Hello and welcome to the second of my posts about a brand new series of 13 suspenseful “Friday the 13th” short stories, each by a different author.
Today, I am happy to share Leah St. James’ “Azrael’s Chosen” – Now available for pre-order…releasing Nov 13.
Fun Fact: Azrael’s Chosen is set in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, a giant wildlife area stretching across seven counties, marked by towering pines, more than 850 other plant species, and hundreds of species of mammals, bird and reptiles. Its most famous inhabitant is the legendary Jersey Devil, said to have been spawned in 1735 to the Leeds family. As the 13th offspring, thus cursed for eternity, this dragon-like creature roams the Pine Barrens on the hunt for unsuspecting prey.
Blurb: In the depths of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, teens play a game of life and death. Years later, a killer emerges, vowing to fulfill a teenage oath. As New Jersey State Police Detective Shannon Morgan tracks the killer, she finds herself the next to be chosen.
“I followed the dripping noise into the sanctuary. That’s when I saw her … there.” The priest convulsed and waved a limp hand toward the altar.
Shannon questioned him a bit more and, when she figured she’d gotten as much as possible, she tucked the notebook inside her jacket and stood. “Thank you, Father. As I’m sure you’re aware, this is an active crime scene, so we’ll have to cordon off the sanctuary until further notice. We’ll be as quick as we can with the investigation. We know you’ll want the use of your church back.” Although who knew what they’d have to do to sanctify the space.
Nevaro whipped out a hand and grabbed her wrist before she could turn away. “Wait.”
Tensing at the priest’s sudden touch, Shannon eased back onto the pew. “Yes?”
His mouth twisted, and he looked to the altar. “She is one of ours.”
Trying to stem the shock – and annoyed at herself for neglecting to ask that question – Shannon retrieved her notebook. “One of your parishioners?”
“Marge. Marjory Hanson. A regular.”
“Are you … sure?” Shannon didn’t want to make it worse by highlighting the obvious state of the body and lack of recognizable features.
“Her hair – same color, length. Same body type and size.” He pointed toward the body. “But more than that, her right ankle, inside. The tattoo.”
“Hold on.” Shannon hadn’t noticed that detail in her initial observation. She strode forward and to the side of the table for a better angle. There, where Father Nevaro had said. A circle in black with something inside. A word? Maybe an inch and a half long.
The forensic examiners would take photos, but she snapped one with her phone and returned to the priest. “Do you know what this is?”
“Legio.” At her blank look, he explained. “Latin for legion.” He grimaced once more but held her gaze. “I didn’t believe her. Now she’s dead. They’re back. The Legion.”
About the author:
Leah St. James writes thought-provoking stories about good and evil, the mysteries of life, and the enduring power of love. A native Jersey girl, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her husband where they enjoy not shoveling snow.
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