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 world they entered was calm, eerie. “We are going to need to stick together,” Brandt instructed. “Their goal will be to split us apart. Neither of you are going to be much good on your own.”
Agnes glared sharply at him. It was the idea that neither of them was good on their own that she didn’t like hearing. She didn’t believe him though she relented as she looked at Cadence. Cadence looked nervous as she wrapped her arm around her abdomen where her wound still felt raw.
“I don’t like this,” Cadence said. “It doesn’t feel right.”
“I know,” Brandt replied. “None of this makes any sense. We don’t have much choice though. I am really not sure what they have planned in this. It can’t be good though. We either go through it, take this to its end, or we run and they chase us down. I’d rather us take this to its end.”
“I can handle it,” Agnes said quietly thinking of the fire demon. Her intention wasn’t to be loud enough for either of her companions to hear, rather, she was trying to talk herself up. The others didn’t pick up on that intention and Brandt immediately shot her a look.
“Don’t get cocky,” he said sharply. “And let go of your anger here. Don’t think that just because you took down a fire demon that you are anywhere near ready, Agnes. You need to be careful and help all of us get through this.”
An angry look grew on her face as Agnes lowered her head. She didn’t want to listen. She looked again at Cadence who mouthed “relax” to her. She smiled meekly. Her emotions were screaming in every direction as she struggled to understand all of the sensations around her. It was overwhelming.
Surrounding the three of them was a dark marsh swallowed by a deep fog. The stench of rotting flesh felt thicker than the fog. Popping from the surface of the water were scattered bones. Some were white and clean while others were decayed to varying degrees. Nothing there appeared to be alive. It was barely lit with a sky that looked more like a dingy black cloth than anything Agnes could recollect seeing in any sky she remembered.
“Where are we?” Agnes asked. She was feeling her heart beat faster and faster as the progressed, as though each step was onto an accelerator connected to her level of stress.
“I imagine we are in one of the dark worlds, or one of the worlds controlled by demons,” he replied as he closed his eyes. He was trying to sense everything around him hoping to place them somewhere. “I cannot tell though. This world is blocking out energies somehow.”
Cadence drew Iliad from its sheath. It normally made no difference to her whether the sword was in its sheath tied to her waist or in her hand. The speed that she could draw the blade out was so fast that it appeared to be unsheathed before her hands even reached the handle. “This isn’t going to be good for us. This has got to be a trap.”
Brandt hummed an affirmative. “How about you?” he asked begrudgingly to Agnes. “Can you sense anything?”
Agnes tried to focus, but she found it difficult. Although there was a block on a lot of the energies surrounding them, she continued to be bombarded by sensations. It was overwhelming her although she didn’t want to say anything. In turn, she decided to shake her head no.
“Worth a shot, I guess,” Brandt said, although he doubted that she wasn’t sensing anything. The fear that was growing in her face was telling him otherwise.
Squishing and sloshing sounds followed the three of them as they stepped through the muck. It was slow progress. Eventually the ground had begun to solidify beneath them. It made their steps easier.
“Where are we going?” Cadence asked.
Brandt looked around and again he closed his eyes trying to sense the world around him. “I do not know.”
“Where are the Lokapāla?”
“I don’t expect that they are going to give us any help here. In fact, I’d expect that we are going to soon see that it is the exact opposite of helping that they were interested in.”
“Did they even tell us what we are doing here?” Cadence asked again. She peered along the edges of everything surrounding them trying to see if there were any threats nearby. She could see only dense forest barely lit around them. She was sure that the threat had already been stalking them and yet was undetectable.
Everything was snapped into clarity for Agnes. It defied her explanation. It wasn’t one moment, then it was.
Surrounding the three of them, the landscape slowly turned from a decaying marsh to a barren valley encompassed by a dark forest. Right beyond the first line of trees was complete black. No light appeared to pass through in either direction as though it was trapped and not able to travel. But Agnes could see the thousands of demons playfully dancing along the edge just beyond the sight of Cadence and their master.
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.