a novel by Joanne Johnson

Nephilim Awakened

Someone enters my bathroom through the wall and introduces herself. “I am Amie, your personal assistant,” she says. Her appearance and monotone speech are unusual, not to mention her fluorescent, green hair. As I finally come to grips with what I’m seeing and hearing, she disappears back into the wall. This is only one of the many startling occurrences I’ve experienced lately.

Nephilim Awakened is a sci-fi novel with New Age and biblical references in which an unlikely heroine finds herself chosen to destroy the anti-Christ, a perfect hybrid creature developed by aliens living beneath our world in tunnels. It is a fast-paced, witty, and sometimes humorous account of a seemingly ordinary woman awakened to dormant supernatural powers and thrown into a crash course in survival on a distant planet.

About the author

Joanne Johnson is the author of three published children’s books, My Best Friend is Blue, Trees Can’t Talk, and Pen Pals.

Joanne holds a multi-disciplinary M.A. in Special Education, Gerontology and Adult Education and a B. A. in Art and English from the University of Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX. She has won a writing contest for her short story, The Yellow Shoes, published in the Oasis Journal, 2011.

She continues to write short stories inspired by her time spent in a second home in New Mexico where she discovered a new way of living and thinking.

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Sample Chapter

Download a PDF of the sample chapter here.

I met him one day on my daily walk. It was the same route I always took past the pecan grove and the large horse ranch, ending at the base of a majestic, snow-capped mountain. It wasn’t that I actually enjoyed this diligent hour of self-torture. But it did bring a kind of satisfaction being disciplined in this one thing in my life.

It was a pleasant, sunny day in late October when our worlds collided. There he stood next to his bicycle with a flat. He was an elderly, thin man of six feet or more with dirty overalls and a badly frayed straw hat shading an unshaven face. He looked homeless.

“Need some air in that tire?” I offered.

“No, think I’ll just walk it on home from here. But thank you, Miss.”

“But my house is right there,” I said, pointing to the left.

We walked to my little adobe retreat which was hidden from the world behind towering agave. He used my air pump. We exchanged first names, then sat in brightly painted rocking chairs and enjoyed a glass of cold iced tea with fresh mint from my garden. He didn’t seem in a hurry to get home and frankly I enjoyed the company. Hank was educated and cautious. I quickly raised him from the level of homeless to eccentric and pictured him living in a vintage travel trailer hidden away on a ranch where he had menial chores allowing him to live the rest of his life peacefully, alone.

Our conversation took several friendly, but shallow routes until eventually I asked him about his past occupations, wondering if he had any. He claimed he had farmed nine hundred acres along the outskirts of the White Sands Missile Range for thirty years. He paused a moment carefully planning what to say next.

“I had crops and cattle, but my Herefords kept roaming into the restricted area. I sold out and moved here,” he explained.

I quickly imagined possible ways he could have squandered his money leaving him in this state and concluded he had an addiction.

He darted his eyes at me. ‘It’s a lie,’ I thought.

I had nothing to lose now so I questioned if he ever saw anything strange out there, hoping he would entertain me with exciting, mysterious tales.

“Sometimes,” he responded quietly.

Perhaps I had hit a chord, because he then stood up and politely thanked me for the air. I watched as he cycled off down the same road we had met on.

‘Well, you sure blew that,’ I thought to myself. A nagging feeling of unfinished business or something I needed to remember tortured me into the night.

The next morning, I grabbed my straw hat and walked to the library with the intention of finding a good book to help pass idle hours. The building’s quaint appearance with bright blue doors and an orange bench placed thoughtfully under a pecan tree welcomed me. I especially enjoyed the whimsical life-size ceramic donkey painted in a multitude of cheerful colors that stood proudly in its courtyard. This was one of the appreciated, enhanced aspects of our little New Mexico village.

While combing the shelves, dusty like the rest of the town, I was distracted by glass shattering outside. The librarian was an obese female Native American who completely swallowed up her desk chair while seated. Her glossy, black hair was knotted neatly at the back of her head. I often admired the long, colorful print skirts she always wore. She had slanting dark eyes that swept the perimeter of the library from time to time over tiny spectacles. At the sound of this breaking glass, she jumped up, waddled to the front door at an alarming speed, and flung it open.

“Get out of here you dried up old prune-faced piece of white trash or I’ll scalp you slowly with a dull knife!” she yelled.

I immediately forgot my quest for a book. I waited until I heard her chair moan and squeak from her settling and bravely stepped out from between the bookshelves. With a ‘save my ass smile,’ I made a quick exit through the front door. I wasn’t disappointed in how this day was turning out.

Work ethic was not a requirment in this insignificant, desert town. Indians reigned here and I was a minority. So was Hank.

Like an exciting novel warming up, I saw Hank pedaling away as fast as his old bony legs could manage. My curiosity was piqued and I decided to follow. Being in fairly good shape, I kept pace. I turned down a lane that led to the horse ranch at the end of my road. There, nestled in on the side of a large, well-maintained barn and under a shady tree, was an old Airstream trailer with his bicycle leaning against it. Not such a bad deal, I thought. A rusty metal chair and table were placed nearby, where he probably sat on lazy afternoons eating stolen pecans.

I wasn’t through looking. I stepped behind a large tree trunk on the opposite side of the lane, not wanting him to catch me in my childish snooping. What first appeared to be junk in his modest, borrowed front yard began to take on new meaning as I stared at the pieces of tires, bottles, tin cans, etc. Was it recycled art? There were three distinct formations possessing a vague familiarity. I had seen enough. I knew where he lived.

Later, while performing my nightly ritual of nodding off to the 10 o’clock news, I was startled by the sound of a flowerpot crashing on the front porch followed by shuffling footsteps. I quickly grabbed my cell phone dialed 911 with one hand while retrieving my small pistol from a drawer under the lamp. I had been told there was no need to lock your doors here, but now I  was glad my big city ways hadn’t abandoned me yet. Hearing the dipatcher at the police station on the line gave me the courage to peek through the blinds. Revolving, bright lights blinded me and flooded the yard. I reminded myself the police department, and everything else in this town was only one block away. I watched as someone darted a flashlight here and there, then came a loud knock at the door.

A stocky Apache disguised as a policeman asked me the usual mundane questions. His impersonal, disinterested manner annoyed me so I asked him if this sort of thing happened often. He never looked up, but said, “Sometimes.”

I locked both doors, closed and locked all the windows, got comfortable on the couch where I could maintain a central visual, and tried to get some rest, with the lamp on and the pistol still in my hand. I drifted off in short increments, not able to sleep more than one to two hours at a time.

I was thankful for morning and took my coffee to the usual place, the porch swing. The crisp, fall air was filled with the fresh scent of sage. With a warm throw over my shoulders, I suspiciously scoped my front yard. Everything seemed normal. The three foot adobe wall defining the edge of my porch was still adorned with potted geraniums and aloe vera. The stone pathway leading to the old, iron gate seemed intact. My blooming white-tufted evening primrose and hybrid tea roses appeared undisturbed on either side of the path.

I didn’t see any footsteps in the sandy soil. Whoever had come here had walked carefully on the stones. I glanced over at the broken clay pot that left dirt and aloe vera scattered everywhere. I had meant to move that plant, but now placed another in exactly the same inconvenient place. As I swept the porch, a vision from a dream the night before danced across my mind. I held on to it before it disappeared. It had been about one of Hank’s sculptures. Of course, that was it! The art was the same shape as the tall, shadowed visitors in my recurring nightmare. It was my personal hell, this disgusting dream of mine, following me everywhere. It always ended with me waking up in a loud scream. I quickly dismissed it from my mind. But there was something else. Had I really seen a faint blue aura linger near my gate before the policeman entered the yard? It had happened so quickly.

The next day, anxious to resume life as normal, I walked to the farmers market. Defiantly, I let the screen door slam behind me announcing my new found freedom to the world. My inheritance had allowed me the time to enjoy life as I pleased. I recently had chosen to take off a year before deciding what to do. Six months had passed and I still had no thoughts on the subject. Moving to this quaint village I had visited on several previous vacations offered me a different rhythm of life that I had remembered and cherished from my childhood. The slow pace, I admit, had been challenging as I adjusted.

This was the day local farmers spread their brightly colored vegetables and fruit on tables in the park. I browsed, happily squeezing the fruit for the ripest selections, when I heard someone behind me say, “Why did you follow me yesterday?”

I dropped the oranges I was holding and watched them roll away in all directions. I thought for a second before turning around. I was caught. Even my ‘save my ass smile’ was of no use now. I turned slowly and looked up into Hank’s eyes, searching.

“Because I was bored and wanted to see where you lived?”

‘I should have lied,’ I thought. The truth didn’t sound convincing enough.

“Why didn’t you just ask me when I was with you the other day?” he replied, annoyed.

“You left so fast I forgot to ask you. I was curious and there’s not much to do here.” I answered.

He wasn’t buying any of it and my face was now beet red.

“Who do you work for?” he asked, still agitated with me.

“I don’t work,” I said. “Who do you think I work for?”

I was growing tired of this game so I stood up taller and asked him if he had come into my yard the night before around ten thirty and if so, did he see a strange aura of blue lingering near my gate. I could tell that I had hit another chord, but I plowed through. “Why do you have supernatural and other worldly symbols in your yard as recycled art forms?”

With that, his eyes widened and he almost stumbled backwards. An uncomfortable pause followed. “Quickly, come with me,” he said, taking my arm.

I reluctantly let him lead me to a park bench away from the market. Hank was old and frail, I assured myself. Besides, another Apache warrior disguised as a policeman was taking his lunch nearby. He was eating the typical local favorite: fry bread with chili on top. It smelled wonderful.

Not sure of Hank’s sanity, I studied him as his demeanor changed drastically. He got my full attention when he pulled out an intricate small device I hadn’t even known was on the market yet. As he looked down at it I wondered if he was using it to scan his e-mails or me. He shoved it back in his pocket and quickly surveyed the park.

‘This village is anything but boring,’ I thought.

“Okay, here’s the deal,” he said, sitting down next to me. “If you recognize the symbols in my yard, then you know things.”

“Know what things?” I asked him.

“Lets start over,” he said. “Tell me what the symbols mean to you.”

I began describing the one that reminded me of the symbol for Alpha and Omega, the embodiment of All. “The one that borhers me is the shape you achieved suggesting tall, thin dark humanoids. I admit your use of wine bottles and plastic crates is clever, but it reminds me of a frightening, recurring nightmare I’ve been having.” He looked at me with renewed interest as I rambled on. “The last one was easy. I saw particles and waves basically representative of what all things are made of. How did I do?” I finished.

He didn’t reply, but instead asked me if I had ever experienced a floating sensation when I slept.  I nodded slowly wondering how he was aware of this very private part of my life.

“I hate it. I’m hanging in the air near the ceiling facing my bed. I angrily demand they put me down. Then I wake up in my bed. I have no idea who they are, and I’ve never told anyone.”

“Look,” he said, “there’s a simple explanation for all that. It’s not as bad as you think.”

“How do you know?” I demanded.

“Because I’m a Quantum Mechanics Specialist and my position is one of diplomacy among several species,” he said, handing me his business card.

With that being said, I bolted up and began running home. He followed me on his bicycle like a never-ending bad dream.

“You need to come to my R.V. for your vaccines!” he yelled.

“Nope, but thanks for the invite,” I hollered back as I ran up to my door.  I didn’t want Hank for an enemy, and was unsure if his diagnosis made him dangerous or not. Relieved to be inside, I locked the door behind me. What had begun as entertaining was now turning ugly. I had had enough and felt threatened.

I heard a repeated soft knocking at the door. I started to dial 911 and I’m still not sure what stopped me. Instead, I stood before the door and listened.

“You were just returning from a quantum leap, only something disturbed you normal pattern. It frightens you to find yourself in that state, floating like that.

“The figures in my yard are Ziots from the planet Zio, which is in a parallel universe. They are peaceful, advanced extraterrestrial beings that probably assist you in returning home. You see them observing you there – not here. They know where you came from, can easily find you, but aren’t the least bit interested in following you to your home planet. We can talk more about this experience if you want, but I strongly suggest you receive necessary inoculations if you are transiting between planets alone. I would like to talk to you more at another time. You might be an unsuspecting descendant of very special origins.”

“Go away Hank,” I said.

The next day I hammered a sign into the ground with great deliberation. It read: FOR SALE BY OWNER.


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