Well, I am a husband and father. We always have a house full of teens and college students, mostly Young Life kids. I love the outdoors, hiking, kayaking, stand up paddling, fishing, you know “man stuff” but I’m a sucker for chick flicks. I wrote Fields of Alicia, Waterproof, Across Borders, and the series Micah and have several other novels finished and in the making. And yes I am a raccoon lover, check out Tucker on my social media.
Deep within a hellish cavern, six towering beings merged from the depths of its heated core and gathered at the opening. They were beautiful creatures with physically striking features and the physiques of warriors, clothed to resemble the upper crust of the society they would soon infiltrate. Their eyes glowed with a fierce ember red against the backdrop of a darkening sky.
“It’s time we avenge our brother and bring this Council to its knees,” one of them hissed.
“Your arrogance will be the death of you, just like our brother, Luceph!” another answered with a sinister laugh.
“Levia, as the Master has told us, we must stop the boy first! Then we will have our revenge.” That line of reasoning was offered by one of the beings sitting on the ledge of a boulder at the entrance to the cavern.
“Modeus, you think you’re better than us?” Levia snapped at him.
In a calm and compelling tone, he answered, “It’s not that I’m better than you. We have a mission to see out.” He stood atop the boulder, looking down at the rest of them. “This child, who is now of age, has been delivered to abolish each one of us . . . and our Master. The first thing we must do is—”
“Kill him!” one of them interrupted.
Shooting him a deathly stare, he snapped back, “To befriend him!”
“You know he is trained to see who we really are,” Levia answered with a snarl.
“Yes, but we must only look at his friends and pick one who wants something only we can offer. Once we have chosen someone to betray him, then we will have our revenge.”
“And what can we offer this friend?”
“We simply give something back that’s been taken from them.” Modeus smiled.
“And I know the perfect person. I’ll handle it,” Levia replied. And before any of the others could respond, Levia vanished, leaving a brush of wind behind.
“He’ll be the next to die!” Modeus rolled his eyes.
Levia gathered two of his followers and descended on a small town nestled beside a tranquil lake in the Ozark Mountains, a town the six demons feared. Within this town rested the final graves that were intended for the six demons—and one grave that already held their brother.
“How appropriate that the Council chose this town for their savior to live,” one of Levia’s followers replied.
“We’ll have to pay Luceph a respectful visit before we leave,” Levia replied as the three of them walked unnoticed onto the grounds of the local high school. Invisible to the average eye, they wove their way through the busy halls of students and teachers, searching for the very person Levia wanted the most.
At the head of the pack, he held out a hand to stop his followers. “There!” He smiled and pointed to a student.
“That student doesn’t look like anyone who could help us.”
“Oh, yes, I’m sure of it. And with the right persuasion, I can make the feeling of being robbed intensify to the point of desperation.” Levia grinned and walked toward his next victim.
At the obscene beeping of an alarm clock, Micah hit the snooze button for the last time. Who in the world made the snooze time only nine minutes? he thought. He rolled out of his tangled sheets and sat up, placing his bare feet on a cold, hardwood floor.
It was unusually bright that early in the morning. Rubbing his face and opening his eyes, he could see the dust particles in the beam of sunlight shining through the mirror he had cracked while throwing a ball against the wall two weeks ago.
As he walked into his bathroom, his brown hair was a matted mess. He reached in the shower and turned on the hot water, instantly steaming up the small bathroom.
“Man, what a crazy dream. I hope today is better than yesterday, and who in the world was that redheaded girl?” he said to himself.
“Were you talking to me?” Gran asked while walking by his room.
“No, Gran,” Micah replied. Man, these old walls are too thin, he thought.
Looking into the fogged mirror, he wiped it clear with his hand, then studied the back of his shoulder, where several small scars created a larger circular scar. He had always thought they looked like teeth marks, but as he got older, he had begun to suspect other theories of how he got them—still, he couldn’t quite recall the memory.
He thought about yesterday. It’s always awkward being the new guy on the first day of school. Not that anything embarrassing happened, thankfully; actually, most kids didn’t think much about Micah as the new kid. Being a freshman is hard, but in a small town it’s even harder if you just moved in. And for Micah, he just moved in a few weeks ago, so having time to make friends before school started wasn’t viable.
Seven Springs is a quaint, small town nestled in the northern part of the Ozark Mountains. It sits on part of a tranquil blue lake that feeds into a cold river, attracting fishermen from all over the world. Being a retirement community, much of the town shuts down after 7:00 p.m., leaving the younger generations to fend for themselves for entertainment. A few fast-food joints, a small theater, and a bowling alley are about the only venues the retired town offers. Micah hadn’t adapted yet, and being from a big city where the nightlife was more active than the day, it was going to be a challenge.
He had lived in Tennessee most of his life. As an orphan, he couldn’t recall the first six years of his life but remembered vividly the day his adopted parents drove away from the orphanage with him in the backseat, gazing back at a half-dozen kids waving goodbye.
Micah’s adopted parents, Dale and Kelly Spearman, were regular entrepreneurs in the Nashville area and were quite successful for nearly a decade before the economy took a turn for the worst, especially for small business owners. After closing their business, they joined the mission field and moved to a small town in northern Greece. Micah, who had just turned fifteen, had the decision to go with them or move in with his grandparents. School was going to be hard enough with the Advanced Placement classes he had planned on taking, but starting over in a new country was out of the question. He decided it would be too much of a culture shock, especially since he was a little shy.
Being a natural at lacrosse, he was excited to play for Seven Springs High School, a three-time state champion in lacrosse, and with the lack of money in his family, lacrosse could easily pay his way to college. A dream of his was to play for a division-1 school. So with mixed emotions, he decided to stay in the States and pursue his dream of playing lacrosse in college.
Making his way into the dated kitchen, he said to Paw, “I wonder how Mom and Dad are doing moving into their new place.” Paw, Dale’s father, was a local preacher, a sturdy old man who was set in his ways but loved to spend time with teenagers and seemed to understand them.
“I’m sure they are getting along just fine. Dale has a unique way of recruiting help,” Paw replied.
“Don’t say it like he cons people into doing things, Duke,” Gran replied in a sweetly protective tone. Both Paw and Micah smiled at each other. “So what is on your agenda today after school?” Gran asked.
“I have workouts with the freshman team till four thirty, and maybe just hang out afterward,” he said with a mouthful of toast.
“Okay, just let us know where you are going to be,” Gran said.
“You better get a move on if you’re gonna be on time,” Paw said while picking up his paper.
“Oh, crap! I mean . . . well, you know.” Micah fumbled while grabbing his backpack. “I got to go. See ya.”
The high school was only a few blocks away, and Micah wondered if riding a bike would look too geeky. Other thoughts ran though his head about how hot it was, the need for a car soon, and lacrosse practice, but mostly the redheaded girl who smiled at him during lunch. He wondered who she was. There was something unique about her; it was almost like he knew her from somewhere.
A couple of guys strolled out on the sidewalk in front of him. One turned around and gave him a head nod. “What’s up?”
“Hey,” Micah greeted him back. They walked separately the rest of the way but once they got to the school property, the same guy asked Micah where he was from.
“Nashville,” he replied.
“Cool. Why did you move here?”
“My parents moved to Greece,” Micah said.
The boy stopped walking. “Hey, you’re the new lacrosse player we heard about!”
“I guess so,” Micah said with a shrug.
“I’m Tyler, and this is Jake; we play on the JV team. You ready for practice today?”
Jake was a stocky kid and bigger than most of the freshman boys Micah had seen yesterday. Tyler was tall and skinny with jet-black hair. Both boys were wearing athletic shorts with flip-flops. “Yeah, think so. Are there many guys on the team?” Micah asked.
“Maybe twenty; everyone will make the JV team but varsity cuts about half of the guys who try out. Our coach is pretty cool; sometimes he can be a jerk, but he’s cool,” Tyler replied, walking through the open back doors to the school.
“What do you have first period?” Jake asked Micah.
Micah reached in his back pocket for his class schedule. “World history with—”
“You have Mrs. Hedding; she’s senile.” Tyler laughed from inside the hallway.
“Find us at lunch. We sit near the back door in the cafeteria,” Jake said, walking to his class.
“Okay.” Thank you, God—normal guys.
Micah walked into Mrs. Hedding’s class looking for a chair, while thinking about what Tyler said about her.
“Jimmy, have a seat,” she said, glancing over her glasses at Micah.
Jimmy? A few students laughed as they overheard. News travels fast in a small town, and everyone knew Micah was the new transfer. They also all knew that Mrs. Hedding wasn’t good with names.
He sat down in front of the same blonde girl he had sat in front of yesterday and pulled his notebook out of his bag.
“Hi,” the blonde girl said.
“Where did you move from?” she asked.
“Cool! What’s it like moving from a big city to our little danky town?”
“Miss Evans, please stop talking to Jimmy and get out your notebook,” Mrs. Hedding snapped. The class laughed again.
The blonde sat back in her chair and pulled out her books. “I’m Carrie,” she whispered back.
Micah overheard another girl to his left. “She’s trying to bag another guy. Can she have ‘I’m easy’ written any bigger on her forehead?” A few girls sitting nearby laughed. Micah didn’t hear a response or acknowledgment from Carrie on the comment and figured she didn’t hear them.
She seems nice, Micah thought.