Read The Awakening Online

Authors: Angella Graff

The Awakening

The Awakening

Angella Graff


Book one of The Judas Curse

Copyrighted © 2012 by
Angella Graff


This is a work of fiction.  Names, places, and characters portrayed are used fictitiously, or are the product of the author’s imagination.  Any similarities to actual persons living or deceased, business establishments, locales or events are purely coincidental.


All rights reserved.


No part of this book may be printed, scanned or distributed in print or electronic form without permission of the author or



I want to give a special thanks to my beta readers who helped keep me in line!  Christoph Fischer, Christopher Blackburn, Drew Burges, and Luke Nelson.  Your feedback helped make the book what it is, and I am forever in your debt.  A special thank-you to Stephanie, who took time to look through the book and spot all of the errors in the first edition and painstakingly added them in an email thread for my convenience to fix them.  You went above and beyond, my dear, and I am so grateful for that!

As usual, I want to thank my amazing husband, Joshua, for all of your hard work in editing, and your patience as I raged out and threatened to delete my manuscript out of frustration.  You are my rock, and without you, I would be lost.

For my children, who make life worth living.  For my father, who set me on the path of history, mythology and theology.  For Harper, for giving your blessing on my character Ben, which I am forever grateful.  For every single person who hung in there with me in my author network, making this book a reality, I love you all so much.

To David Ehlen, for his amazing work on the book cover.

Thank you to each and every one of you, for being part of this process, and with a full heart, I move on in this series with the support of each and every one of you.


Angella Graff




              The city was cold; rain poured down in huge droves, soaking into his hair, into his dirty clothes.  He felt the cold pavement through his torn shoes as he stumbled across the street to the looming building, shining white against the grey sky.

been walking for years it felt like, maybe even decades.  He was lost, he was alone, and he was searching.  He was fading fast, fading into madness, every time someone touched him, stole from him the energy, the very breath of life which kept him moving for century upon century.

stairs to the church were maddeningly tall, but he made every single step with creaking knees and trembling hands.  The doors were locked, but for now, that was okay.  He slid down to the ground, his back against the wooden door.  Above him sat a statue of Mary, her veil over her hair, her soft gaze staring down, and he laughed.

“Oh mother,” he whispered in a tongue no passerby would recognize, a language dead and gone
, along with so many that he loved.  “Oh mother, would you look at me now?”

His hair was matted, dirty, and he hadn’t eaten in so long he barely remembered what food tasted like.  He’d been alone too long, far too long, and he was starting to feel afraid.  There were things watching him, out of the eyes of people, staring, glowing,
and waiting for him to fall.  He heard whispers calling his name, his old name.  He could hear them whisper through the night, through the wind, and they reached for him.

He didn’t know if the church would keep him safe.  These buildings brought upon the world war and
pestilence, greed and murder, never really sanctuary, but his mother was there.  His mother stood there, in statue form, watching him with kind eyes.  He struggled to remember her face, her real face, her real hands holding him as a child when he cried. 

“Help me,” he cried up to the alabaster statue, but he received no reply. 

He closed his eyes with tears pouring down his face as another gust of wind rushed past him and he heard the call reaching for him, begging him to come with them, begging him to give into the pressing darkness.  “Yehuda…”



Chapter One



The lights in his office were off, and when he flipped the switch, the fluorescent glare sent a stabbing pain through his temples.  Ben groaned and pinched his eyes shut with his thumb and forefinger.  His desk chair was waiting, as it always was, his computer humming softly, though the screen was black.

Ben took a seat and pushed the monitor switch on.  Adjusting the brightness, Ben tried not to think of the migraine he’d been suffering for the last three days.  The smell of coffee was wafting through the station now, and Ben vaguely remembered hearing something about how caffeine helped with headaches.

Of course, it hadn’t done much good the last three days, but the pain was causing Ben to lose sleep, and migraine relief or not, the caffeine was a necessity.  Ben made his way to the coffee station, pushing through a few of the beat cops who were preparing for their shift, and sluggishly grabbed a mug.

The coffee was hot, which Ben was grateful for, and he burned his mouth gulping down half a cup without waiting for it to cool. 

“Rough night?” came a deep, gravelly voice from behind him.

Ben turned and saw his boss, the San Francisco police chief, Albert Ole, standing there holding his own coffee, watching Ben with a concerned frown.  Albert was an older man, worked at the station since Ben was too young to even feed himself.  He was a tall man, his skin rough and wrinkled, and his eyes were deep-set, narrow and surveyed the world with suspicion and fear.  But he was a kind man, always someone Ben could turn to if he ever needed anything, and that was what made him the best sort of boss a detective could ask for.

Ben gave a sigh and rubbed his face with his free hand.  “You could say that.”

              “You’ve been a little under the weather for a while now,” Albert said as the pair walked away from the throng of officers trying to fuel up for the morning.  “You need a day off?”

Ben shook his head.  The very idea of taking vacation was abhorrent to Ben.  He was the detective who had never taken a sick day and reached the end of the year with so much vacation time banked that his payout was more than his Christmas bonus.  “I’m okay.”

Albert frowned and shook his head.  “You know, all of us need time off.  You’ve had a heavy case load lately.”

Ben hummed and shrugged.  “Yeah well, it’s just this damned migraine.  It’s nothing to do with work.”

“Call your doctor?” Albert asked.

The pair stopped in front of Ben’s office door and Ben shook his head.  “I’m not going to call my doctor because of a headache,” he all-but snapped.  “It’ll pass, I’m sure.  My mother used to get them; I guess I’m just picking up that trait.”

Albert sighed and glanced through Ben’s office window at the small pile of deskwork that waited for the younger detective.  “Look, I just forwarded you a new case, but if you want some time off, just say so.  I’m sure Hernandez can take it.  It’s a homicide case that reopened from about five years ago after a new body was found in a similar state.  It’s probably nothing, but I want someone to go through it again.”

“I’ve got it, no problem,” Ben said.  When Albert hesitated, Ben continued, “And if it gets any worse, I promise I’ll give my doctor a call.”

Albert seemed satisfied with the answer.  “Alright.  Talk later.”

Ben stepped back into his office and tried to ignore the pounding ache in his temples.  Sitting behind his chair, he opened up his email and saw the case file.  A man in his early twenties had disappeared from a hospital bed.  He’d been in long term care after a traffic accident.  There were no witnesses or suspects, and the man’s body had been found in an accelerated state of decay about three weeks later.  Case went unsolved, since without evidence they couldn’t pursue anything further.

Ben opened the second case which read much the same.  Patient in long term care gone missing, found dead two weeks later, body disposed of near the Golden Gate Bridge.  No witnesses, hospital staff reported a power outage just before the patient went missing. 

Rubbing his temples, Ben clicked out of the message and sighed.  He was just not in the mood for a mystery case.  He had six others, with several leads to follow up on, and seeing as the cases might be solved in a relatively quick manner, Ben grabbed his keys and decided to start his day with those.

When Ben reached his office door, however, his head swam and for a moment, he thought he was going to pass out.  He grabbed the handle to steady himself, and as his world slowly came back into focus, Ben felt a momentary panic. 

“Maybe I should call the doctor,” Ben muttered.  He vowed then, that should anything else happen, he’d suck it up and make the appointment.  That resolved, Ben threw open his office door and strolled out to start the day.




“Benjamin Stanford.”

He’d b
een in the waiting room so long he’d nearly forgotten why he was there in the first place.  He was one of ten patients, and he’d lost track of how much time had gone by.  He was wearing street clothes, jeans and a t-shirt, feeling out of his element, and frankly the jeans were so old he’d outgrown them at least a year before.

Ben startled when he heard the bored nurse call his name and he jumped, his magazine falling to the floor.  Face blushing, Ben bent down to tidy up and then followed the large, bitter-faced woman through the do
ors and into the office hallway.

Ben had never enjoyed being at the doctor. 
It was the smell of anesthetic, the sounds of machines beeping and whirring, and knowing that whatever was behind the door was probably going to hurt or give him news he didn’t want.  It was never a pleasant experience.  The room he walked into was small, there were copies of medical school diplomas on the wall, an old wooden rack holding even older magazines, and a small sink surrounded by jars of cotton balls, tongue depressors and a brown bottle of iodine.

“Do doctors even use iodine anymore?” Ben asked as the nurse gestured for him to sit on the
extremely tall exam table. 

“In certain instances,” she said in her monotone
voice.  “Please roll up your sleeve.”

made an oomph noise, as he hoisted himself onto the table, wincing at the sound of the crinkling tissue paper covering the bench.  He looked down at his bare arms sticking out of his t-shirt and then quirked an eyebrow at her request.  She seemed completely unfazed as she wrapped the blood pressure cuff around his arm.

“So uh, does this tissue paper really prevent the spreading of germs?” Ben asked as she began to pump the little bulb on the end of the c
uff.  He was nervous, and when he was nervous, Ben had a terrible habit of rambling.  The only thing that worked for Ben was that his nervous moments in life were very few and far between.

“Yes,” she
replied to his question dryly, and proceeded to ignore him once more.

Ben sighed and looked away as she took the reading from the little dial on the side.  He
jumped at the ripping sound of Velcro as the nurse tugged the cuff off, and he crossed his arms tightly over his chest.  There was a sudden thump from the ceiling, and a small vent directly above the exam table began pumping out freezing cold air.  The A/C surprised Ben, as winter was fast approaching in San Francisco, where the winter chill always arrived early and stayed late.

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