Death's Dream Kingdom
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by Jessica Penot
Description: Cera is an ordinary wife and mother who enjoys the simple things in life, until the night she is murdered. In death, Cera finds herself trapped in a shadow land somewhere between the land of the living and the land of the dead, where demons, ghosts, and old gods roam the streets preying on the living. It is up to Cera to find out why the line between the living and the dead is fading and how the rift between worlds can be mended. Pulled into a quest that takes her to hell and back and into the arms of an ancient, demon lover, she finds that she is a child of the Fates and that she alone can challenge death himself for dominion over his kingdom.
eBook Publisher: Champagne Books, 2011 2011-05-01
eBookwise Release Date: May 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [341 KB]
Reading time: 233-327 min.
Remembering your death is like remembering your birth. What you remember of it is really pieces of what others have told you. They are images pieced together from photographs and others' memories. Cera remembered her death like an old movie. She remembered the dark sky and soft clouds. She remembered the scent of lavender and green grass.
Cera was happy. She thought she was happy. She knew that she was loved. She had children. She had three beautiful boys who loved her as deeply as she loved them. Long after her death she could still see them in her mind's eye; their cherubic faces, their little feet. She could smell their breath as they kissed her. When she thought about it, the pain became as tangible as any pain in life. It was as real as the pain of child birth. It was as real as the pain of death.
Cera was running. She always went running in the evenings, after the children went to bed. She loved to run around the park. Cera went out running in the moonlight, listening to the sound of her own tortured breath. She ran over soft grass and cobblestone, counting her miles. She must have been lost in the rhythm of her own motion, because she never saw him coming. She never saw the man that slit her throat as easily as she buttered bread. She didn't see the delight he took in the motion or the smile on his face when her body fell at his feet. All these things were lost to her.
Cera woke up in the grass. She looked around in confusion. She thought that she had tripped. She stood up and dusted the grass off her jogging suit. She straightened her hair and looked around. There was a woman sitting in the mud across from her smiling up at her like some kind of deranged Cheshire cat. The woman wore a white slip of a dress that seemed too thin for the cool night air. Cera could almost see through the dress, it was so thin. The woman had bare feet and white skin. Her long dark hair fell down in waves over her shoulders and back, framing her pretty face. The woman startled Cera and Cera jumped.
"What do you want?" Cera asked in confusion.
"I'm Sin and I've come to take you home," Sin said.
"What?" Cera asked again.
"You're dead and it's time for you to leave this world," Sin said. "I've come to take you home."
Cera laughed and shook her head. "I have to go. My husband will be worried about me."
"He's already worried. Well, more than worried really," Sin said with a strange laugh. "Because he knows you just had your throat slit and you are dead."
"Yes," Cera said angrily. "I'm not dead."
"But you are," Sin said plainly.
Cera shook her head. "How can I be standing here if I am dead?"
"Do I look like a philosopher? A theologian? I'm only a messenger. I don't explain the rules of life and death. I only tell what I know."
"Go back to whatever asylum you escaped from," Cera said. "I'm going home."