Be Not Afraid Pride's Downfall Book 1 by K.R. Morrison Genre: Paranormal Horror
Now available from Linkville Press: Lydia’s faith in God is strong—at least on paper. But what happens when that faith is tested? Turned into a vampire by the worst—Vlad Drakul—she feels that God has abandoned her. But the opposite is true. God rescues her from a fate worse than death, and brings her into the plan He has for global redemption. With the help He sends, she feels like nothing can stop her. But when Vlad torments her again, and then her family, the temptation to run and hide is almost too strong to resist. Her answer to God’s call is the deciding factor in the battle that pits the angelic powers of God against the demonic powers of Hell.
(At this point in the story, Vlad has threatened Lydia with the destruction of her daughter if she doesn’t cooperate with him.)
Lydia considered her options as she made her way through the confusing labyrinth towards her new office. She was not in any hurry to report for work; her throat hurt at the thought of what sort of “tasks” were in store for her.
It occurred to her that, since his office was on her way, she should go in and see how Ned was getting on. She was still very concerned about his state of mind. There was also the worry that he would inadvertently leak some information about her, and their shared nightmare of that night, that would be detrimental—not only to her, but to him, and to the rest of the people in these buildings.
Vlad had ways of destroying people inwardly without actually doing them physical harm. She had seen that starting to happen in her own son during this ordeal. The destruction would be spiritual, not physical—and no one would be the wiser. It wasn’t too hard to imagine that that was happening even now, slowly but surely. She determined that she would not trust anyone who had had any contact with Vlad. That would probably comprise everyone in this company. She was completely and utterly alone, at least physically.
Determined to make sure Ned was getting over his fright, Lydia walked up to the security office door and knocked.
No answer. Well, he could be out on a call, or just a routine walkabout.
She turned to walk away, deciding she would come back later. But to her surprise, the door opened on silent hinges. After waiting a few seconds for Ned to poke his head around the door with that silly grin on his face, Lydia became puzzled when the doorway stayed empty. She pushed at the door, which swung easily inward.
“Hello?” she called as she entered. She blinked in the dim light. The ceiling lights were off, and the only light came from the glowing screens of the security monitors behind Ned’s desk. His chair was turned towards them; Lydia wondered if he’d fallen asleep. She came around the desk, which she noted with some surprise was clear of soda cups and cafeteria trays. It occurred to her
that she had never seen his office without food debris scattered everywhere.
“Ned? You awake?”
He was sitting in his chair, eyes on the screens. But there was something odd about the way he was staring ahead without moving, and the fact that he hadn’t responded to her alarmed Lydia.
Had he had a stroke? Was he dead? Her heart in her throat, she shook his shoulder.
He didn’t move a muscle, but after a moment, he blinked slowly. Then he looked up at her.
“Hello, Lydia. I thought maybe you’d come and visit me.”
There was something about his demeanor that instantly put her on guard.
There was no emotion on his face or in his voice; he was usually very joyful at seeing her—or anyone, for that matter.
“Ned? Are you okay?” Lydia looked closer into his face.
Another pause. “Oh yes, I’m terrific. No problem. Can I help you with something?”
Lydia’s mouth opened and closed. She stuttered, “Um . . . I . . . did you send someone to clean out my cube? Because Kim told me some maintenance guys she’d never seen before put all my stuff in a box and . . .”
“Oh, yes. I did that. They were new.”
He went back to staring at the monitors. After a few moments, Lydia said, “Oh. Um. Okay. Just wondered.”
“I’ll—uh—see you later then.” She backed toward the door, her eyes still on Ned. She didn’t know what to make of his behavior, and was thinking of calling the medical personnel, when he spoke again, still in a monotone. “You really don’t have anything to worry about, Lydia. Everything’s okay. I was scared. But I’m okay now. Silly of me—it was all explained away by some good friends.”
Now Lydia was really scared. She raced toward the door, but suddenly he was right beside her. He grabbed her arm and spun her around. Lydia gasped.
He had never laid a hand on her before!
“Would you like them to explain it all to you too?” He smiled then, and Lydia felt the floor go out from under her. His eyes went scarlet, and she could see the pointed tips of fangs in the dim light.
Before he could make the next move, Lydia had the door open and was attempting to get away. He held her in an iron grip, pulling her towards him, backing back into the office. She could feel a scream welling up from deep within, as she pulled with all of her might to break his grasp.
“Ned!” The sudden call came from down the hall. “The men’s room needs more toilet paper!”
Ned shook his head, returning to a normal visage. He glared at the man who had called him.
Breathing a silent prayer of thanks, Lydia used that distraction to get away.
It took all her will not to run as fast as she could, screaming in terror the entire way. She looked back, thoroughly frightened, as she turned the corner; he was still watching her, a smirk on his lips.
Not unlike her first encounter with Vlad.
Unholy Trinity Pride's Downfall Book 2
What happened in the moments after Judas hanged himself?
Where did Cain go after the death of Abel?
Myths abound, and some of them have similar endings.
Cain murders his brother out of jealousy. Judas betrays Jesus to those who want to see Him dead. Vlad the Impaler destroys without mercy, and is legendary as Count Dracula. Three souls, collected and bound together in the same body by Lilith, Satan’s mate and favorite slave.
Cain, Judas, and Vlad Tepes all fall into the same trap: weakened by pride but too stubborn to turn back, they become cursed to walk the world through all of time. Pursued by Hunters, a group first established by Cain’s tribe when he was abducted by Lilith and the Serpent, they must keep one step ahead of their enemies from century to century.
The tale starts in Genesis, moves to the time before and after the Crucifixion, then makes the journey into what will become known as the Carpathian Mountains. We are dropped briefly into the 15th century, pass through time in Romania and Scotland, then conclude in 19th-century New Orleans. This is where the story, and the three-souled Beast, must await another day and another century.
Judas stumbled blindly towards the city walls. His desolation engulfed him in a fog of despair.
Forgive? Who? How?
Himself? There was nothing to forgive. Was there?
Yes. Maybe. He hadn’t lived his adult life the way he’d been brought up. He didn’t see where it was worse than anyone else’s, though. And he had always been in control, always his own master.
Forgive God? God was supposed to be perfect and all-knowing. Forgiveness would mean He had made an error. Or was he looking at it the wrong way?
It suddenly occurred to him in a different light.
He stopped walking to think about this new idea.
To forgive life meant to let go of the past, and leave these events in God’s hands, knowing by faith that He is in control. Not to let the past own you, but to ask for His strength, and to move on. To say “yes” to Him, because He knew what He was doing, even it made no human sense at the moment.
Suddenly it was crystal-clear to Judas. A burden lifted from his heart, and he walked with more of his usual confidence.
He mulled these thoughts over as he approached the gates.
Other thoughts crept in, thoughts of a more present nature. Such as, where to lay his head for the night. There was no way he could go back to the brothers, at least until their anger against him had subsided. He hoped that the revelation he himself had gotten would also be revealed to them. He’d wait until he could reason with them, and relate all that had happened to have caused this tragedy-turned-triumph.
Just before the gate was a small encampment. The campfire flickered on two people enjoying its warmth. Judas was about to pass them by when a glint of gold sparked and caught his attention.
He stopped and turned toward the camp, his heart fluttering.
Could it be?
He held his breath, waited for another movement.
That glint of gold. It twinkled off the woman’s headdress, reflected in the firelight.
Jayla! Judas grinned widely and strode over to where she sat, plaiting reeds by the fire’s glow.
It had to be her. The same stance, the deft handling of her craft, even how she bent her head as she worked.
He was about to hail her, when she looked up and lifted the veil.
Judas froze, stifling a scream. Lilith looked out from beneath the scarf, her eyes maliciously triumphant, her smile scorning him.
“Oh, Judas,” she purred, “what have you done?”
Judas backed away, too frightened to run. Lilith stood and was at his side all in an instant, leaning on him, speaking low into his ear. He found himself immobile in her grasp.
A smile lifted one side of her mouth. “So, you remember everything about our little ‘meeting’. Oh well, I suppose it couldn’t be helped.” She raised her hand to Judas’ face, caressed it. Judas couldn’t breathe; he stared in terror at her fingers against his cheek.
Talons! Long and horrid—inhuman!
Judas broke free of her embrace and stumbled backwards. Turning to run, he fell over the other figure by the campfire. The man’s face was inches from his own, and Judas could see by the light of the fire that something was terribly wrong.
Lilith’s companion was dead!
Judas pushed himself up and away, causing the corpse to roll toward the flickering light. The poor man’s throat was torn, blood clotting on two deep gouges scored from his chin to his chest.
Judas was petrified, horror growing as Lilith neared him again. She looked down at her victim and licked her claws. She gave the dead man a little kick, and looked up at Judas.
“He annoyed me,” she said with a shrug. Then she bent down and wiped the coagulating blood off the dead man’s throat, putting her red, sticky fingers into her mouth. She looked up at Judas and smiled widely, her tongue protruding slightly between her fangs.
A long, loud scream pierced his ears. It took Judas a moment to realize that the sound came from his own throat. He ran madly into the night, back the way he had come, and didn’t stop until he found himself hiding behind a large tree way beyond the lights of the city. Hoping that that--she-creature—hadn’t followed him, he sat with his back against the rough bark, his whole body trembling.
He had to get away from here--but with no money, how far would he get? The Brethren wouldn’t help him, even if he managed to get back into the city. What chance did he have of not being recognized and brought to trial, simply for being a follower of Jesus? The citizens and guards were looking for all of them, he was sure, and Judas had no idea where the other disciples were.
And there was still the possibility of Barabbas’ men hunting for him…
“You’re in quite a mess, aren’t you?” The voice was right in his ear.
Screeching, Judas jumped up and sprinted away, seemingly all in the same motion.
Now she was in front of him!
“No!” He stopped and tried to turn from her, but her eyes locked on his and he couldn't move. He stood transfixed as her eyes got blacker and blacker. She moved sinuously toward him, leering evilly.
“Judas, be realistic. Your Jesus is dead, and you helped kill him. Your friends will consider you a pariah, and will never take you back. You can’t return to your previous life, you have no way of going elsewhere…”
Her version of the truth clouded his mind. All of those hopeful thoughts of redemption he had had earlier were erased. Desolation penetrated his very bones, and tears ran down his cheeks. Still he remained immobile, pinned to the spot by her gaze.
“Your only choice,” Lilith crooned, “is to come with me. I can promise you a new life, away from any cares, where you can be more powerful than you have ever imagined.” Power. Freedom. Yes…
The memory of his father suddenly pushed away what Lilith was saying. A phrase, which Judas clung to like the last plank of a sinking ship: ‘The mercy of God.’ Yes! He would have nothing to do with Lilith or her promises. He tore his eyes away from her hypnotic stare.
“No! I won’t! I’ll kill myself first.”
“Is that so?” Lilith’s voice was mocking. “I doubt it. You have always been weak. It would be impossible for you to do violence to yourself. There is too much love for your own skin.
“And what of your Lord and Master? He rather frowns on someone taking his own life.”
Judas flushed with anger. “If it means getting away from you, I’ll do it. If God doesn’t take my life from me to save me from your evil, I have no choice.”
Lilith laughed, her sharp fangs glinting in the moonlight. Judas quailed at the sight and turned away. When he did, he saw a large, long rope tied around the tree he had hidden behind. Odd, he hadn’t noticed it before. He strode over, untied the rope, and fashioned a noose out of it. Flinging the other end over a high branch, he quickly clambered up the trunk and out onto the limb.
Lilith watched, amusement in her eyes.
Looking defiantly at her, Judas tied the rope around the branch, put the noose around his neck, and rolled off the branch.
Death did not come quickly. In fact, to Judas’ surprise, it didn’t come at all.
Swinging at the end of the rope, his feet brushing the ground, he wondered dully when the light of life would go out and he would be with his father again. Then, to his horror, the rope around his neck grew ice-cold. The rough cord turned into a dry smoothness, which seemed to twine with a life of its own.
He looked at the rope stretched above him, and gaped at what he saw.
The rope had become…a serpent! A huge, black snake, blacker than any shadow could ever be. Its red eyes regarded him coldly as it wound its coils tighter around his neck.
The terrified man kicked the air, pulled at the loathsome reptile. He clawed and beat at the indifferent scales. The Serpent looked over at Lilith, who quivered with excitement. Judas’ eyes unwillingly followed its gaze.
His heart, his breath, everything stopped at the sight.
Lilith floated towards him, actually floated, and stood before him as he tried to free himself. He fought like a fly caught in a web, but his struggles had no impact on the Serpent.
Lilith looked up at the snake.
It spoke two words: “Take him.”
It dropped Judas, but before he could move, Lilith had him pinned against the tree. With inhuman speed, she had her fangs buried in his throat.
The pain! The helplessness! She laughed while she sucked out his blood, sated herself on every drop in his body. Judas gave a cry and slumped to the ground, lifeless.
Lilith stood looking down on him, a satisfied smile on her face. The Serpent slithered down the trunk of the tree and lay on Judas’ chest, regarding the dead man. All at once it struck, shooting its venom into Judas’ chest. When it finished, it wound its way into the night.
“He is ready. You know what to do.”
Lilith watched her master as he disappeared into the night, and nodded. From nowhere, she produced another rope, and quickly hung Judas’ body back up in the tree. Sated, and gorged on Judas’ blood, she disappeared. The new day would come soon enough, and with it the next step in their plans.
Resurgence: The Rise of Judas Pride's Downfall Book 3
Two years after the horrific events of “That Night”, Lydia and her family and friends have settled back into their lives. All seems peaceful, but for the haunting memories of the war that took place over their heads. A battle that everyone else has put aside as “mass hysteria.”
Now, with the unearthing of an old house in New Orleans and the appearance of a mysterious woman named Delilah, events are transpiring that have the Bronsons and their friends worried.
Delilah is a mystery. She takes on a partnership with a world-famous loser, and insists on rebuilding the crumbling buildings on the hill overlooking Lydia’s home town. The very same buildings that housed the evil that plagued them all two years before.
Pat and Trudy, the Bronson siblings, learn that their time to act is upon them. Demons and dark shadows are appearing in their lives, and in the lives of those they love. The one seemingly most threatened is their own father, Steve, who can’t seem to spend enough time in Delilah’s company. Then there are Martha, Sean, and Ryan, whose sinister experiences make them re-think their stance on the “mass-hysteria event.”
Not to mention Toby, almost three years old, who has powers beyond any mortal, but is definitely nothing more than a toddler.
Once again, the Bronsons must take on responsibilities much more than they think they can handle. However, God sends more helpers: an odd old man by the name of Nick, who lives in the park; and Miriam, a young lady who steals Pat’s heart.
Side by side, these young people show that their generation can be just as strong as the previous one. For they will need all the strength they can muster to fight the foe among them.
“Oh, do shut up. You’ll wake the neighbors.”
The sardonic voice in the darkness in front of him made the vampire leap in surprise. He hissed, fangs and talons ready to tear up whoever had been fool enough to let him out.
The voice, and the body it belonged to, moved toward him in the darkness. A distant memory made him pause. Could it be? Lilith?
She sauntered over to him, dimly glowing with her own ethereal light. He didn’t recognize her at all, but knew it was she beyond a doubt. The clothes, the hair, the demeanor—all very strange. But they could not completely conceal who she was, at least not to the eyes of one who had spent eons with her.
She smiled. “Welcome to the twenty-first century, um…okay, which one of you is driving?”
The beast stood confused. ‘Driving’?
Then it hit him. ‘Twenty-first century’?Twenty-first century?!
Just like that, over a hundred years and more of existence, gone in a flash. It had to be true; he’d never seen such clothes on a woman before. Imagine, a woman wearing trousers!
“Well?” Lilith sounded amused. “Are you going to say anything? Or did Vlad take away your voice before he left?”
“You know about…?” He could only get out a squeak after so many years of silence. His throat was beyond parched from lack of sustenance.
“Oh, yes, we knew. He popped right into Hell when he was, shall we say, ‘liberated’ from your body. Made a terrific impression.”
She peered closely at him. “So, which one are you? Looks like—oh, yes, how could I forget those big, brown, anguished, I-hate-myself-and-everyone-else eyes? Must be Judas. Am I correct?”
He nodded, dazed. Not a few minutes ago, he was in the world inhabited by the undead, and now here he was slammed face-first into an unknown new one. He couldn’t comprehend what was happening.
Lilith was pacing, her eyes looking at the floor, tapping her lips with a finger.
“Shut up. I’m thinking.”
“‘Shut’…? What?” How can I do what she wants if I can’t understand what she is saying?
She rolled her eyes, noticing his confusion.
“Okay, listen up. For over 100 years I have been inhabiting this world while you’ve been holed up in an inaccessible room. So, let me do the thinking. We have things we need to do, and I need you to just follow my lead.”
Judas shook his head to try to clear it. Such strange language, and so unexpected from a woman, even if it was Lilith.
She continued pacing. “First, we need a new name for you.”
“I am Judas.” The statement was strong, decisive, and unquestioned by the soul of Cain, hiding in the background of the monster’s mind.
Lilith gave him a half-smile. “Um, yeah—no. Even in this day and age, people avoid that name like the plague. We could go with Cain, but that means he’d be in control, and he wasn’t so good when he was just in his own body.”
The primitive features of Adam’s son appeared on the face and snarled. He opened the mouth to hurl insults, but was subdued by Judas’ stronger personality.
Lilith stopped pacing, finger pointed up. Then she lowered it at Judas. “We’ll call you CJ. Cain and Judas. That’ll work for this time period.”
“I will make my own decisions!” barked the beast. “I was in control of myself for many hundreds of years…”
“And then you got jumped by who knows who, some Hunter, no doubt, had the Vlad kicked out of you,” she chuckled at her own joke, “and got put in deep freeze until now. Yes, really great judgment calls there.”
A new question finally made itself known in CJ’s mind. “How did you know I was here?”
Lilith looked at her fingernails, admiring the red paint on them. At least, he thought it was paint. He salivated, thinking of what it might be…
Finally, she answered him. “Oh, we’ve always known where you were.” What?
CJ felt the anger of two frustrated souls welling up rapidly within him. It burst from his lungs in volcanic wrath.
“WHAT? You’ve KNOWN? Yet you left me here for over ONE HUNDRED YEARS???”
“HEY!” Lilith yelled back. She advanced on him, painted nails now her horrible claws, beautiful face transformed into her real visage. CJ stumbled backwards, momentarily frightened into silence.
Smoke rose from her. She looked like damnation triumphant as her eyes bored holes into him. “There was this little matter of something wedged into the keyhole. A piece of that CROSS!!! And how can any of us get past that, you tell me! It certainly kept you from getting out!”
K.R. Morrison has lived in the Pacific Northwest for over twenty years. She uses her maiden name to show honor to her Scottish roots, and as a tribute to her dad. She and her husband have two young-adult children.
"Be Not Afraid" is her first book, a darling little creature spawned from an all-too real nightmare. Her second book, "Unholy Trinity", was published in 2016.
"Resurgence: The Rise of Judas", is the third book in the "Pride's Downfall" series, and the fourth book, "Enoch's Return", will be available by September of 2020.
Okay, at the outset let me tell you that I’m not used to talking about myself. At this moment, I’m utterly perplexed at what to say. I have to apologize for that.
So, at great danger to all of us, I have to invite Lilith to join me. (Oh, like I have a choice; she’s taken up residence in my head and won’t go away.)
Lilith: Oh, give it a rest already. You’d be tongue-tied without me here.
Try to ignore her.
Lilith: As if.
So—about me. Umm…yeah. When I think of “me,” what comes to mind is my associations with family and friends, and what I say becomes more about them.
Lilith: You don’t have a life. I keep telling you, life as an undead would spice up your existence a hundredfold.
Lilith: But you so enjoy writing about me. You know that snarkiness is me. Don’t deny it. You’d be a mayonnaise sandwich without my interference. Say, speaking of food, I am starving. Where can I find me a little idiot to feast on? I’d even put up with a blood bag.
Oh, quit whining. I’ll get you a rat-infested house tonight. I do have to admit, that was a good idea you had. Hire myself out as a rat exterminator, and take you to the jobs. We’re making some good money off these gigs.
Lilith: Horrid little beasts. But it keeps me fed. Since your witchy friend put that curse on me, I have no choice.
Ha! Yep, that was a good one. Made you allergic to human blood. Never thought I’d see the day.
So—let’s move on to how I became an author.
Lilith: Oh, let’s not and say we did. You put that sap Vlad in the book long before I showed up. Why didn’t you make HIM your pet character?
He was easily put away by Heaven’s soldiers. You, however, we can’t seem to get rid of. This was the best way to keep you under control. Now quit interrupting.
I did not become an author by choice. I never had an inclination to tell a story. My high-school English classes were spent trying to stay awake and seeing how much mischief I could get away with. Heck, that was the case with all of my classes.
Lilith: And you say we have nothing in common…
Lilith (rolls eyes): Fine. Blabber on. We’re all so enthralled. Wish I had a thrall here—I could use some blood, even if it does make me throw up.
ANYWAY…as I was saying…the role of author was pretty much thrust upon me by a nightmare I had one night. This was some nine years ago, but it’s still as vivid as the night I had it. I was being attacked by a vampire, and could feel my heart race and my veins start to collapse. Just as my heart slowed and then stopped, I woke up. When I went back to sleep, I was at another scene in the dream.
When I woke up fully, the visions did not go away, as one would expect with dreams. Instead, I thought about it at work, at home—wherever I was. And every time I came to the end, it started over, with more and more scenes added.
After a couple of weeks of this, the entire thing had become fully-formed, and would take an hour or more to reel through my head…
Lilith: I’m reeling from boredom. Get to where I fit in already.
You’re only mentioned once, toward the end of the book, and that’s because I had done some research on vampires in history. That was what led to the second book, where you did your best to take over the entire story.
Lilith: Try to? I WAS the story!
Cain, Judas, and Vlad Dracul were the story. You were the badass vampire in it. Now let me finish.
Lilith: Fine. But we’re having a little talk after this. Remember who I am, and my horned-beastie of a mate still has sway over what happens to me. You don’t want to get him pissed.
Oh good. I’d like to see a bit of a fight between Satan and the powers of Heaven. I kinda miss the fun we all had.
Anyway—after I started writing down what was going on in my head, those parts left my mind. When I finally had it all on paper, I had what I thought was a pretty good story. I shopped it out to friends and family, and I am pleased to say that the horror was effective enough that it kept my readers awake at night—because they didn’t dare go to sleep.
Lilith: See? You and I are not so much different.
Kindly shut your pie-hole. We are not alike at all.
She’s impossible. Well, I’d like to yammer on some more, now that I’ve gotten started, but I’m sure the blogger whose site I’m clogging up would like to have some space for his or her own thoughts.
There was one more thing I wanted to add. The question arose as to how I would describe myself in five words or less. I suppose I could say--
Lilith: “I haven’t committed homicide today.”
Do you mind??? Besides, that’s six words. You have a contraction there.
Lilith: Picky, picky. Can we go now? I want to go scare someone.
Hang on! My five words would be:
I do what I do.
Lilith: Lame!! Dammit, girl, you should just let me take over completely.
Sigh. We’re going now. Lilith, let go of the nice interviewer. Oh, look—you’ve gotten sick all over the floor. Man, I can’t take you anywhere.
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