As part of the bookmark blitz tour for Guardian Angels, I have an excerpt for your reading pleasure.
Luigi decided to toast himself and his accomplishments again. Finding his glass empty, he rang the bell for a top up, and continued to gloat, firmly believing he was beyond accountability.
When the door to the study opened a few minutes later and Gianni, the housekeeper, came in with his favorite Black Pearl Louis XIII cognac on a silver tray, he insisted the old servant stay with him and drink to his success. “Come, Gianni, stay, celebrate with me. Good times should be shared with trusted friends.” The gesture wasn’t missed by Gianni. At fifty-five thousand dollars a bottle, the cognac was one of the most expensive in the world, and he quickly poured a generous helping into two glasses. As he handed one to his boss, he paused momentarily to savor the bouquet of the blended flowers, fruits, spices, and the deep amber color of the aromatic liquid.
“You’re looking particularly pleased with yourself today, young Sir. Good news?”
“It’s the very best of news, Gianni, and one that appears to be maturing with age.” He replied without looking away from the screens.
The old housekeeper tossed down his drink in one and shuffled to stand deferentially behind his employer. He listened as yet more reports of the suffering caused by the missile detonations were announced. “That mess doesn’t look like there’s much to be happy about, Sir. Surely that doesn’t please you, does it?”
“Aah, Gianni, sometimes, when you need to make a point, you have to catch your enemy’s attention,” Luigi replied. “You have to ensure they not only respect you, but fear you. I’m pleased because I’ve done just that. Wouldn’t you agree, my old friend?”
When no reply was forthcoming, Luigi naturally assumed the old housekeeper must have been unable to hear his question.
Turning in his seat, he felt a peculiar throbbing, tingling sensation in his teeth and sinuses. “I said ‘wouldn’t you agr . . . .’” Luigi’s voice choked off in his throat as he caught sight of Gianni’s eyes. The distinctive, familiar, lazy old eyes of his longtime employee seemed to be undergoing some kind of metamorphosis. Gone was the semi-vacant, un-focused faraway look he always seemed to display as he pottered about. Instead, Luigi was looking into the hardest, most piercing eyes he had ever seen, eyes that seemed to glow with an inner furnace to match the cold look of rage chiseled onto his face.
The shock made him drop his glass onto the carpet, spilling about three thousand dollars worth of the deep amber nectar. Transfixed he watched as Gianni’s body straightened, grew, and bulked out.
As the years fell away from his face, he realized without a doubt that he was going to fully shoulder the burdens his choices had wrought. Before him stood his own personal living nightmare made flesh, dressed from head to toe in black. Instantly he felt the fire rising within him, straining for release.
The Guardian stepped forward, making the barest of gestures with his finger as he did so, and Luigi found himself lifted into the air by some unseen force. He was held motionless, helpless as a puppet awaiting the commands of his master.
Nodding at the screens, the Guardian spoke. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Andrew, Guardian Lord of Shadow Operations. Did you seriously think you’d get away with something like this?”
Luigi stared defiantly back, fighting to overcome his shock at the Guardian’s presence, and surprised at the lack of access to his ability.
“Do what you want, asshole, at least the world sees you as the frauds I knew you were!” he hissed.
“Do what I want? I’d love to, but unfortunately my boss won’t let me.”
Luigi stared impotently back at his nemesis as he strolled closer.
Once he was standing in front of him, the Shadow Lord said, “As for exposing us as frauds? Well, I really don’t know why you would think that. We never said or intimated we could be everywhere at once. The world’s a sad enough place as it is without you adding to it. All we are doing is trying to help people avoid as much heartbreak as possible.” Andrew pointed to the repeat bulletins on the screens. “So, once the world finds out that all this was the deliberate act of some sick and twisted psycho who didn’t care how many suffered, just so long as he could score some points, how do you think they’ll react to you, Luigi?”
The point struck home. Luigi struggled in an attempt to slap the Guardian across the face, to do something to help vent the building fury inside him.
Helpless, he continued stewing as the Guardian moved so close he was able to whisper in his ear. “And when they find out about your abilities, can you even begin to imagine how they’ll react to that? You worthless, spineless, pathetic little man. I really wish they’d let me play with you before we throw you to the wolves.”
“Fuck off, asshole, you don’t scare me.”
“Scare you?” Andrew smiled wickedly. “Oh no, Luigi, that’s not my job. That’s hers!” The Guardian gestured behind Luigi at the same moment he let go with his telekinesis. Although Luigi only dropped about a foot, he crumpled to the floor, becoming acutely aware that the strange throbbing in his teeth was even more pronounced than before.
Turning, Luigi was met with a vision of such barely contained power and fury that he immediately soiled his pants.
Andrew squatted beside him. “Allow me to introduce you to the head of our investigations branch. This is Victoria, our Lord Inquisitor, and she’s very pleased to meet you after all the suffering you’ve caused.”
Victoria stood in front of the TV screens, wreathed in a visible static discharge that blew the circuits of all the electrical equipment in the office and made the hairs on Luigi’s arms and head stand on end.
Her eyes, so similar to those of the Shadow Lord, intensified in luminosity and turned from grey to white hot.
Luigi shielded his eyes and cowered on the floor in his own excrement. What a fool I am. He thought.
In reply to his thoughts, the Shadow Lord said, “Yes Luigi, what a murderous, cowardly fool of a man you are. I think the whole world will agree when they find out, eh?”
Andrew P Weston was born in the city of Birmingham, in the UK and grew up in the towns of Bearwood and Edgbaston. Over the years, he wrote and illustrated a selection of private books for his children regarding the life of a tiny kitten, called, The Adventures of Willy Whiskers.
An unfortunate accident received on duty meant Andrew had to retire early from the police force, but after moving to the sunny Greek island of Kos to speed up his recuperation, he was at last able to devote time to the Guardian Concept he had developed over his years in the military and police.
When not writing, Andrew enjoys Greek dancing and language lessons, being told what to do by his wife, Annette, and hunting shadows in the dark. He also has a magnificent mustache collection.
In a series of terrifying events, otherworldly beings intervene to save innocent lives.
The world community reacts with relief as they realize that guardian angels may in fact exist, and they are diligently protecting us.
But there are those who would seek to stop what they feel is a threat against their livelihoods. How far will some go to battle the Guardians? Is the fairy tale over before it even begins?
Guardian Angels is a powerful and compelling story about the catalyst that has the power to unite society in the hope for a better future. The spark of hope is fragile—can it last?