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The Gate Keeper
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-345-8
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 224 Pages
Published: December 2016

From inside the flap

Vi and Cal were getting used to married life, and Vi was looking forward to life as a normal woman, and not posing a danger to her husband`s sanity. But there were signs hinting that her past was not really passed. That painting that Lee had done of Vi, a souvenir of their last encounter, proved to be a reminder of all that she left behind, and even more. The newly born twins were a joy, especially Howie. Ruth was different, however. Very different. Lee has discovered that Rabbi Jacobs has a special scroll in his massive and unorganised collection of manuscripts, one far more unusual than he imagines. It belongs to Lee, and she is set on regaining it. That scroll describes her ancient role, one that she guards jealously. Her role as The Gatekeeper.
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Philip Mann lives in the Outremont section of Montreal, where he baffles his neighbours with the bizarre spirit which occupies him from time to time. His wife simply shakes her head when that happens.

The Gate Keeper (Excerpt)


Chapter One

Snow squall. A perfectly clear day, or night in this case, is suddenly set upon by violent winds and driving snow. It doesn't give any warning, and anybody caught in the middle of one is instantly blinded, surrounded by a mini-blizzard. Bearings are totally lost, and the best and only solution is to pull over, turn on the four-way flashers, and wait.

A logging truck was parked on the shoulder of Route 3, the main link between Vermont and Quebec, on this mid-November night. The snow had started slowly, barely noticeable, but now the sudden ramping up of the wind made progress impossible. Shelter was hard to come by on this isolated stretch of road, with deep forests on both sides and no rest areas within handy distance. The two men inside were watching the snow fly, dipping into a tin of roasted peanuts and knocking back warm Coke. The window was open just a crack for air and the wind whistled through it, sometimes rocking the rig. The one riding shotgun spoke.

"Jean-Pierre, how long are you doing this route? Ten years, no?"

"Let's see, I was married in '95, had Mireille in '97, divorced in '99, then... about twelve years. Yeah, twelve. Thirteen next month."

"Me, I'm here four years. Every time I go out in this crap, the wife, she tells me, 'Serge, be careful, it's not worth your life.'"

"Well, you're lucky. My girlfriend, Lise, she just tells me what she wants from the duty free."

"Ha ha! Well, maybe if you marry her, she thinks different, no?"

Jean-Pierre waved him off with a laugh. "Once is enough for me, my friend. I get on the road, I do what I want, stop where I want, see who I want to see... If I have the time."

"Yeah, I know. Still, it's nice to have somebody wait for you, have a - hey! See that? Over there?"

"Merde, I can't see anything... oh, now I can. What the hell? Green lights? What?"

Straining to see through the furious blizzard, both men looked where Serge pointed. A spot just beyond the curve of the road where a large boulder sat, not twenty feet from the asphalt, they now saw two very small yet very focussed green lights, no bigger than pencil ends, but clearly visible. They were bobbing slightly, and presently they could see why. A figure was silhouetted against the snow, and the figure was moving towards them. The piercing green lights were where people normally had eyes.

"Christ. Mere de Dieu, what..." The two men, not regular churchgoers by any means, crossed themselves and stared, unsure of what to expect, but unable to flee. At any rate, they were trapped by the weather.

"Hi, boys. Don't be afraid, I won't hurt you. Promise."

There, right outside the door to the cabin, was a woman, only her silhouette visible in the dimness of the night. Incredibly, she was dressed for summer, in a baseball cap with some team logo, a T-shirt and shorts. Her long, wild hair flowed in the wind, but at its own speed, as if it had a life of its own. The woman herself appeared not to be afflicted by the perishing cold.

She opened the door and Jean-Pierre shrank back in his seat. Serge froze, and dropped the can he was drinking from.

"Oh, come on boys, don't you want to have some fun? Hmm? I bet you do. Jean-Pierre, I bet you feel lonely, driving all day. Come, let's have a party." She extended her hand and took his. Like a child being led, he stepped down from the cabin, transfixed by her awful gaze. He came and stood next to her; he was unable to understand her indifference to the cold.

She was stunning, her athletic figure almost reaching his six-foot height.. She made no attempt to shield herself from the fury of the storm, even as he was shivering. Her eyes, those terrifying eyes, burning so brightly, were unbearable to gaze upon. "You want me, don't you, Jean-Pierre? You want me to melt in your arms, to give everything to you. All you have to do is take me. Just take me, Jean-Pierre."

Her voice had an odd quality to it. It was almost a whisper, yet strong enough to be heard over the wind. As he watched she lifted off her T-shirt, and his eyes bulged even more . Her body glowed fiercely in the night, as if a green inferno were burning just below the surface of her body, and her eyes alone showed the intensity of those flames. Her form, when he could perceive it, was stunning, a body he would go to war over, but the substance in that form was fear itself.

"Come to me, Jean-Pierre. Come, let me make you happy." She came within arm's reach and touched him. He flinched at her touch, and pulled himself out of the spell. He took a step back, still looking at her, then another step back, then a sideways step. Then he turned fully around and fled into the dark, into the storm, closely followed by whatever had just appeared.

He ran. Past the boulder, toward the barely marked driveway, past that and the nearby gas station, closed for the night; just running, his breath coming in raw gasps, his feet stumbling, not daring to look behind him but knowing, absolutely positive that it was right behind him.

Which it was, not a half-step behind him and to his right side, loping beside him, barely expending energy, keeping close enough to give him hope of evading her, but not nearly far enough to actually let him escape. The scene was of some otherworldly game of cat and mouse. "Jean-Pierre, wait for me, I want to make you happy. Stop, stop Jean-Pierre. You'll never be sorry you did. Stop, Jean-Pierre...."

Then he slipped on a patch of ice, lost his footing and fell face-first onto the macadam. His hands broke his fall, and then he placed one knee under his weight and turned to face her.

Her hair was still flowing, although he couldn't tell the colour. She was backlit by the half-clouded-over full moon, and he could see the outline of her body clearly. Her eyes still burned fiercely with that terrible green light, and her body, as tempting and as sensual as it might have been a short time ago, now glowed in a totally unnatural way.

But now she was discarding any form of human resemblance, and all Jean-Pierre Tremblay saw was a fiery green mouth, that so-alive tangle of hair, and a look of total predation.

And then she descended upon him, enveloped him, and filled him with her being. She took his arousal into her body, her mouth laid fully upon his, taking for herself his breath, his heat, every one of the myriad reactions that made him a living being. His lust, his fear, his bravery -- all were now hers.

Then it was over. He lay motionless on the frozen road, his eyes bulged wide, his black slicked hair now entirely white. He was now part of her.

She rose up and looked at him one more time as he lay there, as the driving snow gathered on his body, and his eyes stared unseeing at the night sky, and she was content. She turned and walked up the road, then back to the city.