Death's Cathedral: Shadow King Series Book 2
Death's Cathedral: Shadow King Series Book 2
Death's Cathedral: Shadow King Series Book 2

Death's Cathedral: Shadow King Series Book 2

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Shane was fighting for his life. Now, he’s fighting for revenge…

After surviving the bloody ordeal of the Iron Tournament, retired marine and ghost hunter Shane Ryan is out for blood. He’s hot on the trail of Guthrie, the man who organized the supernatural fighting ring. And behind him lurks Lazarus, the sinister entity who draws power from the dead…

Shane’s search takes him north, to the frozen wilderness of Canada. There, in a remote town nestled among the dark trees, Lazarus’ evil power has been unleashed. A host of spirits have been freed to stalk a nearby graveyard. And they inhabit the townsfolk, controlling them like ghastly puppets.

But as Shane and his allies battle these living dead, he quickly discovers the true depths of Lazarus’ evil. The dark spirit is using these servants to build a cathedral, a monument to his dark power.

And if this diabolical church is completed, Lazarus’ power will become impossible to contain…

And it just might be the end of the world as we know it.

203 pages

Chapter 4: Sins of the Past

The drive up to the asylum was a quiet one. The Ford Thunderbird just ate up the long stretches of empty highway. Dexter didn’t get out into the country so much anymore, not since he left home.

This is nice, he thought. It was nice to be back.

Work had been going well. Better than he could have ever dreamed. Of course, no one in the world could know about it. He’d told Jackie and Aunt Pearl what he was doing, and they’d had the whole church come and lay hands on him. He wouldn’t make that mistake again. People didn’t need to know about ghosts.

Once people did know, once they were faced with a shadow in the basement throwing old jars of preserves or trying to drown them in their own bathtub, then they were ready to talk to Dexter. And he’d swoop in like a hero, take the ghost out, and let ’em all live happily ever after.

But they had to pay up front. He charged a hundred bucks a pop for regular ghosts, but if he knew the people could afford it, he could go up to three—even four—hundred dollars. He made nearly thirty grand a year. It was like printing money.

He’d been unsteady at first. Scared, even. Who wouldn’t be? But he’d quickly learned that, while a ghost could show up in the darkness and push an unsuspecting victim down a flight of stairs, he saw ’em all coming. They couldn’t hide in the shadows from him—at least, no better than a real person did. And when they pushed him, he could push back. And once he found the knife, he could even kill them a second time.

The blade was a dull old dagger, an antique from about a hundred years earlier. He found it in a shop near Nashville. The owner said some Confederate captain used to own it. Dexter didn’t care, though. He was more interested in how it felt. There was a hum to it, like an electrical charge. No one else saw it or felt it, but he did, which made him think it was due to his special abilities.

He had come to learn that ghosts were all tied to something. They were anchored by a thing, maybe even their own bones, and the knife was one of those things. Only problem was, the ghost was gone, like a hermit crab leaving its shell. But the knife was still charged somehow. And other ghosts did not like it.

It was just instinct that made him use it that first time. A ghost had gotten the upper hand on him, and he was fighting for his life. He grabbed the knife and struck home. It should have passed through the ghost, but it didn’t. Instead, the blade sliced into the spirit like it was of flesh and blood. Dexter was just as surprised, but he rolled with it. Stabbed it again and again until it was completely gone. And he knew, right then, that he had a weapon, more than just his fists.

Word spread fast. No one talked openly about such things, of course. But when people who knew about ghosts found out, they’d tell others. And Dexter’s phone had kept ringing since then. Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, St. Louis; they all came calling. Later it was Fort Worth, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Washington, DC. He even got a call from Toronto, up in Canada.

Money was the main, but not his only goal. He knew what it was like, as well as any of those people who called him did. He’d seen ghosts when he was a kid, and no one believed him. No one came to help him, either. He had dealt with the voices for years, the shadows that crept around and tormented him in the night. The hands grabbing his ankles or pulling the covers from his bed. Years of torment until finally, he fought back. And he won.

Those people needed help. If he made bank at the same time, then all the better. It was a win-win, he figured. That was part of the reason he was heading to the hospital. The people there had no one to help them. It was a place for the criminally insane, therefore they were crazy, and so nobody had believed them. But the people who worked there also saw ghosts. If the ghosts of former patients were tormenting both the current patients and the staff, then they all needed help. And he could provide it.

The call he got was pretty vague on details, and he almost didn’t take the job. But he asked around and discovered that the hospital’s reputation was grim. The atrocities known to the public made decent folk squeamish. And he knew from experience that the things that happened in the shadows would be ten times worse. So, he went.

He wore a suit to the hospital, complete with an ID badge made by a good friend who mostly worked on travel papers. He could fake an ID for anything. Dexter was now Dr. Everett, touring local facilities to find a place for a hard-luck patient that needed more in-depth care than he could provide. Professional courtesy would get him a tour of the whole place and allow him to look for what he needed to find.

Only an idiot would have believed Dexter was a doctor if they knew him in real life.

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