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
Ammits were not a demon that Brandt was willing to fight. The soul eaters were horrifyingly strong. They looked like giant hippo crossed with a lion only with the head of a crocodile. Much like it appeared to be doing in the world Brandt was in, it feasted on the energy of a soul consuming it entirely.
Taking the beast head-on now would mean his death. He was sure of it. These creatures’ flesh was thick and difficult to penetrate even with the sharpest of blades.
Brandt’s best option was to wait it out and hope that the beast stays its course away from him.
Ammits were well known back in Egyptian culture where they were given that rightful name. A dangerous rift had occurred early in the civilization that unleashed one of the vile creatures out into the world. The Sentries of the time struggled to contain it. Many fell, their souls becoming fodder for the beast.
Thousands fell. Every soul consumed only served to enliven the creature and increased the veracity of its hunger. They could feed endlessly and become a god were they permitted to feast unrestrained.
It took some time before the Sentries of the time were able to choke it out of food by luring it away from any significant population. Sealing off the rift that it entered through also aided the effort.
It took nearly a year to finally weaken the beast enough that they were able to vanquish it. In that time though, the Egyptians found it a target of worship believing that it was their ignorance of it that led it there to kill them. The Ammit became somewhat of an evil deity guarding the darker realms.
Brandt looked at his sword with a sense of inadequacy. His blade would not suffice in even wounding the it. His best choice was avoiding it and sealing the rift without conflict. He knew that for sure.
He crept up to the edge careful not to disturb any of the bones. Each step that he would make would require a painstaking effort to shift the blasted things out of his was so that he could place his weight down to move on more without making a sound. The ability to fly or hover would have been a wonderful option, although the traits of this world didn’t allow for it.
Two things that he had to be thankful for were that these creatures had a lousy sense of smell and generally did not respond readily to minor sounds. Were he to trip and slam into the ground, the creature would respond. Shuffling a few pieces of debris around wouldn’t bother it.
Frustrated, he shook his head. Another delay was not what he wanted. Now he was wishing that he hadn’t left Cadence behind to watch over Agnes. Not having a custodian to watch the girl would have been very risky and he knew that. It was why the decision to take on more missions completely on his own. Having a partner could have given him an edge in defeating the Ammit without as much effort. Especially if his partner was as skilled as Cadence was with the sword… and her sword was strong enough without any question.
A few steps passed without incident before he heard a few huffs and the creature began to move around. The noise was loud as the large beast spread bones and dirt slamming them against the crumbling walls of the catacombs. Brandt looked on in fear, the pace of his heart nearly exploding from his chest. If he was seen, it was not going to be easy to survive.
Suddenly realizing that the noise was going to mask his escape, he ran forward. He couldn’t hear his own steps in the chaos. He took a swift dive near the end. His body slammed against the remains. He felt a flash of hot fluid on his face. Even in the spirit world, he could be injured in ways that mirrored the physical world. Blood meant that he was losing life force. It left him with waning strength. It was mild, probably unnoticeable. Depending on the demon around, such as an Ammit, blood would attract them.
Blood would attract an Ammit. Brandt’s thoughts lit up. Shit, he thought. Why did he take that dive at the end? Why couldn’t he have thought this out?
There was a sudden roar as the walls of the catacombs shook, soggy dirt slopping down from all around him. He stumbled trying to stand himself back up. He needed to be ready to run, but the shaking of everything around him was making it hard to stand. Instead, he scrambled on his hands and knees. The sword wasn’t easy to drag along. He turned his head to see where the beast was. Just the tip of the animal’s snout was peaking from around the corner. Teeth shone a disturbing brilliant white. The jaws began snapping in a rhythm of delighted expectation. There was a fresh soul nearby. And assuredly these demons had the ability to determine that the soul in question was one of a higher quality than some of the others it would find.
Another jolt forward and heregained having his legs underneath him. He spun around, his estoc eerily reflecting the bones surrounding him. It was still light enough from his efforts to see all that he didn’t want to see.
What am I thinking? I cannot beat this thing. His thoughts were alight with worry. A moment passed by and he realized that worrying wasn’t going to give him any chances of beating or evading the creature. He needed to calm his thoughts. He needed to run.
Bones continued to hamper each step as he took off into a sprint. It was an honest effort. Not much distance was put between him and the Ammit before the creature spotted him.
Another roar and the beast lumbered in pursuit.
He had forgotten that these monsters weren’t incredibly fast. But neither was he in this mess of a world.
He came to a turn and took it into an area that wasn’t as laden with bones as some of the other areas. The dweller of this world left these passages alone for whatever reason. It was an area that was just created for the sake of being created.
Slush and grime made this area slippery again. It slowed his run only some. A roar was let out from the demon as it slammed into the corner of the turn. Still moving forward, he took a brief moment to turn his head and see if the creature was still on the scent of blood.
Damn. The creature lost only a mere moment of time. A large cavern was carved out of the corner where the impact was. It must have used the wall as a way to better turn itself. He wouldn’t be winning this race. He needed to figure out a way to wound the demon and slow it down. Otherwise he would be the one that would lose energy quickly. Food was on his mind. He was going to be food.
Ammits were unusually large for the pieces of animals that it resembled. Only a hippopotamus was near to the size of this demon, but lions and crocodiles were normally much smaller. Seeing these parts on a much larger scale was a bit unnerving. The green, scaly flesh covered a head shaped like a crocodile that was the size of the front end of a truck. The eyes were situated on the sides of the snout but were shifted slightly forward. As the skull ended, a dirty, golden fur started as the shoulders and front legs resembled a lion as if it were from the perspective of a small child. The forelimbs were limber and cat-like with thick claws sticking out from each toe. Shortly after the shoulders end the fur shifted to a dull gray leathery flesh leading into the huge hind quarters of the hippo.
The creature lumbered high off of the ground.
The idea flashed across his mind. It was a long shot that it would work. No choice was available to him otherwise.
He turned quickly. His body lurched as he fought sliding over to the side. He ran towards the animal trying to entice the beast to keep its jaws aiming high. The demon’s eyes burned a bright orange as it bore down on him. The jaws snapped repeatedly. Just as the two came within reach, Brandt feigned jumping high to draw the demon’s snap up. Then as he was clear he dropped immediately down drawing his estoc up high letting the blade drag against the bottom of the jaw. With as much effort as he could manage he focused his energy into his sword.
Blood began to spray at him as the limbs each passed by him. He felt time slow as he watched each foot narrowly pass by his body crushing into the ground missing flattening him.
When the demon finished passing him it stumbled.
The ground shook violently as the demon fell. Brandt stood panting. His throat was hoarse from the immense level of energy that he spent. If that attack wasn’t effective, he doubted that he would be able to face it head on. He certainly wouldn’t be able to pull off the same maneuver that he just executed.
Instead, he leapt onto the back of the beast and jammed his sword into its back. It roared again as the blade sunk only a few inches into flesh. He then closed his eyes and focused to find the demon’s soul. His intention was to end the demon even if it killed him.
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.