Seraphim, Chapter One

Hello, everyone. I’m starting a weekly series of stories called Seraphim. This series is an urban fantasy following protagonist Steven Wainwright, whose life is changed by a cataclysmic event while on vacation with his girlfriend, Wendy. The event, a shower of comets that hit the planet, affects the world in a major way, causing massive changes in seemingly normal people.
I hope to see you back again each week as I debut another chapter.
As always, have fun and let me know what you think.
-T.J.

“I can’t believe you dragged me all the way out to the middle of nowhere for a vacation,” Wendy said with a fake pout. “Are you sure we aren’t lost?”
Steven glanced at her and shrugged. “Maybe.” He turned to look out the windshield, trying to hide his smile. They were driving along a dark, desert road in New Mexico. Nothing but sand and the odd cactus for miles around. He wasn’t worried, though they should have reached San Pablo hours ago. It had been ten years since the last time he came to the small town with his dad on one of their infamous cross-country drives and he was sure it hadn’t taken them this long to get there. He checked the GPS again, but San Pablo still hadn’t been mapped out yet and the device showed only empty space.
“We aren’t lost, are we?” Wendy asked, pushing a lock of her caramel colored hair from her face.
“Of course not. Wainwright men don’t know how to get lost. Part of the charm,” he said with a wink. “It’s just up ahead, I swear. They have the most…”
“Beautiful old church. I know, sweetie. You’ve told me a million times. It’s just I was hoping to see it before midnight, y’know?” She nudged him in the ribs and gave him a smile.
“It means a lot to me that you agreed to do this with me. Dad always said we’d go one more time and since he passed away…”
“I know,” she said, twining her fingers through his. “Hey! I think I see lights up ahead.”
Steven peered through the windshield and breathed a small sigh of relief. “I told you it was just up ahead. I can’t wait for you to see this place.” He accelerated as excitement surged through him. After this, we go to San Francisco. His thoughts drifted to the little box he had tucked away in his suitcase and from there, to the future.

*****

The town was set up in a typical cross formation. Main Street ran East and West, while Home Street ran North and South. The town grew along the crossroads, forming four equal quadrants. Antiquated businesses started from Town Square and stretched in either direction. Every one of them were dusty and sun-bleached and none of them bore a resemblance to the big name retailers. They all had names like, Hal’s Hardware and Tucker’s Inn. San Pablo had no claim to fame. It was just another town that sprang up like a mushroom one day and went bankrupt when the Hoover’s highway system became the acceptable route.
Steven parked the car in front of Tucker’s Inn. “This is it.”
Wendy eyed the building with something akin to dread. “This is where we’re staying? Honey, it doesn’t even look like it’s open.”
“What did I say? Part of the charm. Come on, I’ll check us in.” He leaned over and kissed her gently on the lips, before getting out and stretching.
“You are so lucky that I love you,” Wendy grumbled as she opened her door and stepped out.
A cool, desert breeze trickled through town and Steven stopped mid-stretch to admire how Wendy’s hair swirled around her face.
“What?” Wendy asked, self-consciously tucking her hair behind her ears.
“Nothing,” he replied. “I just forget how beautiful you are sometimes.”
She looked away and a shy smile played about her lips. “You’re nuts.”
“Maybe.” He walked around the car and took her into his arms. He stared into her eyes, eyes that had been etched into his mind and heart. He moved closer to her and his lips whispered over her’s.
A glaringly bright light interrupted their kiss. Steven blinked and pulled away from her, searching out the source of the illumination.
A huge golden comet streaked from the heavens. Its passage parted the clouds and threw out a horrendous shrieking noise.
“Oh my fucking God. Wendy, Run!” He pushed her ahead of him, but she only stared as the golden giant slammed into Town Square. The shock-wave knocked Steven from his feet. There was a moment of weightlessness as he twisted through the air and darkness as he struck the ground.

*****

Hot, piercing pain stabbed Steven’s body. His eyes flew open and he sucked in a choking, dust-filled breath and coughed viciously. A heavy, cloud of gritty sand hung in the air; obscuring his sight. He writhed in excruciating agony and his fingers scrabbled in the dirt, searching for Wendy. He tried to sputter out her name, but gagged on the thickness of his tongue.
A high-pitched, inhuman scream cut through Steven’s hell. He squinted, fighting to see through the haze. A shape materialized. A man spasmed and another bellow of torment echoed over the wasteland. As Steven watched, the man morphed and grew. His muscles bulged and swelled to impossible proportions. His eyes glowed a bright gold, like headlights on bright. The man surged forward; roaring and grunting.
Steven forgot his pain and scrambled backwards.
The man scooped Steven up as if he weighed nothing and began to squeeze him with his oversized hands. “Help me!” The man screamed. “God, help me.”
Steven grabbed the man’s arms. “Stop! You’re killing me,” he gasped. A shocking, cold energy from deep within him rose up. It spilled from his fingers into the man’s arms. The power rushed through the big man and hooked something inside him. Sharp, red-hot pain lanced Steven’s arms as the energy recoiled and tore through the man.
The big man screamed and dropped Steven, but his arms were glued to the man. He tried to yank away, but his hands wouldn’t budge. The big man howled in pain and his flesh began to disintegrate all at once. The skin disappeared into the dust, followed by the man’s skeleton.
Silence descended around Steven. “Oh my God. What the hell just happened? Somebody help me!” His muscles twitched and began to bulk up. “No. No!” He hit his knees and screamed as his body grew.

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