Monthly Archives: November 2013
I am so grateful for all of you who follow my blog and read my book series. On this Thanksgiving Day I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for my very life, my very existence, my redemption, and for my purpose. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. If you live in the Shreveport area, don’t forget to come by Friday night, December 6th for my book signing and launch of “The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos”. All four of my books will be available and they would make GREAT Christmas gifts!
And as a treat for any of my readers anticipating the next book, here is the FIRST CHAPTER of “The 11th Demon”:
Grimvox reference USNA-FCaskey111563
November 1963 Dallas, Texas
“Shall I kill the human?”
I wearily lifted my head at the sound of the demon’s voice. His host body wore a brown
Nehru jacket, and a silver chain hung around his neck. On the chain, a red jewel glistened in the weak light. The demon’s features were dark beneath a shock of black hair. His eyes were disturbing: totally white with no pupils.
“We need him.” The pale man standing next to the demon stared at me with his red eyes. His face was ageless beneath his bare scalp and marred only by a star-shaped scar on his cheek. He wore a long black overcoat and black pants. A stray ray of muted sunlight came through the shrouded windows of the abandoned asylum. In that meager light, his chest glowed in the darkness. He moved across the debris-strewn floor to crouch before me. “His will has been gutted. The fight has gone out of him. Isn’t that right, Father?”
“Then why do we keep him alive?” The demon crossed his arms over his chest.
The pale man nodded and licked his large teeth with a very red tongue. “He is our only connection with the girl.”
So that was why they wanted me. They were using me to get to Mary!
“Don’t look away from me, Father,” the man said. “Unlike most of your kind, the touch of your flesh does not harm me.” He pressed his cool fingertips against my cheek and turned my
face around so all I could see were his hideous red eyes. His breath smelled of fire smoke and vinegar. “For you see, Father, you are a failure. You think you serve your master, but your love for the girl’s mother has undone your commitment.”
I jerked away from his touch and struggled against the ropes holding me to the chair. “If you hurt her, I will kill you!”
The demon laughed, his voice echoing up into the empty rafters of the hospital ward. “You cannot kill Lucas, human. Now, Lucas, where is the girl? I need her.”
I glanced at the demon and his empty white eyes. “Please don’t harm her.”
“Please don’t harm her.” He mocked me and shook his head. “I have plans for her, human. Why would I want to harm her?” He removed the necklace from his neck and held it up to the ray of light. As it moved, the jewel changed from pale green to vivid red. “Do you see this jewel? Watch how it changes color with a shift in your perspective. It is the Metastone, human. I plan to give this to the girl’s mother as a gift. It will not harm either of them. In fact, it will transform them!” He sighed and placed the jewel back around his neck. “Why am I even trying to explain these matters to a mortal? Lucas, take me to the girl, and then we will no longer need this human.”
“Perhaps we do not need to kill him yet.” Lucas squatted before me and tilted his head to the side as those crimson eyes regarded me. “I am wondering, Father, why you have not tried to exorcise my friend’s demon? Hmm?” He tilted his head the other way and blinked slowly like some great white reptile. “Why haven’t you just spoken the Words? I know why, Father. You have lost your connection with the Power, haven’t you? It is because of your love for this woman—what is her name? Millie?”
“Molly,” I whispered. Nausea overtook me and I retched. Lucas was right. I was empty, impotent. I could no longer see my Lord; only the girl and Molly’s hauntingly beautiful face.
“You see, Father, it is not the eleventh demon who has harmed the girl.” He reached out, grabbed my collar, and tore it from my neck. “It is you.” He grasped the top of my shirt and ripped it from my body. I shivered in the cold air as Lucas gestured to the demon. “For you have forsaken the only Power that would allow you to defeat this demon and to save them. In betraying your master, you have unwittingly betrayed your love.” He unbuttoned his coat and it fell open to reveal his bare chest. “You are lost, Father. But, there is one way you can save the mother and the girl: Swear allegiance to the eleventh demon. Once you do, this mark,”— he brushed his coat aside and a hideous tattoo of a beast stirred to life on his flesh—“will be yours. It will live right here.” His cold fingers caressed the skin at the base of my neck and I flinched.
Lucas’s chest was covered with tattoos. A scorpion squirmed across his collarbone. The head of a wolf howled over his breastbone. But, these were no ordinary tattoos. They lived! Arcane creatures moved and struggled on his white flesh. This new tattoo was one I instantly recognized. I had seen it in the ancient book—I wish I had never opened it! The creature was a chimera, a beast with the head of a lion, a snake for a tail, and, coming out of its back, the head of a goat.
“If I swear allegiance to the eleventh demon, will the lasses be safe?” I closed my eyes and saw Molly standing at the church altar with the girl’s hand in hers. God forgive me!
“I do not need the allegiance of this creature, Lucas!” the demon said, moving across the trash-covered floor without stirring any of the debris. He floated above it all and came to rest behind Lucas. “My patience is wearing thin. The timing of my plan is critical.”
Lucas stood up and raised an eyebrow. “Your plan?” he asked the demon as he studied my face.
“This is the year the Council begins its grand plan to rain chaos down upon this ‘one nation under God.’ Unfortunately, at times, the Dark Council is thwarted by the Other. To deal with such a possibility, I have developed contingency plans of my own to complement those of the Council. And for those plans, I will need the girl.”
Lucas tensed and his gaze shifted to the demon. “Contingency plans? You play a dangerous game. The Council’s plans have been long in the making.”
The eleventh demon shrugged. “You know very well that each member of the Council develops his own backup plans! We are far from united in our efforts.” He examined his fingernails. “Your faith in the Council is well known, Lucas. Since you are such a toady for the Council, go tattle on me if it pleases you.”
“Toady?” Lucas frowned. “I do not serve the Council of Darkness, Chimera. I serve the Master. Would you like to tell the Master that you think his right hand man is a ‘toady’?”
The demon stiffened. “Listen, underling, you will not speak to me that way! I know what you are and you are not one of the Fallen. You may be the right hand of the Master, but I am far superior to you. The Master trusts me, Lucas. Take me to the girl. Now!” His voice grew in volume and for a second, I saw the beast that possessed the human rear its ugly head. It was like a specter surrounding the man.
Lucas smiled, his impossibly white teeth gleaming in the darkness. “If what you say is true, then you will not mind if I consult the Master.” Lucas held out his hand. A swirl of red smoke billowed from his palm like a small tornado and then a pleasant, handsome face appeared in the smoke. Was this Lucifer? He was more fair than foul.
“Chimera, you try my patience,” he said from the smoke. His eyebrows arched and his face twisted in anger. “If you insist on continuing with your ‘contingency plan,’ then I want your talisman.”
The demon stepped back. “No!”
“Lucas, take care of this!” Lucifer bellowed. He disappeared as Lucas closed his palm. Lucas gazed at his empty hand and slowly clenched it into a tight fist. “The master is well
aware of the lack of cohesion in the Council, Chimera. He wants me to have leverage. So I am gathering the talismans of the members of the Dark Council. If you wish to fulfill your plan, you will give me the talisman.” He glared at the demon with his crimson eyes. “Or shall I summon the Master to speak to you in person?”
The eleventh demon’s face paled. “I will not allow this human to see my talisman.”
Talisman? Clearly, it wasn’t the Metastone they were talking about; I could see the jewel glittering on the demon’s chest. “What is a talisman?”
Lucas glanced at me. “I tore yours away, Father.” He retrieved my stained collar and held it up with two long, delicate fingers. “This once meant everything to you, didn’t it? Now, it means nothing. So easily discarded at the touch of a woman’s hand.” Lucas dropped my collar on the floor and stepped on it. “The eleventh demon’s talisman is not the jewel that hangs about his neck. That is merely a tool, Father. No, his talisman is as important and defining as your collar was to you. And, he does not want you to see it.” Lucas rubbed his hands together. “I think that can be arranged.”
The demon nodded and reached into his pocket. Something long and golden flashed in his palm. I tried to focus on it, but it was blurred, indistinct, otherworldly. “What is that?”
The demon floated toward me and the odors of fire and soot surrounded us. He knelt before me, the golden talisman flickering in the periphery of my vision. He put his left hand, hot and sweaty, on my forehead. I tried to pull away from those hideous empty eyes. Lucas moved behind me and held my head in his cold hands.
“I will let you keep one eye so that you may see the fate that awaits those who follow in my footsteps. For the eleventh demon demands total commitment, Father! Will you renounce your allegiance and find love with the mother of this girl? If so, you will be mine, and your death may be avoided.”
I was frozen with fear, paralyzed by their inhuman power. The thin gold needle appeared at the edge of my vision. It plunged into my right eye, and then there was pain beyond imagining.
Bruce Hennigan debuts his third book,
“The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos”
Friday evening, December 6, 2013
from 6 to 8 PM at The Well, the coffee shop of Brookwood Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Brookwood Baptist Church is at the corner of I-49 and Bert Kouns. (www.brookwoodbaptist.com)
Books are $10 each at the book launch only (This is a saving of up to $5 per book).
Book Launch Special:
3 Books for $25
4 Books for $30
Sign up for free giveaways!
There will be a special announcement about a new, upcoming book!
Come and enjoy free drinks and snacks!
Friday, December 6th, 2013 at the Well (coffee shop) at Brookwood Baptist Church (corner of I49 and Bert Kouns) is the OFFICIAL launch of “The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos”!
Details will follow but basically I will be signing the new book and my three other books from 6 to 8 PM. I know Christmas parties will be in full swing by then so I am making this a come and go event. Come have some coffee in the Well and some Christmas snacks. I’ll be giving away some prizes (no need to wait for them — I will email them or mail them if you win!). So, make it a demony Christmas!
The tree was over twenty feet tall but it had the perfect top. I was freezing and a light drizzle made the ground slippery. Soon, the drizzle would begin to freeze and my family would find itself isolated in the countryside by a two week ice storm. Living in the country, our water came from a well and any interruption in electricity deprived us of water. But, I wasn’t considering this coming ice storm. I was only concerned about our Christmas tree.
It was December, 1966 and I was eleven years old. I was halfway through my sixth grade year and already, I had grown three inches since the summer. Changes were happening to me that in time I would learn were due to this weird thing called puberty. And, perhaps it was my surging testosterone that allowed me to climb a slippery, icy tree in the cold winds of December.
My father worked for the Post Office. Long before UPS and FEDEX, the post office was the only way to ship packages at Christmas. My father dreaded this time of year. Beginning in early November, he knew he would be swamped at his job. Extra hours were added to his work schedule. He would leave before 5 AM and not return before 6 PM through most of the month of November and December. Each year, my father and I would go out into the vast wooded area of our 62 acres of pasture and forest and choose a tree for Christmas. The only kind of tree we had to choose from were long needle pine trees. They were never as shapely as a spruce or fir, but they were fragrant and fresh. And, being the poor folk we were, we couldn’t afford money for a fancy real tree.
But, this year was different. My father had taken on an extra late shift and would be working until midnight for the first two weeks of December. I had the choice of waiting until the end of December to go with my father and cut down the tree, or I could do it myself. I was eleven now. I was growing into a young man, as my mother was fond of telling people. Bolstered by her comments, I was determined to prove myself.
And so, I set out on this dreary gray Friday afternoon looking for the perfect Christmas tree. And there it was before me. Problem was, it was the TOP of a tree! No problem. I loved to climb trees. I would just shimmy up the tree and cut out the top. I had my father’s bow saw looped over my shoulder and my fake leather gloves on over my corduroy coat. I started up the tree and was a bit shocked at the slippery limbs. Was that ice forming on the ends of the pine needles? I hoped so. That might mean we would finally have a White Christmas!
I longed for snow at Christmas all my life. I recall one very cold night after watching White Christmas on our new color TV. I was about 9 and I went to the back door of our house. High up in the eaves, my father had mounted a spotlight to illuminate the back yard. I turned it on and leaned out the back door. I craned my neck to look up at that light and waited for snow flakes to drift down around it. It was only days before Christmas. I knew if I longed for it hard enough; if I willed it to happen snow would fall. But, the skies were as clear as could be with a million glistening stars against the black velvet of a countyside night. No snow. I stood there until I had a crick in my neck and my nose was numb from the cold before giving up and going back into the house.
Now, as I climbed that tree, I said a silent prayer for snow. It would be answered all right. Two weeks of snow and ice and frigid, frozen weather that would close the schools and make our coming Christmas possibly cold and without electricity.
I picked the level that would become the base of the Christmas tree and started sawing away. My hands were already numb from the cold but I soon warmed up as I drew the sharp toothed saw through the soft flesh of the pine tree. The smell of resin engulfed me.
I felt the limb I was sitting on shift and a sudden wind saved my life. I slid to the side just as the tree top above me snapped along the line of my saw cut. The top of the tree toppled to the side and then kicked back with the sharp edged rim of the saw cut. If I had not slid sideways, the bottom of that toppling tree would have decapitated me. The tree top finally snapped away, the rest of the uncut flesh ripping away. The tree top slid through the limbs beneath me and I fell off the limb.
I clawed at the trunk and the limbs as I slid downward but the now icy bark refused to give my hands purchased. I finally wedged between two of the bottom large limbs and came to a painful halt. The bow saw tumbled down from above me and barely missed my head. I sat there gasping for breath and began to shake. I could have been killed! What was I doing? Risking my life for a Christmas tree?
The feeling of fear and panic began to subside and I felt something new, something fresh. My heart was thumping and my breath was erratic but I had accomplished something on my own. It had turned into something dangerous and I suddenly realized that making decisions on my own would be a risky business. This is what it meant to be grown up; to find yourself faced with a lonely decision and then having to face the consequences. Learn from this, I told myself. Don’t ever cut the top of a tree off by yourself. I slowly descended the rest of that pine tree. I found the saw and cut away the ragged bottom of the tree top. By now, night had fallen and the ground was icy as I dragged the tree back across the pasture toward my house.
It seemed like forever by the time I pulled the tree across the pasture to the back of my house. I left it there and stumbled inside to warmth and the smell of fried chicken and mashed potatoes and the warm smile of mother. My father sat at the kitchen table. I was shocked. They had let everyone come home early on this Friday. I told them I had cut down the Christmas tree on my own and the look on my father’s face was priceless. His mouth fell open and he couldn’t believe it. My mother hugged me and was proud.
Until we saw the tree the next morning in the light of a gray dawn. It was lopsided and crooked and ugly. I was disappointed but my father clapped me on the back.
“We’ll make it work, son. It will be beautiful.”
That’s me standing next to the ugliest tree we had ever seen for our Christmas. In the following days of darkness and cold without electricity, the fragrance of that tree lifted our feelings. It promised coming days of life and light and the joy of Christmas. The electricity returned in time for Christmas Eve but we didn’t go back to school for three more weeks due to a flu outbreak. But, that tree was very special to me. I would lean over and look up through the branches of that tree at the gleaming lights and the shining ornaments and the glistening tinsel and I was once again above the ground suspended above the world; just me and my tree.
Years later, this incident would be the inspiration for that scene in the play, “The Night Gift” I mentioned in my last post. Eventually, I took that scene and wrote an entire play around it, “The Homecoming Tree”.
It is the story of a young boy who has lost his father to the attack on Pearl Harbor. He must cut down the family Christmas tree alone so he can become the man of the house. The story revolved around my parent’s experiences at the beginning of World War II. I have rewritten the play and I am working on a novelization of the work. One day, I hope to see it on the big screen — it would make a killer Christmas movie! And, I hope in 2014 I can find someone, someplace, some theatrical team willing to perform my newest version of this play. We’ll see. Until then, enjoy your Christmas tree this year. But be careful if you try to cut it down yourself!
Four elderly men stood before me. They had asked to talk to me and I was very, very nervous. One of them was shaking with emotion and all I could think of was somehow I had offended them with something I had written in the play they had just seen.
Let me explain.
In 1993, I was the director of the drama ministry at Brookwood Baptist Church. We produced four dinner theaters a year and my staff liaison requested we sell season tickets for the 1994 season. I was growing tired of writing, directing, and producing plays with a rural flair. I wanted something more modern and urban. I decided on the three plays leading up to our holiday dinner theater for 1994. Then, I wrote down a simple explanation for the fourth play, “The Night Gift”. It would take place in an urban setting, a newly constructed high rise in downtown with a penthouse office. The members of that office would find themselves stuck in the penthouse office on Christmas Eve and in the process discover they didn’t get along as well as they thought. That was it. A simple story. I would worry about the details later and write the play sometime during the summer of 1994 in time for the holiday dinner theater.
My good friend and our best actor, Larry Robison, asked me to write him a bit part as an old curmudgeonly gentlemen like Waldorf and Statler of the Muppets. You know, the two old men who sit in the theater box seats and insult the cast of the Muppets show. I created four elderly founders of the company that built the high rise. Larry would play Mr. Collinbird (the others were Mrs. Partridge, Mrs. Turtledove, and Mr. Frenchhen). At a pivotal point in the play, I wanted to change the mood from humorous to serious. Up to that moment, Mr. Collinbird had been hilarious and frankly, senile. The members of the office began to share their most memorable Christmases. When it came to Mr. Collinbird, everyone was expecting another silly story. Instead, he began to tell a very moving story about his childhood.
Mr. Collinbird told the story of Christmas,1941 when his father did not return from Pearl Harbor. The young boy went out into the woods and cut down the family Christmas tree on his own. During the tale, Larry became the young Collinbird and I came out on the stage dressed as his father with blood on my chest. I told my “son” he was now the man of the house and I would not be coming home for Christmas.
It was a simple five minute scene meant to change the tone of the play and to catch the audience off guard. They would be expecting Collinbird to be silly but instead they got a very poignant moving story of the child who became the man. After the first night’s play, Larry came up to me and said there were four men who wanted to talk to the author of the play. These were the four men who now stood before me. The trembling man wiped at his eyes and this is what he said:
“I wanted to thank you for honoring the men who fought in World War II. We are World War II veterans and I was at Pearl Harbor. Thank you for honoring us on Veteran’s Day.”
I was stunned! It suddenly hit me that this was Friday, November 11th, the original date for Veteran’s Day! I never intended to honor WWII veterans but God had different plans. God knew who would be there that night and God knew they needed to be honored by the simple scene in this play. The play was performed for two nights only and as impressive and shocking as the first night’s response was, I was not prepared for what happened the second night.
After the play, Larry escorted an elderly woman up to me and introduced us. She also wanted to meet the author of the play. This is what she said:
“My brother died at Pearl Harbor and I have been mad at him and mad at God ever since. Tonight, you helped me to say goodbye to my brother and to find peace with my Maker. Thank you!”
Later, Larry and I spoke about these people and their testimonies. Larry encouraged me to write the story of that young boy in 1941. He asked me where the idea of cutting down the tree as a rite of passage to manhood had come from. I shall share that tomorrow! For now, I want you to stop for a moment and think of someone you know who has fought in our military.
This coming Monday is Veteran’s day and 19 years ago, I realized how truly important it is to honor and remember the sacrifice of our men and women in the armed forces. Much has happened in the world since then and the number of war veterans has exploded. It would be a number of years before I fulfilled my dream to take that boy’s story and tell it in its entirety. In 2005, I wrote and produced “The Homecoming Tree” telling the story of the young Mr. Collinbird. The story was based on my parents’ lives during WWII. They lived in a boarding house atmosphere and their relatives came to stay with them as the war unfolded. I hope to soon complete the novel based on that play and to fully honor the memories of my now deceased parents. But, for now, I want to encourage you to honor our veterans this coming Monday. Thank them for their sacrifice to give us the opportunity to live in freedom!
While I am waiting for the availability of “The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos” around November 20th (I’ll give all of you a firm date once I find out) I thought I’d share something just for fun. In the past couple of months there has been rumors and suggestions for a new Star Trek television series. The movies have proven successful and now the writers of these two movies think it is time for a television show. Star Trek was made for episodic series. Only then can it deal with pithy and difficult social and humane issues as it did in the 1960’s. You can’t dig that deeply into a movie.
But, we can’t simply go back to the original world of Star Trek, can we? Now, we have two parallel time lines so what do we do? What and WHEN would be the focus of the next series? So, if you are a Trekker, then read on. If not, then come back soon for more information on my book.
So, here is an idea. It may already have been used in the spin off games, comic books, or novels but a suggestion:
It is the far future and the Borg eventually overran the Federation. All but a few worlds were assimilated. Quadrillions of sentient beings became Borg. Earth became an outlying Borg world with an underground rebellion preventing the planet from total conversion. With over 95% of the Federation worlds under Borg control, the Borg grew tired of the rebellion on Earth and withdrew from a devastated and depopulated Earth.
But, the Borg’s greatest strength proved to be their undoing. With so many minds now linked in the Borg collective, the Borg began to splinter. Twelve factions within the collective mind began to strive for dominance. Soon, these sub-consciousnesses drew apart and so began the Borg Civil War. Such battles and such clashes were unparalleled by any in the history of the galaxy. Great war machines were built that dwarfed entire solar systems. Energies were deployed that tore holes in the very fabric of space. Biological and genetic weapons decimated normal genomes and created horrific spawn of the Borg. Entire regions of the galaxy became uninhabitable filled with unspeakable pervasions of space time.
Eventually, two factions remained, the Red Borg and the Gray Borg. These two remaining collective “minds” could have recombined and saved the Borg, but soon the Gray Borg lost ground. In a final desperate move, the Gray Borg unleashed the ultimate doomsday device. Arcane energies rippled through the remaining Borg collective, reducing all living matter to goo and disintegrating every Borg circuit.
Silence fell across the known galaxy. Borg ships and war machines drifted in cold, harsh space and peace filled the devastated territory of the Alpha Quadrant.
On Earth, a remnant of Starfleet had been biding its time, rebuilding quietly within the very wreckage of the Borg machinery and the tortured Earth. Salvaging Federation starships and merging them with Borg technology, Starfleet’s weakening pulse grew stronger. Once the Borg mind fell silent and was no more, this ragtag group of sentient beings emerged from the shadows to rebuild the Federation.
And so, the new Federation of Planets was created built upon the ashes of the dead and decaying worlds of the Borg collective. It was time to rebuild civilization by reaching out to worlds once prosperous and powerful. It was time to boldly go into an unknown universe far more dangerous than ever before. What remnants of the Borg Civil War await our intrepid starships? What horrors born from the great war machines and biological weapons await discovery?
This could be the new Star Trek!
What do you think? Where would you like to see a new Star Trek television go?