Excerpt from Sins of the Flesh, the upcoming Jim Frankenstein Novel


Father Patrick Ivener's lungs burned.  His vision was going dark.  His knee felt like there was a knife in it.  But he kept running.
Footfalls echoed through the empty hallway.  Behind the sound of his own, he could make out another set; heavy, determined, unhurried.  Steps that didn't think Ivener would get far.
A shock went through his leg and he collapsed.  His knees and palms seared on impact with the tile.  The other footsteps came around the corner and sauntered toward him.
Ivener tried to get up, but his elbow went numb and his cheek smacked into the wall.  The pain was brief; the cool cinder block wall was a relief from the heat growing inside him.  He was thirsty.  He had never felt such thirst.  The wall was nearly as soothing as a drink of water.
No!  There was no time for this!  He had to get to his feet, had to get off the grounds, had to get to the police before—
The leaden footsteps came to a halt behind him.
"Oh Father Ivener."  The voice crackled like cinders.  "Poor Father Ivener.  Never had much of a sense of timing did you?"
Father Ivener looked at his assailant.  "That thing...it was...  How could you..."
"Yes.  Powerful, isn't it?  And quite elegant, really.  You didn't even notice the poison dart."
Father Ivener blinked.  Poison?
His eyes were blurry with sweat.  He went to wipe them, and his hand brushed something by his ear.  Thin, sharp, perhaps the size of a toothpick.  And it was killing him.
"The effects are quite brilliant.  Your senses will go one by one, beginning with your sight.  You're probably already having trouble seeing me, aren't you?"
It was true.  His vision had narrowed to a tunnel.  The face of his assailant was too deep in shadow to make out any detail, but the silhouette was wrong somehow.  It didn't look like a single man.  It looked as if there was someone else behind the figure; someone taller, thinner, darker.  The second shadow's hands danced above the figures head, as if controlling a marionette.
"I had better say this now," the figure went on, "before your hearing goes.  Now that you've been touched, you belong to us.  There will be no pearly gates for you.  Let that be your epitaph.  After a lifetime of good deeds, Father Ivener, you are going to Hell."
It was a lie.  It must be.  Ivener was a good man.  The Lord would not forsake him.
"Please... I..." he could barely choke the words out, "I must confess...my sins..."
His assailant laughed.  The sound was murky, as if his ears were filled with cotton.
"If only there were time."  The voice grew more muffled by the second.  "Goodbye, Father Ivener."
The second figure came into focus as the last light faded from Ivener's eyes.  He only glimpsed it for a fraction of a second, but its pale, scarred skin and charcoal eyes tore through his mind like a knife.  It had a wound in its side, and it bled fire.  
A great throbbing welled up in his ears.  Soon, even the racing of his heartbeat was gone.  A void grew around him.  His thirst disappeared.  He couldn't feel the cool surface of the wall, couldn't sense the pull of gravity as he lay there on the floor.  All he could think of was the horrible thing panting and slavering over him as the life left his body.
When his breath stopped, a faint light appeared before him.  At first he was relieved; the Lord had come for him after all.  But as the light grew, so did his terror.  It was not the cool, welcoming glow he expected.

This light burned crimson, and shimmered with heat.

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