Book II: Chapter Two – “The Way Things Change”
[Want to start at the beginning? Read Chapter One.]
Now that we’ve shared the first chapter, part of the tone for book two has been established. The perspective will be more of the Guide’s than the Walker’s as we move on, and a big part of what is going on with Kris is his continuing adjustment to his new life in death. He’s also riding a wave of love that has been a long time coming, and having a chance to swim in its depths rather than watch its beauty from afar. The first chapter brought us back to the sacred intimacy Kris and Jessica had discovered together at the end of the first book.
At first I wrote that introductory chapter with Kris waking up, like most folks do, and feeling the weight of Jessica’s head on his chest. The Guide and the story got my attention in the re-write, reminding me that sleeping and waking were different for him now. I thought it was funny; the only teaser we had released had been the opening sentence, and it disappeared right away when I edited. So it goes; it’s done now, and better than before.
I did not write the first four chapters with the intent of getting caught up with everyone left dangling in the cliffhanger from Book I, but I was pleased to see that it had turned out that way as we prepared this series of posts. The next few weeks will hold the answers to many of the questions the first book may have left you asking, and then the day will come at last. “Walking Between Worlds; Book II: Rise of the Walker King” will be available August 4th, 2015, and everyone can read the whole thing! Thank you all for reading, and for letting your anticipation build right there along with mine. Please enjoy Chapter Two of “Walking Between Worlds; Book II: Rise of the Walker King”.
Roche hung up the phone without leaving a message. Much as he wanted to get the machine moving, he’d rather the cogs and sprockets be happy and late than on time and miserable.
He tried Paul again, hanging up at the beginning of his long but pleasant message prompt. “Hi, this is Paul. Sorry I can’t-”
Slipping his phone in the pocket of his dark slacks, the devil turned to Matt with a frown.
“This place needs to be ready in thirty-six hours,” he growled darkly.
Matt let his gaze wander a slow circle around the room. All the furniture had been cleared to one side and stacked, save one table in the center of the floor flanked by two simple straight-backed chairs. Wood of all lengths and sizes were stacked in random haphazard piles, filling the space with the fresh scent of cut lumber. Table saw and a nail gun were cast with a crew of circular saws and belt sanders and hammers to make the production seem possible. The boxes of unopened nails and complete lack of sawdust told the truth of the matter, however, as did the papered unchanged windows and stark bare walls. The place was a shambles, gutted but for the coffee bar and the disarray of tables and chairs.
Matt gave a low whistle and grinned, unconcerned.
“Yeah, that’s not going to happen,” he mused.
“It is, though,” the devil insisted. “I just need a good cup of coffee and a little help.”
Spreading his hands, Matt arched an eyebrow at Roche. “Are you kidding? It’s not humanly possible.”
His clouded countenance cleared, and the devil grinned.
“Good thing I’m not human,” he said through pointed canines. “And neither is my help.” Digging his phone impatiently from his pocket, he frowned as his beefy fingers punched buttons.
“You still have the Walker’s key?” Roche snapped.
Matt’s eyes narrowed as he remembered, narrowing further as he dug in his pockets with a frantic lack of success. The devil held up his free hand between them, his meaty thumb and forefinger pinching a thin platinum chain dangling a glinting platinum key.
“You should keep better track of that,” Roche reprimanded Matt as his hand curled about the key. He hung up again without leaving a message.
He sighed. The devil needed a cup of coffee.
Opening his mouth to speak, Matt closed it again as Roche barked at him angrily.
“Take it!” the devil shouted. “Get Paul! Hurry! Why are you still here?”
Matt examined the object for another moment.
“That’s not my key,” he protested. “It’s gold, not silver.”
“Paul got an upgrade,” Roche growled through clenched teeth. “It’s platinum.”
“Cool.” Matt palmed the key and headed for the front door, moving with casual slowness.
“Don’t walk, jackass!” the devil took up shouting again. “Use the key! Close your eyes and think of the Walker! Engage your imagination! It’s all you’ve got!”
Roche shouted until he was yelling at an empty room, then quieted and crossed his arms across his broad chest in satisfaction. Eyeing the coffee bar warily as he approached it, he slipped through the swinging door and stood before the great holy machines of mystery that turned bean to brew. Just as he was considering crushing a handful of beans in his beefy paw and heating a pot of water with a small fireball, the door that had been frustratingly closed all morning opened.
Jessica stepped into the cafe, disheveled blonde hair over penguin pajamas over penguin slippers. She was adorably cute and beautiful all at the same time, wearing a happy soft smile that reminded the devil why life is worth loving. Kris came in behind her, looking happy and a little sheepish as his robed frame floated soundlessly into view. At the sight of the pair the devil felt anger and frustration and impatience drain out of him, and he grinned broadly at them.
“There’s the happy couple!” The devil was happy to hear happiness in his own voice.
They both flushed, and Kris stepped forward to put his arm around her shoulders and pull her close.
Roche nodded his satisfaction. “Good morning, you two. Jessica, would you be a dear and make a pot of coffee?”
She kissed the Guide’s cheek and stepped away, leaving Kris to accept the devil’s happy nod of approval.
“I sent Matt after Paul,” Roche said. “Would you find out what’s taking them?”