Braxton Camulus wore a signet on the last finger of his right hand. It was a finely wrought wood mosaic, set with a chip of raw ruby. When the stone began to glow, he stared at it for a long moment, then swore softly.
What the hell time was it? He closed his laptop and glanced at his phone. Past midnight. He’d been running the pattern of the hellfiend invasion through an advanced epidemic model he’d hacked from the US Centers for Disease Control. The CDC, however, were accustomed to illnesses caused by viruses and bacteria. They had no experience with—or, presumably, any belief in—demons. Brax had been obliged to modify the algorithm to account for a number of metaphysical variables. The revised output carried a significant margin of error, but the gist of the threat was clear.
Earth was in deep shit. The human race wasn’t exactly doomed—not yet, at any rate. But absent an immediate, intelligent, coordinated global effort, the world would soon be consumed by evil and chaos.
The slim ray of hope wasn’t much comfort. When, in all of human history, had mankind ever launched an immediate, intelligent, coordinated global effort? Against anything? Add the fact that ninety-nine percent of humanity believed the invasion was a volcanic ash plume, and the probability of human survival plummeted.
Brax revised his assessment. Humanity was fucked.
He drummed his fingers on the table, eyeing his ring. It’d been years—seven years, precisely—since he’d been forced to trade his onyx touchstone for Mab’s ruby. In all that time, the ruby had remained dark. Now, just a few days after a horde of hellfiends exploded from the deep, a summons arrived. Even if he believed in coincidences—which he didn’t—this one would be a stretch.
Was Mab behind the invasion? He had no trouble believing she had the power to imagine, and bring into reality, such a calamity. He did have trouble believing she’d actually do it. The Druid alpha was vicious, but it didn’t fit her style. Mab’s legal and illegal business activities relied on a relatively intact and healthy human realm. Her focus was narrow and completely self-absorbed. Powerful as she was, he couldn’t imagine her taking an interest in terrorizing all of humanity just for the hell of it.
He’d have to wake Raine, he supposed, and try to explain. As a witch, she wouldn’t be required to accompany him. He only hoped he could convince her to stay here in London. Avalyn and Ronan, and Harry, of course, would have received their own summons.
But the lads…
He slipped his computer into its sleeve and stood. The bedroom door was slightly ajar. Light and the electronic sounds of video games spilled through. He opened the door the rest of the way. Gawain’s eyes remained on the screen. Gareth, who was much more perceptive than his cousin, looked up.
“Uncle?” He frowned. “Is something wrong?”
Gawain glanced his way. He must’ve seen something disturbing in his father’s expression, because his fingers froze on the game controller. His avatar took a hit and died, and he didn’t even notice.
“Dad? What is it?”
Brax studied the lads. Gareth was Avalyn’s and Ronan’s son. He was sixteen, two years older than Brax’s own son, Gawain. Gareth looked younger than Gawain, though. He’d inherited his mother’s red hair, fair skin, and freckles. Brax had always been grateful that he and Avalyn, though twins, didn’t look much alike.
“Dad?” Gawain said again.
Brax shook his head slightly. No logic in delaying. They had to be told. He held up his hand. At the sight of his ring, both boys’ eyes widened.
“A summons,” he said. “From the alpha.”
“We’re going to Texas?” Gareth asked, swallowing hard.
No. Texas didn’t feel right. “Not Texas,” he said slowly. He closed his eyes briefly, touching the stone with his mind. He felt a jolt of disbelief.
He opened his eyes. “We’re to assemble in Devon. At Tŷ’r Cythraul.” He’d not set foot in The House of the Demon for seven long years. He nodded toward the screen. “Turn it off. We leave within the hour.”
Summoned: Cameron is a Beyond the Books short story in The Nephilim Series romantic urban fantasy by Joy Nash.
Hunted by vengeful archangels and zealot demon annihilators, the descendants of fallen angels play a deadly game on Earth with magic stolen from Heaven.
“A sharp biblical tale bursting with action and character development.” ~Publisher’s Weekly
“A unique and exciting paranormal romance, The Night Everything Fell Apart brings angels and demons to life, all the while blurring the line between good and evil.” ~Booklist Starred Review
Other flash fiction in this collection:
Summoned: Morgana (Aug 31)