Wednesday, December 25, 2013

LEGION of DWELLERS Earlier Release of Chapters 2 and 4

This first draft is dedicated to my good friend Rebecca Veight


The Underground




“What’s a grotto?” She trailed off. Her eyes instantly glanced over at the two strangers sprawled out, they handed a bottle back and forth to each other, as they talked.

One of the strangers in the room, a young male spoke up with a thick Parisian accent. “A grotto is just a glorified party room for those who don’t care to dress up to impress the aristocracy in the clubs up there.” He pointed at the ceiling. “Vive la France!” He straightened himself, saluting Killian’s shirt with the French flag painted on his chest.

“What?” Emma asked.

The young man stood from his sprawled sitting position and bowed, tipping his red beret cap. “Where are my manners? I am Maurice,” he then pointed to the young attractive, pink haired girl with a pixie cut, her head shaved on the sides and back, sitting next to him, “and this is my associate, Sophie.”

“I’m Emma, and this is my…” She looked at him, not sure he was her boyfriend, she said, “This is Killian.”

Killian glared at Maurice and Sophie from the entrance of the grotto, but remained utterly silent. He made Maurice noticeably uncomfortable with his stare, his arms crossed, and his scowl. Emma tried to put her arm around Killian, but he shrugged it off. She looked up and over at the front of his face, as Sophie’s innocently cute face hid a cunning nature which her street savvy eyes could not. Sophie pretended indifference to them, tipping the bottle up, and drinking, while subtle watching the room.

“So, you are both fellow cataphiles like us? No?” Maurice tensely grinned and twirled his beret like a steering wheel.

With his chin protruded, Killian said nothing, so Emma spoke again. “What’s a cataphile? And for goodness sake, will someone tell me what a grotto is?” Her tone, riled, it loudly vibrated off the interior walls.
Sophie took another swig and then placed the bagged bottle, scrunching it with a paper rustling, glass clang on the ground. She put her index finger to her lips. “Shhhh, they’ll here you,” she said the rest in French, “you stupid American girl.”

“Who, other people?” Emma only knew English.

Ha, she scornfully laughed. “No, the police.” She took another swig from the bottle. “They patrol some of the shallow tunnels trying to catch cataphiles like us.”

Emma shrugged her shoulders. “So.”

“So they’ll through you in jail if you’re caught down here,” Maurice said.

Sophie leaned over and kissed Maurice on the lips. The two of them shamelessly exhibited their passions as if they were the only ones in the grotto. Killian ushered Emma over toward the large, dirt stained, and shredded fabric chair across the room from Maurice and Sophie. He sat, watching as a voyeur, rubbing his pronounced chin, but he was not deriving enjoyment, he was thinking. Emma, oblivious to his expressions, hopped on his lap and began kissing him as well. She closed her eyes, as Killian teased, while rubbing his lips across hers, yet he angled his head, and inspected Sophie and Maurice who enjoyed being watched. Then, all at once, Killian broke lips, held Emma back, and pointed to an overused, dark blue backpack, flopped over on the ground next to Maurice.

“Hey, what’s in there?”

“Here?” Maurice’s eyes lit up and he too pushed Sophie to the side, flipping her off the chair entirely, as he reached for the backpack.

Emma wrinkled her nose and pouted, taking a place on the hard armrest. Sophie frowned and rolled her eyes at Maurice from the floor, locking lips only with the bagged bottle now.

“Don’t get him started.” Sophie groaned, as she wiped mouth.

Emma, now interested, leaned in their direction. “Why, what’s in there?”

Killian keenly waited, hiding his eagerness well, as Maurice opened his backpack and pulled out several random items most cataphiles carried in the tunnels. He placed in a pile, water, batteries, food, and a flashlight from out of his backpack, while digging toward the bottom.

“I’m going to be the first cataphile to kill a Dweller down here in these catacombs.” Maurice gaily said.

“Not this again.” Sophie shook her head, and then removed her button down gray shirt, revealing a black sleeveless camisole, along with an inked left arm, covered in pink tattoos from her deltoid to her elbow.

Her eyes asquint, Emma removed herself from the hard armrest and stood. “What’s a Dweller?”

“Um, uh.” Maurice scratched his scalp rapidly, with a confused look. “Let me show you.” He pulled a flask out first. “This is Holy Water.” He placed next to the outside of the bag. “And if that doesn’t work, I’ve got this beauty.” He pulled a handgun from his bag.

Emma gasped, jolting back. “Are you insane?”

“Relax, it’s safe.”

“Yeah right!”

“Here,” Maurice put it back in his bag. “Happy now? Anyway, I have this,” he flashed an old video tape. “This is proof that Dwellers exist.”

Sophie rolled her head back at him. “You only see what you want to see.”

The two of them began to argue violently in French, and then they began kissing each other’s necks. Emma put her hands on her hips, but Killian remained emotionless as a calculating onlooker.

“Hello! Can you two please stop the gross public display of affection,” she said, gesturing toward Maurice, “and you, finish what you were telling me.”


“Oh yes,” he wiped his lips, pushing Sophie off to the side again. Maurice tied his firebrick red, shoulder length dreadlocks with a white rubber band. “This is a grotto. This is a lime stone room that has evolved over the years as a hangout for cataphiles before they make the trek as deep as they can into the tunnels. When a cataphile makes it deeper than anyone else has ever been before, he tags it, as a badge of honor, which is worthy of respect.” Maurice shook a can of spray paint from his bag. “And then you take a picture or video and brag to other cataphiles about it.”




Mortals, Immortals, and Portals




“That is not why I am here.” Acuumyn knew their intentions were pure. He got up and walked over to a large, ancient stone wall in amongst the ruins, urging Revekka and Maximilian to follow him. “This is the lone reason I have come.” He pressed three small stones in coded succession along the wall, and a larger, several ton sized piece of rock ground, as it slid back and sideways on its own. Acuumyn reached inside and pulled out two separate scrolls from the large wall. Both coiled tightly, and tied with cloth in the middle, but flaring out wider at the ends. One was beige and the other was transparent, and while both were rolled securely, tied with cloth ribbons, one ribbon was blue and the other green. He then turned and handed a scroll to each of them.

“What’s this?” Maximilian asked, attempted to untie his scroll.

Acuumyn quickly put his fingers on Maximilian’s hand. “No,” he calmly said. “If the Shroud captures you or the scroll, not knowing what you have will be a benefit.”

Maximilian looked at the scroll and then up at Acuumyn. “I understand.”

“Good, now I need each of you to take the farthest route from the other until you deliver this to Caron at the castle…”

Revekka interrupted. “Have you not heard? Caron is gravely injured from his encounter with the dark lord of the Shroud, Malum.”

Acuumyn arched his neck until his chin hit his chest. “I had not heard.” His head sprung up, he looked intensely into Revekka’s eyes. “And what of my son? What of Appollos?”

Revekka stared back for an eternal second. “I don’t know.”

“He’s alright.” Maximilian nodded. “Benoit has informed me that everyone else is intact and doing well.”

Acuumyn, relieved, inhaled with renewed strength and hope. “All is not lost.” He walked through the ruins, inviting his two companions to have a seat next to him on large stones in among the Grecian relics. “Come, tell me, what have your missions revealed, what have I missed?” He patted the large stone seat in front where they should sit and face him as they spoke. “Humanity has not detected our presence. Yet we have been here since the beginning, and have fought to free them.”

Revekka and Maximilian sat down, holding a gaze at each other with an inquisitive frustration. Each waited and silently wanted the other to talk first. Neither spoke, so Acuumyn urged them to tell him once more.

“It’s gotten so much worse,” Maximilian said, breaking his silence first. He frowned and looked away and down, while he rolled his tongue inside his mouth. He had become discouraged, frustrated by his time on earth. “As you already know, the young knights who were trained to destroy the Shroud, have not only joined the dark lord, Malum, but have become a powerful force of shadow warriors, loyal only to him throughout the earth.”

“I see,” Acuumyn said, his countenance filled with regret. “Malum has bigger plans than previously thought.”

“That is not all,” Maximilian continued. “The former knights have grown powerful with the Shroud, and they do many things without conscience. They have influenced humanity on a subconscious level, spreading fear, doubt, paranoia, and hopelessness throughout the earth.” He became more aggravated when hearing his own words. “Malum has appointed certain shadow warriors as princes over many governments of the earth, to control the leaders, and their masses. Malum has spread fear even among immortals of an all knowing and almighty one referred to simply as, the first immortal, and there are even rumblings that Dwellers, once extinct, have risen again. In fact, there have been many recent disappearances in Paris, the last being a mother and her young daughter disappearing. Some say the Dwellers live under the city in a maze of catacombs…”

Acuumyn interrupted. He nodded, and took several contemplative breaths, before thanking Maximilian for his unfinished report. “I have heard all that I need. You have done well, so consider your former mission both a success and concluded at this point.” He turned his attention toward Revekka. “What of you?” He opened his hand and rubbed his chin.

First, Revekka gave a sorrowful glance at Maximilian before turning her head in Acuumyn’s direction. “All that was said is true, and more I’m afraid.”

“But you are an empath.” Acuumyn paused, raising an eyebrow. “How is it you have not become insane from the suffering you have experienced through humanity?”

Her face remained soft. Her eyes glimmered with optimism. The halfings still live, and I believe in the prophesy. Where many of the young, immortal knights failed, the halflings will triumph.”

“Is that it?” Maximilian replied with haste, shaking his head with a mocking, loud puff of air out his nostrils. “They don’t have what it takes to wipe out the Shroud’s approaching army. The immortal war is coming to earth, and you place all of your hopes on two aimless teenagers?” He scoffed

Thursday, October 31, 2013

LEGION OF DWELLERS

This is a first draft release of Legion of Dwellers. You are getting the first page and part of chapter three. Enjoy.






Chance Encounters






It was late, in the early, dark hours before the approaching dawn. The once lively crowd had lulled. Most of the partygoers either had left the club on the lower east side of Paris for the night, or had fallen asleep wherever they could rest their heads. The band played a last song, as workers swept the floors while preparing to close. The trumpeter blew the loudest notes, his cheeks ballooning with redness, purposely waking the sleeping heads, rousing them to go home.

Of the handful of patrons remaining, one young man in particular, had left his slumbering girlfriend inside for a few extra minutes of rest before stumbling out into the dark street to clear his own head. With a few deep breaths of briskly chilled air, the young man began to wake from his hard nap. He looked up at the sky, what was sunny and warm earlier, was now black and unusually cool for a night at this time of year. He watched his breath crystalize upward, mixing with the air, forming clouds of fleeting vapor. He automatically glanced up and behind his shoulder as the club preemptively shut off the all the lights out front on the street where he stood, yet still, the music blared throughout the club and filtered into the mostly abandoned city lane. A worker closed the front side windows to the club, muffling the loud trumpeter’s horn. No longer feeling warm air from behind, the young man huddled his shoulder, flipped the collar of his jacket up against his neck, covering a black scorpion tattoo outlined with red ink, which stretched from his earlobe to the top of his shoulder. He vigorously rubbed his hands together, and blew warmth from his breath into them. He peeked in through the window of the door at his girlfriend, but her head remained unmoved on the tabletop, so he turned and shivered as the cool air gradually woke him.

         Across from the club, past the broad, main road, in the shadows of a long narrow street between buildings, he saw a large pile of trash move without cause. He looked back into the club once more at his girlfriend, and then trotted across the street to investigate. He crept slowly as he neared the trash pile. He paused stilly whenever it occasionally shook, nonetheless curiosity inched him forward. On the tips of his toes, he stretched his neck out in order to catch a glimpse. However, the pile of trash was heaped up, stacked too high and wide for any view around or over top. Closer he quietly shuffled his feet, stepping to the side for a full on view. The murky night, along with the shadows cast by the alley, made it nearly impossible to see, but something slouched and recessed in the dark corner on the other side of the bags of garbage.

He looked back at the club, now at a distance behind him across the street. A deep foreboding rot in his bones and uneasiness filled his chest and stomach. He readied himself to silently back away from the dark alley and toward the safety of the club. But at that moment, the clouds in the sky parted, allowing the moon to rain scattered beams of ghostly light upon the alleyway, revealing a sight so foul, his body seized and grim fear held his breath. A grotesque beast of legendary urban myth, feasted on the remains of the day’s garbage. Spiny vertebrae protruded from the beasts back. Grayish green, waxy, glossed skin gave the beast an oily appearance. It was boney and bare, with the exception of a loincloth. When the darkness parted upon the alley, a thin sliver of the moon descended in a sideways slant upon the creature’s eyes. They were large saucers, dead as coal, and devoid of emotion, as the young man saw his reflection in the beast eyes. The unworldly beast held a stare at the young man, each sized up the other. The young man’s eyes widened, as the creature’s eyes narrowed. One was prey, the other was a predator, and for a brief moment, each knew what the other one was thinking.

The beast growled with a low pitch and angled its body, springing back in a pouncing position. The young man panted heavily, refusing to blink or look away. Time seemed to slow, with each subtle movement magnified in the tense alleyway standoff. When the beastly creature growled again, the young man backed away in nervous expectation, stumbling, his feet tangled, but he remained upright, collecting his calm. However, when the monster spoke words to him, he recoiled backwards, straight legged, his body jerked off the ground, and his color blanched, draining him until only the hue of terror remained. Unconscious survival turned him around, while pure adrenaline propelled a burst of swiftness toward the club, were the boisterous music continued to play. He could still see people in the windows, sweeping, stacking chairs, and playing music.

For a moment, all he could hear was his own heart and the sound of his fearfully labored breaths. Then he heard an ominous voice from behind, yet he resisted the temptation to look back. He kept his eyes fixed on the club where his girlfriend slept. He had to make it back to her. There was no choice, nor doubt he could and would make the short distance from the alley to the club, because only a street separated them.
“Where do you think you’re going?” The creature soared like a puma with speed and power well beyond that of any human.

The young man ran from the alley. His heart thumped rapidly as he felt the beast’s nostrils huffing warm, foul breath down the back of his neck. A fleetingly smile crossed his face, for he had made it out of the alley and onto the street, but the creature pinged from one wall to another and bounded down on top of the young man’s back with ease.

“Ah!” The young man screamed as the band played the last note of the final song louder to wake the few remaining patrons before the club closed. “Help me!” He wailed, his face down, his stomach touching the ground. He reached toward the club where his sleeping girlfriend stretched and yawned, pulling her head from off the table. She looked from side to side and around the club for her boyfriend, but she did not see him, so she sat and waited.

The creature leaned on top of his back with heaviness, making simple movements impossible. Nevertheless, the young man slowly propped one elbow up and then awkwardly the other. He struggled as he crawled toward the club on his belly. Yet soon the beast easily dragged him by the ankle back into the alley. Screaming and flailing his legs, the young man frantically clawed at the street’s cold ground. Icy hooks sank into his flesh, taming him by penetrating deeply into the muscle fibers around his spine. The young man rang out a shrill cry that was accompanied by a gush of red fluid from his back. With the last of his strength, he ripped his leg from the beast’s hand and freed himself. He shouted at the club, waiting for help from anyone who might possibly hear him.


The creature ground its fangs back and forth, irritated by the young man’s resilience. It aggressively thrust a hand of razor tipped, black talons again into his back, and with one more violent push, it twisted until the young man was subdued. The young man’s head and limbs flopped down, but his eyes remained open, blankly staring at the club. The beast pulled him by the leg back into the alley, leaving a trail of bright, freshly smeared blood, disappearing into the darkness as the last song softened into silence.




Immortals

    Acuumyn turned his back and summoned an opening between distant places. A colorful vortex appeared, hidden to the world in among the Grecian ruins, and he readied himself to return from where he had come.

“Wait!” Revekka grabbed his shoulder. “Before you go through the aperture, I just want to say…” Her eyes briefly shifted downward, then back up at him, as his aguish became hers. You shouldn’t think of yourself as a failure.” She gently slid her hand off his arm.

He turned toward the vortex, glanced over his shoulder at her, giving a saddened smile, and said, “I was supposed to be the Acuumyn who established peace, security, and a utopia for earth and Eruditus, and I did fail.”
More words felt wrong, as she cradled her hands together, close to her chest, and with her neck and head downcast, her long, flowing locks tumbled slowly forward from off her back shoulders, covering her face from dispirit.

Maximilian, already flustered, advanced toward Acuumyn. “You must not lose faith now.” He shook his warlike fist.

The aperture swirled before them. Revekka lifted her head, smiling forcibly. Acuumyn turned, facing both of them one last time.

“Yes,” Revekka exclaimed joyously, waiting on encouragement. “There is always hope. I feel it with all that I am.”

“I will deliver this with power and speed.” Maximilian squeezed his hand, holding his scroll high in the air. “And then I will protect the halfings from the Shroud. I will prepare the children who were chosen by the Artifex to free this realm forever from evil.” His chest raised, he tightened his teeth and focused his eyes with uncommon resolve. “I will finish Benoit’s training as a knight, so he may lead the likes of Appollos, and Aurielle, and the precious few other Galinea that are left from the knighthood for earth’s sake.”

Acuumyn perked up. His face shined with pride, as he looked approvingly upon Maximilian before turning his attention to Revekka. “And what of you?” He asked.
“I have been gifted a vision by the Celestial Pyre,” She said. Maximilian gasped. He kneeled before her, bowing.
Acuumyn’s demeanor did not change. He wrapped his hands behind his back and reverently nodded. “The Celestial Pyre speaks to no one, or at least it has not in hundreds of years.”

“But it spoke to me,” she said, with sincerity.

Maximilian slowly lifted himself off his knees, kept quiet, and inquisitively gazed between Revekka and Acuumyn.

A tense moment passed, and then Acuumyn shook his finger at her. “You have Empathic abilities, so it stands to reason you are more sensitive to the Celestial Pyre. It is the flame that burns day and night underneath the castle, for it is the spiritual source of all life, and its symbol has given you a sign with meaning greater than what we know.” Acuumyn rubbed his chin, looking at her, while tilting his head from left to right.

“It told me to…”

Acuumyn abruptly held his hand up and stopped her. “What the Celestial Pyre showed you was for you alone.”

“Then I must give its message before I deliver this scroll.”

“Agreed,” Acuumyn simply said. “Which way does the Celestial Pyre send you?”

“To the south.”

“Then, Maximilian, you need to travel the northern most route until you reach the castle, so the two of you never come close to each other once I leave this place.”


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Missing Link Found! To My Series That is.

As promised, this is the cover and synopsis for my recent novel, Reign of the Shroud. This is the second to last book in the Shrouded Secrets Chronicles, and it's filled with intrigue, suspense, betrayal, and desperation. My goal has always been to write not just a book, but a true classic, and with Reign of the Shroud, I feel one step closer to that goal.






Humankind has never been more divided, and the Shroud has seized this opportunity to conquer their subjects in a never-ending reign. The perfectly immortal and clandestine Shroud is no longer content with simply controlling the minds of the masses from behind the shadows. Now these immortals seek to fulfill the purpose for which they have come— to bend and dominate all human establishments to their ultimate will.

Lord Malum, the Shroud’s amalgamist and keeper of dark truths, will reveal his hidden journal to his youthful, immortal Shadow Warriors. Deals will be granted and promises made with certain humans who pledge their allegiance to the Shroud. Meanwhile, Malum’s aberrant second-in-command, Dominic, who was once abandoned on a desert island for his ruthless, bloodthirsty appetite, will return to wage a personal vendetta against those who imprisoned him. Yet, his objective remains intact, to become the most elusive and powerful serial killer in the world by obsessively hunting mortals for sport.

As the immortal war rages onward, everything will become a device for the Shroud to hone their abilities in their quest to plunge earth into a new dark age. Once believed to be a phantom and mere manifestation of the mind, the first immortal will seduce the only teenage girl on earth who can stop him. However, in order to capture her heart, her boyfriend and entire family must vanish in order for him to accomplish his true endgame.

During the reign of the Shroud, internal treachery will become all-consuming as Malum, Dominic, and the first immortal attempt to grasp at the ultimate power to control the future of all humans and immortals alike. Rules are broken and lines crossed, while the secret to immortal abilities and eternal life will be exposed to a few unsuspecting human teens. Friendships will be severed for selfish gain, true loves will turn ill-fated, and those who would dare stand against the Shroud will be tempted with betrayal. The strong will become weak, and the weak will simply fade away. Yet, a few who are capable will decide to surrender everything and return to fight against the Shroud in the immortal war, knowing it is a battle that cannot possibly be won. The Shroud’s reign is in motion, but before it ends, many will question how such beauty and perfection could have corrupted the earth with its ugly influence since the beginning of time. And as the final days draw near, those who remain will discover what happens when all hope is detached from humanity.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New Book Coming Soon!

For the longest time, I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my Shrouded Secrets Chronicles book series. But now I discovered the missing ingredient, and I'm going to be delivering the cover, Title, and synopsis to a Goodreads near you any day now. I'm really excited about this one, I hope my audience is as well, because I think I've hit the coming book outta the park this time. This goes along with my aphorism that your best writing should always be your next writing, so I hope this is some of my best, and I hope you enjoy the unveil.