Hi, this is Guillaume Wolf “Prof. G,” author of the newly released supernatural thriller, The Last Arakad. Before we start, I want to thank Simply Infatuated for inviting me to guest blog; it’s a pleasure to be here.
So today, I’d like to talk about the ‘mysterious’ Paris.
While The Last Arakad involves many exotic locations, the plot mainly takes place in Paris. Why pick Paris for a supernatural thriller, you may ask? After all, the “City of Lights” is well known for being a hub for high fashion, a romantic getaway, or a foodies’ paradise . . . But magic? Perhaps, not so much.
Paris is a contradiction. The visible side is a modern hub, obsessed (to a fault) with style, culture, and taste; but under the shiny crust, the primeval spirit of the city still remains visible only to the ones who can pierce through the veil.
So here’s my invitation. Let’s spend a day together in Paris, shall we?
It begins now.
It’s 10 a.m., we start our visit with the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. As we step inside, I remind you that this church was built on the location of ancient pagan grounds. You notice the air feels different. You wonder: is this airy feeling coming from the majesty of the architecture, or is the place infused with a mystical force? We both walk in silence for a while; the cathedral is mesmerizing.
Later, you gasp when I inform you we’ve already been there for an hour. It felt like just ten minutes.
11 a.m. We’re walking across the Seine river and head to rue Saint-Jacques to visit a venerable “occult science” bookstore, Librairie Leymarie. There, we meet with our first real-life magicians—old men dressed very conventionally—who seem to be permanent fixtures of the place. Curiously, they give us a sealed envelop. “It’ll be tonight,” says the oldest of the bunch. I quickly hide the envelope in my jacket.
You purchase a copy of Le Mystère des Cathédrales (The Mystery of the Cathedrals) by French Alchemist Fulcanelli. As you flip through the poetic prose, you wonder what the book is really about. The store owner replies with a devious smile, “It’s about the Great Work, what else?” You look at me, and I whisper: “the symbolic transformation of base metals into gold.”
It’s noon already; we make it to Galerie du Scorpion, rue Galande. Together we examine ancients scrolls in Old Coptic language. The gallery owner inquires about you. Her eyes burn with intensity. “Are these for sale?” you wonder. “Yes,” she replies, “but only for serious collectors.” You feel slightly dizzy; everything swirls and your Fulcanelli book drops on the floor. The gallerist picks it up, looks at it and smiles. “You are an initiate, I see.” Is it the gallerist’s glare? The scrolls? The tribal masks? You really feel light-headed. I suggest we need to eat.
1 p.m. A bus takes us place Saint-Germain-des-Prés. We step into the Café de Flore, a famous literary café where the Surrealists used to hang out. We walk up to the first floor. The room is quiet. I tell you this is the favorite place of one of the characters in my novel, (Uncle D.). You ask me if it’s my favorite café as well. I nod with a smile. The food is delicious, the setting charming; and by the end of our lunch you’re in love with the place too.
2 p.m. You feel better. We take another bus, direction the Louvre Museum. In the bus, you ask me what’s inside the envelop the old men gave us. I open it: “It’s an invitation . . . for tonight. It just says: “Le rituel – 8 p.m.”
“What kind of ritual?” you ask, your voice uneasy.
I shrug, “We’ll have to find out.”
The Louvre is horribly busy but I take you past the crowd to the Assyrian section of the museum—no one’s there. “Have you seen the movie, The Exorcist?” I say. In front of you, the small statue of the demon Pazuzu. “That’s the real one, right here.” The devious Pazuzu is looking right through you. You have a sudden headache. I do too. We quickly move on to the Egyptian section. There, we both feel rejuvenated. “I think they should put a warning sticker next to Pazuzu,” I half-joke.
5 p.m., already. We’re late. We take a cab and rush to the Catacombes. You Google the place and warn me that we’re already past visiting hours. “I know someone,” I assure you. We arrive and, just like that, an employee lets us in.
Now we’re under the city, alone in the dark, surrounded by millions of skulls and bones. For about two hours we explore the underground labyrinth. I tell you the ancient ossuary was built before the French Revolution, but you’re not listening. Something is bothering you. You’re hearing voices. We cautiously approach a chamber where a group of people wearing dark ceremonial garments are chanting in a unholy language. “Not my kind of crowd,” I say, “Let’s get out.” Luckily we disappear before they notice our presence.
7 p.m. We go back to the hotel to freshen up. Alone in your room, you feel both exhausted and exhilarated. What should I wear for tonight?, you wonder.
8 p.m. “Why are we here, again?” you ask. “Do you even know these people?” The door of the private apartment opens. An older woman appears, she wears glasses, a gray cardigan with a matching gray flannel skirt. “Le rituel?” she says. “Oui, madame,” we reply. She lets us in. The old apartment is filled with books and antiques. The hardwood floor squeaks with every step we take.
The woman approaches a bookshelf and pulls a red book. There’s a click. The shelf moves sideways to reveal stairs. “Are you sure about this?” you ask. We cautiously walked down a seemingly never-ending stone staircase.
Finally, we reach a chamber, lit by burning candles.
“Bienvenue, welcome,” says the voice of a man. His face is hidden behind a mask shaped like a falcon’s head.
There are about ten people; all are wearing masks. The chamber reminds you of the Louvre museum, it’s saturated with hieroglyphs. But as you look closer, you realize it’s not Egyptian. The deranged glyphs feature out-of-this-world entities chasing frail human figures.
You grab my arm and squeeze it hard.
“Now that you’re finally here,” says the man, “we can start the ritual.”
In his hand we both see a shiny object.
“Is he holding a knife?” you say.
There’s a burst of wind and all the candles die out.
“What’s going to happen to us?” you say.
“I don’t know,” I reply, my voice trembling.
You realize maybe it was not such a good idea to follow an author of supernatural thrillers on an actual tour of Paris. You say to yourself, “Thanks Prof. G, but next time I think I’ll skip the tour and just read the book.”
About The Last Arakad
Do you believe in destiny?
When sensitive Maya moves with her brother Thomas from Los Angeles to Paris hoping for a better life, she has no idea that everything is about to dramatically change.
What starts as an initiation into the age-old Arakad magical tradition takes an unexpected turn when a wave of brutal murders shatters her world. Caught up in an ancient prophecy, she finds herself at the center of a ruthless battle between good and evil in which humanity’s future is at stake.
When all hope is lost and she becomes the final target of a sinister clan, will Maya learn to trust herself and her own power? Or will her own fears prevail?
An Excerpt from The Last Arakad
Excerpt from CHAPTER 10 — THE OLD ONE
Without saying a word, she stepped in.
It felt like being swallowed by a green monster. The wall of greenery had turned into a maze of tubes and tunnels. The sky above disappeared. As she walked deeper in, she felt as though she was leaving the world behind. She was growing distracted and tense, her legs getting scratched by the thorns. Like sharp blades, they cut through her clothes, making her bleed. The path was definitely not tourist-friendly.
After what seemed like an eternity, the narrow pathway led to an enclosure.
“Wow!” whispered Maya. “This is incredible.”
She’d finally found what she was looking for. There he was, eighteen feet tall, defying time. Looking magnificent and powerful, the Old One was standing in front of her. Maya was in awe.
“So . . . my friend was right,” said Thomas, as he arrived on the scene, “this is just an old stone!” His voice brought Maya out of her reverie.
Indeed, the Old One was a giant monolith, an ancient menhir, as they were called in Brittany. These mysterious giants abounded in this region of France and around England. No one knew who had erected them, why, or how. Some historians believed they had been set up in the Neolithic era around 9,500 B.C. Other scholars proposed they were even older, belonging to a forgotten time of legend.
“Thomas, isn’t he beautiful?” said Maya.
“Are you kidding me?” Thomas had had it. “No! This isn’t beautiful. And what do you mean ‘he’? You forced me to walk for hours in the rain and cold to see what? An old stone? And for what? Seriously, for what?” His face was flushed with anger, his eyes wide.
This wasn’t good. Maya knew that when Thomas threw tantrums, they could escalate very fast. She tried to calm him down.
“I see you’re upset and I know, I haven’t enjoyed walking around all day,” she said in a slightly contrived, positive tone of voice. “But we finally found what we’re looking for! We can stop walking. Valerie’s going to be impressed when we—”
“That’s my whole point!” cut in Thomas, “Valerie? Uncle D.? Why are you always so eager to please them? We’re not even related. They just keep pushing us around, telling us we ‘have’ to do this,” and we ‘have’ to do that. When does it stop? And why do we have to do what they tell us? The way I see it, they’re using us as distractions because they’re bored with their lives!”
“Thomas, please. You’re being unfair, it’s not—”
“Don’t you get it? I want to direct my own life!” yelled Thomas. He was in a frenzy. “I want to control my own destiny! I hate all this! I’m out of here!” He picked up a rock from the ground and threw it at the ancient monolith.
Pock! The rock hit the menhir. Thomas turned his back on Maya and left, still ranting.
Maya stood alone in silence. A cold, dark feeling began to rush up inside her, moving from her belly to her chest. Her eyes filled with tears. She held her breath, trying desperately not to cry.
As she finally opened her mouth to breathe, she burst into tears. She held her face in her hands, then looked into her pockets to see if she had a tissue. Of course, she didn’t.
“This is such a mess!” cried Maya. “I’m such a mess!” With her arms crossed around her chest, she was rocking back and forth. She sat down with her back against the monolith.
Her tears fell hot and fast down her face. Falling down . . . down . . . down . . . As they hit the ground, they splashed on impact like tiny, bursting water balloons. On a microscopic level, millions of water and salt molecules were rebounding into the air. And not far where Maya sat, at that exact moment, a dark wave broke onto the shore of the beach, itself splitting into billions of water particles. Water, salt, and earth—big and small—dancing together in one eternal dance.
The tears. The ocean. All was in perfect harmony. All was one despite the pain.
Suddenly, Maya felt a tremor in the earth. She stood up, fearing it might be an earthquake, a common occurrence back home in Los Angeles.
Next, she heard a humming. Everything started vibrating around her.
“Who is the little one crying next to me?” said a very deep voice.
Startled, Maya look around. No one.
“Who are you, little one?” insisted the voice.
As she slowly turned around, she saw that the giant monolith was glowing with what seemed to be an electric blue light, slowly pulsating.
About the Author
Born in Africa (Sénégal), raised in Paris, France, and currently living in Los Angeles, California, Guillaume Wolf “Prof G.” embodies the spirit of the 21st Century “global village.”
Guillaume has spent decades exploring the transformative power of symbols, archetypes, and creativity (and their relationship with the everyday world); and this passion inspires his writing.
Guillaume’s background includes among others: creative director; branding consultant; and teacher of communication design at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
He is the author of reDESIGN: reCREATE, a book about reinvention and creativity. The Last Arakad is his first novel.
Guillaume lives with his wife and daughter in Los Angeles, California.
To learn more about Guillaume Wolf’s books and discover additional content, collectibles, and behind-the-scenes bonuses, visit www.Arakad.com
Meet Guillaume on Facebook at www.facebook.com/profgpage.
Guillaume Wolf is giving away five copies of The Last Arakad throughout this book tour. To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget on the main tour page.