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
The rhythmic droplets of water slowly unnerved Brandt. He was not having much luck navigating the catacombs. They were dark, as so many of the demonic realms of the spirit world were. Quietly, he pressed forward with each step a struggle not to slip and fall much less avoid sound.
Moving as a Sentry through the spirit world operated much like the mortal realm. Though some worlds allowed flight, or teleportation, or other odd non-physical traits to their characteristics, most simply resembled the mortal world. And even as such, they could act as a foil, forcing particular characteristics of their own to imprint briefly into the realm they were visiting.
The spirit world was a maze of billions of worlds. Each creature that ever lived created their own world upon death. Some were no bigger than a small closet. Others would boggle the mortal mind to their expanse.
Spirits could navigate to and from various open worlds as well as the ones they created or those they were welcomed to. A Sentry had the ability to go anywhere they chose.
Brandt stepped over bones that littered the ground. Dirt and mud half concealed many of them so that despite the careful effort he placed in moving through the narrow walls, crunching and cracking echoed louder than he wished. Enough sounds could easily alert the demons inhabiting this world to his presence.
The air he breathed was thick and laden with water. Drowning was at the forefront of his mind. At least it felt as though he would. He knew that it was much more psychic than physical here. Even the walls and ceilings felt like a wet sponge as he slid his fingers along loosening pockets of mud that slid down to the ground.
His assignment to this realm came shortly after he concluded Agnes’ lesson. Timing was a bit of a surprise to him, although he was beginning to get used to the increased frequency.
This particular one involved a world that was bleeding over into the mortal world. Events like that happened sometimes by accident and sometimes by design. Brandt’s mission was to determine the cause and eliminate it regardless.
Some spirits had an innate habit of being able to create these rifts between the barriers of the worlds. It could happen in small, sporadic pockets and then seal up again. Generally, such events were ignored as passage between the realms was brief and never sustainable. Many are explained best as supernatural sightings by mortals who might encounter them. Others were malicious, or could be used as such despite any potential benevolence of the rift’s creator. If possible, the Sentry was sent in to remove the ability from the spirit causing the disruption.
Were they unable, the soul was to be destroyed.
Judging from the environment that he was encountering, Brandt understood the spirit involved to be likely hostile. Any world created by a soul that was generally content in life bore features that would suggest it as such. A lot of light was a frequent and easy indicator.
Dungeons were not exactly anyone’s idea of a happy residence, although he had to admit that there were always exceptions.
He gripped one of the walls tightly as his footing became loose. He was able to steady himself. He cursed under his breath. Already he hated this world. Trying to navigate it was damned taxing and he had been at it for what felt like days trying to pick out clues as to where the creator would be found. Eventually he had stumbled upon this passage, the only one that had been littered with bones from various creatures. It was the first solid clue as to where whatever lived in this area probably preferred to inhabit.
Closing his eyes tightly, he tried to sense where his target. Nothing. It was still too difficult to figure out where this thing was. He did however begin to feel the flow of energies between the worlds. That was where he needed to go first it seemed. Then perhaps the creature would make it easy and seek him out.
Each step forward through the narrow halls of the catacomb-like realm grew his senses grew more aware of what was around him. It was usual for a rift to cause it. Sentries in particular were able to pull energies through from the mortal realm making their senses more acute when they came close to the breaks.
Bones crunched, but Brandt held little regard to the noise that they caused any longer. There was scarcely a place to put his feet that did not have bone fragments. He looked down to get a closer look at what they are. In one particular view, he spotted what appeared was the skeleton of a small child. Most of what was around was intermingled in such manners that they could not be clearly identified as much of anything. He wondered the significance of this.
A few feet ahead and the corridor split two ways. He cautiously snuck up to the break and caught a glimpse of something large moving through. Cautiously he unsheathed his estoc and knelt down. His breathing increased as adrenaline surged through his body.
Scrapes came from the side as whatever was there was digging around through the bony matter there. Cracks echoed and the hollow sound of bone hitting against rock also sounded. Soon there was the keen mist of an odor that travelled across Brandt’s nose. It was wet with blood and stool wrinkling his nose. He wanted to gag, but he stifled it to his best ability.
He leaned forward trying to see around the corner. It was dark. Only the outline of the strange creature was there. He couldn’t be sure whether this was the spirit that he was seeking or if this was just a random demon that sometimes inhabited the darker realms feeding off of whatever energies they could gather.
Demons acted much like viruses in the spirit realm. They fed off of any world that they could attach themselves to. They didn’t need the spirit to survive nor the energies that they produced. Most spirits never realize that a demon latches onto their reality. Demons prefer to hide if possible as many are not strong enough to cause significant harm. Strong demons, such as a fire demon, tried to move like a vagabond of sorts from world to world within the spirit realm siphoning energies as they moved along. Behaving as such was taxing, but it allowed them to still grow without being easily caught by any of the forces that would expel or kill them.
Brandt squinted, trying to get his eyes to focus. The creature was incredibly large despite the narrow aisles that they both occupied. It would make defending himself against the creature easy were he to have to. Depending on what it was though, such things would not protect him very well.
More crunching echoed through the halls of the dungeon. He leaned further trying to absorb as much light as possible to determine what exactly the creature was. If it was the wrong thing, charging out in a straight forward manner would prove fatal.
The stench continued to fight past his restraint. It was a desperate attempt for him to not acknowledge the power of it.
Over a few minutes, his eyes seemed to adjust better, or there was a little more light. Could he force enough light without alerting the spirit to him being there in their world?
Leaning back would allow him to focus a little better. He closed his eyes and gently allowed his power to manipulate the world surrounding him. It was a difficult task. Although able to do so to some extent, the effort was exhausting. Also, if not done with absolute restraint and focus could disrupt the world, and in this case, would set Brandt’s goals backwards.
But with that creature in the way, and not knowing what it was, there was no other choice but to try.
Breathing became very slow, deep, and rhythmic. As minutes past, with each exhale of air the accompanied an almost inexplicably small increase in the light around him. He only needed a small amount, and at the rate he was trying to manipulate it, it would still take some time.
Impatiently, Brandt stopped the manipulation. He wasn’t sure whether impatience was truly the reason for stopping or if it was the fear that accompanied the task.
He opened his eyes and looked around. It was a little brighter, at least near him. Hopefully the effect of the effort passed not only himself, but around the creature he was trying to see.
There had been no change in the noise or smell, so he knew that it had to still be there. As he leaned forward, but as he did, he did not like what he saw.
It was an Ammit.
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.