Free Reads by Sara Vance-Hogan

Featuring short stories and novellas for lovers of fantasy and horror!

Dies Irae Rewrite


It seems to be a pattern with me. I write a book and realize I could have done so much better. I revamped Dead Seed, and I think it was much better that way, and has mostly done well with new critics. At least my English and grammar haven't been attacked with this version *smirk*.

It has been the same with "Dies Irae," only slightly different.

HUH?! Whatchya mean?

Well, I look back and realize that the current version of "Dies Irae" is just a bunch of fangirl squees and scenes I imagined that went well with a song I heard at the time, rather than following a chronological order and being relevant to the overall plot. I added many scenes just because I was in love with them, and FORCED them to "work" with the plot. Well, they didn't. And, I can finally admit that Samara was annoying as fuck -- she needs a total makeover. While she has her strong points, PHYSICALLY, she's a total Mary-Sue when it comes to Danteous.

SO, I'm toying around with the idea of a rewrite. I'm going to change the title because when I first thought of it (like 10 years ago -- holy shit), I was just in love with a Latin title. I really had no idea of the history behind "Dies Irae" (I was sheltered as a kid and didn't get out much, what can I say?). Now that I know, it really doesn't make sense. I'm such an incompetent author sometimes.

So how is this predicament "slightly different" from Dead Seed?

Well, because Dies Irae was NOWHERE near as popular as my vampire horror novel. I think the whole series only sold a handful of copies. So, I'm almost 100% sure I can get away with it without much scrutiny this time. Not to mention, Amazon Kindle decided to block the first book because I used a keyword that wasn't allowed. Seriously. A KEYWORD. They apparently sent me a warning email that I missed and since I didn't correct it in time, it got blocked, and I haven't had the time to redo everything yet. However, if I continue with the idea of rewriting this book series, I won't need to upload everything again.

And now dear readers, I have what might be a treat for you. If you were a fan of the original "Dies Irae," you might not be as excited, but try to keep an open mind. The following is a sample of how I would like the new book to be. It's going to be quite different -- I'm taking a huge risk, but at the same time, my fan base has dwindled due to my lack of writing and new material, so it's almost like I'm starting fresh anyway, so maybe it won't bother many, if anyone at all. For those who know the original story, I would like to explain a few things. In this version, Cyril will still be active. The plot will not be to find the orb he is sealed in, but to stop him before he can even create the orb. I think that is a fresh idea and will make this story more exciting. There will be darker drama, and less whiny Samara brooding about her predicament with Danteous. In this version, she will be more mature and be more PISSED at the situation rather than depressed. Basically, she's not going to take any more of his shit.

 Here is the sample. Keep in mind this is a VERY ROUGH draft and example of how I would like the new version to go. I wrote this, first in my head as I showered, and then in like ten minutes on the computer while still fresh in my memory. This scene will probably be changed or might not even make it to the final cut of the book.

If you feel so inclined, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.
(p.s. if music helps you, I advise listening to Mumford & Sons for this scene, specifically "Broken Crown.")



Scene: Danteous & Samara
Samara realizes who Danteous really is and what his intentions are.


He was late. They were supposed to meet that night by the well. In all the months they had been seeing each other, Danteous hadn’t been late. Maybe he forgot? Maybe something happened? What if Cyril had caught wind of their plans and thought Danteous was in on it? Samara wouldn’t put it past the black dragon to harm his own son. Worry filled her mind and she decided to go to his cave to make sure he was all right.

                Something in her gut told her that something was very wrong. The night would not end well. She became clumsy with fear, tripping over rocks and not being careful amongst the many branches of the trees. Her face hit a few spindly fingers of twigs, giving her a few shallow cuts on her cheeks.

                As she neared the entrance to the cave, she heard voices. One belonged to Danteous, the other belonged to a person she didn’t recognize. The second voice sounded muffled, as if his mouth was covered.

                Despite the thick branches of the forest, the bright light of the full moon showed Samara something awful. She stepped behind one of the larger trees to observe. She watched Danteous and this second person with her heart pounding. Please don’t let this be what it looks like, she repeated in her head.

                Danteous was dragging the second person by the back of his shirt. An older man, probably sixty or so. His mouth was gagged with an old cloth and his hands tied together. His face was swollen and his right eye was black. Danteous carelessly dragged the poor man across the hard ground. The man muffled pleas of help and for him to stop. Feeling sickened, Samara couldn’t make her feet move until Danteous disappeared into the cave with the man.

                Holding her breath, she stepped quietly, trying not to crack twigs or trip anymore. Her instincts and training to stay stealthy kicked back in and she snuck over to the cave. She peeked around the entrance and saw, now by the flicker of the torches’ flames, Danteous tying a rope around the man’s ankles. Once he was secure, Danteous threw one end of the rope over a sturdy hook in the ceiling. He pulled the man up with the rope until the poor guy was hanging upside down from the ceiling. Danteous secured the rope so the man hung in place.

                “Your blood is one of the strongest in this vicinity. My father needs you, do you understand?” Danteous said to the man.

                The man’s eyes were weary with fear.  He mumbled something that sounded like “you don’t have to do this.” With those poor eyes, he begged Danteous not to do whatever he planned. Danteous drew a dagger from his right boot before going to his writing desk and grabbing a wooden bucket that sat on top of it. He set the bucket on the ground beneath the man, and Samara felt a surge of adrenaline as she realized that Danteous planned to cut the man’s throat and fill the bucket with his blood.

                As Danteous brought the dagger to the man’s throat, Samara propelled herself at him, and kicked the dagger out of his hand before he knew what was happening. It flew across the room, landing with a loud thud against the rocky wall.

                “Samara, what-?!” Danteous yelled in surprise.

                “You’re collecting the blood and souls for him!”Samara yelled. She punched him, hitting him square in the jaw. “You’re killing innocent people!”

                “Yes, I am helping my father,” Danteous said, now taking a defensive stance, holding his hands up so she couldn’t punch him again.

                “We thought you were different, but you’re just like him. Sins of the father, indeed.” Samara was filled with rage. How dare he lie to her? How many people had he killed with no remorse and then showed up to see her as if he had done nothing wrong? Though it seemed he didn’t want to fight her, she wanted to fight him. Samara took another swing at him, followed by a kick. Danteous defended himself, blocking her advances, but never took an opening for himself. They danced for a few minutes, Samara being the only one to attack. It was angering her that he wouldn’t fight back; therefore with every punch and kick, she became more aggressive.

                Samara soon found herself on the other side of the room where the dagger was. She saw it lying near her feet, and remembered the poor bastard hanging from the ceiling. She dropped to the ground and swept up the dagger. Danteous knew her intentions and went to block her.

                “No!” He said, trying to grab the knife.

                Samara punched his hand away, then brought up her leg and kicked him in the face. She managed to slip by him. She was too short to reach the rope and had to think fast since Danteous was rushing at her again. The desk was close enough for her to jump on top of. In only a second, she hopped up and then jumped off, flying through the air at the dangling man. She swiped the sharp dagger through the rope, hoping once would be enough. It didn’t rip through all the threads, but it was enough that the rope lost its strength and snapped. The man fell to the floor as Samara fell on top of Danteous, who had been trying to grab her when she jumped.

                “Run!” Samara screamed at the man as she fought the man she loved. She was sitting on top of him now, trying to keep him pinned to the floor. He attempted to shove her off and Samara started to fall. No matter how much she trained, he was still physically stronger than her and could easily lift her off of him. Before he could stand, she used the heel of her boot and kicked it hard in his side.  Then she brought the heel straight down and plunged it hard as she could into his ribs.

                The man was still gagged, his hands and feet still bound. Samara realized he couldn’t run. She summoned a fireball to her palm and threw it in Danteous’ face as he was sitting up, holding up his left side. Whatever hesitation he had had before about fighting her seemed to be gone now. The pain from the fire on his cheeks was too much for him, and he backhanded her across the face. It stung, but she ignored the pain. She knew she didn’t have much time. She grabbed the dagger again, which had fallen to the floor when she fell, and half ran-half crawled to the man. She cut through the rope around his ankles just as Danteous grabbed one of her feet.

                “Go! Now!” She yelled. The man thanked her with a quick nod and then ran out of the cave.

                Samara kicked back at Danteous with the foot he didn’t hold. She couldn’t get free. He crawled on top of her, rage now filling his eyes.

                “What have you done!” He yelled. “You let him escape!”

                Samara punched him in the jaw. He yelled in pain. He looked pretty bad now. His face was red and looked like he had a bad sunburn.

                “You betrayed me!” Samara yelled back at him. Though he was trying to hold her down, he seemed to be giving up fighting her now that his victim had escaped. It was now easy for Samara to gain control. She kicked him with the back of her knee, knocking him over her. Once he was off her, she jumped up, slightly out of breath from the fight.

                “How could you do this? How can you just kill innocent people like this? How do you not realize that what Cyril is doing is wrong?”

                Danteous looked defeated. He was sitting on the cold, hard floor with his head down. “He’s my father; I can’t disappoint him,” he muttered.

                “You make me sick.” Samara scoffed in disgust. “I should just kill you now, but for some reason, I need some time to work up to it. Just know that you are your father to me now.” She walked past him, dropping his dagger at his feet. “And you will die with him.”

                Without waiting for his response, Samara left him there, feeling numb, except for the sting on her cheek. 




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Angel of Mine

A young girl's bottled up anger becomes the target of one who likes revenge. Dakota becomes horrified when she realizes she's the cause of fear in her town.
Mostly fantasy, with a dash of horror.






Angel of Mine (YA)
Sara Vance-Hogan











Angel of mine, you scatter the sun. Tell me your secrets, thy will be done.

Oh no, not again. I wish not to kill, leave me be! I have no will, keep my enemies at peace!

As you wish, no will tonight. Close your eyes, I’ll return when the time is right.

The Being Stuck between Heaven and Hell left Dakota Lambert that night to sleep and do nothing more.

The Being was a demon without a name. It was neither male nor female. It had first come to Dakota the night her boyfriend broke up with her. He had used her. Her pretty, jade eyes and wavy brown hair. Her pale creamy skin and shy red lips. He had used every part of her and made her believe he was in love so she would give him the most precious part of her that she possessed.

Consciously, Dakota was naïve and beautiful on the inside. She never showed anger and never said one spiteful thing to anyone, not even to Landon when he broke her heart.

But dreams tell all. Human souls do not lie. It was when Dakota had finally fallen asleep, after crying herself into the unconscious state, that The Being came to her, in her dreams, introducing itself only as The Being Stuck between Heaven and Hell: The Demon of Vengeance.

It had searched Dakota’s soul and learnt of her pain. It instantly loved the girl whose dreams had betrayed her. She was warm, like the sun, yet her soul told of cold hurt.

The Being had allowed Dakota’s true feelings to surface as she slept.

Angel, dear Angel, why do you cry? Blocked by your tears, the world passes you by.

Robbed. My heart was stolen from me and the boy who took it shows no remorse, Dakota’s subconscious had said.

I see, I see. I thought that be the case. Tell me the suitable punishment and your pain I will erase.

How? What powers do you posses that you could make him feel remorse?

Anything. Anything you wish; thy will be done, just ask of it. Do you desire pain, or simple death? Ask me now and I’ll poison his breath.

I wish he could feel the pain he has put me through.

With the thoughts I have felt, he feels no emotion. His pain must be physical, give me a notion.

Cut his lips so they hurt when he kisses.

As you wish. A fine pain indeed! Let’s go to his body, dear Angel, you lead.

In the form of a soul while her physical body still lay asleep, Dakota had accompanied The Being to Landon’s bedroom and invisibly attacked his sleeping form.

How shall I do it? Dakota had asked.

Raise your hand. A cat’s claws I shall give. Slash them forward to slice open his lips.

The following morning, Dakota had seen Landon with his new girlfriend and to her secret satisfaction, his lips had deep, vertical cuts over them. He flinched away when his girl tried to kiss him, thus completing Dakota’s revenge.

That had been the start of The Being and ever since, it had come to her each night, seeking her new pain. And almost every one of those nights, her soul had committed a new crime towards those who caused it. Even to people she didn’t know. If they were rude just passing by, deep down it upset her and The Being used her buried feelings to get even with anyone.

There was one elderly woman who had accused Dakota of being a heathen. It had upset Dakota very much which in turn, upset The Being. It hated to see its Angel cry and with its soul purpose being to seek revenge, it sought out the woman that night.

Dear angel, dear angel, arise from your sleep, go next door and give her a sign to keep. A sign of her faith, which she accuses you lack. Take my tool to carve on her back.

And so, Dakota’s soul had taken The Being’s dagger and carved three upside-down crosses on the woman’s back.

The Being wanted only to help Dakota. But she was troubled.

She didn’t like hurting others and was afraid her nightly assaults would get worse and eventually become unforgivable. The Being had assured her that she wouldn’t be caught because a soul could not leave behind evidence.

But she didn’t care about getting caught. Her conscience was now soiled. She knew she had to stop The Being before it caused real damage—death.

She had done her research on vengeance demons. There was all kinds of helpful information in the local libraries, stories presenting themselves as myths. She searched through many books and logically concluded that the only way to stop the demon was to physically fight it and win, to prove to it that it was no longer needed; that the human soul could protect itself.

She had managed to stop The Being from hurting her enemies a few of the nights by saying she had no will but she knew that wouldn’t keep it at bay forever.

She had to kill it.

And she had to wait until the next night of the new moon—when The Being would be at its weakest. Since The Being was transparent by the powers of Hell, Dakota needed Holy Dirt to reveal it to her eyesight in order to better fight it.

She had the full pail ready, hidden in the park down the road. The look on the Priest’s face when she asked him to bless her dirt had been comical. But he did it, if nothing else but to get rid of her.

And on the moonless night, The Being came to her as usual.

Angel of Beauty, do not spare the night, tell me your pain and allow it to be made right. But keep in mind, the light of the moon has faded. Make the punishment light, for this night your Demon is jaded.

Demon, my soul cries. There is a new pain I must show. Bring me out so your Angel can lead you.

Her soul ascended. She and The Being glided over rooftops until they reached the park by the pond. Dakota went to the bench and retrieved the bucket from underneath.

The Being’s voice was smirking:

Angel, you have deceived me. There is none on whom you seek revenge. You want to fight me. Do you truly wish this to end? To allow your enemies to continue to cause you pain? I fear for your soul if you will not let me remain.

Demon, I’ve fallen in love with your concern. But it must end tonight. I cannot allow anyone else to be hurt.

Dakota threw the blessed dirt on The Being and rendered it weak with the dirt’s holy power while revealing the demon’s form.

The Demon of Vengeance was beautiful. Its sexless body was a pale red color; its hair long and flowing, a little darker—the color of blood—and its eyes were golden.

This pains me for I love you the same as you do me, Dakota said, her voice cracking.

She used a sword—its hilt the shape of a cross, which she had bought from a gypsy—and lunged for The Being and pierced its heart. Her eyes welled up with tears. The Being had never hurt her. It had been her only friend.

Its beautiful fingers closed around the hilt and pulled the blade from its chest. It smiled at Dakota and reached out with its other hand, clasping her hair.

Angel, you cannot kill me, for you truly don’t wish it so. I will not die until you want to let me go. Keep me and let me love you the way the others cannot, which is as a true friend, who will never make you cry, one who will love you and never leave you. I will be with you until the day you die.



The End.