Ghost |One | Phoebe Reeves-Murray

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BOOK I: BLOOD

 

1701, Harima, Japan.

Sariel strode through the trees. To his left, something darker than the falling darkness shook the trees. He quickened his pace.

A hideous attempt at a human voice gurgled, “Hey!” In a rush, the darkness hurled itself up into the sky like a bird and exploded down on Sariel in a rain of fire. He drew silent breaths and tensed as the poison sparks seeped into him. Coughing, choking, he forced the poison into his stomach and vomited black bile which burned a pit into the ground at his feet. Wiping his mouth, he raised his head and turned his glowing gaze to a nearby hilltop.

There, Iblis, dressed in full samurai armor, his wings outstretched above him, watched the confrontation between three warriors.

Iblis, you’re just playing soldier with these three warriors like they’retoys made of stardust.  The composition of each will never again exist.

Iblis moved his wing so that its pitch black span swallowed the moonlight falling on the men.  Then he swept it back to reveal the moon once again.  Then back to darkness. Back and forth, faster and faster until the men collided in a strobe of light and no light.  His face remained expressionless as he stared at the glistening black blood soaking the horses’ necks.  The beasts dropped dead and the men struggled to get free of their corpses. Sariel gazed at Iblis, trapped by light, trapped by darkness.

Iblis’s edge was that he was elemental. Somehow, he’d maintained his purity where Sariel suspected that he himself, after having been torn in half, after falling to this place in search of his hidden self, after his failure to produce a viable Ghost, had become…impure. Unnatural. What purpose do I serve now? I am never going to win. Iblis cannot be defeated. He cannot be destroyed because he is destruction—if I destroy him, he continues to exist.

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The night before Sariel began the final transformation to make his last human charge a Ghost, the destined young man Aruku Dyjo had served him as Sariel prepared for hours the ceremony for becoming a Ghost. Over his long years of transforming the chosen humans into Ghosts, Sariel realized that people required a succession of events on which they placed a narrative. Though Sariel saw this succession to be as random as the events of the ceremony itself, he knew it gave Dyjo comfort that all had purpose and that all purpose had the potential to be as important as when the universe came into being.

Sariel had found himself going through the motions of the ceremony, but with no elemental purpose. Frightened, he prolonged the ceremony as he cried like a lost child, for any other angel. His screams tore the inside of his being apart, but couldn’t be heard by Dyjo. Sariel had never allowed himself to reveal his soul to any of his human charges through the thousands of years.

Now on the hilltop, he stared at Dyjo thrusting and parrying with the great sword Shishi-o against Iblis and felt himself drift away from the present, from the now of Dyjo and Iblis battling against one another. There is no again. There is only now, he told himself. But he was lost inside his own mind’s eye. There, Sariel left now and returned to again, to his initial flight and fall into the earth.

***

Sariel’s wings beat against the bursting up and down drafts of chaotic winds. Savagely burned by the sub zero of cloud, rain, hail, snow, his wings tore, shredded in the frozen dead fall through the earth’s atmosphere.

Once in the atmosphere, he beheld a kaleidoscope of white, blue, gray, purple, black, and managed to arc himself to face those glorious colors, his back against the fall below. I must fly out of this fall! That was when he who was wave and particle, crashed against the ground. The agony exploded through Sariel who screamed a blaze so hot it ate open a monstrous crater beneath him.Help me or Iblis destroys me now!

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As he fell through the hole, Iblis rocketed towards him, a blaze of burning light, one fist clinging to Sariel’s sword, his grip having stretched that sword as fine as a laser, finer than the filaments of the almost countless galaxies. With his other arm, Iblis drew back his own lightless weapon. The movement was so familiar, so silent and sweeping that Sariel welcomed the other angel’s searing blaze. Anything to gain his bearing in this savage place. Now I will finish this battle!

But there would be no ending for the battle that was even now evolving into a war. Iblis raged for the Creator as Sariel grieved for his Other Half. Later, Iblis would claim that the Creator had abandoned him, had turned away. And that Iblis’s own heart had frozen within the Creator’s great shadow. The perfect warmth of that first golden circle of Heaven slowly burned, then blazed into searing stars of agony. The angels’ brilliant tears ran up, down, all around the universe, seeped into the dark matter, became rays, became swords, became weapons.

Gabriel! Michael! Sariel screamed as he fell through the atmosphere, rushing closer and closer to earth. Help me end this!

But it was Raziel’s voice that whispered, You take responsibility for their fate—Sariel’s form, now a body, exploded against the earth, and the connection to the other angel was lost.

The dark angel leapt onto Sariel, his blackened wings whipping up a roaring bonfire. Iblis had arrived before Sariel, and Sariel’s Other Half, who was yet to be born into this world. But Iblis didn’t fall alone. His hoards, many of whom were crushed by the impact of entry into this heavy, roiling world broke his fall by sacrificing their ruined forms. Immediately, Iblis fashioned armor from fire and rock—the sediment left of their cooked skins. He folded their body parts over and over until they formed a mass filament thin and stardust impenetrable—an armor to protect Iblis’s blaze against the earth’s capricious wind currents, up and down drafts which had nearly incapacitated him in the first few moments of entering the atmosphere.

The enormity of his capacity inside the bodies of the murdered angels allowed him the world as an all you can eat buffet. He devoured, he gorged on the earth’s naked youth, its spread wide innocence and as he couldn’t be satiated, the world became tenderized under his endless bruises and bites.

But though the world had no capacity to see what the angels could see, it did have the power to change everything without ever knowing. Sariel didn’t know this. At first.

The impact as he entered this world turned his flight to hideous falling. His many eyes burned in the furious frozen winds as his multitude of wings flapped to break the violence of the fall. Helpless against the plummet, Sariel tried unsuccessfully to save his crushed feathers and turned instead to stare everywhere, his multidimensional eyes taking in every single possibility and how to proceed in each with mathematical certainty. But he was unable to choose which would be the correct purpose for which he’d been created. Sound was everywhere, but it wasn’t the music of the vibrating strings. Instead the energy was heavy, chaotic, whistling, thudding—sometimes wind, sometimes water, sometimes earth, sometimes fire. And for the humans, always the heart.

Make me a heart, make me a heart or I shall disintegrate and Iblis will…win.

You must make your own heart. 

Why? No response. He found himself barely able to function, his torn wings twisted in agony as he seized mud displaced by the impact of his crash, twisted clay out of the ground, trying to fashion the thing he felt in every animal, in every human. His fingers next clawed Angelic figures into the side of the rock crater he’d made in the earth: C738H1166N812O203S2Fe, the chemical formula for blood, drinking from inside himself the plasma, the red blood cells, the white blood cells, and more even as Iblis continued to rain fire on him moment after moment after moment. Sariel rocked violently back and forth as the vast volume of his newborn blood sloshed like gigantic waves against the thundering beat of his spontaneous heart…

***

Suddenly jerked back from again to now, Sariel found himself readying to save Dyjo from the advance of Iblis. Conscious of their skirmish on the plain before him, Sariel found himself still searching Raziel’s words for why he was responsible for their fate. At the same time, he gazed at a different memory, one of the previous evening, of Dyjo dancing around the room of their cottage, slicing the air with the sword Shishi-o. The sword that came from the star that sliced me in two. Sariel had to will away the rage flowing into the empty vessel he’d forced himself to become in order to keep from hurling Dyjo against the far wall. They never stop believing they can win as though there were only two—

“Sari, how much do you love me?”

The childlike openess in Dyjo’s tone caught Sariel off guard. The youth’s image multiplied into infinite pieces of a mouth, a nose, an eye, shivering against the thrumming of his still human heart, a beat which Sariel had been slowly changing as he readied him for that metamorphosis. “Love you?”

Dyjo’s pupils swallowed his irises and he gripped Shishi-o in both hands, his mouth a straight line. “I will win.”

Sariel’s own heart, which he had made when he became a body on Earth, which he had made himself with no knowledge of how to make a real heart, rocketed against his chest. He fought to steady himself against its dizzying ache. Why does my heart break? Aren’t they all just people? You are the center of the universe to me. I love you more than you can ever know. Why can’t we just finish this? Why can’t I just regain My Other Half? Not wanting to reveal his weakness, he didn’t answer Dyjo’s question.

***

There is no again—there is only now! I must stay with Dyjo in the now! Sariel refocused his gaze on what was taking place in the now of his earth bound form. He willed his wings to remain hidden as he raised his hand to protect his still human charge. Iblis sent a torrent of poisonous fire to rain on the three warriors, one of whom wielded his sword faster and faster, hurling away every spark even as he dispatched the other two samurai. Sariel stilled his hand, but didn’t lower it.

Two of the Samurai now lay dead. Aruku Dyjo stood over them. Triumphant, he raised his weapon in Sariel’s direction and shrieked. Iblis emerged from the trees. Dyjo dropped, swung, and severed Iblis’s horse’s foreleg. The dying horse fell, tipping Iblis onto Dyjo’s blade.

Iblis’s armor erupted, flowing over his rearing horse. The flames seared away the steed’s flesh and it screamed, purple sinew and black blood bubbling, popping. Iblis flew over Dyjo, his gigantic wings beating the earth on either side of the boy as he crushed the reeking corpse of the horse against Dyjo’s crouched form.

Sariel flew down the hill, his wings ripping branches from the trees as he rushed to Dyjo.

“Aku! Aku! Aku!”

Evil! Evil! Evil!

Dyjo’s sword tore through the dead Hell horse, slicing it to strips finer than hair. Iblis roared, flattening Dyjo against the ground.

Sari, do you love me?

The angel froze, unable to see through the child’s tone of the lying voice.

Yes, I love you—you are my Ghost!

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Grinning, Iblis crouched over Dyjo, his fangs dripping glittering strings of drool, his monstrous wings flashing faster and faster in the moonlight until they once again formed a sickening strobe over the boy’s near naked body. Light and dark forms the crack. Divide and conquer, my brother! he hissed, gazing up at Sariel.

Release your hatred, relinquish your agony over the disintegration of our once whole light into light and darkness, Brother! Sariel rushed towards him, feeling his own fury swallow him.

Iblis laughed. Divide and be conquered, Brother!

Just then, Dyjo arched his pelvis and leapt backward, soaring in a graceful arc, driving his sword upward and to the side, cutting a cross on Iblis’ brow just above his nose. Iblis raged, swung back to crush Dyjo. Sariel soared down the hill and exploded against Iblis in a burst of light so bright Dyjo’s retinas would forever after carry the glittering burn even in the darkness of sleep.

Back at Sariel’s house, he bathed Dyjo’s eyes over and over in healing ointment. Dyjo trembled uncontrollably. Sariel tried in vain to still the boy’s racing heart, and failed to see Dyjo swing Shishi-o in a single movement across his chest. Sariel sank to his knees as the blood rushed out of him. Shishi-o—my own star—why do you betray me, again?

“Master, I can’t wait—he will try to kill my family, to destroy Harima!” Dyjo clawed his way up, shivering.

Sariel wheezed, folding his wings across the waterfall of blood pouring down his chest. Will I end? No Ghost had ever turned against him before. Ever. Yet Shishi-o came from the star that had stabbed Sariel in half. Sariel drew a shocked breath.

“You can’t stop this war! This night marks the birth of Ghost Dyjo! You see? I am ready. They fell like—like feathers against my storm! I branded Iblis before I was even a Ghost!”

Sariel saw that Dyjo gazed upon him as an old man, an old man who had power, but power whose limits Dyjo could grasp, and therefore, surpass. How could I have failed in this near final teaching?

Silence grew thick. Dyjo swung his sword through the air, destroying the table on which the bowl of ointment rested. Sariel watched his eyes blink faster and faster against the viscous gel. He closed his own against the stinging water that filled them. Tears.

“Can you see again, Aruku?”

Dyjo blinked, wiped his eyes with a cloth. “Perfectly, Master.” Their redness betrayed his answer.

Sobbing, Sariel tore strips of white cloth and bound his wounded chest. Blood showed red, then purple, then black. He retrieved the bowl. “Shishi-o is m—you are NEVER to use Shishi-o against ME!”

Dyjo tensed, expecting that Sariel would be granting him Shishi-O.

Again, Sariel heard the plaintive do you love me? He wanted to touch Dyjo’s eyes to take back what had burned them. This time, he would voice his response. “You are not Ghost.”

“But I saw them. I scarred Iblis!”

Sariel’s hand silenced him. “I wanted you to be.”

“But what?”

“But you are not.”

“I burned him! He will wear that cross forever!”

Sariel clenched his jaw. “How old do you think Iblis is?”

Aruku laughed, blinking his wet eyes, pretending that the afterburn was not affecting his sight. “What difference does it make if he is 3000 or three million years old?”

“You couldn’t begin to know. He’ll never forgive you for the cross, and that is where you’ll meet him again.” He got up heavily. “You are not ready. As we are the last, we must be sure.”

Dyjo spat. “Shall I call you the Lesser and myself the Greater? You are the last. I am not yet the last, but I will be! There is no last. There is always another! Perhaps it is your teaching that has failed, and not your charge.” Dyjo paced the room, grinding his fists into his eyes in a savage attempt to clear them.

Sariel bowed his head. “Perhaps. Still, I must release you. They have found you, and you are not ready. If I release you, you will be protected from the angels.”

“NO!” Dyjo held his sword to Sariel’s throat. More blood gushed wetly through the soaked bandages around Sariel’s chest. Tears mixed with the oily salve in Dyjo’s eyes as he lowered the sword. Sariel took Aruku’s face in his hands, covered his eyes, and began to pray in the ancient Angelic.

***

The next day at noon, Sariel knelt at a small altar, while Dyjo dressed for battle. When Aruku had finished, he refused to face Sariel.

“Aruku. Wait.”

Dyjo opened the door.

Sariel rose from his knees, bearing an alter cloth of such sheer gauze that he appeared to hold nothing in his hands. “You will not turn back from this?”

“No. This is my home, my land.” He about faced and mock bowed to Sariel. “Who else will put an end to you angels?!”

Sariel snarled, swept Dyjo off his feet, his sword tip pressed to the boy’s throat. “Get up.” He handed the sword back to Dyjo, opened a chest against the wall, and removed a small box. In another room where a brazier burned under a skylight, Sariel opened the box and removed seven scrolls. He unrolled one and read, chanting quietly. He put the scrolls onto the brazier, and they burst into a bright magnesium flame that died away to white smoke. “Come here.”

As Dyjo approached, the old man pulled an iron from the coals, and in a single sweeping movement, pressed the brand into the skin of his upper arm. Dyjo screamed, struggled and finally fainted. Sariel’s wings unfolded and fanned the air, cooling and reviving the boy.

The angel took a vial of liquid from the box. “Drink.” As Dyjo drank, Sariel put more scrolls on the brazier. The room filled with smoke, and the angel who now appeared once again as an old man grabbed Dyjo by the hair and pushed his face into the brazier. “Breathe.” Dyjo choked as Sariel held him inside the smoke.

As Dyjo was about to asphyxiate, Sariel removed him and let him slump to the floor, unconscious. The angel wrapped his wings around himself until nothing of his form could be seen. Aruku is a perfect fighter, but his soul is without armor. He will never be able to see the danger. I cannot make him Ghost. I cannot bear the accounting. Are your voices silent to me now? I must let him go, he is not ready. They will destroy him. He tied the gauze around the boy’s eyes and left him to sleep.

***

Dyjo slipped out of the house into an inky darkness that flooded his throat.  He forced himself not to cough, but to breathe without gagging took every ounce of his strength. I will prove I am Ghost. His eyes still bound with Sariel’s gauze, Aruku felt a glow that he guessed must be Shishi-O. He smiled. Come to me, Shishi-o. Or must I win you? He quickened his pace and fell. On his knees, he heard the crackle of flames followed by the pace of an animal. A large animal. He breathed and the pacing matched his breath. He crouched. Something else shuffled towards him. He backed away. A monstrous force seized his limbs, popping every tendon as it jerked him like a puppet.

Don’t look, came Sariel’s voice—no, his thought flooding Dyjo’s mind. You have to listen to see—

But the thing rocked the blood in his veins back and forth, up and down like a ship in a hurricane, and he couldn’t regain his balance to place the sound.

No! Aruku ripped the gauze from his face. Before him, Shishi-o blazed, rising out of a bonfire so bright, so hot Aruku thought he was gazing into the sun itself. Tears streaming from his eyes, he peered through the glittering red-blue cloud over his retinas and saw a lioness circling the fire after something moving under a dirty blanket.  If I can only seize the sword, I can cover its blaze with my hands so I can see. He wondered at the small child’s voice of his thought. Is that…me?

Do you love me? The same voice came from under the blanket. He turned from the lioness, the lioness that moved exactly as he moved, steadying his violent dizziness, and found the filthy, blanket-covered small creature wrapped around his legs, its face pushed against his thighs as it sobbed tiny child sobs. He touched its head and caressed the delicate skull.

The lioness roared and leapt, and as she did, so did he, seizing Shishi-o before she could reach the shining sword, and slicing open her womb in one graceful motion. She fell with a scream that was too human for any lioness. The blade’s light burned out instantly.

Dyjo struggled to bring the little child to her feet, but she refused, pulling him down and under the blanket with her. Why is she so strong? Between the burns on his retinas and the impenetrable darkness, he couldn’t see her. But he could feel her breasts, their hard nipples. He wanted to bite them off. We are not children.

“Aruku.”  The girl’s cries were a soft moan that reached between his legs and slid along the tops of his thighs.  He struggled not to succumb to the climax he felt coming.  Now she held down his chest with her chin and hissed into his face. Dyjo screamed, forcing his hands to somehow raise his sword.  The angelic mark on his upper arm was now visible.  Her face melted into black liquid. Still screaming, Dyjo waded into Hell.

***

He awoke to Sariel preparing tea. Dyjo leapt off the floor, his muscles straining against his skin. His hair was now pure white. He smiled.

“I passed all your tests. I went to Hell and returned. Now I am Ghost.”

“I gave you no tests.”

Dyjo sprang to his feet, snatched the tea from Sariel’s hand and gulped it before the old man could blink.

“What about that?”

Sariel’s eyes became multihued fire as his wings beat the air. “You nearly died. You’ve been lying in a fever for a week. This part of your training was to come much later. Years perhaps.” He ceased roaring and was an old man again.

“But I feel it now.” His Ghost eyes glowed, yet he still felt the slightest blur. He forced himself not to blink.

“Can you see clearly now?

“The Greater doesn’t need the blindfold of the Lesser.”

Sariel shook his head. “Why do you lie to me?” Silence. “What is it you feel?”

The boy shrugged.

“They found you. I thought I could shield you by not imbuing you and they found you. I tasked you to become aware of what opposes you. I fell.”

“I saw the demon. I saw the Lioness.”

Sariel shook him. All the furniture in the room slammed against the wall and shattered. “You saw the Lioness!? When? How?”

Aruko threw Sariel off him. “She offered me the Sword of Lions. Shishi-o. The Sword you should have given me when I was to fight Iblis.”

Sariel’s old man guise fell away as he became a bull with bloody horns and gnashing teeth. He bellowed. “Why did you hide this from me? It’s too late now. You are known to him now. You will go tomorrow.”

An old man once more, he moved to the chest and slid it aside. Lifting a floorboard, he took out what appeared to be a bolt of silk. Slicing off the wrapping, he held aloft a sword. The sword Shishi-o. On its pommel was a mark, the same as the one on Dyjo’s arm. “You’ll need this.”

Dyjo stared, his eyes blazing. “Shishi-o, the Master of Lions.” He seized the sword, felt it hum in his hands. Light as down and warm to the touch, it was as though he’d held it all his life. Dyjo made a solid cut, stopping precisely with a skill generations of masters could not achieve. He swung again, cutting the very air.

Sariel took something from his pocket, a circle of polished jade hung on a string. “This…most important. No matter what happens, Aruku, do not let this go.”

Dyjo took the pendant absently, his eyes still transfixed by Shishi-o. “What is it?”

Sariel wrapped Dyjo’s fingers around the Pendant so tightly his hand bled. “Think of it as…your soul.”

***

Days later, Dyjo stood with his elderly parents near a bell in the village square in Harima. Other villagers refused to stand near him, worried at the presence of a warrior, one of the Holy Guardians.

“Ring the bell, Father. I have something to say and everyone must hear it.”

Trembling, his father stared into his eyes.

Aruku held his hand to his father, who jumped at the chill in his touch.

“Aruku, please. These people…they know a sword in the open never lacks company.”

More people gathered in the square.

“Mama, speak to him.”

His mother sobbed silently. Her response was barely a whisper. “Aruku, you don’t understand…”

Dyjo felt fire and steel solidify in his veins. He leapt into the air, bearing Shishi-O, and feeling himself soar as though on wing.  “But I do…I’ll ring it myself.” He landed, swung back the wooden striker and drove it into the bell which rang and rang with an increasingly more solemn, watery tone. More people came from their houses, whimpering.

“The Oni take the food from your fields and your children from their cradles. Today it ends. Your enemies are my enemies! I am the Ghost who will win against the Emperor of the Dark Angels!”

Some people ran back into their houses. The striker bounced against the bell as Dyjo’s father moved to silence it.

Some girls stared at Dyjo, giggling. He walked toward them with a swagger. Their smiles turned to fear as they beheld the yellow light emanating from his eyes.

Hoofbeats. Dyjo spun around as a mounted Oni swordsman bore down on his father. The rider fell his parents with a stroke. Their heads rolled across the ground, to face each other, eyes still blinking, at Dyjo’s feet. The Ghost’s irises flashed yellow, then white-hot. His prowess and strength became the speed of breath. His fury spooked the demon horse and toppled the Oni rider. In a beat, the rider lay quartered, still trying to swing its sword. Shishi-O sang.

“COME TO ME!”

Four more Oni riders did so, followed by six Oni spearmen. Again, the horses panicked at Dyjo’s wrath and slammed against each other.

The riders dismounted. One by one, Dyjo finished them with half a thrust each, never stopping in his charge forward. The spearmen came into range, those that survived dropped their weapons and bolted before Dyjo’s assault. Their retreat was broken by the pounding hooves of heavy war-horses. The riders, two captains, hacked to pieces and trampled their own spearmen.

“Kill them all,” the Oni Captain rasped.

Aruku’s anger froze so cold he no longer breathed. His eyes blurred again. Something’s wrong… He blinked it away, so he thought. In a single movement, he took a spear from the ground and leapt, driving it through the heart of the first Oni, unhorsing him. The horse’s armored hooves battered into Dyjo’s chest.

The other Oni slashed Dyjo’s shoulder and dragged its dirty and rusted weapon deep across his back. In his fury, the Ghost spun and dragged the Oni from the horse. The Captain’s head rolled in the dust before he could regain his feet. The other Oni was still moving. Dyjo cleared the distance between them in one leap. What remained of them pooled together, a steaming black puddle.

Dyjo fell weeping before his parents. His body was shattered, one arm hung at his side. Bone showed through a gash in his sword-arm. People emerged from the houses. Broken, Dyjo struggled to face them.

“Bury my family. And tell everyone what happened here today.”

A cloud flapped across the sun. In the sudden dusk, the faces of the people flickered with firelight. Their expressions changed to stark terror as they scattered. The flash of a blade trailed sparks and smoke. His breath seized as he felt the searing of his flesh and the cries of a thousand dogs filled his ears. Dyjo’s chest exploded. His eyes flashed with white fire as he tried to swing around. Too late. Cold. Nothing but silence passed his lips as he fell back into darkness.

Dyjo’s eyes flickered open in a fog. He lay on his back, covered in blood. A girl stood over him, the one from his dream, dressed in white and gold. He stared at her. Something rippled across her forehead. An insect? No, a cross-shaped crack in her skull. He suddenly knew he must protect himself from that moving crack.

“I know you,” he gasped, trying to crawl backwards, the ground giving way under his retreat.

She smiled. The crack began to separate. “No you don’t, but I know you.”

He felt for the Pendant around his neck. “The jade…it was here…”

The girl picked it up and swung it, bloody and slick, back and forth in front of him. He reached for the jade, but she slid it into her mouth, put his hand to her neck and rubbed it against her throat as she bit off pieces of the jade and swallowed them.

“Who…are you?” His eyes burned and as the girl laughed, sparks began flying, drifting off her as though she were on fire.

“You still don’t know? The old one is losing his edge.” She smiled, touched him, her eyes sparkling. Dyjo struggled to clear the glittering shadows and suddenly found himself facing long fangs and smelling the stench of rotten flesh as Iblis spat the shards of the jade straight into the Ghost’s eyes. Dyjo screamed and his life drained away.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR:

Phoebe Reeves-MurrayPhoebe Reeves-Murray’s Professional Biography:

“Someone once told me that all kids love their parents, but not all parents love their kids.  In every teaching job I’ve ever had, I’ve worked with youth who are trying every way possible to reach, and in many cases, to find their parents.  And all too often, those parents fight ever being found.

“In the Ghost trilogy which includes Ghost, Nephilim, and Archangel, I wanted to write a story where, instead of trying to juggle a superhero identity (read “all important job”) and a family (read “childcare”), the superhuman woman put her child above all else—where her quest wasn’t winning an ancient or even a modern war, but fiercely and completely loving and living with her baby, even when she discovers her own relationship to the mysterious angels and their eternal war holds the fate of the world in the balance—because she loves that baby more than the world.”

Phoebe’s other professional writing credits include an original novella-ization of the new Outer Limits episode The Quality of Mercy, published by Prima, and her original magic realism novel Talking to Shadows, published electronically by Scorpius Digital.

She’s written several books on how to teach yourself to write, aimed at the nontraditional student: What’s The Big Idea? and Turning the Century, both published by Prentice Hall.

Her original short play about how Adam and Eve recover from The Fall and parent the race of Man called The Mistake was performed at the Maine Short Plays Festival in Portland, Maine.  She wrote and directed three original multimedia plays Collect All The Game Pieces and be A Grand Prize Winner!, Crazy Tree, and The Hero of My Childhood, for CAFÉ and Muse Productions at The Next Stage in San Francisco as well as an original science fiction radio play Eyes Like Stars for Shoestring Radio Theater which continues to be broadcast yearly on NPR.

Daniel Scott Gabriel Murray’s Professional Biography:

Daniel Scott Gabriel Murray is a retired police officer of 23 years while at the same time working as an illustrator. His break came when he showed his portfolio to an editor at DC Comics during a convention, from that point he’s slowly built a following and a reputation for creating images that are driven by light, passion and character.  Millions of people have seen his work, they just don’t know it. After a series of DC Trading cards, DC asked him to assist them in their marketing materials for licensed products. If you should see a Superman or Batman logo on a product, there’s a good chance that you’re looking at something he created.

He’s developed images for DC Comics, Covers for Lucasfilm publications, TUL Studios [Taiwan], Seed Studios [Taiwan], Smith-Micro [Poser], Inner Kingdom Games [Shadowfist], Upper Deck Entertainment and Atlantis Studios to name a few.

 

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