one less threatening.
“Wonk, are you there?”
“No,” a man’s voice answered. “It’s Jonathan Marks.”
“Dr. Marks, what a surprise. I apologize. I don’t usually answer the phone in that manner.”
How did he get this number?
“Perhaps I’m the one who should apologize for calling on your personal cell. I had some difficulty getting through the university’s call center and felt I should try to reach you right away.”
“It happens frequently—perils of an outdated system.” She cleared her throat. “I don’t recall giving you this number, but never mind, how can I help you, Dr. Marks?”
“Perhaps, I can help you—concerning the scrolls you called me about previously. I may have some important information for you, if you’re still interested.”
“Are you aware that the scrolls may be stolen property?”
“Certainly, not. Why would you ask such a thing?”
“I had a visit this morning from a man named Anak Rapha. Does that name mean anything to you?”
“He claims to be the curator for the Institute of Egyptology in Cairo. He told me he was looking for relics stolen from the institute—a set of scrolls written in cuneiform.”
“I see.” She picked up the discarded scroll and held it over her desk lamp as if giving it one more chance to be authentic. “Why do you think he contacted you?”
“Why did you?”
“Touché. I suppose I’m not the only one who knows about your work.”
“He said my reputation as a specialist in religious relics made me the needed expert for validation that whoever stole them will have to sell them on the black market. If the perpetrators hadn’t contacted me yet, he felt certain they would.”
“What else did he say?”
“He said the scrolls were given to the institute by a patron who wished to remain anonymous. Upon hearing of their disappearance, the patron is willing to pay a large reward— no questions asked— for their return.”
“I see. How did you answer?”
“I said I didn’t know anything about it, but if I were to be contacted, I would let him know. In other words, I lied, something I’m not comfortable doing.”
Samantha slowly exhaled the breath she’d been holding for the past minute. “Thank you, Dr. Marks.”
“It’s Jonathan. I just implicated myself in a possible international felony for you, we should at least be on a first name basis, Samantha.”
“Right— and it’s Sam if you like.”
“What say you, Sam? Are they stolen?”
“I don’t know. I was sure they weren’t, but now—” she looked at the UPS box—“now I’m not as certain.”
“That’s not comforting; try again.”
“I assure you I’ll find out, but first I have to find the man who brought them to me, which I fear will be no small task. You may remember I told you he was … odd.”
“Right, the man with no address, no e-mail, no phone. Are you sure he exists?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be flip. How can I help?”
“Pray for me.”
“I don’t pray. I’ll wait until you contact me. Ciao, Sam.”
Donning her raincoat, she dropped the Blackberry in her pocket, carefully opened her door and peered out to make certain no late visitors lurked in the hallway. Satisfied she was alone on the floor, she walked down the deserted corridor of the University of Jerusalem and stepped out into the evening fog.
Where are you, Wonk Eman? Wherever you are, you better pray I find you first.
END of The First Chapter of "The King"