3 FREE Chapters: 20, 21 & 22, from The God Key, Book I

Sales of my novel, The God Key, Book I: Return of the Nephilim have been picking up a lot lately. Which is weird and wonderful: weird because the book’s been out for over a year now; and wonderful because I can sure use the income. Granted, it’s not much, but it does keep us in dogfood (7 monster dogs at last count, all of them suitable for Nephilimian mating procedures).

But enough about my love life. Let’s get on with the 3 FREE Chapters:

Demon Nephil Face

Chapter 20

Levi Schwartz, at the ICRC/Segré Observatory, couldn’t remember being so frustrated.

The anomaly. The asteroids. They weren’t behaving normally, or anything like normally. The first cluster had finally split into its separate parts: 13 separate parts, to be precise; 13 separate asteroids. A fairly rare phenomenon, to be sure, but not entirely unheard of in the realm of asteroids. Most importantly, none of them was big enough to pose a threat to Mother Earth, Apollos or no, so . . . all well and good.

Except that, now, the 13 smaller asteroids had split into 20 even smaller chunks.

And that just wasn’t right. Or normal—even for an anomaly.

Dr. Schwartz watched the phenomena unfold over the shoulder of his assistant director, Dr. Avi Krohen. He sat before the observatory’s main monitor, speechless with frustration and exhaustion; ICRC senior staff hadn’t left their posts in nearly 24 hours.

Dr. Krohen’s post was at the observatory’s 64-inch SamNAC LCD flat panel monitor, which boasted 4220 x 2560 resolution, 1080p HD display, and 256-bit True Color—all of which had been customized for use with the observatory’s various telescopes: optical, radio and multi-spectrum.

The SamNAC provided the sharpest pictures possible, plus multi-screen views from all seven of the observatory’s telescopes and cameras simultaneously, along with live feeds from two other observatories and data stream 24/7 from the twin cosmic ray monitors. No other facility on earth could boast such technology. And, yet, for all the expensive, impressive new hardware, the astronomers were stumped.

“Can’t say I’ve ever seen asteroids behave like this,” Dr. Schwartz remarked.

Dr. Krohen glanced at Schwartz and shrugged. “Maybe that’s because they’re not asteroids . . .”

“Then what are they?”

At first, Krohen made no reply. For no reason whatever, a voice—deep, scaly and reptilian—oiled into his brain: Prophesy for me, Cassandra . . . tell me what will be.

He sat frozen yet trembling at the console. How? How could that be? That, 57 years ago his mother had wanted a daughter—had even named the child before birth as “Cassandra,” only to have a boychild, whom she renamed Avi.

So how had that voice in his ear (brain?) known about that? Krohen shook his head and the sound ceased as suddenly as it had started. He still felt dizzy, as if he would pitch forward and go headfirst through his monitor. Finally, he looked back at the giant SamNAC screen and said: “I . . . have no idea.”

“If they’re not asteroids or comets,” said Schwartz, “not sunspots or solar flares or anything else we can name, then what in God’s name are they?”

Dr. Krohen shrugged. “Who knows? Maybe they’re just . . . space-junk.”

“Space-junk,” Schwartz repeated. And he could only nod. And watch.

And wait.

Chapter 21

Thursday morning, December 7th, only 14 days before the end of the world, David Connors got the shock of his life: worse than being booted from the SEALs . . . more stunning that when he’d won the Fulbright for two years in Israel… even more awesome than the night Cyndi had kissed him, fully, on the mouth.

Cyndi offered to drive him to the interview. With Dr. Dincke. In Baltimore.

Perhaps “offered” wasn’t quite the right word: more like “ordered” him to let her drive and escort him. Since he was, as she said, little better than a gibbering idiot on his best days, he was now reduced to near-catatonia by virtue of his concussion and other injuries. He needed a caretaker, a companion.

“Besides,” she added, “it’s the only way I can keep watch over you. Crazy American Redneck,” she added.

Women . . . Yes, he was certain of it now.

He would never figure them out.

***

They finally got on the road by 12:10 pm. The sun was up and boiling, sending its delightful flares out in gigantic loops to scorch the earth. Yet, the sky was clear, the weather fine, and the drive was surprisingly pleasant. Especially with Cyndi doing the driving. And although the Mazda was more cramped and less comfortable for someone David Connors’s size and injuries, he didn’t mind one bit: Cyndi was wearing one of her shorter, black skirts and charcoal hose. He was getting an eyeful. He was content.

At least, until they hit the I-395 loop around Washington, D.C., the notorious “Beltway,” where they ran into a maze of detours, cut-offs, and mangled “temporary” lanes. Their trip slowed to, if not a crawl, at least a limp.

Fortunately, he’d downloaded a map of the trip in advance, from Cyndi’s laptop. The main route was highlighted in red, roads to the University of Baltimore in yellow, and the route to Dr. Dincke’s office in the Laboratory of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (LASR) building in light purple (like the Roswell debris symbols).

But that part was over: as he told Cyndi, he’d seen Galilei’s symbols, done up nice and proper in pencil, and compared them with his lone surviving photo of the Commandments—and matched them. He didn’t need his old Roswell photos anymore.

Cyndi, despite her best attempt to hide it, was excited.

True, Dave admitted, sketches and mangled old photos weren’t the best proof, and would not bear scientific scrutiny. But he no longer cared about proof; he knew the symbols matched, and that was good enough for him. He’d already walked through that gate; now he wanted to see what lay beyond it.

Now, it was time to find out just what those symbols meant—on the debris and the Commandments. And learn just who and what these Nephilim really were, and what connection they had, if any, with the recent UFO sightings, the murders in Eilat, or this “God Key” business.

By 2:50 p.m., Cyndi was pulling her RX9 into Baltimore University’s Poe Street parking garage, northwest campus, three floors below surface level—sublevel yellow-C, to be exact.

And the little black sports car parked with them.

***

Albeit one floor below, on sublevel yellow-D.

The Mossad driver, a young man about Dave’s age, named Moshe, had done an admirable job following their target, always keeping at least a mile or more behind him to avoid detection. No miracle, really: they’d placed a transmitter above the Mazda’s brake lines the night before. If they couldn’t raid the house, at least they could monitor its occupants. Still, it took a steady hand to keep the proper distance and stay out of sight.

Now, they had to hang back. Campus security was spot-checking everyone who emerged from the garage, only this security team had it all: magnetic wands, X-rays, metal detector doorways—the works. And, once again, the American murderer/journalist eluded them. For now.

But not, Sgt. Heim swore to himself, for much longer.

Chapter 22

The gauntlet of doorways, stairs and tunnels was worse here than at Washington U., back home. Ditto for Dr. Dincke’s office—or, rather, his subterranean lair.

Dincke’s environment was the polar opposite of Dr. G’s. Whereas Galilei’s sat perched on a majestic, tree-lined hill, Dr. D’s was tucked away in the basement of the LASR Building—three floors below the surface—at the end of a dark, dank pedestrian tunnel. And while Dr. Galilei’s office shone with sunlight from three tall, cathedral windows, the passage to Dr. D’s office had no windows, no sunlight, at all.

The tunnel’s gloomy atmosphere settled over them like the swollen corpse of a long-dead drowning victim. Dave even thought he smelled the sickly-sweet stench of rotting bodies wafting through the abysmal air toward them, like a warning. He couldn’t help turning around every so often to look behind them, down the long, black tunnel, to make sure (nothing) no one was following them.

Finally, they reached the branch of the pedestrian tunnel that led to Dr. Dincke’s office. And here all security measures seemed to have gone awry. For here, at the frosted, glass-and-wire-mesh window with the man’s name and title stenciled in black ink—Richard Dincke, PhD. , Physics Dept—they found the door slightly ajar.

Dave poked his head into the doorway. “Hello, Dr. Dincke? It’s Dave Connors.”

Nothing. No sound at all, not even the squeak of a chair or the creak of a drawer.

“Hello? Dr. Dincke?”

David and Cyndi opened the door fully and stepped into the room.

It was a scene of utter chaos: books, papers and magazines; boxes, folders and sofa cushions—even old, back issues of Fleet Street After Dark—were scattered all over the office. It was a picture of pandemonium, another preview of hell.

And a reeking preview at that: the stench of rotting meat and death was much stronger inside the office. At the rear, behind a ruined wooden hutch, Cyndi spotted a doorway leading to a second room. The inner sanctum, as it were.

But “sanctum” did not describe what the two of them saw in there.

For there, strewn along the floor before a massive, oaken desk, were the raw, ravaged remains of 189 pounds of rotting hamburger that was “Richard Dincke, PhD.”

Dave’s stomach lurched; he swallowed and took another step closer on his cane.

And saw . . .

. . . the back of his head and neck.

It was ripped and mutilated, the meat flayed and protruding in bloody, triangular chunks, the bone beneath plainly visible. The spinal cord had been popped out of its vertebral sheath and . . . drained. Recently, too.

Because it was still leaking, Dave noted, as he grabbed the phone and dialed 911.

#

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FREE – Chapter 19, The God Key–Book I

TGK FRONT Cover FINAL

 

Chapter 19

He caught another taxi all the way back to Cyndi’s country house in Falls Church, hoping he’d beat her home. His timing was perfect: he got back inside the house and on the couch again scarcely seconds before Cyndi returned.

When she opened the front door and saw him beaming up at her from the sofa, she couldn’t help melting a little inside. Whatever else he might be, David Connors was, in the end, a good boy; he’d stayed put just as she’d told him.

“Have a shower?” she asked; he was still soaked. “In your clothes?”

“Ah, well, I did step outside,” he admitted. “Afraid I got caught in the rain.”

He didn’t want to do or say anything to spoil that smile of hers. He didn’t say a word about Dr. Galilei or what he’d done all day. That way, he wouldn’t have to lie to her. True, he still had to call Dr. Dincke in Baltimore. But, with any luck he could do the entire interview by phone—no need to sneak out again or go anywhere near his car or his apartment. Or tell a lie to Cyndi. Ever.

“So,” she said, still smiling, “how was your day otherwise?”

To which he replied: “Well, to be perfectly honest, I actually snuck out and took a cab to see your pal Dr. Galilei, at Washington U., interviewed him for over an hour, got caught in the rain there, then snuck back here by cab and flopped onto the couch again so you wouldn’t notice.” All in one gush.

She blinked. Nodded slightly. Said nothing.

“And now I have to call a friend of his, in Baltimore. Probably have to go there for another interview tomorrow. Heh, heh.”

“Honesty’s a bitch, isn’t it?” she said.

“Oh, you’ve no idea.”

“Oh, but I do. “Just don’t stay on the phone too long,” she said, her voice calm and even.

“I’ll pay the charges,” he said.

“It’s not that,” she said. “I’m making you falafel, lamb chops and Arabian tea. Or would you prefer a trip back to hospital, after disregarding all the advice your doctor and I gave you?”

“Falafel,” he said, “Mmm—sounds great, thanks. And tea yet.”

No response. Not even a blink.

“Hey, put a dollop of vodka in it. Stirred, then shaken.”

“No dice, Mr. Bond. You may have sugar.”

“Speaking of which, do you know what 007’s middle name was?” he asked.

“I’m afraid to ask.”

“It was James,” he answered.

“James?”

“Sure. Didn’t he always say ‘My name is Bond . . . James Bond?’”

Even though he did a passable Sean Connery, she wasn’t having any of it.

“Just drink your tea.” She sounded stiff and cold as new ice on a pond. She handed him his cup and asked, “And your hip, thigh and head don’t hurt?”

“Hail no,” he lied. “I feel finer than a frog hair.”

“You’re impossible,” she said, and disappeared into the kitchen, still stiff as ice but unable to keep her hips from swaying like a bell as she left. Even when angry, she couldn’t quell her innate allure. Or maybe she was putting it on even more, to taunt him.

“I hate to see you leave,” he called, “but I love to watch you go . . .”

Still no response. Well, he’d tried. Tough room tonight. But far from exploding at him, as he’d figured, she’d merely offered to make him dinner . . . Would he ever figure women out? At least he could make that call to Galilei’s pal, Dr. Richard Dincke of Baltimore—expert in all things biblical, alien, and apocalyptic.

***

It was just pushing on five o’clock when he reached Dincke at the college. The call went straight to his home telephone. Turned out Dr. Dincke only had two telephones—an office number and a home phone. He did not believe in cell phones.

“Too insecure,” he breathed. He sounded old, British, and very cultured, if a bit effete (at least, to Dave’s American ear).

“Right,” said David, with glance into the kitchen. Cyndi was still busy, clattering with cups and saucers and tea (sans scotch). “And they’re practically useless since these sunspots began,” David added.

“Quite,” said Dincke. “So. We both hate cell phones. What else can I tell you, young man? In fine, sir, what do you want from a jaded, old Luddite like me?”

Dave told him, mentioned he’d interviewed Dr. Ross Galilei, who had recom­mended Dr. Dincke. Could David, in short, interview him as well?

“Only if you ask, dear boy,” said the doctor.

“And I do. Ask, that is,” David added. “Dr. Galilei said you were the expert on ancient aliens in the Holy Land.”

“Well, I don’t know about ‘expert,’” Dincke said. “But I do have a few (ahem) interesting photos to show you. And they’re far from ‘ancient.’”

This got Dave’s attention. Anyone who managed to hold onto photographs was a step ahead of him.

“Of what?” he asked. “Recent evidence?”

“Oh, better than that. I’ve something really special for you—hot off the press, too. Not even our friend Dr. Galilei knows about this yet.”

“How hot?”

“You’re familiar with the Shikmona Beach landings last week?” asked Dr. Dincke. “Or the trace evidence found recently at the Gilgal Rephaim?”

“I think Dr. Galilei mentioned the latter, yes.”

“Well, I have snapshots,” he said, stretching it out, “ . . . of one of the pilots. And that’s something I know old Galileo hasn’t seen.”

“Pilots?” Dave asked. “A Nephilim?

“Bloody hell!” cried Dr. D. “Who taught you that word, our friend Galileo?”

“No, no, I’ve heard it before. I understand they’re in the bible or something?”

“Don’t say it again. You know about December 21st, of course? The Dark Rift, the Great Alignment?”

Dave could hear the Capital Letters in the man’s voice.

“Sure,” he replied. “The end of time, the Mayan calendar, all that?”

“Indeed. Well, young man, it has already begun.”

“Say again?”

“Surely you’ve noticed the climate changes, the increase in natural disasters, wars and diseases? New diseases, out of nowhere? Pestilence? Global famine? Along with this sudden rash of UFO sightings? Now this: reports of aliens in backyards, freaks in the streets, monsters. Scaley, fish-like things, vaguely reptilian yet unmistakably humanoid. It’s the return of the Fallen, I tell you.”

“All that is connected to them?”

“Just as connected as your Roswell debris and the Ten Command­ments—and for the same reason. And that’s not all: worse is coming. And soon.”

“What do you mean?”

“The beginning of sorrows: the Great Tribulation. Daniel’s Seventieth Week. And those . . . things you mentioned, along with their progeny. ‘But as the days of Noah were, so also shall the coming of the Son of man be.’”

“What’s that? More bible verses?”

“Jesus Christ, predicting the state of affairs at the time of his return. And, by ‘the days of Noah,’ he wasn’t referring simply to the depravity and wickedness of the times, but also the aberrant DNA experiments of those days—monstrous abominations like the Manticore, Gorgons, Cyclops and others.”

“You mean, manimals?”

“Absolutely. God alone knows the full extent of their depravities back then, but it certainly included manimals—among other nameless things. Those days are back, boy, with all manner of loathsome abominations . . . offspring included.”

He kept saying such words: offspring, abominations, progeny, et cetera, like a broken record on an endless turntable. Finally, he said: “But, no more about these creatures; you’ll learn all about them soon enough. No discussing them over the phone.”

Dave felt both excited and creeped out: something about all this—the 2012 Doomsday prophecies, the Roswell symbols, Galilei’s terror, the unmentionable Nephilim—turned on a switch inside him. This was no mere magazine story, this was something else altogether, and it was growing weirder and more ominous by the day. If even 1% of it were true, he had the story of the century—Roswell symbols or no.

He had to know more, then. A lot more. Even if it meant infuriating Cyndi to the point of firing him.

“So, you will get around to the Roswell symbols, right?” he asked.

“Yes, yes, if you insist. But . . . young man, don’t you know? The whole UFO phenomenon is rubbish, a front. This has nothing to do with aliens or space ships. The return of the Fallen is entirely demonic in nature—everything about it. It’s The Great Deception, and it’s all perfectly timed for Mayan Doomsday, December 21st.”

“Well, what about the Nephil-things, or the R-rephaim? Is that how you s—”

“DON’T say those names,” Dincke said. “You’ve no idea . . .”

“That’s what Dr. Galilei said: ‘You’ve no idea.’” So did Dr. Oded, he thought.

“Trust me, young man, you haven’t. Do not mention those names over the phone, or in email, or in any way connected with me, understood?”

“Understood.”

“Only face-to-face,” Dr. D added. “We’ll talk when you get here. With any luck, you’ll be able to connect your Roswell symbols and the Ten Commandments to these new photos I’ve got, all of which point to those . . . creatures . . . you mentioned. And, ultimately, to the Big Boy Himself. Now, not another word until we meet, right?”

Once Dave agreed (the Big Boy Himself?), Dr. D. gave him his address, building and office number. It was located below ground level, just off the Poe Street parking garage, in the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research (LASR) building.

The last thing Dr. Dincke told him was, “Promise me you won’t mention a word of this to anyone—not even our friend Galileo. Promise?”

“Well, sure, if—”

“Not even your editor, hear me? Are you still there?”

“Yeah,” Dave said. “I’m still here.”

“Good,” said Dr. D. “I’ll see you in my office. How’s tomorrow at three?”

David hesitated. The University of Baltimore was over three hours away. And he’d have to make the trip in Cyndi’s tiny Mazda: cabs would bankrupt him. Either way, it meant a six-hour round-trip, with a hip-pointer and a deep-thigh bruise. And a concussion.

But the 21st was only two weeks away. If any of this was true, he had to know. Where there was smoke, etc., and the Roswell/Commandments link was a perfect forest fire.

“Tomorrow’s Thursday, right?” he asked.

“All day, my boy.”

“OK, then,” Dave replied, already feeling the six hours in his hip. “Three o’clock tomorrow.”

“Excellent.”

“I look forward to meeting you, Doctor,” Dave said, calculating he’d have to hit the road before noon tomorrow—if he could get Cyndi’s permission to drive her car. Or sneak out on the sly again and steal it. He did not like either choice.

“Oh, and, Mr. Connors . . .”

“Yes?”

“You won’t be the same after what I show you. That I promise.”

“If you say so.”

“Super. Then I’m off for Fleet Street.” And he hung up.

Dave knew nothing of Fleet Street, or astrophysics or Astroturf, for that matter. He was barely familiar with ancient alien theory or the bible, and he knew next to nothing about the Nephilim, the Rephaim or the Dark Rift. For now, they were just names, just words. And freaking weird ones, at that.

Later, he would pine for this moment, this ignorance . . . this bliss. Only then he would realize how truly innocent he had been.

 

Another thing he was ignorant of, during his chat with Dr. Dincke, was the pair of eyes watching him from across the street, via the night-vision binoculars. Both the Israeli Police and Mossad favored Alpha-Lens military-issue night binocs—and for good reason: they represented the latest iteration in night-vision gear, true Generation 5 technology, resulting in the brightest, clearest images possible.

They also cost $8,500 a pair. But they were worth every shekel: Sgt. Heim could see perfectly into Cyndi Malach’s country home, through the living room window. Whale Unit had spotted her during their stakeout of Connors’s apartment. Saw her park out front, go in, saw lights appear on the third floor, and watched her emerge again with a suitcase, a shaving kit and one moth-eaten, old Siamese. Then followed her home.

Heim lowered the binoculars and smiled. He was in there; they’d found their quarry, all right. And he had no idea they were closing in. Heim wanted to raid the place that night, but his Mossad friends begged off. They’d spotted some unusually sophisti­cated security devices around the perimeter—devices they’d rarely seen outside Mossad itself. No problem: they could take him the moment he left the house—and take him any way they wanted, dead or alive. Either way was fine with Heim. Then again . . .

. . . dead was always easier.

***

That night the old rebel, the outcast, banished forever from his synagogue, last master of the blasphemous Chaldean Kabbalah, finalized his plans for the deaths of three more people. Nothing gaudy; no need for attention. He’d only be gone a few hours with his companion, then back in his hotel room again, alone. and his mission in this accursed country would be finished. All in service to earth’s former gods, its true and rightful rulers, the Nephilim . . . the Betrayed  . . . the Abandoned.

Everything he did was for Them. Even sabotaging the Oded Expedition to Mt. Sinai. True, the Kabbalist didn’t mind the surge in his bank account, but it made him slightly ill to think that everything—everything he did—was in service to the Nephilim.

Now, illumined by only the eight candles flickering from his menorah, the odd, pot-bellied figure raised his arms over his suitcase and began chant­ing in an ancient tongue, one older than Baby­lon, Assyria—even Sumer. One millions of years old before Man even rose from the desert sands, at Their command. A tongue not heard on Earth in over three millennia, save by certain practitioners of the old, olden rites. Rites that made Voodoo, Satanism—even Santeria, with all its blood fetishes—seem the veriest chanting of Sunday School children by comparison.

He opened the suitcase and gazed upon its contents: dried blood, dirt, semen and sand. He leaned over and then did something most unusual: he began spitting into the suitcase. A slightly nauseous odor arose from the sand, nothing more. He chanted a few more incantations, after which he took an olive branch and began stirring his spit into the sand, semen, blood and dirt, making a muddy glob in the center of the suitcase. And he smiled: yes.

Yes, it would rise again tonight.

And all hell would follow.

FREE – Chapter 17 from The God Key, Book I

Ezekiels Wheels

 

Chapter 17

 

Six thousand miles away, the fat little wizard sat hunched over a telephone.

“What do you mean, he’s still alive?” the Kabbalist barked. “You imbeciles . . .”

He was on the old, long-distance trunk line, which had lain across the floor of the Atlantic for over a century. Although it was antiquated “brown wire,” not fiber-optic, it was now the most reliable means of long-distance communication on earth, thanks to the solar storms.

“He is gravely injured,” came the American voice, with its broad, flat delivery. Probably from Kansas or Oklahoma, the Kabbalist thought; a hayseed; a hick.

“And the detective?” he demanded.

“In pieces,” came the reply.

“Good,” the Kabbalist said. “Then you’ve not been a complete waste.”

The M-12 colonel, Stansfield, didn’t rise to the bait, instead waiting for the old bastard to finish. Which he did, but in a way Col. Stansfield did not care for. Not one bit.

“You will kill Connors within the week,” said the old wizard. “Before the Israelis take him. Otherwise . . . your flesh will run like water.”

The M-12 agent waited for more, but heard only a click as the Kabbalist hung up on the other end, 6,200 miles away. It was nowhere near far enough. But the muscular, crew-cut military man had his marching orders, and he would obey.

He would kill David Connors within the week. Everything depended on it. He certainly didn’t want to test the Kabbalist’s resolve, especially when it came to Those others. They—those Things—could, and would, make his flesh to run like water; he’d seen it happen. In the desert, near Groom Lake, NV. Col. Stansfield had no wish to join in such festivities.

He and his driver, along with their nameless, shadowy go-between, would have another nondescript, black sports car within the hour.

And the hunt for Connors would resume.

***

Just then, Dr. Ross Galilei was resuming his comparison of David’s Command­ments photo with his own sketch of the Roswell symbols. His dark, beady eyes darted back and forth like a hawk’s, as he inspected them one last time.

“Thirty-five hundred years apart, and yet they’re nearly identical,” Dr. Galilei said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in all my years of study,” he added. “You do realize you’re sitting on a time bomb, don’t you?”

“How so?” David asked.

“This link you’ve found will upset a lot of very powerful people. People you’ve never heard of—or even dreamed existed—in the government, the Church, the media . . . among other entities.”

“That’s some time bomb.”

“And when it goes off, there’s no telling what may happen to you. Your life could be in danger. You do realize that, of course?”

“I dunno, Doc. I mean, there’ve only been a few million UFO sightings since Roswell. And all kinds of people have written books claiming God was an alien or an aardvark, or whatever. What makes me so special?”

“None of those other authors ever supplied such tangible proof.” Dr. Galilei said. “Not even von Däniken.” He nodded at David’s Commandments photo. “This shows a real, physical link between the God of the Old Testament and an extraterrestrial origin.”

Dave smiled. The good doctor might be right, after all: he couldn’t recall ever hearing about such physical evidence before. A shame that only one of the two pieces of evidence was an actual photograph. True, any photo could be altered; only he knew for certain it was real.

“So, what should I do?” he asked. “Hide it? Destroy it? Drop the story altogether?”

Dr. Galilei peered at him from beneath his beetling brows before replying.

“In a word, yes. I would hide your photograph in the cellar, take it out at night and gloat over it under the full moon. And never tell another soul.”

Dave frowned. “In that case, would you mind if I took a photo of your sketch?”

“Well, I don’t know . . .” the doctor began. “I’m not sure I––”

“I won’t publish it,” Dave said. “After all, it’s not the actual debris, just a sketch. Still, I’d sure like to have a print. You know, for when I gloat over it at night.”

“Well . . .” said Dr. Galilei, “I suppose so. If it’s for your own viewing.”

Dave took his cell phone and snapped three photos of the sketch from three different angles. The only expression on his face was one of relief, not triumph.

“Thanks, Doctor,” he said. “I’ll stand by my word; I won’t publish this—even though it goes against everything I’ve ever believed as a journalist.”

“And what is that, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“To report the story—the truth—and let the chips fall . . . wherever.”

“And what if they fall on your head?” Doctor Galilei asked.

“My editor says I have a thick skull.” He nodded at his drawing. “Seriously, though, it would be one helluva story. If I could replace my Roswell photos, I’d have a slam dunk. No evidence like it on earth, as you said.”

“Well . . . I wouldn’t go that far.”

Now it was Dave’s turn to look confused. “But, you just said . . .”

“I said I’ve never seen anything like it before, in terms of physical trace evidence. However, I believe there may be more substantiation like this—proof of ancient aliens, gods and monsters in the remote past. And what they did here with humans.”

“Where?” Dave asked. “Area 51? Roswell? Wright-Patterson?”

One more time, the professor peered at Dave from beneath his dark, ledge-like brows, as if uncertain whether to continue at all. At last he shook his head and said: “In the bible, David. The Word of God . . .

“. . . It’s full of UFOs.”

***

At first, Dave wasn’t sure he’d heard right. He almost did the Swimmer’s Shake, except that tilting his head caused a tidal wave of dizziness.

Dr. Galilei held out both hands to steady him. “Are you all right?”

“Yeah, sure,” David replied. “For a second there, I thought you said ‘The bible.’”

“I did.”

“The bible contains accounts of UFOs.”

“Absolutely. It’s full of UFO encounters, alien beings—even alien abductions, like Enoch and Elijah, for instance. The Scriptures are loaded with them.”

“And you’re saying the evidence is still there? In the Holy Land?”

“I’m sure of it,” said Galilei. “But UFOs and ancient aliens are only the surface story. The full tale—the forgotten saga—is what’s so devastating. Because it’s all true.”

“What’s all true?” Dave asked. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about the origin of human life on earth. I’m talking about who and what really created us, and when. And about what’s coming back for us, at the end.”

“So, this isn’t just about UFOs in the bible. Or Roswell and the Commandments.”

“Oh, it’s much more. But most of us—and I mean scientists, now—haven’t a clue. The records are lost to time and the ages. You see, Mankind is a race with amnesia. We’ve forgotten more about our origins, past civilizations, wars, glories and gods than you can possibly imagine.”

“Such as?”

“Such as our, shall we say, intimate relation to the beings that have been visiting earth since Man was a monkey. And the skills, science, art and technology they gave us. We once knew who and what these beings were, but we’ve long since forgotten. All that remains are legends . . . myths . . . religions.”

“Yet, they were here,” Dave said.

“And they’re due to return. En masse. The evidence is irrefutable. The God of the ancient Hebrews is no myth. Neither is Quetzalcoatl, the Mayan serpent god. Same for the pantheon of deities, devils, angels and demons who’ve been visiting this planet over the millennia. The Sumerians called them ‘Anunnaki;’ the Hebrews, ‘Elohim;’ the Greeks, ‘Titans’ and ‘Olympians.’ Whatever the names, whatever the culture, the stories are always the same: superior beings came down from the heavens, created man, taught him everything—mining, mineralogy, astronomy, agriculture—for man to work for them. Indeed, the Hebrew word for ‘worship’ comes from an older word meaning ‘to work for.’ Man worshipped the gods—he worked for them. Then they left, promising to return.”

“OK. So, they came here, played ‘God,’ left us this mess and just . . . flew away?”

“Oh, no, they remained for thousands of years,” Galilei said. “Perhaps too long.”

“Say again?”

“Many world myths claim that, soon after creating Man, the gods grew bored and began performing certain . . . other experiments.”

“What does that mean, ‘other experiments?’”

Galilei rolled the word in his mouth as if it were especially tasty: “Transgenics.”

“You mean, humans and—”

“Quite,” Galilei said. “H.G. Wells’ ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ is a delicious allegory, you know. Far more science than fiction.”

“You’re saying the gods bred ‘manimals?’ For what . . . fun? Sport?”

“Of course. What do you suppose the Manticore was? Or the Sphinx? Or Pan? What price Anubis? Why would so many ancient cultures create statues, reliefs and paintings of such creatures alongside their human kings, unless they’d actually seen them at some point? And . . . who knows? Perhaps some remain? After all, what better explanation for Bigfoot? Or the Yeti? Werewolves? Mothman?”

“If any of this is true, how the hell could we have forgotten it all?”

Dr. Galilei shrugged. “Wars, natural disasters, religions, time. All potent erasers. Yet, all the while, just beneath the surface of the slate, the faintest traces of the olden truths lay like a palimpsest—traces we today call ‘out of place artifacts.’” Galilei paused to stroke his massive eyebrows, as if that was where he kept his secrets. “And now this.”

“You mean—?”

“This link you’ve uncovered, between the Ten Commandments and the Roswell symbols. Marvelous, true, but it’s only the popcorn. Care to see the whole movie?”

Dave thought about it for a moment. He thought about Cyndi and their tour of the museum Monday night. He thought about the hit-and-run later that night, and the dead Detective Lacy. And the three corpses in Israel . . . and who, or what, was hunting them.

“I’m not sure I do,” Dave admitted.

“And I’m not sure I blame you,” said Galilei. “But if you’re serious about getting to the bottom of this, then you should be warned.”

“‘Warned?’ A bit melodramatic, don’t you think?”

“Then let’s say ‘briefed.’ Either way, you should know as much as you can before you go back there. To the Holy Land.”

David rolled his eyes. “Why does everyone seem to think I have to go back to Israel?”

“Because that’s where all the puzzle pieces are. This isn’t something you can solve in an armchair, with a book and some maps, young man. This is something you’ll have to see with your own eyes, dig with your own hands, and that right soon. You’ll have to be an archaeologist and a sleuth at the same time—along with a dose of the exorcist . . .”

“Say what?”

Dr. Galilei smiled and walked around the side of his desk to a blackboard hung on the back wall. He reached up, grabbed a string and pulled down a silver projection screen. As he reached toward the light switch, he glanced at David.

“May I?” he asked.

Dave sighed. How could he say no? The doc was obviously dying to show him his home movies or slides or whatever. Again, probably Death-By-PowerPoint . . .

“Sure, go ahead,” Dave said.

Dr. G. killed the overheads. Dave helped him lower the blinds on all three of the huge windows. And, like that, the sun-drenched office was dark as twilight.

“This won’t take long.” The good doctor was already in the zone, fiddling with the projector, clicking the mouse and talking simultaneously. “Little display I’ve prepared for you,” he added, glancing over one shoulder at the door.

“Well, thanks, Doc . . . I’m honored,” Dave said.

“You might not think so later.”

“Why’s that?”

Dr. G. took another glance at the door, then at one of the windows.

“What I’m about to show you cannot leave this room, agreed?”

“Agreed, but . . . what’s the big mystery, Doc? You about to divulge national defense secrets or something?”

“If only. No, this is . . . this is much worse than national defense, my God in . . . ” his voice trailed off into unintelligible mumbling.

Dave decided not to ask any more questions. Galilei obviously had an agenda, including a program prepared just for him. Best to just let him get on with it. If nothing else, he’d be getting a PhD-level presentation gratis, so . . . what the hell.

***

As Dave took a seat in Galilei’s office, lights off and project­or on, the three men in the black sedan outside grew restless. Moshe and Aaron, the Mossad agents, wanted to go in, find the American and Taser him into submission. Then pop him into the car, race to the airport and—zip—back to Jerusalem.

But Sgt. Heim knew better, which secretly pleased him: that he was more informed, and thus more circumspect, than even the vaunted Mossad? He smiled to himself, gloating.

“We can’t go in and make a scene. You know why.”

“No, why,” Moshe, the tougher-looking one, demanded. It was not a question.

“Because we cannot risk notice by American authorities—of any level. Not even campus security,” Heim added. “So, we will wait.”

“I’m sick of waiting. It’s time to—”

“It’s time to remember who is in charge of this unit,” Heim interrupted him. “And that is not you, is it, Captain?”

No response.

“Is it?” Heim repeated.

“No, it is not me,” Moshe growled. “But a time is coming, Sergeant, when we will all be called to account—and not by Chief Inspectors or politicians. But by the Fallen. By Those who were here before.”

“Keep your lunatic beliefs to yourself,” Heim growled. “Angels and demons and all that Kabbalah rubbish. Save it for temple, Moshe, I’ve no time for it here.”

“More’s the pity,” Moshe muttered.

“And save your pity for Mr. Connors,” Heim said.

The two Mossad agents gazed at each other, then glanced out their respective windows. Although the other one, Aaron, did not hold with the ancient mysteries of the Kabbalah, he sympathized with his Mossad brother. Moshe was a full captain in the service. Yet, for this mission, the police Sergeant outranked them both. And for what? All this sitting and waiting like a clutch of hens. Galling as it was, they had no choice: they would wait.

And, waiting thus, they failed to notice the other black sports car creeping up the street behind them. The one with the crumpled front fender.

***

The word “wait,” however, was not in the Kabbalist’s lexicon.

The time for action—wet, dripping, gushing action—was near. Soon, it would be time to raise his deformed friend once more and go forth to do the Brotherhood’s business. The holy Brotherhood, whose worship of, and sacrifice for, the bene ha-Elohim stretched back over 2,700 years, to the shores of mystery Babylon, the Tower, to Nimrod and his blood-drunk, reptilian mother, sister and queen, Semiramus, called Ashtarte (from which the word “Easter” derived). Now, it was time.

Time as counted by the Brotherhood . . . the Fallen . . . the Betrayed. Not only the Maya, but also the Babylonians, Egyptians, Celts and the Aztecs—all looked to this time, prophesied its coming and the end of the old world. The end, above all, of the interloper, HWHY, “God” of Israel. He too would pay, and dearly. The thought of so much history, so much time, blood, suffering and toil in secret—all for the sake of Their return, was humbling. Now, at last, it was nigh.

Even as these long-familiar thoughts and musings ran like holy, golden rivulets through his mind, the Chief Rabbi of the Order, the Kabbalist, was already preparing for the final assassinations—including that of David Connors, last of the eyewitnesses.

He, like all the others, would be dead before long, and the assassin’s usefulness at an end. A shame about that, the Kabbalist thought. He had grown attached to this assassin, this servant of the Fallen. But there would be others, and this one must return to his rest, eventually.

But not, the Kabbalist knew, before Dave Connors had been sent to his.

He glanced at his Israeli wristwatch, a Cabala he’d received fifty years ago from a grateful Prime Minster Ben-Gurion, for similar services rendered. It read 11:20 a.m., Eastern Standard Time. Less than 24 hours now, until it was done—one final victim, one last meal for his friend, yes.

And the American would know no more.

 

***

FREE – CHAPTER 16, THE GOD KEY, Book I: Return of the Nephilim

TGK Front Cover and Spine

PART TWO: A Race With Amnesia

“Mankind is a race with amnesia

Clinging to a planet pocked by

Long-forgotten horrors…recalled only

In our most ancient myths and legends…

As if nothing more than dreams.

But dreams can as well be nightmares,

And amnesia is often caused by trauma.”

— Avis Schumacher

The Past is Not Passed

***

CHAPTER 16

Dateline: Wednesday, 5 December, 2012
Outside Falls Church, VA

When Dave came to, Cyndi was gone, along with her car. She was right: he wasn’t driving anywhere today.

So, instead, he called Yellow Cab.

Twenty minutes later, slightly wobbly and leaning on a cane the hospital had given him, he climbed into a cab and was on his way at last. He was going to see a sketch of the Roswell symbols and compare his lone Commandments photo with them, thanks to Ross Galilei, Ph.D., Professor of Astrophysics at George Washington University, and specialist in physical trace evidence (of the little green man variety).

Dave went over his notes, refined his questions, and within minutes they were entering the outskirts of Alexandria. He thought about running by his apartment, for clothes, cat food, and so forth, but . . . no. Cyndi had warned against going anywhere near his usual haunts. Besides, he was in no condition to climb three flights of stairs.

So, it was on to Washington University, and his interview with Dr. Galilei.

And not once did he notice the little black sedan, two cars behind him.

Sgt. Heim and his men followed the cab as it left the Malach woman’s house. They’d been watching the residence since following her home from Connors’s apartment the previous night. This really was a no-brainer, Heim thought. Having the Mossad along was utterly unnecessary, as he’d known it would be. He could handle this; it was child’s play. The two Mossad agents were nothing but baggage. Until now.

Because, now, they would take Connors . . . the moment that cab stopped. They would have to be careful of traffic cops, security officers, and the like: they hadn’t come all this way to blow it at the last moment. They’d come for only one purpose—to capture or kill David Connors. And they would.

They would have him today, one way or another—dead, alive or some other condition in between.

***

The cab arrived at GWU’s grad school, on Ballenger Ave., about twenty minutes later. The campus was only half a mile from David’s apartment—an eight-minute stroll, at most. But there would be no strolling for Dave Connors . . . not from his apartment, anyway; it was permanently off-limits.

Fortunately for David’s hip and thigh, traffic was light that morning, and for good reason: autumn had finally given way to winter, and the weather had gone all to hell. Mother Nature was serving notice that the little joke about “Indian Summer” was over, and the real nastiness was about to begin.

As the cab approached the visitor parking garage, Dave was dismayed to find the entire campus bristling with security: squads of armed guards, city police, and other uniformed personnel were swaggering all over the grounds—as if patrolling a top-secret govern­ment installation. Some were even wearing brown shirts. Over a decade after 9/11 and the after­shocks were, if anything, increasing.

But if Dave was dismayed, the passengers in the black sedan were nonplussed: Heim and Co., already blocked from action at the Malach woman’s house, were to be stymied here, as well. Because they were armed to the eyebrows, they couldn’t risk scrutiny by even campus security, let alone uniformed police. They had no choice, then, but to drive past the garage and park on the street. And wait.

And even though the display of campus Gestapo irked the hell out of Dave, he owed his life to it, just then. He would remain unaware of this until after his meeting with Dr. Galilei, when “Life-in-the-Big-City,” as he called it, would throw him a little curve.

***

He paid the cabbie, then gimp-walked on his cane across campus to the Science building. At least the rain had ceased, and the sun was actually beginning to peak through the clouds—albeit sullenly, as if it had simply grown tired of playing hide-and-go-screw-yourself.

Dave’s path took him up a gradual slope that wound its way beneath a thickening grove of elms, oaks and maples. The autumn leaves were brilliant, and as the sun shot through the clouds in all its glory at last, Dave saw a golden beam shine through the trees, as if lighting his way.

The hilltop came into view, crowned by the science and engineering building. David entered it and saw a bald man in his forties, wearing a white lab coat, walking toward him. He had dark eyes set beneath a thick, beetling brow. He glanced first at the cane, then at his visitor.

“Mr. Connors?” he asked.

“Guilty,” Dave said, extending his right hand. “Please, call me Dave.”

The professor shook his hand and smiled in return. “Ross Galilei. I was led to understand you wouldn’t make it today. Our mutual friend, Cyndi, phoned and told me you’d got the worst of it in a tangle with a car, is that right, Mr. Connors?”

“More or less. But I’m good to go, Doctor. And, please, just call me Dave.”

“Sorry. Call me Ross, or Doctor, if you prefer. Anything but Galileo; it makes me feel like a star. Get it?”

Dave smiled. What’s this? Geek humor?

“Are you all right to walk?” asked Dr. G.

“Well, my break-dancing career’s over, but I guess I can still walk, yes.”

Galilei smiled. “Good. Then follow me, please.”

Dr. G led him toward a hallway on the left. Dave gimped along behind him to a large, wood-paneled door, which Galilei unlocked with a card key (security being a byword on campus). When they stepped inside, Dave couldn’t help feeling awed and dwarfed by the sheer size of the office.

It was gargantuan, bigger than any classroom, and illuminated by three tall, rectangular windows—the old-fashioned kind, with hand cranks. The view was stunning.

The hilltop presided over the entire campus from here, the trees, the quad, the main administrative buildings—even Duke Avenue, crowded with its fraternity and sorority houses, restaurants and coffee shops. Dave could follow the avenue all the way along its course into the heart of Old Town.

“Doc, you must have kissed some serious posteriors to get this view,” he said.

Dr. Galilei seemed taken aback by this, but managed a slight smile.

“Eh, yes, well,” he began, “I understand you’ve some interest in my work on trace evidence analysis.” He nodded at a projector aimed at the back wall.

Great. Dr. G had a presentation all ready to go for him. No doubt a dose of “Death-By-PowerPoint.”

“Later, perhaps,” Dave said. “What I’d really like to see is your sketch of the Roswell debris.”

Dr. G arched an eyebrow. “You certainly don’t mince words.”

“My word-mincer’s broken, Doc,” Dave said. “Besides, you’re a busy man.”

Galilei gave the projector a rueful glance, then turned toward his desk.

From a central drawer, he withdrew a thin manila envelope. Inside it was an old-fashioned, spiral notebook. The covers were bent and wrinkled, and all the pages appeared yellow with age, yet the edges were still sharp and crisp.

Galilei lay it on his desk with reverence, as if it were a treasure map. He opened it halfway, removed two pieces of onion-skin paper and revealed the sketch at last: the Roswell debris.

It was a surprisingly good pencil drawing of what appeared to be part of a kite, with a balsa wood frame and a light, silvery skin (indicated by pencil shadowing and the word “silver.”) Dr. Galilei had even included the torn and ragged edges of the debris, just as David remembered them. Then, along one side of the frame, on some sort of I-beam, were the symbols. Dave whistled and nodded.

“Disco,” he whispered.

“I drew this in July of 1987,” the doctor said, “during a field study I conducted in Roswell that summer. Fortieth anniversary, that sort of thing. I met the woman who owned the debris, a Rosalind Something. She let me sketch it in her kitchen.”

“Rosalind Brazille,” Dave said. “I met her, too, five years ago. Neat lady.”

“Yes,” Dr. Galilei replied. “How is she these days? It’s been ages.”

“Can’t tell you. She . . . disappeared.”

“Oh,” said Galilei. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“You’re tellin’ me.”

“In any event,” Galilei continued, “I read the article you wrote at the time, for World News Weekly,” he added. “Good piece, really. Objective, informative—almost scientific.”

“Well, thanks . . . I think.”

“As you can see from the sketch, I’m no artist. My primary aim was to capture the symbols on the debris as closely as possible, with little concern for size, proportion, or other aesthetics.”

Dave thought it looked pretty good to him. The symbols, so achingly familiar, stared back at him from the paper like a spurned lover. You lost me once, genius, don’t lose me again . . .

“May I?” Dave asked.

“Of course. But please be careful; it’s only in pencil. Easy to smudge, even now.”

Dave picked up the notebook, careful not to touch the 25-year-old drawing. It showed the debris just as he remembered it: a small, angular piece of some impossible plastic-liquid-metal, the I-beam inscribed with purple, pictographic symbols—a cross between computer machine language, Egyptian hieroglyphs and primitive cuneiforms.

“As I said, I’m no artist,” Galilei offered. “Just a feeble scientist doing his best.”

“Well, your best is pretty darn good, from what I can see,” Dave said.

“Thank you. Our friend Cyndi said you had some . . . similar photos?”

“Had being the operant verb, Doc. My Roswell shots are all missing. But I do have one similar photograph, taken recently.”

Galilei blinked, confused. “Rendlesham Forest, 1980?”

“Guess again.”

Dave withdrew a single 5×7 photograph from his jacket pocket and placed it on the desk next to the notebook. It was a plain, black-and-white photo of what looked like chunks of hand-carved stone tablets, covered in strange pictographic symbols. Galilei blinked.

“The . . . Ten Commandments?”

“Give that man a ceegar,” Dave said.

“I don’t smoke,” the professor said. “But I may start today. This is incredible.” He held the lone surviving photo of the Commandments next to his sketch and compared the images. At a glance he could see that many of the symbols were indeed the same. “Simply incredible,” he repeated.

“No artist here, either,” Dave said. “Just a feeble journalist doing his best.”

“And I’d say that was ‘pretty darn good,’ too.”

“So,” Dave said. “What do you make of it?”

The professor paused a moment, glanced down at his sketch and David’s enlarged photograph, then looked up again. “I don’t know what to make of it. Save the obvious.”

“Which is?”

Galilei shrugged. “That the God of the ancient Hebrews was an extraterrestrial. Of the same species that crash-landed outside Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.”

*  *  *

FREE – Chapter 15, THE GOD KEY, BOOK I

TGK Front Cover and Spine

Chapter 15

Dave wouldn’t hear about the detective’s death until the following day, by which time he would have other, more urgent concerns—namely, his head injury. The full extent of the damage was only now beginning to reveal itself.

It started with a series of dreams—extremely vivid dreams—of the silhouette he’d seen outside the museum. Now, here it was again: standing at the mouth of the recovery room hallway, watching him. No features or details of any kind, only a nacreous, pearlescent outline, like the absence of matter; a blank; a hole. The same one he’d seen watching them from Fayette Alley, just before the . . .

. . . then it was gone, as abruptly as it had appeared.

That was when the intern returned.

 

The giant, who’d been grinning at him from the hall earlier, was now leaning into the doorway of the recovery room, and—this time—leering at him.

Dave didn’t know whether to leer back at him, say something, or prepare to defend himself—but with a concussion? Against a Goliath? Not likely. He’d have to find a weapon of some kind, try to disable or at least stun the guy before he—

—crossed the room in two long strides, wrapped his gigantic, six-fingered hands around Dave’s throat and began throttling the life out of him, choking him to death right there in the recovery room. As he squeezed, the giant bent down and exhaled the most noxious, sickening breath Dave had ever smelled, right in his face.

“Goddammit,” Dave gagged, but all that came out was a wet, glottal sound.

Worse, he couldn’t budge the man’s hands. They were huge: the wrists were like small tree trunks, while the hands themselves looked like Virginia hams—only bigger. All the SEAL training in the world wouldn’t make a dent in this guy.

Then, the monster leaned even closer and spit something at him—into his face. His mouth, to be exact. The creature spit something hard and metallic into his . . .

( . . . key?)

. . . mouth, and he knew without looking, the way one does in dreams, that it was an old-fashioned skeleton key, with a skull at one end. Dave tried to spit the thing back out but couldn’t. He was going to choke to death on a damned key.

Panic shot into his chest just as the giant stopped throttling him, smiled and . . . began vomiting on him.

Only it wasn’t really vomit. It was a mouthful of  . . .

. . . photographs?

Yes: 35mm color photos.

The missing Roswell photographs.

Dave watched in numb disbelief as the long-lost photos poured from the giant’s mouth. His revulsion peaked when the giant released him, picked up the soggy, puke-spattered photos and began stuffing them back into his mouth.

“My Glh . . . God . . .” Dave choked.

“God?” the giant managed, still munching on the photos. He chewed the last of them up, swallowed them down, and added, “Huh, God’s dead.”

Dave was incapable of a rational response. He lashed out with both fists, hammering at the giant’s Adam’s apple, hoping to crush the larynx or break the hyoid bone, but missing every time. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t connect. It was like being in a bad dream. He needed a weapon, something to hit him with—

The phone!

Dave glanced at the bedside table. Holding his breath, he rolled over on his side, reached for the phone, and . . .

. . . woke up.

And glanced around the room.

He wasn’t in the E.R., or Recovery or anywhere near the hospital. He was at some strange house way out in the sticks, and he remembered: Cyndi’s country home, which she almost never used. And he was on the living room sofa . . . with Cyndi?!

She lay curled up nice and snug beside him, fast asleep.

***

“Hey, Cyn, wake up.” Dave shook her shoulder. “C’mon, Cyndi . . .” He tried to lean over and shake her harder, but the dizziness whacked him again; he felt as if he were swooning. And maybe he was: this woman still had that effect on him . . . she was so beautiful, so perfect. And she was lying next to him. On her sofa. Just the two of them . . .

Maybe there was a God after all.

She awoke and stretched languorously, luxuriously, like a cat.

“C’mon, Cyn, get up,” David urged. “It’s eight o’clock.”

“Mmmh? Eight?”

“Yeah, we gotta roll or we’ll be late for work.”

“Work?” Cyndi finally came to and sat up beside him. “What time is it?”

“Eight.”

“In the morning?”

“I think so,” Dave said, sounding unsure; all he could see was the wall clock.

Cyndi leaned over the edge of the couch and glanced out her living room window. The woods and fields beyond lay blanketed in blackness.

“It’s eight at night, Nimrod,” she said, with a sigh. “Besides, you’re on leave.”

“Vacation?”

She turned her face to him and instead of the wry grin or smile he was expecting, she gave him only a blank stare.

“Hardly that,” she said, finally. “You must return to Israel as soon as possible.”

He blinked. The wheels within began turning—or tried to. “Did we . . . eh?”

“Eh, no, we didn’t. I merely kept an eye on you so you wouldn’t die. Once I saw you would survive, I must have nodded off here.”

“What about Attila?”

“We picked him up from your apartment on the way home,” she answered. “Don’t you remember?”

David shrugged one shoulder. “I can’t remember anything.”

“He’s sleeping right next to you, on the floor.” She pointed to a spot next to the sofa. Dave glanced to his right and saw the raggedy old Siamese curled up below him. Attila was lying as close to him as possible, without actually being on him.

“Little bugger,” Dave said, surprised at the lump in his throat; probably indigestion.

“Oh, I fear you won’t be seeing Detective Lacy again.”

“Huh?”

“He was run over in the hospital parking lot last night. Cut in half, they say.”

“What?”

“Hit-and-run,” she said. “So? Are you?”

“Am I what?” He was conscious of a swimming sensation between his eyes.

“Going back to Israel?”

Dave paused to gather what was left of his mind. His brain simply did not want to function: the wheels within felt gummed up, clogged. The pain medication, probably.

“What does that have to do with Detective Lacy?” he asked.

“So you avoid the same fate,” she replied. “That car is still out there.”

“Uh . . . not right away, no. I’ll worry about God Keys and Doomsdays later, OK? I’ve got an appointment to keep on Wednesday. With your friend, Galileo.”

“But you can’t move,” she insisted. “Your head—”

“—Is made of stone. Or so my editor tells me. A few bumps here or there won’t matter. Here, help me up.”

“You can’t see Dr. Galilei today.”

He turned toward her, swaying a bit and blinking, as if hungover.

“That’s right, it’s only Tuesday, isn’t it?”

“It’s Wednesday, all right. But you can’t drive anywhere. You’ve got to can—”

“I’ve lost a full day? Without a single drink?” He touched his forehead.

“You’re staying here, on the sofa.”

“But Attila needs his food,” he replied. “And I need my car and clothes and—”

“Forget it,” she said. “They’re probably watching your apartment, the observatory, all the places you usually go. Until we can get a fix on these people, and what they want, you’re not leaving this house.”

“Yeah, but—”

“I’ll take care of things, you stay put on that couch. I’ve got to get us some food, too. There’s nothing here to eat. Oh, one more thing . . .” She rummaged in her purse.

“Yeah?”

“Your doctor found this on the floor of the Recovery Room, by your gurney. Is it yours?” she asked, as she handed him the object.

It was a slightly damp, but thoroughly solid, skeleton key.

With just a trace of his saliva on it.

“OK, look, I don’t . . . think I’m feeling . . . all that well, just now. Maybe I should just go back to my place, crash for a few hours and—”

“Just lie still and do as I say,” she said.

And with that, she took his head in both her hands, planted an incredibly juicy kiss on his mouth and gave his skull a slight twist.

And he was out. Cold.

She pocketed the key and left.

 

#

End, Part One

THE GOD KEY, Book I: Chapters 12 – 14 FREE

TGK FRONT Cover FINAL

Tonight we get THREE chapters all at once, 12 – 14, as they are short, brief and to the point.

 

Chapter 12

Six thousand miles away, Inspector Jacob Schriever stood at his kitchen window, gazing into Jerusalem’s pre-dawn darkness. Although it was barely five o’clock, he had already finished breakfast. His wife Yakira, on the other hand, hadn’t touched hers. She was still standing at the balcony door as usual, watching the stars.
But he couldn’t worry about that now; he had other things on his mind. The Eilat Hilton murders for one, and Dr. Globus’s death. The IPD/Mossad unit he’d sent to the U.S. (code-named “Whale”) would achieve their mission (“Operation Jonah,” natu-rally), so no worries there. They would have the American in custody soon. That wasn’t the problem.
He just wished he hadn’t granted permission to kill the young man—that was the problem. Schriever really did want to question the American. He was particularly in-terested in how Connors would account for his fingerprints in poor old Globus’s room the night of his disappearance.
Above all, Inspector Schriever wanted to know why.
Why the American had gone to such lengths to murder two total strangers. Why he had kidnapped a third victim—an old man in his 70s—only to butcher him in the de-sert. Why he had torn all the victims’ spinal cords out the back of their necks, and . . .
No, he would not think about that. It was too sick, too depraved. Too American.
Yet, he had to know. He had to know why.
It was now just past five; he had to report by 6:00 a.m., regardless of his rank. The Israeli Police Department was a crack paramilitary force—more like a commando squad than a police agency. Even Chief Inspectors had rules, regulations and superiors to obey.
Chief Inspectors were also human, however, with all the personal problems and crises that entailed. And Inspector Schriever’s personal crisis was at that moment standing across the kitchen from him, gazing out the balcony door at the stars, as she had been all night. And not for the first time, either.
Yakira was really starting to scare him. She was no longer merely “eccentric” or a concern, but a full-fledged crisis. He longed for their early days together, when they were young and content, and she called him “husband” as a term of affection, as in “You look handsome today, husband.” And he would reply, “And you are beautiful as always, wife.” Like the good, solid, Israeli married couple they were. But those days were long, long gone. The loss of their adopted child hadn’t helped.
“Come along, dear,” he said. “You need your sleep.” He touched her elbow and tried to guide her away from the balcony, but she wouldn’t budge.
“They’re coming,” she whispered, still staring into the sky. Her reflection in the glass was so pale, she looked like a ghost.
“Who’s coming, my dear?”
“They are,” she said.
“And who are ‘they?’”
She turned to face him at last, her eyes deeply circled and hollow.
“Yes, they. Are coming. Back.”
“But who are ‘they?’” he repeated.
“And this time they’re angry, Jacob . . .
“. . . they’re very, very angry. . .”
***
Another entity feeling a bit of anger just then was Dr. Levi Schwartz, administrator of the ICRC/Segré Observatory, atop Mt. Hermon in northern Israel. His anger was directed not at any individual, but at the incomprehensible objects his telescopes were picking up from the Dark Rift.
Properly known as the Israeli Cosmic Ray Center/Emilio Segré Observatory, the joint Israeli-Swedish-Italian facility had squatted atop the mountain for over 30 years in a single trailer and a pair of Quonset Huts.
Initially a cooperative venture for young Swedish, Italian and Israeli astrono-mers to study cosmic ray contamination in Earth’s atmosphere, the observatory had literally exploded in size between December, 2011 and November, 2012.
Its mission and brief, likewise, had blown up. Cosmic rays were the least of the staff’s concerns. Like Cyndi and David’s tiny observatory back in Virginia, the ICRC now studied the Dark Rift—and only the Dark Rift—and the objects feared to emerge from it. Now, it seemed, they were here.
Or, on their way, at least: 13 of them.
These were Apollo-class asteroids, as opposed to Atens or Amors, middling in size, but moving at tremendous speed. As their classification as Apollos indicated, they were on an interior trajectory that would bring them in very, very close contact to earth.
That alone was enough to set Dr. Schwartz’s teeth on edge. But it was what he’d learned that morning, before the damned space rocks had shown themselves, that really got under his hide.
And that was the Israeli Air Force: they were commandeering his observatory and cosmic ray center, all its equipment, staff, lasers, scopes, collimeters, everything—in much the same way as the Department of Defense had commandeered Cyndi Malach’s observatory on Mt. Nebo, in Alexandria, VA.
Fuming, Schwartz secretly hoped the damned asteroids would impact the earth. Right on top of the Air Force vehicles that were even now streaming up the mountain-side to take over his observatory—like a massive load of cosmic crap dumped on their heads.
Serve them right. Let them see what it was like, to run such a place and have the cosmos take a giant dump on your head. The thought made Schwartz smile. But only momentarily.
The Air Force had arrived.

 

Chapter 13

So this is what it’s like to die . . .

Strange. He didn’t know there would be pain in the afterlife. And where was the tunnel of light? The deceased loved ones? The angels and harps and—

“—Unhhh,” he groaned. “What the . . . ?”
“Ssssh, don’t try to speak.” Cyndi was leaning over him, her long, black hair fram-ing her face, a bright, white light shining behind her, making her look just like . . .
“ . . . an angel . . .” he whispered.
“Sssshhh . . .”
“Attila . . . my cat . . . What about—”
“He’s fine. You fed him before you left, remember?”
“Uhhh . . .”
He tried to nod but only succeeded in passing out again.
***
“Head injuries can be tricky,” a male voice was saying. “We won’t know anything definitive until . . .”
“I walk . . . the flock . . . outta here.”
“David!” Cyndi was there again, bending over him. “Please lay still, try not to speak. The doctor says you’ve got a bad concussion.”
“But I ordered . . . a good one.”
“Crazy American,” she said, stroking his face now. Her fingertips felt like feath-ers; and her perfume . . . Here he was, with his brains scrambled in the busted eggshell of his skull, and all he could think about was her perfume, the night breeze, the car . . .
“Wh-what the hell hap—? Are you—”
“I’m fine,” she said. “Thanks to you. The police say you saved my life. Pulling me out of the way like that, taking the impact yourself.”
“S’what . . . any gennulman . . . would do.”
“That’s twice you’ve rescued me now.”
“Hmnh . . . S’what . . . any . . . gen . . .”
He didn’t sound good. Or look good, either: he was terribly pale and drawn, as if the life force was withering within.
“You stupid, crazy redneck.” Her eyes grew moist.
“Yuppie . . .”
“Don’t die on me, David,” she said. “Please don’t die . . .”
“Tuesday,” he murmured, as if it were perfectly sensible.
And passed out again.
***
It would be six hours before they could keep him conscious, more or less. Long enough for the ER physician to upgrade his condition from “Critical” to “Satisfactory” (though Dave didn’t think there was anything at all “Satisfactory” about the way he felt).
“You’re one lucky man,” the doctor told him.
“Lucky . . .”
“As in, no broken bones or skull fractures. Just a nasty concussion, a deep thigh bruise and a hip-pointer on your left side. Other than that, you’re fine.”
“Nothing . . . dislocated?”
“Nope,” said the medical man. “Radiology, CTs, MRIs, everything looks OK. With any luck, you’ll be out of here this afternoon.”
“That’s . . . good. Thanks, Doc.”
“Your prognosis looks good, too, though that hip’s going to hurt like hell for the next few weeks. I’ve prescribed a pain reliever for you, and I recommend you use a walker or a cane for the first week or so.”
Dave recalled one of his old unit’s slogans, and repeated it to himself with each throb of his head and hip: (SEALs don’t feel pain . . . SEALs don’t feel pain . . .)
Which was a good thing, since the doctor didn’t seem in a hurry to actually give him any pain medication just then.
“We’ve had you under observation for the past fourteen hours,” he said, “so I doubt there’s any permanent head injury. However, I do want someone watching you for the next ten to twelve hours, just to be safe.”
“I’ll stay with him.” Cyndi appeared by his side.
“Good. Keep him awake until midnight or so—no naps, no alcohol. Watch TV or something. A little coffee or tea wouldn’t hurt.”
Dave tried to smile. “But dodging cars is off the menu, eh?”
“Just for tonight,” the doctor said. “Oh, I almost forgot: there’s a detective waiting to see you. I can tell him to come back later, if you’d prefer.”
Dave tried to shake his head, but only went dizzy again. He put a hand to his tem-ple and winced. “Nah, that’s OK, bring ‘im on.”
Cyndi squeezed his hand. “Are you sure?”
“Yeah, let’s get this over with. Then . . .”
“Back to your place,” she said. “And Attila.”
“Yeah . . . he’ll be furious.”
The doctor smiled and left, allowing Dave to see into the outer hallway.
At first, he couldn’t spot anyone waiting for him. No uniformed officers, no plain-clothed detectives, nothing. Then, like an extra from central casting, a gigantic intern strode past—a Goliath in scrubs. He had to be 7½ to 8 feet tall, maybe 400 pounds, and looked vaguely Greek or Arabic—dark, swarthy, with thick, curly black hair. As Dave watched him lumber by, he noticed that the man had six fingers on one hand.
Which was crazy, of course. A hallucination. He must’ve hit his head harder than he’d realized.
“Hey, Cyn,” he said, still staring into the hallway, “don’t let me forget: I have an interview with your friend Galilei, Wednesday at noon. OK?”
“David, what’s wrong?” Cyndi asked. “You look—”
“Nothing, nothing,” he said, eyes still fixed on the hallucination. “No biggie.”
“All right,” Cyndi said. “Just don’t mention the D.O.D., understood?”
“Sure, yeah. Understood.” As he said this, the hallucination stopped in mid-stride, turned and stared right at him. And grinned, showing two rows of teeth on each jaw. Then continued on his way.
No one else seemed to notice him, or appeared to care if they did. Dave blinked several times, but said nothing. Definitely a hallucination.
The detective, however, was not.
He appeared at the door, a burly, balding, red-faced man in a rumpled suit, who looked like he might have played football at one time—a long time ago. Now, he looked like he’d just eaten one. As he approached, Dave felt Cyndi step close beside him, as if shielding him.
“David Connors?” the detective asked.
“Guilty.”
The man smiled and held out his right hand, which boasted a huge, high school class ring (T.C. Williams H.S., Class of ’83). That explained his size: the cop was a former Titan. Dave shook hands with him and waited.
“I’m Detective Sergeant Lacy,” he said, as he withdrew a small notebook and pencil from his jacket. “I won’t keep you, just a few quick questions. Have to ask ‘em now before too much time passes. You know, head injury and all.”
“Gotcha.”
“So, let’s start at the top: who would want to kill you?”
“It wasn’t an accident?”
The detective glanced at Cyndi, then shook his head.
“Not likely. Based on your girlfriend’s statement—”
“—Just friend’s,” she corrected him.
“Sorry. Based on your friend’s statement, it was intentional. Car came flying up the street in the wrong lane, no headlights, even went up on the sidewalk to hit you. Didn’t stop or slow down, just creamed you, turned up an alley and . . . disappeared.”
“Witnesses?” Dave asked.
Detective Lacy shook his head. “Just you and your girlfr—your friend.”
“I am actually his employer,” Cyndi said, giving Sgt. Lacy the hard eye. “We also happen to be . . . good friends. There is no romantic involvement.”
“Uh huh,” said the Det. “Whatever. Still no witnesses.”
“Huh,” David muttered. “That’s strange.”
“What is?”
“North Union’s usually crawling with tourists. In fact, I thought I saw one watch-ing us from an alley just before—”
“Not last night, you didn’t. You two were the only pedestrians on the block at the time.” Sgt. Lacy paused and asked, “Did you see the license plate, by any chance?”
“No,” David said. Cyndi shook her head.
“Make or model of the car?” Lacy pressed.
“Small and dark,” David told him. “And low to the ground, like a sports car. But it wasn’t American: sounded more like a rice-burner—a Nissan, maybe, or a Mazda.”
Sgt. Lacy scribbled in his notepad, nodding his head. Then he glanced up and asked, “How about the driver? You see the face?”
“No,” David said.
“It happened so fast,” Cyndi added. “I barely even saw the car.”
“You sure, Miss?” he asked her. “You told the officer who responded, ‘That jerk nearly killed us,’ which sounds to me like you saw a male driver.”
“Figure of speech,” Cyndi replied. “I’d just nearly been run over, Sergeant. I may have said ‘jerk,’ but I don’t know what sex the driver was.”
“How about it, David?” Lacy asked. “Think hard. Maybe you saw a face or—”
“No,” David repeated. “Nothing.”
“Male, female? Young? Old? Middle—”
“I told you, nothing. All I saw was the front bumper and then . . . I was flying.”
“OK, OK, take it easy,” Lacy said, scribbling a final note. “Just doin’ my job.”
“Sorry,” David said. “Didn’t mean to snap, I just . . . I’m really tired.”
“I’ll bet,” Lacy said. “But, just in case—”
“Detective, I think this interview is over,” Cyndi said, a hint of steel in her voice.
Sgt. Lacy smiled. “I was only going to give you my card,” he said. “In case you remember something, or have any questions. All right?”
“Very well,” she said. She took the card and stuck it into her purse.
“OK, then, I’ll let you two go. Again, if you remember seeing—”
—“We’ll be sure to call you, yes. Thank you, Detective.” Cyndi turned her back on Sgt. Lacy and began helping David to his feet.
“Thanks, Sergeant,” David said. “And I will. Call, that is. If I remember.”
The cop stared at him a good, long moment, then said: “For your sake, young man, I hope you do.” Then he turned and walked away.
As he left the E.R. area and entered the parking lot, Sgt. Lacy thought about the last note he’d made in his notebook. True, it was part intuition, but it was more than just a hunch; it was based on personal observation—what poker players call “tells.” And, although brief, it could prove the most telling observation of the entire case.
The girlfr. knows something, he’d jotted.
And he couldn’t wait to find out what that something was.

 

Chapter 14

Which was why, as Sgt. Lacy left the E.R., stepped over the curb and into the parking lot, he wasn’t exactly surprised when he heard the grinding, high-pitched whine of a foreign sports car (more like a rice-burner) racing up behind him. He spun around as fast as his bulk would spin, but it was already too late.
The little (Mazda? Nissan?) slammed into him, smashing him against the grill of his own car, crushing his spine. The driver floored it, and the rice-burner whined, grinding Lacy’s body against the grill, severing the detective’s spine at the waist. If not for his bulk, he would have been cut in half. As it was, his upper body swung nearly 1800 to the left, then flopped onto the parking lot, eyes still open, lips still moving, but emitting only gouts of dark, thick, syrupy blood.
The little car backed up over the curb, turned and sped from the lot unnoticed.

 

#

The God Key, Book I — Chapter 9

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Chapter 9

 

“Why are you taking me here, Yuppie?” David asked.

“You’ll see. Redneck.”

But all David could see were the last few stragglers leaving the museum; it was already past ten o’clock; closing time was 11:00 pm during the week. Perfect, he thought, it’s probably some yuppie wine-tasting, complete with brie and cardboard crackers.

As they entered, Dave couldn’t help feeling dwarfed by the massive granite columns and floors, the dizzyingly high ceilings and gorgeous marble staircases. And the awesome, solemn silence that seemed the province of all cathedrals and museums.

Dave tried to recall what they’d been talking about back at the observatory, before the tiny black sports car had entered their lives. But the somber nature of their surroundings and the odd, dreamlike feeling he’d had since the run from the rice-burner, stole all speech from him. Once inside, Cyndi brought him back to earth.

“We were talking of the Fallen,” she said, looking up at him with those big, olive-brown eyes. All he could hear inside his head was Oh boy . . . here we go again . . . moth to the flame . . . I’m outta my depth, in over my head and head over heels . . . Suddenly, an old Tears For Fears song started playing in his head. Something to do with being “head over heels,” and never finding out till he’s . . .

“Head over heels,” he blurted. “Jeeze.”

“What?” she asked.

“Nothing. Just thinking how . . . uh . . . head over heels I was about that article. Anyway, what about these Falling Ones?”

“Fallen Ones,” she corrected him, touching his forearm. “Angels who fell to earth in order to have sex with human females.” Now she gave his elbow a squeeze.

“Oh, yeah. What was that other name? Neph-something?” he asked, the skin along his forearm rising to her magnetic touch. The word ‘sex’ coming from those lush lips was riveting. Especially to a young man of 29. Hell, 69. Plus, that damned Tears for Fears song would not stop playing in his head. Something about keeping her distance with a system of touch? . . . Too apt.

“That other name shouldn’t be repeated. Trust me,” she said. “These beings are incredibly powerful. And Yahweh trusted them in the beginning, appointed them to be Man’s guardians, hence their other name, Grigori, Greek for ‘The Watchers.’”

“What does this have to do with that black car? Or the Roswell symbols?”

“You wanted to know what these creatures are, and I’m showing you,” she added, nodding toward the furthest exhibit: the Ancient & Prehistoric Gallery. “They are the reason for the Commandments and the Roswell debris.”

“Huh?”

“These are the beings who descended to earth thousands of years ago, the ones the Sumerians called the Anunnaki. But they didn’t merely mate with human women—they abducted them against their will—mated with them by force.”

“You mean, raped them,” Dave said.

“Exactly. And they spawned a race of mutants—hybrids. Giants,” she added, glancing away from him now. “Bloodthirsty, savage creatures also called Neph—by that other name. Yahweh was so furious, he damned them all—and warped their beauty, made them deformed . . . hideous . . . twisted beyond all recognition, their once glorious faces and forms made monstrous mockeries, and then . . . He abandoned Them. In the Abyss.”

“You know I don’t believe any of this, right? Religion is a fairy tale for children and a crutch for weaklings.”

“But you do believe in Sitchin, yes? And von Däniken?”

“Well . . . sort of. I mean, they make more sense than—”

“Than religion, I know. Just humor me while we head to the prehistoric exhibits.”

“So, you’re saying these mythical Watchers or Fallen things will—what? Try to stop me? Destroy my evidence? Or rape me?”

Cyndi glanced around the mostly empty museum before continuing—whether for caution or effect, Dave couldn’t tell.

“Nothing so mundane,” she replied. “Handsome, strapping lad like you? No, they’ll just reach out and touch you here,” she whispered, as she reached over and, incredibly, touched his zipper. “And here,” she added, with a light tap on his clavicle with her other hand. “They’ll slip their thumbnails in, rip you open, paddle about in your innards a bit, and then . . .” Still touching him, she leaned forward, smiled and said:

“ . . . they will devour you.”

 

Next up — Chapter 10