Excerpt from Surrender the Dark
Azrael squeezed his eyes shut more tightly when the light around him dimmed behind his lids. As the Angel of Death, never had he imagined that he would fear the darkness as terribly as he did now.
SURRENDER THE DARK
Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster
Sucked through a weightless vortex he was conscious of being, yet without form or substance, hurdling through the icy blackness, the blessed Light from The Source of All That Is so desperately far away. He wept without eyes or tears. He reached out with phantom arms, immediately regretting his mission. But it was too late. He had been chosen and it was time.
Rebirth into the human world was no different than he imagined a human birth; frightening pressure and the dawning realization that one is being torn away from the comforting source of all they’ve ever known.
He hit the ground with a thud in a fetal position, naked, shivering… disoriented and cold. Earth stench and dank wetness stung his nose and forced him to lift his head. Something skittered by him in the dark. His body demanded breath, and he inhaled sharply, gagging and coughing at the abomination called air. What hell had he been born into? Wonder and disdain filled him. How could mere mortals survive such ruin?
Steel tracks pressed into his skin; a dark tunnel loomed before him. Fragments of knowledge tried to take anchor in his embattled mind, coming in fits and starts. Languages, cultures, eternal wisdom tried to savagely force itself into the human-replica organ that held knowing within his skull. Information stabbed at his brain too quickly, dredging an agonized wail up from his body-trapped soul.
A light barreling toward him made him scramble to his feet and smile. Anticipation and hope almost made him giddy. Hands on either side of his head, he slowly looked up. Tears streamed down his face. Please….
His shoulders throbbed as though deep, bloody gashes crisscrossed his back; his wings were gone. Fear seized him in earnest now. But as he reached over his shoulder with one hand to gently touch the burning area with his fingertips, amazingly his skin was whole. Only the pulsing ache and what felt like a thick, raised keloid scar remained where his missing appendages should have been. Every muscle in his limbs trembled to hold him upright. Nausea roiled within his stomach. His wings were gone. Amputated by the fall to earth.
Azrael swallowed hard as his hand dropped away from the wreck at his back, for the first time realizing how much he’d taken for granted without even realizing he’d done so. Maybe this, too, was part of his lesson, part of his growth and why he’d been chosen to search for one of The Remnant.
But the light careening toward him made him focus. Was The Source taking him back? Then knowledge whispered the horrible truth. No. Seek safety or be broken.
Intuitive gifts of second-sight and clairsentience told him he couldn’t outrun what was hurdling toward him. Sacred understanding made him aware that, although immortal, if he met this light it would hurt like Hell.
Quickly flattening his body against a slight depression in the wall, the train passed, whirring by him like a howling dragon.
Panic sweat covered his body as he ventured out of his hiding space once the danger had passed. For a few moments he stared behind the metal nightmare. A train. The humans called this thing a train. He had to align his understanding with modern terms and languages. That would be a part of his survival; it would also help determine the success of his mission. Comprehension of this world during this era was paramount.
“I call upon you, Hayyel, my angel brother in the Light who is the guardian of true knowledge, please help me,” Azrael whispered and then began walking. “Can you hear me from down here in this cesspool?” He rubbed the nape of his neck and released a forlorn sigh. If he wondered whether or not his angelic brethren could hear him from earth, then how did fragile humans ever endure? No wonder the dark side was winning. But he refused to allow them a final victory!
Azrael moved toward the platform with purpose. He would learn this world quickly, he would practice and soon his mind would absorb all he needed to know from all that he came in contact with; the more human contact he had, the more he would blend into this world in this era. Yet he had to beware to simply be in this world and not of it.