Death of the Body by Rick Chiantaretto
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Series: Crossing Death #1
Published: December 13, 2013 by Orenda Press; 400 pages
I grew up in a world of magic. By the time I was ten I understood nature, talked to the trees, and listened to the wind. When the kingdom of men conquered my town, I was murdered by one of my own—the betrayer of my kind. But I didn't stay dead.
I woke to find myself in a strange new world called Los Angeles. The only keys to the life I remembered were my father’s ring, my unique abilities, and the onslaught of demons that seemed hell-bent on finding me. Now I must find out who I really am, protect my friends, and get back to my beloved hometown of Orenda.
Before Xia had the chance to answer, an extremely bubbly blond dressed in a Santa hat knocked loudly on our table. I found the gesture not only odd, but unbelievably annoying.
“Hi guys,” she started, without any observance for our former conversation. “I’m Brittany and I’m collecting donations for ‘Change for Jesus.’ Get it?” Her resulting chuckle was so condescending that I had to suppress my desire to punch her.
“Anyway, this year the Christian students have teamed up together to collect money to renovate an old church somewhere in the city. We’ve collected over three thousand dollars just on campus. Will you donate?”
I smiled. “The money is going to renovate a church? Not feed the hungry or clothe the poor?”
A look of complete seriousness fell over her face, “By helping Christians here you help Christians everywhere.”
“We aren’t interested,” Xia glared sharply.
“But Thanksgiving is just a few days away,” Brittany pointed to her Santa hat like she was making some sort of coherent statement, “now is the time for giving.”
Her sugary-ness was too sweet to handle.
“We don’t believe in Jesus. Xia’s Wiccan, and I’m not religious,” I said tersely.
Brittany’s eyes grew big, but not in shock or surprise… I was pretty sure it was anger.
“But without Jesus you cannot be saved, for no man can enter the kingdom of God but by him. He performed many miracles, healing the sick and turning water into wine—”
“Here,” I interrupted, reaching for my cup. “Will tea do?” I shook the cup three times, and peeled back the lid. Alcoholic dregs slid slowly back down the sides. “Now it’s wine. See? Nothing special.”
Brittany wasn’t fazed. “It was always wine.”
I reached for Xia’s cup angrily. She graciously traded me for the wine and snickered.
I repeated the trick, this time showing Brittany the tea first. When I showed her the transformed liquid, she glared at me with cougar-like intensity.
“You dare mock God?” she screamed loudly enough that half of the cafeteria stopped to stare, and the other half, wondering why the whole place just went silent, stared too.
“Yup,” I replied, as matter-of-factly as I could. I wasn’t upset or annoyed anymore. This was actually sort of fun.
Brittany took one step backward and pointed a finger at us. “He will judge you,” she said, shaking uncontrollably. She glared at us a moment longer as if trying to leave us with a lasting impression of guilt before she then turned and stormed off.
“Too bad she didn’t cry,” Xia said, chuckling, once Brittany was out of earshot.
“If she would have, I might have felt bad. I don’t mind religious people, it’s the hypocrites I can’t stand.”
Xia took a sip of wine, her eyes deviously questioning.
“Brittany, for example,” I continued, “really, really, enjoys her fornication.”
Xia’s brilliant smile flashed before her mouth burst open into uncontrollable laughter. “How could you possibly know that?” she chided.
I grinned back. “The wind told me.”
Xia hiccupped and then held up the glass of wine. “Just for future reference, I would have preferred a cabernet.”
I've often been accused of having done more in my life than the average person my age but if I were completely honest, I'd have to tell you my secret: I'm really 392.
So after all this time, I'm a pretty crappy writer.
I have two books published and a bunch half written (when you have eternity, where's the reason to rush?). I've been favorably reviewed by horror greats like Nancy Kilpatrick, and my how-to-write-horror articles have been quoted in scholarly (aka community college freshmen's) papers.
I enjoy the occasional Bloody Mary, although a Bloody Kathy or Susan will suffice.
Mostly, I just try to keep a low profile so people don't figure out who I REALLY am.