Lingua Sacra Publishing
Petre saw a sliver of silvery light over the distant Carpathian Mountains. “So you
inherited our father’s eyes as well as his ears,” he said. “What magic powers did I
get?”

“I can’t fire a gun as well as you,” she answered.

He laughed. “If you could, you wouldn’t need me at all. And the Communists would
fall from power in days.”

The lights of the city of Brasov dotted the horizon. There, as in all Romania, each
apartment building and every place of work had informants who told the Secret
Police about any activities deemed dangerous to the State. Going to Church or
reading the wrong books could place one under suspicion of treason.

“I can’t do this alone,” she said, adjusting the shoulder strap of her AK-47. “Your
aim is even better than Grandma’s.” She smiled in thought. “It’s strange how these
powers cross between the genders and generations of our family.”

****
“Brother Petre, I was coming to speak with you about something else. I’ve had a
dream about you.”

“What was this dream, Staretz? Your dreams have predicted the future so many
times. Please tell me! What did you see?”

“First, Brother Petre, I don’t predict the future. When I first came here myself as a
young man of sixteen, the Staretz at the time identified the gift God has given me.
It’s not prophecy exactly. My dreams show me what will come to pass only in the
realm of human action.”

“But they’re always so accurate. You’ve predicted so many disasters.”

“Never natural disasters, Petre. Only those things which humans cause by their
action or inaction.”

“Why are your dreams always correct, then?”

“Because people are weak. They have no faith and they don’t pray enough. Nothing
I’ve ever seen really had to happen as I saw it. It could have been changed. A wise
holy woman once told me that if only one person in every village in Romania had
really been prayerful, the Communists would never have taken over.”

They each crossed themselves, remembering the events of Romania’s past.

***

“Answers will come tomorrow,” he said. Andrew looked over his glass and suddenly
put it down. “Oh my Lord!”

“What’s wrong?”

“Absolutely nothing. The most beautiful woman we’ve seen today just walked into
the restaurant.”

Stefan picked up his glass and casually turned. “Dark blue business suit, blonde
hair?”

“Who else?”

“She’s something,” Stefan said, turning back to face his brother.

“She’s looking all over the room,” Andrew whispered. “I hope her party is
somewhere in my field of vision.”

Stefan smiled. “Let me point some things out. Business suit, hair in a tight bun,
minimal makeup —”

“She doesn’t need any!” Andrew protested.

“I’m not done and haven’t made my point. Have you noticed that she’s also not
wearing any jewelry?”

“Alright, so what is your point?” he asked.

“Look at her shoes.”

“I tried, but with those legs I never got there,” Andrew said. “Alright. Flats. Very
functional.”

Stefan chuckled. “Don’t you see the signs? That, my dear brother, is a government
employee.”

“So?”

“Spy Craft 101. She’s Securitaté.”

“You’re crazy!” Andrew said. “There’s absolutely no way that celestial being is one
of them.”

Stefan raised an eyebrow. “You’re too distracted by her other attributes to notice
that she’s packing a weapon, Andrew.”

He looked at her carefully and spotted the bulge below her left shoulder. “You’re
right, she is,” he said. “I feel awful right now. This could be an attack and I let my
guard down. It won’t happen again.”

***

Stefan hurled the gun away, not even looking for his brother’s position.

As Andrew ran, he saw the gun flying through the open space. Calculating that his
speed would not be enough, he dove forward. Horizontal to the ground, his fingers
managed to seize the sailing gun.

Stefan pulled the unconscious man in front of him. Looking back and forth between
the two other assailants, he saw that one of them was just pulling out his gun to fire
on Andrew. The other was already aiming carefully and directly into Stefan’s eyes.
Stefan saw that the man was well trained and was about to take the shot. He
watched the entire scene unfolding as if in slow motion, so heightened were his
senses with the terror of the moment.
A Place of Brightness follows a Romanian-American family from the time of
Communist Romania down to present-day points across the globe.  Amidst a
gathering storm of dangers and intrigue, they face the pains of their deep losses
and celebrate the survival of love.

Stefan and Andrew Valquist had a strange childhood. Their mother, who claimed
to have fought as an anti-Communist insurgent back in Romania, taught them
everything she knew before her death.

Now grown up and working as an Orthodox priest and a soldier, the brothers'
world is shaken when they receive a message from an uncle they believed had
been killed decades earlier.

A trip back to their mother's homeland thrusts them into danger when they
narrowly avoid death at the hands of mysterious assassins. Now they race against
time to stop an imminent attack on their ancestral home.
Excerpts from A Place of Brightness

Chapter One

The spring of 1962 awakens in the area of Brasov, a hundred miles north of
Bucharest, the capital of Romania. For fifteen years the “Haiduci” have carried
out guerrilla attacks against the Securitaté — the Secret Police of the Communist
government. Now, in the final days of this insurgency, a Haiduci family conducts
what they hope will be their final mission.

“I hate these moonless nights,” Petre said, plodding through the darkness under
towering pine trees.

“Look there,” his sister Doina said. She raised her walking staff and pointed to their
right. “It’s rising just now on the horizon.”
A Place of Brightness Merchandise
A Place of Brightness:
A Novel by Keith Massey