Excerpts for Fire Prophet


Fire Prophet


By JEREL LAW

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 Jerel Law
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4003-1845-2

Contents

PART I: QUARTERLINGS..............................1
1. Chinatown......................................3
2. Boys' Bathroom Battle..........................13
3. Outside Mrs. Little's Room.....................21
4. A Short Flight Home............................27
5. The Peacefield City Dump.......................37
6. The Safe House.................................47
7. Greetings......................................53
PART II: ANGEL SCHOOL.............................57
8. New Faces, Old Friends.........................59
9. Class Begins...................................71
10. The Giftings..................................79
11. The Spiritual Arts............................91
12. The Angelic Vortex............................101
13. Dagon's Plan..................................107
14. A London Flat.................................113
15. A New Gift....................................121
16. A Vivid Dream.................................129
17. Challenge to a Duel...........................133
18. Vanishing Angels..............................141
19. The Prayer Barrier............................153
20. The Woman in the Chair........................159
PART III: THE PROPHET.............................165
21. Out into the Darkness.........................167
22. Alleyway Brawl................................173
23. A Cabbie Named Sisera.........................183
24. Alphabet City.................................191
25. A New Weapon..................................203
26. The Prophet Abigail...........................211
27. A Troubling Message...........................223
28. Battle at the Convent.........................231
29. Prophet of Fire...............................237
30. Messengers....................................249
Acknowledgments...................................255
About the Author..................................257


Chapter One

Chinatown

Jonah and Eliza walked down the street together, trailing their parents and their younger brother, Jeremiah, who was stopping to ask every street vendor he saw a question, not worrying that they were all old Chinese men and women who didn't speak English. Jonah, however, was looking for something much more sinister than kind old men and women selling vegetables and toys. He stopped to look at the wooden cart full of strange-looking vegetables, but continued to keep one eye on the crowd of people milling by.

He and Eliza had been practicing their newfound angelic powers every day they could, back in the woods behind their home in Peacefield, always careful to make sure no one was spying on them. After all that had happened last year, they figured they couldn't be too careful. But even though Jonah felt his skills getting sharper, he couldn't deny that he had been even more on edge recently.

"You've been paranoid all day," Eliza said. "Can't you just relax and have some fun?" She threw a ginger root at him playfully.

He brushed his dark hair out of his eyes and threw the ginger back at his sister.

"No!" shouted the glaring merchant behind the vegetable table. "Stop!"

Jonah felt his face flush as they hurried away from the table, continuing to cut his eyes back and forth across the street.

He'd felt like this ever since they'd stepped off the subway and set foot in New York this morning, like a shadow had fallen over him. Even though it had been almost a year since they'd been here last, it seemed like it was yesterday.

Last September, Jonah had discovered their mom was a nephilim, a child of a human and a fallen angel, which made him and his brother and sister one-quarter angel, or quarterlings. His mother had been kidnapped by Marduk, a fallen angel who was Abaddon's right-hand man, and Jonah and Eliza had raced to New York City to rescue her, with the help of their angel friends. They had discovered the world-behind-the-world known as the hidden realm, battled fallen angels, and finally faced Marduk himself. Jonah's mind flashed back to the battle, and how, with Elohim's help, they had defeated Marduk and the rest of the Fallen. In spite of their victory, there were days Jonah still couldn't believe he and Eliza had made it back, with their mom, alive.

"Maybe you don't remember what happened last time we were here as clearly as I do," Jonah said with a grimace. He and his sister had won a battle, but the war between Elohim's and Abaddon's forces was still raging, and he knew that they could be attacked at any time. He wanted to be ready.

Jonah raised his eyebrows at Eliza as he watched his mom and dad haggle with an old lady selling shiny purses. They had been the ones who suggested the trip into the city, a final day of summer fun before school started.

"Really, Mom? New York?" he had said, trying to plead with his eyes. You do remember what happened there last time, don't you?

"Jonah," she had said lovingly. "We can't live in fear, now, can we?"

He had come without complaint, but the feeling he had today made him wonder if they would all regret the decision.

Up ahead, Eleanor motioned for them to hurry up. As they turned the corner after her, the crowd grew noticeably thicker.

Benjamin Stone grabbed seven-year-old Jeremiah and lifted him up onto his shoulders.

"Whoa!" Jeremiah said. "Check out the parade!"

Jonah craned his neck around the tall couple in front of him. When he saw the participants in the parade, he breathed in sharply. Bloodred lanterns hung from wires across the street, and a line of what looked like giant, twisted puppets moved in a circle. Awful faces that made him think immediately of the Fallen, on top of pencil-thin necks, stretching high above the crowd.

The scene made him feel even more uneasy.

An explosion went off overhead, causing Jonah to throw his arms up over his face. A shower of blue light cascaded down all around them.

"Relax, Jonah," his mom said, smiling. "It's just a Chinese festival and some fireworks."

Eliza and Jeremiah giggled at him.

"Yeah, I know," he mumbled, stuffing his hands into his pockets. "Isn't it about time to go?"

"You want to leave during the fireworks display?" Benjamin laughed. "Come on, Jonah. Just hang in there for a few more minutes."

He started to protest but was distracted by a young woman walking along the sidewalk, against the crowd. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and for a second before she passed by, she turned toward Jonah.

She smiled a small, knowing smile, and her green eyes pierced him like icicles.

Then, for the briefest moment, they shimmered yellow.

Jonah sucked in his breath as he turned to watch her. She quickly disappeared around the corner behind them. He felt his legs begin to move in her direction, almost on their own, and before he knew it, he was following her, his eyes darting everywhere at once in search of the fallen one.

He reached the corner and peeked around, only to see a blonde ponytail turn into a doorway. Glancing back, he saw his family still caught up in the fireworks display. No one had noticed that he was gone.

He felt his breathing quicken as he crouched down, his back against the wall. Nine months ago, he and Eliza had entered the hidden realm for the first time. Now it had become almost second nature. He remembered what Henry, his family's guardian angel, had said about entering—that it took two things: being an angel, of course. And then, heartfelt belief.

If only Henry were here now. He'd been promoted to warrior-class angel after he helped Jonah and Eliza rescue the kidnapped nephilim, including their mom, and return them to their families. Jonah was happy for Henry, and they even had a new guardian angel now, Cassandra. But she was just learning the ropes and kept to herself a lot. Jonah couldn't help sometimes feeling like the responsibility for his family's safety was now entirely on his own shoulders. He took a few deep breaths, trying to calm his racing heart as he lowered his head.

"I believe in You, Elohim," he prayed quietly. "And in the reality of the spiritual world, the real world behind everything else. I believe in the hidden realm."

Anyone watching would have thought that Jonah had disappeared, but he had just slipped into the hidden realm. Jonah opened his eyes and stood up. The street and the buildings all looked the same to him, but it was the people in the hidden realm that always took his breath away. They had an electric glow about them, some like a dim, fading chunk of charcoal, while others, a brilliant white. He moved as fast as he could down the street, trying to avoid running into anyone. Even though they couldn't see him, he could pass through them. But the electric jolt Jonah experienced when he did always made him cringe.

The woman had turned into an alleyway with a sign overhead that read Chinatown Arcade. He peered inside, expecting to see kids playing video games. But there were no games there. Instead, he saw a long, smoky tunnel, with doors to shops along the walls on each side, and a handful of men standing and talking quietly, some of them leaning against the brick walls.

Down the dark corridor, Jonah saw the ponytailed girl again. He paused, his mind replaying the scene on the street. Her eyes had flashed yellow, right? He blinked twice, then slowly reached behind his shoulder. An arrow appeared in his fingertips, and as he extended his left arm, a bow appeared. He leveled it at her and took aim.

He was about to release it when he felt a hand grab his shoulder.

"Jonah! Wait!"

He turned back to see Eliza, wide-eyed and panting, the glow around her heart telling him she had entered the hidden realm too.

"Look closer," she said, nodding toward the girl. "And just ... take a deep breath or something."

Jonah squinted in the darkness and slowly dropped his arrow. He could see the faint glow coming from the girl. Then a figure pushed off the wall and reached out to her. She took his hand, and Jonah heard her giggle.

She was no fallen angel.

"But her eyes ...," he mumbled. "They turned yellow, like all of theirs are."

They watched as the couple exited the other side of the corridor.

Eliza cocked her head to the side. "Maybe a reflection from the fireworks?"

Jonah's gaze lingered toward the doorway for a few more long seconds as he wondered how he could have almost shot a human with an arrow.

"Where are we?" asked Eliza.

Suddenly they heard a woman's voice calling out from somewhere beyond the alleyway opening. It was faint, but clear, as if the words had been whispered directly into Jonah's ears. But it was clear they had traveled a very long way. "There is a spiritual realm behind the reality that you see. Behind this street, these buildings, this world!"

"Do you hear that?" Jonah said, not waiting for Eliza to answer. He began to move toward the voice.

At the opening to the alley, he saw cars zooming by and people moving up and down the sidewalks. But the accented voice carried above it all.

"The spiritual realm is more real than these cars, the sidewalk, this cart of ginger root. Praise be to Elohim, the King of kings!"

A tall, dark-skinned woman wearing a brightly colored batik dress and a scarf around her hair stood on the corner across the street from them. She held a microphone that was connected to a small stereo speaker. She waved her hand in the air as she spoke.

"No one seems to be listening," said Eliza. The swarm of people moving along the street avoided her like rushing water around a boulder. Neither the locals nor the tourists paid her any attention.

Jonah, however, found himself riveted to the street preacher's commanding voice.

"There is a battle raging. Not between the United States and the Middle East. Not between Christians and Muslims. This is not a battle of flesh and blood! Ephesians 6. It is a battle between good and evil, between the spiritual forces of darkness and those of the Light! It is waged not with missiles and might, but on your knees in prayer to the almighty One! And whether you know it or not, you are choosing sides right now.

"Think carefully, my friends. Joshua 24. 'Choose this day whom you will serve. Will it be the gods your ancestors served? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!'"

Jonah felt his heart leap inside his chest as he listened to her words.

She stood still as people continued to wander by, paying her no mind. Her eyes moved back and forth across the crowd as she caught her breath. Then she looked across the street and paused as if she saw something unexpected.

The thing was, she seemed to be looking right at Jonah and Eliza.

Eliza leaned toward him and spoke out of the side of her mouth. "She's acting like she can see us, don't you think? But we're still ... you know ..."

"In the hidden realm," Jonah said, finishing her thought. "I know."

The woman's eyes were locked on them, though. What started as surprise now turned into a smile, and she began to nod her head slightly. Closing her eyes for a moment, she turned her head upward and raised both her hands to the sky, as if receiving a new message to speak.

Jonah felt his heart growing warmer somehow. He looked down at his chest. Not only did it feel warmer, but he seemed to be glowing steadily brighter.

The street preacher opened her mouth again, her eyes still trained on them. Jonah snapped to attention.

"Listen! Romans 9. 'Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?' There are those among us who are indeed uncommon ..."

Jonah glanced at Eliza and raised his eyebrows.

"Those whom Elohim has created for a special purpose. Do not fear, my friends! Elohim is sending His warriors to do battle on our behalf. Giving their allegiance to Him and His Son, they will do battle with the principalities, the powers of darkness—indeed, with Abaddon himself. He will strike his blows, but thanks be to God, in the name of Jesus, they will thwart him."

Jonah heard only her words now, no honking horns or old women selling vegetables or young men calling out to one another. Everything else faded away as he stared into the woman's penetrating brown eyes.

"And one of these servants, although young, will be a thorn in the side of the Evil One. Pray for him, my friends. Dark days are ahead. He must resist the devil and follow Elohim alone, or risk the fall of many."

The African woman stood in silence, eyes locked on Jonah's, any hint of a smile now gone. After a long moment she shook her head to herself and turned away.

"Hey!" Jonah called out. "Can you see us? Can I talk to you for a minute?" He began to run across the street, passing through a mob of people, feeling a barrage of electric jolts but not caring.

Jonah reached the other side, but she was gone. Somehow the tall woman in the colorful dress had already disappeared among the hundreds of people on the sidewalks.

Eliza was right behind him, but she couldn't find the street preacher either.

Neither of them saw the figure standing in the darkness behind the flow of people, one building over. He watched them for another minute with his yellow eyes. Finally, he turned, flapped his crusty wings once, and shot off into a moonless sky.

Chapter Two

Boys' Bathroom Battle

Finally!" Eliza said, hopping off the bus and moving quickly past Jonah and toward the school.

"Calm down," Jonah called out, slightly annoyed. "It's just sixth grade."

She spun back toward him. "Calm down? It's the first day of sixth grade, and probably the most exciting day of my twelve-year-old life! We get to find out all about our new teachers and classes and lockers ... and new books!"

"Hey," Jonah said quietly, brushing off her enthusiasm. "Did you see Cassandra this morning?"

"You mean Cassandra, the mysteriously disappearing guardian angel?" Eliza said with a laugh. "No, but that's not too unusual, is it?"

He hesitated, but then nodded. He was still used to seeing Henry all the time, and it was true, their new guardian angel hadn't been as obvious about her presence. This morning was probably just another example.

Jonah walked into the school with a few busloads of other students, high-fiving a few friends he hadn't seen all summer, all of them with the same triumphant look on their faces. Eighth grade. Finally!

He turned down a hallway to the right and found himself in the middle of lockers slamming and kids chatting excitedly. The eighth-grade hall. As he was about to find his locker, he saw Susie Dickerson and her friend Melissa walking right toward him. His heart jumped a little bit into his throat as they made eye contact.

"Have you gotten taller, Jonah?" Susie asked, smiling. Jonah felt his face growing hotter. He had grown four full inches over the summer. Eliza had grown three.

He tried to think of something clever to say. "Yeah, uh—" But as he began to move toward them, he felt someone kick his right foot. It hit the back of his left leg, and suddenly he was sprawled out on the floor.

"Welcome to eighth grade, Stone!" Zack Smellman and his two friends, Peter Snodgrass and Carl Fong, laughed hysterically. Before Jonah could pick himself up, they walked off through the crowd of kids who had now turned to see for themselves who had ended up on the ground.

Jonah fumed. He could tear them apart if he wanted to, stuff them inside a locker or worse. And after he stopped them from beating up a little kid the year before, they all knew it. It was probably a good thing that they had walked away so fast. The words his father often said pried their way into his head once again. If he wanted to have a normal school life, he couldn't afford to reveal his true abilities. He had to keep a low profile and, above all, control his temper.

The girls stifled laughs of their own and waved at him as they hurried by. Great start to the school year, Jonah thought as he gathered his things.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Fire Prophet by JEREL LAW Copyright © 2012 by Jerel Law. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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