The Shadow King: Shadow King Series Book 3
The Shadow King: Shadow King Series Book 3
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True evil never dies…
Barely surviving his last battle against malevolent forces, retired marine and ghost hunter Shane Ryan is surprised to receive an invitation to a new Iron Tournament. But before he can turn his attention to this supernatural death match, he must first track down a shipment of unusual metal, torn from the foundation of a cursed cathedral.
Each twisted scrap leaves a trail of nightmare in its wake. Shane tracks a shipment of this stolen material to Buffalo, NY, where he quickly discovers that the metal seems to aid and enhance supernatural possession. Ghosts he vanquished in the past have re-surfaced and taken control of those who touch the cursed mineral.
And at a farmhouse in Kentucky, this strange metal has allowed three violent spirits to possess a single body. As they struggle for control of their flesh and bone host, work begins on the new Iron Tournament.
Shane was victorious in the first tournament… Can he now defeat a man infused with the power of this unholy trinity?
And will he still have the strength to defeat the ultimate evil, lurking in the shadows…
Or will he and everyone around him succumb to the power of the Shadow King?
Chapter 2: The Visitor
Shane went to the front door. Not a lot of people visited the house on Berkely Street. They didn’t need to be able to see ghosts to sense the foreboding that surrounded the property. That suited Shane just fine because, all things considered, he preferred being left alone. It meant people only showed up when they had to.
Though he had not been expecting anyone at all, he was still surprised when he opened the door. He could count on one hand the people who were most likely to be on the other side. The dark-haired, nervous-looking man at his front step was not one of them.
“Oh, thank goodness, this is the right place,” the man said, anxiety clear in his voice. “I’ve been trying to find you for weeks.”
“Big Bear! What the hell?” Shane said. He had met the man at a small motel and bar while stopping over on his way to Red Earth Creek, the town closest to Stonebridge, Alberta. Big Bear was the one who told him where to go.
“You’re a hard man to track down,” the man said.
“Good.” Not that he was actively hiding from anyone, but that made him feel a small twinge of pride. “Come on in.”
The man on the doorstep didn’t move his feet. Instead, he inspected the entire doorway, as though he thought a trap was about to fall on him at any moment. Then his eyes drifted back to over Shane’s shoulder, and into the house, where Carl stood watching.
Like Shane, Big Bear could see the spirits of the dead. Unlike Shane, he had made a separate life for himself. As far as Shane had been able to discern, he was not happy to see ghosts, and didn’t want to engage or acknowledge them at all.
“That’s Carl. He’s harmless,” Shane assured him.
“You’re telling me this house is harmless?” Big Bear asked.
Shane shrugged. “I’m telling you Carl is harmless.”
“I wouldn’t say harmless. But congenial, unless motivated to be otherwise,” Carl corrected in German.
“I live here. You’ll be fine,” Shane reassured his visitor. He could see the apprehension on the man’s face. On some level, he understood it. He’d walked headlong into more than one nightmare in his time. Something must have happened to the man in his past, though, to elicit a reaction like that.
Big Bear took a reluctant step into the house. Nothing happened. The air didn’t change, and nothing rushed out to grab him, but his body tensed noticeably.
“How many spirits are in here?” he asked, one foot still outside the threshold.
“More than I’d like,” Shane replied. He wasn’t sure he had an accurate number, truth be told.
“Sounds… great.” Big Bear fully stepped into the house, and Shane closed the door behind him.
“Was just going to make coffee. Do you want one?” Shane asked, leading the guest deeper into the house towards the kitchen.
“Got anything stronger?” Big Bear asked.
Shane chuckled. “I do.”
“No,” Big Bear said, shaking his head then. “I’m fine. I can’t stay long.”
“Can’t or don’t want to?” Shane asked.
The man shrugged. “I guess both.”
“Best cut to the chase then, huh?”
He gestured to a chair, and Big Bear looked at it uncertainly for a moment, then sat. Carl came into the kitchen with them but maintained a distance, aware that their visitor was not entirely comfortable with his presence.
“I’ve been trying to find you for the better part of a month. The info you used to register at the motel was fake.”
Shane filled his coffee machine with water and laughed to himself. He’d never actually given accurate information any time he’d signed a book to register at a motel, but this was the first time anyone had called him on it.
“Yeah, sorry about that. Don’t want people tracking me down. Seems to have worked till now.”
“Martin’s in trouble,” Big Bear told him. Martin was his cousin, a man Shane had met in Red Earth Creek. A young guy, and maybe a bit foolish, but helpful; he was the blacksmith who’d helped Shane forge the weapons he used against Lazarus.
“How so?” Shane asked. When he’d left the town, everything had seemed fine. Well, not fine, he thought. As fine as it could be in the circumstances. Lots of people were dead and the authorities would have endless questions that could never be answered. But Martin was fine.
“He called me not long after you left. He said this glow had formed over the thing they built in the cemetery in Stonebridge. It stayed until the whole structure was torn down. He told me he saw the glow one other time, on the day the RCMP took him up to the structure to look at it. He said there was a bat he made for you, coated in a metal called selenium. He said the bat glowed when the officer showing him around touched it.”
Shane felt his muscles tense.
“Is that the officer who vanished?” he asked as he poured himself a cup.
“You heard about that?” Big Bear seemed surprised.
Shane took the seat opposite him with his coffee, glancing briefly at Carl. This conversation was going in a bad direction already.
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