Just a Little Death
by A.L. Kessler
Release Day May 16th 2016
When most kids go to college, they think freedom, excitement, and maybe they are just a bit terrified. My experience was different. In addition to getting to know the new roommate and some serious test anxiety, I found out I was the daughter of Death. But learning that three others and I are supposed to stop the apocalypse from happening was more than just a little terrifying. The world may be ending and angels, demons and horsemen have become part of my everyday life, things suddenly seem impossible. I am Sammy Zadkeil and I am a Child of the Apocalypse.
A lone figure stood to our left, his back to us. His black robe billowed in the howling winds. His brown hair moved with the air and wrapped in his arms was a scythe, as if he was leaning on it during a hug.
My gaze moved back to Ruthie and she nodded and motioned towards him. “Go.”
“Alone?” I whispered, my eyes wide. I’d never met him, like hell I was just going to walk up. What was I supposed to say? Death chuckled. “I can hear you. Ruthie, I didn’t expect you to bring a friend. I wanted to speak to you specifically.”
“Sorry, my friend is my charge. Perhaps you heard?” She offered, and we both took a few steps towards him. He spun around. His face was angular and his pupils had skulls in them. My heart stopped at the sight of him. I had expected myself to be filled with hatred if I ever met my father, but now…now I wasn’t sure what the emotion flooding through me was.
“Pest, Famine, and War told me what the boys were up to. I didn’t know you were playing a part in it. What did you learn?” His gaze fell to me and the smirk he wore disappeared.
“So…I’m your daughter, apparently, and my mother was an angel at some point in life…my name’s Sammy.” I waved my hands around like an idiot as I talked. It sounded stupid, but it was the best I had at the moment.
He walked around me and I could feel his gaze studying. “Yeah, you’re mine all right.”
Neon signs anyone? I kept my sarcasm down for the moment. I bit my lip as I stared up at him. I couldn’t help but wonder where he had disappeared to and why he didn’t think to look for me himself. Why were Pete, Aeron and Kaleb given the task? I clenched my fist.
“What is it?” He asked, his voice even.
I tried to think about how I wanted to word it. “Where the hell have you been for the last eighteen years?”
His eyes widened slightly. “I didn’t know you existed.”
“Yet, at least four other people thought to come find me, and you sat here, not even curious as to why you couldn’t knock up another angel?” I growled through my locked jaw.
He raised a brow. “I assumed it wasn’t my time to have a child and I thought that War and Pest had lost it and were on a wild goose chase.”
“This is too much.” I turned away from him. “Demons, horsemen, fallen angels, and a long lost father.” I shook my head. “No.”
“No?” Death asked.
“No. I’m not doing this. Send me back home.” I snapped.
Ruthie stepped up and put a hand on my shoulder. I pulled away. “Sammy, we can’t do that. We need to figure out what is going on and the first step is here, with your dad.”
“A dad isn’t someone who just pops into your life. This isn’t about reconciling with family, it’s about all the crazy stuff that I’ve been dragged into in the course of two days.”
“I know,” Ruthie kept her voice even and faced me. “But you’re not going to face this alone. You’re not going in alone. We are here to help. All of us. For now, let’s just focus on the here and now.”
I took a deep breath and tried to push all the anger and confusion out of the way. I could get used to Death being my father, I could handle demons and crazy things…maybe.
“So…now what?” I asked after a moment of silence.
“Now we start training you on your job. The boys can be called back now that we know you exist.” He came to a stop in front of me. He let the scythe fall from his hand, and like Aeron’s sword it disappeared. He wrapped his arms around me and held me close.
I didn’t know what I expected, but he was warm against me and wrapped in his arms I had the feeling of being home. I belonged there, with him, and some of my anger melted away. I wrapped my arms around him and took comfort in his embrace. For a moment, I forgot about the demon and the crazy math teacher.
He let go and looked down at me. “Had I known, I would have come for you sooner. Your mother never even tried to contact me.”
“I have a feeling she’s going to be as shocked as you are.” I glanced at Ruthie. “Though there’s a reason we were going to contact you.”
He turned to the angel. “Yes?”
“Famine is missing, and judging by the plague that’s about to wipe out a fourth of the United States, Pest is missing as well.”
Death’s eyes snapped back to me and I held my hands up. “I swear I have nothing to do with that part.”
He gave a bob of his head. “I’ve noticed their presences were weak. They are still alive, but not on this plane of existence. It’s why I called you here. I wanted a status on what was going on. Them disappearing from both planes means one thing…”
“They’ve been sealed away again.” Ruthie snarled. “I was worried about that. There’s been more demon activity lately, we had a demon show up at the school.” He paced back and forth for a moment. “You and Sammy work with the boys to figure out what is going on. I’ll do what I can from my realm, here. If need be, I’ll come help you fight, but once you figure out where the seals are you let me know. I’ll be the one to release them.”
“Sammy is going to need to learn to fight and control her abilities when she gets them.” He glanced at me and a small smile crossed his lips. “We have her come here to work with me. After classes and when her mother’s not around. I don’t want to involve her.”
“That won’t be a problem, I chose the college farthest away from home that I could get in state.” I shrugged. “I wanted to make sure she didn’t go all mama bear and visit every weekend.”
They both laughed. Death put a pale hand on my shoulder. “Then you’ll come here and I’ll teach you. Like I should have been since you were a child.”
“I guess it’s time I decide that this isn’t a dream.”
“Far from it. We’ll start tomorrow.” He looked to Ruthie. “Keep her safe until then. Keep an eye out for the Sins.”
“The Sins?” I asked.
Ruthie nodded. “How much do you know about the Seven Deadly Sins?”
“If you’re lucky, I might be able to name them.”
Ruthie put the palm of her hand to her head. Death sighed. “The Seven Deadly Sins are high level demons. They work closely with the Devil in causing havoc. I can promise you if the other three horsemen disappeared, they have something to do with it.”
Wasn’t that a pleasant thought. “Lust, Envy, Sloth, Gluttony, Pride, Wrath and Greed.” I muttered.
“If all seven of them get together in the same place…” Ruthie whistled. “Chaos, think about it like a frat party gone nuclear.”
I didn’t want to think about it, I was still trying to wrap my head around everything. “So how do we stop them?”
“We fight against them.” She said easily.
A.L. Kessler is the author of the Amazon Best Selling series Here Witchy Witchy. She’s a member of the Pikes Peak Writers and Midnight Writers in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her newest book
Just a Little Death is her newest release. Her coffee and chocolate addiction get her through her busy life of being a mom, wife, student, and author. You can find out more about her at www.amylkessler.com