Immortal Memory (Book One), page 1
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictiously, and any resemblence to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
COPYRIGHT 2014 by Sylvia Frances
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated are taken from the Holy Bible, ESV, Copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission of Sylvia Frances. All rights reserved worldwide.
This book is dedicated to my wonderful and loving grandparents, Ronnie and Frances. Thank you for always being there for me to give all your love and support through all the good and bad. To my caring and supportive parents, John and Robin, who I can never repay for all their kindness.
In loving memory of my great-grandmother, "Mother" Dorothy, who inspired me to write this book. For all my beautiful and handsome cousins on Mother's side of the family. I'd also like to dedicate this book to my Aunt Carol, who I couldn't have written this book without. Thank you for helping me with my research.
And most importantly, I dedicate this book to Christ, who has been there for me always. And to my loving and supportive husband, Donny, who is my angel God sent to me.
Trapped in the snares of your twisted lies,
The darkness of our years will never be forgotten and I will always despise,
Should I dare trust Death, the one who looks so much like you?
How can I not trust and love him when he is saving me from you and with so much truth?
You led me astray from the Light in my soul,
I was alone and buried beneath your lies in the cold,
My heart bled as the shadows you left in my heart painted it black,
As your haunting presence stalked my soul, there was One Whom inside my heart I lacked,
Only by His Grace am I safe from your evil curse,
Falling into the arms of His salvation carried me away from a life with you when I was at my worst,
By the Father’s undying Love, from your possessive grip of deceit I am safe,
As long as my trust in Him remains and I hold on to my faith,
Although your sins will forever haunt me,
I forgive you, foul one, as He wishes of me so my soul will be filled with the splendor of His peace,
Forever, He will dwell inside my heart since I sent you back to the fiery sea,
As He engraves in my heart an Immortal Memory!
“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands." -Psalm 138:8
The angel failed God again! The archangels snatched him from humanity. He'd made the same mistake several years ago. The angel of death would never be the same. Many innocent mortals died because of him.
He awoke against an evergreen tree in the snowy mountains. The angel closed his eyes to forget his pain. He groaned when the wound in his heart still hurt. An angel’s wings fluttered and startled him.
Gabriel, God’s messenger, gazed at the angel with knowing eyes. The archangel clasped his hands. “Your mission's not finished. You're not the reason those innocent mortals died. Azazel is the reason. You've been more than faithful to the Lord in your mission, and great is your reward. The Lord's pleased with you, Zachriel. Forgive yourself to receive it, and hope in Christ to overcome death. Remember, the Lord raised the Lamb from the grave."
Forgiving himself would be more than difficult. If the angel hadn't been distracted both times by his feelings, they'd be alive. Azazel would have been finished long ago. Did Gabriel mean that their resurrection would be soon?
So many questions stirred. Gabriel placed a hand on the angel’s brow before he could ask. Drifting into a deep sleep, the angel of death allowed the serene waves to flow through him.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." – Deuteronomy 31:6
Today's newspaper article on robberies seemed too familiar after Simra Reece brought it inside the house. She’d read the same story before today, and it had been on today's date. The kid peddling down the road on his bike and almost getting hit by a car didn’t happen once either.
Today was February thirteenth, but history seemed to repeat itself.
Maybe she dreamed of these future events last night, but most dreams did not predict reality. Simra shook her head at such irrational nonsense. The strong smell of coffee drifted through the doorway and drew her back inside to pour a cup. She savored the hot, creamy liquid.
The hour grew near for work at the Alzheimer's facility that she and her cousin owned. She treasured giving so many a comfortable place to stay. An ominous chill swept past Simra and caused her to shiver.
Her nose twitched at the faint aroma of smoke. Was something burning? Simra checked all the rooms but found nothing on fire. Maybe she imagined it. People were known to smell things that weren’t there.
Cringing at a familiar feeling haunting her, she shuddered. A more frigid chill swept past her again and caused her teeth to chatter. Something hard crashed onto the floor and made her gasp. The empty coffee cup slipped from her grasp and shattered to pieces. Her trembling hands reached for a butcher knife to approach the object.
Simra picked up her old wooden heart with the words “Forever Mine” engraved deep into it. An old Valentine's Day gift. She placed it onto the table. Impossible. Simra threw the gift in the trash several months ago. The guy couldn’t be inside her house.
The alarm system would have sounded, and all the doors were bolted. The windows stayed locked. He had no key. Taking slow, quiet steps around the house, she checked everywhere. No one was inside the house except her. She even checked the doors to be sure they were still locked.
Returning to where the heart dropped onto the hard floor, she spotted a letter beside it. It dated back to the last one he sent, which she refused to read. She threw the majority of them in the trash. This letter was out of the envelope and tempted her to read it. Simra unfolded it and read all the words.
“My princess, I know you're upset with me, but I intend on spending forever with you. You're the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I promise everything will get better. I'm coming home to you as soon as I can. We'll have a fresh new start. I love you. Tristan Azazel.”
More shivers of dread raked over her stiff body. She tried to control her voice from quivering. “Tristan?”
Several knocks tapped against the front door. Simra rushed to the bedroom and pulled out her grandmother’s old pistol. She dared placing her hand on the cold brass door handle. Gazing out the side window, she saw no one. Jerking the door open with the gun behind her, she found nothing.
Although the weather grew warmer lately, a coldness bit into her flesh like icy needles. Something evil lurked around her home. It was almost like a ghost following her. She threw on her work clothes with an overwhelming need to leave. Aft
Simra dialed the police station. An officer answered the phone, and she explained her reason for calling. “My ex fiancé has been missing for a year. His name’s Tristan Azazel, and he's been stalking me.” She described the strange incidents and letters he resent. Simra gave the cop her information.
“Thank you, Ma’am. We’ll check on it and will call you back if we find anything,” the cop replied.
“Thank you.” Simra hung up the phone with some relief washing through her. If they didn’t find anything, she would still search for answers. She couldn’t continue living like this.
Perhaps only her reckless imagination teased her. Surely he wouldn’t disturb her after so long. Maybe her troubled memories played tricks on her mind. Trying to forget about it, Simra walked into Reece Alzheimer’s Care Facility. She couldn’t wait to see her grandmother, who lived at the home.
Nodding a silent hello to the employees, she smiled at the patients before stepping into her office. She grabbed some paperwork, walked out, and clashed into….Tristan! The documents scattered across the floor along with her emotions. “Tristan? No. Wait. You’re not Tristan.”
This man could pass for ex-fiancé's twin! Was she imagining things again? His spiked up dark hair was a little lighter than Tristan’s. The man’s oceanic eyes reflected concern rather than a hint of possessiveness.
He towered over her and caused Simra’s knees to weaken. This man stood much taller than Tristan. He also wore a long white coat and blue scrubs.
“Are you a new doctor here?” She asked. Her throat went dry from the similarities.
Simra blinked several times to be certain her eyes weren’t playing tricks on her. There were already too many strange occurrences today, and they didn’t need to happen at work. She had to focus on her job.
The doctor offered his hand as his eyebrow lifted. “Hi. Dr. Zach Hanley. Yes, I'm a specialist in neurology. I'm from the hospital. Your name?” His studious gaze reached deep into her eyes.
She helped him pick up the scattered paperwork. Simra thanked him when he placed them together for her. “Simra Reece. Nice making your acquaintance. I’m one of the owners here. How are the patients today?”
He gave her a familiar smile, one that sent shivers of fear and delicious warmth down her spine. “They’re doing well. I’m more particularly concerned about Lucinda Reece; however.”
Simra felt the blood rush from her face. Her grandmother was her entire world, and she would die to protect her. “She’s my grandmother. What’s wrong?”
“The Alzheimer's is getting to her fast. It was caused by someone - something terrible. I'd like to discuss many things with you about her lengthy illness as soon as possible. I'm afraid we don't have much time.”
Simra's heart dropped. "What are you talking about?" She controlled a tear from falling. Simra caught a glimpse of her grandma coming out of her room.
Dr. Hanley spoke of someone or something causing Lucinda's illness. How was that possible and who was this guy? Her grandmother no longer remembered her granddaughter. However, Simra would risk her life to protect her.
She would make certain Lucinda stayed alive as long as she could. She’d never allow God to snatch away the only parent she had left! Hadn’t He taken enough away from her? Simra fought back tears at the thought. Her grandmother took baby steps toward her granddaughter and the doctor.
The doctor placed his hand on Simra’s shoulder. “You're in danger. I can protect you.”
Pulling away from him, she hovered over her grandma to keep her safe. “Who are you? What do you want?”
He stepped closer with a deep seriousness in his eyes. “Someone caused the Alzheimer's. I can keep you away from Azazel. He's a threat to your life.”
Simra kept her gaze toward him with her stomach twisting in knots. “How do you know us? Who are you? Are you really a doctor?”
Lucinda stepped between them and turned to her granddaughter. Her grandmother's gaze remained fixed on the floor. “Listen to truth. Demon follow you.”
Gasping in amazement at Lucinda, Simra looked past her at the new doctor. His eyes remained void of surprise as he nodded at her grandmother's response. Lucinda hadn't talked in so long…until today.
Dr. Hanley stepped closer. “Yes. Trust me. I know what’s about to happen. He's stalking you, and it's only going to get worse. You're in danger. The cops can't keep you safe, but I know how his mind works. I know a safe place for you to hide from him.”
Simra’s wild heart thudded when Lucinda turned to him with a tender smile. Dr. Hanley stalked Simra too. There was a connection between him and Tristan. Were they brothers? Tristan never mentioned a brother. Then again, their last names were very different.
Simra reached for Lucinda and took the woman’s hands in her own. “Grandmother, what did you mean?”
Lucinda glanced down at the floor again and mumbled. Her grandmother behaved much differently since Dr. Hanley's arrival. The uneasiness of sensing Tristan around earlier still rattled Simra’s emotions. Seeing Dr. Hanley made matters much worse.
Simra squeezed her grandmother’s hand before turning to the young doctor. “Dr. Hanley, please leave. I'd appreciate it if you and Tristan stayed out of our lives. I’m taking her to bed now.”
Zach observed them until they got to Lucinda's room. “Azazel is evil, Miss Simra, and you'll require my help very soon. Your stunning beauty's just like that of your grandmother's. However, your obstinacy like hers could later get you in much trouble with Azazel.”
A hot blush burned Simra’s cheeks as she escorted her grandmother toward the room. How did he know so much about them? They couldn’t escape him fast enough. The doctor reminded her of Tristan too much. Dr. Hanley seemed to believe he was much too clever.
Helping Lucinda sit on her bed, Simra took a seat beside the woman. She placed an arm around her grandma. “Grandmother, I don’t understand what you meant. I’m not so fond of that doctor, but I’m glad you’re having a good day. You actually spoke to me. This brightened my day.”
Giving the woman a kiss on her soft cheek, Simra gave Lucinda a warm smile before leaving. She never imagined her grandma would have this horrible illness. Returning where she left Dr. Hanley, Simra scanned everywhere for the doctor. The man disappeared.
She continued searching the entire home and found him nowhere. Someone couldn’t vanish that fast. She didn’t stay with her grandmother but a few seconds. Simra tried to shrug off the disturbing events of the morning.
She took a quick look at her employees to see everyone doing their jobs. There was still no sign of Dr. Hanley. Simra tried to resist remembering his and her grandmother’s words. What did they mean?
Eager to know how her grandmother managed over the night, she stepped up to one of the nurses. A smile widened across Simra’s lips. “Hi, Bonnie. Did any of the night nurses mention changes in Grandmother over the past few hours? Her behavior’s been a little strange. You noticed?”
The older nurse returned her boss’s smile. “Hi, Miss Reece. Yes, I know, she’s been behaving in an odd way since the early hours of this morning. I was about to tell you. She became combative earlier and tried hitting another nurse. Ms. Reece tried running away from the building. She’s never done anything like that before today. Then, she began smiling a lot and mumbling to some sort of imaginary friend. Ms. Lucinda’s illness is progressing faster than anyone we’ve ever seen. It worries us.”
Searching Bonnie’s gaze for more answers, Simra fought the tears misting her eyes. Was all this because of the doctor and Tristan? “I don’t understand why it’s getting to her so fast. Did anything trigger her to become combative or try to run away from the home?”
Bonnie lifted her spectacles higher on the bridge of her nose. “Nothing happened to cause it. She was alone in her room. Ms. Lucinda just got up and rushed to get out of the home. No one upset her. She has all the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. I’ve never seen the d
Dr. Zach Hanley’s words repeated in Simra’s shredding mind. Impossible. A person couldn’t have done this to her grandmother.
Simra nodded at Bonnie and still wanted to dig for a rational explanation. “Yeah. Maybe she’s only more sensitive to this disease than others. It’s probably working on her faster.”
Bonnie dipped her head in agreement. “Perhaps you’re right.”
“Thanks for telling me this, Bonnie. I’m going to check on her again.”
The nurse gave her boss a warm smile and went back to work. Walking into her grandmother’s room, Simra ached for answers. Lucinda rocked back and forth on the edge of her bed with her troubled hazel eyes shifting. Facing the mirror in the room, Simra’s eyes matched Lucinda’s.
Reaching for her grandma’s hand, Simra squeezed it with affection. She died a slow death inside to see Lucinda’s pain. “Grandmother, what is it?”
Both of their lips trembled when the temperature dropped several degrees in seconds. Muddled words stammered from Lucinda’s lips. Simra wrapped a flannel blanket around her grandmother to keep her warm. She almost stumbled backwards when her grandmother bolted up with clenched fists. Lucinda's gaze turned into a glare of fire.
Her grandmother clasped her fragile hands on Simra’s shoulders and tried giving her a rough shake. Lucinda's screams pierced her ear drums. “Break up! Break up! Leave him!”
Stepping away from Lucinda, Simra allowed the nurses to rush in and calm her grandmother. With her hand covering her own mouth, Simra rushed down the hall into her office. She needed time to think and sort out everything.