Loading...
Menu
Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Fantasy  ➡  Paranormal  ➡  African American fiction  ➡  Christian

The Man Who Rules The World

The Man Who Rules The World

Shakespir Edition

Copyright © 20l6 Shawn James

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please go to Shakespir.com to purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Published by SJS DIRECT, Bronx, NY, 10456

Chapter 1

 

 

I’m the man who rules the world.

At least that’s what Time Magazine says.

I glance down at my picture on the cover of the copy of Time magazine lying on the backseat before turning to look out the tinted windows of the Escalade I’m riding in. I haven’t been to the old neighborhood in a month. I can’t wait to be home again.

I reminisce about my Dad driving his big red Buick across this bridge to take me for haircuts when I was little as the SUV makes its way off the 145th Street Bridge and drives up the hill to the Grand Concourse. Back then we drove through a wasteland of burnt down buildings and abandoned lots with weeds growing out of them. Now big box retailers have set up shop in that same space. I’m hoping Morris Phillips can make a significant contribution to continuing the progress of the urban renewal here with the distribution center I want to build on Webster Avenue-

“John?” E’steem calls breaking my train of thought.

I look over at my assistant and the tall voluptuous almond colored woman in the red wrap dress brushes her long silky black hair out of her face to smile at me. “What’s going on Ms. Katious?” I inquire.

“You’ve been real quiet on the ride uptown. You nervous about making that presentation?”

I’m never comfortable about speaking in front of a crowd. “You should know I never was much of a talker.”

I thought you’d be getting the hang of making speeches after a year and a half on the job.”

I’ll admit I’ve gotten a little better at public speaking traveling the world as Morris Phillips’ CEO. But I can’t honestly say that I’m a master orator yet. I just hope I can leave a lasting first impression on the brothers and sisters like I did on the Morris Phillips executives in Tokyo last month. “It’s a skill I’m still trying to get better at.”

When the company SUV makes its way down the hill and turns onto Third Avenue, E’steem curiously peers out of the window at the shops and gives me a curious look. “So what was it like growing up here?”

“You read my story.”

“That was what Lucifer wanted me to know about you. It didn’t tell me anything about what it’d be like to actually live here.”

I guess a biography would miss out on those little details. “It was pretty rough back in those days, especially when I was little.” I say. “Burnt down and abandoned buildings all around, junkies roaming the streets like zombies. But somehow it was one of the happiest places I’ve ever been.”

E’steem gives me a bemused look. “I still don’t understand how you could find joy in poverty-”

“We were poor, but we had each other. It was that love my family had that helped most of us overcome the blight. It gave us hope.”

“Is that what you want to give to the people in your old neighborhood?”

“It’s what I’d like to share with them.”

“After all you’ve been through growing up, I wouldn’t think you’d ever want to return here-”

“That’s why I have to come back.”

“So you’re trying to win hearts and minds?”

“Trying to change some. I’m hoping by bringing some jobs to the neighborhood it’ll improve the quality of life down here for everyone.”

Our Escalade makes a turn off Third Avenue at 167th Street and makes its way cross-town. Anticipation builds inside me when we drive past my old elementary school on Washington Avenue. I take a deep breath to calm the anxieties inside me. This speech means a lot to me; I don’t want to mess it up.

The car eases into a spot in front of the playground. Cool fall air rushes into the backseat as the driver opens the door for us. I step out of the truck and feel the energy from the crowd of reporters, community leaders, and politicians sitting in the yard. After I offer my hand to E’steem and she gracefully steps out and greets me with a smile. “You ready?” E’steem asks.

“Ready as I’ll ever be.” I reply confidently.

I feel a few eyes on us while we march down the sidewalk. More focus on us as we enter the playground and approach a stage decorated with banners, bunting, and colorful balloons. As I hurry up the stairs, my old classmate Scott Grayson jumps out of his seat and extends his hand. “What’s going on John?” he greets as he extends his fist for a pound.

“Just a small press conference Grayson.” I reply pounding back.

“Small? You got press from all the major networks here.”

“You know how Morris Phillips does things. Besides, we want to leave a good first impression on the public.”

Just as Grayson is about to ask me a question, Brent Morrison, my Vice President eases out of his seat. The slender ginger-haired man dressed in a gray flannel suit nervously approaches me looking at his watch. “Sir, are you ready to begin?”

I think this is Brent’s first time among so many Black people. “Is this your first time in the ghetto?”

“It’s just you have a busy schedule-

It’s his first time. “My appointments can wait.”

“Well, how long are we going to be here?”

He may be scared of coming to the Bronx, but he’ll leave when I’m ready to leave. “As long as I need to be.”

“Well, would you like me to introduce you-”

I know Brent is a skilled orator. But this crowd needs someone who can connect with everyone. “Grayson will do the honors.”

Scott lights up on the request. “Thanks for the honor man.”

“It’s why I invited you.”

Brent grimaces and returns to his seat. Scott strolls over to the podium. Anticipation builds as he gets their attention with a smile. “Ladies and Gentlemen.” Scott begins. “I want to welcome back a brother who has grown up in this neighborhood. Someone who went to this very school and walked these very streets back in the day. The CEO of Morris Phillips and Proud South Bronx resident Mr. John Haynes.”

I’m greeted with a thunderous round of applause after the enthusiastic introduction from Scott. After taking a moment to soak in the positive energy radiating from everyone I approach the podium to make my speech. “Several years ago I left this neighborhood hoping to achieve a better quality of life.” I start. “And in that short time I’ve come a long way. But I never forgot about where I came from. And after traveling around the world, I’m happy to be home again.”

Another thunderous round of applause greets me on the statement. “And even though I’ve acquired a lot in the past few years I understand why it’s important to give back. I’m hoping that with the construction of the Nabiskit distribution center on Webster Avenue and 176th Street, others in the community will have an opportunity at a better quality of life I gained several years ago.”

I gesture and E’steem pulls the tarp off an easel. The crowd lights up at the sight of a sketch of the stylish concrete building that’ll replace the abandoned lots on Webster Avenue. As the picture piques their interest, I take the opportunity to sell the public on my plans. “The Nabiskit facility will allow our territory representatives to better serve local retailers throughout New York City by providing our customers with the freshest Nabiskit products.” I continue. More importantly, the construction of this hub will bring three hundred new full-time jobs to the South Bronx when it’s completed and three hundred jobs while it’s being built.”

I’m greeted with smiles from the crowd on hearing the news. Most people look like they’re behind me but I see some concerned looks on a handful of faces. Maybe I can persuade them during the question and answer session.

“I’m sure you’d like to know more about our new facility. Are there any questions?”

A tall Hispanic man in a tan twill suit is the first to pop out of his seat with a question. “Mr. Hayes, Jorge Rivera from News 12. “Will these new jobs be offered to Bronx residents?”

I catch his eyes to answer his question. “I’m making it a top priority to hire people from the neighborhood to staff the facility once it’s built.”

As I field a question from a Black man in khakis, I notice a trio of Lexus LX470s boxing in my Escalade. “Mr. Haynes,” Carl Isaacs from the Bronx Times.” He starts. “Have you received the support of the local community in the development and construction of this facility?”

“We’ve received the support of the entire community-”

“You didn’t consult the Ghetto!” A familiar voice calls out.

The audience gasps as a gang of men in sagging jeans and T-shirts rush out of the SUVs and storm towards the stage. As politicians and community leaders in the audience get anxious, I take a deep breath to calm my nerves. “Everyone remain calm.” I call out to the crowd. “Just remain calm-”

E’steem grabs my hand. “John we need to get out of here-”

We turn to the stairs at the left of me to make an exit. Before we make it off the stage we’re met with the beady brown eyes of a man I thought I’d never see again. Barry Watson, one of my former bullies from junior high stands with fists clenched he rushes up the stairs. “You ain’t going nowhere Mr. CEO!” He barks.

E’steem and I are about to turn and head the other way when the stage buckles and shakes from the weight of someone heavy stepping on it. Very heavy; they’ve got to weigh five or six hundred pounds to test the integrity of the structure like this. As a huge shadow is cast over the podium I turn to be greeted by the cold brown eyes of a man I never thought I’d ever see again.

“S’up John? Remember me?” Block growls.

“Unfortunately, I do.” I reply.

E’steem jumps in front of me. “So do I-”

E’steem charges at Block; before she can lay a hand on him, the seven-foot tall four-foot wide chocolate colored man grabs her arm and tosses her off the stage. I stifle the anger boiling in my breast as she tumbles onto the asphalt below. “A lot has changed since then Block.”

“I don’t think so Mr. Man Who Rules The World.” Block continues. “You’re still getting girls to fight for you-”

“I’m facing you like a man.”

“You may run the world out there, but I run the one around here.” Block says picking the podium off the stage. “And niggers who get in my way here get smashed.”

Block hurls the podium off the stage; E’steem manages to roll out of the way before it crashes to the ground. When he stomps into my personal space, I feel the steam from his short heavy breaths bearing down on me. “You’re in my way.” He says peering down at me.

My hands clench into fists as I feel the cameras on me. They want a fight. Something to wind up on the 6’oclock news and WorldStarHipHop. Something to tarnish my reputation as the CEO of Morris Phillips. A nigger moment. “Well, I guess I better move.” I say flashing him a smile.

I snap my fingers and a dozen police officers and Morris Phillips security rush out of unmarked cars on the street and the back entrance of the elementary school to storm the stage. The Block’s face twists into a terrified expression on seeing all the guns drawn on him. “GET YOUR HANDS UP!” The officers demand.

While officers get handcuffs on Block, Barry, and his boys I turn out to the crowd. “Ladies and Gentleman I’m sorry but I’m going to have to cut this press conference short.” I say. “Now that we’ve heard from the ghetto, I’m hoping I can have the support of the rest of the community in bringing this project to fruition. If you need any more information, feel free to consult the Morris Phillips public relations office.”

I hurry down the steps to see how E’steem is doing. In the distance I hear Block continuing to taunt me as officers put handcuffs on him. “Somebody always keeping you from getting the ass whupping you should got years ago!” Block rants. “One of these days you gonna step to the wrong cat! And then ain’t nobody going to save you then!”

Chapter 2

 

 

Marcus Jefferies has a somber look in his eyes as he slumps in the back seat of the police cruiser. For one who calls himself a block, he crumbles easily under pressure. A pity. I thought I could have used him as the stumbling block who would have caused John to fall. It looks like I’ll have to find another to end his existence upon my earth.

A flash of light takes me from the streets of the South Bronx to the Ninth Level of Hell. Harmonic wails echo through the darkened caverns filled with brimstone caves as the most depraved souls are tormented for their sins in the past life. I know just the man I want to bring back to my world.

I gesture and a ball of blue flames erupts from my hand to light my way as I march down the pathway. While I pass by cells imprisoning history’s greatest men and women I laugh as they wail in anguish and plead for me to end their agony. When I step inside the cell at the end of the path I’m surprised to see the man inside isn’t suffering. Instead he cuts a cold look at me while my imps cower in the corner. “MastiKatious I presume.” I greet.

The tall muscular chocolate colored man wearing a loincloth rises from the slab he’s sitting on and makes eye contact with me. “You presume correctly Lucifer.”

I gesture and the fire in my hands rises to the ceiling. As it illuminates the cave the former King of Katia’s eyes stay locked in mine. “I would think the man who once ruled the greatest nation in the world would be the most miserable here.”

“I will rule in that world again.”

Even in the midst of eternal damnation he still has aspirations for power. It’s good to have a dream. I’ll entertain his delusions if they’ll help me accomplish my goals. “But you’re locked in my cage.”

“It’s a minor setback.”

“What would you do if you were free from it?”

“Take my kingdom.”

“Unfortunately, you’re stuck in mine.”

MastiKatious’ hands clench into fists. “You are no lord over me-”

I smile at him. “But I have been given authority over you. And I’m willing to release you from this torment if you do a work for me.”

The cold stare of the former King of Katia changes into a piqued look. “What labor do you wish done?”

“I’ll give you the world if you give me the life of one man.”

“I only want my kingdom-”

I gesture again and a flash of light makes the copy of Time Magazine with John on the cover appear in my hands. “This man rules my world. Take his life and you can have the world as your kingdom.”

MastiKatious takes the magazine from me and smiles on hearing my plan. “You can’t control him can you?”

This is a surprise. I never thought he’d be so astute as to understand the subtle politics transpiring him. “Then you’re aware of who John Haynes is?”

“I use your imps to keep abreast of my daughter’s affairs.” MastiKatious replies. “You made this man a god and now you fear he’ll take your world from you.”

“Just as I have made him a god over men, I can make you a lord over him.”

Chapter 3

 

 

John hurries down the stairs and rushes over to me with a concerned look on his face. I’m more worried about him. Having come face-to-face one of his major childhood bullies, I know he’s shaken up more than he’s putting on.

“Are you okay Ms. Katious?” He asks.

“I’m good.” I reply brushing dirt off my dress.

“You took a nasty tumble off the stage.”

It was only three or four feet. It looked worse than it actually was. “I just didn’t want him to hurt you-”

“I can take care of myself.”

That’s not what I read. “I was just afraid you’d lose it like you did back when you were younger-”

John takes my hand and looks into my eyes as he smiles at me. “I’m not a kid anymore.”

“I know. It’s just when I saw the Block live in person, I just thought about what I read about your fight with him back in junior high-”

“Is that why you always think you have to fight for me?”

As his bodyguard it’s my job to deal with troublemakers like The Block. “I just don’t want to see you lose everything because of these crabs in a barrel.”

“I’ve been dealing with these crabs for years.”

“That’s what scares me.”

“Hey, I’m not the same guy you read about in that book.”

Scott hurries over to us with a smile on his face. I actually think he’s proud of John. “Man, you handled Block like a boss!” I didn’t see those cops coming!”

“This is the grown man’s table. We don’t play Junior High school games here.”

“I’d have to say Block is on notice.”

“I’m hoping he gets the message.” I continue. “If a night in jail can’t convince him to stay out of my business then I don’t know what will.”

Scott is about to ask me a question when Brent rushes over to us with a worried look on his face. “Sir, if the press conference is over, may I suggest we get back to the tower?”

The way his voice quivers tells me he’s scared witless about being here. John flashes him a smile. “I have to talk to a couple of people-”

I know John would love to stay and visit some of his old hangouts. But the last thing we need is more trouble from another one of his old enemies. The faster we get out of here the safer it’ll be for him. “Er…we do have a couple of appointments on the schedule this afternoon.” I say taking my iPhone off my belt. “And the trip back to the city is going to take at least forty-five-minutes.”

“Guess I’ve got to get back uptown.” John concedes. “I’ll talk to you later Grayson.”

Chapter 4

 

 

So the Lord of Hell needs my help. I thought this realm would freeze over before he would even think of ever approaching me. He must be truly desperate to ask for my aid.

I’ll go along with his plans. While I’m not pleased with the idea of him being the Lord over me it’s a compromise I’m willing to make to take my kingdom back. If I could make Katia the greatest nation in the world for an age imagine what I could do if I were made a god over the entire planet.

I smile at the Lord of Hell before letting him know my intentions. “If I am to take the world I’ll need tools.”

Lucifer smiles at me. “So you’re accepting my offer?”

“I’d do anything to have my kingdom.”

Lucifer gestures and a flash of light takes us from the Ninth level of Hell to the sands of the Sahara Desert. At one time this barren wasteland was where my great nation of Katia once stood. “Do you bring me here to mock me demon?”

“No, I bring you here to provide you with the tools you request.”

Lucifer squats down and digs in the sand. He soon finds the ruby gem that gave me the power to rule my kingdom for an age. “This is all you needed to rule Katia. And it’ll be all you need to take this world.”

I gesture to take the gem from him and my hand passes right through him? “Is this a trick?”

“Right now you’re dead.” Lucifer replies. “One of many lost souls. To walk this Earth again you need to be made flesh.”

Lucifer looks at me through the Gem of Omnipotence and soon the sands of the desert begin swirling around me. In an instant I start to feel the grit of the sands of the desert under my feet and feel the sun burning against my back. In moments I inhale the dry air as I breathe with life for the first time in eons. “From the dust of earth men were made. And now you walk among men again as a man.”

“I am no man.” I say taking the Gem of Omnipotence from him. “I am a god.”

“You are a god of my creation. Just as you devoured the Bolan nation eons ago I want you to consume this world. ”

“And you’ll give me my kingdom in exchange for the death of this John Haynes?”

“That’s my price. Are you willing to pay it?”

“I will bring you the head of this man once I have brought this world under my subjection.”

Chapter 5

 

 

It’s 12:40 when the Escalade E’steem and I are riding in comes to a stop in the parking garage of the Morris Phillips Tower. After our driver gets the door for us, we step out of the car and hurry onto the elevator. As it ascends I find out what’s on my schedule. “So what are we doing for the rest of the day?” I ask.

“Well, we have a meeting with Sabrina Lowenstein at one to discuss making Marilyn Marie the new face for our Crisp Thins ad campaign, and at two thirty you have a meeting with the executives at Macy*s regarding our Nabiskit holiday float in the parade.”

Seems like there’s a bit of a scheduling conflict. “Aren’t you supposed to have lunch with Isis at one?”

“Guess I’m gonna have to cancel that.”

“No, you go to lunch with your sister. Lilith can handle things until you get back.”

E’steem gives me a look. “Are you trying to replace me?”

“Just trying to give my helpmeet a little help.” I say. “I thought you liked spending time with your sister-”

“I do. But you seem to be giving a lot of my work to Lily these days-”

“Just putting that dusty old MBA of hers to work.” I say. “Is she complaining?”

“Our former vampire is actually enjoying herself. I just don’t want you to push her to work as hard as you do-”

She’s got a point. I do tend to push myself too hard sometimes. “Well, the one of the reasons I promoted her was so we could have more time to ourselves.”

E’steem’s eyes light up. “So you’re actually going to take some time to do something than other than work?”

I’ve made a lot of progress over the last year and a half so I can do other things like schedule a little fun for us. “Thanks to Lily helping us out I’ve got a little more time in the schedule for playtime.”

“And I know what games I’d love to play.” E’steem flirts wrapping her arms around me.

E’steem leans in for a kiss. But before her lips can meet mine, the ping of the elevator lets us know we’ve arrived at our floor. “Guess we’ve got to go back to work.” I jab.

“Unfortunately.” E’steem says breaking the embrace.

E’steem and I file off the elevator and head down the hall. As we turn the corner and approach the reception desk in front of the executive suite, Lilith greets us with a smile. “Hey John, how’d your press conference go?” she asks.

“It went well Lily.” I reply.

“Up to the point the stage got rushed.” E’steem says.

Lilith’s eyes grow wide on hearing about what happened. “You guys got attacked by demons again?”

“Actually it was one of John’s old Junior high school bullies this time.” E’steem retorts.

Lilith huffs a sigh. “Don’t tell me you had to fight-”

I flash my new assistant a smile. “I handled things without throwing a single punch.”

“Well, I’ve been handling things here. It’s been fairly quiet since I relieved Sam for lunch.”

“Guess all the demons are roaming to and fro seeking whoever they may devour.” I say.

“Or they’re just devouring lunch.” Lilith retorts. “Dr. Flowers is here to see you. She’s waiting in your office.”

“Thanks.”

E’steem and I head over to the tall mahogany doors of my office. I wonder why Doc is coming to see me. It has to be some kind of important for her to take time out of her busy schedule to visit the tower when we’re not having a board meeting. When I open the door and step into the suite and see who’s sitting next to the polished sophisticated elderly woman in the Chanel suit my eyes grow wide. “Colleen-”

“John! Oh my God!” Colleen gasps jumping off the sofa to give me a hug. “You’re so different from when I last saw you!

“It’s the suit.” I say. “Custom tailored suits have a way of making you look more authoritative.”

“I’d have to say it’s more than that.” Colleen says looking me over. You’ve definitely lost some weight from the last time I saw you.”

“Well, with all the running around the world we do John has gone down a few sizes.” E’steem says.

“A few sizes? He looks like a completely different person.” Colleen says.

I guess I have gone through a lot of changes over the last year and a half. I give my ex-girlfriend a once over and see how much she’s changed. In addition to a crisper version of her dowdy old white blouse and black skirt, she’s got her black lipstick, gold wire glasses, and her G-Shock watch back on. I didn’t think she’d go back to her old Goth style being a CEO these days. “You look like you’ve gone through some changes yourself. I didn’t think you could wear New Rocks in an office.”

“You know I have to be me.” Colleen says. “And I realized when you own the company you can set the dress code.”

“So what bring you here from the windy city?” I ask breaking the embrace.

“I just wanted to tell you I’m coming back home.”

This is a surprise. “I thought you were settled in Chicago-”

“The financial world happens here.” Colleen replies. “And I can’t effectively manage Daddy’s business in the Windy City.”

“You sure that’s not going to make things uncomfortable for you?”

“No, I think I’ll be all right. I realize I can’t run away from everything.”

“So you’re ready to face your inevitable destiny?”

“I want to make Daddy proud of me.”

“I think he’d be proud of you already if he were here.” Doc says.

“I’d have to agree. You’ve done an amazing job of taking over his business.”

E’steem gives me an awkward look as she smiles at me. “Do you need anything John?”

I give her a reassuring smile back. “I’ll be fine. Go to lunch.”

Colleen looks over at E’steem and lets her know how she feels about me. “E’steem?”

“Yeah?”

“Take care of this guy. Because he’ll take care of you.”

“I know.” E’steem says as she rushes out of the office.

Chapter 6

 

 

Lucifer disappears in a flash of light as I look down at the dingy loincloth around my waist. Now that I am made flesh again it’s time I put on raiment befitting a god of my stature.

I hold the Gem of Omnipotence to my heart and imagine myself in my Royal Katian war armor. In an instant the sands of the desert swirl around me and take the form of my golden breastplate, bracers, shinplates, armlets and crown. A black kilt trimmed with gold wraps itself around my waist and sandals wrap themselves around my feet. When my armor is finally complete, I command the Gem of Omnipotence to fall into the center of my breastplate over my heart.

Now that I am ready for war, it should only be a matter of days before the nations of this world fall to me. But before I conquer this world, I’ll take a moment to counsel with my daughter. While she has allied herself with my enemies, it would only be fair to see if she would want a place in my kingdom.

Chapter 7

 

 

Okay…Ex-girlfriend in the office. That means I need to exit stage left.

I doubt I have anything to worry about from Colleen. From the way she’s talking, she’s pretty much here to reconnect with John as a friend. And I doubt I’d have to worry about anything from Lilith either. While they’ve been chummy between meetings, she’s been pining hard for Claud ever since she started attending the Demons Anonymous meetings a few weeks ago. I’m glad John has been making friends. But I’d like to see a few more men in his social circle. Because right now there are just too many clams in my chowder bowl.

But I can’t complain too much. John’s come a long way in the year and a half he’s been here. When I first met him he was so shy he could barely make eye contact with me. Now he’s commanding the attention of executives and dignitaries around the world. I know he’ll set boundaries with all his new friends and let them know I’m his number one woman.

I check my watch and catch the time. 12:58. I don’t have much time if I want to meet up with Isis for lunch at Luigi’s. I’d love to get a flight in, but with time being short I’m going to have to teleport and hope for the best.

A flash of light takes me from the executive offices of the Morris Phillips Tower to the street outside of 86th and Third. As I head down the corner, I catch Isis’ friendly brown eyes. The slender chestnut haired woman dressed in a sleeveless white button-down blouse, faded blue jeans and black ballet flats greets me with a smile. “Hey, big sis ready for lunch?” Isis asks.

I flash her a smile anticipating our meal together. “You know I’m always ready for a Luigi’s meatball hero.”

We’re about to start walking towards the restaurant when a flash of light explodes in our eyes. Once it clears we’re greeted by a tall chocolate colored man dressed in royal attire that’s definitely not New Heliopolitan. From the ruby gem and the ornate designs on the breastplate it looks like he’s Katian. But that can’t be. I’m the last surviving member of our race.

“Greetings daughter.” He snarls.

My hands clench into fists on meeting the cold eyes of the man who looks just like me. “You’re not my father.”

Isis quickly puts two and two together. “Er…Isn’t he supposed to be dead?”

“My Lord has given me new life goddess.” MastiKatious says. “And I’ve come to give my only daughter an opportunity to be a part of my new kingdom.”

Now that I know who’s behind his resurrection I’m definitely declining his offer. Lucifer must be truly desperate to go that deep into the bowels of Hell to bring this monster out of it. “Sorry, not interested.”

“So you would side with the Pharaoh?”

“I stand with my father until the day I die.”

Blue flames erupt from my fists. As I fire a blast of Hellfire at the former king of Katia, the ruby gem on his breastplate glows and a field envelops his body. The flames don’t even touch him. I’d read the Gem of Omnipotence was powerful, but I had no idea it could give him the power to beat back the fires of Hell.

As the flames from my assault are deflected by his shield, they rain down on either side spraying into the street. People scream and scramble for cover and cars weave in and out of traffic to avoid the onslaught. I’d love to dial things back but I can’t give him a moment. This monster brought death and destruction mankind hasn’t seen since ancient times. If he managed to get past me All Hell would break loose on Earth. As I charge at him my brown eyes change into reptile ones, cloven claws grow out of my fingernails and long black horns shoot out of my forehead. The ground rumbles and the air explodes as my fist connects with his jaw. I’m shocked when his cheek barely moves with the punch to the face.

I catch the gasped look on Isis’ face when I swing on him again. He catches my hand and twists it down before I can even touch him. “You would dare to strike your own father. Such insolence.”

The backhanded slap he gives me sends me flying up off the sidewalk. I see a blur of cars and asphalt before hearing glass exploding around me as I crash into a store on the other side of Lexington Avenue. I haven’t been hit that hard since Lucifer struck me in the penthouse a year and a half ago.

I try to shake the stars out of my eyes and scramble to my feet. When I step out of the shattered plate glass window I Isis fly towards him and watch him swat her away like a fly before she can even throw a punch. We’re two of the most powerful beings on the planet and our best shots didn’t even faze him.

A flash of light takes me out of the damaged storefront over to the crater in the asphalt where Isis crashes. “Are you all right?” I say pulling her out of the crater.

“I’m gonna guess he’s out of our league.” Isis says.

From what I read he gave Osiris in his prime a run for his money. “Way out.”

“So what are we gonna do?”

“It would be wise to surrender goddess.” MastiKatious says as he approaches us. “I have no quarrel with you. I only want this world. Go back to your kingdom and I’ll spare your lives.”

Isis loses it when she hears his threat. “The only way you take this world is over my dead body!”

Isis gestures and makes her golden bow appear in her hands and her quiver of golden arrows falls onto her hip. Just as she’s about to reach for an arrow, a star shoots out of the blue skies over New York. Soon a flash of light explodes in our eyes. When it clears Osiris stands before us. The tall bald headed clean-shaven honey colored man dressed in a white caftan, green robe, gold belt and sandals gives us an earnest look. “Isis, put up your bow.” He orders.

“But-”

“Put up your bow.” Osiris insists.

Isis catches the look in our father’s eyes and makes her bow disappear in a flash of light. I stand down with her as my face changes back to its human visage. “So Pharaoh, have you come to defend these pitiful masses yet again?” MastiKatious taunts.

Osiris meets the cold eyes of the Devourer of Nations and cuts a look at him that makes me nervous. I think he’d kill him again if he could. “I’ve come to protect my family Katious.”

MastiKatious gives Isis a contemptuous look. “If you think this little girl is a threat to me, then I doubt I have much to worry about. However, I am in a mood to be benevolent. I will spare the lives of your children if you don’t interfere in my quest to take this world.”

Osiris looks out to the people scrambling in the streets in fear and the police and fire department in the distance tending to the injured. Then looks at us, winces, and bites his lip. “If you want this world you can have it. But leave my children alone.”

 

MastiKatious smiles proudly “Agreed Pharaoh. I’ll leave you and your children alone.”

My eyes grow wide on hearing what my father has done. “Father you can’t-”

Osiris gestures and we all disappear in a flash of light before I can finish my sentence.

 

 

Chapter 8

 

 

The masses are in awe watching the Pharaoh and his brood disappear in a flash of light. I’ll use his leaving as an opportunity to let to my new subjects knows who their new King is.

With a thought I command the Gem of Omnipotence to make me fly as the gods do. The people standing about are in awe watching my feet rise off the asphalt. As I take to the skies I know just where I want to go. I quickly fly through the maze of skyscrapers down to the place men call Times Square. As I hover above the people in the crossroads of their world they stop whatever they’re doing and look up at me.

I peer down at the sheep and see the red lights of those Smartphone devices these mortals carry coming on. While they record me, I hear them pondering what to make of me. Some ask if this is some sort of stunt, others ask if I am a man. A few ponder if I am a god. While they chatter, the Gem of Omnipotence flashes as I manipulate the radio frequencies on their cellular devices, satellites, broadcast antennas, and computer networks that broadcast their media. They won’t need to ask, I’ll tell them all who I am.

Chapter 9

 

 

After E’steem leaves, I check the time on my Rolex watch. I’ve got a few minutes before that meeting. That’s enough time to show Doc and Colleen where I live. “Want to see the company Penthouse?” I ask.

Colleen’s eyes light up on hearing the request. “Definitely.”

I get the door and Colleen and Doc follow me out of the executive suite into the private elevator at the end of the hall. As it ascends Colleen gives me a curious look. “So how does it feel to be the man who rules the world?” She asks.

“Don’t tell me you got a copy of Time.” I sigh.

“I bought fifty of them.” Colleen teases.

“Let me guess, you want an autograph.”

“I’ll bring all my magazines for you to sign if you give me a meeting.”

“Business or personal?”

“Business. We need to talk about managing that sizeable salary of yours.”

I reach into my suit coat pocket and take out my iPhone. “Would you be available to meet me for dinner at Dynasty tomorrow night?”

Doc flashes me a smile. “Dynasty? That restaurant’s been booked solid for months-”

“Chef Jason has been begging me to try his meatloaf sliders for three weeks now. And since Colleen’s coming back to the city I thought we could celebrate her return.”

“So this won’t be a dinner for two?” Colleen asks.

“It’ll be a table for four. That’s if E’steem and Doc can make it.”

Doc flashes me a smile. “I’ll definitely be there. I’m always available for a free lobster.”

“I’ll meet you outside of the tower-”

“I’ll pick you up at your penthouse.”

The elevator comes to a stop and opens in the penthouse. Colleen’s eyes grow wide and her jaw falls agape on seeing all the luxurious amenities inside the living room. “…About that marriage proposal I declined. Can I say yes now?” Colleen blurts.

“No backsies.” I reply.

“Is that really one of Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup paintings?” Doc inquires.

“Yeah, it is.”

The ladies follow me into the living room as their eyes wander around the penthouse. As I’m about to show them the view from the balcony, my iPhone chirps. When I see Lilith’s picture on it I get concerned. She wouldn’t be calling me on the cell unless it was something serious. “What’s going on Lil?” I inquire.

“John, you need to check out the news.” She tells me.

“I’ll do that.”

I hurry over to the coffee table and grab the remote. After I point it at the TV a Special Report starts broadcasting on the big screen. When I see E’steem and Isis being attacked by a tall chocolate colored man in gold armor and a Black kilt I start to get nervous. Then when I see Osiris make himself, E’steem, and Isis disappear in a flash of light I start to get worried.

I’m about to punch in E’steem’s cell number to find out what’s going on when Colleen hurries over and catches the footage on the screen. “John isn’t that your assistant?”

I guess my secret is out. “Yeah, that’s E’steem.”

“Did you know she had horns?”

“Yeah, she’s a demon.”

Colleen’s eyes grow wide on hearing the truth about my girlfriend. “Demon?”

“Most of the people who work at Morris Phillips are demons dear.” Doc says.

Colleen gasps on hearing the truth about my place of work. “You’re really nonchalant about this Doc-”

“She would be. Her best friend is a Nubian goddess.”

Colleen puts her hand to her forehead. “I just- I just can’t believe this. Demons, gods, you’re telling me they’re all real?”

“You think they were just telling tales in your schoolbooks?” Doc retorts. “Of course they’re real. “Just like you and me.”

“Next you’ll be telling me there’s a Hellmouth under the office tower-”

Nothing under this tower but subway tunnels, sewers, and New York City bedrock. “That’s in California.” I jab.

“So these “beings” have actually been around for years?”

“Eons.” Doc says.

The news broadcast on the television screen starts to go black before it starts broadcasting a picture of Times Square. There are masses of people peering up at the man in the armor. Realizing he has the attention of the world he smiles smugly before he speaks.

“People of Earth. I am God Katious. You have no hope of overcoming me. You have no hope of standing against me. Surrender and I may have mercy on you.”

“SURRENDER THIS!” I hear a voice yell off-camera.

After the New York greeting, I hear the sound of gunshots and see bullets ricochet off his golden breastplate. Looks like the good officers of the NYPD aren’t going down without a fight.

As the screaming masses run for cover, a news camera cuts to an army of officers firing their weapons at him. Some only have service nines, a few have shotguns. SWAT armored vehicles start advancing and fire heavy ordinance at him. Smoke fills the air and I can hear the echoes of explosions from rapid fires of ammunition. As it begins to dissipate some of the officers eyes grow wide with terror. In the face of that barrage he isn’t even scratched.

Katious glares at the officers and gestures his hand as the ruby Gem on his breastplate lights up. A news camera cuts to the officers on the street that valiantly keep shooting at him. We all watch in horror as the flesh on the police officers’ bodies is melted from their bones like wax.

Katious then gestures upwards and rain comes down from the sky. Hazy smoke fills the air and I realize it’s not water pouring out of the sky, but fire. People wail in anguish as the fire comes down on them; I watch as thousands of men, women, and children running from the flames are incinerated. My God, what kind of power does this man have?

Another news camera cuts to a close-up of Katious who stands proudly over the dead as he waves his hands to put out the flames burning on the ground and on nearby buildings. “Just as my fire has consumed the flesh of these mortals, I have come to consume your world. You rulers of all nations have twenty four-hours to surrender your world to me or I will destroy it.”

Chapter 10

 

 

I’m filled with joy watching the carnage from my study when the phone rings. If I’m right, I know who this is. “Good Afternoon Brent.” I greet. “Enjoying the show?”

“It is quite entertaining Lord.” Brent replies. “But MastiKatious? I thought you’d never ever let him out of Hell to torment mankind-”

It’s a compromise I’m willing to make to get this John Haynes out of my world. “Desperate times call for desperate measures Brent. In order to get rid of the man who rules my world, I need to bring back a god who will conquer it for me.”

I hear Brent gasp through the phone. “Lord, I thought you wanted me to contain the situation-”

I gave him a year and a half to contain the situation. And in that time John has made efforts to undermine him and completely dismantle major parts of Morris Phillips’ operations. If he continues to remain on as CEO there won’t be a single demon left there loyal to me when his term is up. “There’s no way you can contain a man like John Haynes Brent. The only way to deal with a man like him is to destroy him.”

“I guess it’ll be the only way we can get back to business Lord.”

“If I can’t take his soul, then I’ll have to be content with taking his life.”

Chapter 11

 

 

A flash of light takes us from Midtown Manhattan back to the Island of Solitude. I catch the scowl on Isis’ face as we trod into the white sands on the beach. I know how she feels. I’d rather fight to the death than leave people behind to suffer at the hands of that monster.

The air is thick with tension as Osiris turns to us. The somber look on his face tells me he’s torn up by his decision. “Why’d you stop us?” Isis barks.

“I stopped you to save your life.” Osiris orders.

“What about the people? What about their lives?” Isis continues. “I thought our job was to protect them-”

“Your job is to protect them.” Osiris says. “But my job is to protect you.”

Osiris meets both my eyes and Isis’ as he bites his lip. “You don’t know what horrors MastiKatious brought to this world when he was alive. You don’t know how he made people suffer-”

“That’s why we have to stop him-”

Osiris takes my hand and gives me an earnest look. “No Little Scribe, I lost too much fighting MasitKatious the first time. And I’ve got too much to lose to oppose him now.”

“You don’t want us to kill him.”

I don’t want you to have that kind of guilt on your conscience.”

I’m already feeling guilty about leaving John behind. I’m sure Isis feels the same way about Doc and all her friends in The Thetas. “I don’t get you Dad.” Isis pleads. “Both of us have killed in self-defense before-”

“You and your sister have both come a long way from the days when you were the Sword of Nubia and E’steem was Seth’s Herald. I’d like to think you’ve both worked too hard to have all your good works vanquished with a compromise that would cost you your soul.”

“You don’t want me to get hatred in my heart again.” Isis spits.

“God has blessed me to get all my children back. And I won’t lose any of you to a dog like Katious.”

He’s doing this out of love. But maybe I can get him to understand how much the people we love mean to us. “But father, we can’t forsake good people like John-”

Osiris smiles at me as he puts his hand under my chin. “I doubt God will leave them or forsake them Little Scribe.”

“But what can they do?”

“Just as you trust in Him they have to trust in Him to overcome Katious. But as for me and my family we will not involve ourselves in this affair.”

Osiris walks towards the shore and disappears in a flash of light. When I rush out to the shore to follow behind him, I bump against the invisible the magic barrier that imprisoned Isis here over a century ago. I guess we’re sitting this one out.

Chapter 12

 

 

Colleen falls into the sofa, takes off her glasses, and buries her head in her hands as she thinks about the horrors she’s seen a few minutes ago. We’ve got less than a day to figure out how to beat E’steem’s biological father.

From what E’steem told me about MastiKatious he was quite the terror during ancient times. And from what I’ve seen in just a few seconds of the carnage he’s perpetrated on mankind a few minutes ago he’s just as dangerous as she told me he was. I doubt the all the armies in the world would stand a chance against a man who can make the sky rain fire.

Colleen peers up at me and gives me a nervous look. “I guess this is the end of the world.” Colleen says.

“Far from it.” Doc says smiling at her.

“Did you see what he did? He brought fire down from the sky-”

“The Bible said there would be false gods and false Christs. Along with signs and wonders that would deceive the very elect.”

“But no one knows the day or the hour of the end.” I say. “Not even Jesus Christ.”

“From what we saw on the news I’m pretty convinced Armageddon is coming-”

Edna takes Colleen’s hand. “Honey, I’ve been through Jim Crow, The Klan and all sorts of evil. But I know one thing to be constant in all the troubles I’ve encountered in this world. God will never leave us or forsake us.”

“So you don’t believe God Katious is the Anti Christ?” Colleen asks.

Doc smiles at her. “Not in a million years.”

I’m about to agree with her when a light fills the room. When it clears the Pharaoh of New Heliopolis greets me with a somber look. “Osiris,” I say smiling at him. “I thought you gods had forsaken us.”

“I did what was best for my family John.”

“So E’steem and Isis are-”

“On the Island of Solitude. I just wanted you to know they were safe.”

“But what about us mere mortals?”

Osiris bows his head. “You’ll have to trust in God to save you.”

Colleen cuts a look at Osiris on hearing his indifferent response. “So you’d just leave people to die?”

Osiris’ hands clench into fists. “Many more would die if I and my family got involved with Katious again. I won’t risk their lives or my children’s lives.”

“So he is that dangerous.” I say.

“You have no idea how dangerous MastiKatious truly is. If we gods were to wage war upon him the way I did in ancient times not a city on this planet would be left standing.”

Now I understand why he took Isis and E’steem out of the fight. If E’steem had started using her full herald power to fight him she would have burned Manhattan Island to the ground and leveled every building standing in the other four boroughs. And she only has power equal to a god. If full gods like Osiris, Anubis, and Horus engaged him the death toll on earth would be in the billions. “I’m guessing that’s why the great nation of Katia is now the Sahara desert.”

“People in other lands went blind and mad when they looked up at the sky the day Ra and I made the decision to destroy MastiKatious and Katia. Over three hundred million Katians perished that day. I won’t be responsible for that kind of bloodshed again.”

“I understand.”

“So are you here to give us some sort of weapon to stop God Katious?” Colleen asks.

“No weapon formed by man or god can defeat Katious.” Osiris says. “Only faith can defeat Katious.”

He would know better than any of us. “Well, thanks for letting me know where E’steem is. “Is it all right if I call her?”

“I think she’d love to hear from you.” Osiris says as he disappears into a flash of light.

Chapter 13

 

 

I catch the forlorn look on Isis’ face as she kicks off her ballet flats and slumps under her favorite palm tree. As she looks out to the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, I slip off my red designer heels and fall into the sand beside her. “Guess we’ve been given a time out.” She sighs.

“Well, Father’s just doing what’s for our own good.” I say comforting her with a smile.

“Yeah, he really loves us.” Isis pouts.

I’d say he does. It took four thousand years for Osiris to get his entire family back together. And after searching the world five thousand times over to find all of us I think he doesn’t want to lose any of us again. “Don’t get all pouty Princess.” I say rubbing the top of her chestnut curls. “Our daddy loves us.”

“But doesn’t he care about any of those people out there?”

“I’m sure he does. But right now he’s more worried about us than them.”

“Why?”

“This family’s been through a lot. We’ve been broken and broken apart. And I guess he appreciates the gift that God has given him of having us all together and being able to finally share our love with each other.”

“Guess he never thought you’d ever be back for a family portrait-”

Now that she mentions it we never have all been together for a family photo. Now I know what I want us all to do for Christmas. Complete with tacky holiday sweaters. “I never wanted to leave him.” I say. “But thanks to Seth’s lies, I wound up becoming lost. And thanks to his insecurities you wound up becoming lost.”

“Do you think we’d have become lost if we were to fight Katious?”

“You know what father says, when you kill an evil person, their hatred becomes your own. The compromises we’d have to make to stop my biological father would probably cost us all our eternal souls.”

“I guess it would take a faith greater than we gods have to overcome being consumed by that kind of evil.”

“With God all things are possible. And I know his servants are too filled with His love to let that kind of darkness consume them.”

“I wish I could have brought someone with me to save from that madman. Doc, Baby Colleen, or even some of my Theta Sisters-”

“I hear you.” I sigh. “I wish I could have brought John with me. But I have to trust that’ he’s safe in God’s hands.”

“Yeah, he’s all alone out there-”

A thought hit’s me in the head after Isis says that. “I bet this is probably all part of his plan.”

Isis gives me a curious look. “Who?”

I grab my iPhone off my belt. “I think John needs to know who’s the real mastermind behind all this chaos.”

Chapter 14

 

 

I’m on the phone with General Strock when I hear the elevator coming up. When it opens Lilith shuffles into the penthouse with a somber look on her face. I flash my new assistant a smile in the hopes of cheering her up. “You’re pretty chipper for a guy who just lost his girlfriend.” Lilith jabs.

I look over at the ABC newscast proclaiming The End of The World and laugh. “She’ll be back.” I say pushing end.

“In this world or the next?”

“We’ll probably see her sooner than we think.”

“Even though the gods have packed up and left.” Colleen says.

“She’ll probably back to take you shopping by the end of the week Lily.” Doc replies.

“Yeah, we were supposed to meet up with Hana to check out the new Christian Laboutins at Neiman Marcus. I’d hate to miss out on that.”

“Yeah, E’steem always loves shopping for shoes-”

Colleen eases up off the sofa and gives me a look. “Is it always this crazy around here?”

I smile at my ex-girlfriend. “This is just another day at the office for me.”

“I don’t get you guys. The world is this close to ending and you’re talking about shoes?”

Lilith peers down at Colleen’s New Rock boots and smiles at her. “Hey, those boots are pretty boss. What are those? Demonias?”

“New Rocks.”

“I had a couple of pairs of those when I was part of the Vamp Goth scene. Used to cost me two week’s pay but they were so worth it.”

Colleen gives Lilith a once over. “Let me guess, you’re a demon like E’steem?”

Lilith flashes her a smile. “Ex-vampire. You hang around here long enough you’ll get used to this madness.”

“I don’t think I want to. This place makes my office look like a sorority house.”

“You think this is crazy you should see what poor Hana’s having to deal with downstairs.” I continue. “People are trying to buy everything that isn’t bolted down at the Morris Mall.”

“So what did General Strock say?” Doc asks.

“The U.N. Security council is weighing its options.” I reply.

“They’re planning on nuking the city.” Doc retorts.

Even in her golden years you can’t pull the wool over the good doctor’s eyes. “They’re calling it an acceptable loss.” I tell her.

Lilith and Colleen gasp on hearing the government’s plan for the greatest city in the world. “They’d kill nine million people just to stop one man?” Lilith says. “That’s crazy-”

“Fear of the unknown can make people do all sorts of crazy things.” I reply. “Zero hour is tomorrow morning.”

The women gasp on hearing the news. “I guess they’re not going to give Katious time to see them wave the white flag.” Doc says.

“You think that’s bad, the military has shut all the entrances in and out of the city.”

“So I guess we all wait to be fried.” Lilith says.

“We’d be the lucky ones.” I continue. “From what I saw in that video he beat back E’steem’s hellfire with that gem of his. If he can do that, I shudder to think of what he’d do in retaliation to the surviving nations.”

My iPhone chirps. When I see E’steem’s picture on my phone I light up and cock the phone to my ear. “Ms. Katious, how are things in the South Pacific?”

“Better than where you are I bet.” E’steem replies. “Just wanted to give you a heads up on who’s behind my biological father’s resurrection.”

I don’t even have to guess. “Figures he’d let dear old Dad out of his hell hole for a family reunion.”

“This subtle politics behind the plan for MastiKatious to conquer the world was to separate us.”

“Divide and conquer?”

“A man can’t do his work without his helpmeet at his side.”

I look over at Lillith, Colleen, and Doc. “I’ve got some temps filling in.”

“But they’re probably not as effective as I would be in this kind of crisis-”

“They’re getting the job done-”

A flash of light fills the room. When it clears The Lord of Hell stands in front of us in his Italian tailored red suit, black shirt, red tie, and polished Italian oxfords. He smiles smugly as he looks me over. Figures he’d come here to gloat.

Chapter 15

 

 

It was a gamble coming here. But I needed to ensure I that John would fall into my trap. From the looks of things it looks like he’s finally figured out the real reason for my gambit. “I’ll call you back.” John says easing his phone back into his trouser pocket.

I smile as John’s hands clench into fists. The husky man’s golden skin starts to turn red as he glares at me. “You have lot of nerve coming here.”

“I figured it’d be only fair to keep you abreast of what’s transpiring around you.” I taunt. “But it looks like you and my former herald have managed to deduce I’m the puppet master pulling Katious’ strings.”

Colleen tugs my sleeve. “John who is this?”

“Lucifer, Lord of Hell.” I say.

Doc gives The Devil an indifferent glance. “I thought he’d be taller.”

Colleen’s face twists into a frown on hearing his name. I think her resolve is starting to toughen. “The lion who roams the earth seeking whomever he may devour.”

“I’m hoping that the devourer of nations consumes this world.” Lucifer says. “Then I can finally establish a kingdom of my own order on the earth.”

“You know the world’s governments are going to nuke the city.”

I heard that from my sources in the Pentagon ten minutes ago. “It’s an acceptable loss if it’ll get you out of my world.”

“So you’d let nine million people die just to kill one man?”

“No, you’re going to die trying to save nine million people.” I laugh. “I told Katious I’d let him have this world if he killed you.”

John’s face twists into a scowl. “And he was stupid enough to trust the father of lies.”

“That’s his problem.” I say. “But I figure it’s a fair wager. Nine million lives for yours. Are you willing to gamble?”

The quizzed look on John’s face makes my evening. “Either which way I lose.”

“I’ve always said if I can’t have your soul, then I’d have to be content with taking your life.”

“That’s not yours to take.”

“No, that’s for you to give. After all, you’re the man who rules the world. Are you willing to sacrifice your life for it?”

Chapter 16

 

 

I push end after hearing Lucifer’s laughter on the other end of John’s phone. I wish I could be there for John. He probably has the weight of the world on his shoulders now.

If Isis and I were there, we’d probably have stopped the nuke so he could have the time to stop Katious. That’s what’s so frustrating about all this, we gods are stuck here twiddling our thumbs while the people we love wait to see if they live or die.

But I guess we have to have faith in a God greater than us. The end of this world only comes when He says it’s going to come and we have to put our trust in Him to make things right. The world is all in His hands, not ours.

Isis gives me a curious look after I clip my iPhone back to my belt. I wonder what’s on her mind. “Penny for your thoughts Princess?”

“Your father came back for you and you didn’t even think about going back to him.”

I never needed to think about it. “This is my family.”

“So you never wanted to know him?”

Judging from his actions I doubt I would. “I read all about MastiKatious when I was stranded in Lucifer’s library. And he proved everything that the scribes wrote about him true when came to me this afternoon.”

“But he offered you a chance to be a part of his kingdom. He wouldn’t have done that unless he loved you.”

The only Kingdom I want to be a part of is God’s. “The only thing MastiKatious loves is power. He probably made that offer to me so he could get some sort of tactical advantage against Lucifer.” I say.

“So MastiKatious uses people?”

“Like a Kleenex. He killed his firstborn son just to get the Gem of Omnipotence from my mother. And he only had me so he could give my mother the child he promised her in exchange for it.”

“Man, he’s cold.”

She has no idea how ruthless MastiKatious truly is. If I got involved with him he’d probably murder me the same way he murdered my brother. “I was an afterthought to both of my biological parents. Both of them were so obsessed with being gods in their own right they had no interest in raising me.”

“So Seth saving your life was sort of a blessing-”

“I’d say it was. If it wasn’t for Osiris and Queen Isis raising me I’d never know what love was. Of course it took a couple of eons for me to appreciate what I had, but now that I know what love is I won’t let it go.”

“Even though our family is pretty much a mess.”

It’s no more a mess than anyone elses’. “Hey, it’s a family.” I say. “And I’d rather be where I’m loved than where I’m feared.”

Isis gives me a cheeky smile. “Guess I better set another place at the table for Christmas dinner.”

I give her a curious look. “You want to spend the Holidays with me?”

“Hey, you always spend Christmas with your family.”

 

 

Chapter 17

 

 

I watch as the UN Security Council debates surrendering the world to me on the Jumbotron in Times Square. While they bicker and squabble over details and nuances I laugh. I know in a few hours the men who run this world will surrender to me. Most of these humans are so craven they’d rather live on their knees than die on their feet as those who opposed me.

And after I have made all these great nations bow to my subjection and authority, I will find my daughter’s consort and grant him the sweet release of death. And once my bargain is complete with my new Lord, I will be free to establish my kingdom in every corner of the earth. My new Katia will be greater than the first with all men under my subjection and my authority. A virtual planet of milk and honey. A place where I will finally make order out of mankind’s chaos.

A clock at the bottom of the screen tells me that the council has eighteen hours to continue debating. I grow weary of standing. I gesture and in moments the air changes into a golden throne encrusted with jewels. It’s nothing fancy, just something to rest for the interim. When I build my new Royal Katian Palace on the plains of the Sahara, I will create a throne fit for a ruler of my stature.

Chapter 18

 

 

Lucifer laughs at me as he disappears in a flash of light. Nine million lives for mine. But is the sacrifice worth it? Of course it is. I wouldn’t want all those innocent people to die at the hands of the government or Katious. I mean, what’s my life in the scheme of things? Nothing. Less than nothing.

But too many people would grieve my loss if I were to die. E’steem, Colleen, Grayson, Doc, Hana, Lilith, my family. I even think Isis would get all teary eyed if she knew I was dead. Funny how over the course of the last year and a half I’ve grown so close to so many people.

I wouldn’t want to see them hurt. But I wouldn’t want to be responsible for all those millions of innocent lives lost. Now I know what anxieties Osiris felt when he took on MastiKatious all those thousands of years ago. It must have wrenched the Pharaoh’s heart to choose between sparing the lives of all those Katians or exterminating them.

Lilith gives me an anxious look on hearing about my dilemma. “So are you gonna go?” Lilith asks.

I give my assistant an earnest look. “I’m thinking about it Lily.”

The women give me worried looks as I head out of the living room onto the balcony. As I look out at the dusk red skies I hear footsteps behind me. When I smell the scent of a familiar perfume, I turn and meet Colleen’s brown eyes with a smile. “Guess this is where you ponder all those tough decisions you have to make.”

“Yeah, this is where I make up my mind regarding the fates of millions of people.”

“It must get to you having to make decisions like that every day.”

I admit I haven’t worried much about my decisions. For the last year and a half I’ve just trusted God and left those consequences to Him. “I’ve gotten used to it.”

“Bet you never held nine million lives in your hands like this-”

“I held one life in my hands like this once.” I say. “And it was the easiest decision I ever made.”

“Whose life was that?”

“E’steem’s.” I continue. “I had to decide whether or not I was going to forgive her when she told me the truth about her and this company.”

“What made it easy?”

“I realized how much she loved me. And I wanted to show her how much God loved her.”

“You have to have loved her a lot to do that for her-”

I did. “God loved the world so much he sent his only son in it to die for all the sins of mankind.” The least I could do was show her an example of that love.”

“Would you be willing to put your life on the line like that for nine million other people?”

I may be God’s servant but I’m nowhere near Jesus. “I don’t know if I love people that much.”

“Can’t blame you after all you’ve been through with them.”

“Many of the people I’ve known in this city haven’t done me any favors growing up. And many more don’t even know me from Adam.”

“But you have to choose between them and you.”

I look into my ex-girlfriend’s eyes and realize how easy the decision I’ve been worrying over is. “I do.” I say taking her hand.

“I’m with you on whatever you choose to do.”

“You trust me with your life?”

“I trusted you with it before E’steem trusted you.” Colleen says. “And you’ve never let me down.”

Chapter 19

 

 

Colleen and I head off the balcony and walk back into the living room. As I step on the Berber carpet Lilith jumps off the sofa and gives me a curious look. “So are you gonna go?” She asks again.

I flash her a smile. “I’ll let you guys know tomorrow morning.”

“Always the poker face.” Lilith says. “I doubt anyone will ever figure you out.”

“The game is chess, not checkers, Miss Graves.” I say. “And while Lucifer may have played his gambit but I’ve still got a few moves left to make on the chessboard.”

“And I guess you don’t want to let anyone know your strategy just yet.” Colleen says.

“Nope.”

I look over at the clock and realize how late it is. The least I can do is make my guests comfortable in what could be the last hours of their lives. “You’re all welcome to stay in the Penthouse tonight.”

“Well, I guess we have to with the subways shut down.” Doc says.

“There’s plenty of food in the fridge and the house Wi-Fi is the strongest in the state.”

“Do you have any pizzas?” Colleen asks.

She should know there’s always pizza in my house. “I bought a couple of Digiornos yesterday.”

“Maybe we should have a little party.” Lilith says.

“Sounds like a plan.” Colleen replies.

“You guys have fun. I’ll be in the den.”

“What are you gonna be doing?” Colleen asks.

“Going to work.” I say heading down the hall to the den. “I’ve got to make a few phone calls.”

Chapter 20

 

 

The light from the big screen TV fills the great room of Isis’ beach house as I watch the news. From the ARMAGEDDON NOW reports on CNN, two hundred people were killed in MastiKatious’ onslaught in Times Square. Fifty more were injured in our fight with him on the Upper East Side. And nine million more people are at risk of losing their lives if the government drops that nuke on New York City tomorrow morning. And either which way John dies.

I’m about to find out what’s on the other channels when Isis shuffles into the great room with her laptop. As she falls into the cushions of the sofa next to me I ponder how she got her computer here from Harlem. “I thought you left your laptop uptown.”

“I always keep my spare here. Isis replies. “It’s synced to the one in my Harlem apartment and my iPhone.”

“So you have access to all your data anywhere?”

“Pretty much. Now if we could only access a way out of here…”

“The only way out of here leads to a Trial of the Gods. And then instead of a timeout you’d get grounded.”

“So…No magic spell to break the barrier?”

“Nope.”

My iPhone rings. I grab it off the sofa and give it a glance. When I see John’s picture appear on it I light up. “Hey Boyfriend, what’s up?” I ask cocking it to my ear.

“Quick question. Can Isis withstand a nuclear explosion?”

Sounds like he’s up to something. “I don’t know how invulnerable she is. But if I can withstand the fires of Hell I a nuke wouldn’t do me much damage.”

“I’d love to send you out on this one. But I need somebody who can fly.”

Isis gestures to me for the phone. I hand it to her and she cocks it to her ear. “What’s going on John boy?” Isis asks.

“Something serious Princess. Can you survive a nuclear explosion?”

“I took a ground zero back in the 1950s. What do you want me to do?”

“Tomorrow morning I need you to head off a bomber headed for New York.”

Isis’ eyes grow wide. “They’re gonna nuke the city?”

“Not if I can do anything about it.” John says.

“Er…You do know our father doesn’t want us getting involved with Katious.”

“I’ll talk to Osiris.” John continues. “With the governments of the world plan on blowing up my hometown tomorrow morning I’m going to do everything in my power to change his mind.”

When I hear what he’s up to I gesture for the phone. “Don’t tell me you’re going to face him-”

“My life is an acceptable loss.”

“Not to me-”

“Nine million people will lose their lives if I do nothing. I can’t let those people suffer for me.”

The things I love about him are the things I hate about him. “Anyone ever tell you that you’re absolutely nuts?”

“If we went through the entire list we’d be here all night.”

“Just don’t get yourself killed.”

“I can’t make any guarantees Ms. Katious.”

After John hangs up I give Isis a curious look. “How’d you wind up getting blown up by a nuke?”

Isis flashes me a cheeky smile. “Just doing my civic duty as an American Citizen.”

Chapter 21

 

 

Okay I’ve got the cooperation of E’steem and the Princess. Now to see if I can get the Pharaoh to work with me. I punch in Osiris’ phone number. After one ring it picks up. “What can I do for you John?” He greets.

“Osiris, I need Isis and E’steem’s help-”

“I told you we’re staying out of this affair John-”

That excuse may play in New Heliopolis, but it’s not playing with me. “There’s too much at stake here for you gods to not get involved Pharaoh-”

“I gave Katious my word.”

“Like he respects that. After he took the earth his next stop would be New Heliopolis-”

“Look, I have too much to lose to gamble it against Katious-”

“I’ve got just as much to lose as you. I thought you gods served the people-”

“I told you I have to do what’s in the best interest of my family-”

“What about the nine million people who live in New York?”

“What about them?”

“The government is planning on nuking the city to stop Katious. What’s in their best interest?”

“My children have come too far to be set back by a monster like MastiKatious-”

“I doubt they’d be able to live with themselves if you allowed him to run what’s left of the world-”

“I just don’t want my children to lose their souls-”

“And I don’t want people to lose their lives. Can you live with the blood of nine million people on your hands?”

There’s a long pause before Osiris speaks. “I’ll have to think about it.”

Not the answer I wanted, but I’ll have to work with it. “That’s all I’m asking you to do.”

I hang up and log into Facebook and find Morgan Le Fay’s name on my friend list. Now to get a little background information on this so-called Gem of Omnipotence…

Chapter 22

 

 

I look over at the Jumbotron and the tickers running news on one of the other buildings in Times Square. The news says the UN Security Council and the governments of the world are soon to make an announcement. Truly, these mortals must have a weaker resolve than their ancestors ever did. I only arrived here eight hours ago and these cowards are already buckling to the pressure I’ve applied on them.

The headlamps of a car shine in my direction as I see a vehicle approaching. The limousine comes to a stop on the corner not too far from me. Several White men in suits nervously step out of the car. After looking down at the charred corpses of the dead in the street they approach me with terrified looks on their faces. “Mr. Katious?” one of them says timidly.

“What is it that you want?”

“We’re with the UN Security Council. We wanted to know your terms.”

“The complete and unconditional surrender of all the nations of the world.”

“That’s what we’re prepared to offer you sir.”

Truly, these mortals are weaker than water. “Lord. Call me Lord.”

The men tremble when I assert my authority. Truly, I haven’t seen such submissiveness among men since I was on the throne of Katia. “We’re prepared to provide you with a smooth transition of power Lord.” The emissary says. “When do you plan to announce taking control of our planet?”

“We’d like to have a press conference tomorrow afternoon.” Another says nervously.

They may be in a hurry for me to exercise my authority, but I’m not. This world now runs on my time and my terms, not theirs. That’s a lesson they’ll learn in earnest when I deal with their nuclear device tomorrow morning. “I’ll let you know when I need you.”

I gesture and the men scurry back into their car and drive back to wherever they came from. I smile proudly on my accomplishment. In ancient times I conquered nations in a matter of days. And in this age I managed to take the entire world in eight hours. Now I only need to wait for my daughter’s consort come out of whatever rock he’s hiding under to rule a kingdom that will go on for all eternity.

Chapter 23

 

 

I look over at the on news on one of the monitors on my desk as the UN Security Council announces the unconditional surrender of the world to MastiKatious. He took the world in less than eight hours. Impressive.

From what I see on the other reports it’s starting to become anarchy out there. Some of the weaker people are actually pledging loyalty to Katious. Others are killing themselves to get out of his world. A few are partying like it’s the end of it, and a handful are planning insurrection against him. Perfect. His order is bringing chaos to this world and preparing to reap me a harvest of souls.

It’s only a matter of hours before the man who once ruled in my world is finally out of it. Either by the hand of Katious or the thermonuclear device the world’s militaries are planning to drop on the city. But by tomorrow afternoon John Haynes will be no more.

Chapter 24

 

 

Today may possibly be the last day of my life. But I’m not leaving this world without making a point. When I’m through with MastiKatious he’ll know there’s a God.

From what Morgan Le Fay told me about the Gem of Omnipotence last night on Facebook the gem is a creation of sorcery, not some weapon of the gods or some mystic conduit that gives someone All Power like God. So Katious’ actual claims of omnipotence are just hyperbole. He’s about as much a god as a statue of Osiris. If I can go face-to-face with The Devil I definitely can definitely stand against him.

Well, I better get ready for whatever comes. I slip my iPhone into my jeans pocket and give myself a final once over in the walk-in closet’s full-length mirror. My green buttondown shirt, black jeans, and Chelsea boots aren’t what I’d usually wear when I go to meet with royalty, but I need to be comfortable when I’m working. I march out of the closet and grab an envelope off the night table and rush through the bedroom down the hall. When I approach the doorway of the den I find Lilith working at the computer in front of my desk. I flash her a smile as she peers up at me. “Morning John.” She says easing out of her seat.

“Morning Lily.” I greet “Anything interesting online?”

“Usual chaos. Some people are praying, others are telling people to repent and quite a few are burning and looting.”

Just what I’d expect. “What’s Times Square like?”

“That place is a ghost town from what I’ve seen on the news.”

“Great. There won’t be any more casualties when I go to engage the new ruler of the world.”

Lilith gives the envelope in my hand a curious look. “Is that your last will and testament?”

Better get her to focus on the positives. “Actually it’s the start of your future.” I say handing her the envelope.

Lilith opens the envelope and grimaces at what’s inside. “This is a share of Morris Phillips Stock.”

“I know. With it you’ll be able to cast a vote at the stockholder’s meeting.”

“Are you promoting me?”

“If I pass on today, you’ll take my place as CEO. If not, you just have a nice nest egg for your retirement.”

Lilith gives the share and the letter inside another nervous glance. “Isn’t E’steem more qualified to be the next CEO of Morris Phillips?”

She’s more qualified than she thinks. “You care about people. And you know more about the issues of humans and demons than anyone here. I think you’re the best qualified person for the job.”

“You’re only saying that because I took a bite out of you-”

What can I say? She left a strong impression on me. “No matter what happens to me, I don’t want the company to fall back into Lucifer’s hands.”

“Yeah, Brent would put the company back on its old track if you weren’t here.” Lilith says. “I’ll accept your offer. For now. But I expect you to be back here so you can check out my new shoes on Monday morning.”

Someone has more faith in me than I thought. “We better go take care of business.”

Lilith follows me out of the den down the hall into the living room. When we get out there I find Colleen and Doc watching the news. “Good Morning John.” Doc greets. “Looks like you’ve made up your mind.”

“The world may have given up but I haven’t.” I reply.

“Any news on the nuke?” Colleen asks.

“General Strock tells me that the plane with the bomb left the base in California three hours ago.”

“So you’ve only got an hour to stop Katious.” Colleen says.

“I pray that’s enough time.”

“Have you heard from Osiris?” Doc asks.

“He told me he’d think about it last night.”

“Guess you gotta go out on faith on that kind of answer.”

“Guess I have to. See you guys later.”

“Good luck and Godspeed.”

I head over to the private elevator. I take a deep breath as it descends from the Penthouse down to the sub-basement garage. I look over at the fleet of cars and ponder my choices. I could go in one of the Escalades-

Or I could go in style.

I look over at my father’s mint condition candy apple red 1976 Buick Limited sitting in one of the parking spaces. Since it may possibly be my last day on earth I may as well take it for a spin.

I stroll over to the driver’s side door, open it up and ease into the smooth white leather seat. The engine purrs as I turn it over. I open up the glove box take out a James Brown 8 Track and stick it in the player. As Payback plays on the car’s stereo speakers I pull out of the parking space and start driving towards the garage exit. Okay Katious, I’m coming for you.

Chapter 25

 

 

I check my Rolex watch as I watch John’s father’s red Buick leave the parking lot. It’s about time John got this show on the road.

A flash of light takes me from the Morris Phillips tower on Park Avenue to Times Square where MastiKatious sits waiting. I can’t wait to see what carnage comes from this confrontation.

Chapter 26

 

 

I hear the echoes of wind swirling around me as I drive down empty streets on my way cross-town from Park Avenue to Broadway. Normally these Midtown streets would be spilling over with tourists and jammed with traffic. I don’t know if the military evacuated the area or if everyone just wanted to get as far away from Katious as possible.

I park the Buick over in a spot on 44th and Sixth and get out of it. As I start heading down towards Broadway and see the charred corpses of the dead lying in the street I hear my heart pounding in my chest. Even though I’m scared to death, I’ve got to keep going. Too many people are counting on me.

When I get halfway down the street I take a deep breath and a peace comes over me. I turn the corner and see Katious in the middle of Times Square sitting in a golden throne covered in ornate jewels. When he sees me coming down the block, the muscular chocolate colored man dressed in golden armor rises from his throne and sneers at me after giving me a once over. “So this is the man who ruled my world.” Katious laughs. “I’d have to say my daughter has made a poor choice for a consort.”

I look him up and down and smile. “I’d have to say you’re a poor choice for a father.”

MastiKatious’ hands clench into fists as he stings from the jab. “I’m glad I won’t be having the likes of you for a Son-in-Law.”

I flash him a smile. “What makes you think I’m going to let you kill me?”

“There’s nothing you can do about it John.” MastiKatious continues. “I have the power of All Creation with me. Anything I desire I can make come to pass. And at this moment I wish for you to die at my feet.”

MastiKatious smiles as his ruby gem starts to light up. His eyes grow wide as he sees me still standing there hale and hearty after making his decree. “This isn’t possible!”

A right cross to the jaw knocks the false god to his feet. “Little note: Magic doesn’t work on me.”

The King of Katia looks up at me in awe. “Not even Osiris was ever able to fall me with just his hand-”

“The God I serve is far stronger than your sorcery.”

MastiKatious scrambles to his feet. “Yes, I have heard of this unknown God you serve. How he is said to be all-powerful. How his servants believed on him and have gone on to do the incredible.”

He’s heard of Him yet he’s still unrepentant. “Do you yield to my Lord?” I ask hitting the King of Katia with another left hook that sends him reeling. “Or do you wish to suffer his wrath?”

As he staggers about cuts a cold look at me. “If you’re the best he has to offer I doubt I have to worry about His wrath.”

“Don’t underestimate me.”

“I will not be denied my kingdom.”

Katious swings at me and misses. After my uppercut connects with his jaw, he starts scurrying down 42nd Street. I grab the coward by the shoulder; he flips me over and I go tumbling onto the asphalt. After he looks up at the skyscrapers in New York’s skyline me he cuts a cold look at me. “It is said that those who believe in Your God can look upon a mountain and if they have unwavering faith in Him they can cast it into the sea.” MastiKatious snarls as he disappears in a flash of light.

Before I can get to my feet, Katious reappears in front of 4 Times Square, one of the new skyscrapers built when Rudy Giuliani revitalized the area. “Let us see if He can get you out from under the mountain I bring down upon you.”

My eyes grow wide as Katious grabs at the corner of the building. The ground rumbles as he pulls the office tower from its foundation and flies above Times Square towards me. I scramble to my feet as the sky turns black; I hear the sound of air exploding around me as tons of concrete metal, and glass rain down around me. God help me…

Chapter 27

 

 

OH MY GOD!

I watch in horror as 4 Times Square implodes above John into a cloud of steel, concrete, and glass on the big screen TV in Isis’ great room. NO!!!!!

I clutch my chest watching my boyfriends’ demise. “He can’t be dead, he can’t be dead….”

Isis takes my hand and gives me an earnest look. “He’s gone.”

I won’t believe that. He’s got to be alive. God wouldn’t bring him this far to let him die at like this. I’ve got to get down there. I jump off the sofa and rush out of the beach house with Isis right behind me. As we hurry up the beach, I bump my head against the invisible barrier. As much as I love my father, I’ve got to go against his wishes.

I’m about to gesture my hands when I feel a hand on my shoulder. “You could just ask.” Osiris says.

“I could but I’m in a hurry.” I say. “What made you change your mind?”

“Nine million people.” Osiris says. “I couldn’t live with their blood on my hands.”

Osiris gestures and a flash of light explodes in our eyes. When I step towards the shore and feel water between my toes I smile. “Thanks father.”

“Anytime.”

Isis gives us both an awkward smile. “I’d love to be a part of this little family moment but I’ve got a plane to catch.”

Isis bare feet rise off the sands and she soars above the moonlit skies of the South Pacific making a beeline for the West Coast of the United States. I’m about to disappear in a flash of light when Osiris grabs my shoulder. “Where do you think you’re going?” He asks.

“I have to get to John-”

“He’s gone daughter.”

“Father, I know he’s alive. If I can get to him I know I can save him.”

Osiris smiles at me. “Alright. Go to him.”

I’m about to rush off the beach and disappear in a flash of light when I notice my feet starting to rise above the sand. “Er…Did you just give me a power upgrade?”

“Satan can’t cast out Satan.” Osiris says. “Your herald power is nothing compared to Katious’ Gem of Omnipotence.”

Maybe that’s why my hellfire had no effect against it. “Is this gonna be permanent?”

“This just a small portion of my own power. You’ll be getting some new powers for your birthday.”

YES! I’m finally getting a power upgrade! “Thanks father.” I say giving my father a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“Go get em’ Girl.”

I start soaring into the skies above the South Pacific. The air explodes around me as I break the sound barrier. I don’t have a moment to lose.

Chapter 28

 

 

The topography below me starts to change from water to land as I search the skies for that bomber that’s supposed to be carrying the nuke that’s supposed to turn New York City’s high-priced real estate into a wasteland. With the skies clear of all air traffic I should find it sooner rather than later.

I’m passing over California when I hear the air explode behind me. No jet can fly that fast; I’m flying past Mach 6 and pushing towards Mach 7. Whatever’s flying behind me is picking up speed; in a few moments it catches up with me. When E’steem flashes me a smile as she passes me by my eyes grow wide. Did she just fly by me?

Yeah, I guess she did. Looks like Osiris gave her that power upgrade she’s been wanting. I soon come upon the military bomber over the skies above Michigan. It’s a good thing I put on the speed; this plane would have been over New York in less than fifteen minutes.

I slow my momentum as I catch up to the plane. I don’t want to cripple this jet and crash it, just get the attention of the pilots. I fly up near the window, smile, and wave at the pilots. The startled men gasp on seeing me. I take that moment to teleport myself into the cockpit. When I tap them on the shoulder they turn around and I tell them the good news. “Gentelmen, your flight has been cancelled.”

Chapter 29

 

 

I should be dead.

Over two hundred tons of concrete steel, and glass were just dropped on me. And I’m alive to tell about it. I’d have to say it’s a miracle.

As I thank God for sparing my life, I fish into my front pocket for my iPhone. As it illuminates the darkness I notice that I’m in a pocket of the tower that didn’t pancake on the implosion. There probably isn’t much air in here; and what’s left is probably filled with toxic dust. If I don’t get out of here soon I really will be dead.

I wander around the pocket and brush against the dented steel rear doors of one of the SWAT armored units I saw on the news yesterday. As I step inside the damaged vehicle, I grab an oxygen mask and put it on. I turn to the left and find a whole bunch of guns and grenades hanging inside. I’d love to use the grenades to blast my way out of here; but I have no idea how thick or deep this rubble is. I could bring the rest of these ruins further down on me.

I look down at the screen of my iPhone and see signal bars; maybe I can get help sooner rather than later. That depends on whether or not Osiris made up his mind. As I’m punching in E’steem’s number I’m praying that he’s decided to let them help me.

Chapter 30

 

 

…And now the world is mine.

I dust off my hands and laugh as the rubble that was once one of the Times Squares’ office towers crushes the man who once ruled this world. Now no man or god will get in the way of me establishing my kingdom.

In the haze I hear something in the air screaming above me. As it clears I see a shape high in the sky. That must be the nuclear device the nations leaders’ planned to destroy me with. I’ll dispatch of that annoyance easily. With a thought I command the Gem to make the plane with the bomb inside it disintegrate. I’m surprised when I see it still coming. This isn’t possible! I have All Power! It should be dust!

Whatever it is it gets closer. I hear the air start to explode as it begins its descent. I start to fly away so it won’t hit me; before I can get two feet from it; my daughter’s fist hits me in the jaw. I hear glass shattering around me as I crash to the ground; it ground shakes and crumbles under my feet as I’m hit with the shockwaves from the blow. I had no idea she was that powerful…

Chapter 31

 

 

Ouch.

I shake the stars out of my eyes and stagger to my feet. As I look around I notice all the windows in the buildings several avenues down are shattered from the explosive impact of me hitting MastiKatious with the Avatar power I got from Osiris. I hated causing that kind of damage, but it was the only way I could have taken the fight out of him.

I just hope I haven’t hurt John any worse. I look over at the ruins of the collapsed 4 Times Square and rush over to the debris field. As I’m about to start digging in the pile of pulverized metal, plastic, and glass my iPhone rings. Who could be calling me now?

I grab my iPhone off my belt ready to give whoever’s calling me a piece of my mind. When I see John’s number on it under his picture I light up. I knew he was alive! “John!”

“E’steem? Where are you?”

“Outside what’s left of 4 Times Square.” I say fishing through the debris. “Where are you?”

“In a SWAT van in a pocket of the collapsed building. Use the tracking app on your phone-”

I know a better way to get to him. “Just keep talking-”

“Talking? What do you mean?”

A flash of light takes me inside the pocket of the collapsed structure where John is when I follow the sound of John’s voice. When I tap him on the shoulder, the startled man gives me a look that makes me chuckle. “Thank God you’re alive!” I say giving him a hug.

“I wouldn’t be much longer if it weren’t for you.”

I thank God we’re both alive. I look John over and he’s got several grenades clipped to his belt along with a minigun slung over his shoulder. “What’s with the heavy ordinance?”

John looks over at the skeleton of the dead SWAT officer lying next to the guns. “He’s not going to need it.”

“I thought you were going out on faith.”

“I am. This is just to distract him.”

Sounds like he’s got a plan for taking down the man who wants to rule the world. A flash of light takes us out of the debris pocket back out onto the street. We rush over near the crater in 43rd and Broadway where I left the new ruler of the world. We’re surprised when we don’t see anything there but the local tracks of the IRT below. “I shouldn’t be surprised.” John spits as he snatches off the gas mask.

“He’s got to be around here somewhere.”

A fireball explodes behind us. As we’re knocked off our feet and tumble to the broken asphalt, we look up to see the Masti Katious standing above us at the top of the pile of the ruins of 4 Times Square. I’m looking forward to seeing that that smile wiped off his face.

Chapter 32

 

 

MastiKatious smiles smugly as he peers down at us at the top of the mountain of ruins of 4 Times Square. “So you found a way to overcome the mountain that fell upon you.” He snarls.

“With God all things are possible.” I say. “Even your defeat.”

“Unlikely.” MastiKatious growls. “I’ll deliver your head to Lucifer by the end of this day.”

Balls of glowing red energy erupt from MastiKatious hands. As he fires a blast at us we move out of the way and it hits a wrecked car that falls into the nearby crater. E’steem makes her hands erupt into balls of Hellfire. My eyes grow wide when I see the flames erupting from her hands are White, not blue. “What is that Super Sayian Level 2 demon?” I ask.

“Avatar level one.” E’steem flirts as she flashes me a smile.

Figures Osiris would give her a power upgrade to take on this menace. MastiKatious is about to fire another blast of his energy at us when E’steem fires a blast of White flame at him. As the false god is knocked back by the blast, E’steem’s bare feet start to rise off the ground. “What’s the plan?” She asks as she hovers above me.

Wow, her powers are almost like Isis’. “Keep him busy.”

MastiKatious face twists into a scowl as he sees the display of E’steem’s new powers. His hands glow with black energy. “So you have divorced yourself from my lineage.” He snarls.

“Just taking my birthright as a Princess of New Heliopolis.” E’steem says.

“Then I will send your bones back to your father.”

Katious fires a blast of dark energy in E’steem’s direction. As she flies out of the way, I let him have it with the minigun. The rapid fire high impact bullets put dents in that golden armor of his and send him reeling backwards. He staggers in the face of the onslaught from the minigun bullets before waving his hand and making my weapon turn into vapor. “Did you think a mortal weapon could harm me?”

It allowed him to play right into my trap. “Do you think your magic can affect me?”

“True John, I cannot affect you with my gem. But I understand I can affect the things around you.”

MastiKatious gestures and I feel cables from the demolished building wrapping around my legs. He gestures again and knocks me off my feet and uses them to drag me through the pile of debris. E’steem charges at him; but he hits her in the gut with a blast of his red energy from his gem that sends her tumbling down the mountain of debris. I slip the grenades off my belt, pop the pins on them and start counting backwards. “Truly you are one of the most formidable of foes I have faced since the Pharaoh John Haynes.” Masti Katious boasts. “If I did not have to deliver your head to my Lord I would have it on my mantel. It will give me the greatest of pleasures to watch you die.”

I’m right at Katious’ feet as he grabs me by the neck and yanks me out of the cables binding my legs. I count down from five and let the grenades fall out of my hand. “You believed in your God. Yet He has not come to deliver you.”

“And you believe in the power of your Gem to deliver you your Kingdom?”

MastiKatious smiles proudly on answering my question. “With all my heart.”

Before MastiKatious can deliver his killing blow the grenades shake under his feet. As he peers down to find out what’s going on, I take that moment to snatch the Gem of Omnipotence out of his breastplate. I hold onto his bauble with dear life as the explosion under our feet blows us away from each other.

I feel blood pouring from my forehead as I manage to get to my feet. A few yards from me a battered, bruised and bloody MastiKatious struggles to get to his knees. As he peers up at me I cut a cold look at the man who wanted to rule the world. “Do you still believe in your power?” I ask.

“Just like you believe in your God.” MastiKatious spits.

I was hoping he would so I could show him the folly of his faith. “Ashes to Ashes. Dust to dust. From the dust you came. And to the dust you go.”

MastiKatious’ eyes grow wide as I crush his Gem of Omnipotence in my grip. As the dust that was once his gem fall out of my open hand into the sands of the debris, a terrified expression falls on the tyrant’s face. I watch as the muscular man’s body withers and the skin flakes from his flesh. He reaches out to me as his bones begin to decay and crumble. In the moments before his soul leaves this world he looks up at me one last time his before eyes disintegrate out of their sockets. When he finally feels the cold touch of death upon him he lets out a scream that echoes in the canyons of Times Square. After his remains disintegrate into dust indistinguishable from any of the pulverized ruins of the destroyed office tower I shake my head as l look down at the man who wanted to rule the world.

Chapter 33

 

 

I trod up the mountain of debris while John peers down at my father’s remains. As he shakes his head I take his hand. “There lies the man who ruled the world.” He says.

“So is the end of all false gods.” I reply.

The battered and bruised man flashes me a smile. “No weapon formed against God’s children will ever prosper. So is Avatar level one permanent?”

“Unfortunately, it’s not.” I sigh. “But Osiris promises to give me a power upgrade for my birthday.”

“Soon you’ll be flying around like Isis-”

John starts to falter before he can finish his sentence. I catch him and get worried when I see the glassy look in his eyes. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine.” John says trying to regain his composure.

From the looks of him he’s got a bad concussion in addition to all the cuts and scrapes. It’s a miracle he’s even able to stand after all he’s been through. “You’re not all right-”

“E’steem, I’m fine-” John insists.

“Fine? You took the brunt of an explosion-”

“They were only grenades-”

The nonchalant way he says that exasperates me. “Grenades? You know you’re not Superman-”

“Hey, I came out of doomsday better than he did-”

“You won’t come out of it at all if I don’t get you to a hospital.”

“Alright, you can help me helpmeet.” he concedes.

John leans on me as I guide him down the pile of debris that was once 4 Times Square. As we make our way to the street we hear sirens in the distance. Looks like help is on the way. He flashes another smile at me. “I guess I’ve got to stop trying to do everything myself.” He jokes.

I’d say he’s learning that lesson based on all that went on today. “I doubt God would have brought us through all this if we all didn’t work together.”

 

 

Final Chapter

 

 

E’steem eases my hospital bed into a inclined position as I turn on the TV. As the TV news starts broadcasting from the screen I thank God for helping me get through this crisis in one piece. Even after getting a building dropped on me and being blown up the only injuries I had were a concussion and just a few cuts and scrapes. I’d have to say that’s a blessing.

From the looks of things most of the media is trying to downplay my role in things, focusing mostly on the collapse of the tower and saying it was the reason Katious died. Good. That means I can get back to work.

“So when am I getting out of here?” I ask.

“The doctor says he’s going to release you tomorrow if everything checks out.” E’steem replies. “I bet you’re ready to get back in the office-”

I smile as I take her hand. “I’ll let Lilith handle things for a few days.”

E’steem gives me a curious look. “You’re telling me you’re actually taking a day off from work?”

I smile back at her. “What’s being a boss if you can’t delegate?”

“You seem to be doing a lot of that lately-”

That’s because I finally have people I can trust working with me. “Did you put the Buick back in the parking lot?”

“Right after Isis washed and waxed it.”

My eyes grow wide on hearing on who she entrusted the care of my father’s classic car to. “Isis-”

“She’s got a couple of classic cars on the Island.” E’steem says giving me a reassuring smile. “Fixing and detailing cars is one of her hobbies.”

I had no idea the Princess was a mechanic. “Doing a little delegating helpmeet?”

E’steem smiles at me. “Just providing a job to a qualified independent contractor like you do.”

More like she wanted to give Isis something to do to get her out of the house. “I’m really having a bad influence on you.”

“Just practicing what you’ve been preaching.”

Well, at least I know the money I pay Isis will stay in the community. I’m about to ask E’steem about clearing some more days on the schedule when Colleen walks in. She smiles as she rushes up to me to give me a hug. “Nice to see you too Colleen.” I greet.

“I’m just happy to see you’re in one piece after all you’ve been though.” Colleen says breaking the embrace. “You know you do a lot of work outside of your job description. Mr. CEO.”

“All part of a day’s work at Morris Phillips.” I say.

“I guess you have the right woman at your side to help you do this kind of work.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t think I could deal with this. I mean, having to fight with demons and all sorts of principalities of darkness-”

We all deal with that struggle every day. “I think you could handle it if you had to.”

“No, I’ll leave all the fighting the forces of darkness to you and E’steem. I’ll just be content managing the business portfolios of Joe and Jane average. So when are you going to be healthy enough for us to have that dinner so we can talk about your investments?”

E’steem looks down at her iPhone as she pulls up the schedule. “We’ve got a free evening next Wednesday.”

“Doc and I will see you then.”

“Looking forward to it.”

Colleen’s boots stomp out of the room as E’steem finishes texting in the appointment on the schedule. I’m gonna go get a soda. You need anything?”

“I’m good.”

E’steem gives me a kiss before rushing out of the room. As the door closes behind her a flash of light gets in my eyes. When it clears I’m greeted with Lucifer’s cold scowl. “Get behind me Satan.” I tell him.

“I bet you’re feeling proud about your victory over Katious.” He snarls.

“Thwarting your plans always put a smile on my face.”

“I want you to know you’re not going to take my world away from me-”

My Lord has already done that. “That’s not what I read in the Psalms.” I say.

“So says the man who rules the world-”

“So says the God I serve.”

Unable to get a rise out of me, a flabbergasted Lucifer turns as red as the suit he’s wearing. “One of these days I’m going to get you off my planet-”

“I’ll leave when my work is done.”

“That may be sooner than you think.”

“Yeah right,” I say. “Consider yourself rebuked.”

The steamed Lucifer disappears in a flash of light. I find a classic TV show on one of the other subchannels to watch while I wait for E’steem to come back.

God rules the world. I just work here.

 

 

Revisiting The World

 

 

Okay, this book is a little late. Actually it’s a lot late. It was actually supposed to have been written way back in 2012. But me being ever expedient, this follow up to The Temptation of John Haynes didn’t get written until now.

I had been planning a sequel to The Temptation of John Haynes as far back as 2010 when I was revising the first novel. I was going to call it The Man who Rules the World, inspired by a catch phrase Pro Wrestler Sid Vicious used to use in his old WCW wrestling promos around 1999. Vicious used to sound so powerful and authoritative when he made that statement, and I thought it would make for a compelling title.

I had a pretty good plot initially set up for The Man Who Rules The World. It was going to be about John’s homecoming back to the Bronx. However, the only thing holding the book up was the antagonist. I originally planned on making Mark “Block” Jeffries the principal villain and making the story one about CEO John vs Drug Lord Block. A seven-foot tall morbidly obese man, The Block was supposed to be the literal wall that would be in the way of John’s quest to improve the quality of life in his neighborhood and the story would have been about him breaking down this wall that kept his community impoverished and oppressed.

Unfortunately, the story just didn’t work. When I originally brought back John Haynes for The Temptation of John Haynes in 2005, the foundation for the character’s mission was based on what Jesus said in His Word about Him being he stone that the builders rejected and that stone being made the head of the corner. John was supposed to be a man who society rejects but who goes out and does God’s work and shows God’s glory. The story about the Block challenging John just didn’t fit within the theme I established for the character using that Bible verse.

In The Temptation of John Haynes I wanted to make an artistic statement about the impact of that cornerstone on the world. In the Word of God it says whosoever shall fall on the stone shall be broken and whosoever shall the stone fall upon shall be ground to powder. In The Temptation of John Haynes E’steem was the antagonist who fell on the stone and had her spirit broken. In The Man Who Rules The World I wanted the villain to be the one who the stone fell upon.

In my original plot The Block was supposed to be the one ground to powder, but he just didn’t prove to be enough of a serious threat to John. A CEO of a multinational corporation could easily crush a neighborhood dope dealer. Yes he was bad, but he wasn’t the kind of person who would be defiant enough against God to make the statement about being the kind of person who the stone fell upon.

I tried writing the story several times with The Block as the villain but it just didn’t work. While I had some good ideas, I realized the stakes were just too low. John didn’t have anything much to lose against The Block. If Time Magazine called him the man who ruled the world he really needed to have his world put at risk.

And the only being that could put his entire world in jeopardy was a god. Or someone who thought they were one. That would be the villain who would be a formidable challenge to John. One who could raise the stakes and give the story the sense of danger to be a compelling read. I had just the character who was a perfect fit for this story.

Way back when I started writing professionally in 1994, I created a character called MastiKatious. He was the ruler of Katia, The Land of the Underground Sun. And he ruled that kingdom with something called the Gem of Omnipotence, a device inspired by Marvel Comics’ Infinity Gauntlet. And in The Saga of MastiKatious I told the tall tale of an Ancient African society that was a land of milk and honey way before America and recorded history. In the original conclusion of that story Katious was rumored to be hiding in the ruins of the Land of the Underground Sun and waiting to rise so he could return to rule the world. My sister and I shared a laugh or two over that story and I stuffed the script in the pages of a chair and forgot all about them.

I rewrote The Saga of MastiKatious back in 2001 adding some plot details such as his wife Idolia and his daughter E’steem in the hopes of incorporating it into Isis’ continuity as E’steem’s backstory. I also detailed how Osiris destroyed Katia when MastiKatious challenged the gods in his quest to establish a kingdom in the heavens.

MastiKatious would be a serious threat to John’s world. He was a ruthless despot out to conquer the planet. A man who would do anything for power, even kill his own children. A man who would have no problem compromising with Lucifer to reclaim his kingdom.

Restored to life and given power by Lucifer, MastiKatious is promised the world if he can kill John Haynes. And with the Gem of Omnipotence giving him the power equal to a god he would be the kind of villain who would provide the kind of threat that would put John’s world at risk, raise the stakes, and eventually to be crushed to powder by the stone by God’s cornerstone.

MastiKatious believed in the Gem of Omnipotence to deliver him the world. John trusted in God to help him save it. He had so much faith in God he was willing to put his own life at risk to challenge Katious. Even in the face of having an entire office tower dropped on him, John still trusted in God to deliver him. And after Katious mocks God by remaining defiant in the face of defeat, he winds up being crushed to powder when John crushes his Gem of Omnipotence before his very eyes.

Inspired I put fingers to the keyboard and started writing The Man Who Rules The World. After being stuck for close to seven years on this story it came together in less than three days. Back in 2010 I had planned a bigger, more epic novel, however the story I actually wrote was fairly short. In fact it’s right in line with the Isis series books I currently publish. There’s a lot of story in those few pages, and I’d have to say the most action packed story I’ve ever written. Almost every character in the SJS DIRECT Universe makes an appearance here, and the story has that epic feel I originally planned. I really enjoyed writing this story and I hope you enjoyed it too.

Also Available From Shawn James

The Temptation of John Haynes

Death kills the flesh.

Compromise kills the soul.

 

The Devil doesn’t like John Haynes.

To take his soul, Lucifer recruits E’steem a beautiful black she-demon to seduce him. If she can get John to compromise his beliefs and values, he’ll allow her to join his Elect, a cadre of powerful demons in his inner circle.

To balance the playing field in E’steem’s favor, Lucifer isolates John by having him fired from his job and forces his fiancée Colleen to leave him. Unemployed and emotionally vulnerable, John eagerly takes what he thinks is the job opportunity of a lifetime as CEO of Morris Phillips. Distracted by his new high-powered job and its many duties, he has no idea that Lucifer secretly controls the multinational corporation or that his beautiful live-in assistant is a she-demon placed there to corrupt him. However as E’steem becomes romantically involved with John, she’s torn between achieving her theocratic aspirations and saving the man she loves from eternal damnation.

Also featuring John Haynes

Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess

Danger! Three months after her encounter with Isis in The Beauty Myth, Dr. Raheema Sanders transforms herself into the Cybergoddess, a creature with powers far greater than Isis’. Determined to replace the order of gods with an order of science, she plans to kill the goddess and remake the world in her own image. Can Isis, stop this Digital Diva before she implements her mad plan?

 

Isis: Night of the Vampires

Vampires! When E’steem is given a project that takes her out of the office, Isis fills in for her on the job at the Morris Phillips. While she’s escorting CEO John Haynes to a charity event D’lilah and a brood of disgruntled Vampires crash the party looking to take a meeting with him. Can the goddess next door help her boss take care of business dealing with the undead?

Isis: Bride of Dracula

Dracula! Using his supernatural powers the Vampire Lord transforms Isis into his Vampire Goddess and sends her on a mission to murder Morris Phillips CEO John Haynes. Can John overcome the threat of the Vampire Goddess and escape Dracula’s house of Horrors in the Hamptons?

About The Author

Shawn James is the author of a dozen paperbacks, three screenplays, and over thirty eBooks. A graduate of Monroe College he’s been writing for over twenty years.

 

Other eBooks by Shawn James

 

Isis Series:

Isis

Isis: Trial of the Goddess

Isis: Amari’s Revenge

Isis: The Ultimate Fight

Isis: The Beauty Myth

Isis: Death of a Theta

Isis: My Sister, My Frenemy

Isis: All About the Goddess

Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess

Isis: Power of the Princess

Isis: Night of the Vampires

Isis: Bride of Dracula

Isis: Samurai Goddess

 

E’steem Series

The Saga of MastiKatious

Baptism of Blood- The Origin of E’steem

The Politics of Hell

E’steem: Deadly D’lilah

E’steem: No Good Deed

E’steem: Demons Anonymous

E’steem The Beast from the Bowels

E’steem: Undercover

E’steem: The Witches of Eastland

 

Fantasy fiction by Shawn James

The Temptation of John Haynes

Young Adult fiction by Shawn James

The Sneakers

The Thetas

 

Romance by Shawn James

A Recipe For $ucce$$

The Muse

Spinsterella

 

Screenplays by Shawn James

All About Marilyn

All About Nikki- The Fabulous First Season

All About Nikki- The Sensational Second Season

All About Nikki- The Lost Episodes

Spray em’ Up

 

Non-Fiction by Shawn James:

Stop Simpin- Why Men Don’t Need Finance to Get Romance

Manginas-They Look Like Men But Act Like Ladies

The Myth of the Strong Black Woman

An Analysis of the Comic Book Industry’s business issues

 

Also published by SJS DIRECT

Commencement

School of Hard Knocks: The Re-education of Jim Reid

 

Connect With Shawn Online:

E-mail: [email protected]

http://www.twitter.com/shawnsjames

http://www.facebook.com/shawnsjames

http://www.linkedin.com/in/shawnsjames9973

And check out Shawn’s blog: www.shawnsjames.blogspot.com New blogs three times a week!

***


The Man Who Rules The World

Time Magazine has named Morris Phillips CEO John Haynes “The Man Who Rules The World”. But that world is put in jeopardy when Lucifer resurrects God Katious, a malevolent despot out to conquer the planet. With the nations’ leaders in fear of his all-powerful Gem of Omnipotence, and gods falling before his feet, John must have mountain moving faith in God to help him overcome a threat that seeks to destroy all of humanity.

  • ISBN: 9781310790232
  • Author: Shawn James
  • Published: 2016-05-03 17:35:17
  • Words: 20588
The Man Who Rules The World The Man Who Rules The World