The book is a compilation of two novelettes, Beelzebub's Bargain and "The Drug"
Amazon's listing (ebook)
The book is a compilation of two novelettes. In the first, a heretofore unknown phenomenon mystifies its discoverers and then astounds them with its subtle power. Global manipulations are made possible by the power of the discovery. As humanity is swept under the spell of these men, the manipulators find that their own fates have been sealed by powers of a far more sinister origin. The second book is the short "The Drug". "The voice wafted over the rooftops of the buildings that covered the low-lying westward section that lay ahead of them. The couple looked at one another, each face primed to posit a question, unsure of what it should be. They walked a hundred yards further, descending to a flat section of the road, and another voice came along to them in the cold wind. The answer to the first call chanted the same words. Up overhead, the sinking sky smothered them with the dark gray drabness of a late northern fall evening. Compilation has approx 63,000 words. (Some violent content) The book contains a short index.
The compilation contains approximately 63,000 words.
Length of the paperback version: 246 pages.
This book is available on the Amazon.com site (kindle) and the Lulu.com site (paperback). Note there may be small variations in cover images for different formats. Ebook "cover" is promotional image only - and does not appear in it.
ISBN for paperback: 9780984965625
ISBN for ebook: 9780984965632
Copyright 2011 Ronald Scheckelhoff - see author's blog at http://ronaldscheckelhoff.wordpress.com
See the sample from "Beelzebub's Bargain" below:
Barry knew something was wrong before he made the last curve on the doctor's private lane. There was a man shuffling back and forth on the road, mumbling something under his breath. He went from one side to the other, and back again, hunched over. He clasped and unclasped his hands, then shook them up and down. His head jerked up as he noticed the doctor's pickup truck and the two young people in it. Now he shouted, "He was warned! Dammit he
Cindi advised, "Don't get out of the truck Barry."
"Hey, no prob. This guy's off the end - no doubt."
The man came to the window. He clenched his fists, and shook them menacingly on the other side of the glass. "He was warned!"
Now Barry could see the man's sleeves were stained. There was a large red spot on the front of his trousers, and a streak across the side of his face. Suddenly the fist was slamming against the window. One ... two ... three hard slams, but the window plate glass held. Now the man stopped. He stood there, staring at Barry, his cheeks twitching involuntarily, then stopping, then starting again. Without any indication, he suddenly ran off in the direction of the main road. A couple minutes later, he was out of sight.
Cindi and Barry sat in silence. "My G-"
"Barry. Drive slowly. Be ready to turn this thing around!'
Now Barry pressed on the pedal lightly. The truck rolled forward, but not so fast as to move the needle off of the peg on the speedo. The doctor had a long, winding drive, and the last curve was a couple hundred feet, ending in a little turn-circle in front of the residence.
Barry stopped the truck in the circle. With big eyes, Cindi looked around, craning her neck to see around the back of the truck.
“See nothing. How bout you Barry.”
Barry pulled the door latch inward slowly, as if he were afraid to make any noise as he opened the door ... Barry stepped out of the truck, walked up to the head of the walk, and waited for Cindi to catch up with him. “No dog.”
“Cindi, where's the dog?” The dog had been the relentlessly efficient official announcer of guest arrivals – but now there was no sound. As Barry reached the door, he found it ajar, but closed enough to obscure the interior. Now he felt Cindi brushing his shoulder close up next to him. He turned to look at her, frowning. Cindi raised her eyebrows, then looked down to the threshold of the door. “Barry.” Barry looked back at her. “Look down at your feet Barry.” As Barry complied, he noticed the smear on the polished wooden piece. “What is it?”
“Dunno. It's still wet.” Now he reached down, dabbing his finger into the thick end of it, and rubbing his fingers together. “Not good Cindi. Not good.”
Barry pushed the door ahead. The doctor's entryway and foyer was a straight shot through the dining area to the large multi paned window that normally parceled bright squares of morning sun onto the elderly couple's breakfast table. Now most of the panes were missing, letting the warm outdoor wind blow through them, and through the narrow space of the hallway. The air morphed into a swirl of rotten gas, creating a thick atmosphere fouled by fluids puddled on the floor for the entire length of the building, right up to Barry's feet. Another step and Barry's feet slipped on the wet floor, flipping him backwards into Cindi's chest, sweeping her off of her feet. Cindi went down flat onto her back, sprawling out onto the foyer floor. She reached out to push herself up, but her hands slipped on the slick surface. Barry regained his standing position, and pulled Cindi upright. The latter stared at her hands, her mouth hanging agape. The strength fled her legs as her eyes closed, and she fell limply against Barry, throwing her arms around him. Now she gripped the sleeve of his right arm, drawing long red streaks along the length of it as she did so.
Barry hustled Cindi over to the base of the stairwell, and helped her up to the first landing, where they came upon the doctor. Walter's lifeless eyes stared up at the ceiling.
He was mostly naked, excepting for a profusion of blood and small bits of flesh. Now the forensic specialist in Barry took over, and he observed the several small wounds on the body. It was not the small wounds that were fatal, of course. It was the pike, one that Barry guessed had been pried from the poor doctor's fence, and that was now driven hard into the wooden tread of the stair, and through Walter's body.
Cindi fell back down onto the partially carpeted treads, wretching onto them violently.
Barry pulled her to her feet, and then he quickly pushed her up the last three steps and into the hall. Hurriedly, he half pushed, half walked her into the Lavender room, letting her fall onto on the bed there. He dug under the mattress for the Luger, and found it. "Stay here!" he commanded,
Now the bow was taking water on every wave. Barry exclaimed, "The boat's too damned short - just like Kersh said!" Cindi's only response was to pull him in tighter. Barry looked back at the large hold area next to the engine compartment. About a foot of water had collected there, and he jumped back to the stern, pulling on the engine cover grip, and dropping his head down into the compartment. He poked his head up, yelling up to Cindi, "Bilge is running - it just can't keep up!" He wasn't sure she had heard him over the wind, which seemed like a full blown gale to Barry. Barry had never been in a gale, full blown or not, but as far as he was concerned, at this moment, he qualified as gale experienced. When he returned to the wheel stoop, Cindi saw that he carried a rolled rope. He began to tie a loop around Cindi, and then one around himself. The other ends - he clipped onto a wheelhouse support that looked sturdy and welded into the deck. "At least we'll go down with the boat. ...
Neither of the young lovers saw it coming. Their only warning was a sudden lifting sensation - pushing up on the bottoms of their shoes, like a triple speed elevator ... like a carnival ride gone wrong. The elevator slipped out from under them, making them weightless and horizontal, but only for the moment it took for the rope to fully extend. Then the sudden tightening of the ropes caused the carnival ride to have a wrench thrown into its works, jerking the twosome painfully in the opposite direction - back away from where the wave had thrown them. The action of
the rope was to slam both their bodies hard against the deck. Neither had the sense to know what was happening, but both were vaguely cognizant of the fact that they were hanging by their ropes, upside down. Kersh's Toy hung in space, its bow pointing straight up at the darkness that would normally have been blue sky - for the sort of moment the monster roller coaster rider experiences as up turns to down. The boat came crashing down again ...