Tara Nichols and Keta Diablo, writing as *JOAQUIN*
, finaled in Stella Cameron’s prestigious Scarlet Boa contest with their PARANORMAL entry. Tara and I are thrilled to have placed in the final ten
among over 148
entries. Follow the progress of the contest. The voting will continue through October 31st and the winning entry will be read by an editor from MIRA publishing.
READ OUR WINNING ENTRY BELOW!
If you like it, PLEASE VOTE for us here before October 31st: VOTE FOR NO. 90 HERE
Click on the “VOTE” little white box below and cast your vote for ENTRY NUMBER 90.
Heartfelt thanks to all who voted for Fall of the Black Phoenix in the first round. We so appreciate it.
Namaste, Keta Diablo and Tara Nichols
Follow our blog for progress on our Angel/Demon
series. JOAQUIN'S REALM
* * *
Entry Number 90 - Finalist in Stella Cameron's Scarlet Boa Contest:
Fall of the Black Phoenix (tentative title)
Ayr stepped into the winter night as another clap of thunder split the air. Strange, he thought, looking up at star-filled sky. Deep in the heart of winter, a thin layer of frost clung to the hardwoods and pines, and rain-laden clouds loomed overhead, poised on the brink of unleashing a torrent upon his head.
Lifting his face to the sky, Ayr closed his eyes and willed his body to leave the ground. He rose up, his wings a transparent shimmer, a latent memory of what they were when he graced the heavens. In spite of his earthly presence, the celestial extensions never failed him. They had always served as a pseudo-conduit, opening his mind to the evil forces at work. From out of the dark came a roll of thunder, so loud it shook the stars.
A far-off shriek shattered his concentration, startling him. His powerful body careened left and for a moment threatened his symmetrical balance. Gathering his wits, he focused on the direction of the blood-curdling scream. The malevolent energy he'd sensed earlier seeped into his pores. He struggled to block out the interference and allowed his mind to lead him toward the ill-fated source.
Banking south, he cupped his wings, lowered his head and prepared to land. A barrier rose before him—an invisible barricade with the strength and force of impregnable armor. With steeled determination, he pushed onward and landed at the mouth of a wide, litter-riddled back alley.
The stench of refuse and blood spiraled up his nose and, something else― an intoxicating mixture of red patchouli and bold, pale musk.
The scent of a woman surely made in heaven.
Shadows shifted in the alley; one, a stunning beauty, the woman whose fragrance he'd devoured moments ago, and oh, God, the other, Lazarus, his young protégé. The warrior-woman held his limp body by the lapels of his jacket, her emerald eyes fixed on his bloodless face. His friend's eyes were open, the pupils rolled back in his head. The image reminded him of a scene from Night of the Living Dead.
Laz' chest rose and fell with shallow breaths, so miniscule a human would have thought him deceased.
Ayr knew he should do something . . . like kill the bitch, but why did his feet feel nailed to the cold ground?
Transfixed by some unknown force he watched as the woman covered Lazarus' mouth with hers. Ayr knew the act was not that of a wanton lover, nor did her actions spawn from a personal vendetta against Laz. Her cold eyes lacked lust or desire, discounting necrophilia. This was the work of a professional, a cold-hearted, highly skilled killer.
She lowered her mouth, covered his lips with hers and sucked in her cheeks. The magnificent green eyes closed and her chest heaved inward. A cold chill snaked down Ayr's spine, and not from the frosty air. With a sudden jerk of her neck, her head arched back and a trail of pale blue smoke spewed from her lips. Another shudder shook Ayr as he drew his gaze to Lazarus. The man's body convulsed and a garbled choke slipped from his throat. Like a sunflower caught up in an ice-storm his flaccid body sagged.
The woman released her hold on his jacket and Ayr waited for the sound of his body to hit the hard ground. He hadn't counted on what happened next. Laz' physical being turned to dust before his eyes; a handful of gray soot that blew away in a cold, bitter wind. The red-haired beauty watched the matter take flight then made the sign of the cross.
A jolt of lightning jerked Ayr from his trance-like state. “Soul Thief,” he whispered and prepared for battle.