“Why are you doing this, Salem?”

“Because I can, Bethany. Because I can.” 

Cade Shields, a spiritual investigator is dreaming of a woman and realises she is in terrible danger. Struggling with an alcohol addiction Bethany is startled when she discovers her seven-year-old daughter is seeing angels and receiving messages from them. Finding she must come to terms with this, she doesn’t realise her ex-partner is about to turn her life into a ride of terror, but Cade does. While Cade races to save her, Bethany must learn to trust the angels and find inner strength for it soon becomes a fight between good and evil as Bethany is taken into the dream world of angels and demons. 

Will She survive and will she allow Cade to help her to destroy the threats that turn dreams into a real-life nightmare?

In Store Price: $AU34.95 
Online Price:   $AU29.95

ISBN: 978-1-921574-57-3
Format: Paperback
Number of pages:377
Genre: Fiction

Cover: Clive Dalkins

Author: Cindy Schulter
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2010
Language: English


About the author

Cindy Schulter lives with her two children in Melbourne, Australia. After trying her hand at different careers her love for writing won and she spends her spare hours writing and making up new stories to tell. Besides writing, Cindy also enjoys reading, listening to an eclectic range of music, meditation, and helping others using her skills as a spiritual consultant. She is a firm believer that anything is possible – if you put your heart and soul into the hard work you do, you will achieve all your dreams.

Chapter 1

It was so easy at the start. In childhood. Back when you had dreams and goals to aspire to, you had hope.... Free from life’s major decisions, you thought you were invincible, and you never doubted your dreams would come true. Your axiom was if you worked hard enough, anything was possible.

There was an easy confidence each time you started a new area of your life. This confidence was plentiful in nature and came freely. There was the easy laughter you shared with others that didn’t fault with false notes. You had a rosy view of the world when young, all of life was something to treasure, something to look forward to. Even when there were trials and tribulations you could always dream of the future.

Oh, how she missed the carefree times of childhood. Before the years of pressure started to take hold.

Pressure – God, she hated that word. Her whole life was wrapped around in a tight squeeze, circling her heart. It didn’t matter how many times she tried to loosen its grip, it came back with vengeance, unrelenting, making it hard for her to breathe… hard for her to function. No matter how many times she thought she had freed herself from it ─ it snapped back with such force she was left stumbling in the dark.

It was time to change this feeling of suppressed escapism. It was time to do something to destroy the panic-induced strangulation she felt tightening around her sensitive organs.

She tinkled the ice in her tumbler of whiskey. I have to stop doing this. One elbow rested on the dining table whilst the other hand held the glass up high. She stared at the whiskey for several minutes as if appraising it, then took a huge gulp of the amber liquid. She swallowed gratefully waiting for the buzz of alcohol to soothe her; for the soar that always rushed her system. It allowed her a few moments of oblivion. A few moments when the pressure disappeared.

But was it? Was it really eliminating the pressure that had been slowly building over the last five years or was it, in actuality, escalating the feeling of despair she lived with every waking moment of her life?

She sat there staring at the glass, cursing her Achilles’ heel. She knew her consumption was increasing daily, but she needed to satiate her addiction. As the rush swept her mind she placed her head on the table and thought back to when it all started.

It had begun innocently enough. A shared drink with friends, conforming to social etiquette. She couldn’t pinpoint when it had shifted to a drink in the afternoon, then another with dinner. Initially, less than a finger’s worth, soon morphed into half a glass of the golden suppressant. To her, it made the end of the day seem not so hard ─ a release from her life. A way to stop the thoughts from building in her mind and engulfing her system. Well, most of the time anyway.

Other times, the thoughts of the past few years overwhelmed her foggy mind. The alcohol would then make the swirls of feelings oppressive and depressive. Making her shudder with revulsion at herself and the mistakes she had made.

It illuminated her fears, hindering her, so all that was positive in her life turned into negative discordance and eliminating the harmony she so desperately sought. Her excuse to herself was the whiskey was a way to stop memories of the past from crowding her mind. And the numbing effect helped her sleep; to chase all thoughts, dreams and ideals back into the recesses of her psyche.

Though at times, when she was upset and had drunk more than her quota, she would find herself awake at three in the morning. It was then she would cry, when her past became obsessive thoughts that haunted her restless mind, making it buzz in pain.

This would stop her from being able to fall back asleep, with her mind shifting to self-hatred, belittling any sense of self-worth. When this occurred, she would promise herself she would not drink the next day. To be honest, she promised herself this every morning, while trying to shake off the heaviness that clouded her mind.

I must stop. She had been saying this to herself the last few days. The same thought, night after night. At four o’clock on the dot she would pour her salvation, sighing with relief as the days events faded from her mind. I’ll stop tomorrow. Her agony ebbed with each sip, and a serene smile would appear on her face. Her laughter had the ring of a tipsy melody, but after a while the melody would become a slur that she failed to control. She would imbibe the last sip, returning the glass resolutely to the table. That’s enough. But without fail, some thought, some image, some memory would struggle through the haze and the next drink would be poured larger than the last, affecting her that much more. Then she would focus all her concentration on appearing sober, walking straight, being coherent. She no longer concentrated on the thoughts of pain, terror and her past, thus convincing herself it was helping and the vicious cycle would started again.

There were so many reasons why she should stop. Firstly, there was her health. Secondly, she couldn’t really afford it on her meagre budget. But most importantly there were her kids. The eldest would soon realise that after dinner her mummy got a bit wobbly, a bit short tempered. It wouldn’t take long before her eldest put two and two together and came up with the reason to why this was so. Already she sensed her daughter had clued in to her drunken state each night. The disappointed look on her daughter’s face had started to show. Especially after the third drink.

Getting up slowly, she waited until the room stopped tilting and walked the short distance from the dining alcove to the kitchen sink, where she poured the remainder of her drink down the drain. Gripping the edge of the sink she watched it swirl down the hole. Bye, bye. She hoped she was strong enough to say no tomorrow.


Beth jumped with a guilty start at the sound of her daughter’s voice. “Yes, Lauren?”

“What are you doing?” Beth nearly laughed bitterly at herself. How do you tell a seven year old you’re making a life altering decision? How do you say, I am throwing out the buzz before I become an alcoholic?

“Honey, Mummy was washing her glass and making sure the sink is clean.” God, more lies. When was it going to stop? The lies to herself, the lies to her children, the lie of a life she was living.


The excuse obviously passed muster with her daughter, though the relief of this was heavy on Beth’s heart. When did she turn into a liar? When did she start hiding from herself? How could she turn her life around so no more lies occurred? So she wouldn’t hide behind false stimulation. How do you ask for help? She would have to think about all of this when her mind was clear and her hands were steady. There was no point hashing it out now. Tomorrow, she would sit down and try to sort the shambles of her life out.

“Shouldn’t you be in bed, honey?”

Turning to face her daughter, Beth smiled a real smile for the first time in a long while. She could see her daughter’s thoughts churning as she tried to find an excuse for being out of bed a few hours after her bedtime.

“I… I… saw a monster in my cupboard.”

Well, that’s original. “Really, a monster huh. What kind?”

“A really big one with red glowing eyes and scaly skin like a snake or crocodile. And where there wasn’t skin it was really hairy.”

Beth tried hard not to laugh. It wasn’t as easy as it sounded as she was still buzzing from the alcohol consumed minutes before her daughter had walked in.

“Wow. That sounds scary.”

“It was. But then an angel came into my room and scared it away.”

Lauren’s face was earnest in its serious contemplation. Her eyes were innocent of deception and gazed with the serenity of someone who truly believed what she was saying.

“Well, that’s nice of the angel.”

Like any mother, Beth didn’t take what her daughter was saying seriously. It was the first time Lauren had used the monster excuse so she didn’t have the heart or the steadiness to get into the whole ‘there are no monsters or angels’ spiel. It would be better to just agree, then put her daughter back to bed.

“Yes. The angel said not to worry and tell your mum good things will happen to those with love and courage.”

Now Beth was worried. Where did her daughter get those ideas? And why would she say that? Beth stood there wondering who was filling her daughter with stories of angels and also, false hopes. Just when she was about to ask Lauren where she had heard such nonsense, Lauren interrupted her.

“Mum, there really was an angel in my room. I am not making it up. You just wait and see.”

“Wait and see what, sweetie?”

Her daughter gave a long-suffering sigh that belied her tender age, making Beth feel small and stupid. Then again, that was the story of her life – feeling small and stupid.

“The angel, Mummy. When you see the angel, you’ll believe me. He said one of his friends would visit you next.”

Wanting to stop her daughter from talking about angels and get her back into the reality of real life, Beth decided the best course of action was to ignore her daughter’s remarks. To be truthful, her head was buzzing so much she wanted to lie down and sleep herself.

“Okay you… enough of that. Let’s get you back to bed and do a monster check.”

As Beth motioned with her hands for Lauren to get moving she noticed her hands were shaking and far from steady. If she could notice it in her clouded state then her daughter would definitely see her mum was not herself. Beth didn’t want her daughter to think less of her. She did enough of that herself.

“Okay, Mummy.” Lauren solemnly grabbed Beth’s hand and smiled up at her. “Ready, Mummy. But there is no monster anymore, the angel saw to that.”

Beth sighed wistfully; wishing angels really did visit her daughter and chase monsters away. She could use one right now. Letting Lauren’s small hand tug her to her bedroom, Beth really hoped she was hearing things and her daughter wasn’t being set up for heartache to Beth all things spiritual meant trouble with a capital T.

As she followed, thoughts of another drink kept flitting into her mind as the ligature around her heart began to tighten again. She needed something to help her sleep and chase away the thoughts that were struggling to invade her conscious mind. One more won’t hurt.

Beth settled Lauren into her bed, she did a quick monster check and kissed her sweet child’s cheek. Closing the bedroom door, she went upstairs to check on her son, promptly forgetting Lauren’s talk of angels. Max was blissfully asleep in his cot and dreaming innocent baby dreams. Beth couldn’t believe he would be one soon. It only felt like yesterday when she found out she was pregnant. And boy was that one of life’s defining moments.

Remembering the time of his conception hurt Beth. She tried not to think about it. It was when all her dreams were crushed; when the father of her children had done another number on her.

He had left when she was pregnant with Lauren, but they had got back together when Lauren was five months old. For three years, they led a life filled with drug and alcohol abuse. Not wanting to live like that anymore, she had left him (though he insists he left her).

She started a new life. Honing in on her skills, she started a business and re-established friendships. Those precious times were filled with laughter, ambition and good decisions. She had made a life for herself and Lauren. Slowly, she put behind her the poor choices she made when she was with her ex. She was sober and clean the whole time as she successfully built her business and increased her self-confidence. As her friendships renewed, she discovered she enjoyed life again.

Two years after their second break-up he demanded to see his kid. His charm broke through her defences and they started to have sex again. Sex was all it was, there was no love on his side. But although she wasn’t in love, she still had strong feelings for him, misguided though they were. Then it happened. The time that would forever be imprinted on her mind. A time of humiliation and pain that led to her getting pregnant again. He left, satisfied he had achieved the ultimate humiliation, that he had inflicted as much pain as he could, leaving her battered and disillusioned.

The time that followed was not easy for Beth. She felt like her whole world had collapsed. With all of her hopes and dreams dashed, she withdrew into herself. Before she knew it, she had a baby boy. She halted her promising business and pushed away her friends. Nearly a year had passed since the birth of her second child and now Beth drank to help her through the nights, whilst watching her children grow throughout the days. It was pitiful how she wasted the time. No correction ─ she was pitiful, there was no escaping that fact.

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