Death Trade by Jeffrey Alan Henning by Jeffrey Alan Henning - Read Online

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Death Trade - Jeffrey Alan Henning

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Other books by Jeffrey Alan Henning:

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Standalone Books

Dominating the Demon Within

Release Date: November 30th, 2014

Short Description: In the Three Lands, Angels and Demons can inhabit human hosts, should the host accept them. Angels are revered, while Demons are killed onsite. So when the Angel Aturah the Wise asks to travel with one of the last remaining magic users in the Three Lands, Grammard Poske can’t refuse. Soon into their journey, Grammard is abducted by a group of Demons. His only way to survive is to summon the Demon Paos into him. While Grammard and Paos battle over control of their shared body, Grammard discovers a plot for Demons to rule the world that has been in progress for over a century.

The Avatar Series

Book 1: Death Trade

Release Date: July 8th, 2013

Short Description: John Ashkore has been the Avatar of Death for a little over 7 years. As Death’s helping hand on the mortal plane, he is frequently given tasks by Death himself. Only this time, the task is something John never expected, keeping someone alive instead of dead! The problems are: he must do this while fending off a psychopath who wants him dead, maintaining secrecy from the world, ducking the law, keeping one of Death’s clients alive, and above all - staying alive himself…

Book 2: Luck is Everywhere

Release Date: September 6th, 2013

Short Description: Helena Thompson has been the Avatar of Luck for a few years now, though all she's been doing is training. Finally, Lady Luck has given her a mission to accomplish in the real world, and it's only her Luck that's keeping her alive. Luck, and John Ashkore - the Avatar of Death.

With someone close to her trying to kill her, and unable to trust anyone but The Avatar of Death and his Butler, Stephan, she must find out who’s trying to kill her while proving to Lady Luck that she’s a capable Avatar of Luck.

The Crymson Guard

(Short Stories)

Storysode #01: Prisoner 500

Release Date: January 1st, 2015

Short Description: A team consisting of an Agent, a Wizard, a Knight, A Fairy, and a Healer is brought together to save Earth from enslavement and slaughter by Demons.

Storysode #02: Infiltrated!

Release Date: February 19th, 2015

Short Description: The team’s new headquarters is infiltrated by Demons and they must figure out how to combat and protect themselves from this new threat.

Storysode #03: Demon Lord Drahux

Release Date: April 5th, 2015

Short Description: The Wizard and the Knight must find out who is posing as the new Demon Lord Drahux and find out what he wants with the other half of the Wizard’s staff.

Table of Contents

Other Books by Jeffrey Alan Henning

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 1

John Ashkore sat on the park bench, looking at the sky. It was heading into the witching hour, if you believed in that sort of thing. If you didn’t, like John, it was close to three in the morning. It was exactly one month after that painful New Year’s morning, the year of two-thousand. The partial moon was clouded over, giving off little of its silver-white light to the area that surrounded his bench. As he looked up, he gazed at the cloud covering the moon, wondering if he chose the right path in life. He laughed. Life. Was he even alive anymore? His former mentor, Tomas, had killed him, or so John thought. It certainly felt like dying. Tomas stabbed the very Artifact that he now carries into his chest. He knew what it would do beforehand of course. He knew what he would become.

The Avatar of Death.

He sighed, verbally letting the air escape his lungs. As he did, he was quite startled when a man started speaking next to him.

Tough night, eh? The man said. He was a vagrant. An outcast of society living in John’s park. John wasn’t surprised, this man represented part of the reason he liked this park. Fuel. Souls.

Something like that. John said, taking a silver case out of his suit pocket. He dressed for success, even as out of place as he would be in this park. Opening the case, he took out a cigarette and held the case towards his bench-mate. He looked around as he did so, ensuring they were alone. He saw no one else. He felt no one else.

The man took a one of the offered cigarettes, noting the expensive looking case. He could eat for a month if he pawned that. Thanks, He said, quickly averting his eyes after noticing John looking at them. Got a light too, friend? He asked as he patted his dirty ruined coat down.

Yes, I have a light.

Of course. John said as he reached into his coat, making it look like he was fumbling for a light. While he did so, he felt for the man’s life-span. Short, very short.

The man puffed out his lips, pushing the cigarette between them towards John. Faster than he could have comprehended, a bright purple light erupted from his chest. He looked down to see John had stabbed him with some type of knife, with a dark handle. The purple light came from between the hilt and his chest.

John pushed the man to a sitting position. The corpse’s head lolled back. John left it. He stood up, put his knife - his Artifact - back in the holster under his suit coat. After straightening his coat, making it look like he had nothing under there, he walked off. The cloud passed over the moon as he left, ensuring the next passerby would see the corpse.

Forty Eight. John said aloud, as though nothing at all had just happened.

Chapter 2

Sometimes I wonder why I accepted this appointment. Was it fear of dying? Fear of going to the other side? Or was I looking for something new in life? Was I looking for something more exciting than working for the Internal Revenue Service? Always with the people trying so desperately not to get caught doing the illegal things they were doing? Do those very white-collar criminal excite me? Is that why I did it?

My new life is tons more exciting, after all. I mean, who else can move around the world taking portions of mortal souls and giving that power to other mortals so they can further Death’s ends, except Death himself? Sometimes I think about playing God (If he even exists) and question my morality. Then I say to Hell (if it even exists) with morality, give me the excitement!

People will give anything, and I mean anything, to live longer. Usually I just ask for cash, or services if they have a particularly useful skill. Sometimes I don’t ask for anything, which will really confuse the clients. Though once I stave off death with my power, they always want it again later. Sorry people, it’s a one-time only affair.

I have powers that are quite astonishing - while not being overly dramatic. I used to read comic books when I was younger, and I don’t have any of the outward abilities that most heroes or villains have. I can’t manipulate metal, I can’t shoot laser bolts from my eyes, and I’m definitely not the greatest detective in the world. But I can tell you how long you have to live, and I can use a doorway like no one else can .I’ll live 500 years. Oh, and I can kill you by siphoning your soul, or use a part of someone else’s soul to lengthen your lifespan, that’s probably worth mentioning.

When I do happen to die, hopefully in about 493 years, I wonder if Death will say something spectacular to me. Perhaps he’ll say Well John, at least you had a good run.

While that wouldn’t be as spectacular as I’m hoping, it does sound like something he would say.

John Ashkore

Fifth (and current) Avatar of Death

January, 2007

Thomas was having trouble sleeping. It felt as though he was dying. His chest felt too tight, he was sweating a lot more, and he had trouble sleeping through the dull headaches he seemed to always have lately. Perhaps he was dying, and he didn’t know it. Or perhaps he did know it and was too stubborn to accept it. Regardless, he lay there, awake again, staring at the high bedroom ceiling while rubbing the pain in his chest. As if it helped. His house was fashioned in a Victorian style, so he moved his eyes to the molding that edged the bare white ceiling. The molding had an intricate design which he had used on many occasions to put himself to sleep. Counting sheep was for the poor.

The moonlight streamed through the huge windows that made up the wall to his left, so he could make out the details of the entire room quite clearly. Everything was in its proper place - the standalone boudoir he bought a year ago in France, the freestanding lamp between his favorite chair and the small table next to it, his new treadmill bought only 2 months ago, and the brand new, wide screen television on its own stand. He could even barely make out the keys to his new 2007 BMW sitting in an ashtray on the small table. Thomas was a fanatic about things looking neat and proper – he made a mental note to move the keys to the key box when he gets up in the morning.

Thomas lived in a big mansion, North of Chicago, on the lake. The mansion was the type of house you only see in the rich and famous magazines. Only he wasn’t famous - infamous, maybe. He was fabulously wealthy though. He was known in the business world, legitimately even, as a cutthroat CEO of a major pesticide company. Illegitimately, he was known for various things ranging from fixing problems to dumping toxic waste in Lake Michigan, though no one could prove either.

He was also very health oriented. He exercised constantly, at least six times a week. He usually felt like his body was a temple, but lately… lately he had been feeling run down. His doctors couldn’t figure it out, and just assumed it was stress related. It definitely wasn’t a heart problem. He ate healthy, never smoked, and didn’t drink much. Sometimes though, no matter what your lifestyle choice is, Death will still come for you, like he did tonight.

In the corner of his luxurious bedroom, a shadow moved slowly. It moved just fast enough that it wasn’t the fading moonlight. It moved slowly enough that he caught it out of the corner of his eye as he was following the molding around the room. He sat up instantly, grabbing the pistol on his nightstand, which was already loaded. He deftly flipped the safety and pointed it at the area where the shadow had moved, while calmly saying, Who’s there? When you deal in enough shady activity (no pun intended), you tend to be prepared for things like this. Thomas always was.

"You know who I am, Thomas William Waide" came a raspy voice from the shadows. It was a voice, and it was in his thoughts at the same time. Whatever it was, it was a creepy feeling that sent chills down to Thomas’ spine – further, if that’s even possible.

No, I don’t - show yourself. Step out of the shadows. Thomas was confused. He knew the voice, somehow, but couldn’t place the face. He dealt with a lot of people, and there were a lot of people who would love to see him dead.

He slowly moved his free arm to turn on the light on his nightstand. As he pulled the chain, there was a quick snapping sound from the bulb. Damn! He cursed at the blown out light bulb. The shadows in the corner swirled.

"You know why I’m here, Thomas. Time is running short for you. Contact John Ashkore. He will help you. Be at Warehouse Six on the docks in Eureka, California at the next full moon." The shadows swirled again, making his curtains flutter as though a small breeze passed by them.

Thomas was staring into nothing, thinking of what the shadows just said. He didn’t even notice that the shadows returned to normal. He only came back to his senses as the light bulb he thought was blown flickered to life. He looked around the neat room to ensure no one was there. After deciding that the room was empty, save himself of course, he got out of bed and pushed the curtains aside. There was nothing but a wall hiding there.

Thomas had no idea what just happened, or who this John Ashkore was, but he swore he would find out.

* * * * *

It was after midnight, and the caffeine from the soda must have been kicking in. Stephan felt better than ever, he felt alive, on fire. This always happened to him when he was nearing completion on his latest computer virus or hack. His last one was remarked as One of the deadlier ones by most of the worldwide news centers. While not being the deadliest, he was still proud of it. That one, once it had infected a computer, it over-clocked the processors, running them at over one hundred percent utilization, which inevitably resulted in them burning out. Nearly twenty thousand computers were destroyed by that, and one entire building caught on fire. Apparently, they hadn’t wired one of their computers right, resulting in the building being set ablaze. He was a wanted man in three countries for that virus alone.

Stephan made money through various donations to his cause - his cause being mayhem on the internet and destruction of people’s information. Sometimes he was paid for a specific task, otherwise, like his current project, just to cause strife for internet users in general. His job made him travel a lot, under the radar. He had his car, which was a newer Ford Taurus, his laptop, and a bag full of clothes in the trunk. Statistically, the Taurus is just average, with low theft rates, and pretty low on the chances to get pulled over. He also never stayed in the same place twice, which helped him stay out of the law’s hands. It was a tiring pace of life, but he almost had enough money to retire in some foreign country, Switzerland perhaps. Away from the law. A couple more jobs like the one he was working, and he’d be set. Retiring at twenty four was looking pretty good in his eyes.

Tonight’s creative process came live from the wireless access point in a little diner in Indiana. The only reason he stopped here was the sign that said Free Internet! Well, that and his rumbling belly.

He stored all of his work across random servers on the internet. Every time he booted up his laptop, it pulled all the pieces together so he could work on them. It was better this way, in case he ever managed to get caught; he’d have nothing on his laptop but the program which combined them and even that required several passwords. If one is entered wrong, the laptop would become useless.

As he was frantically typing his code, and listening to techno music on his iPod, the lights started flickering. Taking his earphones out, he looked around slowly. He noticed that it wasn’t just the lights. Everything electronic in the all-night diner was flickering, even his laptop had rebooted as he was checking it out. He was the only patron in the diner. The only other people were the waitress and the cashier this late at night, and they didn’t seem to have noticed it.

Being nervous that the long arm of the law caught up with him again, he quickly packed his things, which were just the laptop and his iPod. He threw a twenty on the table and dashed out the door to his car. Luckily, it was a small place, and his car was about thirty feet away from the door. Just that short run took his breath away. He was a computer geek, not a jock. As he would always say, I exercise the mind, the body can do what it wants.

Jumping into his car, he shoved his laptop bag into the passenger seat unceremoniously, and quickly started it. He tore out of the parking lot and down the road, and only starting slowing after gaining about ten miles between him and the diner. He thought it was very strange. No cops, no FBI, no nothing. He had thought it was the Feds cutting the power, like they did when they almost had him at a hotel in Michigan.

After about an hour on the road, the caffeine and adrenaline was losing its effect on him. He stepped on the gas, very anxious to get to his next location, which was pretty much anywhere that there was civilization. The last sign he saw said it was another eighty miles to anywhere. The road had no lights, and the only other light source was the moon overhead. Every now and again he had to slow down; he thought he saw something moving, deer most likely. They were notorious in these parts, according to the waitress in that dingy diner.

"Stephan Michael Alnsa" a voice said.

Stephan slammed on his brakes, and as he did, three deer in the middle of the road jumped out of the way and pranced into the woods that lined it. The car stayed on the road, but swerved left and right, on the edge of out of control.

When the car stopped, sideways now on the lonely paved road, he quickly flipped on the overhead light, and looked around his car, searching for the mysterious voice. He would have hit those deer at the speed he was going before he heard the voice. He thought he must be imagining things, but asked Hello? in a small, semi-scared voice. That’s when the car’s headlights flickered and died out, as well as the overhead one.

"You were lucky tonight, Stephan. You may not be so lucky in the future."