About The Book
Title: Junior Inquisitor
Author: Lincoln Farish
Genre: Dark Urban Fiction / Horror
Brother Sebastian is halfway up a mountain in Vermont, hell-bent on interrogating an old woman in ashack, when he gets the order to abandon his quest for personal vengeance. He has to find a missing Inquisitor, or, more likely, his remains. He’s reluctant, to say the least. Not only will he have to stop chasing the best potential lead he’s had in years, this job—his first solo mission—will mean setting foot in the grubby black hole of Providence, Rhode Island. And, somehow, it only gets worse…
If he’d known he would end up ass deep in witches, werewolves, and ogres, and that this mission would jeopardize not only his sanity but also his immortal soul, he never would’ve answered the damn phone.
Called an adventurer and quite possibly insane, Lincoln has traveled to many continents and countries on his own and at his country’s behest to determine from whence the darkness comes. Despite persistent rumors, Lincoln maintains that he had nothing to do with the tiger, was not involved in illicit wiener dog races, and has never used his knowledge of genetics to create a better life form.
A little after sundown, I drove past the auto repair garage where our safe house was located. I’d never been to the garage before, but I’d heard a few stories about it, none of which described the area as pleasant. Any time you go somewhere new, you want to do an initial recon. Where are the escape routes, where can you hide? Get a feel for the place and the neighborhood, get that all-important first impression so you can distinguish something normal from something strange. Admittedly, it was a gut-level thing, but my instructors had taught me that good observation would save you blood.
After circling a few blocks, I picked an open parking spot out of sight of the shop and far enough away that no one could connect me with the garage. It was a fair distance to walk, but I could get a better sense of the neighborhood on foot, and scout out locations to use for hiding or escaping in case things went bad right away. I eased out of the car, closing the door quietly, and scanned the area around me. When I saw it was clear, I grabbed my backpack and duffel—really, everything I owned—and headed back to the garage. Unless someone was really paying close attention, I would be forgotten with a glance. A cop might realize that everything I wore was dark and would blend easily into the shadows, but in this neighborhood, cops would be few and far between. There would be the occasional cruiser drive by, a so-called presence patrol, and if they saw a corpse or a house on fire they’d stop—other than that, they wouldn’t risk leaving the car or waste time fixing the perpetually broken.
I was in recon mode on the way to the garage, taking my time but trying not to be obvious about it. I looked hard at parked cars and up into the windows of nearby houses, but I didn’t see anything suspicious, like a stakeout or observation post. The neighborhood appeared to be working poor—two-story row houses with few people around now that the sun had gone down. I didn’t even see the usual trash and teenagers hanging out by the corner store, killing time and waiting for their big break to materialize. As I walked along, I could hear the occasional TV or conversation, but other than that, this part of town was quiet. That was both good and bad, but I took it as an omen. Something wasn’t right.
I took another step into the shop, pushing against the waves of evil. On the next set of shelves, I saw a severed hand in a large clear jar. The hand of a slain witch contains the knowledge of the deceased. The possessor then has that knowledge, all her spells and tricks. It’s one of the reasons witches were burned years ago...
A flash of movement from the other side of the room caught my eye. Two handmade Raggedy Ann style dolls were each held fast to the counter by a small black iron chain. The dolls were sitting slumped, as though alive and waiting for release. High-pitched, girlish voices came from them, full of hate, malice, and insanity. A sign in front of them said they were Hogaana Dolls.
A summoned spirit—a soul called from Hell—can be captured and enslaved by a strong or skilled witch. Trapped between here and Hell, the spirit can act as an oracle and tutor—a guide for witches trying to learn and experience new levels of power and what I’d call madness but she would refer to as “clear thinking” or “a deeper understanding.” The drawback is that a spirit is still ethereal and can escape easily unless tightly contained and constantly fed power to keep it here. The bound spirit can be transferred into a vessel to contain it in a form, a body...
My hands were shaking, my stomach roiled, and my eyes stung from the candles and incense. I wanted to flee...
I needed to leave and report back. This was beyond my abilities.
When I looked up, a tall, thin woman was staring at me from behind the counter. Her gray hair grew in clumps between patches of gnarled burn scars. She was dressed in a tight jumpsuit, stained with blood. Rings covered her hands, and I saw the deep purple of porphyrite in one.
Her face had an odd twist to it, as though someone had taken a screw, driven it into her nose, and turned it. She was a Screwface—a witch who thrived on pain and torture. A witch I wasn’t capable of breaking, or even dealing with. And now it was too late for me to escape.
Only a very special type of Inquisitor—a man without empathy, one who would be called a sociopath in the regular world—could deal with them. Formed into teams called Hammers, they’re elite, but they die even faster than regular Inquisitors. Not only do they train longer and harder than my regular Brethren, they receive special instruction on how to deal with Screwfaces. And despite all this training and conditioning, they’re still sometimes reduced to a pitiful weeping mess after one of their Purges.
Her smile reeked of madness and pain.
One of the dolls moved and shrilled, “Make it bleed.”
She glanced at it then raised the hand with the porphyrite ring, which was glowing and snapping in a purple and black nimbus. She was unleashing some spell; only magic was that mind-bending color. “Goodbye, false monk.”
“Go to apartment B. See what you can find out. If questioned, keep to our story. When you’re done, go to the car and wait for thirty minutes. If I’m not back by then, head to the rectory, and I’ll meet you there.”
“Understood.” Carrying his crucifix like it was a battle axe, he strode off toward the lights, the crowd, and the police.
I moved away using a side street. The police lights would destroy my night vision, and I needed to be able to see, especially in the shadows.
The neighborhood was typical middle class—small houses on small lots, a nice place to raise a family and grow old. There were few people out. Those who just had to get a look would be at the scene, but the smarter neighbors were already in bed.
I wanted to draw my weapon, but it was too public. Instead, I opened my jacket halfway so I could get to my Glock in a hurry. I walked the block around Penny’s apartment, but found nothing. I had to get closer to see if any minions were about.
Penny’s apartment was a squat two-story building with three police cars parked out front, and an officer keeping people behind crime scene tape. Further down the street, past Penny’s building, a Muscle stood off by himself, his face indistinct, like all his kind, even in the glare of the bright lights. He could’ve been in sentry mode, waiting to follow and report to his mistress, but it was doubtful—too many instructions tended to confuse Muscle. I slunk away, returning the way I’d come.
A few houses later, I cut through a yard and circled behind the Muscle, whose silhouette was clearly visible in the police car’s flashing lights. I did a quick check to make sure there were no witnesses. Drawing my pistol, I slid into position.