P.K.Gallagher – Cerberus Excerpt #4: Caleb
Kaeden pocketed his keys and phone and made his way to the living room. Caleb was sprawled out across the loveseat, a photo album in his lap. He looked incredibly at home.
“I thought I told you not to touch anything,” Kaeden said with no real conviction.
“And you expected me to listen?” He glanced at Kaeden and smiled affably, no trace of malice on his face. “Well, look at you,” he said, closing the book. “Don’t you look educated?”
“Clever disguise, huh?”
“No kidding?” Chuckling, Caleb stood and handed the album to Kaeden. “You’ve got a beautiful family,” he said. “You all look alike, especially you and your father.” He paused before adding, “I noticed your dad’s suddenly not in the photos anymore. What happened?”
Kaeden flinched the way he always did when the subject of his father was broached unexpectedly. He looked down briefly, eyes veiled as he put the album back in its rightful place. “He died.” He was murdered.
Caleb flinched, too, though he didn’t look overly surprised. He shook his head apologetically. “I’m sorry.”
Kaeden shrugged. “It was a long time ago.”
Caleb shook his head again, knowingly this time. “Hey,” he said, “I lost my dad a long time ago, too. Believe me when I say I know that time has nothing to do with it.” He clapped Kaeden’s shoulder once and stepped back. “All right; enough of that. We’ve got a graduation to get you to. Wait here; I’m going to go see what you’re walking into.”
There it was again, that suggestion that Caleb planned to traverse miles in a matter of seconds the moment Kaeden’s head was turned. Not this time. He stared unflaggingly at Caleb, determined to prove to himself that there was some logical explanation as to how he was doing it. Caleb smiled.
“Come on, kid; no need to eyeball me like that.” He chuckled as he backed up to lean against the wall in the shadow of a bookshelf. And then, right before Kaeden’s eyes, he seemed to slip inside it and was gone. Kaeden’s eyes widened.
So much for a logical explanation. “How?” He stepped toward the bookshelf to see if there was something he was missing, but there was nothing. Just a corner. It was like the shadowy area had simply swallowed him. He willed himself not to freak out. So Caleb could teleport, it seemed; big deal. If there were vampires, was it really such a stretch that there were humans with abnormal abilities?
But Caleb isn’t human.
Kaeden wasn’t sure how he knew this, but he believed it with every fiber of his being. He could tell. Not that it really mattered, he supposed, but if he allowed mutants into his schemata of beings contained in this world, what else would he have to accept later on?
He hastily backed away from that thought. Focus on the simple things. Walking across a stage was simple. Taking a piece of paper from his principal was simple. Simple things he could handle. He took a deep breath to calm himself and inhaled the scent of dying embers and sandalwood.
“This is going to be hard, kid,” Caleb said as Kaeden turned to face him.
He must have expected Kaeden to ask about how he was getting around again, because he looked surprised when Kaeden asked instead, “How exactly?”
“It’s bright,” he said. “The sanctuary is at the back of the church and is facing east, so direct sunlight shouldn’t be a problem, but your eyes are still going to hurt from the fluorescents. Unfortunately, that’s going to be the least of your problems. There’re a lot of people and it’s warm. The scent of their blood is literally radiating off of them in waves.” The mere words made Kaeden’s mouth water and his body ache, and Caleb snapped his fingers close to Kaeden’s face.
“Come back from there,” he said sternly. “I need you to focus. I’m certain you can do this, but it’s more important that you are, too.”
Kaeden swallowed. “I am.”
“Good. I’m going to put you out on the side since I don’t know where your seat is. They were in the Fs when I left, and since your class is so small, you shouldn’t have too long to wait when you get there. Just slip in when it’s inconspicuous, try not to breathe, listen for your name, and head for the exit as soon as you can. Once you’re out, just call my name, and I’ll come. I’ll be watching to make sure you don’t do anything you’ll regret. Just focus. Alright?” He held out his arm to his charge.
Kaeden nodded tensely. “Alright.” He reached for Caleb but then hesitated for a moment. “One more thing,” he said.
“What is it?”
Kaeden looked down, a little embarrassed. “I’m not going to burn up when I step foot inside the church or anything, right?”
Caleb laughed, reaching out and grabbing Kaeden’s arm as darkness enveloped them. “Of course not.”
Cerberus: Book 1 of Parish by P.K. Gallagher
Paranormal YA Fantasy For Kaeden Parish, life in Solace has always followed certain rules—everything makes sense, everything can be planned for, and everything is as it seems. Unfortunately, the secret harbored by his gorgeous, albeit guarded girlfriend is about to shatter all of that. After a successful attack on his life opens his eyes to a world of war, shadows, and supernatural creatures—a world he didn’t plan for—Kaeden finds himself resembling the sort of monster he has always feared. As he desperately struggles to resist a new temptation, danger draws ever nearer, threatening the ones he loves most. A prophecy tells of a final battle and great destruction, and Kaeden must decide which side he is on, a choice that could mean the end of the world. In Book 1 of the Solace Series, P.K. Gallagher pulls readers into a realm where good and evil are at war, and the outcome of it all rests on one young man’s decision to either go and live...or stay and die. This is where the story of Parish begins.
Author P.K. Gallagher
Despite writing stories that take place almost exclusively in New England, speculative young adult fiction author P. K. Gallagher has lived in the suburbs of the south her entire life. It is to this that she attributes her love of the fantastic and the supernatural—writing such things was her only escape from the monotony of Suburbia. Gallagher graduated from Florida A&M University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a fervent desire to never set foot inside a newsroom again. She currently lives in Atlanta and divides her time between working a day job, finishing her works in progress, and perfecting her plans for world domination.
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