The Devil Within
by D. J. Herda
Length: Est. 200,000
Sentence: When a criminal sells his soul to the devil while falling in love with an undercover agent, should he be surprised when she sells hers in order to bring him down?
Blurb/Logline When a man makes a pact with the devil, he does so not in exchange for untold wealth, health, love, or longevity, but in order to stimulate his mind (he loathes boredom and despises boring people). The devil agrees to grant him superior intellect and the intelligence to survive in a hostile world, and soon the man heads up the most powerful terrorist network in history.
But he fails to anticipate his still human weaknesses and falls in lust bordering on love. The only problem: the woman of his dreams is a Central European Command (CEC) operative who has been assigned to paranormal investigations into terrorist links. When she learns from her lover who he really is and where he gets his power--and, worse, that he knows who she really is--she sets out to do the only thing her conscience will allow her to do. She must destroy him, even if it means making her own pact with the devil to do it!
He looked up as a giant hawk swooped down--not a hawk, a condor, a giant condor--and rapped the back of his head. Hard.
He watched as it made a wide loop in the air, flapping its wings to gain altitude in order to swing around for another attack. It was midnight, and the sun behind the bird shone brightly, illuminating the evil in its wings and beak and talons. And now it was completing its loop and preparing to swoop down upon him again.
Darien looked at the snow at his feet, frozen to the ground amidst wildly swirling flakes, drifting snow, grueling Arctic blasts--a full-fledged white out, blinding white, blazing white, and then as seamlessly black as the devil himself. He inched his way along. He had stopped on a flat, but his skis kept trying to run. He was facing downhill, or was it up? And why if he was standing still was he moving? Moving along slowly on boards that weighed twenty pounds apiece--forty!--but he had to keep moving. He had no choice. Anything else meant disaster.
The bird let out a sudden screech, and Darien turned in time to duck another attack.
This is it, he thought. It's now or never!
He sank his poles into the snow, by now morphed into hardened grapple, slick icy steel ball bearings rolling around in circles beneath his skis, the wind banshee-wailing, and leaning all of his weight forward gave a sudden mighty push just as the ground beneath him gave way. Ten, twenty, forty, a thousand feet or more he plummeted, ten thousand feet, tumbling end over end in total darkness, a hundred thousand feet, and each time he looked up, he saw the condor circling, circling, silhouetted against the bright light above, waiting impatiently for Darien's fall to end so that it could swoop down one last time for the kill.
Markinson's eyes popped open. He lay still for several seconds, barely risking a breath. He swung his legs over the side of the bed. "Jesus Christ!" He let out a hard breath. He took a second or two to acclimate to the darkened room. His pulse pounded. Sweat poured from his face. He ran his hands through the hair at the sides of his head. What a fucking dream!
He grabbed the clock and held it up. Four fifty-four. He set it back down and, realizing that he was soaked, brushed his arm across his brow. "Goddam."
He looked around, looked at the far side of the bed. Empty. He turned on the lamp and blinked before getting up and crossing the room to reach for his robe.
Downstairs, Celia was lying on the sofa, watching television. The light from an ancient rerun of Gunsmoke danced defiantly across her lightly covered nipples. "Hi, honey," she said when she saw him. "What are you doing up?"
"What's the matter, choo couldn't sleep?"
"I guess not." He paused behind the sofa and looked down at her, at her long dark legs and long black hair, at her full lush figure. "How about you? What are you doing up?"
"I couldn't sleep, either."
"Choo. Choo are the reason. Choo were tossing and turning and mumbling all kinds of crazy things. Choo were like a crazy person. I thought choo were going to explode."
"Tell me about it."
He passed through the dining area on the way to the kitchen where he poured himself a glass of water and drained it. Celia followed him in. "Choo was having a bad dream."
He breathed in deeply. He'd been having lots of bad dreams lately. "Yeah."
"Your legs were running like crazy. I thought you were going to keek me."
"No need to be sorry. Sometimes we have dreams like that."
"This one was weird."
"Do you want to tell me about it? Do you want me to heat choo some milk or make you some herbal tea? We have chamomile. Choo want me to make you some chamomile tea to calm you down?"
He shook his head. "Thanks anyway."
"Are you going back to bed?"
"I don't think so. I have to get up in an hour."
"Then," she said, coming up to him and wrapping her arms around his neck. He liked it when she did that, pressing her ample chest into his own and clinging to him like a little girl. Like daddy's little girl. Although little she wasn't. "You don't mind if I go up and get a couple more hours." She kissed him on the lips and nuzzled her nose into his cheek.
"Go ahead," he said, giving her a peck on the forehead and a slap across the butt. "No sense in both of us being awake."
She turned and pattered off, her cute ass wiggling as she walked. She was wearing a pale blue nightie that looked darker over her skin. She stopped at the stairwell. "Choo going to be working late tonight?"
He shook his head. "I don't think so. I'll give you a call later."
He watched her watching him watch her as she climbed the stairs. She liked to do that. She stopped at the top, blew him a kiss, bent over, and flared out her filmy skirt. "I'll be waiting for you when you get home tonight!"
Yeah, he thought to himself. I'll bet you will.
Bio: The author has conventionally published more than 80 books and several hundred thousand short stories, articles, columns, and other features. He is a full-time freelance writer and president of the American Society of Authors and Writers.
NOTE: All material is copyright protected. No portion of this material may be copied or reproduced, either electronically, mechanically, or by any other means, for resale or distribution without the written consent of the author. All copy has been dated and registered with the American Society of Authors and Writers. Copyright 2009 by The Swetky Agency
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