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Literary Criticism

First Page: One Woman’s War

First Page: One Woman’s War

Welcome to First Page Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously. You can submit your own First Page using this form.

“Damn it.” Kerri hit the button to call the elevator to take her down from this personal hell. Continuing to mutter under her breath, she glanced back at the door she’d just slammed behind her, leaving her former lover angry but safe from her past.

“What was I thinking? I know better than to get that close to a human.”

She stomped onto the elevator. The two people there drew back into their respective corners. Kerri just shook her head. Giving away feelings showed weakness. Never give away anything other than anger. That came easy and it came free.

She knew she’d been hard on Mick, but she couldn’t afford to let anyone love her. Not with her family ties—it was a sure recipe for his death. The one time she’d forgotten that rule had resulted in a headstone – a permanent reminder every time she thought she might love again. Not to mention her exile status.

She’d carried a photo of that headstone for years. Exiting the elevator on the parking level, she swung into her old brown Jeep Wrangler and threw her bag in the back. Her cell phone slid out of the bag and across the backseat. The blinking light indicated a message. Grabbing the electronic leash, she hit the buttons to retrieve the message.

“Perfect.” Hitting a button to delete the message she flipped the phone shut then tossed it into the holder. Reaching forward, Kerri cranked up the radio. She hit the highway five miles over the posted limit with her foot jamming down the accelerator. Time to go to work.

Cars fell out of her way as she wove her way down the interstate. Ray Charles remembered “Georgia On My Mind” on her stereo. This wasn’t Georgia by a long shot, but then again, home was in her distant past. Denver came in a poor second to Olympus but at least it had mountains.

Kerri grimaced. Her mother and sisters didn’t live in Georgia exactly, but that’s where her resume said she was from. No one would ever believe that her family lived in caves on Mount Olympus. Once she’d thought that the best place to be—until her mother had let the old fart throw her out.

Of course her mother had argued like a lawyer that Kerri had brought Zeus’s wrath down on her own head. Her sisters had wheedled information about where she’d been and they’d gone straight to Mom. Kerri had raged against her family but in the end knew she could only blame herself for her exile and Charlie’s death. At least Zeus had relented enough to let her visit once a year after a ten year ‘no contact’ ban. Of course her mother and sisters had skirted around that stupid proclamation by mirror visits, but she’d missed the physical contact with her siblings.

She sighed. Her knack for pissing off powerful people was not a track record she was proud of.
I’d apologize again, Zeusy, if I thought it would get me anywhere. You just want me to go back to work for you and I’ll be gods damned if I let you make me a soldier in your war on mankind. I’ve grown fond of the mortals.

Shit. Her sisters didn’t seem to have any problems with Zeus’s agenda. Then again when you had sisters whose names meant Quick Painful Death, Mist of Death, Disease and Hateful, what did you expect? In a way it was almost a relief to be the one whose name meant destruction. She shook off the old pain of missing her sibs. No time for this. Her monthly check-in wasn’t for another week so she’d have to suck it up for now.

First Page: Awakening

First Page: Awakening

Welcome to First Page Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously. You can submit your own First Page using this form.

A wave of powerful supernatural energy washed over Charouth as she navigated the depths of an abandoned subway tunnel. Decades ago the E train sped along these tracks ferrying passengers during rush hour. Now it all lay in ruins. Graffiti several layers thick covered the walls. Support beams, stripped of their paint jobs and coated in rust hardly looked strong enough to hang a hat on much less keep a ceiling up. Wooden and cement rubble crunched under her heavy boots as she traveled farther away from the point of entry. She glanced behind her. A weak emergency bulb shed meager light on the six mortals making their way down the treacherous steps onto the platform. They needed to hurry. The rotten scent of a not so fresh corpse hit her. Ugh. Gross. This kind of work was so far below her rank.

“Hurry up guys,” she called to the struggling humans. “Dinner party’s almost over.”

She reached the point where the tunnel began a sharp curve. The heavy grunts and footfalls of the humans stopped right behind her. Charouth didn’t need to see what lay ahead. The familiar slurping and gnawing sounds of demonic creatures feeding gave her all the information she needed. These guys were nasty, but didn’t have enough power to keep that piss poor emergency lightbulb going. Something worse awaited them.

“Take this.” The leader of the humans crept up behind her and tried to slip a gun into her hand.

“No thank you. I have my own weapon.” Cool white light pierced the darkness as a sword of pure celestial flame formed in her hand. The energetic flames licked around her hand and wrist yet she remained unharmed. The weapon was as much as part of her as her blood. She held the sword up higher and frowned. The flames usually burned brighter. Still not one hundred percent then. No worries. She still had enough power to get the job done.

“You sure you’re strong enough for this?”

“Of course, Jack. These flesh eaters will be a piece of cake.”

“You could barely move yesterday.”

“I’m fine now. Don’t worry.”

Poor Jack. He didn’t know the half of it. How could he? He was just a man. A man who’d witnessed an angel crash land in his backyard a week ago. Luck would have it that Jack was a member of the Order, a select group of humans who served as Heaven’s earthly exterminators. In exchange for his hospitality while she healed, Charouth agreed to help Jack and his merry band of men on their next hunt. Better to get this debt settled sooner rather than later. Gods Above and Below how embarrassing. Owing a human a favor. If the other angels found out there’d be no end to the mockery.