'A well written original story, I recommend to Y/A as well as Adult readers who enjoy fantasy/thrillers.' 5 Stars
Exclusive Book Excerpt - from Chapter 11
Sky made his way down the path towards his home. The ship was gone from the back lot as it had been for the last week. His dad’s latest job was gonna keep him away for at least another day, just as Joshua had said.
Something shifted just beyond the light of the trail. He stopped, holding his breath to listen, but there was nothing but the wind. He knew the woods, and he knew there wasn’t any real danger, so he had no choice but to laugh it off.
The front door creaked open in its usual protest, as he slumped into the entryway.
He threw his wav-com onto a nearby crate and jumped as the clank of the metal against wood reverberated through the silent house. He didn’t know why he was so on edge. No, that was a lie. He was a creature of habit and his body was programmed to be anticipating a fight. Al had certainly been right about that.
Loosening his tie he made his way up the stairs. Routine had always made life in a habitually empty house more bearable. First on his agenda was to ditch the stiff uniform and find the kind of clothes that you would only dare to wear in your own home.
At the top of the stairs he was greeted by a narrow hallway gaudily decorated with seemingly hundreds of pictures, statues and printed decor of adorable animals. Never in his years had they ever owned or talked about owning a pet. He assumed this was Ixanna’s not so subtle way of telling them that they should.
He paused as a moment of alarm swept a chilly hand up his spine. Something felt off, but nothing looked out of place. He walked silently down the hall. The air around him seemed different; the smell, the weight, something just wasn’t right. His heart began to beat in his ears and grew louder with each passing step. Something dark caught his eyes, his head swung left and he found himself greeted by his own reflection. Letting out the breath he’d been holding he scolded himself for being so paranoid. This is what Arche training did to you.
He stared into the elaborately carved mirror, decorated with paw prints of all shapes and sizes. Leaning over the narrow desk he got a better look at his darkened reflection. He looked angry, or was he scared? Neither emotion seemed right. He had come home to relax.
A sound echoed in the darkness and his head snapped to the right. He searched the shadows, looking with more than his eyes. Maybe, he wasn’t being foolish. No, he was certain he wasn’t. This time he had heard something for sure and grabbed the heaviest looking cat sculpture he could find. Clenching his jaw he forced his legs to carry him forward.
He barged into his own room, the metal sculpture of the cat raised high above his head. His room was as he left it - bed unmade, a heap of cloths in the corner, and the desk covered in dishes and piles of notebooks.
Something crashed into Sky from behind and sent him flying into the room. He spun around just in time to see a blur of a figure come barreling into him once again, hitting him square in the guts. His only means of defense flew out of his hand and clattered uselessly to the floor, well out of reach. As he doubled over a hand came up and caught him under the jaw. In a sea of stars his head snapped back and he found himself on the ground as the world shifted in and out of focus above him.
The dark outline of his attacker loomed over him; it swayed back and forth in time to an unheard rhythm. Black robes that blended seamlessly into the shadows covered the intruder and flowed in a soft ripple, as if being blown by an invisible wind.
“Creepy.” He muttered and forced himself to focus. Gritting his teeth, he leapt to his feet, catching his attacker by surprise.
He took a sloppy swing that was easily dodged, but that was only meant to distract the intruder from the real punch that whipped up from the opposite arm. He felt his fist connect, but there was no give in the flesh he hit.
He let out a brief cry of surprise and pain, then grabbed his throbbing hand. “Who are you?” He growled, trying to straighten up and be intimidating.
They faced each other in the small room. He calmed his ragged breath and hoped the sweat that was building up below his hairline wouldn’t give away his fear. He couldn’t read his opponent - try as he might; he couldn’t see the intruders face under the oversized hood and swirl of shadows. If he had to guess at who he was fighting, his best guess would be the boogieman. There was no way this guy could be real.
Is this a test? He wondered desperately. He wouldn’t put it past Con to pull something like this.
The figure lunged towards him without a sound. Sky instinctively protected his aching hand by thrusting a kick into the chest of his attacker that resounded in a hollow thud. To his own surprise, the kick sent the figure back into the opposite wall where Sky’s collection of souvenir bottles crashed down upon the intruder in a kaleidoscope of colors, textures and scents.
In the brief disturbance Sky found his legs and ran. His wav-com was down by the front door, if he could get to it and make it outside he would be fine. The woods around their home were a dense mass of foliage covering a treacherous terrain and no one knew them better then him.
His foot landed awkwardly just before he reached the door, sending a shrill of pain up his leg and into the pit of his stomach. It was only a moment of hesitation before he regained his stride, but in that moment, long, slender fingers had found their way around his shoulder. His back hit the ground before he realized he’d been thrown down and a weight pressed down on his chest with enough force to squeeze out whatever air was left in him.
“You.” The figure hissed, holding him firmly down with a shiny black boot. “You’re no hero.” The voice was distorted and rough, nearly unintelligible. “There are no heroes here.” The voice was louder this time, but no less distinguishable.
He realized the voice was in his head.
The weight upon his chest was relieved and the dark figure slowly backed away. “There are no heroes.” It hissed.
On shaking legs, Sky forced himself upright. He tried to judge the distance to the door, it was still his best option. “I’m not trying to be a hero.”
From the figure came a deep, guttural growl. “No heroes.”
A glint of metal caught Sky’s eye as the figure withdrew an old bullet-load gun from inside the folds of the flowing robes.
Sky’s hands shot out in a defensive manner, “Stop!” Desperation had found its way into his voice. “I don’t know what you want.”
A heavy laugh escaped from the shadowy depth of the hood and the figure lowered the gun slightly and straightened. “You will.”
Every cell in his body screamed in that instant to just run, but he found himself frozen to the ground.
If there was an opportunity, it was missed. The figure leveled the gun at him once again and let out a guttural, primal scream that was soon overpowered by the sound of the muzzle blast.
About Author Teresa Carlson
Raised on a healthy diet of Star Wars, The Neverending Story, The Goonies and a dash of Blade Runner, the fascination with other worlds, high adventure, magic and friendship was deeply ingrained from early on.
When reading and watching stories unfold just wasn't enough, she began to write...and never stopped.
In a town that is more lake than land, she settled down to raise her two amazing children alongside her wonderful and supportive husband. Although the ingredients have changed slightly, she still consumes a massive amount of science fiction, fantasy, and other nerd-based dishes on a regular basis.
Available on kindle from Amazon
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