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
It was too quiet. Since sending Aamil back up with a wounded ego there was no activity. It was unusual. Or at least the pair suspected it that it was unusual. With so many animals they expected there to be someone coming down to care for them.
It had been hours since the incident of the man trying to steal from them. They did not follow him to confront the captain about the matter. Majd had argued that they should have done so, but Safiya reasoned that such a move would have put them in a bad situation. Accusing a member of the captain’s crew of something would not have fared well. Such an act would have forced the captain to act. It would have been more likely that they would then turn on both of them and back his crew to maintain order in his ranks.
And as they both appeared to be travelling to escape detection from someone, the captain could easily choose to rid himself of the added cargo and carry on his way. The murder of a pair of unknowns would not raise an eyebrow. They were carrying illegal cargo anyway after all.
Eventually there was a man that came down to the hold carrying several containers of water. He placed the water down and then proceeded to repeat the process over and over.
“I guess we were wrong,” Majd said. The pair looked at each other. They resumed lounging lazily around, the waves lulling them back into a trance. Safiya opened her book. She had been fighting to read it for some time, but reading in a vehicle, even a boat, never treated her kindly.
They continued to hear the repeated efforts of the man bringing down the water containers.
It wasn’t but for a few moments that Safiya noticed that the animals were becoming restless. Monkeys screeched loud as other animals became active in their cages. There was a sense of fear that rushed through the hold and slammed against her as she had never experienced.
Majd had felt it too. “Something is not right,” he said in a whisper drawing his scimitar out.
She followed quickly and unsheathed her gladius with one hand and gripped one of her axes with the other.
It was at that moment that they both heard the splashing water. It sounded unnatural. A shiver ran down Safiya’s spine. She was sure that she knew what was coming: water demons.
From the size of the containers that the man brought down, they were smaller demons. In the spirit realm, a single water demon can encompass the size of an entire lake. The problem with these demons was not that they were strong, but rather they were unable to be cut. Every strike with a weapon was absorbed as easily as dipping a blade into water.
And they were deadly to mortals. Most often a water demon killed through drowning. The creatures forced their way into a person’s mouth or through their nose and they inundated the lungs until the person was dead. It was a horrible death as it could not be expelled as easily as if it were simply water without the ability to think and attack.
The splashing sounds of the demons’ movements began to surround them. The man that had brought down the container could not be seen. Safiya knew now that this had been a ruse, that somehow their movements had been tracked and that whoever was hunting them down had decided it best to harm them now.
“We must leave,” Majd said, his voice was stern and unmoving.
“They will kill us for sure,” Safiya added without considering his instruction. “How can we kill water demons?”
“I am unsure. I have never faced them.”
One had leapt up splashing itself against Majd’s face without warning. He choked and sputtered trying to paw at the demon to get all of the water off of his face. He closed his mouth and eyes tightly while clamping down on his own nose before it could get itself into his lungs.
Towels! Safiya thought that towels should work. They may not be able to kill or even harm the demon to any great extent, but they should be able to at least slow them. She pulled two towels that she had in her bag and threw one of them on his face. The demon writhed, not as though it were in pain, but rather it did so in a manner that resembled being a dog unwillingly drug to the vet. Majd gasped, his air returning to him.
Another demon tried the same move but he was able to duck himself out of the way.
A third splashed up at Safiya. Instinctively she tried to use her sword to block the attack. There was a tin-sounding scream the came from the small demon. It fell to the ground as though it was normal water.
Did my sword just kill it? She looked at the blade thoughtfully. It glowing slightly before it faded back to its normal shine. She had never seen it before, but then again, she never looked at it while it hit anything. In the brief few moments that she had before more attacked, she stepped on the small puddle seeing if there was any life left in it. Nothing.
The sword had killed it! She had not considered the intrinsic trait of the sword itself. She seldom ever considered that part of the blade. She had always used the weapon as though any Sentry would use a weapon. The absorbing quality of the blade apparently had a deadly effect on water demons that none of the other weapon appeared to have.
To test the hypothesis, she spun her axe at the next one to come near her. As expected, the demon’s liquid body flowed easily around the blade of the axe and tried to soak through and then attack her face.
Majd reciprocated her gesture from moments before throwing her the spare towel.
“Thank you,” she said as she pulled the towel back down to her face. Throwing it to the ground she then stabbed it with her gladius. The small demon writhed and howled in the tinny sound of their screams. Like the one before it, no life remained in it.
“I think my sword can kill them,” she yelled at Majd as he snapped the towel at another that was near him.
He looked at her, a growing fear was on his face. “Mine cannot! There are too many of them to stop.”
She swung down at another that tried to splash at Majd with the same result. Majd stared at her, a look of astonished relief was crossing his face. “My axes don’t work either, but this does!” she said while lifting her blade.
There were dozens of the demons sliding around the floor surrounding them. Even with her sword, killing them all would be an immense struggle. They needed to run.
Majd picked up their bags effortlessly. “I have nothing else I can do but be our mule.”
“I will do my best to get them all out of our way!”
The pair moved as quickly as they could. Safiya slashed and stabbed at the small pockets of water charging at them. Another got itself onto Majd choking him out. He fortunately still had the towel and tried to use it to prevent from being drown. The move worked only enough to keep the demon in a spot that Safiya then spun around and stabbed through the towel. The same thing that happened did so again.
More and more came at them until they reached the stairs leading up to the deck. On the ground was the man that had been bringing the containers down. They had thought that he was the Sentry, but rather he was a mortal who was given the job to care for the animals falling victim to a bitter plot. Around his mouth was the glimmer of wet skin.
Safiya felt sorry for the man. Had he been Aamil, the feelings may not have been such. There were too many innocent people on the vessel. She was compelled to protect them.
Majd ran up the stairs first. He redrew his sword and took point from Safiya. She would be able to follow behind, backing up the stairs to protect them.
They quickly climbed and found the hatch unlocked. Behind it was another man lying on the ground. This man, unlike the man having been attacked by the water demons, had a stab would across the neck. A puddle of blood had formed underneath him.
There were Sentries aboard.
Safiya knew it before, but the new body showed her that it was true. But how did they know where they were? How did they find them? The fearful questions were dizzying.
“Come, we must keep moving,” he instructed as he began thundering down the corridor.
She took a moment to push the door closed behind them and latch it. It should protect them more and give them at least a little breath by not having pursuers. She thought she heard the sounds of water splashing against the door. Satisfied, she then took off after Majd.
Door after door they found bodies in various poses of death. Some were crumpled to the ground, some sat peacefully accepting their fate. Safiya’s breathing got heavier. Her nerves continued to falter. How many families were now without someone?
The halls to the ship were confusing to the both of them. Eventually they found the stairs to the deck. They climbed them with a little more caution.
When they reached the top, Majd threw open the door and stepped out. The sun beat down on them. They had not realized that as much time had passed since boarding the ship.
“Ah, they survived!” a cheerful, bright voice that they didn’t recognize greeted them as they got out onto the deck. “To be honest, I was a little surprised that you made it out. I expected the water demons to make you their own.”
Both sets of eyes focused on the man who spoke to them. He was tall, only an inch or so shorter than Majd. He was thin, handsome and darkly tanned. His hair was a silver streaked with black. His face and hair were perfectly groomed matching the fact that he was wearing a suit.
His accent was thick and was from somewhere that neither Majd nor Safiya could place other than South America perhaps. He was well built and stood with confidence. In his hand was an espadón, or Spanish long sword. Surrounding him were six other men and women, each with various bladed weapons.
“You are behind this?” Safiya hissed.
“That depends on what you classify as this, young lady,” he replied coolly. “If you are referring to this little venture, then yes, I am behind this little venture.”
“Why are you trying to kill us?” Majd demanded.
The man lifted his free hand to his chest and in a mocking tone replied, “I am hurt that you would believe that I am here to kill you. Well, that is truth, I am here to kill you, but you shouldn’t take it so personally. I am trying to kill all Sentries. If anything, you should feel the honor of not being left out.”
“That feels very personal!” she accused. “Why are you doing this?!”
“How could I not do this? I am trying to succeed for my master’s plan. Without Sentries to guard the barriers between the realms, then there would be nothing to stop us from taking over the mortal realm.”
The man laughed. “How should I know? You are so silly to believe that I am just going to divulge the plans of my master to a small, insignificant flea such as you? That would embarrass my reputation. What if there is some odd occurrence that allows you to survive?”
Safiya stared angrily at the man while she scanned the others that were there with him. She couldn’t fend them off. There was no telling as to how skilled any of them were compared to her. Perhaps one or two of them could be fell before they overtook her. Even with Majd’s help, there wouldn’t be much that they would be able to do. Escape was her only choice. Escape or death.
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.