Angel Evolution, p.1David Estes
Book One of the
Book One of the
Published by David Estes at Smashwords
Copyright 2011 David Estes
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
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The Evolution Trilogy by David Estes:
Book One—Angel Evolution
Book Two—Demon Evolution
Book Three—Archangel Evolution
This book is dedicated to my lovely wife, Adele,
for all of her wise and practical advice,
creative perspectives, and support and
encouragement. I hope that someday I can pay it back.
“Hurray for a child
That makes it through
If there's any way
Because the answer lies in you
They're laid to rest
Before they know just what to do
Their souls are lost
Because they could never find
What's this life for?”
Creed—“What’s This Life For?”
From the album My Own Prison (2007)
Her parched throat burned with an unquenchable fire. She tried to swallow, but each desperate gulp left her wanting; her mouth was dry, there was no moisture left to cool her angry esophagus. The dizzying effect of the dehydration was affecting her memory. She couldn’t remember where she was or how she got there, but knew that if she didn’t find water soon, Death would painfully claim her. As she tried to get her bearings, a steady fog drifted in and surrounded her in an icy shroud. Dropping to her knees in anguish, she prepared to succumb to the sleep that she had been desperately fighting.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a familiar slithering Evil. A snake, inky black with blood-red eyes, undulated towards her. Weakened by her thirst, she could only watch as the sharp-fanged reptile approached, without caution. She collapsed face-first onto the cold, hard ground. The snake reached her naked foot, and climbed over her heel and onto her slender ankle. Without hesitation, it moved up her bare leg, its rough scales buzzing along her exposed skin.
With her cheek pressed against the rocky earth, she saw what had to be a mirage: two Beings strode purposefully towards her through swirls of mist. Despite the exhaustion that clouded her vision, she could see that both Beings were exquisitely beautiful. The first had a subtle glow about its body that cut through the fog casually, as if the weather was clear. Its glow brightened as it approached. The second was cloaked in darkness, although it wore no head covering. Surprisingly, she felt safe.
The snake reached her waist, caressing her hips like a dance partner, but the visitors didn’t seem to notice.
One of them gently touched an animal-skin pouch to her cracked lips. As the lubricating water ran mercifully past her teeth, along her tongue and down her inflamed gullet, she wondered who these wondrous presences were and why they had saved her. Forgetting the snake, she insatiably gulped down the cool liquid. Seconds later she cringed, as the fire returned to her throat. The second Being slid another vessel into position, and she greedily opened her mouth to receive the life-giving water. She barely had time to choke out a scream before the sand filled her mouth.
Her last memory was the black snake: its red eyes staring into hers, its mouth gaping open to reveal fiercely sharp fangs dripping with blood as black as oil. Her final thoughts could be summed up in one word: fear.
Two weeks later.
Despite the light drizzle, Taylor sat cross-legged on the lush lawn; she was patiently scouring the grass with her hands and eyes. Trying to find it. She wasn’t a superstitious person by nature, but something inside her very soul compelled her to keep looking. It had become a ritual for her. A painstaking search was required in any new place where she would be spending more than a week. Every few minutes, she shifted her towel a few feet over and continued her hunt.
After one such move, her grazing hands stopped abruptly and her eyes locked on her ring—the ring. While she wore many rings—eight between her two hands, to be exact—only one had the ability to distract her so completely. Like now. Not the dog bone or the horseshoe or the thorny rose or the black bat or the cross. Not even the skull or the death spikes. Those rings all felt ordinary compared to the last ring—the one she wore on her left ring finger. The four-leaf clover.
It wasn’t the clover itself that made the ring special. Or the four leaves, which traditionally implied luck for the bearer; rather, it was the giver of the ring that defined its value. It was the last gift her mother had ever given her, for her birthday.
“You’re a teenager now,” she had said. “You’re going to need all the luck you can get.” Taylor had laughed and given her mom a big hug.
Ever since her mother’s unexpected death, when Taylor was only thirteen, she had forced herself to keep looking. Searching. To her, finding a four-lea
Of course, she was never really alone. She still had her dad, her brother. And there was always Sam, her best friend and roommate.
Since she had arrived at The University of Trinton, or UT as the students called it, two weeks earlier, she had enjoyed herself like most college freshman do, especially because classes hadn’t started. Yet, she had never felt fully comfortable. She was acutely aware that her lingering unease was inexplicably linked to her failed search for the Holy Grail of all clovers. Time and time again she had plucked tiny greens from the earth; with each attempt her heart had skipped a beat, only to discover that the chosen clover had a mere three leaves. Or, freakishly, the clover would have a fifth leaf, an atrocity of nature. Sometimes Taylor was tempted to remove the unwanted extra appendage, thus creating the object of her desire. But she never acted on these urges, knowing full-well that you can’t force fate.
Now, wrenching her eyes from her cherished ring, she tried to concentrate. Taylor was glad for the light rain; it cooled down the muggy, late summer’s day. And it generally kept other students inside and off the lawn. She didn’t want any distractions.
As she focused on her task, an unwanted vision was shaken from her memory tree. In her mind she saw her dad reprimanding her. He had not understood why she got the tattoo. He had been furious with her. How could she be so immature? Taylor truly believed that her mom would have understood why she needed the tattoo. As long as she could remember, Taylor had had a recurring nightmare about a vicious black snake with red eyes. Many times it was the main subject of her bad dreams—she would be trapped in a room without doors or windows, with only the snake as a companion—and other times it would unexpectedly appear in her good dreams, creating chaos from beauty.
However, regardless of its form, the beady-eyed snake would eventually sink its razor-sharp fangs into her flesh, and then drip black blood from its mouth, causing her to wake up to cold sweats and blood-curdling screams. So she got the tattoo when she was sixteen. Not to be cool, or weird, or sexy; the tattoo symbolized her conquering of the snake—proof that she wasn’t scared anymore. She still had nightmares, but now when she woke up she could cope. Fear of the snake no longer kept her awake at night. A six-inch, red-eyed, black snake rested on the back of her left shoulder, and was visible now because of her tank top; the serpent was maliciously cut in half by her shoulder-strap.
Even with the evil-looking tattoo, she didn’t consider herself to be Goth—black was not the only color she wore—and she didn’t affiliate herself with any groups. She just liked certain accessories that were considered to be Goth, or maybe Emo or Punk. She considered her look to be The-Taylor-Look, what you see is what you get. She didn’t wear any heavy black makeup either. In fact, she hardly wore any makeup at all. Her slightly-wet jeans were ripped, but not in the trendy, I-bought-them-like-that way; in her case, the tears, frays, and holes were all natural. She also wore a bright red tank top, which coincidentally matched her red flip-flops, but seemed disjointed from the rest of her look; namely, the collection of rings, skull-and-cross-bones necklace, and tattoo.
Her choice of best friend seemed even more contrary to her look. Samantha Collins, or Sam as her friends’ called her, was the typical cheerleader, prom-queen, date-the-high-school-quarterback, subject-of-a-school-boy’s-wet-dreams type of girl. Taylor, on the other hand, hated the spotlight, dated even less frequently than she wore makeup, and had likely never been included in anyone’s dreams, girls or guys. But somehow she and Sam just clicked. She valued Sam’s opinion above anyone else’s, and they harbored no secrets from each other. Sam had been Taylor’s shoulder to cry on when she lost her mom; she might not have made it through the ordeal without her. She hoped to be able to repay her one day.
Still sifting through the grass, someone caught Taylor’s eye, in her peripheral vision. Up to this point, only a few students had walked past her, but she had barely noticed them as they hurried along the sidewalk, clutching umbrellas like lifelines. This one was not on the sidewalk, nor did he seem bothered by the rain; rather, umbrella-less, he had crossed over onto the grass, and appeared to be on a collision course with her. When she looked up, what she saw startled her. He was tall, and was wearing a tight, white t-shirt, which clung to his skin from the rain. He was muscular, but not in a meathead kind of way. More like in an athletic, Hermes-messenger-of-the-gods kind of way. With sandy blond hair and a handsome broad face with a strong chin, he might have been a Swedish celebrity that just landed on a plane from Europe. She searched his eyes for color, and found it eventually—a thin ring of blue circled his exceptionally large, black pupils. At first glance his eyes looked only black. But his well-toned physique, movie star good looks, and black-looking eyes were not what had captured Taylor’s attention; instead, it was the strange glow that seemed to resonate from his body: his legs, his arms, his chest. Even his head was emanating light. Almost like a glow worm.
“Have we met before?” he asked directly.
Taylor stared at flashlight-boy like he was an alien who had just passed through a black hole, complete with three heads, slimy tentacles, and at least fourteen eyes. “Not in this lifetime,” she replied.
“Well, I’ve definitely seen you around campus.”
“Congratulations.” She said it sarcastically, but felt a flutter in her stomach at the thought of being noticed by the radioactive stud that stood before her.
“I’m Gabriel. Gabriel Knight.” He extended a hand.
She took it and squeezed hard when she shook. It was something her mom had taught her. Women are not expected to have a firm handshake, she used to say. Be different. Despite her efforts to get a reaction from him, he just grinned at her. His grip was even firmer, like iron. Eventually she released his hand.
“I’m Taylor,” she said. “Taylor Kingston.” She mimicked his introduction, like a parrot.
“Nice to meet you, Taylor. What are you doing out here…by yourself…in the rain?”
She almost blurted it out, but managed to shut her mouth before her flapping gums betrayed her. Recovering, she said, “Just enjoying the day. But I’m not here by myself, you’re here aren’t you? And I would hardly call this rain.”
He grinned. “You’re unusual.”
“Now that’s a line you might want to work on.”
Still grinning, he said, “It wasn’t a line, just an observation.”
“Anyway…,” Taylor said, trying to end the conversation.
“Ah, I see that I’ve overstayed my welcome,” Gabriel replied.
Taylor noticed his eyes growing blacker, as if the faint ring of blue was being devoured by his widening black pupils. He looked down at the wet grass, scanning it like a security camera detecting an intruder. Reaching down, he plucked something from the earth. “Wow, a four-leaf clover,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever found one of those before. It’s supposed to be lucky.”
Taylor’s eyes widened as he handed it to her. She checked it. One, two, three, four: It was the genuine article, and the object of her futile search. She tried to hand it back to him, but Gabriel stopped her. “Consider it a gift…to match your ring.” Shrugging his shoulders, he turned before she could reply. Over his shoulder he said, “See you around, Taylor.”
“Bye,” she murmured, watching the glow worm walk away from her. When he crossed over onto the sidewalk, she finally turned her attention back to the tiny bit of greenery in her hand. She had found it. Well, technically Gabriel had found it, but she would have found it eventually. For a moment, a sense of peace washed over her and seemed to enter her body through her skin. As if by osmosis, her mother’s undying influence flowed through each and every pore, and then into her bones, her organs, her mind, her soul. But as rapidly as it had arrived, the sense of peace vani
Suddenly, his image flashed back into her mind and a lost memory was unchained. Like a wine bottle that had at long last been uncorked after an aging slumber, the memory of the nightmare was opened to her. It was as if her mind had been trying to protect her, locking the memory in a vault and throwing away the key, only to thrust it back into the open now. Two weeks ago. The two Beings: one dark and one light. The black snake. While the snake had appeared in many of her dreams, never had it been accompanied by the two Beings that had assaulted her. She remembered what she had felt that night:
Fear. She had awakened from the nightmare in a cold sweat, issuing a terrified scream that could have startled the dead from their resting places. As she had started to separate the horrific dream from reality, her heart rate had finally slowed from an accelerated 150 beats per minute to just under 100; however, her chest had continued to heave with short and choking breaths. Wide-eyed, she had looked out the window into the darkness, half-expecting to see the two foreign Beings standing in the backyard. When she had checked the blue digital numbers on her iHome alarm clock, she had noted it was only 2:39 in the morning.
Normally, she slept on her back, like a vampire, with her arms directly at her side, her head lolled to one side or the other, but that night she had found herself curled into the fetal position, all balled up in a cocoon of blankets.
She had heard frantic footsteps in the hallway and her door had swung open.
“What happened? Are you alright? Are you hurt?” her father had questioned in one breath.
She had been unsure of which question to respond to first, but had managed to squeak out, “I think so…,” which had caused her dad to rush to her side in a panic.
Angel Evolution by David Estes / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes