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Chapter 1



The skin on Alan Bigby’s pock-marked face rippled as if something was alive underneath it. Something big and bad and nasty wanted out to rip something apart. Unnatural black veins popped out on his forehead and temples as he bucked and writhed against the iron shackles chaining him to the chair. The fat rolls of his enormous ass hung over the sides and jiggled with each spasm. If it had been under different circumstance I would’ve laughed at that.

“I’m going to rip out your innards, Butcher, and eat them raw,” he spat at me.

Then he really did spit. Viscous green phlegm spewed from between his thin cracked lips and landed on the toe of my black Doc Marten. Disgusted, I shook it off, and then dug into the beat-up, brown leather bag I had slung over my shoulder and across my chest for the holy water. It was time to get busy. No more messing around. I had to exorcise this guy and be done with it. The money from this one would pay the rent for the condo my dad and I had. Groceries, too, for a few months.

“Not today, you’re not,” I said as I unscrewed the sliver cap on the bottle of holy water.

I glanced over at Eleanor Bigby standing in the corner wide-eyed, wringing her hands as she watched in horror as her husband twisted and pulled at the restraints I had put on him. He was bound to a metal chair in the middle of a pentagram that I’d inscribed in blessed chalk on the blond hardwood floor of their big expensive house overlooking the Hollywood Hills. I could see the white sign out the front bay windows.

She probably had no idea that when she called the Butchers to exorcize the demon possessing her husband that it would look like this. She probably thought watching her fat husband crab-walk across the ceiling of their bedroom was disturbing enough.

“Dude, is he going to hurt himself?”

I glanced over my shoulder at the guy holding the camera trained on Alan Bigby. He had shaggy blond hair and a freshly clipped soul patch that I nearly envied. Except I didn’t like him much. He was a dick with too much time and money on his hands.

“For the last time, dude, shut up. I’m the only one supposed to be talking,” I answered, forgetting that the exorcism was being televised.

Trey Summers was an up-and-coming film maker, touted to be the next Tarantino, but I thought he was a hack. He’d directed one lousy music video for some useless pop star and voila he was an insta-star. I thought he was a talentless hack with delusions of grandeur and of getting a lot of ass. Although he did appear to be getting quite a bit by the looks of the two chicks he’d come to the house with.

The red-head smiled at me around the little white straw she had in her mouth. She was enjoying that drink just a bit too much.

I didn’t smile back. It kind of made my stomach churn that she’d come to an exorcism for a good time. The fact that the house was full of people, watching, waiting, while drinking and enjoying finger food passed out by waiters in tuxes, made me down right nauseous. Why in hell did I hang out with these people? Why did I ever agree to this being put on TV? Ten thousand, that was why.

Seven in my pocket, well me and my dad’s pockets, and three to the International Order of Exorcists. Because they were going to be some pissed that I agreed to the recording. It was against the order’s mandates to involve the media in what we did. The world knew we, meaning exorcists, existed but it was in keeping the peace to keep our business on the down low. But since I’d been crowned the exorcist to the stars, I figured it was good publicity for everyone involved. I was hoping the three grand would appease the more militant members of the I.O. into letting me off with a warning.

I returned my attention to Alan, who was still struggling against his restraints and mumbling under his breath. He was speaking Latin. I recognized the dialect but not the particular words. As far as I knew, it was probably a bunch of gibberish. A bunch of scary sounding Latin words strung together nonsensically to sound menacing and ominous. It was par for the course. Every exorcism was the same. Demons were so predictable.

I took off my black wool cap, shoved it into my bag, and then ran a hand through my short mess of brown hair. I was starting to sweat a little. It wasn’t the exorcism that had me sweating it was the scrutiny from the masses of people watching. I had to be careful with this one. More cautious than I usually was in situations like these.

I took a step toward the pentagram, making the sign of the cross with the bottle of holy water. It splattered everywhere. Drops landed on Alan Bigby. Smoke curled up from blackened spots on the back of his hands, and two pinpoints on his cheek. I winced as the demon inside writhed from the pain. Holy water was like acid to them.

“Dues, et Pater Domini nostril jesu Christi…”

I started the exorcism, incanting the Rituale Romanum, in the original Latin. I’d done the ritual so many times before it was like reciting Jingle Bells at Christmas time. Cake, man. Cake. Although this time, like all the other times, I changed a few words. The last thing I wanted to do was send the demon back to hell. It just had to look like I did.

If I did accidentally send him back, Dan would be so pissed at me. And I really didn’t want him mad. He was a bastard when he was angry. I knew that well. I still had the scar on my chin from his last temper tantrum.

As I continued to say the verse, I recapped the holy water and slid it back into my bag. I figured I’d inflicted enough pain for the crowd’s enjoyment. I didn’t want to damage Alan Bigby anymore than he already had been. His wrists looked pretty raw from rubbing against the iron handcuffs. But he’d heal. Besides, Alan Bigby was a dick. He screwed around on his wife and he bilked two of his business partners for millions. I’d done my research on the guy. My marks always had certain traits—they were rich, influential and total assholes. People who had it coming to them in all kinds of ways.

Karma was definitely a bitch.

Exorcisms were never all that easy on the possessed. Some demons really messed around with their hosts. Inflicting all kinds of horrors on their bodies and minds. I’d seen one demon tear the fingernails off an eight year old girl just for fun. That image still made my gut roil. Luckily, Dan was cool. He’d never do that. Deep down he was a decent shit for a demon. Besides, that was part of our deal. No permanent physical or emotional damage.

For show, I thrust my hand out toward Alan and said the words even louder, letting the pitch of my voice rise higher and higher over the din of the murmuring crowd. They were leaning in, eager for more. I glanced around me and took in all the awestruck faces. They were mesmerized, enchanted by the scene. By my power.

Man, did I have an enormous ego. My dad was right. It was going to get me into trouble one of these days. Hopefully not today.

As I neared the end of the ritual, Alan twitched and convulsed, his eyes rolling back in his sockets. That got a gasp or two from the crowd. The demon was really putting on a show now. Undulating like rippling water beneath Alan’s pale skin. At one point, it looked like it he was going to punch a hole through Alan’s midsection. Mrs. Bigby cried out, putting a shaky hand to her mouth. I hated doing this to her, she was a decent lady, she just managed to marry a dickwad, but hell, a guy had to make a living.

“Qui cum Patre et eodem spiritu sancto vivit et eregnat Deus…”

I could feel Trey pressing in behind me with his camera, like a media happy vulture. I wanted to whip around and knock the guy once or twice in the face. He had no manners. And he had no understanding about personal space. Because he was definitely invading mine.

But I didn’t need to do anything, because the demon inside Alan took that moment to focus on Trey.

“Trey Summers, you lecherous son-of-a-bitch.”

It was funny hearing those words with Alan’s voice. Especially since the two men were business partners. Alan was funding Trey’s first movie. Which after tonight, I imagined was going to be in the dumper. I mean, who would want their exorcism broadcasted to millions on YouTube. Alan really wasn’t looking his best right now. No one looked good with a demon inside them.

I glanced behind me and saw Trey’s face pale. I had to bite down on my tongue to stifle the laugh that wanted to burst out. Not that I enjoyed wallowing in other people’s misery, it’s just that his misery was fair game.

“Have I ever told you how much of a loser I think you are, Trey? You suck.”

Trey looked around, his cheeks reddening. “That’s just the demon talking, right?” He looked at me, pleading in his gaze. “Right?”

I let him suffer for a few more moments while I finished the incantation. “Amen.” I signed the cross in the air.
Alan’s body made one more desperate back breaking spasm, and then slumped down into the chair, his head hanging slack, his mouth open, drool dribbling down his double chins.

“Yeah, Trey, it was the demon talking.” I could hear his sigh of relief. I crossed the lines of the pentagram to unlock Alan’s wrists. “But guess where he gets his material from.” I tapped my finger against Alan’s forehead.

That roused Alan from his stupor and he blinked up at me, spittle coating his chin. Wide-eyed, he looked around, taking in the spectacle that was his exorcism. He would’ve had no idea what was going on. The last thing he likely remembered was whatever he’d been doing twenty four hours ago before he’d become possessed. Everything else would be a blank. Although some demons allowed their hosts to be aware of what was going on. It was the biggest mindfuck of all to watch yourself do horrible unimaginable things and be unable to stop.

I knew Dan kept his hosts dumb. It was also part of our bargain.

I unlocked the cuffs and helped Alan to his feet. He stared at me, his dark bushy eyebrows knit together in confusion. “Who the hell are you?”

“Caden Butcher, sir.”

“The exorcist?”

I nodded.

“What the hell are you doing here?”

“Saving your soul, sir.”

Mrs. Bigby took that moment to rush to her husband’s aid. She wrapped her arms around him and kissed his doughy cheek. “Oh Alan, I was so scared.”

He didn’t immediately respond to his wife, but continued to gape around the room as more people started to crush in on him, wanting to welcome him back, or take pictures. I saw flashes out of the corner of my eye.

“Who are these people?” Alan sputtered. “Someone tell me what the hell is happening here?”

I put my hand on his big shoulder, preparing him for my big speech. I one I’d practiced like a hundred times before in front of a mirror. Doing exorcisms in Hollywood was very much like acting. “Alan Bigby, you were possessed by a level one demon and I performed an exorcism on you to banish the demon back to hell.”

He looked to his wife for confirmation. She nodded vigorously, as she continued to cling to him and kiss his cheeks. “I was so scared, Alan. You were actually crawling up the walls in the bedroom.”

He looked back at me. “You’re serious?”


Shaking his head, his gaze settled on Trey who was still holding the camera on his shoulder. His face darkened. “Are you taping this?”

Trey licked his lips nervously. “Ah, yeah, I am, Alan, but it’ll be really-,”

Alan shrugged off his wife’s hands and rushed toward Trey. “Turn that fucking thing off you asshole!”

Smiling, I got the hell out of the way. Good thing I got my fee upfront. There was no way in hell Alan Bigby, up-and-coming producer, was going to pay me for making him look like an ass on TV.


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Synopsis: Awake a year-long coma, where he literally spent in hell, Caden Butcher, 17, developed a special power.  He can speak to demons in their own language.  This new trick helps him take over the family exorcism business, from his broken alcoholic father.  Having to take care of the finances, Caden makes a decent income getting rid of demons.  He’s known as the young whiz-kid exorcist to the stars, obtaining most of his work in Hollywood.  But what others don’t know is the exorcisms are all staged with the help of his best buddy, a demon he met in hell named Dantalion (Dan).

When an exorcism goes wrong, Caden discovers the demon inside a teen girl is not the run of the mill malicious entity but an adversary from down under who is hell bent on Caden’s destruction.  The International Order of Exorcists, an organization that tolerates Caden at best because of his respected father, starts their own investigation because of his screw up.

Now with the help of his demon buddy, and Caden’s girlfriend Aspen Spencer, a skilled necromancer, Caden must track down the rogue demon before he can expose Caden as a fraud and destroy everything that matters to him in his life, ending his reign as the one and only Demon Whisperer.



TS PictureAbout The Author:

Tawny Stokes has always been a writer. From an early age, she’d spin tales of serial killers in love, vampires taking over the world, and sometimes about fluffy bunnies turned bunnicidal maniacs. An honour student in high school, with a penchant for math and English, you’d never know it by the foot high blue Mohawk and Doc Martens, which often got her into trouble. No longer a Mohawk wearer, Tawny still enjoys old school punk rock, trance, zombie movies, teen horror films, and fluffy bunnies. She lives in Canada with her fantastical daughter, two cats, and spends most of her time creating new stories for teens.

Tawny also writes adult paranormal/urban fantasy fiction under the name Vivi Anna, and is an aspiring screenwriter.