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
“FOCUS, AGNES!” Brandt screamed. Agnes flailed before him in the darkness of the world they entered. Though she needed no air, her mind had relapsed into thinking that she was suffocating. All of her instincts were clawing at the world for breath without realizing it no longer needed it. Brandt cursed himself for not warning her that she wouldn’t need to breathe when she descended into the liquid. Had she known she might have not been as easily prone to panic.
But although Agnes didn’t truly need air to survive as she did in the mortal realm, if she stayed too long in her condition, her mind would kill itself unknowingly.
Brandt reached up his hand as though he was about to slap Agnes when he suddenly felt a change in the world surrounding them both. She suddenly breathed in deeply before she began to calm down. Brandt lowered his arm slowly. “Agnes?” he asked.
“Air…” she said meekly as though out of breath. “Thought I was drowning,” there was a smile that appeared on his face. Brandt didn’t see it. “That was fun,” she giggled.
“Glad you finally decided to realize that you don’t need to breathe here.”
She was puzzled by him when she realized that she couldn’t see. “Why can’t I see?” she asked. “There’s no light here. Where’s the light?”
Though there was no light, Agnes could tell exactly where Brandt was. She could sense his presence. “This is the world of the blind,” Brandt said. “Because there was no light in their life, the blind emulate a world identical to the one they had in life.”
“Why can’t we still see?”
“It is not our world, we must adapt to theirs. Haven’t your parents taught you about the spirit realm?”
“Yeah, but I didn’t listen that much.” She heard Brandt sigh.
“Did you bring them?” Brandt again asked.
“Ok, now you must understand that when you are in the spirit world, the weapons you bring must be connected to the spirit realm. An ordinary sword in our world will be useless here. It is the connection that allows them to exist here.”
“How do I see?”
“Imagine your eyes closed. You cannot use your eyes here, so you have to allow your other senses to take over. Especially your spiritual senses. You’ll see everything soon enough. You can tell where I am, now sense the whole realm around you.”
Agnes felt her eyes close. She breathed deeply trying to focus her mind and her other senses. It wasn’t easy. She began to feel her heart slow. The sound began to close in as though there were hands cupped over her ears. Then amazingly, the world began to fill in around her. It was oddly void of any color, but features appeared in amazing detail.
“Everything is coming together?” Brandt asked, observing his student. Practice had allowed him to adjust without any delay to the realm. Agnes nodded. “This is your first experience, so you’ll have to learn to trust the added sensitivity being a Sentry has granted you. Your parents may have told you some things about this world, but it is worth my telling this to you now since you probably didn’t listen in the first place. I need you to understand and listen to me entirely.” Brandt’s voice was getting sterner. Agnes started slipping from her gain, the world around her slipping away to black. She held her breath and tried again to focus. She wanted Brandt to be the good teacher he was turning out to be, not the angry man she hated who was to be her master.
Brandt continued. “When people die, they create their own heaven or hell. Mostly, it revolves around their traits. Some forego normal rules. Like here, the person whose world we’re in was blind. You have to play by their rules.”
“Why are we here again?” Agnes asked.
“We are here to close a tear in the barrier between our world and this one, and kill the spirit causing it.”
Agnes froze as she continued to take in her surroundings. She forgot that her job meant killing. Killing for a Sentry was indeed final. There was no afterlife. It was it. That was what she was to learn, not just how to cut, but how to sever a soul from the very thing that allows it to exist.
Both Sentries stood in what appeared to be a large cavern decorated with simple household objects. Nothing had any color. She wondered if the person knew of color at all. It had looked like someone had simply picked up a room in a house and placed it in a cave.
“Some end up creating a world where they meld several places where they felt calm,” explained Brandt of the oddness of what they were seeing in ways.
“Who’s there!?” a voice yelled from off to the side, too far away for Agnes to sense but through sound.
Brandt drew his sword. Agnes pulled out the Hyde blade, but left Iliad sheathed. “This is only the beginning, kid. Be alert,” whispered a now cautious Brandt. Now speaking aloud, “we’re here to talk!”
“I don’t get visitors here often. Why do you want to talk to me?” The voice was that of an old woman. Agnes let her guard down.
Not seeing that his student had let her guard down, Brandt urged them forward towards the owner of the voice. His steps echoed loudly despite trying to land his feet softly. It frustrated him, but he kept moving forward.
“We’re here to help close what shouldn’t be here,” Brandt said, not worrying about tipping anyone off. Sentries were feared in the spirit world. Unlike the mortal realm, the spirit realm very much knew of the Sentry. They were a highly respected group. Highly respected and highly feared.
“There is nothing here that needs fixing,” the old lady’s voice replied. Agnes tried concentrating to see if she could sense the other person near them. She could only get a few feet ahead.
As each step moved forward, Agnes grew more and more relaxed. She began to question the purpose of this. “We are just here to look around,” Brandt explained calmly. He had been through too many situations like that. His blade was held firmly in front, ready to deflect anything. The foremost thought on his mind wasn’t attacking. Brandt knew not to be so foolish.
There was no reply to Brandt’s last statement. Someone was there, but they were nowhere to be found. Even through his experience, he could not trace any sign of the person he had just conversed with.
“What’s wrong?” Agnes asked. There was no reply. Brandt stood there in rapt attention trying to feel the thing that was undoubtedly stalking them both. “It’s just an old lady,” Agnes reasoned. In her hand, she could sense the Hyde blade pulsing back and forth from evil to good. It distracted her as she wondered why it had chosen that moment to have such an internal battle.
A moment later Agnes felt herself thrown across the room. She lost her senses and could see nothing again. Slumped against something that she could not tell, she felt down and felt warm moisture on her leg. She didn’t feel any pain, but knew that there was something wrong.
In the background, there were several clangs of metal from whatever was fighting Brandt. It lasted mere seconds before silence reentered the room.
Agnes tried to relax and concentrate, but her heart was beginning to feel the effects of panic.
“Are you ok?” Brandt asked startling Agnes.
“I don’t know,” Agnes admitted starting to well up with tears. “I’m sorry.”
Brandt breathed deeply. He was trying to calm himself down. Partially, he was angry that Agnes failed to guard herself and that she let herself be calmed by the sound of the spirit’s voice. Mostly he was angry at himself for failing to protect her.
“You are only twelve,” he explained, as if to know it himself. “I cannot expect you will be able to do much yet, no matter how well you may be doing in training. Now let me see what this is.”
Brandt felt the wound on her leg. It was a deep gash, but nothing that alerted him. The spirit they encountered was a weaker demon. It had attacked Agnes first as it viewed her as the weaker of the two. Brandt was able to easily dispatch of it.
“Is it bad?” Agnes asked still fighting back tears.
“Yes and no,” he replied. “It will heal fine for you, but it will not make it easy for you until it does.”
“Just send me back. I failed.”
Ignoring those words, Brandt asked: “Can you stand?”
“I can’t see,” she retorted.
“Dammit, Agnes!” he yelled to snap her attention to him. It did just that. “You need to focus!”
Agnes acknowledged Brandt and tried to focus. There was some pain still breaking through her concentration, but she was able to center her energies enough to see once more. Seeing the wound now, it did not appear as bad as she had been worrying, but she couldn’t quite shake the nervousness.
“I am not ready for this,” she admitted, tears beginning to run down her eyes.
Brandt looked at her sternly. “No. You’re not ready. But here you are. You have to be strong and listen to me or we might both find ourselves here permanently.”
Somehow the words made Agnes think otherwise, that she could handle it. She shook her head as though to acknowledge that she had to get up.
“What was that? I thought it was a nice, old lady?” Agnes asked, trying not to let the pain from her leg enter her mind.
“It was a demon. The old lady was a trick to lure you. Must’ve have come from you.”
Agnes looked up confused. “What do you mean from me? I didn’t make it attack me.”
The area changed from a large, cavernous room to a small, damp, tight cave. Sounds of water moving and dripping began to surround them and engulf their hearing. Both looked around.
“That’s odd that it’s changing this soon,” Brandt remarked. “Must’ve been the effect of the demon.”
“Why did it choose to act like an old lady?” Agnes asked.
Brandt looked back at her. “Ah. Sorry. Many demons will take the shape of something that is trusting, so that they can distort it and use it to destroy. You must have something about old ladies that calms you more than usual.” Agnes thought that it was odd. She did like old ladies, but it was a strange thing to choose. Brandt continued: “you have to be vigilant and always on your guard here. We’re mortals here still, despite being able to do things that spirits sometimes can’t. We aren’t generally welcome here.” He pulled her up. “C’mon. We have to get moving to the rift to close it now.”
The two continued on, slowly working through the dark caves. Agnes felt herself breathing heavy, nervous over what might be coming next. It was then that she felt heat engulf her. It was coming from behind them.
Turning around, Brandt yelled, “FIRE DEMON!” and threw Agnes behind him. Agnes watched as a large creature surrounded by flames licking the walls around them charged forward at the both of them.
Brandt took a defensive position, and suddenly a bright blue shield appeared on his arm, glistening visibly despite being in the realm of the blind. The demon crashed against the shield, flames sparking all around. Brandt held behind it, struggling to hold it back. It was the same demon that had attacked Agnes’ home. She could sense it clearly.
Anger began to build inside of her. As she watched Brandt struggle to stand his ground, Agnes gripped the handle of Iliad and ran forward. She wanted to cower. Anger drove her forward. The blade struck the demon causing it to pull back, allowing for Brandt to regain his footing and counter with his own blade.
Agnes looked remarkable attacking the demon. She allowed the anger to take over pushing all of her strength at the demon. It swung at her fiercely, but found itself continually blocked by the intensity of her powers. Even Brandt slowed his assault, amazed by the young girl forcing back the same demon that nearly killed him twice now.
Surrounding Agnes began to glow gold. It was as though she were surrounded by a force-field. All that the glow touched began to illuminate as though the blind could now see.
Without knowing it, Agnes influenced the entire world around her, breaking through the darkness. The caves they were just travelling through began to melt away into light. As she pressed forward, the demon’s power began to wane. The fire shrank back with each swipe of Iliad. Agnes felt the immensity of her own power and pushed it forward.
Unable to take anymore, the demon attempted to retreat. Not wanting to lose it, Agnes pulled Hyde out and threw it.
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.