Andrew P. Weston
Guardian Angels, book 1
August 31, 2012
In a series of terrifying events, otherworldly beings intervene to save innocent lives. The world community reacts with relief as they realize that angels may in fact exist, and they are diligently protecting us.
But there are those who would seek to stop what they feel is a threat against their livelihoods. How far will some go to battle the Guardians? Is the fairy tale over before it even begins?
Guardian Angels is a powerful and compelling story about the catalyst that has the power to unite society in the hope for a better future. The spark of hope is fragile—can it last?
Luigi decided to toast himself and his accomplishments again. Finding his glass empty, he rang the bell for a top up, and continued to gloat, firmly believing he was beyond accountability.
When the door to the study opened a few minutes later and Gianni, the housekeeper, came in with his favorite Black Pearl Louis XIII cognac on a silver tray, he insisted the old servant stay with him and drink to his success. “Come, Gianni, stay, celebrate with me. Good times should be shared with trusted friends.”
The gesture wasn’t missed by Gianni. At fifty-five thousand dollars a bottle, the cognac was one of the most expensive in the world, and he quickly poured a generous helping into two glasses. As he handed one to his boss, he paused momentarily to savor the bouquet of the blended flowers, fruits, spices, and the deep amber color of the aromatic liquid. “You’re looking particularly pleased with yourself today, young Sir. Good news?”
“It’s the very best of news, Gianni, and one that appears to be maturing with age.” He replied without looking away from the screens.
The old housekeeper tossed down his drink in one and shuffled to stand deferentially behind his employer. He listened as yet more reports of the suffering caused by the missile detonations were announced. “That mess doesn’t look like there’s much to be happy about, Sir. Surely that doesn’t please you, does it?”
“Aah, Gianni, sometimes, when you need to make a point, you have to catch your enemy’s attention,” Luigi replied. “You have to ensure they not only respect you, but fear you. I’m pleased because I’ve done just that. Wouldn’t you agree, my old friend?”
When no reply was forthcoming, Luigi naturally assumed the old housekeeper must have been unable to hear his question. Turning in his seat, he felt a peculiar throbbing, tingling sensation in his teeth and sinuses. “I said ‘wouldn’t you agr . . . .’”
Luigi’s voice choked off in his throat as he caught sight of Gianni’s eyes. The distinctive, familiar, lazy old eyes of his long-time employee seemed to be undergoing some kind of metamorphosis. Gone was the semi-vacant, un-focused faraway look he always seemed to display as he pottered about. Instead, Luigi was looking into the hardest, most piercing eyes he had ever seen, eyes that seemed to glow with an inner furnace to match the cold look of rage chiseled onto his face.
The shock made him drop his glass onto the carpet, spilling about three thousand dollars worth of the deep amber nectar.
Transfixed he watched as Gianni’s body straightened, grew, and bulked out. As the years fell away from his face, he realized without a doubt that he was going to fully shoulder the burdens his choices had wrought.
Before him stood his own personal living nightmare made flesh, dressed from head to toe in black. Instantly he felt the fire rising within him, straining for release.
The Guardian stepped forward, making the barest of gestures with his finger as he did so, and Luigi found himself lifted into the air by some unseen force. He was held motionless, helpless as a puppet awaiting the commands of his master.
Nodding at the screens, the Guardian spoke. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Andrew, Guardian Lord of Shadow Operations. Did you seriously think you’d get away with something like this?”
Luigi stared defiantly back, fighting to overcome his shock at the Guardian’s presence, and surprised at the lack of access to his ability. “Do what you want, asshole, at least the world sees you as the frauds I knew you were!” he hissed.
“Do what I want? I’d love to, but unfortunately my boss won’t let me.”
Luigi stared impotently back at his nemesis as he strolled closer. Once he was standing in front of him, the Shadow Lord said, “As for exposing us as frauds? Well, I really don’t know why you would think that. We never said or intimated we could be everywhere at once. The world’s a sad enough place as it is without you adding to it. All we are doing is trying to help people avoid as much heartbreak as possible.”
Andrew pointed to the repeat bulletins on the screens. “So, once the world finds out that all this was the deliberate act of some sick and twisted psycho who didn’t care how many suffered, just so long as he could score some points, how do you think they’ll react to you, Luigi?”
The point struck home. Luigi struggled in an attempt to slap the Guardian across the face, to do something to help vent the building fury inside him.
Helpless, he continued stewing as the Guardian moved so close he was able to whisper in his ear. “And when they find out about your abilities, can you even begin to imagine how they’ll react to that? You worthless, spineless, pathetic little man. I really wish they’d let me play with you before we throw you to the wolves.”
“Fuck off, asshole, you don’t scare me.”
“Scare you?” Andrew smiled wickedly. “Oh no, Luigi, that’s not my job. That’s hers!”
The Guardian gestured behind Luigi at the same moment he let go with his telekinesis. Although Luigi only dropped about a foot, he crumpled to the floor, becoming acutely aware that the strange throbbing in his teeth was even more pronounced than before.
Turning, Luigi was met with a vision of such barely contained power and fury that he immediately soiled his pants.
Andrew squatted beside him. “Allow me to introduce you to the head of our investigations branch. This is Victoria, our Lord Inquisitor, and she’s very pleased to meet you after all the suffering you’ve caused.”
Victoria stood in front of the TV screens, wreathed in a visible static discharge that blew the circuits of all the electrical equipment in the office and made the hairs on Luigi’s arms and head stand on end. Her eyes, so similar to those of the Shadow Lord, intensified in luminosity and turned from grey to white hot. Luigi shielded his eyes and cowered on the floor in his own excrement.
What a fool I am. He thought.
In reply to his thoughts, the Shadow Lord said, “Yes Luigi, what a murderous, cowardly fool of a man you are. I think the whole world will agree when they find out, eh?”
Two days after the Joshua Drake incident, a group of miners in Sichuan Provence, China, were wondering if they would ever see the light of day again.
They had entered their colliery at 7:00 a.m. for their shift as usual, and the day had started like every other day. The long descent into cold darkness, the trek to the workface, the exhausting, cramped, claustrophobic conditions, as they worked like ants with millions of tons or rock pressing down on them.
The brief pauses while fresh charges were laid, and the moments of anxiety following each shudder, waiting for the earth to stop shaking and the dust to settle before the inevitable trudge back to the new mounds of rubble, to start extracting yet more of the coal that provided over ninety percent of their country’s energy needs.
When a seam was exhausted, they would retreat along the side tunnel toward the main artery, removing the pillars as they went.
Sometimes the coal roof would remain intact, slowly sinking down to the floor. Sometimes it began collapsing as the pillars were removed, trapping and crushing friends and workmates to death in an instant.
Although this mine was fully licensed by the State, it lacked much of the modern equipment other legally funded mines were blessed with, and instead of a bank of machines stripping rock and rubble away from the coal rich seams running through the area, the miners did it by hand, in grueling twelve-hour shifts. This reinforced the fact that this was one of the filthiest, hardest jobs in existence, in one of the most dangerous mines in the world.
When the explosion came four hours into the shift, it took all forty-three workers by surprise. Instead of being safely huddled together in the arterial corridor while a fresh seam was broken up in a side tunnel, they were still hard at work in the newest seam, having only just finished cutting the face and reinforcing the walls and roof prior to extraction charges being placed.
The explosion had originated behind them in the main corridor where the charges were kept. All five workers in that area had been incinerated, sending a wall of compressed roiling flames toward the survivors, and back up the lift shaft, to vent its fury out into the bright sunny morning above their heads over a mile away.
The force of the explosion caused buildings to shake, and blew away the machinery covering the shaft head. In the panic that followed, surface workers fled for their lives thinking they were in the middle of an earthquake before realizing what had happened and sending for emergency rescue services.
The pressure had nowhere to go except along the main corridor and into the few side tunnels still open. Of the thirty-eight survivors of the initial blast, over half died in the fireball that followed.
Of the fifteen or so who survived, most had been working in the side corridors, and avoided the worst of the ruptured eardrums, burst capillaries, and burns that eschewed.
All were thrown to the ground amid a cloud of choking, suffocating dust and rock, that together with the shredded supports, only added to their confusion and terror. The weight of the gut rock above them began to overwhelm the weakened integrity of the main tunnel, and the few who remained conscious listened to the groaning, snapping timbers, waiting for the final “snap” that would signal their doom.
Their helmet lamps were unable to cut through the thick dust that not only covered each survivor from head to foot, but also seemed to saturate the very air they breathed. They knew that death was inevitable, especially since the remaining air was rapidly thinning.
Cheung Xian, a veteran of over twenty years’ service in six different mines, was doing his best to gather the surviving men together to assess their situation, and keep them busy and focused. But he was failing miserably.
In those twenty years, he had faced over a dozen different crises, including a tunnel collapse, wherein he had been confined below ground for over a week before being rescued. But he had never faced anything like this.
Of those surviving, most were unconscious, slowly dying from the carnage inside their ruined bodies, or writhing in agony with injuries received from the blast, increasing the panic of those who could hear them.
His own injuries were making him feel sick and dizzy, and all he wanted to do was lie down and quietly go to sleep and wake up in his next life. He sincerely hoped his sacrifice here meant it would be a better one.
To give Xian credit, he exerted heroic self-control, managing to calm those nearest him, despite the fact that now only three others were conscious, and they were clearly struggling to breathe.
Then, as he too started to submit to the effects of slow asphyxiation more fully, he smiled to himself, because he was obviously beginning to hallucinate, and his hallucination was so pleasant it was sure to make his passing that much easier.
He was reassuring the youngest of his co-workers, a lad of only nineteen years whose name he didn’t even know yet. Suddenly, a painfully bright light washed over everyone, causing the few who remained conscious to avert their eyes.
He turned, squinting, too shocked to say a word, to see a young woman silhouetted by the light behind her, casually walking toward him along the tunnel and casting an almost ethereal glow about her as she walked.
As she drew closer, it looked as if bands of coruscating energy, almost like static discharges, flowed up and down her body, softly fading as she drew nearer.
He watched mutely as she strolled up to him, held out her hand and said, “Hello Xian, I think you’d better come with me. It’s quite a strain keeping these tunnels up, and it would be a shame to get caught when it all comes down.”
Xian didn’t mean to be rude. He was just too stunned to react as courteously as he would have liked.
The young woman had the most stunning, electrifying eyes he had ever seen, and it took him a moment or two to tear his gaze away and gesture to his colleagues. “Err . . . thank you. But what about my comrades? They’re badly hurt and need help, too.”
“Don’t worry about them, they’re our concern now.” She gestured casually behind her.
Xian realized other people were stepping down out of the vortex of bright light that filled the end of the corridor, a corridor that should have been a blank wall, dressed in similar dark coveralls. They began quietly, but efficiently, tending to the injured men close by, and appeared to be initiating a search for the others, too.
Somehow, they seemed totally unaffected by the conditions.
The young lady gently but firmly took his hand, and led him toward the light.
“Am I dead, are you of the Devas?” murmured Xian apprehensively, thinking he was looking at a deity come to life.
Giving his hand a gentle squeeze, and smiling warmly, the young woman replied, “Far from it, my friend . . . you’ll find out. We want you to deliver something for us.”
They stepped into the light.
It was the last thing Xian remembered until early afternoon, when he woke up in the West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, along with all fifteen of his fellow workers who had survived.
At first, Xian thought he was at home, because he’d had the most pleasant dream about a stunning woman with beautiful eyes. As his awareness returned, he realized he was in a hospital ward and wearing crisp new cotton pajamas.
Sitting up, he saw the ward was full of sleeping men. It took him a few moments before he recognized the men on either side of him.
Gingerly, he swung his legs out of bed, and found he wasn’t in the least bit sore or tired. In fact, he felt more refreshed and healthier than he had for many years. He walked up and down the ward, slowly going from bed to bed, amazed again and again to find his fellow workers, many whom he thought had died or were badly injured, sound asleep and looking as peaceful as babies. Most appeared unharmed, and they were all wearing new pajamas.
Xian looked himself up and down, noting his pajamas were the same cut and color, and then realized there was something hard in the chest pocket of his jacket.
Puzzled, he removed a thin wafer of odd material, inside of which was a silver colored piece of what he took to be metal, with writing on it.
Reading it, he smiled and thought. Aah, the thing they wanted me to deliver.
Placing it back in his pocket, he began walking toward the main doors. When they opened, a shocked nurse came in.
“What are you doing here?” she demanded.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know,” Xian admitted.
“Who are you, where are you from?”
Bowing, he replied, “I am Cheung Xian, a supervisor from the Neijiang Mine and . . . .”
“We were working. There was an explosion, we were trapped.”
“You were at the mine this morning when it exploded?” she gasped.
“Yes, we were underground. We thought we were going to die. Where are we?”
“You were underground. But how did you get here to Chengdu? You’re in Sichuan Hospital. I’m only beginning to gather supplies for the doctors who are going to help in the rescue. What you’re saying is impossible!”
Taking a deep breath, Xian began explaining the miraculous events of that day, only to discover that he was required to repeat those details again and again. First, he spoke with the doctors, then the Hospital Administrator, then to officials from the Works Safety Bureau who arrived later that day and finally to Government Officials the following morning.
Disbelief turned to suspicion, and suspicion to amazement, as one by one, Xian’s fellow workers awoke, free from injury. They confirmed his story.
Those who had remained conscious at the time of the rescue verified the incredible manner that they had been plucked from the depths of the mine by people some had initially thought were deities, only to awaken in a new wing to the hospital that was not due to open for over two months.
Party officials were also very keen to examine the message Xian passed to investigators. A small sliver of metal sandwiched in resin bore the words:
“WE ARE HERE TO ASSIST ALL THOSE IN NEED.”
The Chinese official Xinhug News Agency were uncharacteristically robust in reporting the exceptional events at the mine that day, as they initially believed the mysterious benefactors were there solely to help the Chinese people.
They were only partly right. Whoever the mysterious benefactors were, the following weeks revealed they would extend that help to everyone in dire need, no matter where they were from, or who they were.
The huge coverage given to the miraculous rescue in China helped other countries to become aware of other amazing rescues.
It soon became apparent that whoever these people were, they had access to incredible resources, and were in a position to respond globally, with great speed and efficiency.
About The Author
Andrew P. Weston
If you had the power to make a difference…would you?
Andrew P Weston was born in the city of Birmingham, UK and grew up in the towns of Bearwood and Edgbaston, eventually attending Holly Lodge Grammar School for Boy’s where he was School Captain and Head Boy.
He was an active sportsperson for the school, college and a variety of rugby, martial art, swimming and athletics teams throughout the city.
On graduation in 1977 he joined the Royal Marines fulfilling a number of roles both in the UK and abroad.
In 1985 he became a police officer with the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, and served in a variety of uniformed and plain clothed departments until his retirement in 2008.
Over those years, he wrote and illustrated a selection of private books for his children regarding the life of a tiny kitten, called, “The Adventures of Willy Whiskers”, gained further qualifications in Law and Religious Studies, was an active member of Mensa and continued to be an active sportsperson, providing lessons free of charge to local communities.
An unfortunate accident received on duty meant Andrew had to retire early from the police force, but after moving to the sunny Greek island of Kos to speed up his recuperation, he was at last able to devote time to the “Guardian Concept” he had developed over his years in the military and police.
When not writing, Andrew enjoys Greek dancing and language lessons, being told what to do by his wife, Annette, and hunting shadows in the dark.
Andrew is now contracted to Pagan Writers Press for two books.
“Fairy Tail”, is a dark and gritty paranormal thriller with a twist.
The second book, “Guardian Angels” is the introductory book to the “Guardian Series”, a sci-fi/fantasy epic set in the near future.
Further work on the Guardian Series and a new paranormal series has been completed and will hopefully be presented soon.
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