Title: The Fear of God
Author: B.A. Chepaitis
Genre: Sci-fi Mystery
Paperback: 218 pages
Publisher: Wildside Press (March 15, 2011)
On Planetoid Three, Jaguar Addams enters the minds of criminals. She lives in the shadows of their fears . . . and chases them into the light. The followers of the Revelation Sect are preparing for the Second Coming. Stockpiles of weapons were found when federal agents stormed the home of the fanatical leader, Sardis Malocco. Now Jaguar must resort to using a virtual reality environment of Heaven to get to the root of Sardis’s fear of God-before Revelation’s zealots unleash their own apocalypse upon the world . . .
Read the Excerpt
He grabbed her arm roughly and shook it. “Jaguar, what’re you doing?” he asked.
“Sardis—she’s gone over the edge. I have to bring her back. Show her something real. I have to bring her in to Rachel.”
“What? Empathic contact between Rachel and Sardis? But in Rachel’s condition, it’ll kill her.”
“Don’t tell me what I already know.” She jerked her arm away from his hold. “I need help. You said you did this before, right? Death Walk?”
She couldn’t mean it. A Death Walk? With Rachel?” He couldn’t comprehend it. “Jaguar,” he said, dropping three words like stones into her belly, “she’s your friend.”
“You think I’ve forgotten that?” she said with ice in her voice. She turned feral eyes to him and let him look. “What you see here, that’s the kind of woman I am. If you’ve been nurturing fantasies to the con¬trary, you’d better dispel them. Now.”
Accept it. That’s who she was. That’s why he gave her this assignment in the first place. She’d stop Sardis or die trying. But Death Walk was dangerous, and they had no margin for error here. Jaguar had to learn quickly and well. He put his hands on her face and called her wild eyes to his. Saw her shudder with relief at his touch. It would go faster this way.
Hush. Listen. This is how it’s done. Down into the darkness, naked. No protection. Entirely open. The motion is a wave. It’ll feel like falling a long way. Don’t try to stop the fall. Trust me without reservation. I’ll know when to call you back. And don’t hold on to Rachel. Do not attempt to bring her back.
He showed her the feeling of pull, when to let go. The texture of the space she’d be walking in. He put her hand on his chest so she could feel the beating of his heart.
Follow this, Jaguar. I’ll lead you back.
Then he looked at her hard. She was al¬ready exhausted, and the Death Walk took so much. There must be something else he could do. He touched her face, her lips, warm and alive.
Kiss of Life. As an antidote to death, there was only this. An exchange of passion. The transfer of his energy to her, life flowing from his body, his spirit, to hers. Would she misunderstand the gesture? Or was there any-thing to misunderstand? No. Nothing. It would be clear to both of them. It would have to be.
He put his hand on her face and pulled her close. Then he pressed his lips against hers, kissing her with more thoroughness than he had ever kissed a woman in his life.
Disturb me, Jaguar. Anytime. Under any circumstances.
She accepted it, straining her mouth to his, drinking him, tangling her hands in his hair, her body pressed hungrily against his like seeds deep in the earth, their bright leaves reaching up toward sun while their roots crawled deeper and deeper down toward the always burning center. They swam together, down and down, and he held her as if they would never touch again. They spiraled through waters that grew increasingly thick, increasingly se¬cret and dim.
Then he let her go, moving up and away toward light, while she remained deep, under the dark dome of what it meant to attempt a Death Walk.