Midnight's Edge

Book 6: The Destruction

by David Chappuis & Michael Klinger

In the final chapter of the Midnight’s Edge series, The Destruction, the stakes are high as Midnight’s Edge is just a day away, threatening to cause more turmoil than ever before as the townspeople of Sleepy Meadows take matters into their own hands. As fear of the merging of the mortal, spirit and dark realms escalates, their desperation to end the Wickcliff’s reign of terror and need for vigilante justice for the deaths of their loved ones comes to a head, which could lead to them making the ultimate sacrifice.

Shelly and Kasey face uncertainty, knowing that the merge could ensure the Wickcliff ancestors’ power and hold over the town remains forever. Every minute counts as Kasey finds himself prisoner to an unlikely foe and captor. At the same time, the ancestors make the final arrangements to ensure their takeover, which includes a macabre wedding that takes an unexpected turn.

As the ancestors and their family, the skells, await upon Midnight’s Edge to solidify their takeover, Belinda Malodar finds an unexpected ally and makes her own plans for the town of Sleepy Meadows. From the depths of Misty Lake, the demons plot in the shadows to formulate their own strategy for reclaiming their most prized possession. As danger escalates, Shelly, Rory, and Kasey engage in a battle against the evil, risking everything to stop it once and for all. Who will survive The Destruction? The countdown to the final battle is on.






In the dark realm, Rory, my husband, and I stood in the parlor of the Wickcliff mansion next to Jeremy’s painting, a portal to other realms. Like the rest of the mansion in the realm, the parlor was dilapidated and weatherworn. Glass windows were cracked and shattered. The wallpaper, once rich and velvety, appeared shredded on the walls as if used as a scratching post for an oversized, rabid cat. Large sections of plaster hung from the ceilings, and a putrid smell permeated the air.

We had just come face-to-face with its demonic keeper: Belinda Malodar. She stood in the foyer holding Kasey, my half-brother, who had created a diversion for Rory and me to escape, hostage in the grip of her claw-like hands that could transform into sharp daggers. She was a creepy, behemoth of a woman with deep-set mooneyes that glowed in an exaggerated, angular face. Her body was round and plump, which gave birth at her will to small creatures she called Grothes.

She’d already tricked me once by pretending to be Rachel Wickcliff, the evil spirit who had taken over my body in the mortal realm, and, in a moment of weakness, I had let my guard down, and she used that to curse me with the illness that Rachel had in life. Luckily, Rory had saved me. He’d helped me break the curse, and I’d be damned if I was going to let either one of us fall victim to her tricks again.

Standing next to me, Rory tugged on my arm desperately, and I turned to look at him. His usually soft brown eyes, set perfectly on a noble face, were large and intense, and he had only one motive—to get us out of here no matter what the cost.

“Shelly, we have to go,” he said with even more urgency than before. “This is our last chance to escape. We have to get out of here right now.”

I pulled away from him. “I can’t leave Kasey. I won’t leave my brother here with that monster.”

“You saw what she did to you in the tower room. If we stay here, he’ll destroy us both.”

I shook my head adamantly and clasped his hands in mine for emphasis. “You go. Jeremy’s painting should get us back to the spirit realm. I’ll be right behind you.”

“No way in hell am I leaving you here. We’ve never been able to rely on where the painting will take us. We’re a team. After everything we’ve been through, my place is at your side.”

Kasey yelped painfully, and I shifted my attention back to the foyer, where Belinda had Kasey in her large, gnarled grasp.

“What a sweet darling,” Belinda said to him, in a deep, raspy voice. “You should’ve taken a drink from the fountain of Malodar.”

She had just tempted him with an alcoholic drink within a vision when his spirit first entered the dark realm, the worst thing you could do to a reformed alcoholic.

“Oh, well,” she continued with a bizarre smirk on her face, “you’ll still be a perfect addition to my lair of souls in the meadows.”

I turned back to Rory quickly. “I don’t have time to argue with you. We just saw Ethan relinquish himself to the ancestors. I may have lost one brother forever. I won’t lose both of them. If she kills Kasey here, there is no chance that he’ll be able to save everyone from the Wickcliffs.”

“I’m not going anywhere without you.”

I huffed. “There’s that damn stubbornness. Do it for Damon.”

Damon was a spiritual man, and mine and Kasey’s father. He was also a father figure and mentor to Rory after his death and purgatory in the spirit realm. Damon guided Rory with insight into the spirit realm and the creation through meditation of a unique and vital force field used to contain the Wickcliff ancestors’ evil.

“Remember what he taught you,” I continued. “He’d want you to do whatever you could to stop the ancestors. He’d want his son to be safe.” I squeezed his hands again and searched his eyes. “Do it for me. I have to save my brother.”

He looked back at Jeremy’s painting, which glowed red in the dark realm and morphed into a turbulent storm within the frame. “It’s too risky. What if we get separated?”

“I’ll be with you,” I said, pleading with him to go. “I’ll be able to see you and connect with you wherever you go. I’ll always find a way back to you. I did this time, didn’t I?”

He knew I was right. His eyes moistened and searched mine. For a moment, I thought I’d convinced him to go. As he stood there, I let go of his hand. Kasey screamed once more, and I turned around to face the foyer where Belinda towered over him, a horrific giant, taunting him with enlarged planet eyes, translucent and glowing like moonbeams, the only illumination in the dark, emitting enough light to highlight the grayish tint of her skin.

Kasey was a strong, vital, thirty-year-old man, but as she held him in her vice grip, he looked puny and fragile. He squirmed, unable to break free from her grasp. Her other hand was raised above his head and had morphed into a glimmering dagger, reflected in the light of her eyes, so bright I couldn’t look at it for long. It reminded me of the one Father McCabe returned to Rachel at the monastery, a special knife brought to the mortal world from the dark realm.

Belinda raised the dagger higher toward the ceiling bashing out the floor above her. The house shook, and I barely kept my footing. As I was about to lunge forward, I felt an energy I’d never experienced before. I could only explain this as experiencing God. It was breathtaking, an absolute feeling of love, hope, and peace. I wondered how I could be feeling something so warm, bright, and heavenly here in such a place of suffering. It could only be explained by the love I had in my heart for Rory, my son, and my family. They were all that mattered to me.

The mansion suddenly faded around me, and I found myself in the monastery in the mortal realm. I panicked because I knew I had to get to Kasey before Belinda could destroy him and didn’t need this diversion. Like several other times, I found myself unable to control what I saw or where I went.

In the monastery, there was a musty smell in the air surrounding me—the smell of dust and old wood. Father McCabe sat at his desk in the dark with his face in his hands. A distraught Rachel had just paid him an unexpected visit, and he thought she had left.

When Jeremy first brought her spirit back to inhabit my body, she was ecstatic about being alive, young, and beautiful, for I was a 24-year-old with long, silky black hair, an ivory complexion, and ice-blue eyes. Her excitement waned when she realized that she would have to feast upon the flesh of the living to survive. As ruthless as Rachel had been, it was out of necessity, not desire. She wasn’t like most other Wickcliffs. Like Rory, she had a conscience. She’d asked the priest for the demon knife and for him to destroy her. He’d refused, and she left his office even more despondent than before.

Father McCabe, upon hearing a cry, was startled, and quickly jumped up. I wondered to myself if it was Kasey, still deep in meditation in a secret room above him, a room Damon had used for years to enter a shamanic state to protect the spirit realm. Perhaps Kasey’s body was acting out the terror his spirit was going through in the dark realm.

Father McCabe thought the cry was Sister Beatrice, the only other person there besides Kasey and himself. He moved toward the foyer of the monastery as quick as a man his age and health could, where he’d thought the sounds originated. The front door was wide open, and the sound of rain pattering on the pavement filled his ears. As he approached the threshold, he heard voices and peered outside. He gasped. Sister Beatrice stood in front of Rachel, who hadn’t left as he thought she had. The nun’s eyes were open wide, with a demented look in them. She held the dagger above her head, her hair soaked with rain.

“Stop, Beatrice! Put the knife down.”

Rachel ignored him; her eyes locked with Sister Beatrice’s. “Don’t listen to him,” she pleaded, her hands clasped together almost in prayer. “Please destroy me. I can’t live like this anymore. I don’t want to have to kill to survive. I don’t belong here. I was brought back against my will, and I’m nothing but a monster. You know that. I’m begging you if you have any mercy, any pity, please just do it. I’ve suffered enough as it is, and I’ve caused enough suffering to others. I can’t do it one minute longer.”

The rain splattered on the priest’s wrinkled face as he crept toward them. He wiped his brow. “You can’t do this, Sister. Thou shalt not kill. You’d be going against your vows, against God.”

Rachel kept at the nun, shaking in the rain. “God wouldn’t want me to continue to suffer, would he? I’m not alive. I’m already dead. You wouldn’t be killing me, you’d be saving me.”

The priest held his hand out to the nun. “Just drop the knife and come inside. We can talk about this. If you break God’s holy commandment, you’ll be throwing your life away, all your years of service to the Lord, all the years of sacrifice. She’s manipulating you, Beatrice.”

The rain came heavy now. Beatrice turned her head slowly toward him, her gray eyes completely white, like a full moon on a clear night. Lightning from the storm illuminated the murky sky, and thunder shook the ground.

* * *

The snap of lightning brought me back to my present reality. In the dark realm, Belinda held Kasey in her deadly grasp, clearly pained and weakened. He hadn’t the strength to fight her any longer. I didn’t care what happened to me; I was already dead. If Kasey died, the hope of salvation for the people of Sleepy Meadows died with him.

Sleepy Meadows was the town we all inhabited. It used to be a quiet town nestled by the sea. Although a town has many secrets, no town had them buried like ours. The Wickcliff family ancestors had returned from the dead, and Kasey, with his psychic abilities, was the only one anyone believed could stop them. That’s why I had to stop Belinda from killing him. If Kasey didn’t return to Sleepy Meadows, the lives of many would be over.

“Hey, bitch!” I shouted as she lowered the dagger to Kasey. “I won’t let you have him.” 

Belinda’s eyes widened. “Did someone just have the audacity to call me a bitch? Oh, dear, that’s just the stupidest thing I’ve heard in centuries.”

“Get out of here,” Kasey shouted. “Get her out of here, Rory.”

Rory grabbed my arm, but I jerked it away. I had my chance. Just as she was about to stab Kasey and pierce him with her dagger, I jumped in front of him. Her dagger hand pierced my chest, which felt like a lightning bolt had coursed through my entire body. I shuddered once and collapsed.

* * *

I wasn’t sure where I was, and I felt nothing. I was weightless and free, free from pain, worry, anger, and resentment. I felt nothing but peace. The last thing I remember is a vision from the mortal realm, of Sister Beatrice stabbing Rachel at the same time, and her eyes piercing through me. I don’t know if a spirit can die, but a moment after I saw Sister Beatrice’s eyes looking through me, I awoke to a bright, luminescent light. It blinded me, and I had to shield my eyes at first. I saw smaller, dimmer lights enveloped in the big light, and I felt it drawing me in. I wanted to embrace the light, to become one with it. Was this heaven? I wanted so much to go to the warm light, to let it take me wherever it went. If I did let this happen, I would never go back. I had a choice, at least for now. Go or stay. There was something inside me keeping me from going into the light. That was because I couldn’t rest until I knew that my family was safe.

* * *

I wasn’t the same as before. I was part of the light, a small part. In my new form, I realized that I could still see the different realms.

“Damn, that wretched girl,” Belinda Malodar screeched after my essence faded from the dark realm. She searched around her, realizing that Kasey had escaped her. Her white eyes shifted to the parlor, where she saw Kasey running toward Rory.

Rory screamed out my name then sobbed.

“Come on, Rory,” Kasey yelled, grabbing his arm. Rory was inconsolable and wouldn’t move.

Belinda moved toward them. “At least I have two cute boys to play with instead.”

Kasey grabbed Rory by the arms and shook him. “Get it together, will you? We must get out of here. We have no choice.”

“I can’t...Shelly’s gone...”

“Rory, we have to go!”

As Belinda was about to slash them with her dagger hand, Kasey pushed Rory toward Jeremy’s painting, forcing him to go through it with him. They were thrust into the dark void between realms. My sacrifice had distracted Belinda long enough to give Kasey the chance to escape her. It wasn’t over yet. I still had a role to play. I had to guide Rory back to the spirit realm where he’d be safe, and guide Kasey back to his mortal body.

“You had no right to pull me out of there,” Rory shouted. “Damn you, Kasey.”

“There’s nothing that you can do for Shelly now. I couldn’t leave you there. Belinda would’ve destroyed you too.”

“At least Shelly and I would be together wherever she is. You can’t play God like that. Who in the hell do you think you are?” He pushed Kasey.

“I didn’t ask her to sacrifice herself for me. It breaks my heart, knowing what Belinda did to her. Do you think I like this? You think I like to see all the suffering that the ancestors and Belinda have caused us?”

“Stop fighting,” I said. “I’m here with you. Follow the sound of my voice and let me lead you out of here.”

Rory looked around in the darkness and wiped tears from his eyes. “Shelly, where are you, darling?”

“I’m right beside you.”

Kasey looked, pointing to the ball of light that now housed my essence. “She’s there.”

“I don’t see her,” Rory said, almost gasping. “Why can’t I see her?”

Kasey took Rory’s hand. “It doesn’t matter, she’s here. You can hear her. She’s guiding us to the spirit realm. She’s helping us out of here. You can’t give up. We have to keep going.”

“I failed her, Kasey,” Rory said, standing in place. “Multiple times. I couldn’t help her from the other side when Jeremy coerced her into suicide, and I couldn’t help her now. She’s died twice now because I couldn’t protect her. I hate myself.”

“Shelly sacrificed herself to save me,” Kasey said, with renewed vigor. “I’ve had multiple times when I’ve wanted to give up, but after seeing what my sister did for me, I have a renewed sense of purpose. I see more clearly than ever that my purpose is to go on living so that the people of Sleepy Meadows have hope for survival. We have to finish what Damon started.”

“He’s right, Rory,” I said. “About everything. I’m alright, but I can’t fully be at peace until I know my loved ones are safe. Please, if you love me, don’t hold Kasey responsible. Let him lead you out of here and work with him to stop the ancestors.”

Tears fell from Rory’s eyes, and he nodded. “I’d do anything for you, darling.” He took Kasey’s hand. “Alright, let’s go.”

After leading them through a tunnel full of light, they found themselves back in the spirit realm in the cemetery, but it was different from how they’d left it. A thick, dense, red fog covered everything.

“We’re in the Wickcliff cemetery in the spirit realm. I can see it so clearly in my mind, without the fog. See?” Kasey pointed to the cemetery gate. “The fog’s starting to lift. We just need time to adjust to our surroundings.”

“It doesn’t even look like the same place.”

Kasey remembered the last time he was in the spirit realm. He recalled that his surroundings would materialize as soon as he focused on them. He saw the mausoleum in the distance, approached the gate, and managed a slight smile as he faced Rory.

“She did it. She’s led us back. This is where we’re supposed to be.”

“This isn’t right,” Rory said. “My heart tells me I’ve lost her forever.” His eyes welled up, and his face reddened. “I never wanted to separate from her again. It hurts, even more, this time because I think it’s forever.”

Kasey put his hand on Rory’s shoulder. “Listen to me, Rory. You haven’t lost her. She’s here with us. You heard her. She’s alright. Her spirit’s more alive than ever, and you will see her again.”

With his head down, Rory nodded reluctantly. “I know I will. I must believe that. I can’t give up hope.” He met Kasey’s eyes. “I’m sorry I snapped at you before. It just hurts.”

Kasey’s eyes lowered. “I understand better than anyone what it feels like to think you’ve lost the person you love the most. Don’t worry about it.”

“You’re thinking about Ethan, aren’t you?”

Kasey looked up again and made eye contact with him. “Let’s not talk about it right now. We need to get to the cenotaph. We haven’t got much time.”

They began walking toward the mausoleum, which housed the cenotaph, a stone monument that contained the Nefar, a dark spirit that was the Wickcliffs’s source of power. They felt the rise in temperature, as they grew closer. The door was ajar, and there was a fiery red glow coming from inside. The heat was so intense that they had to step back.

Kasey turned to him. “It’s like an inferno in there. There’s no way we can get inside. What the hell happened to make it like this?”

Rory wiped his brow. “The Nefar is growing stronger as Midnight’s Edge gets closer. Probably a way to protect itself. It must be just as hot in the mortal realm, as the spirit realm is always a reflection of what happens there. This will get worse as the realms merge at Midnight’s Edge.”

“Exactly what we don’t want to happen.”

“That’s why you have to go back to the mortal realm.”

Kasey shook his head. “I can’t leave you here alone. There’s no way one man can handle all of this, especially when we know that the realms are merging. I don’t know about you, but that scares the crap out of me.”

“Listen, Kasey, I know that we’ve had a difference of opinion at times, but you’re my friend, and I have a great deal of respect for you. I know that you love Ethan as much as I love Shelly. I want you to be happy. If there’s even the slightest chance that you can be together after all this, I want you to take it. You have to go back. Shelly and I saw something in Jeremy’s painting before she saved you.” Rory’s face became grimmer.

“Jesus, Rory, just tell me what you saw.”

“Ethan gave himself to the Wickcliffs.”

Kasey’s heart sunk. “He wouldn’t do that.”

“I didn’t think he would either. But they were persistent, admitting that they’ve been tricking him all along.”

“What do you mean?”

“They convinced him that everything that’s happened had been their plan all along, even when he was supposedly gone from Sleepy Meadows. He was never gone. He was working for them.”

Kasey’s eyes glazed over. “I don’t believe that. I won’t believe that I’ve lost him.”

Rory put his hand on Kasey’s arm. “That’s why you have to go back. You have to be in the mortal realm if the ancestors are going to be defeated. Maybe that will end the hold they have over Ethan.”

“I don’t understand. I came here because I was supposed to get answers on what to do when I get back. I feel like I’m not ready. There has to be a more definitive answer.”

“You went to the dark realm and faced your worst fear and came out virtually unscathed.”

“Only because Shelly saved me.”

Rory shook his head. “I admit I lost it there when I lost her, but now that I’m back here, I can feel Damon’s life force. What you went through in the dark realm makes you an expert in self-control, which will help you when you go back to the mortal realm.”

Kasey scoffed. “An expert?”

“You have so many gifts, Kase, all you need to do is harness the energy inside of you, just as Damon told you. It’s time for you to go. I see that now. He would want you to go. You’re his son. It’s your legacy to finish what he started to make sure the ancestors are destroyed. I’ll do my part here. You go.”

“I don’t want to leave you.” Although Kasey was determined to stay and help Rory, his essence began to fade away. “But I feel like I’m being pulled back to the mortal realm by an unseen force. I’ll be back. I promise.”

“Goodbye, my friend,” Rory said softly as Kasey vanished from his sight.

Although Rory was concerned about Kasey, he couldn’t dwell on that. He had to find a way to raise the energy field again so that he could combat the Nefar’s growing strength. His mind searched for ideas, for he knew he wasn’t as gifted as Kasey. But if he could find the amulet that Lucy had dropped into the soil in the cemetery in the mortal realm, he could solve his problem. The major issue was, how could he handle the increasing heat?

"Midnights Edge 6" - David Chappuis & Michael Klinger


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