In the Shadow of Men
Marty Wood regains consciousness in an abandoned basement surrounded by the smell of death. He is drawn to Gillian, a mysterious agent assigned to protect him from the Duke, a megalomaniac bent on becoming a demigod. His growing passion for Gillian complicates the situation.
They race against time to find a charmed jewel before the Duke and stop him from using the gem to unlock a portal controlled by the Ark of the Covenant.
Can they stay alive and outwit the Duke and his henchmen before time runs out?
He stood before the squatted demon. Its hideous face gave him the willies. The last time he had encountered this thing, it attacked him. While it showed no outward signs of an unnatural life, he was still cautious. He summoned up the courage and reached inside the mouth, hoping that the gem from his dream would fall into his hands. There was nothing here. Marty swallowed hard. If they had come all this way to find nothing, it would be a very long trip home.
He began to examine the figure more closely. He could feel goosebumps rise on his arms and crawl up the back of his neck. He stemmed the growing panic that threatened to overcome him. He cautiously approached the statue in the dim light. He couldn’t see the figure’s back in stark light, so he blindly ran his finger between the wings. He could feel a narrow crevice like a seam. He felt past the seam to the opposite side. The small ridge felt like a button. Could it be that simple? He pushed in the center of the ridge to hear a faint click and a small rattling sound. The mouth of the devil clicked, allowing the jaw to drop from hidden hinges. He eased his fingers into the cavity and touched something soft in the hole. Carefully, he removed the object wrapped in soft cloth. Marty looked up and around the small vestibule. The old man was nowhere to be seen. Softly, he said, “Guys, I found something.”
All eyes were riveted on him. He opened his palm to reveal a small object wrapped in cloth and tied like a bundle. Carefully, he untied the string to reveal another gem. Its primitive facets sparkled, like lightning in the dim light.
Excitedly, Franz exclaimed, “I think it’s a diamond! May I have a closer look?” His stubby hand pushed forward.
Marty slowly placed it into his hand. Franz reached into his pocket and removed a jeweler’s eye piece. As he examined the stone, he murmured, “It’s incredible… just incredible.”
Marty shivered. The room felt cold now. He could see his breath. He noticed the door was still open and the old man was gone. While the others were engrossed in the stone, Marty strode over to close the door. As he reached the door, he stuck his head outside to see if the old man had stepped out. He felt it, before he saw it. The steel blade pressed against the side of his neck. A familiar voice was more chilling than the cold steel pressed against his flesh, “Hullo, Mate. Let’s take a walk, shall we?” McPherson stood there in the dark, hard and unyielding, unfazed like he had never been injured.