Then, silence. She released the feather. It swayed
slowly towards the ground, defying the gusting
winds beating at Cole and Zafira’s faces.
When the angel’s feather touched the blood-
soaked ground, the symbol she had drawn
instantly sprouted flames as if the feather were a
lit match and the blood were gasoline. The bright
blaze burned with the intensity of Hell itself; rain
droplets turned to steam long before reaching the
glow. Zafira stood in the flames and held her fist
high. She channeled simmering power into her
bloody glowing hand. And, with a final abhorrent
shout, she slammed her fist into the ground with
such force it knocked Cole off his feet, sending
him several feet backwards.
When Cole climbed out of the mud, only a gentle
rainfall remained as the fierce storm subsided.
The flames from the ritual were gone, leaving a
charred symbol with a small crater in the center.
Cole walked to Zafira. The demoness was on her
knees, panting heavily, shaking dizzily. “Are you
okay?” he asked.
“Yes,” she huffed, out of breath. The ritual
obviously took a lot of energy from her.
“Is it done? I don’t see anything.”
“Give it… a moment.”
He stood in the now gentle rain while Zafira
caught her breath. Several minutes passed — and
no ghost. Zafira sensed Cole’s nervousness. She
stood beside him and folded her hand into his.
“Be patient,” she said, squeezing his hand.
He appreciated Zafira’s attempt to comfort him.
Her slender hand fit perfectly in his.
Several more minutes passed. Cole’s faith in the
ritual started to fade.
Has all this work been for nothing?.
Just when all of Cole’s hope was lost, he saw a
small light floating in the air. At first he thought it
was a firefly, but the greenish hue of the light
suggested otherwise. Several more appeared from
all directions: the dark sky, the trees, even the
muddy ground. Before long, Cole and Zafira were
completely surrounded in a swarm of these pale
green orbs, all seemingly gathering at the
epicenter of Zafira’s ritual. The tiny lights swirled
in a vortex, collecting together. They formed a
larger orb that glowed so brightly Cole had to
turn his head.
The light faded. Cole turned back around to
behold the faintly glowing image of a naked
blonde woman who floated just above the ground.
He recognized that figure.
“Maria?” Cole called out.
“Cole?” the semi-transparent woman spoke in an
ethereal voice, “Is that you?”
Cole released Zafira’s hand and darted for the
ghostly specter. He stopped in front of her and
smiled, unable to believe that his wife was once
again with him. He quickly realized it was not all
of her when his hand passed through her as if
she was nothing but air.
“Yes, it’s me Maria. I’ve missed you so much!”
“Where am I? Am I really…”
Cole hung his head low, unable to look at her
after such a question. “You’re at Evergreen
“I see. So I’m really dead.”
Tears formed in Cole’s eyes. “I’m so sorry Maria.
I wasn’t there to protect you. You were so good
to me and-”
“Don’t blame yourself Cole,” Maria interrupted.
“You know as well as anyone that these things
happen, you see it all the time being a detective.
There was nothing you could have done to
“I still should have been there! I could have-”
“Ahem,” Zafira coughed loudly, interrupting the
“Oh! Who’s your lady friend?” Maria asked.
“I am the demon who summoned you, spirit,”
Zafira said coldly.
“Demon?!” Maria yelled. “Cole! What is the
meaning of all this? What are you doing with a
To Be Continued