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Chalice: The Book of Life

Chalice: The Book of Life

Aja Pearl

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It is the 1980s in the city. Children learn a lesson from death and dying. A tortured local artist falls hard from being at the top. A confused young man must choose between love or tradition. A young woman is forced to grow up too soon with a broken heart. A married couple takes a big leap of faith in making their dreams come true in the "forbidden" part of the city. A lonely soul finds refuge in an unexpected place with unexpected people. A young couple deals with the tragedy of an unexpected birth but triumphs with an unexpected blessing. Then another troubled young man has a secret so dark, it drives him to a life of drugs. While maintaining their faith, people endure life's trail and tribulations. Will they learn these lessons or are they doomed to repeat them?

Chapter 1
Prolog

Do not be surprised at this; the time is coming when all the dead will hear His voice and come out of their graves: those who have done good will rise and live, and those who have done evil will grow and be condemned.

John 5:28-29

It is the 1980s. Hip-Hop is in its infancy but making massive waves. A deadly monster we know as AIDS plagues the world, and there is no way to stop it. The campaigns such as “Keep America Beautiful” and “Just Say NO to Drugs” are in full swing and give people a wake-up call to better themselves and their surroundings. The U.K. and the U.S. move closer to laissez-faire economic policies, which begins a drift towards neoliberalism. Meanwhile, the defeat of the USSR makes right-wing economic policy more popular.

In the heart of the vast city's valve, an apartment building is plagued by another form of pollution, loud music. The music continues to blare from Nevin Nereid’s apartment. It is playing so loud that it makes the walls tremble the other apartments. His next-door neighbor bangs on his door.

“Are you ok, in there,” she asks?

No answer.

So, she decides to go back into her apartment and write him a note about the loud noise. She slides the note under his door and goes back into her apartment. She hopes that Nevin would acknowledge the letter, but less than an hour later, the music continues to play extremely loud. When she comes out of her apartment, she sees that she is not the only one who has this problem. The neighbors are getting very annoyed at Nevin. They are upset and puzzled about the disturbance as well.

“Hey,” one neighbor cries out loud, “Turn that down!! People have to go to work in the morning.”

However, the cry falls on deaf ears. People are complaining and banging on his door forcefully. No one comes out of Nevin's apartment.

One neighbor places his ear to the door to make out any other activity besides the blaring music.

"I don't hear anything but music," the neighbor concludes, "It sounds like the same…the same song is playing over and over again."

“That’s crazy,” another tenant says.

“Maybe he’s asleep.”

Tension is rising to the point that people want to break down Nevin’s door. However, this is unusual behavior for Nevin.

Nevin Nereid is a quiet man and always to himself. He and his wife, Sabine, share a set of triplets, two daughters, and a son. The daughters' names are Argentina and Corinthian. The son's name is Mandela; Mandela was the middle child. Unfortunately, Nevin and Sabine separate due to the many fights between them, mostly about money. Sabine is a semi-successful caterer, by trade and Nevin works at his best friend's bar. When Nevin moves out of their home, he is fortunat

e to land a promotion at the bar; it is not something he expects, but Nevin earns thrice as much more than he made at his previous position. Unfortunately, due to a tragedy, Nevin leaves his job and resorts to work as a janitor at the church he attended as a little boy, Holy Chalice Church. Although the work is humble, he lives very comfortably until now.

"You know…I think something's wrong," the next-door neighbor concludes, "I live next door to this person for a long time, and he has always been quiet as a church mouse. For him, to play his music so loud is very odd."

Another neighbor becomes fed up with the situation; she decides to get help.

"I'm going to get security," one neighbor says, and off she goes downstairs to the lobby, "This is ridiculous."

Another neighbor replies, “Forget security. I’m calling the police.”

Minutes later, security and the police finally arrive upstairs on the 26th floor. Everyone swarms around them like a bunch of angry hornets.

“Ok, people,” an officer says, allaying the noise of the angry tenants and guests, “Everyone step aside.”

He bangs on Nevin’s door.

“Sir, this the police,” he yells, “We need to have a word with you.”

“It’s not going to do you any good,” a tenant says, “He won’t answer his door.”

The officer bangs on the door, "Sir, this the police. I need you to lower your music. Otherwise, we will arrest you for disturbing the peace."

He turns to his partner and motions that they may have to break down the door. With a few swift kicks, the door opens. Simon and Garfunkel's "I Am a Rock" roars out of the apartment and into the hallway; Nevin has the stereo's cassette player. Police and security rush into the apartment, ready for the unexpected, which is expected in their line of work. When they step inside the studio, it is neat and clean. Everything seems to be in order until they see the bedroom. The door is slightly ajar, but the bedroom is in total disarray when police and security open the door. Lamps are on the floor; pictures are littered all over the floor; the liquor cabinet ransack, and someone or something is under the covers. The police and the security guard act very cautiously. What if the person under the covers pops up out of bed, shooting rounds at them? They are not taking any chances. One officer pokes at the figure under the blanket. No movement. So, the security guard pulls the cover off slowly from the foot of the bed.

Meanwhile, the officers are ready to fire, but it wouldn't be necessary. It is Nevin Nereid, unconscious in the bed, hugging one of his bottles of alcohol with a picture of St. Jude and looking discolored. They realize that they have to call for backup.

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