Sarwat Chadda: Devil’s Kiss

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Sarwat Chadda Devil’s Kiss
  • Название:
    Devil’s Kiss
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  • Жанр:
    Триллер / на английском языке
  • Язык:
    Английский
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Devil’s Kiss: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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There's Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself…And Billi SanGreal. As the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn't normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a soldier in her order's ancient battle against the Unholy. Billi's cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He's ready to reclaim his place in Billi's life, but she's met someone new: amber-eyed Michael, who seems to understand her like no one else, effortlessly claiming a stake in her heart. But the Templars are called to duty before Billi can enjoy the pleasant new twist to her life. One of the order's ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have protected for hundreds of years – a cursed mirror powerful enough to kill all of London 's firstborn. To save her city from catastrophe, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than any of the Templars could have imagined.

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AGONY


that he cannot forget and it eats him, an abysmal virus that he can’t contain so she must


SUFFER


like he did and the cold burns her heart as he burrows deeper, clawing at her to join him in the darkness, far, far -

Powerful fingers dug deep into Billi’s shoulders and ripped her free. Arthur tossed her away from the boy and she tumbled in the gravel, slamming down hard on her cheek.

She couldn’t move, frozen. Her fingers were crooked claws, trembling with the deep chill.

Possession. It had tried to possess her. It wasn’t Alex. Not any more. She tried to stand, but her legs wouldn’t bend; they felt as brittle as icicles.

‘Billi!’ shouted Arthur.

There was a loud crack as the wooden swing seat broke apart, and the two loose chains lashed out. Billi ducked as one whipped out above her, but Arthur took a blow across his forehead. The sword flew away, he stumbled, then was lifted off the ground as the chain wrapped itself round his neck.

And tightened.

He dangled from the swing’s A frame: a perverse playground gallows. Arthur clawed at the noose, his face turning deep red.

‘Let him go!’ screamed Billi. She bent forward, hoisting herself on to her feet, legs quivering like spaghetti.

But Alex wasn’t listening. There was a black, savage fire inside him and he freed a bestial howl as her dad dangled on the end of the chain. The cry sliced Billi’s skin like daggers.

Alex could never have made a sound like that. No child could.

The sword stood between them, point buried into the ground, upright like a steel crucifix.

‘Please, Alex!’ Billi begged. Arthur’s hands dropped and he went limp.

But Alex, or the thing pretending to be a living boy, just laughed and waved his arms, a mad puppeteer with her dad’s body as his doll.

Billi charged, ripping the sword free in a shower of dirt and insects. Alex turned and she kicked him in his chest, knocking him over.

Grip reversed, she held the sword above him, tip pointed down.

‘God forgive me,’ she whispered.

Then plunged the blade into the child’s heart.

The shriek tore the sky apart and Billi shuddered, but her fingers tightened round the wire-bound sword hilt. Black bile erupted from the wound, alive almost, saturating her clothes and face. She choked as droplets of ectoplasm splashed into her mouth and down her throat.

She drove the sword deeper, pinning Alex to the earth.

Leaning on to the pommel, she fumbled in her pocket with one hand and pulled out a small silver vial. Her sweaty fingers wouldn’t open the lid so she bit it off. Then she smeared the clear oil on to her fingers.

Alex stared, eyes huge, as she tossed the empty bottle away. Billi released the sword and dropped to her knees beside him.

‘No, Billi! Please! I don’t want to go!’ He punched and screamed and scratched as she tried to hold his head still enough to mark it with the cross. He pulled her short black hair and spat out stinking oily gore.

‘Exorcizo te, omnis spiritus immunde, in nomine Dei Patris omnipotentis,’ she intoned. Locking his head still with her left hand, Billi pressed the first two fingers of her right on his forehead, then chin and finally both cheeks.

‘Please, Billi. Let me stay. Just a little longer,’ he whimpered.

Billi tried to ignore the desperation in Alex’s voice. She had to finish this. ‘Ego to linio oleo salutis in Christo Jesu Domino nostro, ut habeas vitam aeternam!’

Billi leapt away as Alex’s body spasmed. Bile poured out of his eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth, great jets of bubbling, noxious fluid that filled the air with the stink of brutal death. Alex’s cries weakened as the outpouring diminished, his body eroding before her.

‘What have you done?’ the boy hissed, eyes blazing with demonic madness.

‘Deus vult,’ Billi whispered. It was the Order’s battle cry, but right now it seemed more like a curse.

God wills it.

He gave a final scream then the last of Alex faded away; a pale outline lingered for a moment before, in the sigh of a breeze, it disappeared. Billi stared at the empty spot, only the black stain remained, and the vile odour. She pressed her hands against her face.

I killed him.

She’d passed the Ordeal; she should be elated. She’d trained so long and hard for this.

Instead she felt sick and hollow.

Arthur crashed to the ground, free from the now lifeless chains. He shook with a dry, rasping cough, then slowly rose to his feet. He stumbled over and stood beside her, inspecting the dark outline.

‘Well done. A clean kill,’ he croaked, rubbing his bruised neck. Then he saw Billi, covered in slimy gore. ‘Figuratively speaking.’

Arthur wrapped his fingers round his sword and worked it back and forth until it came free. He wiped the blade with an old rag, inspecting the edge centimetre by centimetre for any new nicks or cracks. Finally he nodded with satisfaction and, on retrieving the scabbard, slipped the weapon in.

‘How was school?’ he said.

‘What?’

‘School. You did go, didn’t you?’

‘School? How can you talk about school after what I’ve just done!’

‘Done? What you’ve done is free a tortured soul. Whatever it looked like, whatever it said, that was not Alex Weeks. It was an evil spirit, corrupting that child’s darkest emotions, his soul.’ He glanced at the broken swings. ‘The dead should not linger.’

‘Jesus, how can you be so cold-hearted?’

‘Don’t blaspheme, Billi.’

The ground swayed as she stood, and her guts churned. She sucked in the cold night air, but something putrid bubbled in her stomach. Arthur put his hand, awkwardly, on her shoulder. ‘How d’you feel?’

She wanted to laugh. Feel? After what had just happened? She stumbled towards the boundary, clutching her belly. The ectoplasm writhed inside like serpents, slithering up her throat.

‘I feel -’

She dropped to her knees and puked. It was black.

Her body buckled under each discharge, and Arthur squatted down beside her and drew out a crinkled packet of cigarettes. ‘Yes, it was the same for me, the first time.’ He lit one. ‘Welcome to the Knights Templar.’

2

Billi crashed down on to the rear car seats of her dad’s battered grey Jaguar. Her eyelids began to droop the moment her cheek hit the familiar worn leather. The seat shivered as the engine chugged into life, as though the old car needed an awakening shrug before moving. Her father was still talking, but she couldn’t make any sense out of it, what with Radio 4 crackling out of the speakers and the dull drone of the engine. It was all Templar stuff he was talking about anyway, and she’d had enough of that tonight. More than enough.

Welcome to the Knights Templar.

Like she’d even had a choice.

The vehicle began to rock rhythmically, and her eyes closed and Billi finally gave in to the exhaustion.

Welcome to the Knights Templar.

She pretends to be asleep. She hears the door creak open, and a sliver of light cuts across the room and her bed. Billi keeps her eyes closed and lets her breath slip in and out, ever so gently.

The floorboards groan, despite the visitor’s attempt at silence. She doesn’t need to see to know who it is. A hand brushes her hair away from her face, and she picks up the familiar scent of sweat, oil and old leather.

Dad.

‘They’re waiting, Art,’ comes a loud whisper from beside the door. The voice is deep and soft: Percy, her godfather.

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