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
Agnes lifted her hand from Cadence’s hand. Behind her, a pair of Sentries, the doctor from before who she couldn’t recall the name and Filip, the police officer she met when she found her parents’ locket, were standing behind her waiting. They had agreed to ensure that Cadence was unharmed while both Agnes and Brandt were on the mission. It was less about having someone there for protection and more for someone there to care for her if she woke.
“Are you ready?” Brandt asked as he entered the room. Agnes nodded as she stood up. “Grab Iliad,” Brandt instructed.
She looked at him in surprise. “That’s her sword,” she explained. “I cannot take that.”
“Yes, but you’ve got a little more prowess with fencing and at least for now that seems a little more forgiving for your overall lack of skill. It’s backwards, but you seem to let yourself relax when you use a rapier rather than any other blade. The practicing you’ve done with Cadence has done something for you at least. Plus the power of that weapon will aid you where your skills might not.”
With a guilty look upon her face, Agnes picked up Iliad and tied the sheath to her waist. She didn’t feel comfortable taking Cadence’s weapon. Though she liked Iliad, taking the sword that rightfully belonged to another seemed wrong, even if it was only barrowing. Silence abounded in the room as she then stepped out and followed Brandt out of the room and then down and out of the house.
“We’re going to a small apartment where there is a spirit that is teetering between this world and the other. There is a rift that is forming there allowing for passage if any demons became wise to it. We can enter the spirit realm from there.”
“Why not just do it here?”
“Sometimes a world is tied inextricably to a particular location in the mortal realm. Though we can move there from other means, just going to the location of a rift is often easier. And you’re less likely to become lost.”
Agnes nodded. She had not been yet to the spirit realm and she was dreading her first time there. Her mother and father had told her stories of their first times visiting there, and how many of them had strange properties that she would have to learn to navigate quickly or risk her soul.
The ride to the apartment was quiet. Agnes dared not say anything. She didn’t want to betray her nervousness. It wasn’t a long ride. After only 10 minutes they arrived at a small apartment building. It looked shabby and run down. She wondered what type of people chose to live there.
“The apartment’s unoccupied right now,” Brandt said off-hand. “They left it unlocked for us today to get in. They try to keep squatters out, but that is never a guarantee. If we find anyone there, we’ll need to deal with them.”
Agnes swallowed. She didn’t want to add that to her day. The stress and excitement of going over to the spirit realm was enough. And what did he mean by deal with them? Did that mean he planned on killing whoever they found?
They walked into the building. The inside was equally as drab and worn as the exterior appeared. Carpet was torn up exposing the attempted glue on top of old laminate flooring which had also begun to wear long ago peeling up from the corners. It had appeared as though whoever chose to lay down the additional flooring had done so carelessly and only to cover the terrible condition of the rest of it. On top of it all, garbage was strewn about as though the residents had forgotten the existence of a dumpster outside of the building. Roaches and other insects scurried to and fro delighting in their abundant food.
The odor was the worst part of it. Each scent was vomit inducing and undetectable in its origin. It hung in the air like a row of thick sheets hung precariously along the hall. As they cleared one, another was there waiting to impede their progress.
She reeled as she witnessed the horrid conditions. She wanted to turn and run out of there. Only the thoughts of not wanting to squander her opportunity to prove herself as useful in her master’s eyes kept her from doing so. She wanted to go to the spirit realm. If she ran now, chased away by simple insects and filth, it would mean that she was absolutely ill-suited to explore realms that could prove so much more vile than she could imagine.
But there was something else there that she couldn’t place. She shook it off assimilating its traits along with the rest of what disgusted her there.
“Who would choose to live here?” she asked quietly as they stepped over another pile of garbage searching for their intended destination.
“There are people who do not get to have much choice where they live,” Brandt said solemnly.
“I wish that wasn’t true,” Agnes replied as another scent stung her nose. She winced trying to swat the smell away from her.
“Our place is not to involve ourselves with the affairs of mortals. This is the result of greed and sorrow. Neither of those can you change. Don’t even bother to try.”
Agnes nodded. She wanted to help. But she heeded Brandt’s advice. As putrid smell and rancid view passed her, she tried to block them out and focus ahead. She was going to be crossing over soon.
She was afraid.
At the end of the hall they came to a part of the building that was immaculately clean. The sudden change in the appearance of it struck Agnes as odd. How had none of the filth flowed into the area? It was as though a barrier were there defending this last frontier of livable cleanliness.
The walls were worn, but wiped clean. The carpets held no stains. Along a few points on the floor were scent absorbing cans laid at precise intervals. She was sure that she could measure them with a ruler and find the distances to be exact. The age of the apartment building showed, but none of its deplorable other traits existed here.
They came to the door and Brandt cautiously opened it as he placed a hand on the hilt of his sword. If there was to be any trouble, he wanted to be ready.
The door opened to an apartment that was even cleaner than the small area outside of it. And with it came the flood of that strange other thing Agnes was feeling. She knew what it was at that moment. Since they had arrived at the place, it had to be the energies from the rift.
“This is the place,” Brandt remarked cautiously. Closing the door he drew his sword from its sheath and closed his eyes. “I don’t sense anything else here, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be on your guard.”
Agnes copied her master’s movements and placed her hand on Hyde. She didn’t feel comfortable yet using Iliad. The blade vibrated as it had also sensed the energies nearby. Around her, everything was kept in seemingly precise locations as had been the canisters outside of the door. Oddly, she saw no traces of any decorations. No pictures hung on the walls. There were no pictures at all. There were no candles. No vases with flowers, real or fake, were anywhere to be found. Furniture was also mismatching in colors, but like every other piece of furniture, they had been placed perfectly in coordination with the angles of the walls.
“Over hear,” Brandt instructed.
“Who lived here?” Agnes asked as she followed him down the short, narrow hall to a small bedroom. Like the rest of the house it had no adornments, and even stranger for a bedroom, it had no mirrors.
“I cannot be certain,” Brandt said quietly.
The energy became clear and intense. They had found the rift. Although there were no visual signs, Agnes could see it clearly as though there were. It appeared a faint swirl of electricity to her that hovered a few feet off of the edge of the bed.
“I suspect that you can see it?”
“Yes,” Agnes affirmed. “Is that how we’re crossing?”
“Expect that you are going to feel sick when you pass. It takes some getting used to the feeling.”
Hyde hummed. She could feel the blade shifting in and out of phase as it rested tightly in her grasp. Agnes wanted to ask Brandt about the feeling. She decided against it for the moment.
“You will need to close your eyes and focus the energy through you. It will feel like a faint electric charge passing through your body.” The pair stepped forward. “Focus the energy into you. It will feel fairly easy at first, but it will want to push you away.”
As she touched the rift, she felt it begin to dance upon her fingertips. The sensation was cool at first, but then it was replaced by a warm vibration that rattled the tiny bones in her hand. The feeling spread. She tried to focus on it, but the feeling began to flee from her.
“Mortal flesh like ours cannot normally cross over. You need to focus harder as it begins to rescind. We can travel through. Your first few times will be like this. Just focus.”
Agnes did so. For a moment the sensation paused in its place. It didn’t proceed nor did it retract. Then suddenly the feeling shot through her so quickly that it nearly threw her off balance. Every inch of her being tingled with a sensation that bordered the blurry line of pain.
“You will lose my voice shortly. Then sensation will continue and you will feel like you are entering a hot pool of water. Do not worry about-“ and Brandt’s voice went silent.
Agnes felt herself slowly descend into what felt like scalding hot liquid slightly thicker than water. Her instincts screamed at her to hold her breath. All of her burned and she started to panic. She wanted to get out of there. All of her focus shifted from controlling the energy to the sensations she was feeling. She wanted to breathe, but she felt as though she would drown. The feeling of electric vibration continued to burn her every muscle as the fluid she was immersed in burned her flesh.
Suddenly she tried to suck in air as her lungs tried to bring in cool air to ease them. There was nothing. The fluid she was in didn’t come in. Air didn’t enter her lungs either. Panicked, she hyperventilated even though there was no air to capture. She was sure that she was going to die.
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.