Note: I will be posting a chapter from The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle each day until the book has been fully posted. I am doing this as a way to entertain those who have been coping with the new life of social distancing, social isolation, and quarantine in the world right now in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once complete, I will hold the book on in full on my site until 1/1/2021. On that day, it’ll no longer be accessible for free.
I ask people to share links freely while the book is available, but please do not copy or do anything else without expressed permission from me, the copyright holder.
If you would like to skip ahead, you are always welcome to purchase a copy, just click the link HERE (or click up top at the menu bar) to go to the book’s page where there are links to where it is available in both print and ebook. Enjoy and I hope that you and your family are doing well!
The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle
by Jeremy C Kester
(c) Jeremy C Kester – All Rights Reserved
(If you need to go back to Chapter 1 first, click HERE)
Safiya looked up from the book she was reading. Her eyes had grown sore and she needed to look away. They were the only visible part of her body besides her hands. She was clothed in a simple, black hijab and chãdar. Though she did not ascribe to the standard teachings of Islam, it was the faith of her father. And she felt it better to hide her identity from those who might seek to harm her.
The last year had been rough returning to Syria and losing the sense of freedom that she had when training under the Pyle’s. Mostly during the day she was living in hiding along with others like her trying not to interfere with any of the affairs of the mortals surrounding them.
Noises were erupting from outside. Obviously the jihadists had found yet another person to direct their anger at. There were too many of them around anymore which only reinforced her need to remain as inconspicuous as possible. Having a book on her lap would not be acceptable by these people, but she was not worried at the moment. She believed herself well hidden. All of them were well hidden.
Though Sentries were forced to live within the world next to the crazy, unpredictable nature of mortals, they oft never abided by those rules other than to simply remain out of the way. Safiya could easily trounce any individual willing to do her harm. She did not want the trouble. Defending herself meant drawing attention to her kind.
She cursed her position for the moment. Although she loved the country that she had come from, returning to it to defend the Barrier during such a troubled time was not in her plans. Too much violence had come in recent years. Violence was not her way.
Most days she sat with her face buried in books trying to distract herself from what was going on outside. When she did go out, it was for the missions and only then.
The sounds coming from the street appeared to be moving away from her as a young man, her pretend husband, came into the room. “They caught another,” he said dismissively as he peered cautiously out of the window.
Safiya sighed and flipped a page of her book running her fingers along the edge of the page. “They try too hard. If they only knew…”
“That they are foolish in thinking their actions are of Allah’s wish?”
“No.” A slight smile curled up on the corner of her mouth. She regretted that he couldn’t see it although it made it easier for her to surprise him with the words. “That there are no virgins waiting where they are going.”
Majd was an imposing figure at a few inches above 6 feet tall with shoulders that could be mistaken to be just as wide. His body rippled with muscles that struggled to be contained in the tight fitting t-shirts he wore. He insisted that his figure best suited him by intimidating any who would consider challenging him. So far it had worked. Not a soul in the mortal realm wanted to trade off any violence with him.
Safiya liked his eyes. That was what she loved to see. His eyes. Counter to his rippling body, they showed the gentle man that he was. They glistened when they heard her words and his white teeth gleamed as he smiled.
“Mortal beliefs can be foolish, indeed,” he said thoughtfully, bemused by his figurative wife.
He watched her expecting another phrase to pass the fabric of her veil. Nothing came. The girl’s eyes had resumed their careful examination of the words lined within the pages of the book. It wasn’t a spectacular book, but she was enjoying the distraction nonetheless. It seemed as though she needed that more than anything else now. So much was going on in both realms. Rumors were that the Sentries were being hunted down and eliminated, their souls not appearing in the other realms. Meanwhile, at least where she was, rebellions and religious skirmishes were constantly the norm. Had Safiya decided to pay close attention to any of it, she would be driven mad with anger and worry.
The worry was the more difficult to fathom. They were disappearing entirely? The thought interrupted her story in much the same way as the noise as the noise had.
It was normal after a Sentry died that their soul would be found in the spirit realm much like any other life. It made the loss of life easier to manage. It certainly eased the fears of any of her kind. Who would fight a demon if they were not sure that they would survive beyond the mortal realm? Living in the spirit realm was a welcoming thought in most cases. Their powers were no longer able to be used nor were they ever capable of reaching back to the realm of the living.
Living, she thought. It was such an overstatement of the people that she encountered, Safiya mused. Her eyes looked up again to see that Majd had settled onto a seat that he had moved nearer to the window.
“It will only be a matter of time before they find us here,” she said.
Majd breathed in deeply before pressing his lips together. He faced her. “I am not so worried for them,” he said calmly. “I am worried for us.”
“They are only rumors, are the not?”
Majd looked down as though he were hiding something from the young sentry. His eyes averted hers and he licked his lips nervously. It became obvious that his reason for coming into the room, for interrupting her reading, had little to do with rebellious religious fanatics.
“They are rumors, true?” Safiya placed a mark into the book holding her page and left it to fall down to the side. She stood and approached the young man near the window. She pulled down the veil on her hijab so that Majd could see the earnest on her face. “Why won’t you just say so? Are they true, Majd? Are the rumors true?”
Prior to that very moment she had not understood her concern. Before now it was just a rumor that echoed through those of her kind. Nothing of them ever pointed out to be fact. Just a rumor. Easy to dismiss. Had they been true, she would be sure that it would have received by all active sentries. If anything, such an alert would ensure that they were more careful about their missions. Was it not possible that knowing would help them to find what is causing such a disturbance?
Majd tried not to look directly at her. He was visibly upset in his own right. She could see it.
“They have been fallen, Safiya,” he said quietly. “They are no longer here.”
“Who?!” she urged.
“The Pyle’s are gone.”
Safiya felt her strength give way.
If you would like to skip ahead, you are always welcome to purchase a copy, just click the link HERE (or click up top at the menu bar) to go to the book’s page where there are links to where it is available in both print and ebook.