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
“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
“Answers will come tomorrow,” he said. Andrew looked over his glass and
suddenly put it down. “Oh my Lord!”
“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,
“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.
Stefan chuckled. “Don’t you see the signs? That, my dear brother, is a
“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
Excerpts from A Place of Brightness
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
Please watch the video introduction I've made for my novel
A Place of Brightness.
|A Place of Brightness:
A Novel by Keith Massey