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A Beyond Human Novel

by Michelle Schad

Hellfire - Michelle Schad
Editions:Paperback - Second Edition: $ 9.99
ISBN: 978-1-954413-02-3
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 in
Pages: 144
Kindle - Second: $ 3.99
ISBN: 978-1-954413-03-0

For many, the United States is a land of opportunity and new beginnings – unless you happen to be ‘different’ from everyone else.  Hadi Shahir is one of those people, different in more ways than one. Hadi can manipulate fire; he is ‘Evolved’.

All he wants is a new life and new adventures in this land of opportunity. His dreams become endless nightmares, however, that begin with an inexplicable hate crime that leaves the young man traumatized and untrusting of the world around him. A chance encounter with a pretty face cracks that shell, showing him that not everyone in Chicago is out to get him until a rash of violent, deadly fires breaks out around the city.

Suddenly, all eyes focus on Hadi when too many coincidences bring his abilities to the forefront. In a matter of moments, Hadi jumps to the top of the AEC’s most-wanted list. His quiet life as a bartender quickly turns into a tangled mess of chaos, lies, and murder that drag the entire city of Chicago down in flames with the remnants of Hadi’s ruined life.


“HAZE!!” Hadi heard from the kitchen and smiled. Moose shook his head, marveling at the timing Hadi had. He walked back out to the dining area, arms raised in a ‘V’ for the man that now sat at the bar. If Moose was big, Virgil Kriskin was enormous. The man was an ex-con. Hadi didn’t know where he worked or what he did when he was not in the bar, but he was good people. He had a quirky sense of humor, and loved wrestling like men loved women. “Ha, my man!”

“Hey, V,” Hadi replied, pouring a stout from draft. “Ring brick’s in the fryer.”

“Love it, love it,” Virgil nodded, reaching for the remote so he could change the channel. The other two people in the bar hardly cared. “How you settling in the new digs?”

“Ok,” Hadi shrugged. “Still got too many boxes. I started with two bags of stuff, you know? Dunno how I ended up with a whole place of cardboard.”


Virgil laughed, a throaty sound that was infectious. “Cuz you let a woman help you buy shit you don’t need!”

Hadi only rolled his eyes and smiled, heading back to the kitchen to retrieve Virgil’s log of onion crisps. They weren’t really rings and if there were actually onions in the log, Hadi would forsake pot for a month, but they tasted like onion rings which is what mattered to Virgil.

“Hey, Haze, think you can relight the pilot under the stove when you’re done droppin’ that brick off? I ain’t got skinny arms like you; can’t reach it,” Moose asked.

“Sure, gimme a sec ok?” Hadi replied, taking the grease-filled brick of onion curls out to Virgil. “Onion brick.”

“You are a saint, Haze. For real. Got the-”

Virgil cut off as Hadi set down a bottle of ketchup, a bottle of A-1 Steak sauce, and a bottle of Tabasco. All three condiments found their way onto the brick every time Virgil came in.

“You’re a gem,” Virgil said with a bright smile. “Thanks, my man.”

Hadi laughed, heading back into the kitchen. The stove’s pilot was all the way at the back of the oven - well, under the back of the oven. The giant beast of a machine was old as dirt. He’d seen Tam and Lindy both crawling underneath it’s greasy under belly to relight the pilot on many occasions. Moose handed him a pack of matches, moving stuff aside so Hadi could wrench himself beneath the stove unobstructed.

“This thing gonna blow up on me?” Hadi teased as he squeezed and stretched.

“God, I hope not. I keep tellin’ Tam we need a new one but she’s gonna keep squeezin’ all she can out of it.”

That did not make Hadi feel much better. He lit the match with a flick of his thumb once his arm was out of sight of Moose’s gaze. It went out twice with no contact to the pilot. Hadi cursed under his breath, rolling onto his belly instead with a new match. Again, he flicked his thumb over the match head, watching it light up in bright orange. This time, it caught - and kept going.

“Shit,” Hadi spat, trying to contain the flame.It only spread further, snaking up the gas line and across the grease stuck to the underside of the oven. “Moose! Moose!”

The giant cook yanked on Hadi’s ankles, tugging him out from beneath the stove as the entire thing went up in a burst of flame that shook the pans right off their hooks.

“Holy shit, Haze - you ok?” Moose asked, though the flame was not contained, not in the least.

“Out, out!” Hadi ordered, shoving the larger man out into the dining area as the stove hissed. Three seconds later, it burst like an over taxed tea-kettle, sending flames roaring up to the ceiling or across the floor towards Hadi’s feet. Instinct kicked in. He opened up to the flames that reached for him and sucked them into his palms, rolling the fire into a ball that was easier to contain. He fell backwards when Moose ran back into the kitchen with a fire extinguisher, his concentration lost. It was enough though. The fire extinguisher did the trick. Hadi heard one of the bar patrons talking to the fire department, giving them the address of the bar.

“You ok, kiddo?” Virgil said, hefting Hadi to his feet. Hadi winced, hissing in pain. His elbow was red and his right palm was a scorched mess; again. “That don’t look good. Put some vanilla on it.”

“What?” Hadi said, looking at the much larger man curiously. Moose continued to spray the stove with the fire extinguisher, some of the grease still trying to hold on to a weak flame. The fire alarms were blaring all over the bar and the dinning room sprinklers spit out a pathetic spray of water over the tables and booths.

“Yeah,” Virgil nodded. “Works better than aloe. You’re gonna need to get that looked at though. You’re lucky that stove didn’t fry you to a crisp like my onion brick.”

“Yeah, no shit,” Hadi sighed.

“You’re good people, Haze,” Virgil said, rubbing his shoulders rather roughly. “That was brave what you did. Dumb as shit, but brave.”

“I didn’t do anything,” Hadi breathed out. Virgil only snorted, slapping him on the back with enough force to hurt. Tam was going to get her new stove now whether she wanted it or not.

“Right, and I’m just big and tall,” Virgil grinned. “People like us, we're some kind of special. Ask my parole officer.”

Hadi merely groaned.


About the Author

From a young age, there have been voices inside of Michelle’s head. No, not those kinds of voices – or, maybe they are; who really knows? Rather than fear those voices, Michelle wrangled them like wild mustangs on the prairie, make each one bend to her will in its own time. Well, what does that mean?

It means that Michelle has been writing stories of the fantastic, the horrific, and the mysterious for as long as her little fingers have been able to hold a pen and probably longer, but memory only goes back so far. In a world that passes for ‘normal’, she is all of the ‘normal’ things one might expect: mother, wife, keeper of fur-babies. She is also a student of life, meaning if there is something to learn, she will learn it, thus making her a veritable font of only partially useful knowledge.

The whimsy and ChAoS that actually controls the rest of Michelle’s existence has earned her a place in two different arenas so far: Bards and Sages Quarterly and Corrugated Sky Publishing. While wielding the unwieldiness of words is her primary function, she is also an avid crafter, collector of “creepy” ball-jointed dolls, and can run through a Target in under an hour with only two extra items from her intended list. Talent!